Summit Up 2-19-11: Where scary hatchlings make us glad we’re homosapiens |

Summit Up 2-19-11: Where scary hatchlings make us glad we’re homosapiens

Dave Parsons/Denver ZooA palm cockatoo hatchling - coming soon to a nightmare near you.

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that would like to apologize for this terrifying photo. We got it from the Denver Zoo, and at first we figured they’d found some old pterodactyl DNA in some piece of amber or something and were able to bring one of those old critters back to life. How else to explain the truly frightening image of this … thing?

But, we took a moment to read the info that came with the scary bird photo and found out this is, in fact, a palm cockatoo hatchling. Here be the skinny from the Zoo:

“Denver Zoo recently welcomed two palm cockatoos from two different breeding pairs. The chicks hatched on January 18 and February 10 and their genders are still unknown. Though the hatchlings will eventually be on display at the zoo’s Nurture Trail exhibit, they are currently growing and developing under the watchful eye of bird keepers in the zoo’s Bird Propagation Center.

“Palm cockatoos are unique among other cockatoos for their dark-gray or black feathers, which cover most of their bodies, with the exception of red patches on their cheeks. They are about two-feet-long and have developed large, very strong beaks which allow them to crack open and eat extremely hard nuts.

“The species is difficult to breed in captivity and even in the wild only hatch one egg about every other year. Denver Zoo has developed a prolific breeding and care program for the species. These two newest chicks are the first born in the United States in 2011 and only the second and third in the world in the last 12 months in a zoo.

“The birds are known for their intelligence. Not only are they known to have a sizable range of whistles and communication methods, but they are also said to be able to use tools, a rarity among birds.

“Palm cockatoos are found in southern Indonesia and the northeast tip of Australia. While they are classified as “least concern” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), their population numbers have never been quantified. Their greatest threat comes from human encroachment and habitat loss.”

And there you have it. We think we’ll stick to the giraffes an’ such. Although we wish we were still kids, since this would have really scared the crap out of our little brother …


We try to steer clear of politics here in Summit Up Land, but howzabout them Wisconsin Democrats, eh? We like their style: Just take off when things aren’t going your way. Can we do that? Say, the next time some mean person calls us up and leaves a voice mail telling us what loser dorks we are because we didn’t report on some story of great importance to them or expressed an opinion with which they disagreed? Instead of taking it and thanking them for their input, like it says in our training manual, we could say “Hold please,” and then hop a flight to Irkutsk over there in Russia.

Just a thought. But it’s likely we’ll just stick around, waiting for the next thing to happen. We suggest you do the same. Oh, and try to get in some skiing while you’re at it.

We out.

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