The Kea Lab Facilities
The main kea group lives in a single, large (520 m2) and extensively furnished aviary at the Haidlhof Research Station, the oldest field station of the Vetmed. Ponds, flower beds, bushes and trees, perching branches, huts and alcoves, feeding tables and play objects offer the animals a rich and cognitively stimulating environment. At both ends of the aviary, two visually separated breeding compartment exist, where pairs of kea are able to raise the future generation. The two testing compartments can be separated from the rest of the aviary with visual separation when needed. This habitat design supports the play incentive and communal life of these birds, and allows for individual birds to be tested in specialized compartments. For animal husbandry flexibility, but also alternative testing facilities, two separate multi-purpose aviaries (36 m2 each) were erected on either side of the main aviary. A purpose-built sound chamber allows the study of vocalizations in auditory isolation.