A very rare Guam Micronesian kingfisher chick is fed using a hand puppet at Lincoln Park Zoo. All 134 members of the severely endangered species live in zoos. (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune / June 17, 2010)
Two baby Guam Micronesian kingfishers were recently born at Chicago's own Lincoln Park Zoo. Molly and I have been lucky enough to see these charming little birds in person in their bird house. Unfortunately, a zoo is the only place you'll see these rare birds, as they are sadly extinct in the wild. The story of how most of Guam's endemic birds became extinct or extinct in the wild is a strange one that starts with WWII.
Molly and I were invited some time ago to write an article for the awesome art blog Bad at Sports, which explains the very strange circumstances surrounding the kingfisher's current endangerment. You can read the full article here.
The eventual goal of this captive breeding population, (what we think should be the goal of all captive breeding programs) is to release the kingfishers back into the wild...though that may be far in the future.
Let's hope that one day these little guys again grace the waterways of beautiful Guam. Supporting their recovery is the least we can do at this point...so keep checking back with ESPP, as there's a Guam Micronesian kingfisher print in the works.