I have had this love affair with Zoo's for a very long time. I remember driving for hours off my route to visit a Zoo that someone had given a favorable review. I asked the Zoo keepers over in Columbia to let me know when the Flamengos had babies and received a call last Monday. Despite a painful lower back, I packed up and drove over to Riverfront and spend a great afternoon watching the Flamengo behaviour when this new baby made its debut. Each year the Zoo shovels out into the Flamengo enclosure piles of dirt. The Flamengos then somehow know how to build the little mounds of dirt (2 or 3 feet high) with a flat top with a small depression on the top. The females then settle down and lay eggs. BUT, the Zoo then takes the real eggs out and replace them with dummies. They take the real eggs inside and put them in an incubator thus depriving the raccoons and snakes and other creatures from eating them at night. When the eggs hatch, they are presented to the Mama who miraculously assumes responsibility as though it had hatched underneath her. It was interesting to me to see that any number of adult Flamengos manage to produce the crop and will take turns feeding the young'uns. The chick here is less than 2 days ole and still not strong enough to stand on its own for extended periods.
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