- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Audubon Zoo has its first flamingo chick in just over five years, and some patrons got to watch it hatch.

The chick hatched just before closing time Wednesday in the habitat near the zoo entrance, with a crowd of viewers, curator of birds Carolyn Atherton said in a news release Thursday.

She said three more eggs could hatch soon.

To keep them from getting knocked off the nests and broken, the zoo puts fertile eggs into incubators until hatching time. Meanwhile, fake eggs filled with plaster are put into the nests.

Once an egg is about to hatch, the real and fake eggs are swapped again.

Atherton said flamingos can be temperamental about breeding and zoo staff has been trying different mud combinations to create ideal nesting conditions. The staff also has been mixing and matching the birds in an effort to make a connection.

Audubon Zoo has 37 flamingos in the small entrance plaza habitat. Another 62 live around a lagoon at the other end of the park.

Two chicks hatched in 2011, and dozens more had hatched since the zoo bought the flock in 2000, zoo spokesman Frank Donze said.

He said most of the youngsters were exchanged or transferred to other facilities.


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