T he Toledo Zoo has welcomed two new additions to the family after the hatching of two Saddle-billed Storks since February.
The chicks were hatched February 10 and March 3 and are now growing up in the zoo's Avian Breeding Center. They represent the zoo's first Saddle-billed Storks chicks in six years, and the ninth successful hatching of the species at the zoo since 2000.
Nationwide, just 67 of these birds live in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Toledo Zoo is only the second zoo in the world to raise the specific species.
The Saddle-billed Stork, hatched at 3.9 ounces, grows fast could stand more than two-feet tall as an adult.
The zoo says they use a specially hand-crafted stork head puppet to feed the chicks at night. This is because the chicks' parents are not able to care for them safely, so keepers hand-rear them with the puppet head to ensure the chicks feel they are bonding with their own species.
As adults, the chicks' key distinguishing feature is the yellow, saddle-shaped marking on individuals' long red-and-black beaks.