Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Heatwave brings flamingo chick boom

The heatwave has brought forward the laying season of Chilean flamingos

The British summer heatwave has brought forward the laying season of flamingos - raising hopes it could be a bumper year for chicks.

Conservationists at the WWT at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire celebrated their first Chilean flamingo egg last week, which is much earlier in the season than the previous few years.

Since then four more have been laid and if they continue to keep laying, aviculturists at the centre hope it might be the most successful breeding year in recent times.

In the last couple of years staff at Slimbridge have decided to hand-rear the Chilean's chicks before returning the juveniles to the flock as they have been born so late in the season.

Being born late can cause complications as with the shortening daylight hours the adults switch their focus a little and do not always have the time to ensure their chicks have enough exercise and nutrition.

Any eggs laid around now will be parent-reared by the flock.

Mark Roberts, head of aviculture at the centre, said: "Generally when the first egg is laid the rest of the flock takes note and gets busy laying so it is really good news, we are delighted.

"With these nice long days they have lots of time to get big strong and healthy before the winter sets in. We are pleased the weather has spurred them on to lay so early and think it may be a very good season."

Flamingo eggs are incubated for 28 days so the first one is due to hatch next month.

The centre's Caribbean flamingo flock lay eggs earlier in the season so visitors can already see the chicks on the nest islands alongside the centre's restaurant.

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