Smith, L., Hallager, S., Kendrick, E. et al. 2018. Husbandry of wild-caught song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Zoo Biology 37(3), 206–209.

Conservation and research efforts occasionally rely upon bringing wild animals into human care to establish breeding programs and to understand their biology. Wild‐caught birds may have husbandry requirements that differ from captive‐reared animals due, in part, to their social development in the wild and potential exposure to novel pathogens. We developed husbandry techniques to minimize stress and monitor health in a population of wild‐caught song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). We describe enclosure conditions, diet and enrichment, and best practices for stress reduction. In addition, we describe several health monitoring strategies, including assessing feces quality, body condition scores, and specific signs of infection. These techniques led to successful housing of song sparrows during formal behavioral and developmental studies. This information will be useful for guiding the husbandry of wild‐caught passerine birds in the future.

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