Anything for my Ibis
July 9, 2018 9:24 PM   Subscribe

"Anne-Gabriela Schmalstieg and Corinna Esterer aren’t your typical foster mothers. ...For six months each year the two 20-somethings dedicate their lives to the birds, living onsite in campers at the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, and looking after the ibises from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. The entire first month the women must abstain from coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes because they have to spit in the birds’ food to make it easier to digest." "Raising Northern Bald Ibis Chicks Requires a Lot of Cuddle Time ... and Spit," Audubon (Auto-play audio section at top for desktop computers?)

The Northern Bald Ibis. Literally bald, earthworm-nibbling, and unfortunately for them, quite tasty and hunted to extinction in Europe. They want to migrate somewhere, but they don’t know how. Now, they have aircraft to guide them. They have mothers to lure them. NBIs have apps you can use to track their location and share information on how they’re doing. Animal Tracker, WalrApp (look at that logo)

3 minute overview of the project (Youtube, English audio)

Anne and Corinna, featured in the 2016 Audubon article, are mothering their fifth season of chicks. They welcomed the 33 new chicks in April.

A recent video from Zoo Vienna with the mothers and their chicks. (Youtube, no English subtitles)

50 minute documentary on the Northern Bald Ibis and how this project started. (Youtube, English audio)
posted by sacchan (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
This is fascinating. I had no idea that this was happening in Vienna, and am blown away by the dedication required to nurture these young ibises. I wonder how they came up with this strategy to train them in developing a migratory pattern? This is one example where good science, plain-old elbow grease, and commitment to protecting an endangered species gives me hope for our future.
posted by hampanda at 12:44 AM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Cuddle time is key to ensuring such a strong connection that the birds will eventually follow the microlight aircraft carrying Schmalstieg and Esterer from Austria, over the Alps, and to overwintering grounds 800 miles away in Italy—a route their parents would typically teach them, and that they need travel only once in one direction to learn.

Birds have inspired us to harness the power of flight. Now we're giving back.
posted by Vesihiisi at 4:11 AM on July 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

This post made my blah work day much brighter. Thanks OP!

And I found the top 100 birds photos, too.

I cannot wait to get home this evening and get some bird photos at my feeders.
posted by narancia at 9:18 AM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Bless them
posted by New England Cultist at 2:12 PM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have nothing to say except that I love this story and am glad sacchan recommended it. Thank you!.
posted by elizilla at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

You can see their postings about their current flight on the Facebook page. Apparently one of the males has wandered off, don't know if he's been located.
posted by tavella at 1:23 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ohhh, looks like they're doing flight training now? According to the German-->Japanese translation robots.
And the missing bird is a male named...Hodor?
posted by sacchan at 8:51 PM on July 11, 2018

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