I am sure many of you are currently thinking, “what’s going on at the Lesser house?”
After hatching out Hope just a few years ago, the Lessers have not looked good to breed ever since. As an aged group their favourite activities include feeding, washing, preening and grumbling much of the time! Some weeks they even refuse to go outside, and will stand expostulating at each other inside the house.
3 weeks ago our Flamingo warden Phil observes some significant building activities going on around some of the larger nest moulds on their island. This is nothing new as many of our flamingo flocks do a bit of nest artwork every year without result, but this time he saw something more dedicated in their activities…
On top of one nest in question there was a rock, and the bird appeared to be incubating it! Just to make sure, he swapped the rock for a wooden egg. This went down a storm, and the bird became very dedicated to her fake egg. Buoyed with optimism Phil began to observe other jealous birds joining in on the island, building alongside her.
A wonderful trick was then employed that was used during their last soiree into breeding; he swapped the wood for a hatching Greater egg! From rock to wood to egg to chick! What a lucky mum… The little chap hatched this week under the most surprised parent in history, but she is doing a great job so far. We were all amazed last time to see how the whole flock came together with a new lease of life when there is a babe around. Despite the chick exceeding mum in size in a remarkable amount of time, she dedicatedly attempted to feed her giant offspring and he made it to full size within the flock before his removal in autumn where he was donated to his true flock. If nothing else, it will hopefully encourage the Lessers to enjoy the joys of motherhood one more time.
Phil’s plan of course is to stimulate real breeding and egg production through the medium of jealousy, so keep an eye on those Lessers! Crossed fingers for Hope mark two.