Phoenix Zoo flying high over 3-week-old baby pygmy owls

This photo taken on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 and provided by the Phoenix Zoo shows a big-eyed baby pygmy owl, one of four hatched at the zoo three weeks ago under a special breeding program. The cactus ferruginous pygmy owls are being raised by two pairs of adult owls. Three pairs of the tiny owls laid 11 eggs among them, but only four hatched. The owls weigh just 3 ounces as adults and nest in the cavities of the saguaro cactus. Its population has declined in recent decades and the species is now believed to number fewer than 100 in the state. (The Phoenix Zoo via AP)

PHOENIX — Conservation specialists at the Phoenix Zoo say they are flying high over the arrival of four big-eyed baby pygmy owls.

The cactus ferruginous pygmy owls hatched three weeks ago and are being raised by two pairs of adult owls.

Three pairs of the tiny owls laid 11 eggs among them, but only four hatched successfully.

The zoo said this week that the chicks were born through a breeding program started by Wild at Heart raptor rescue with the Arizona Game & Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Weighing fewer than 3 ounces, the owl is native to Arizona, southern Texas and northern Mexico. It nests inside cavities of saguaro cactuses.

Its numbers dwindled in recent decades, and there are now believed to be fewer than 100 in Arizona.

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