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Rainforests of the World 

April 27, 2011

Hand-rearing baby birds

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Photo by Brian Freiermuth                                  

Sometimes the rainforest aviculturists have to help to our resident tanager families.  The rainforest can be a challenging place for young birds and their parents.  When we find that tanager parents are unsuccessful at raising offspring on their own, we step in. 

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Photo by Brian Freiermuth                                  

Pulling a chick and hand-rearing it off exhibit is a delicate and time-consuming process.  We are equipped with both incubators and brooders.  Incubator

  An incubator is used if an egg is pulled before its hatch date.  The incubator can retain the temperature and humidity needed for an embryo to develop.  Like a mother bird in the nest, it also gently rotates the egg periodically.


A brooder maintains the temperature and humidity that a recently hatched baby bird needs to thrive. 

Babies require frequent feeding.  Newly hatched tanager babies are fed 10 times per day.  Aviculturists feed the chicks a formula specific to the needs of nestlings. 

Photo by Brian Freiermuth

Photo by Brian Freiermuth                                  

When the babies reach a certain age, the aviculturists begin feeding them the same foods that the rest of the rainforest flock is fed.  At about two weeks of age the young birds are ready to leave the nest or ‘fledge’.  The aviculturists use this time to reunite the chicks with their parents before the family is put back into the rainforest exhibit.  This decreases the chance of parents considering the newly introduced chicks as a threat.  If the aviculturists feel that the parents will not accept the chicks, or that the chicks would be superfluous in the present population, homes will be found for them at another AZA accredited institution.  Institutions that house similar species often trade offspring in order to prevent inbreeding.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vikki McCloskey @ 8:02 pm

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