Green-Naped Pheasant Pigeon Chick

 Spring is here at Tracy Aviary and that doesn’t just mean flowers blooming in our gardens. It means mating, eggs and lots of chicks!  A unique story about one of those chicks is our Green-naped pheasant pigeon. He was hatched on March 14th to parents, Bob and Linda, who reside in our Treasures of the Rainforest Exhibit. 

 

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 Green-naped pheasant pigeons are originally from the rainforests of New Guinea. They live on the forest floors and live off of the fruits and seeds that fall from the trees above. Our pigeon parents were paired in 2017 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. They were matched because they are a genetically valuable pair. Bob came to us from the San Diego zoo, and Linda from the Blank Park Zoo in Iowa. They have been happy partners ever since. After Linda suffered a couple of health scares last year, we were relieved and happy to see a full recovery, and so was Bob. They began courting immediately after she was returned to him. Once an egg was produced however, we noticed Bob and Linda might need a little help in taking care of it. So our Aviculture team planned to hand-rear the egg for a better chance of the chicks survival. 

 

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Since the chicks arrival earlier this month, our team has been working with him very closely to make sure he is happy and healthy in his first few weeks of life. He requires 50% of his body weight in food each day, which is divided up among feedings. These feedings consists of crop milk (which he usually gets from his mom) which our team needed to replicate at a temperature of between 102-105 degrees. When the chick first hatched, he needed 7 feedings a day! He is now at 4 feedings a day, and this will continue to lessen until he is able to eat solid foods on his own. He is also taken out for sunshine time, so he can soak up as much vitamin D as possible.

 

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Some other things our Aviculture team has been playing a huge part in is keeping him on track for his first big milestones. Some of the milestones we have seen so far are when he opened his eyes on March 19th, only a few days after he hatched. Another milestone is seeing his adult feathers come in, which is happening right now! Lots of big first steps so far. Some other milestones we are looking forward to is his fledging, his move to solid foods, and eventually his move to live with his parents in the Treasures of the Rainforest Exhibit.

 

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Although Green-naped pheasant pigeons do not have to worry about facing extinction, (classified as of least-concern), we still recognize the important part they play in their rainforest homes. These birds are crucial for seed disbursement, which helps grow their environment. This is important because of the diminishing resources our rainforests are facing. We can help these birds and their homes by taking personal steps toward conservation. Some simple steps we can do to help is cutting out single use plastics, driving less, and using products with sustainable palm oil. We can all do our part to care about our birds, our young, and our planet this spring. 

 

-Mackenzy Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator