Tawny Frogmouth

Physical Description

Tawny frogmouths are nocturnal or crepuscular birds with long wings, short legs, and stout bills. They average 8-21 inches tall with a 25-38 inch wingspan. They have wide, frog-like mouths and are typically gray with some black stripes.


Predators

Predators they may encounter include carpet pythons, foxes, and domestic cats and dogs.


Lifespan

In human care, they live an average of 10 years.


Reproduction

This species is monogamous and stay together for life. Breeding season runs from August-December, and pairs typically return to the same nest site each year. Females lay 1-3 eggs which will be incubated by both parents and hatch in 30 days. Parents will care for the chicks until they fledge 25-35 days after hatching.


Fun Facts

  • Tawny frogmouths are not owls even though they look very similar; they are actually part of the nightjar family.
  • When threatened, they will “stump,” which means that they will freeze their head craned upward, flatten their feathers, and reduce their eyes to slits in order to look like a broken branch.

Conservation Messaging

Tawny frogmouths face many threats from humans. Many of these birds are killed or injured each year by cars when they are chasing after insects illuminated by car headlights. They are also threatened by poisoning from insecticides and rodent poisons introduced to their environment by humans. Ecosystems have a natural balance so it’s important for us as humans to leave no trace! Once you leave nature, no one should know that you’ve been there. This means bringing out anything that you’ve brought in. Additionally, leaving the environment unaltered is equally important. To learn more about the Leave no Trace initiative and their 7 principles for minimum impact practices, visit www.lnt.org.

Domestic Chicken

About: Domestic chickens vary greatly in appearance due to breed, though they share common traits: squat stature, rounded bodies, dense feathers, and wattles of flesh around the face. Adult roosters (males) have distinct combs of red flesh and striking plumage including flowing tails and shiny, pointed feathers. Roosters may also have spurs on their legs, which they employ in battles with other males. With some breeds, a “beard” of feathers is prominent under the chicken’s face. There are ‘bantam’ breeds, a smaller variety of chicken, and some breeds have tail feathers that span several feet long!

Life Cycle/ Social Structure Chickens have very sophisticated social behavior with a dominance hierarchy where higher individuals dominate subordinate individuals. This is where the term “pecking order” comes from! The dominant male protects the females (hens) and they choose to feed close to him for safety. Roosters are generous when it comes to food-the males may call to their hens when he finds food, prompting them to eat first. This behavior is also seen with hens and their chicks.

Bald Eagle

Physical Description

Bald eagles can reach up to 3ft in height, have a wingspan of 8ft, and can weigh up to 15lbs. They have a white head, white tail markings, and a brown body. Bald eagles are not actually bald; the feathers on their head are short and white. Eagles have extremely good vision but can’t move their eyes from side to side. Instead, they have to turn their whole head in order to look around.


Predators

Adults have no natural predators, but chicks are preyed upon by bobcats, wolverines, black bears, foxes, raccoons, and large birds.


Lifespan

Bald eagles live 16.5 years on average.


Reproduction

Courtship usually begins in April with both males and females performing special aerial dances in the sky where they lock onto each other’s talons and tumble/twist in the air. Bald eagles will make their nest near water and will return to their original nest. Females lay 1-3 eggs several days apart, once a year. Both parents will help take care of the chicks, but the female will be the primary caregiver while the male is the primary hunter. The chicks will remain in the nest until they are about 12 weeks old.


Fun Facts

  • The bald eagle’s grip strength is 10 times that of the average human.
  • When a bald eagle loses a feather on one wing, it will lose a matching one on the other. This way it doesn’t lose its balance.

Conservation Messaging

Most of the Bird of Prey here at the zoo are all rehabilitated birds who have sustained different injuries deeming them unreleasable. These birds fall victim to debris found on the side of the road. If it’s an apple core, banana peel, or some discarded trash it will attract their prey items which will then attract the bird of prey. Birds of prey have tunnel vision when hunting and will often not see a car coming. One simple way we can help is to dispose of all your trash properly, even natural items like apple cores and banana peels.

Domestic Turkey

Habitat/Range: Domestic turkeys are raised throughout the temperate parts of the world. Their wild counterparts prefer hardwood and mixed conifer-hardwood forest with varied clearings such as pastures, fields, orchards and marshes. Turkeys are native to North America and were taken to Europe by the Spanish in the 1500’s.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure

Males are polygamous and mate with as many hens as are available. Male turkeys display for females by puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings, known as strutting. Males may be seen courting in groups, with the dominant male strutting and gobbling.

Black Swan

Physical Description

The Black Swan has dark, black body plumage with white feather tips on its wings. They have an average wingspan of 5-6.5 feet and will weigh around 13-20 lbs. Black Swans have the longest neck to body ratio of any swan species. Their beak is deep red with white band at the tip, and they have black, webbed feet.


Predators

Black Swans have no natural predators, but they may be preyed on by introduced species such as cats, dogs, and foxes.


Lifespan

In the wild, they live an average of 12 years, but in human care, they have been known to live up to 40 years.


Reproduction

Adults will typically mate for life. Their breeding season lasts from February to September. Both parents will help build the nest where the female will lay 5-8 eggs. The pair will alternate incubating the eggs for a period of 35-40 days.


Fun Facts

  • Swans molt once a year during which time they are flightless.
  • Although they are only native only to Australia, black swans have been introduced all over the world, including in Europe, North America, and New Zealand.

Conservation Messaging

Here at our duck pond, we welcome all species of native migratory birds. You can see different species of ducks and waterfowl as they migrate with the seasons. Our resident waterfowl have learned to coexist and share their habitat with these birds because they serve them a purpose. As with most birds, these migratory species are excellent at seed dispersal allowing a diverse plant community to form within their habitat as well as many other habitats.

White Cockatoo

Physical Description

White Cockatoos, also called the Umbrella Cockatoos, are known for their distinct white feathers and their broad, backward-bending crest, which opens like an umbrella and fans out. They can use these crest feathers to communicate with each other. Their average wingspan is 9-12 inches.


Predators

They can be preyed on by birds of prey, snakes, and cats.


Lifespan

Cockatoos can live 60 years or more, but some in human care have been known to live over 100 years!


Reproduction

Both parents will help incubate the eggs. Once hatched, the parents will typically only care for the healthier chick. Chicks will learn to fly by the time they are 3 months old, but they will still be dependent on their parents for another 2-3 weeks after that.


Fun Facts

  • Cockatoos are known to be intelligent and have even been seen using branches as tools!
  • They have a beak that is strong enough to break a human finger!

Conservation Messaging

Lorikeets and Cockatoos are often viewed as these beautiful and intelligent birds. While many people will fall in love with exotic birds for that reason, most of these birds are considered vulnerable, threatened, or endangered out in the wild.

By purchasing and owning an exotic animal, you could be supporting the illegal exotic pet trade. What we see is vibrant colors of a parrot or the incredible ability to mimic sound but what we don’t see is how these animals were first illegally poached from the wild. One more exotic pet in captivity is one less animal in the wild which is resulting in species population numbers dropping drastically.

Egyptian Goose

Physical Description

Egyptian geese average 25-29 inches in height, and they can weigh from 3-5 lbs. Their average wingspan is 15 inches. Egyptian geese have long necks, long pink legs, a pink bill, black tails, and brown eye patches encircling each eye.


Predators

Some predators they may face include lions, cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles, and vultures.


Lifespan

In the wild, they live an average of 15 years, but in human care they have been known to live up to 35 years.


Reproduction

Males are aggressive during the mating season and will perform elaborate and noisy courtship displays. They are primarily monogamous, and a mated pair will nest alone in dense vegetation, holes, or simply on the ground. About 5-12 eggs will be laid and then will be incubated for 28-30 days. Fledging occurs about 70 days after hatching.


Fun Facts

  • Because the males and females are so close in size, the best way to determine their gender is by listening to their vocalizations. Males will make more of a whistle sound, while females will have more of a cackle.
  • Egyptian Geese usually settle in one pond, lake, stream or river for their entire lives, unless predators become too abundant or drought occurs.

Conservation Messaging

Here at our duck pond, we welcome all species of native migratory birds. You can see different species of ducks and waterfowl as they migrate with the seasons. Our resident waterfowl have learned to coexist and share their habitat with these birds because they serve them a purpose. As with most birds, these migratory species are excellent at seed dispersal allowing a diverse plant community to form within their habitat as well as many other habitats.

Emu

Physical Description

The average emu height is 4.9-6.2 feet tall weighing 66-121 lbs. Females are slightly larger and heavier than the males. Emus have shaggy, brown to grey-brown feathers on their body with small wings. Their feathers are double-shafted, long, and loose, and they are less water resistant than other birds. An emu’s head and neck are mostly bare and are bluish-black in color.


Predators

Adult emus are relatively free from predation and are able to defend themselves using their feet and nails to strike and rip. Dingoes or wedge-tailed eagles are their only natural predators.


Lifespan

In the wild, they usually live 10-20 years, but they can live up to 35 years in human care.


Reproduction

The male will build the nest out of twigs, leaves, and grass on the ground. The female will lay 11-20 eggs every 2-3 days and will lay up to 3 clutches per season. Once the eggs are laid, the female will leave the male and may find another male to mate with. The male will stay with the nest for 8 weeks until the eggs hatch. He will lose up to 1/3 of his body weight during this time because he does not leave the nest while incubating the eggs; he will only get up to turn the eggs and to tidy the nest.


Fun Facts

  • They cannot fly, but they can travel long distances at 30 mph and are capable of jumping up to 7 feet in the air!
  • Emus are the tallest bird native to Australia and are the second largest living bird.

Conservation Messaging

Emus are considered the largest native bird in Australia. They serve an important purpose for helping to preserve habitats by being seed dispersal specialists! They will often eat seeds whole then defecate and disperse them along the way.

Even though Emu’s are considered stable, they are facing some threats to their natural habitats. One major issue is logging and clearing land for agriculture and property development. More than 50% of Australia’s land mass is used for agricultural purposes!

One thing that we can do is support sustainable agriculture practices. By purchasing products that are certified such as Bird Friendly Coffee, you are helping in the conservation of forests and habitats around the world.

Golden Eagle

Physical Description

Golden eagles range in color from black-brown to dark brown with a striking golden head and neck. They can reach up to 3ft in height with a wingspan of up to 7.5 ft and can weigh up to 15 lbs. Their eyes don’t move much in the eye socket, but an eagle can rotate its head about 270 degrees.


Predators

Adult golden eagles have little to fear from natural predators, although crows, jays, and other raptors often harass them.

Eagle chicks are not so lucky, as wolverines and grizzly bears may prey on them.


Lifespan

Golden eagles live up to 38 years in the wild, and up to 50 years under human care.


Reproduction

Golden eagle pairs usually mate for life and will build several nests in their territory. Courtship begins at the start of the year. Males will put on an aerial display where he folds his wings and drops headfirst until close to the ground, when he spreads his wings to soar aloft and repeat the action. Females will lay 2 eggs a few days apart between January and May. Chicks will remain in the nest for approximately 50 days.


Fun Facts

  • Golden eagles are often mistaken for juvenile bald eagles, as their coloration and size are very similar.
  • Eagles have about 7,000 feathers.

Conservation Messaging

Most of the Bird of Prey here at the zoo are all rehabilitated birds who have sustained different injuries deeming them unreleasable. These birds fall victim to debris found on the side of the road. If it’s an apple core, banana peel, or some discarded trash it will attract their prey items which will then attract the bird of prey. Birds of prey have tunnel vision when hunting and will often not see a car coming. One simple way we can help is to dispose of all your trash properly, even natural items like apple cores and banana peels.

Helmeted Guineafowl

Physical Description

Helmeted guineafowl average 18 inches long and 20-25 inches tall. Their beaks have a wattle on either side, and they have a horny helmet on top of their head. Their feathers have a dark background and white spots which gives it a bead-like design.


Predators

Predators they may encounter include hawks, owls, and other carnivores.


Lifespan

In human care, they live an average of 6-12 years.


Reproduction

During the breeding season, males will court females by displaying and making food offerings and will also become aggressive toward other males. Once they form a pair, males will defend their female from other males and predators. They will then build a nest, and the female will lay 6-12 eggs. She incubates the eggs for 24-27 days. Parents defend their keets, or hatchlings, until they are able to defend themselves at about 1-3 months old, and then they will rejoin their flock.


Fun Facts

  • For most of the year, helmeted guineafowl live in large flocks of several hundred to 2,000 individuals, but during the breeding season, the herd disbands into monogamous breeding pairs and groups of non-breeding individuals.
  • While they are able to fly, this species prefers to spend most of their time on the ground and are considered ground scavengers.

Conservation Messaging

Helmeted guineafowl are native to Africa but are commonly kept on farms and ranches around the world. They’re great at keeping pesky insect populations under control! It’s always best to do your research before moving forward with purchasing any new animals because they may have special needs and different requirements. It’s also important to consider that exotic animals such as guineafowl may need a specialized veterinarian to provide adequate medical care.