THIS 17-YEAR-OLD FEMALE Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) has been keeping staff at Gloucestershire’s Birdland guessing as to whether she will pair up with the park’s resident male. Since her arrival in July from Birdworld in Surrey, she has spent most days in the paddock with the male, but is yet to have close interaction, say park staff members. At more than 1.5m (5ft) tall and with a wingspan of 3.7m (12ft), the female is under constant surveillance during the tricky introductory process.
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THESE CRANES MAY look as if they are locked in mortal combat, but they are only practising fighting, say keepers at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. The young cranes (Grus grus) are actually at “Crane School” and are being prepared for life in the wild. As part of the Great Crane Project, staff at WWT Slimbridge – who wear disguises to prevent the cranes from becoming tame – teach the birds how to forage for food and avoid danger.
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A GLOUCESTERSHIRE BIRD park believes it may have the oldest captive penguin in the world, which beats a recent claim from a Danish zoo. In May, Odense Zoo in Denmark announced that one of its gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) could be the oldest captive penguin at 34 years old. However, keepers at Birdland in Bourton-on-the- Water think their female king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) Missy is older.
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AN ARTIST WHO loves to paint, though not with a brush, has created a series of bird images using flower petals for feathers. Malaysian artist and architect Yi Hong (nickname Red) has used petals from gerbera daisies, purple shamrocks and butterfly pea flow ers to illustrate birds including a peacock, cardinal, flamingo and toucan. There’s even a dodo made entirely out of chrysanthemum petals. Ms Hong told Cage & Aviary Birds: “I began this series last month when I started exploring how I can use flower petals for my work by rearranging them. I discovered that gerbera petals look similar to feathers, and that gave me the idea to start creating birds.”
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A NEW SPECIES of scops owl discovered in the Azore islands, which scientists believe was driven to extinction by man, has been named. Carlos Rando from the University of La Laguna in Tenerife and Josep Antoni Alcover from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Mallorca discovered the bones of the Sao Miguel scops owl (Otus frutuosoi). The bones have been carbon dated to 2,000 years ago, although it’s believed the species became extinct after seamen populated the Azores in the 16th century.
THE OLDEST TAWNY frogmou th (Podargus strigoides) recorded in captivity is residing right here in the UK, says owners of a Hampshire-based theme park. The 33-year-old bird named Gerben, has lived with partner Fleur at Paultons Park in Romney since 2001. Geoff Masson, Paultons Park livestock manager, said: “We have done lots of research and we cannot find a tawny frogmouth in captivity that’s been reported as older than 23 years old. It’s amazing that he is actually older than Paultons Park itself, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.”
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