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The spectacled owlet’s parents have raised six chicks at the Phoenix Zoo, but because both Mom and Dad are older, their keepers weren’t sure their eggs would still be fertile.
But on Feb. 10, the one egg belonging to a 20-year-old mom and her 15-year-old mate hatched, and keepers could hear tiny noises coming from the nest box.
They didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of the little white ball of fluff until late in March because its protective parents would fly at their keepers’ heads — talons extended — if they even tried to clean their display.
The wide-eyed chick was spotted sitting in the opening to its nest box on April 13, and the next day it fledged, trying out different perches in the exhibit.
Spectacled owls are native to Mexico, Central and South America. The owlet’s gender is still unknown, but will be determined at its first official exam.
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