TULSA, Okla. (Aug. 28, 2017) – The Tulsa Zoo’s Snowy Owl population just tripled after the successful hatching of four chicks. Born between June 19 and July 10 of this year, all the chicks can now be seen venturing from the nest and flying in the Robert J. LaFortune WildLIFE Trek Life in the Cold building.
The four chicks are the great-grandchildren of Tulsa Zoo’s 1990s breeding pair. Born in conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, the four chicks are an important contribution to the species.
“As one of only two AZA institutions to hatch Snowy Owl chicks this year, the Tulsa Zoo has advanced the conservation and care of this species,” said Zoological curator of birds Josef Lindholm.
The hatching was an overall zoo team effort. Zookeeper staff attend the daily care of the nesting pair and chicks. The zoo’s operations department kept the Snowy Owl exhibit a cool 56 degrees, maintaining the environmental support systems. From the time of hatching until now, the Snowy Owl family has required five times the amount of mice from the zoo’s commissary. The exhibits department created and installed a window decal, allowing the parents privacy during this crucial time.
The four chicks have received an initial vet exam, with a small blood sample being drawn and sent to a lab to identify their sex. Three females and one male were hatched between June 19 and July 10.
“The Tulsa Zoo has a long history with Snowy Owls, having exhibited this species continuously since 1970,” said Lindholm. “We are proud to be adding to that tradition and building upon our past success.”
Snowy Owl Facts
• Three females and one male were hatched between June 19 and July 10.
• The mother, Ophelia, is 6 years old and came from the Centre for Conservation of Specialized Species, in Ontario, Canada. She represents a bloodline that is unrelated to any other Snowy Owls in US zoos.
• 18 year-old father, Harry, is the grandson of Tulsa Zoo’s 1990 breeding pair.
• Female hatched June 19, 2017
• Female hatched June 22, 2017
• Female hatched June 26, 2017
• Male hatched July 10, 2017