Special delivery -- by stork -- at Lincoln Park Zoo

June 8, 2011 3:40:08 PM PDT
Where do babies come from? Well, at Lincoln Park Zoo storks actually do deliver bundles of joy -- in the form of chicks, of course.

The happy stork family is hanging out at McCormick Bird House in the outside exhibit. The baby hatched just a few weeks ago. Dad, Jethro, is often seen sitting on the nest while mom, Cheyenne, goes out in search of the next meal. Their baby is growing fast.

"It's growing leaps and bounds and if you want to see him look like a baby come soon he's growing so fast," Colleen Lynch, curator of McCormick Bird House, said.

The chick will be full grown in fewer than three months.

Storks mate for life and Jethro and Cheyenne know a thing or two or three about raising chicks. This newest little stork is their fourth.

"Mom and dad take turns. One of them is always with the chick. Dad will come and spend an hour or two with the chick. Mom will come and relieve him from duty and then each of the parents will go off when they're on their break time. Have something to eat, something to drink," Lynch said.

They took turns standing over their chick, protecting their baby from the sun.

"There's a heat advisory in Chicago today and I think we're all pretty uncomfortable but these parents are making sure their chick stays as comfortable as possible standing over him in the nest and using their own body to keep them in the shade," Lynch said.

So storks might not deliver baby humans, but Lynch said there's a reason that legend began.

"Storks and babies. European White Storks tend to breed around human communities and often that's on the roofs of houses. So it's rumored they bring babies to those homes," Lynch said.


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