NEW YORK, July 2 (UPI) — Endangered birds in a New York zoo produced offspring after recorded mating calls of wild birds put them in the mood, zoo officials said.
The flock of 21 Waldrapp ibises at the Bronx Zoo, which had produced no chicks for 7 years, responded to the recording of wild ibis calls by preening and building nests. Six chicks were hatched by three sets of parents, the New York Daily News reported Friday.
It’s a coup for the zoo because the ibises are extremely endangered, with just about 400 left in the wild, and rarely reproduce in captivity, the newspaper said.
“The whole species is at risk,” Mark Hofling, a zoo ornithologist, said.
“They had pretty much stopped courtship behavior,” Hofling said of the Bronx birds. “They were just going through the motions.”
The birds started mating when calls of wild birds were played on an iPod connected to speakers in the birds’s wire mesh enclosure.
Now zoo officials are trying the same technique on Caribbean and Chilean flamingos, which also don’t often reproduce in captivity.
“If it works with this one species, there’s the possibility we can apply it to a wide range,” said Dr. Nancy Clum, chief ornithologist at the zoo.
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