Magnificent Frigatebird And White Pelican Make Public Debut At The Texas State Aquarium
February 28, 2018
Two rehabilitated birds have now moved into their new home at the Texas State Aquarium. A white pelican named Amos and a yet-to-be-named female magnificent frigatebird were admitted to the Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center after suffering injuries in the wild, and while they’re now unable to survive in their natural habitat, will serve as animal ambassadors to their species helping teach guests on how to help protect birds and other wildlife.
The magnificent frigatebird will be displayed in Caribbean Journey in the Coral Knoll exhibit near the Blue Hole overlook. This seabird species is possibly the rarest animal the Aquarium has ever had on exhibit, being the only magnificent frigatebird in any zoo or aquarium in North America, according to AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) records. Her story, one of serious injury as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and eventual recovery, is sure to strike a chord with Texans everywhere, especially those in Houston and the Coastal Bend. The frigatebird was found following Hurricane Harvey in shallow water near Loyola Beach, drenched and covered in cactus spines. She was quickly admitted to the Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center, where the cactus spines were removed and her wounds treated. Unfortunately, it was found that she was unable to extend one of her wings, rendering her unable to fly for the rest of her life. Aquarium rescuers believe this magnificent frigatebird, whose species soars above the open ocean, was blown in by the storm’s powerful winds before making her rough landing in the Coastal Bend.
The public can currently vote on her name in an online Facebook poll for the next two weeks, choosing from the names Isla, Storm and Marina. The frigatebird’s name will be announced on March 15. The public can vote for her name now at poll.fbapp.io/frigatebird.
Amos the American white pelican will be one of the Aquarium’s largest bird species, possessing the second-largest wingspan, over nine feet, of any North American bird and weighing around 20 pounds. Like the frigatebird, Amos survived a life-threatening injury in the wild and made a steady recovery at the Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center. In December, Amos was found in George West, Texas with an apparent bullet wound through both wings, suggesting he was shot while in flight. Rescuers treated his wounds, but he will be left with the permanent inability to use one wing, meaning he’d be unlikely to survive in the wild. Tom Schmid, Texas State Aquarium President & CEO explained, “This white pelican was named in honor of the late Tony Amos, the founder of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute’s Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK), a legendary wild life advocate, and a longtime partner of the Aquarium’s wildlife rehabilitation program.” Amos the white pelican is now on exhibit in Caribbean Journey’s Coral Knoll, and may be later moved to the Wild Flight presentation.
These two new birds will be monitored closely during their first several months of their new habitat to ensure they are exhibiting normal behaviors and are eating well. Their exhibit times may vary based on a variety of factors, but the Aquarium plans to have them on exhibit for most of the day.