Virginia Zoo awaits “Baby New Year”

A male Victoria Crowned Pigeon incubates its egg, laid New Year's Day, at the Virginia Zoo Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Although females do most of the rearing, both parents help raise the young (Virginia Zoo photo by Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler).

A male Victoria Crowned Pigeon incubates its egg, laid New Year's Day, at the Virginia Zoo Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Although females do most of the rearing, both parents help raise the young (Virginia Zoo photo by Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler).

A male Victoria Crowned Pigeon incubates its egg, laid New Year's Day, at the Virginia Zoo Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Although females do most of the rearing, both parents help raise the young (Virginia Zoo photo by Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler).

A male Victoria Crowned Pigeon incubates its egg, laid New Year’s Day, at the Virginia Zoo Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Although females do most of the rearing, both parents help raise the young (Virginia Zoo photo by Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler).

NORFOLK, Va. – The Virginia Zoo is expecting a new member of the family.

According to zoo officials, ‘Baby New Year’ is at the Virginia Zoo, but it still has to come out of its shell.

Zoo staff discovered an egg laid on New Year’s Day by members of the world’s largest pigeon genus.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon eggs take nearly a month to incubate and young are actively tended to by both parents for an additional three months before they leave the nest.

“Victoria Crowned Pigeons have what is undoubtedly one of the most flamboyant head crests,” said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo’s executive director.

“Their crests, large size, blue-grey color and red eyes make them one of the most popular birds in our Asia – Trail of the Tiger exhibit, and a personal favorite of mine.”

The Zoo’s Victoria Crowned Pigeons, which are currently inside for the winter, will return to their aviary in the Trail of the Tiger exhibit in the spring. The fledgling should join the pair in the aviary by late spring, officials say.

Named after Britain’s Queen Victoria, the large, ground-dwelling pigeons are native to the New Guinea region. As adults, the birds can reach 30 inches long and weigh more than five pounds. Victoria Crowned Pigeons are a threatened species due to habitat loss and hunting.

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