Choughs Breeding at Paradise Park, Hayle, Cornwall
Two single-parent families, domestic violence, and broken bones!
We now have 11 chough chicks - all hatching according to schedule, with the exception of the chick in nest number 5 who arrived later than expected.
Nest 1 has 3 chicks. All four eggs hatched. The smallest chick was removed for hand-rearing as it was not gaining weight, but sadly did not survive. The three surviving chicks are now getting fully feathered, and are expected to fledge within a fortnight.
Nest 2 has 1 chick. Although 2 eggs hatched, the smaller chick did not survive. We had to remove the male from the aviary on May 15th as he began to destroy the nest and became aggressive toward the female and the young chick. We have just discovered that this chick has a fractured right leg, possibly as a result of the aggression. This leg has now been splinted and we are hopeful of a full recovery.
Nest 3 has 3 chicks. As in nest 1 all four eggs hatched but the youngest chick also failed to gain weight. This chick was also hand-reared but died after two days. On May 9th the male became very aggressive and started to dismantle the nest and attck the young chicks. The male bird was removed and the female has done a remarkable job in raising all three chicks on her own.
Nest 4 has 3 chicks. Two hatched on May 4th and the third on May 7th. One chick immediately became heavier than the other two, weighing as much as the smaller chicks together. This chick continued to get the lions share of feeds, so we started supplementary feeding the chicks in the nest, using the rear-facing inspection hatch. After two weeks, the smaller chicks have now finall caught up with big brother (or sister).
Nest 5 has 1 chick. This chick hatched May 6th, much to our surprise, as there appeared to be little development in the eggs, and they were slightly overdue. Ths chick has develpoed well, and will soon be fully feathered.
We are feeding all the aviaries every two to four hours, and weighing the birds each day to check on possible problems. As a general guide, the chicks are increasing at a startling rate of 20% of their body weight every day!
So if you watch at about 3.30pm you may see the birds being taken out and weighed...
These images are from our seclusion aviaries, where we are continuing to build up our flock of choughs. This year we have five pairs of nesting choughs. The birds have been put into their breeding aviaries at the start of March.
Over the next few months we hope to bring you images of choughs nests - from the first few twigs being placed in the nestboxes, to the final fledging of the chough chicks.
The nest cameras have a small set of lights placed inside the nestbox to illuminate activity during the day. At night, they switch to infra-red, and the birds can often be seen roosting, especially when the female is incubating.
Webcam images from 2012
The cameras may shut down at night.
Many thanks to Mike & all at Handykam for cameras, software and technical support.