Aug. 16, 2012
Tucked into an exhibit along the Indonesian Rain Forest's Tree Tops Trail, the hunting cissas typically enjoy a cool, shady retreat in their woodsy surroundings. But high winds from a June 29 storm blew down the huge tree that towered over the cissas' exhibit.
Luckily, the tree did not fall on the exhibit, but its absence now allows sunshine into the display. And that sunlight has literally turned the birds blue.
Native to Asia's evergreen and bamboo forests, cissas are normally an emerald-green color. The cissas' green feathers are made up of blue and yellow components. (If you remember your elementary school color wheel, you know that yellow and blue make green.)
Exposure to sunlight destroys the yellow pigments, so the remaining blue color is revealed. It's especially noticeable on the tops of the birds' heads.
"We noticed the blue coloring on their heads within a few weeks after the tree fell," says Indonesian Rain Forest zookeeper Tiffany Alva.
The change in color is not harmful to the birds, and as the forest fills the void left by the giant tree, their coloration will return to normal. Who knew that a summer storm would provide a fascinating glimpse into nature's complexities!
Read about the animals of the zoo's Indonesian Rain Forest area at http://kidszoo.org/our-animals/indonesian-rain-forest/.
Fall zoo school
Register now for programs in our Fall Zoo School! Explore your favorite animals in-depth while you enjoy the zoo in these single-session programs. Here's a sampling of this year's offerings:
*Ages 6-8: The Lorax
* Ages 9-12: Dino-Soarin'
*Ages 6-12: Horse Sense
*Families: What's Cooking?
Programs are held on Saturdays from Sept. 8-29. See program descriptions and register online today at http://kidszoo.org/programs-and-events/zoo-school/. Space is limited for these popular programs, so don't delay! Questions? Contact the Education Department at 427-6808 or email@example.com.
Mad Mondays continues
Ride for just one token every Monday in August during Mad Mondays! Enjoy the Train, Boat, Carousel, and Sky Safari for just one token per rider instead of the regular price of two tokens every Monday in August. Offer ends Aug. 27, 2012. Read more details about Mad Mondays at http://kidszoo.org/events/mad-mondays/.