Hurricane Irma and the Animals at the Zoos

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Dan

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Dan

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41 KJV)

We here in Florida are preparing for Hurricane Irma to impact our state in the next few days. Dan and I have put in our supplies, and our just waiting to make a final decision to stay or go to a shelter. When we lived in Fort Lauderdale years ago, we went through the fringe of Hurricane Andrew. As you know, we like to visit zoos, especially Zoo Miami. During Andrew, the then Miami Metro Zoo was devastated. Thankfully, it was rebuilt and renamed Zoo Miami.

Thought I would check to see what is being done around the state at some of our favorite Zoos. What I found was more of what they did in previous hurricanes to protect the animals.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami is right in the path of a direct hit from Irma. The Wings of Asia aviary was built to new strong hurricane strengths, and we trust it can stand up to this new threat. Here are some links to what preparations are happening.

Animal caretakers prepping for Irma with lessons learned from Andrew

“Zoo Miami’s flamingos won’t be riding out Hurricane Irma in a bathroom like they were 25 years ago when Hurricane Andrew devastated the park.

Instead, the park’s majestic birds will be inside their steel and concrete enclosure—an upgrade from the iconic photo that shows the birds huddled in a hay-filled bathroom.

“It’s one of the things we learned from Andrew,” said Ron Magill a spokesman for Zoo Miami. “They will be safe.” CLICK THE LINK TO READ THE REST.

Here are two clips from the Hurricane Andrew damage.


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Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Brevard Zoo – Viera, Florida [from an article in Florida Today] They are on a “wait and see,”

“VIERA — Officials at Brevard Zoo, like a lot of people, are keeping a careful eye on Hurricane Irma.

But as of now it’s business as usual for the zoo staff and the 800 animals there.

Elliot Zirulnik, the communications manager at the zoo, said the zoo has a hurricane plan in place, which includes two-week stockpiles of food for the animals.

If a hurricane warning is issued for the area, then zoo staff will work on securing the animals.

The 800 animals at the zoo consist of 165 species.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s something our team is prepared for,” Zirulnik said.

The zoo is located in Viera, off Wickham Road, near Interstate 95.”

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Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Jax Zoo by Lee

Jacksonville Zoo

Couldn’t find where they have written about the current hurricane approaching, but here is an interesting article about last year when Hurrican Matthew came through.

The Jacksonville Zoo bringing in ‘ride-out’ team to help protect animals, facility from Hurricane Matthew

I did not list Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa because it appears the hurricane is going to go up the east coast of Florida. They will prepare in Tampa, but also “wait and see.”

Inca Tern at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

The Lord is in control of this storm and already knows where it will go, what and who will be affected by Hurricane Andrew. Your prayers for our residents of Florida; both we humans and the critters.

“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7 KJV)

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Birdwatching at Zoos

Birds of the Bible – Crowned Cranes

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps) Jax Zoo by Lee

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps) Jax Zoo by Lee

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

Originally this was going to be about the Grey Crowned Crane at Jacksonville Zoo and other zoos, but the bird genus Balearica (also called the crowned cranes) consists of two living species in the crane family Gruidae: the Black Crowned Crane (B. pavonina) and the Grey Crowned Crane (B. regulorum). The species today occur only in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, and are the only cranes that can nest in trees. This habitat is one reason why the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae. Like all cranes, they eat insects, reptiles, and small mammals.

While looking for information, I realized my first impression was incorrect. The Grey Crowned has a grey crown, so while searching our photos the Black Crowned also had the same color crown. At first, I thought I had mislabeled them. Searching Wikipedia, I found these two super photos and decided to share them. You can see that the face is unique in each.

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) ©WikiC

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) ©WikiC

The Grey has the red at the top of the patch on its cheek.

Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina) ©WikiC

Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina) ©WikiC

The Black has the red or pink at the bottom of that cheek.

Also, one has a grey neck and the other a black neck. Ahah! That’s where the name comes from. Man names the birds, but God created them and I think it is neat that He helps us identify them. My opinion is that the Lord should have hung name tags on the birds, so that when we have them in our binoculars or scoped we could just read the sign. But God:

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Job 9:10 KJV)

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 KJV)

There are other things about them, but this was interesting for me. For me, I will have to keep observing and learning. May none of us every get “bored” watching the Lord’s Creations.

Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina pavonina) (West African) by Dan at Brevard Zoo

Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina pavonina) (West African) by Dan at Brevard Zoo

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Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

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Birds of the Bible – Cranes

Gruidae – Crane Family

Birds of the Bible

Brevard Zoo – Black Crowned Crane

Jacksonville Zoo – Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane – Wikipedia

Black Crowned Crane – Wikipedia

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Southern Screamer

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27 NASB)

Here is an introduction to another of the Lord’s neat creations. This one can be quite noisy at times. Not sure if that qualifies as a “joyful noise.” We have seen them at the Jacksonville Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo.

The southern screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the crested screamer, belongs to the order Anserformes. In the Anhimidae – Screamers Family. It is found in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Its diet consists of plants stems, seeds, leaves, and, rarely, small animals.

Based on DNA analysis they are probably most closely related to the Australian magpie goose. (National Zoo)

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

The southern screamer averages 32–37 in (81–95 cm) long and weighs 6.6–11.0 lb (3–5 kg). They are the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers. The wingspan is around 67 in (170 cm). Among standard measurements, the wing chord measures 21 in (54 cm), the tail 9.1 in (23.2 cm), It lives in tropical and sub-tropical swamps, estuaries and watersides.

The southern screamer is a good swimmer, having partially webbed feet, but prefers to move on the ground. The bony spurs on its wings are used for protection against rival screamers and other enemies. Although it is non-migratory, it is an excellent flier. It lives in large flocks, feeding on the ground in grasslands and cultivated fields until nesting season, when birds pair off.

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

The southern screamer establishes monogamous relationships that last its lifetime, estimated to be 15 years. Courtship involves loud calling by both sexes, which can be heard up to two miles away. “Highly vocal, they are named for their distinctive , far-carrying calls, easily carrying for several miles.”(NZ) The Southern Screamer is the most gregarious of the 3 screamer species and the most numerous. For the nest the couple makes a big platform of reeds, straws, and other aquatic plants in an inaccessible place near water. The female lays between two and seven white eggs. The couple share incubation, which takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks. (Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Southern Screamer Sign at Cincinnati  Zoo

Southern Screamer Sign at Cincinnati
Zoo

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Here is a Southern Screamer from xeno-canto:

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Fact Sheets:

Southern Screamer – Jacksonville Zoo

Southern Screamer – National Zoo

Screamer – Online Zoo

Southern Screamer – Wikipedia

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Jacksonville Zoo’s Noisy Stork Tree

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) with Chicks Jax Zoo by Lee

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) with Chicks Jax Zoo by Lee

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

Last week while we were at the Jacksonville Zoo, we noticed a tree loaded with Wood Stork nests. It was hard to miss as you could hear it from far away. As you watch the videos, you will hear the noise coming from all the nest. The tree was right by the boardwalk, so we were very close to them.

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) with Chicks Jax Zoo by Lee

 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. (Psalms 104:17 KJV)

Wood Storks are part of the Ciconiidae – Storks Family and are also mentioned several times in Scripture. That makes them one of the Birds of the Bible – Storks. We are fortunate in that we get to see Wood Storks quite frequently here in Polk County, Florida, especially out at the Circle B Bar Reserve. Circle B is one of my favorite places to go birdwatching. Yet, I have never seen the nest up close like this.

Here is a combined video of the noisy tree: (Ignore the talking in the background, listen to the noisy birds.)

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Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. (Psalms 33:3 KJV)

After taking photos and videos, I found three young one showing how the noise was produced. Now multiply that by all the other nest with young ones doing the same thing.

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. (Psalms 95:1 KJV)

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Hope you don’t mind seeing some of the photos also. These are set up so you can see them larger. Enjoy the Lord’s Creation in the form of Wood Storks.

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See:

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Birds of the Bible – Maturing Eagle

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Jax Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Maturing at Jax Zoo by Lee

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:1-5 KJV)

Last week at the Jacksonville Zoo, we saw this “rag-tag” Eagle. We found out that he is around five years old and has been going through his transition. They said that in the last two weeks he has really started to change. As you may know, Bald Eagles get their “bald” head when they mature. I have seen Eagles with an all black heads and the all white heads, but never in the process of maturing. I am glad that we were able to see him in this stage of his life.

Now for a much better photo by Dan:

Bald Eagle maturing at Jax Zoo by Dan

Bald Eagle maturing at Jax Zoo by Dan

Actually, it may be a “she.” I forgot to ask. Both male and females get the “bald” head after about five years of so.

The above verse, “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” reminds of the Lord’s watch-care of the birds, but more importantly, over us. When I see this eagle, it reminds me of times when we mature as Christians. Sometimes we seem a little “rag-tag” in our development, but as we keep our eyes on the Lord, He helps us mature as we should.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Jax Zoo by Lee

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Jax Zoo by Lee

Here are some of the photos we took of the two eagles and a friendly Black-crowned Night-heron that was keeping them company. The Heron was wild and flew out later. These two Eagles were injured and can never return to the wild.

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Also:

Changed From the Inside Out

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Marabou Stork Chicks and Inca Tern at Jacksonville Zoo

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) with chicks-Jax Zoo by Lee

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) with chicks-Jax Zoo by Lee

Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. (Psalms 104:17 KJV)

We just got back from a trip to Jacksonville, FL and a visit to the Jacksonville Zoo. I haven’t had time to go through the photos yet, but wanted to share two of the videos.

The first one is two Marabou Stork chicks with a parent. They are not any better looking as a youngster than their parents are. We see them at the Lowry Park Zoo frequently, but never saw them with a chick.

The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is a large wading bird in the Ciconiidae – Storks Family. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. It is sometimes called the “Undertaker Bird” due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes a large white mass of “hair”. It has one of the largest wing spans of any bird. (Wikipedia)

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The the second video is of an Inca Tern preening. I love those “whiskers.”

The Inca Tern (Larosterna inca) is a seabird in the Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers – Family. It is the only member of the genus Larosterna.

This uniquely plumaged bird breeds on the coasts of Peru and Chile, and is restricted to the Humboldt current. It can be identified by its dark grey body, white moustache on both sides of its head, and red-orange beak and feet.*

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This is short because we are still unpacking. The Lord gave us a great trip and traveling mercies. I have many nice videos and photos to share. Stay tuned.

See:

Jacksonville Zoo

Bio Facts: Stork, Marabou – Jacksonville Zoo

Marabou Stork – Wikipedia

Marabou Stork – ARKive

Marabou Stork “Undertaker Bird”

Ciconiidae – Storks Family

Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers – Family

Inca Tern – Oregon Zoo

Inca Tern: The Magnificently Mustached Bird

Inca Tern – Wikipedia

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Birdwatching at the Jacksonville Zoo by Dan’s Pix

 White-collared Kingfisher by Dan's Pix

Collared Kingfisher by Dan’s Pix

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (John 21:9-12 KJV)

We went on a trip last year and we stopped by the Jacksonville Zoo on the way. Dan recently posted his favorite photos of the zoo on his webpage, Dan’s Pix. I place my photos up on line right away, but he takes time to get them just right before they are posted. That is why his are so much better and the fact that he uses much better photography gear than I do.

I trust you will enjoy them.

Dan at Work at Jacksonville Zoo

Dan at Work at Jacksonville Zoo

Feel free to check out his other great photos – Dan’s Pix home page.

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Jacksonville Zoo’s Cape Thick-knee

Dan and I have been off on a trip to the mountains of Tennessee and made some interesting stops along the way. Haven’t always had an internet connection to be able to post new articles. Put the blog on “auto-pilot” before we left. (PS – We just got home and I thought I released this 2 days ago.)

We stopped at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida to do some birdwatching. Have lots of photos to go through, but thought I would share a video I took of the Cape Thick-knee, as they call it. One reason I enjoyed these birds is because of the size of their eyes to their heads.  They were so friendly and quite vocal. This is just one of the times they were “sounding off.”

Checked with Wikipedia to see what they say about the Thick-knee. It is actually the Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus). They are related to the stone-curlews. They are in the Burhinidae Family which has ten species of Thick-knees and Stone-curlews. According to the Chicago Zoo, their Cape Thick-knee is the Double-striped and Wikipedia says it is the Striped Thick-knee. I am not sure if what we saw is the one or two striped bird, so we will call it the Cape.

It is a resident breeder in Central and South America from southern Mexico south to Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil. It also occurs on Hispaniola and some of the Venezuelan islands, and is a very rare vagrant to Trinidad, Curaçao and the USA.

This is a largely nocturnal and crepuscular species of arid grassland, savanna, and other dry, open habitats. The nest is a bare scrape into which two olive-brown eggs are laid and incubated by both adults for 25–27 days to hatching. The downy young are precocial and soon leave the nest.

The Double-striped Thick-knee is a medium-large wader with a strong black and yellow bill, large yellow eyes, which give it a reptilian appearance, and cryptic plumage. The scientific genus name refers to the prominent joints in the long greenish-grey legs, and bistriatus to the two stripes of the head pattern.

The adult is about 46–50 cm long and weighs about 780-785 g. It has finely streaked grey-brown upperparts, and a paler brown neck and breast merging into the white belly. The head has a strong white supercilium bordered above by a black stripe. Juveniles are similar to adults, but have slightly darker brown upperparts and a whitish nape.

Double-striped Thick-knee is striking in flight, with a white patch on the dark upperwing, and a white underwing with a black rear edge. However, it avoids flying, relying on crouching and camouflage for concealment. The song, given at night, is a loud kee-kee-kee.

There are four subspecies, differing in size and plumage tone, but individual variation makes identification of races difficult.

The Double-striped Thick-knee eats large insects and other small vertebrate and invertebrate prey. It is sometimes semi-domestcated because of its useful function in controlling insects, and has benefited from the clearing of woodlands to create pasture.

See also:

Burhinidae – Stone-curlews, Thick-knees

Spotted Thick-knee – Wikipedia

Double-striped Thick-knee – Wikipedia

Cape Thick-knee – Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo

Wordless Birds

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