Zoo welcomes new baby chick

May 5, 2008 4:02:30 PM PDT
Trumpeter Hornbill hatches at Brookfield Zoo

At Brookfield zoo there's big excitement over a new little chick. It's called a Trumpeter Hornbill and Mom and Dad Hornbill are doing everything possible to protect their new baby.

Doc is the proud new father. And Marge, his mate, is in a nesting box, protecting and feeding the new chick. It's been a long wait for Brookfield Zoo's first ever Trumpeter Hornbill hatching.

"We've waited almost ten years for this to occur. So to have this happen at this time in particular?all of the keepers are excited," said Gail Brandt, Senior Keeper of "Living Coast."

Marge has been at Brookfield Zoo since 1992 and in the last ten years she has had two boyfriends. But only Doc could make it happen.

In the Trumpeter Hornbill's natural habitat in Africa, the birds build their nests in holes in trees. But what they do to that hole is quite amazing. And it's all about security for the new chick.

At Brookfield Zoo, it's a nesting box instead of a tree and keepers cut a small hole in the front. The birds then did the rest sealing the hole with mud and seeds with Marge working from the inside. They leave just a tiny slit.

"The female will enter, go inside, and actually seal herself up with the help of the male. All they leave is a slit. She's trapped inside? Absolutely. She's entirely dependent on the male at that point for food and for the health of her chick," said Brandt.

Now it's doc's job is to feed Marge and the baby. It's a long term assignment.

"It's about thirty days for the incubation of the egg and then another fifty days for the chicks to be old enough to fledge and leave the nest with the female," said Brandt.

Visitors can see the new check until mid June at the Brookfield Zoo.


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