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September 6, 2013 at 9:01 PM

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Watching over the runt of the litter


ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Flamingo parents check out the runt of the chicks that were born in the last two weeks. The bird weighed in at about 6.8 ounces. Six flamingo chicks hatched either a week or two ago at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Five more eggs may or may not hatch in the next several days. Once the chicks get their waterproof feathers at about age 6 weeks, they and their parents will be returned to the flamingo exhibit for the public to see. Right now they are in an area in the back so the chicks will be away from non-breeding flamingos, who could harm or kill them. Most of the flamingos at the zoo are more than 36 years old -- they can live for around 70 years. The flamingos have been at the zoo since 2008 and, including the recent six, have hatched about 15 chicks. This has been the most prolific year for newborns.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Two flamingos stand near a mound of dirt that is their nest where an egg sits at Woodland Park Zoo. Zookeepers hope the the egg will hatch. If it hatches, it will be in the next several days.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

John Samaras, lead zookeeper at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, holds a flamingo egg -- one he does not think will ever hatch.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The tiniest of the six flamingo chicks that just hatched, only nine days old, weighs in at 193 grams.

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