Florida Zoo Welcomes Two Critically Endangered Newborn Birds

Any birth of a grasshopper sparrow is a “big deal”

grasshopper sparrow

Brevard Zoo

The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, is pleased to announce their newest arrival—a pair of grasshopper sparrow chicks.  

Proud bird parents Peg and Eddie spent weeks buzzing, nesting and laying eggs before welcoming their bundles of feathered joy—a “big deal” considering the species is considered “critically endangered,” a release from the zoo said.    

Peg laid her eggs in a nest where they incubated for 10 days before hatching. 

The newly hatched sparrows will stay with their parents for 21 days before they’re moved to another habitat at the zoo. If they continue to develop on their own, the birds will eventually be released into their natural habitat in Central Florida and will hopefully help contribute to increasing the population, which is in critical decline.  

Grasshopper Sparrows are one of the few North American sparrows who sing two different songs, according to AllAboutBirds.org, a website run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Not surprising, based on their name, they prey upon grasshoppers.  

Their population is on steep decline due to habitat loss, disease, limited genetic diversity and nonnative fire ants (which can invade nests and feed on chicks), according to Brevard Zoo.   

Peg and Eddie were “genetically matched by a team of Florida grasshopper sparrow experts to ensure the healthiest and most diverse population of the species,” according to the release.  They are just one of the bird duos participating in the nesting process—other couples “Ava and Gator, Wild One and Vince, and Zoey and Landon” are currently at different stages of the process.  

Their early additions mean that Peg and Eddie have the opportunity to try again to lay more eggs throughout the breeding season—which can go through September.  

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