Holly works with Buster, a hyacinth macaw. Buster is a Zoo outreach animal and likes to make appearances at special Zoo events!
Name: Holly Ray
Title: Animal Area Technician, Birds
Tenure at the OKC Zoo: 5 years
Residence: Mustang, OK
1. What are your primary responsibilities at the Zoo?
My primary responsibility here in the Oklahoma City Zoo’s bird department is to provide care for the departments’ animal collection through general feeding/cleaning, habitat maintenance/renovation and training/enrichment implementation. However, more individually I am responsible for the incubation and hatching of eggs and the hand rearing of specific species of birds.
2. What are your favorite animals to work with and why?
I really enjoy working with Buster, our Hyacinth Macaw (pictured above). He lives in an off exhibit area, but ventures out for special events/programs and for the occasional enrichment walk around the zoo. He is such a ham - crowds always love him! Overall, my favorite species to work with are hornbills. Hornbills are amazing animals they really show their personality, very playful, inquisitive and very intelligent.
3. Why is your job important, both to you and in general?
I primarily work in Overwintering, which is an off exhibit area. Here we hand raise and house young birds that can not be parent-raised until they are ready to make their zoo debut. I am very passionate about the hand-rearing aspect, the individual caring of each individual bird. It’s really amazing to have that sort of impact. It’s also fun to watch all of the little birds grow up and show their individuality during the hand rearing process. In general, I believe my job is important because of the Zoo’s shift in focus to sustainability - creating a lasting future by education and sharing information with the public on research and conservation issues.
4. What do you wish other people knew about your job/being a Zoo keeper?
Birds are the coolest animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo!!!
5. What is your favorite Zoo memory from when you were young?
My favorite memory is coming to the zoo during elementary school and seeing all the animals in the nursery in the old Children’s Zoo. It was always fun to see what new babies were here at the Zoo.
I grew up in Mustang, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Biology. While finishing my last semester of college, I started volunteering in the training department here at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Soon after that I lucked out and was given the opportunity to work in that department as a part time staff member. After two years of working in the training department, I became a full time swing keeper working for the Children’s Zoo and the Bird department. I really became passionate in the bird departments propagation program and then a year later I became a permanent part of the bird team, and I couldn’t be happier.
Holly is the 2011 chairperson for the OKC Zoo's American Association of Zookeeprs (AAZK) Bowling for Rhino's event. Roll out for Rhino conservation during Bowling for Rhinos on Saturday, July 30! An annual fundraiser of the Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) chapter, Bowling for Rhinos is a fun family event for all ages! Bowling begins at 7 p.m. at AMF Boulevard Lanes in Edmond (3501 S. Boulevard). Registration is $25 per person and includes three hours of bowling with shoe rental, an event T-shirt, refreshments and opportunities to win fabulous door prizes! One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit rhino conservation in Asia and Africa. Registration forms are available at okczoo.com or in the Zoo’s Guest Relations office.