New chick hatches at zoo

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It is a colorful sometimes noisy place that is home to a diverse collection of birds, but below these flight cages is a place visitors never see. A room where baby birds are hatched and very carefully cared for.

"Our goal is to always have the parents rear their own birds, but this pair is a pair of first time parents and often times the learning curve is pretty steep so we try to help out the parents if we can," explained Matt Schamberger, keeper of birds.

He's a guy who has a lot of experience with the chicks.

"It usually eats five times a day," Schamberger pointed out.

Babies that may only be considered cute by their parents, but there's something else that's rather special about this tawny frogmouth.

"The tawny frogmouth population in the United States is about 125 birds in zoos around the United States," Michael Macek, curator of birds explained.

It's a bird you might miss unless you look closely, a bird that's actually rather common in Australia.

"And what we're trying to do is maintain genetic diversity in the population," Macek said.

Which is hard to do as the birds in our zoos get too old to reproduce.

"The oldest bird here is pushing 40-years-old," Macek said.

So the zoo, along with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan worked together and brought in 12 Tawny Frogmouths from Australia and well the chick just hatched. It's growing up quickly and will soon spread its own wings and leave the nest, so to speak, but this little guy is also a reminder of just how much goes on at the Saint Louis zoo that we never see.

"When it comes to the animals that you're seeing we're really trying to sustainable populations," Macek said.


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