Endangered Hawaiian bird thrives
HILO, Hawaii - The smallest chick ever hatched in captivity is doing well three weeks after coming into the world at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island.
The tiny endangered akepa weighed about as much as two Q-tips at hatch. The bird's weight has since grown more than sevenfold as it has been eating cricket guts, papaya, worm meal and nectar, along with vitamin and mineral supplements.
A Conservation Center official says the challenge with such a small chick is getting the food in its mouth and down the right hole so it doesn't choke. It's also a challenge to the proper liquids balance.
From a research associate's blog:
We slowly add several mineral and vitamin supplements along the way, items like calcium, vitamin B1, bone meal, and a special tonic. We’ll be feeding this chick until it is about 50 days old, slowly decreasing our feeding schedule as the chick learns to feed on his own. His (her?) adult diet will soon be mostly nectar and insects.Read more about the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation program here.
Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo