Houston Zoo has welcomed a new St. Vincent Amazon to their family. Hatching on May24, 2015 the hatchling has been named Mustique Springer gets his name from Mustique Island which is off the coast of St. Vincent and the late Fitzroy Springer, a dedicated conservationist who focussed on saving this species. He has been affectionately dubbed Springer for short by his keepers.
At birth the tiny chick weighed just 16.69g (0.6oz) and was covered in whitish down. Keepers took him under their wings raising him since he first popped out of his egg. Since then their dedicated care has seen him grow into a multi-coloured adult bird who weighs in at 510g (18oz).
Hand-rearing birds is not easy as Chris Holmes, Springer’s adopted father and assistant curator of birds at the zoo explained, “Hand-rearing a bird is a time consuming process. Life revolves around the chick’s feeding schedule and sometimes you forget to feed yourself! It is very rewarding to know that the chick you are investing so much time in could live for hopefully 40 or more years.”
Houston Zoo has a long history with the St. Vincent Amazon having been the first zoo to hatch them back in 1972. Since then four other chicks have hatched at the zoo including Springer. He is the first male hatched since then though. Springer follows on from the hatching of a female, Vincent during 2008.
While the zoo has hatched many of these birds, none have been hatched to a parent who was also hatched at the zoo. Springer breaks this drought with his mother, Baliceaux having hatched at Houston Zoo during 1999.
Just 734 of these birds remain on earth so Springer is a welcome boost for his vulnerable species.
Currently Springer has a few more years to wait before he will make his debut but his family of four adult St. Vincent Amazon parrots are on show at the zoo.
Photo Credit: Houston Zoo