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Two Central Coast zoos welcome fuzzy and feathery new babies

Burrowing owl chicks were hatched recently at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, while the Santa Barbara Zoo has a new baby golden lion tamarin.
Burrowing owl chicks were hatched recently at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, while the Santa Barbara Zoo has a new baby golden lion tamarin.

A golden lion tamarin, two Caribbean flamingos and a clutch of burrowing owl chicks have all been born at Central Coast zoos this month.

The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero has been successfully breeding Caribbean flamingos since 2015, when the birds were moved to their new habitat, zoo director Alan Baker said in a news release.

Flamingo chicks have gray-white plumage and, for the first month, their bills are straight, not curved like they are as adults, the zoo said.

The chicks will then develop their familiar pink color as they start to grow into adults.

The pink coloring comes from pigment in the algae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates in their diet, the zoo said.

In the wild, flamingos inhabit shallow bodies of salty water where this type of food is plentiful.

The Charles Paddock Zoo said the burrowing owl is "a long-legged owl of open country, often active by day and is a very popular owl (among) humans wherever it occurs due to their expressions."

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The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, California, welcomed two baby Caribbean flamingos and a clutch of burrowing owl chicks this month. Charles Paddock Zoo

Burrowing owls usually stay in their nest up to six weeks, so visitors may not be able to catch a glimpse of them quite yet.

Meanwhile, at the Santa Barbara Zoo, a golden lion tamarin baby was born May 4.

It has not yet been handled by zoo staff, so it's unknown if the baby is male or female, according to Julia McHugh, the zoo's director of public relations.

The baby will have a check-up at 30 days to determine the sex, measure height and weight, and receive vaccinations, McHugh said.

McHugh said golden lion tamarins are "among the most endangered mammals on earth" after more than 99 percent of their forest habitat in Brazil has been cut down for lumber, agriculture and housing.

The baby will be on view at the "GLT" enclosure, not far from the Zoo Train Station, McHugh said. Because the parents have free access to their off-exhibit area, the infant may not be visible at all times, according to McHugh.

The Charles Paddock Zoo and the Santa Barbara Zoo are both open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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