Three Flamingo Chicks Hatch at the Blank Park Zoo

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Blank Park Zoo Flamingo Chick on October 18, 2010

Three Flamingo Chicks Hatch at the Blank Park Zoo

Oct 19, 2010

Des Moines, IA- After surviving the critical first few weeks, three new, gray flamingo chicks are ready to meet the public. Weighing approximately 145 grams, the Chilean flamingo chicks are officially on exhibit during regular Zoo hours.

The chicks hatched after a 30+ day incubation period. Both parents care for the chicks as they remain in the foot high earthen nests for several days after hatching. The chicks have a fluffy, light gray color and will turn pink over the next year. Female flamingos lay only one egg during each “clutch” where ducks, for example, lay as many as 12 eggs at a time. The chicks this year started hatching as early as August and as late as the middle of September. All three chicks are now off the nest and can be seen easily by the public.

Kevin Drees, Director of Animal Care and Conservation, said small flocks of flamingos rarely successfully reproduce in captivity. In the wild they nest in flocks of hundreds to thousands and need the security of the large flock. Flamingos participate in group displays that encourage synchronized breeding and laying of eggs. Drees said that because flamingos should no longer be taken from the wild for display, it is important that zoos learn how to successful reproduce captive birds.

Flamingo chicks feed on “crop milk” secreted by both parents. They grow rapidly and should be able to walk with the adult group within a month. Chilean Flamingos are often mistakenly considered tropical, fragile birds when in reality they live in extremely harsh environments (high altitude, dry, salt lakes). In the mountains of Chile, wild birds are occasionally exposed to freezing temperatures and snowfall. The Blank Park Zoo birds are outdoors nearly every day of the year. In the winter they walk inside to a holding area kept at 55-60 degrees.

In the past several years, flamingos at the Blank Park Zoo have hatched 18 chicks after many years of little success.

The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open daily in October, 10 am – 4pm except for Night Eyes. Regular admission is $10.95 for adults, $5.95 for children under 12, and $8.95 for seniors and active military. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

Night Eyes is Oct 21-24 & Oct 28-31. The Zoo will be open regular hours on Thursdays & Fridays during Night Eyes and open only for Night Eyes on Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31. Night Eyes hours are 5:30-8pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 1pm-8pm on the weekends. Admission to Night Eyes is $5/$4 members.


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