A Southeast Texas wildlife refuge has 20 new feathered residents whose previous home was the Houston Zoo.
The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that 20 chicks have been released at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. The 10-week-old creatures were bred at the zoo and released Wednesday.
About 175 captive-bred birds are released annually to refuges, including the site near Eagle Lake, about 60 miles west of Houston. Other Attwater prairie chickens refuges in the state are near Texas City and in Goliad County.
Experts say last year's drought had reduced the Attwater population from 110 to 46, with the bulk of the surviving birds at the Eagle Lake refuge.
The rare chickens are named for amateur naturalist Henry Philemon Attwater, who extensively studied the animals in Texas.