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Duration:05:41
Uploaded:2018-10-18
Last sync:2018-10-18 17:50
Jessi shares her love for turacos and goes on a walk down memory lane with two of the white cheeked turacos she had the privilege of caring for.

Curly Bird on SciShow Talk Show: https://youtu.be/1xBQ2Zk9weE
Meet Tika the Turaco: https://youtu.be/pB26OspX4us

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(Intro)

If you've never seen a turaco before, you're definitely missing out.  They're so uniquely beautiful that they almost look fake.  Their feathers don't look like most other bird feathers.  The feathers covering their body and head are small and the bristles are frayed out, creating an almost furry look.  Many of them have bright red flight feathers, which they brilliantly display when someone unwanted approaches their territory.

White cheeked turacos like Tika, who came to Animal Wonders in 2015, have this interesting feature above their eyes that kinda looks like orange eye makeup.  Turacos are found in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, and they mostly like dense forests where they can use one of their special abilities to run around on the branches.  They have short, rounded wings, which makes them poor flyers, but they make up for it with their specially adapted toes.

They have four toes on each foot, and the outer one can rotate back and forth from front to back.  This allows them to grip various shaped branches and sprint through the trees.  They're kind of like the roadrunner of the trees.

I adore turacos.  They're just as expressive as parrots and every one of them I've gotten to know has such a distinct personality.  I've really enjoyed my time with the two white cheeked turacos that we've gotten to care for at Animal Wonders.  Our first turaco, Curly Bird, joined us in 2009, when she was almost 12 years old.  Curly had a malformed leg from birth, which is why she was given to America's Teaching Zoo.  This is the home of the exotic animal training and management program, which I got to attend from 2005 to 2007. 

After I graduated from the program, Curly became too time consuming for the students to care for, and I was excited to be able to offer her a good home, but at 11 and a half years old, it was likely that she wouldn't live much longer, but I was determined to give her the best life I could provide.  Since Curly's leg was malformed, her tail would drag along the ground and become caked with leftover fruit gunk and feces.  Because of this, her previous caregiver made the choice to trim her tail feathers really short.  This was a mistake, because Curly used her tail feathers as a crutch to help her balance.  Her curled up leg rested on the middle joint and her tail kept her from falling over sideways.

When she arrived at Animal Wonders, she began to grow in new tail feathers, but since she leaned on her tail so much, as the new feathers grew in, they would break off and bleed.  I needed to figure out a way to allow the new feathers to grow while protecting them from being damaged and this what I came up with.  

I used a piece of cardboard cut in the shape of a partially fanned out tail and glued it to a vest so she couldn't just rub it off.  There's even a hole for her to poop through.  It was ridiculous, but it worked.  Curly Bird lived to be 17 years old, which is quite old for turacos, and when she finally did pass, we reached out to our friend Emily Graslie from The Brain Scoop and donated Curly's body to the collection at the Field Museum.  There, she can continue to educate, even though her life has ended.

Curly was such a pleasure to care for.  Her personality was pleasant and she loved sitting on my lap and having the feathers on her head groomed.  Curly taught me how important it was to be willing to get creative when the situation called for it.  Caring for animals can sometimes lead you to places no one else has ever been.  Sometimes that means you need a tail support contraption, so you create a tail support contraption out of the materials you have on hand.

A bit after Curly passed away, we were offered the chance to take in another white cheeked turaco.  She came from a private zoo that had more turacos than they had space for.  It was exciting because she was still a youngster when she came to live at Animal Wonders.  She became known as Tika, and she was such a riot.  

For a usually skittish species, she actually became quite tolerant of humans because she spent so much time around us.  Tika was adopted in October 2015, and she passed away suddenly in October 2018.  She had an abnormal valve and a large blood clot resulting in her sudden death.  Our vet assured us that there was no preventative care we could have offered and it was just something that was going to happen at some point because of the way her heart was.

Tika has been a part of our life for just three years, but in those three years, she became part of our family.  It's times like this, losing someone I care for, that force me to just take some time to remember how incredible it was to know them at all.  Tika was someone, not just something.  She was a unique individual and I'm thankful for the time we had with her.

I've been taking a walk down memory lane with Tika and remember all of our good times together.  Here's the most recent video I took of Tika.  She's following my daughter around asking for more treats.  Tika was special to me, just like all of the animals we have at Animal Wonders and I love sharing each one of them with you so you get to know them not just for their species' amazing adaptations, but as unique personalities, too.  

I'm sorry to those of you who enjoyed knowing Tika and I hope you find some comfort in knowing that she was incredibly loved by all of us and she had a happy and full life. 

If you've only just heard of turacos from this video, I suggest you check them out a bit more and see just how fascinating they really are.  I've put a few links about them in the description below, including a video of Curly Bird as a guest on SciShow Talk Show and Tika's original Meet & Greet episode on our channel.

Thank you for letting me walk down memory lane with Curly and Tika.  It does my heart good to remember and feel all the joy and love that came into the world just because they were in it.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you take a moment to really enjoy someone in your life that you care for.

(Endscreen/Credits)