Young pelican is getting big – level 3

17-04-2015 15:00

Aw… Isn’t he, um…cute?

The Dalmatian pelican chick born last month is more than thriving – he’s huge! The young bird’s weighs in at around 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) and is just beginning to grow white feathers every over his downy fluff.

“He started off a little bit slow and didn’t have really good weight gains for the first 10 days or a couple weeks, but since then he has really picked up. He’s doing very well. We have to monitor how much he eats, so he won’t grow too quickly.”

The youngster is one of two pelican chicks being hand-reared at San Diego Zoo. Because aggression and competition among siblings has been documented in the wild, the pair of chicks are being raised separately to be able to ensure their well-being.

“He’s still spending the nights inside, so in the morning we come in, we weigh him, we give him his first feed of the day and then we move him outside. He’s outside during the day, so that he can get sunlight and fresh air.”

Animal care staff will hand-raise the birds for approximately 50 to 60 days until they are strong enough to return to their flock at the zoo’s safari park. That means, pretty soon, this not-so-little one will be able to flock with the birds of its feather. But, time for a sit down first.

Difficult words: thriving (growing well), huge (very big), downy fluff (soft and small white feathers that young birds grow before they grow feathers), weight gain (the amount of weight which is added to the body), rear (to bring up and care for an animal), flock noun (a group of birds), flock verb (to move, to be part of a flock), birds of a feather (the same kind of animal).



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