Roadrunner chicks hatch at Brookfield Zoo

February 18, 2009 3:51:41 PM PST
Two roadrunner chicks have just hatched at Brookfield Zoo. They don't weigh much more than a feather and are being raised by hand because their parents are a little too excited.Brookfield Zoo's Feathers and Scales Exhibit is all aflutter with excitement. Inside a large exhibit, a special small enclosure has been set up for new parents Mr. and Mrs. Roadrunner. Beep, beep.

The very active adult male roadrunner can run up to 15 miles an hour. His mate is in her nest on another clutch of eggs. Her first eggs just hatched within the last few days and those two chicks are being raised by hand. They are very strange looking and very tiny but with big appetites.

"I'm giving them little pieces of mice. Cut up pieces of mice," said Eric Deldecq Senior Bird Keeper Brookfield Zoo.

"In the wild their parents would be feeding them insects and, small lizards. Basically anything that moves that they can pick up," said Tim Snyder, curator of birds and reptiles.

Beep, beep. They are high speed almost all the time these fast running creatures of the southwest United States. They are even non stop movement as tiny chicks.

So right now the baby roadrunners are behind the scenes being hand fed. And that's because mom and dad roadrunner are extremely protective. So protective that sometimes that can cause problems.

"That can be because what they do is they focus on defending their territory rather than raising their chicks and in the process of defending their territory they can actually injure their chicks or neglect them," said Snyder.

So for the next 30 days or so the chicks will get five star restaurant treatment. Then by summer they'll be at the children's zoo. Beep, beep.

For more information on the baby roadrunners, visit www.czs.org/czs/Brookfield/Zoo-Home.aspx .


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