Keeper, Birds

Organization: Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Brookfield, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Among its historical firsts are indoor multispecies exhibits, zoo nutrition residencies, methods for animal husbandry, and medical care that includes successful brain surgery for a gorilla. In building its legacy of animal care and compassion, the Society has launched two new centers: the Center for Conservation Leadership and the Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (CSAW). These innovative learning and research hubs will integrate a wide variety of disciplines, changing the way animal conservation issues are considered and advancing the science of “animal-directed” care around the world.

The Brookfield Zoo bird collection is focused on population sustainability and the continued development and improvement of avian husbandry standards. Being a northern institution where a large portion of our birds are housed indoors much of our collection is comprised of passerines. We maintain a large number of off exhibit breeding aviaries where we work with multiple pairs of many of the species housed at the Zoo. We have a strong presence in the AZA bird community, managing the SSP’s for the blue-bellied roller, red-capped cardinal, blue-grey tanager, and superb starling as well as the studbook for the Humboldt penguin. We also have strong involvement in the ASAG (Avian Scientific Advisory Group) and the PACCT (Passeriformes, Apodiformes, Coliiformes, Caprimulgiformes, and Trogoniformes) TAG.

The Keeper, Birds is responsible for providing general care for animals and performing related work of maintaining buildings, grounds, and interpretives in assigned area, under the direction of area supervisors. The Keeper will perform routine duties with minimal supervision and new duties with detailed direction. Other responsibilities include: observe assigned animals closely, routinely, and objectively report to supervisor on their behavior, health, and welfare; and keep animal records as assigned. Keepers observe the condition of assigned area(s), animal enclosures, and equipment; monitor and clean public space(s), plants, and interpretives as assigned; report maintenance needs; perform minor maintenance tasks as assigned; clean animal enclosures, pools, and service areas as assigned; and perform area routines proficiently. Keepers monitor visitors to insure animal and human safety and protection of park property; and communicate with and assist guests and take initiative to facilitate guests’ appreciation of animals and enjoyment of their visit.

The requirements for this position include:

Bachelor's degree in relevant biological field or equivalent combination of training and experience required. A minimum of 2 years of experience working with birds in a captive setting preferred. Successful completion of Assistant Keeper probationary period or equivalent combination of training and/or experience in a zoo or aquarium required. Must possess an understanding of practical principles of animal behavior and the ability to work with live animals safely; demonstrate the ability to increase knowledge of natural history, zoology, and general animal husbandry of the species and individual animals in area(s) of experience; be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently; learn and integrate information, knowledge, and direction quickly, and complete tasks as needed. Good decision-making skills and ability to be alert and make sound, independent judgments is necessary. Ability to perceive and act upon relevant changes in animal behaviors and conditions is also necessary.

Solid interpersonal skills required. Keepers must possess a general knowledge of Chicago Zoological Society, or must acquire general knowledge, gain an understanding of the Society’s mission, and become familiar with and follow policies and procedures; must demonstrate the ability to develop proficiency, in performing assigned routines and specialized procedures as directed; must possess a record of consistency and accuracy in performing job duties. A demonstrated ability to take initiative in identifying and solving problems, recommending ideas and viable suggestions to improve operations; the ability to work with minimal supervision; and a demonstrated ability to train, educate, and direct the basic work of seasonal employees and interns are required. Must be reliable.

Valid driver’s license required for Illinois residents within 90 days of hire; valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents. Spanish fluency a plus, but not required. This is a full-time position with rotating shifts, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Keeper: $22.92/hour per union contract

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/V/D.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center at to obtain more details about position #1184 and to apply by submitting your profile.