King vulture chick at the Saint Louis Zoo

King vulture chick at the Saint Louis Zoo


Behind the scenes with a 25-day-old king vulture chick This king vulture chick is being hand-reared off exhibit, since this is the first chick for this adult pair. The chick’s father, age 45, is the oldest recorded sire for this species and his offspring is genetically important. Keepers use a puppet made to resemble an adult vulture for socialization and feedings. Vultures are very smart and they can imprint on humans easily. The goal is to make sure the chick grows up knowing it’s a vulture and not a human. Vultures are scavengers/carnivores. Keepers provide the meat in bit-size pieces. Bird sounds and light music play in its room to drown out background noise. The chick is vocalizing more and more. Check out the baby’s growl! Keepers wear this Spider-Man mask, so the chick does not identify with human faces.

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