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Fly on the Wall 

January 13, 2009

Learning to Fly

In the past two months, two Silver-beaked Tanager chicks have hatched out in the Academy’s rainforest exhibit. Right now, they are honing their flying skills in the exhibit, and Academy biologists are monitoring their progress daily. For this species, it takes just four weeks from the time the egg is laid to when the bird is self-sufficient. The timeline goes something like this:

1. The parents select a nesting site, build a nest, and lay 2-3 eggs. Our biologists have been collecting valuable information about successful nesting/fledging sites in the exhibit, which they hope can be applied to other species.
2. Incubation of the eggs lasts about 12 days.
3. After hatching, the chicks stay in the nest for about 10 days.
4. After the chicks are able to leave the nest, the parents continue to feed them for another 5-7 days, while their tail feathers grow. This is the fledgling stage. At this point, they’re not strong fliers yet. They have short stumpy tails, but are still quite mobile.
5. Once they have the feathers and wing muscles needed for flight, the chicks are basically on their own and considered juveniles. This is the stage these two chicks are in now – they are fully-flighted and self-sufficient, but not sexually mature.

Silver-beaked Tanagers at the AcademySilver-beaked Tanager fledgling
In the left-hand photo, the fledgling is on the left, next to an adult female Silver-beaked Tanager. In the photo on the right, a closer view of one of the fledglings.

Filed under: Aquarium,Exhibits — Helen @ 1:44 pm

1 Comment »

  1. What are all the different species of birds kept at the academy Rainforest Exhibit? I know one now, but I would like to know the others.

    Comment by Noah — January 14, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

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