Image: © ZSL
August 4, 2023 12:54 pm
London, England, The United Kingdom
The zoo's avian conservation centre, the Blackburn Pavilion currently resembles a creche with the 17 chirpy chicks being cared for by their parents. These include Extinct in the Wild Socorro doves and mini-me Victoria crowned pigeons.
“We keep track of all our birds’ individual behaviours, so when we noticed some were spending more time nesting, we were confident we were expecting some very important chicks,” explained bird keeper Camille Munday. “We take a hands-off approach while they’re incubating their eggs, but we made sure each of the birds were prepared for parenthood by giving them extra protein-packed crickets, and mealworms coated in extra calcium for bone development.”
One of the most exciting additions is five Socorro dove chicks. This species is extinct in the wild and survives only in managed care. Their wild population was decimated when invasive species were introduced to the island of Socorro, off the coast of Mexico.
Planning is underway for the eventual reintroduction of the species. London Zoo is working with conservation partners across the globe to plan for the planned release.
Camille added: “After sending feathers off for DNA analysis, we were thrilled to find out that two of our Socorro dove chicks are female: male Socorro doves outnumber females in the current population, so the arrival of these young females is a really significant step forward for the species.”
The full list of hatches also includes two mountain peacock-pheasants, one superb fruit dove, one purple-naped lorikeet, two orange-headed thrushes, two chestnut-backed thrushes and three emerald starlings.
Camille explained: “For bird lovers, it’s like Christmas has come early: Five Socorro doves, three emerald starlings, two mountain peacock-pheasants... and a Victoria crowned pigeon in a fig tree.”
“All 17 chicks are developing really well and are now confidently exploring their new home, where they’ve caused quite the
flurry of interest,” added Camille. “Social media may be a bird down, but we think our baby bird boom more than makes up for it.
Guests may meet the chicks if they visit the Blackburn Pavilion at ZSL London Zoo.
Text. Image: © ZSL
About the Author
Cale has operated The Animal Facts since 2012. During this time he has volunteered and worked across a range of Australian Wildlife Parks something he continues to today. He holds a certificate in Animal Care and Husbandry.
The Victoria crowned pigeon is the world’s largest pigeon species. They measure 74cm (29in) long and weigh 2-2.5kg (4.4-5.5lbs).
Image: © ZSL
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