The Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, home to more than 1,400 animals, recently presented new residents to the public. The Zoo staff in association with Arizona Game and Fish Department and Wildlife Service conducted a successful pygmy-owl hatching. The Zoo joined the efforts with different institutions in preserving the tiny owls from extinction. Since the early 2000s, the research specialists have noted a sudden decrease in the pygmy owl population. The specialists observed their behavior in the natural environment to recreate the same conditions in the newly built facilities.
According to the Zoo’s officials, the tiny owl has been an endangered species for quite some time. Native to the region of Southern Arizona, Texas, and Mexico, their natural habitat has been in jeopardy for a long time. The owls are nocturnal; they prey on lizards, various insects, and worms. The observation team which took upon themselves to research the miniature owls’ behavior noticed that they nest in tree cavities or cacti.
Specialists at the Phoenix Zoo said this week that there were less than 100 owls in the wilderness. To safely recreate their natural habitat, the zoo staff recorded more than 500 hours on the cactus ferruginous pygmy owls’ behavior in their natural surroundings with the assistance of Arizona Wildlife Service and other institutions.
The pygmy owls are monogamous, and they do not interfere with other nests. The communication between the male and the female consist mostly of offerings and specific mating calls. The Zoo team gathered the results of the research to support the plans to save as many owls as possible.
In 2018 the AZGFD, in association with the Phoenix Zoo, constructed the Conservation Center which was designed to accommodate all the species which were in dire need of help. The breeding program started with a single pair of adult owls, but by the beginning of this year, the Zoo paired six tiny owls for breeding according to their behavior.
After observation of the courtship, the specialists concluded that the owls laid eleven eggs. Unfortunately, one nest had only infertile eggs, and the remaining four from two different pairs took a month to incubate. The owlets raised by the two couples were healthy and expected to fledge from the nest in twenty-eight days.
The Zoo officials claim that the hatching in and of itself was a great success, as well as that this was a step toward the future reproduction of the species. The director of Conservation and Science at the Zoo stated that it was a thrilling moment for the program. After just a single attempt, they were able to recreate the owls’ natural habitat and introduce the tiny owlets to the public.