First Secretary Bird birth in over 30 years
Abilene, TX- The Abilene Zoo is pleased to announce the hatching of a secretary bird chick on June 15th to parents Pam and Jagger. This is the first secretary bird to hatch at the Abilene Zoo in over 30 years; a significant event since the secretary bird’s recategorization as an endangered species in 2020.
Seven-year-old Pam and nine-year-old Jagger have been at Abilene Zoo for four years. Earlier this year the pair were seen gathering nesting materials. With nests averaging four to six feet in diameter and 12 to 20 inches deep, they can take up to six months to build. In early May, Pam laid an egg and both birds started exhibiting parental instincts, taking turns sitting on and incubating the egg. A few weeks later zoo keepers candled the egg and saw signs of a growing chick. After about a six week incubation period, the new chick hatched and zoo keepers could see Pam and Jagger taking turns feeding and tending to the chick.
“Secretary Birds are such majestic animals, I just love them. They’ve been my favorite animal at the Zoo since I can remember and I’m so excited that we have a baby,” Stan Chapman, Abilene Zoo Board Member said. “A lot of people don’t know about secretary birds. We have an opportunity to do more to educate the community about this chick and the plight of the species. We encourage everyone to come see the chick and learn about these snake-stomping birds!”
To allow the parents the quiet they needed during this process the habitat is lush making it difficult to see the 2-3 ounce offspring. However, secretary birds grow to be over four feet tall, so in the coming months visitors may be able to catch sight of the quickly growing chick peeking out of the nest.