Bird

Going (Literally) Above And Beyond To Save A Species

"We raise waldrapp chicks by hand to imprint them on us. This imprinting is important for reintroducing them to Europe and leading them to the places where they hibernate. My colleague Lisa Kern and I sit in an ultra-light plane and fly to Tuscany in front of them. To further imprint them on us we spend a lot of time with them all day. We smooch them, we cuddle them and of course we feed them. We always wear the identification color yellow. The plane's umbrella is yellow as well."

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One of the World's Most Endangered Animals Needs Help Hatching

San Antonio Zoo is excited to share this very special and rare footage: their Aviculture team welcoming a Micronesian kingfisher chick – one of the world’s most endangered animals – to the world!

Day 1 vs Day13

This is the youngest of the 2 Micronesian Kingfishers hatched this year.  

He was malpositioned in the egg, and was not going to be capable of hatching on his own.

San Antonio zoo specializes in moments like this where "assisted hatches" are necessary. 

Support their new babies by donating to their Baby Shower Fundraiser at ow.ly/BbYy30rGBrO


Australian Parrots Hatch At Brevard Zoo

Brevard Zoo animal care staff are doting over two tiny galahs. The older chick hatched on March 21, and the younger sibling emerged from its egg six days later. The latter has yet to open its eyes. They are the first galahs to ever hatch at the Zoo.

Adult galah
Adult galah

The eggs were placed in a climate-controlled incubator several weeks ago because the chicks’ parents had not successfully hatched out young in the past. The chicks—who have not yet been named or sexed—are syringe-fed a specialized parrot formula nine times throughout the day.

These youngsters will stay behind the scenes for at least a few weeks, then move to a public-facing habitat with the rest of the Zoo’s galah flock.

Galahs are members of the cockatoo family native to Australia. As adults, they are famed for their vibrant pink plumage.


Working Together To Conserve New Zealand's Fairy Tern

Auckland Zoo is working in partnership with the New Zealand Department of Conservation https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2021-media-releases/breeding-season-for-rare-tara-iti-offers-hope-for-future/ to conserve New Zealand’s fairy tern – one of the rarest birds in the world.

New Zealand fairy tern / tara iti face many threats in the wild - they nest on low lying shell and sand banks which leaves their nests, and the eggs inside, vulnerable to storms and adverse weather. It also leaves the eggs open to predation and disturbance by off-road vehicles, dogs and humans.

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These factors combined have left the species in a critical condition, and despite intensive management, fairy tern have teetered on the brink of extinction since the 1970s. With fewer than 40 adult birds alive today, they have a current conservation threat status of ‘nationally critical’.

To protect potential offspring, DOC rangers will monitor fairy tern nests that are at risk of flooding or other environmental concerns. This breeding season, with severe winds forecast, DOC staff were able to safely collect and bring eggs to the zoo for incubation. This gives the un-hatched chicks the highest chance of survival, but this method only works if the parents return to the nest to take care of the eggs. To ensure this happens DOC rangers will swap out the fertile eggs for artificial ones until the threat to the eggs has passed.

Unfortunately this wasn’t possible for a few of the eggs - the nests were either washed away or despite the precautions, they were abandoned by the parents. For those eggs, the decision was made to hand-rear any chicks that hatched, a management technique that hasn't been attempted since the 1990’s.

Thankfully, a healthy chick hatched and, in collaboration with DOC, our bird team used their skills and knowledge of hatching and hand-rearing rare native species in the past, to raise the chick at the zoo. Once it reached the right stage in it's development, the chick was taken to a pre-release aviary built by DOC staff where it could safely learn how to fish 'on the wing' before being released into the wild. 

Watch the video to see the process from hatch to release unfold!

It's been a privilege for Auckland Zoo to work on this conservation project with DOC and they hope to build on this success in the future so that together they can reserve the fortunes of this nationally critical taonga.


White Storks go wild

 

Twenty one Storks bred at Cotswold Wildlife Park have taken flight in one of the UK’s most ambitious rewilding programmes – The White Stork Project. For the third year running, the Park have successfully bred chicks for this pioneering scheme which aims to restore wild Stork populations to Britain – a sight not seen since the 15th century. It is the first Stork rewilding programme of its kind in the UK.

The team at Cotswold Wildlife Park, together with the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, are responsible for the captive management aspect of the project and bred the youngsters from a captive population received from rehabilitation centres in Poland. Twenty four adult pairs live in a large netted enclosure at the Park where they are given the highest standard of care to facilitate successful breeding. Eight chicks hatched in 2018 and last year 24 were successfully raised and released. Despite an incredibly challenging start to the year weather-wise (including the wettest February on record in the UK and three severe storms in just one month – far from ideal incubation and rearing conditions), this year the birds still managed to rear 21 chicks.

The chicks hatched in May and to maximise their chance of survival, the husbandry team at the Park “assist” fed the chicks on the nest (pictured above). Once fully fledged and separated from the adults, the birds were weighed, sexed, microchipped and fitted with highly visible leg rings to make them easily identifiable after their release. In August, they were transferred to Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex for release into the wild – a momentous moment for the entire team.

Jamie Craig (pictured right), Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: “It is an honour for the Park to be involved in such a fantastic project, releasing these birds into the stunning surroundings at Knepp and watching them soar on the thermals gives an enormous sense of pride and achievement for all involved”.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are tracking these White Storks in a bid to find out about migratory habits that disappeared more than 600 years ago. These birds are providing valuable data that will enable the researchers to gain insights into the life and migratory choices of the reintroduced Storks. Previously unpublished data from the 2019 trial reveals that many of the Storks spent the winter in Southern Europe and Northern Africa, where they have adapted to take advantage of new food resources and gather in large numbers. GPS trackers were fitted to eight of the Storks released this year. Last month they embarked on their first migratory journey and several of the youngsters have crossed the channel and are making their way south. Latest tracking data received on 14 October 2020 reveals that two juveniles have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco.

The White Stork Project aims to have at least 50 breeding pairs across the south of England by 2030. To find out more about The White Stork Project, please visit: https://www.whitestorkproject.org.


Flamingo Baby Boom at Longleat

 

🐦 Longleat's flock of flamboyant Chilean flamingos is experiencing a summer baby boom – with fourteen chicks already hatched and more on the way.

All chicks are born with white plumage, which they keep for around three years, and a straight bill, which gradually droops down as they grow.

Keeper Lauren Hooper-Bow said: “We are extremely pleased with the high hatching success rate among the flamingos this year.

“With the number of eggs still to hatch, it could be our best year to date and it’s particularly welcome as in 2019 heavy snow showers prevented the flamingos from sitting on any of their eggs.

“This year’s success is likely to be down to a combination of factors including good weather during the egg hatching period, having a large colony and the fact so many of the eggs were fertile,” she added.

Flamingos lay a single egg on top of a tall cone nest. Fully grown they are around a-metre-and-a-half tall, and can weigh anywhere up to seven kgs.

They live 15-20 years in the wild, however in captivity, and safe from predators, they can reach ages of 70 years.

Chilean flamingos can survive at high altitude in the Andes Mountains. They are also significantly more able to deal with the cold than their Caribbean counterparts.

In the wild, flamingos eat small crustaceans and other microscopic animals and plants, which are obtained by filter feeding.

When adult, the continuously-moving beak acts as an efficient filter for food collection when water is pumped through the bristles of the mouth.

The flamingos’ famous pink plumage comes from pigments in their diet which is replicated in their special feed at the park.


Nashville Zoo Hatches First Chilean Flamingo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the successful hatching of a Chilean Flamingo. The Flamingo egg came from Memphis Zoo on July 16 and had been kept in an incubator to develop until it hatched in the early morning hours of Monday, July 29. 

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48430629212_65f739d7a0_bPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

This is the first time Nashville Zoo has housed a Chilean Flamingo. It will be hand-reared by keeper and veterinary staff, so it can be a part of the Ambassador Animal program. The goal of the Ambassador Animal program is to encourage guests to learn more about animals and have up-close experiences through animal encounters, animal shows and outreach programs.

“We’re excited to welcome this Chilean Flamingo to Nashville Zoo and as an ambassador for its species,” said Jac Menish, Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry Curator. “Our goal is to eventually build a flock of ambassador Flamingos, which will help us educate the public about how threatened this species is in the wild and ways humans can help them survive.”

The sex of the chick will be determined within the next couple of weeks. Gender determination is based on the biological materials that remain in the egg post-hatch. Those materials are sent to a lab for genomic analysis and they provide the information on the gender. This process eliminates the need to draw blood samples to determine gender when the chick is older.

The Chilean Flamingo is considered Near Threatened by the International Union For Conservation of Nature. Populations are in decline due to energy production and mining, biological resource use, human intrusions and disturbance and natural system modifications.

Through the Zoo's Wild Works Global Conservation program an avian keeper traveled to Bolivia to help research and band three species of Flamingos, including St. James, Andean and Chilean. The keeper was able to work with the Flamingos directly and gain knowledge about what is impacting them in the wild.

Unlike the bright pink hue of the Caribbean Flamingo found in the parts of the United States, the Chilean Flamingo has a pale pink plumage with black and gray secondary feathers. These Flamingos are found in warm, tropical environments at high altitudes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. Because the waters and soils in their native habitats are alkaline, most of the surrounding areas are arid and barren of vegetation.




Six Fluffy Owlets Discovered At Marwell

Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick 2019
Each year, Marwell Wildlife, which owns and operates Marwell Zoo, keeps watch on Barn Owl nests on the lands surrounding the zoo. So far this summer, they’ve discovered six healthy chicks on the property.

The six fluffy Owlets come from two breeding pairs and include three females and three males between five and seven weeks old.

Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019
Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019
Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019Photo Credit: Marwell Wildlife

Once found, the chicks were carefully removed from the nest for a thorough exam. The staff recorded the weight, wing feather development, body condition, and wing length, as well as noting any unique markings, which help to determine each chick’s age and gender.

The Owlets were then banded by placing a metal ring on the ankles, which will identify each Owl if it is captured in the future. The chicks were then safely returned to their nest boxes.  

Marwell has successfully supported 16 Owlets since 2014, when it started working with the South Downs National Park Authority and the Hawk Conservancy Trust to monitor Barn Owl populations within the local landscape as part of the Barn Owl Box scheme (Project BOB). The project records the breeding success and aims to understand the survival and wider movements of Barn Owls.

As part of Marwell’s ongoing commitment to restore habitats, the charity manages more than 100 acres of grassland to create an ideal hunting habitat for this important farmland bird. No pesticides or fertilizers are used on the land. Voles, Shrews, and Mice thrive in this habitat, providing ample food for the Owl families. A single Barn Owl typically eats three to four prey items each night.

Barn Owls live on every continent except Antarctica. The Barn Owl’s heart-shaped face, or ‘facial disk’, collects and directs sound toward the inner ears, which are situated inside the facial disk just behind the eyes. As a result, Barn Owls’ hearing is the most sensitive of any animal ever tested. Owlets develop rapidly. By three weeks of age, they can swallow a whole Shrew or small Mouse. At eight to nine weeks, they begin taking practice flights. At 13 to 14 weeks old, Owlets have reached adult size and leave the nest to find their own home range.

See more photos below.

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