Are You My Mother? Birds Follow Zookeeper Rickey Kinley
Zookeeper Rickey Kinley has always enjoyed being around animals. That passion led him to attend the Zoo Academy, a high school based here at the Zoo, and to accept a position at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden as a seasonal bird zookeeper in 1993. Nineteen years later, he’s still enjoying his work as a bird zookeeper in the Wings of the World exhibit.
For Rickey, no two days are the same. While he follows a basic schedule of preparing food, feeding the birds, cleaning exhibits and caring for the birds, he says that “it is never mundane.” Rickey loves the daily surprises.
Some birds, such as flamingos and cranes, need to exercise daily when they are young to keep their legs from bowing out. Rickey often takes them on walks and runs through the Zoo. The babies follow right behind him as he navigates through the Zoo. You can also find him keeping the king penguins in line when they stray during the penguin parades held here in the winter months.
There are several babies in the bird house right now. Rickey is caring for baby flamingos, baby lorikeets, baby ducks and a baby black footed penguin in addition to the other adult Wings of the World residents!
Rickey has a 17-year-old son named Andre and also helps run a doggy day care and grooming business.