Some of our playful residents have been prepping for Euro 2016 by getting their footie skills up to scratch, and in true aquarium style it wouldn’t be a sporting tournament without some animal predictions to get the ball rolling.
Inca terns, Echo and Flo, who seem to be the avian equivalent of footballers Ronaldo and Bale, are ready to put their skills to the test to see if they can score and predict how England will do in this year’s tournament! Maybe this year will see the end to England’s 50 years of hurt!
Inca terns are incredibly inquisitive, curious creatures who have a lovely playful nature. It has recently come to light that they enjoy playing with a ping pong ball, so it only seemed right that they put their new found skill to use.
Dani Farah, our lead Bird Keeper, explains how she discovered their love for playing ball - ‘It was a complete off-chance that a visitor dropped a little ball he had been carrying for his child on the penguin walk-way. The Inca terns swooped down and started pushing the ball around with their beaks and playing with it. It is always great to provide different activities for their enrichment so this gave us the idea to give it a go ourselves.’
‘What has been wonderful to discover is that they play with the ball for the love of it, with no food incentive. Normally for creatures food is a primary re-enforcer for any sort of training, but it seems our terns just enjoy it and at any time they can choose to fly away if they’ve had enough. Amazingly I have spent up to an hour with them on some days throwing the ball for them in the air and onto the ground for them to hit around again and again.’
To focus their new found skills and to provide a prediction for England’s first match against Russia on Saturday, the terns shot the ball towards two goals; one for England and one for Russia. Tune into our Facebook page ahead of the big game on Saturday to see who they think will win!!
In the mean time, why not see how they've been getting on in their pre-match training sessions with keeper (and head coach) Dani.