GETTING TO KNOW LOU: KELP GULLS AT JOHN BALL ZOO
We have three Kelp Gulls: Our male Sunny and girls Max(ine) and Lou. I apologize for the bad pun I made as a title, but now you understand it. Our birds hatched at Sea World San Diego, but their origin is even more exotic. They were collected as eggs from the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. Talk about a long trip for some fragile cargo! Zoo birds rarely come from the wild these days, and our trio will be celebrating their thirtieth birthdays come December (believe it or not, we have penguins even older than that). You can easily tell them apart by looking at their leg bands, and their names were actually based upon their colors. Sunny has a yellow one on his right leg, Max has a black one on her left and Lou a left blue. Lou is usually in the waterfall or somewhere up high, while Sunny and Max stay around the penguin deck. Max doesn't fly well anymore, and we keep Sunny's wing trimmed because he's a bit of a bully sometimes and that helps make him behave. Sunny has another obvious identifying feature, and that's his flat "Frankenstein" head. Many years ago he picked a fight with a Cara Cara (I don't know that he started it, but I know Sunny...) and has been misshapen ever since. Doesn't slow him down though.
When we first reopen, you may see only Lou on your frequent (hint, hint) visits to JBZ. That's because we take Sunny and Max off exhibit during the penguin breeding season. They can't be trusted around eggs. Lou is far more timid and allowed to stay. By June or so, all three of these long-time fixtures will be back on exhibit in the Aquarium. They'll see you then.