Showing posts tagged as "birds"
Underwater meal? No problem! The black-necked stilt has adapted well to life in wetlands and marshes. Long legs and a narrow beak help it pluck small fish from shallow waters.
Can you spot one with our live Aviary cam?
Some appetite! Our recently hatched common murre chicks are behind the scenes eating (and eating, and eating) in preparation for going on exhibit. It’s the first time we’ve ever had baby murres at the Aquarium!
The eggs, from different mothers, were taken behind the scenes and incubated by our aviculture staff. They hatched August 29 and 30. We take them behind the scenes for their health and safety, rather than keep them in a busy exhibit environment.
The chicks’ mothers have been with us for many years. One was rescued from the Apex Houston oil spill, which occurred off the northern California coast in January 1986. (In fact, at least one Aquarium employee, Janet Covell, was on the scene helping rescue murres.) Our pair was declared non-releasable by California Fish and Wildlife, and was raised at the Aquarium.
Although the species is not currently listed as threatened, all shorebirds face pressures from habitat damage and pollution. The chicks are being raised at the Aquarium under the auspices of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP).
The youngsters are growing fast and being hand-fed small fish every few hours, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s a lot of work! We expect them to be big enough to go on exhibit in in mid October.
“We’re really excited to have these chicks at the Aquarium,” says Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “Especially since they were born to rescued mothers that have been here for a long time. It’s a great success story. Plus—they’re so cute!”
"My wife went on a four-month trip and left me with binoculars and a bird book. That’s how it all started. When you work with birds, you have to slow down. You have to think about everything—where you put your hands, what cues you give off. They’re so tuned in to body language.”
—Eric Miller, aviculturist
Did you know that today is World Shorebirds Day? We’re doing our part, and just released our final threatened snowy plover of the season, for a total of close to 20 rescued birds. Unfortunately, many shorebird species are threatened due to habitat loss, pollution and other factors.
Learn more about World Shorebirds Day and what you can do to help!
(Photos: Aimee Greenebaum)
Going grocery shopping? Tufted puffins can grasp 10 fish at once in their broad beaks! These diving birds stay underwater for up to a minute as they snap up small fishes, squid and invertebrates.
Think you travel a lot? The diminutive red knot probably has you beat, traveling from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego—a distance of 9,300 miles each way—each year. And it does it all under its own steam.
We just added two of these long distance flyers to our Aviary exhibit. You can also view them on our live web cam.
While red knots could put most business travelers to shame, ours have been forced to stick closer to home, due to permanent wing injuries. The pair (a male and female) flew here—in a plane—from the Florida Aquarium, which has hosted them for more than a decade.
Reading up on Red Knots
Red knots (Calidris canutus) are one of the larger sandpipers, and can live to a ripe age. Scientists recently discovered a 21-year-old.
The birds, which grow to 10 inches, can occasionally be seen in local estuaries such as Elkhorn Slough. But these sightings are rare. These mileage champs breed in some of the coldest places in the world, and winter in some of the hottest. While they travel vast distances, red knots depend on certain stops along the way to fuel up, such as in Hudson Bay and Brazil. This can create challenges for the birds if food sources—particularly horseshoe crab eggs—are in short supply due to overharvesting.
“We’re really excited to have them,” says aviculturist Eric Miller. “Though they’re not technically endangered, red knots in some parts of the world are declining, and this is a great chance for people to see them.”
Did you know that we rescue and release endangered (and cute) snowy plovers? So far this year we’ve successfully released 16 birds on area beaches—with more to come!
Have you seen them? Iridescent pelagic cormorants are nesting below our decks. Watch these diving birds swoop and plunge for seaweed nesting material and fishy snacks for their chicks. Thanks to member Gene Barclift for these fun #FanFriday photos!
Did you know that we help rescue and rehabilitate threatened snowy plovers? Birds in distress and eggs that have been abandoned are often brought to the Aquarium. We’ve taken in more this year than ever before: in excess of 20 eggs, and numerous chicks. We’ve already successfully released several in the Monterey Bay area! Learn more in our latest video podcast.
It’s been a busy year for our staff and volunteers working with snowy plovers! So far we’ve received 23 abandoned eggs, and are caring for 10 chicks behind the scenes. We’re also celebrating the release of two plovers back to the wild—the first of the season!
We rescue and rehabilitate abandoned, threatened or damaged eggs and chicks. Since 2000 we’ve raised and released dozens of snowy plovers, outfitting them with leg bands to help track them in the wild. “We know that they’ve been seen reproducing, having eggs and chicks of their own,” says Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “I feel like we’ve been really successful .”
Snowy plovers nest in shallow nooks in the sand, which means their sand-colored eggs are camouflaged from predators—but also easily damaged. You can help this threatened species: adults abandon their nests when approached, so keep dogs leashed and stay out of marked bird nesting areas.
Learn more about our program
View snowy plovers on our live Aviary cam