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Five American avocet chicks hatched at the Aquarium between June 23 and 25. The chicks and their parents are now on view in the lower enclosure in the Guam Kingfisher aviary near Shark Lagoon. The parents have lived at the Aquarium since August 2017. Both parents will take turns tending to the chicks.
The chicks will fledge, or replace their downy juvenile feathers with adult feathers, at about twenty-seven to twenty-eight days old. Adults stand at about 18 inches tall. They have a white body, black and white wings, and long, slender legs. During the breeding season, they have a pale rust-colored head and neck.
In the wild, American avocets live on beaches, around shallow lakes and ponds, and on coastal and inland mudflats throughout the western United States, southern Canada, Mexico, and Baja. This shorebird species migrate to southern coastal areas, including Mexico and Baja and the southeast and Atlantic coasts, or California valleys in the winter.
Avocets are precocial birds, meaning that chicks are able to walk around and forage immediately after hatching. Like the adults, the chicks will quickly learn to eat all different types of insects and worms, including blood worms, mealworms, wax worms, and crickets. As they get older, they will forage for krill and small fish. Avocets search for food by wading in shallow water and filtering food by sweeping their long, upward-curved bills from side to side.
American avocet populations declined in the 1960s and 70s when agriculture and development began to shrink wetland habitats. Since then, their numbers have rebounded, and they are currently listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include those in the new Pacific Visions wing, Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, and the Tentacles and Ink and FROGS: Dazzling & Disappearing exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. Field trips for schoolchildren are offered at a heavily discounted rate from $7 to $8.50 per student. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits.
Photos by: Robin Riggs
Source: Aquarium of the Pacific