The five surviving flamingo chicks born at the Sacramento Zoo in June and July, the first hatched this millennium, are getting close to joining the rest of the flock down by the lake.
Zoo spokeswoman Tonja Candelaria said each of the greyish-pink birds – Tiki, Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Blue Hawaiian and Margarita – passed their 3-month checkups last weekend and appears to be nearly fully sized. Tiki wore a brace for several weeks to combat an angular leg deformity, Candelaria said, while Margarita fractured her toe Wednesday morning and has been put on bed rest with pain medication.
The chicks have begun fla-mingling with each other and will likely be put in sight of the lake flock within the next month. Though all are between 6.23 pounds and 7.98 pounds, zookeepers want to see them form closer bonds and exhibit better motor control before sending them out to join the 36 others, Candelaria said.
Caretakers have kept their eyes on the flamingos 24 hours a day in their first month after they hatched, bottle-feeding them every two hours. They won’t turn fully pink until about 2 years old.
The five chicks were described as such on the Sacramento Zoo’s Facebook page:
“Tiki – The oldest, is very shy with everyone, a little ‘standoffish,’ and always wants to be by his human moms (his two primary caretakers).”
“Mai Tai – A sweet bird who loves to play follow the leader and spend time with her favorite staff. She makes the best nests with leaves on her towel in front of the public.”
“Daiquiri – He does what he wants and in his own time. When he wants attention, he runs circles around someone on his care team until they sit down and allow him to snuggle up.”
“Blue Hawaiian – Has honed his filter dance skills to expert level. He loves eating and hanging out in the pool and is a spunky and independent male.”
“Margarita – Can often be found walking the perimeter during public encounters. She is a people bird who enjoys attention and is very welcoming.”
A sixth chick, Bellini, died last month when food from her feeding tube got lodged in her airways. The third-oldest but smallest of the chicks, she was still receiving supplemental feedings at two months old unlike the others, Candelaria said.