Meet the birds of Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Watch short videos and learn facts about the species highlighted.
A clutch of Hawaiian Geese (Nene) goslings in the park's North America Aviary. Hawaiian Geese can nest from August through April, although most nesting activity occurs in late winter and early spring. They typically lay 2-5 eggs, and the female Nene will incubate the eggs for an average of 30 days before the goslings hatch. During that time, the male will stay close to the nest, fending off any predators or perceived threats. Both parents participate in protecting the goslings once they hatch.
Meet one of the world’s most endangered birds. This is the Edwards’s Pheasant, a forest-dwelling bird endemic to Vietnam, and little is known about their current population size. Some think it may already be extinct in the wild, as there have been no reported sightings since the year 2000. Fortunately, this species is not lost yet - more than 1,000 individuals still exist in zoos and conservation facilities worldwide, and collaborative programs to maintain a healthy captive population may be their last refuge from extinction.
The whistling call of the Northern Bobwhite is a familiar sound in fields and forests of the eastern U.S. These birds are easily heard from a long distance, but often hard to spot. The species has undergone a significant decline in recent decades as a result of habitat disturbances, but coalitions of agriculture, wildlife, and forestry organizations are joining forces to help restore populations of Northern Bobwhite.
American Flamingo Chick
A new flamingo chick has two jobs: (1) eat, and (2) show those wobbly legs who’s boss! Our American Flamingo chick has been working on its to-do list, and is growing noticeably larger and stronger every day. Flamingo chicks become quite mobile by about 5 - 10 days old, and generally leave the nest mound after that time. The parent flamingos will continue to feed their chick for 2.5 to 3 months, until it is able to eat on its own.
Sarus Crane Chick
At only four days old, this Sarus Crane chick is quickly learning how to find food, with a lot of help from its patient parents. Although the tiny chick now stands at about six inches tall, in just a few months it will match its parents' height at nearly six feet!
Meet the Scaly-sided Merganser, an endangered duck native to China. Mergansers feed on fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans, which they locate by sight. Some merganser species are declining in the wild as a result of increased river pollution, as cloudy water impairs their ability to hunt. Combined efforts that include habitat preservation and captive breeding programs may make the difference between survival and extinction for endangered merganser species.
Crested Screamer Chicks
Crested screamers are part of the waterfowl group (order Anseriformes), which makes them closely related to ducks, geese, and swans. Named for their loud calls, adult Crested Screamers can be very aggressive, and have large, sharp spurs on each wing for defense. These two aren’t quite so intimidating yet!
Congratulations to curator Nick Hill and the aviculturists at the Sylvan Heights Avian Breeding Center for achieving a first breeding in North America of Flying Steamer Ducks (Tachyeres patachonicus)! This video shows the ducklings at about two weeks old, searching every nook and cranny of their pond for tasty treats!
These handsome little ducks are Smew, a small merganser native to northern Europe and Asia. Male Smew have striking black and white plumage, while females sport chestnut-red heads. Like other mergansers, Smew are excellent at diving and catching fish underwater using their narrow, serrated bills.
Our Chilean flamingos in the South America aviary celebrated yesterday's warm sunshine with lots of bathing and preening. Temperatures may be dipping, but Chilean flamingos aren't bothered by a little chilly weather. In the wild, some live in the Andes mountains at altitudes well over 14,000 feet!
Compared to the size of their bodies, Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) have some of the longest legs of any bird! This feature, paired with their long, pointed bills, makes them perfectly suited to foraging for tasty invertebrates in shallow water and mud. This species is found in southern and western U.S. states, Mexico, Central America, parts of South America.
This is the endangered White-winged Duck, which has earned the nickname “Spirit Duck” in parts of India from its ghostly call that echoes through the forest. Populations of White-winged Ducks are declining in the wild due to habitat loss and hunting, so their current status and their future in the wild is unclear. Sylvan Heights and several other organizations are working to help ensure that this species doesn’t vanish altogether.
These Australian Freckled Ducks hatched in December, and despite the chilly temperatures, they are thriving and growing quickly under mom’s watchful eye. Some species native to the Southern Hemisphere nest during our winter, so it’s not unusual to have young from Australian, South American, and African birds during this time of year.
A look at the brilliant breeding plumage of male Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa).