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Niabi Zoo Protects its Birds

Niabi Zoo

As the latest bird flu outbreak spreads across the country, the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley has taken precautions to protect its collection.

Director Lee Jackson says they first heard about it in early February, and began preparing.

"So because we heard about this in late winter, some of those birds we just didn't put back outside and a few birds that were still outside, we moved in."

The zoo has about 100 individual birds, representing 21 species, ranging in size from finches to parrots and ostriches.

In addition, Niabi has stopped using any poultry products to feed its animals.

"And we have protocols in place for what to do if we find a wild bird dead in the park, and basically any bird that we find dead, whether it's a collection bird or a wild bird, gets sent to the University of Illinois for testing."

Jackson says the zoo has a relatively small collection of birds, after letting the numbers fall slowly in recent years, and now he's glad they did.

Opening day for the new season is still set for April 18th.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.