JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in almost 30 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens had a hamerkop chick hatch at the zoo!
Hamerkops are a sub-Saharan African species that are famous for their massively impressive nests, which can weigh more than 50 pounds and hold the weight of a grown man! They build the biggest nests of any bird in Africa.
Hand-rearing birds is not the easiest, the Jacksonville Zoo said on Facebook.
“Since we are caring for the chick just like mom and dad would be, the chick can easily imprint on humans. When imprinting occurs, birds can be less likely to produce offspring of their own in the future. To avoid this, measures have been taken such as using mirrors to simulate siblings and stuffed animals for snuggling. The chick is also fed using a puppet to imitate the look of an adult hamerkop and keepers cover their face and hands as a disguise. So far, this little one is behaving just as a baby hamerkop should and we are incredibly proud!”