Higgerson feeling right at home at LRZ

2/25/2013

Higgerson feeling right at home at LRZ

Higgerson feeling right at home at LRZ

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Sarah Higgerson's mother gave her a bird book when Higgerson was a little girl, and from then on, her fate was sealed.

Higgerson become enthralled with birds, learning all of the names of the different types and sketching them.

Now Higgerson, 27, is a birdkeeper at Lee Richardson Zoo. She and her husband, Justin, moved to Garden City from New Orleans, where Higgerson worked for the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. While there, she helped rescue and rehabilitate turtles involved in oil spills. "But my forte was always with birds. And I wanted to be closer to home," she said.

Higgerson is from Overland Park and attended Kansas State University, where she earned a degree in wildlife management with an emphasis in birds, or ornithology.

Higgerson has lived in Garden City for about nine months.

"I love it here. New Orleans is not a place I wanted to raise a family," she said.

Higgerson also loves her job.

"It's perfect. It's in Kansas, and it's birdkeeping," she said.

She also likes the pride the community takes in the zoo.

"I love how it's a smaller zoo. The people here are very proud of it. And they take pride in their work," she said.

Higgerson's favorite part of her job is coming to work every morning and getting greeted by the animals.

"I have so many animals I care for," she said.

In addition to 74 birds, Higgerson also cares for two spider monkeys, gelding monkeys and a red ruffed lemur.

"All of the animals have such personalities and greet me each day," she said.

In the winter, she stays busy caring for the birds in holding.

"The heartier birds are outside, but many have to be fed and cared for indoors. And they eat twice a day," she said.

Higgerson's love for birds translates into her home life, as well.

She has three parakeets and a green cheeked conure named Alaura.

"She's my baby," she said.

Higgerson attributes the early book gift to her love of birds.

"I got that book, then I started sketching. I'm trying to get back into that," she said.

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