Bird

Portly Penguin Chicks Waddle into Tennessee

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Tennessee Aquarium aviculturists (bird keepers!) have their hands full caring for a pair of Macaroni Penguin chicks. “These baby penguins are absolutely adorable with fuzzy flippers, oversized feet and pudgy little bellies,” said senior aviculturist Amy Graves. “They are portly, but that’s great. We like to see vocal chicks that spend a good part of their day begging their parents for food.”

The first baby was born on May 24th to parents Hercules and Shamrock. This is their first chick at the Aquarium and the parents appear to be very diligent, although they don’t share the same duties. “Hercules is the protector. He only feeds the chick about 10 percent of the time,” said aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. “But he is constantly watching over the baby even when mom is in the nest.” Fortunately, Aldrich says Shamrock really has a strong feeding instinct that more than satisfies a very vocal, and very hungry chick. “Normally chicks will beg and beg for food, but I’ve actually seen her feed this chick so full that he just stops begging,” said Aldrich. “He’s like, I’ve had enough.” Aquarium guests can see this baby penguin near the center of the exhibit inside an acrylic “playpen” which keeps it from accidently going into the water before it grows large enough to do so safely.

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Paulie and Chaos, the Macaroni pair that successfully raised “Pepper” - the Aquarium’s first-ever baby penguin, are in a backup area with their chick. Paulie was involved in a scuffle with at least one other male early in the breeding season. “Aggressive behavior among males is not uncommon while they are building nests, so this couple was moved to a backup area for what was supposed to be a short time,” said Aldrich. “But when Chaos laid her second egg in this backup area, we decided they were comfortable enough to stay there until we saw what would happen with the egg. Now it looks like they’ll stay here until this chick is big enough to go on exhibit.” Both of the parents get time with the rest of the colony to swim and then they head back to feed and tend to their chick. As proven parents, they continue to feed this chick well.

Macaroni Penguin Chicks at Tennessee Aquarium 2Senior aviculturist Amy Graves and aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich hold the Tennessee Aquarium’s two new macaroni penguin babies

Keepers will continue to monitor the progress of both chicks closely as there are still many potential pitfalls for young birds to overcome. But if they continue to progress as quickly as they’ve started, Aquarium guests might see them outside the nests in a few weeks. “We’ll begin supervised walkabouts with the other penguins when their swim feathers grow in,” said Graves. “But even then we’ll have to see how the other birds react to the newcomers.”


Hüwi the Little Owl Makes a Friend

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Meet Linton Zoo's newest and fluffiest little addition: a Turkmenian Eagle Owlet named Hüwi, which is Turkmen for “Eagle owl.” When keepers noticed that Hüwi's owl mom, named Rohan, wasn't quite as attentive as she should be, they stepped in to hand-rear the chick. In addition to the human care, the Linton Zoo's gentle resident tabby, Arnie, has also stepped in to befriend the chick, who appears cautiously curious (more on Arnie at the bottom). Weighing just 50 grams (<2 ounces) at birth, three weeks later the chick weighs a healthy, and hefty, full kilo (2.2lbs). 

The Turkmenian Eagle Owl is one of the largest owls in the world, eventually reaching around 4.5kg (10lbs) and is closely related to the slightly larger European Eagle Owl. Sadly, this spectacular bird may now be extinct in its native range in Central Asia. Very few pure bred birds remain in captivity so Hüwi is an invaluable addition to the survival of this species.

Hello you! Arnie the Ginger Tom says hello to his friend

Arnie and Hüwi spot something interesting in the grass. What u looking at!

Both of Hüwi's parents were also hatched at Linton Zoo. Dad, Pip, will be 23 years old this year and Rohan is now 5. Two of last years owlets, Igor and Misha, remain at Linton Zoo and a third brother has gone to live at Woburn Wild Animal Park. 

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First Pinskers Hawk-Eagle Hatched at Philippine Eagle Foundation

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The Philippine Eagle Foundation announced a first in its conservation breeding program. They successfully hatched a Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle chick on April 2 at their conservation breeding facility after an incubation period of 48 days. The chick is the first Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus pinskeri) bred and hatched in captivity. It came from a natural pair of parents and weighed a mere 57.2 grams when it hatched.

Once it reaches adulthood, this medium-sized eagle will look like the third picture below. It will have a light brown body with a brown, black and white belly and a dark brown tail striped with four to five darker, narrow bands. Its head and under parts will be reddish-brown with black streaks, while the throat will be white. And its wings will become broad and rounded.

The Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle, endemic to the Philippines, is a species of bird of prey in the Acciptridae family. It is considered threatened because of the loss of its natural habitat - the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador said, “The fast diminishing forests and destruction of their habitats are still the biggest threats to their survival. We need everyone’s contribution to ensure that the Pinsker’s Hawk-Eagle population will increase, especially in the wild."

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Adult Pinsker's Hawk-Eagle
Photo Credits: Philippine Eagle Foundation

Read more about the eagle and PEF's conservation efforts after the jump:

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Baby Bird or Baby Dinosaur? Meet a Red-legged Seriema Chick!

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The Red-legged Seriema is one of South America's largest terrestrial birds. While it can fly short distances, it prefers to run on its long, powerful legs rather than use its short, stumpy wings. This two week old chick was hatched at SeaWorld Orlando on April 30. The current Seriema population in U.S. zoos is only 62, and the last bird was hatched in 2009, so each hatchling is precious to the population.

SeaWorld Orlando's resident bird expert, Sherry Rodriguez, has been hand-raising the chick and it’s doing very well (see photo at bottom). This is a huge commitment -- she takes it home every night for round-the-clock feedings and even uses a feather duster in its brooder (incubator) to simulate the mother bird’s feathers.

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The central habitat of the Red-legged Seriema is in the grassy, savanna-like cerrados of central Brazil. The species is also found farther south in the grasslands and woodland subtropical areas in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The diet of the Seriema is largely animal food, specifically insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders but they also enjoy small invertebrates such as lizards, frogs and snakes. Fruits, seeds and leaves are also consumed but are a very small percentage of their diet.

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Photo credits: Jason Collier | Photographer, SeaWorld Orlando


Toco Toucan Chicks - A ZooBorns First!

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The newest baby birds at Zoo Atlanta may take a little while to grow into their looks. Two Toco Toucan chicks hatched around St. Patrick’s Day – a success for a species that can be difficult to breed in captivity.

The chicks are healthy and thriving in an off-exhibit building, where they are currently being hand-reared by Zoo staff. Toucan chicks have soft beaks, which increases their risk of injury in the first few weeks before they fledge. As a precaution, Zoo Atlanta staff removed the new arrivals from their parents’ nest when the chicks were 3 weeks old.

Native to South America, Toco Toucans are the largest and most recognizable of the toucan species sporting black plumage, white throats and bright orange bills.

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Check out the chicks at just four weeks old below!

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SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Orphaned Sandhill Crane Chick

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SeaWorld Orlando’s Aviculture team recently received the first sandhill crane chick of the year -- an orphan, brought in by a concerned resident from St. Cloud, Fla.

Once SeaWorld’s veterinarians thoroughly examined the bird, it was determined to be in perfect health. However, at an estimated 3-4 days old at the time it was brought into SeaWorld’s care, it was simply too young to survive on its own. The chick was then paired with a rescued adult crane, in order to learn the specific crane behaviors essential for life in the wild.

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Photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando

While sometimes difficult for orphaned chicks to be tolerated by older cranes that are not familiar with them, the adult crane accepted the orphaned chick, which is now thriving. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The chick is doing fantastic. It’s eating on its own and gaining weight”.

It is the intent of SeaWorld’s Aviculture team to return both cranes to their natural habitat together once the chick has fledged, or grown the feathers necessary for flying.

SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has taken in 11 rescued cranes.


Meet Jasper The Baby Barn Owl

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A five-week-old barn owl, named “Jasper,” born on February 16, is being hand raised for the Cincinnati Zoo's outreach program. Jasper came to Cincinnati from the World Bird Sanctuary in Saint Louis, MO. He is spending quality time getting acquainted with Zoo staff because his days will soon include interacting with school children, greeting visitors at the Zoo, and traveling to schools throughout the Tri-state, as an official Zoo Outreach Animal.

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Second That Emu-tion!

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed two Emu chicks on February 5th and 6th. Emu belong in the Ratite Order a diverse group of flightless birds like Ostriches, Rheas, Cassowary and Kiwis.  Dark green in color, Emu eggs are roughly 5 inches long. Busch Gardens keepers were able to know when they were about to hatch by pressing their ears to the shell and listening for the baby emu tapping on the inside.

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Photo credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Once the keepers realized the babies were soon to hatch, they moved them both to an incubator at the Animal Care Center.  Once hatched, baby Emu are about 5 inches tall and have a unique striping pattern -- in the wild, this camouflages them from predators.


Rainbow Feathered Lovebird Chicks Hatch on Valentine's Day

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Love is in the air at the UK's Drusillas Park after four baby Black-cheeked Lovebirds hatched on Valentines Day! The birds are so named due to the obvious devotion between the male and female pairs. They mate for life and preen each other’s feathers -- a labor of love.

In an effort to egg on the romance, Head Keeper Mark Kenward has been playing Cupid over the last 18 months, monitoring the birds’ behavior and making changes to their diet and husbandry. During this time the zoo also enlisted the help of students from St Bede’s School to create bespoke boxes for the birds to nest-le up in. Their efforts finally paid off when zoo keepers made the happy discovery of four tiny tweets at the end of January. 

Mr Kenward said: “We routinely check the nest boxes every Monday and were over the moon to see the chicks within. All of the babies are doing well and we hope they will be the first of many. It’s a real feather in our cap to have bred these beautiful and rare birds, and to receive our special delivery for Valentine’s Day seems a very fitting tribute to lovebirds everywhere.”

These colourful birds are native to Zambia and are Africa’s most endangered parrot.

Lovebird pair
Photo Credit: Drusillas Park

Learn more about Lovebird breeding after the jump:

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