Coming from the mountains of New Zealand, the Kea (Nestor notabilis) are one of the most interesting and most intelligent parrots in the world. Listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, these birds have historically been persecuted for their intelligence and curiosity, especially by New Zealand sheep farmers. One look at this video and you can see why:
Luckily for us, Kea are actually omnivores. And luckily for the Kea they are protected, and interactions with hunters has declined since the bird became protected in 1986. Estimates for their total numbers now range between 1,000 to 5,000 in their natural habitat.
When it comes to finding Kea here in the United States, the Cincinnati area has it made. Most zoos, if they have them, only have a few, and sometimes not even on display. However, the Cincinnati Zoo has one of the largest colonies of Kea outside of New Zealand, which are on display during the colder months of the year in their Lorikeet Landing. Just this past year, a Kea Encounter was added, so zoo guests can interact with the colony and see firsthand how intelligent and amazing these parrots really are.
Another great interaction with Kea is happening everyday, this month during Zoo Babies. Every day at 11 AM, you can meet one of these guys inside the Wings of the World building:
Be sure to check these amazing birds out for Zoo Babies, and also be sure to check them out once the weather turns colder in Lorikeet Landing for the Kea Encounter. Definitely one of the most amazing birds that I have ever worked with!
So normally here in SW Ohio, January and February are the coldest months of the year. This year is an exception though. Anyway, during those two months, one of the coolest events takes place at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden:
This video shows the beginning of the now famous penguin parade. Every day during January and February, as long as the temperature is below 50 degrees, the King penguin colony takes a walk from their indoor exhibit to an exhibit outside.
This is by far one of the most amazing events going on in the Cincinnati area, I would even go so far to say it is the best parade in the area as well… but I might be a little biased, come check it out for yourself!
Quick photo of the recent Rockhopper chick from today:
Now at adult size, the main difference is in the plumage. Notice the yellow crest feathers are missing on the head? These distinctive feathers will grow in during the bird’s next molt, giving it the adult look. Click here to see how much it has grown!
This big boy or girl has now been taking supervised field trips to the exhibit to hang out with the other Kings. Still a youngster, but growing up so fast. Click HERE to see how quickly he/she did grow. Amazing animals!
Here is what I have been working with lately, it is amazing how quickly they grow…
That pretty much sums this little guy/gal up. I plan on getting a few new pictures next week. Even bigger still, this morning it weighed around 11.6kg. Amazing, amazing creatures.
I realized this morning that I have not posted anything about birds in quite some time. So, in honor of that, here are some pictures of the newest Rockhopper penguin chick at work:
Chick and father, around 1 week old.
Chick in hand, around 3 weeks old.
Chick standing tall, around a month old.
It has been fun to watch this little guy/gal grow up, now it looks entirely different!