At Heidelberg Zoo, the forest does not stay silent

Author: Simon Bruslund (Heidelberg Zoo, Germany)

When visiting Heidelberg zoo, you will find three permanent Silent Forest exhibitions: at the entrance, in the middle of the zoo and in the peasantry’s aviary. In addition, a mobile manned display table is active as often as possible and showcases the Songbird Crisis with dedicated flyers and several educative panels (provided by the campaign and one “homemade” panel on “SAVE the MAGIAO” project).

These exhibitions were launched on May 13th, a day dedicated to Songbirds, and celebrated for the first time in Heidelberg Zoo. For the occasion, a Silent Forest Campaign fundraising was organized and resulted in more than 500€ raised.

A talkative Myna attracted the visitor’s attention! Not a real one of course. A lifelike toy, knitted by Simon Bruslund’s mother, with an electronic voice repeater inside. A great opportunity to start a dialogue about birds.

That day there were many opportunities to learn about the fantastic songbirds and their threats: the film Tainted Love by Eleanor Paris was playing; scientific experiments with UV light and bird calls proving the extraordinary senses of songbirds were performed; kids could create masks, their personal Silent Forest button or draw birds. The local Birdlife Partner, NABU-Heidelberg, was invited and very excited to participate.

Since Songbird Day, we are still collecting funds for the campaign, via a dedicated coin funnel or by selling bird stickers. These are “sold”, whenever possible, against a donation of 0.50€ minimum and can be placed on the large wall of the main exhibition showing an empty forest. By the end of the campaign we hope this “forest” will be full of symbolically released birds.

Sincere thanks and congratulations to our current staff member Angus Sünner and our former staff member Nikolina Rupic who heartwarmingly collected funds for the campaign at their wedding party last fall! A generous donation of 230 € was made.

Credit for all pictures: Zoo Heidelberg