Summer is always baby season for birds, and Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City has some very special babies this year. The most notable are the two baby Chilean flamingos – Little Marvin and Floyd Jr. – who hatched earlier this summer and are available for aviary guests to admire.
The baby flamingos do not have the same pale pink with reddish wingtip coloration that the adults show. Those plumage colors are a result of a diet rich in beta-carotene, mainly shrimp and algae, and it takes the birds 2-3 years to develop those colorful feathers. For now, the young flamingos are fluffy balls of whitish-gray with black legs, but their long legs and long necks are instantly recognizable.
Chilean flamingos are native to South America but do well in captivity, and they can be found in zoos and aviaries around the world. Little Marvin and Floyd Jr. are the first flamingo chicks to successfully hatch at Tracy Aviary since 2009, and they join the flock of 20 adults in the South American portion of the aviary. The flamingo exhibit offers great views from different angles, including an elevated overlook from the north side.
Though they may be two of the cutest, the baby flamingos aren’t the only babies currently at the aviary. While not all the young birds are on display – their care needs differ and they may not be introduced to public exhibits until closer to maturity – other baby birds at Tracy Aviary right now include:
- Greater roadrunner
- King vulture
- Red-capped cardinal
- Saffron finch
- Socorro dove
- Southern ground hornbill
Many different ducks, both wild visitors to the aviary’s ponds as well as resident species, have also produced broods, as have the local barn swallows, adding to the feathered families that can be seen.
Baby birds mature at different rates, from just a couple of weeks to several years. Now is the time to visit Tracy Aviary and see all the feathered babies, as well as the dozens of other colorful and exotic birds that call the aviary home.
To Visit Tracy Aviary:
- Location – Southwest corner of Liberty Park in Salt Lake City; 589 East 1300 South
- Hours – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
- Admission – $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $5 for ages 3-12, free for children under 3; memberships and group rates available