Phoenix Zoo Receives Unexpected Fuzzball
May 15, 2013
For the first time in over a decade, the Phoenix Zoo has a Spectacled Owl chick. The chick was born on February 10th to the zoo's pair of Spectacled Owls. The pair is quite experienced in rearing young having done so six times in the past, albeit not for some time. After over ten years without a baby, and with the female being 20 years old and the male 15, keepers were not sure if the lone egg laid would be fertile.
To the keepers' excitement, on the 10th of February they heard faint vocalizations coming from the nest box and realized they had a chick! However, it would be over a month until they were first able to peer into the nest box when the chick's protective parents were distracted and finally get a glimpse of the newborn. It was not until April 14th, just over two months after hatching, that the chick would fledge and give keepers a good look at their newest addition.
Photo credits: Amanda Donagi / Phoenix Zoo
The chick has continued to grow since fledging just over a month ago. It is slowly losing its natal fluffy down, replacing it with feathers. It has been observed flying around its exhibit and exploring all of the perches it has to offer. The chick's gender is still unknown and will be determined at its first health examination.
Native to Mexico, Central America and South America, Spectacled Owls live primarily in tropical rain forests. Although they weight in at just around a pound and a half when full grown, they have been known to take down prey much larger such as opossums and sloths. However, their diet normally consists of smaller prey such as crabs, large insects and other birds such as jays. They nest is tree cavities where they typically lay clutches of two eggs. Eggs are incubated by both the mother and father for around five weeks before the chick hatches.