Ask any ten year old what they want to be when they grow up and you'll get a lot of firemen, some policemen, a few teachers and a super-hero or two, but one profession I never heard anyone want to be is “Foster mom to endangered birds.”
The Northern Bald Ibis in Europe (which really isn't bald at all) was nearly extinct not that long ago. They were a favored bird among hunters until a couple of ladies decided to restore the Ibis to the Alps.....
These foster moms were featured on an AXS.tv show recently (my new favorite channel!!). I was very impressed that the ladies could convince these birds that they were their moms. The birds are conditioned to the calls and signals of the foster mother and conditioned to the aircraft and sound of the propeller.
Training for migration takes about seven weeks. The birds will travel over 800 miles to their winter grounds in Tuscany. It will take them up to five weeks to make the journey from the Austrian Alps to Italy. In three years, the birds will return to breed.
Can you imagine the excitement when the birds return?