A brief installment to share a few photos of the new Caribbean flamingo chicks. Five cute little bundles of fluff have recently hatched and with more eggs pipped and ready to go, there should be a nice big brood of new birds gracing the nest island before long. Sparky and his fellow avics went over to the nest mounds this weekend to check on the state of the hatchlings, and to web tag the new birds so that a track on their progress could be kept (each chick is now identifiable by the tag number that it carries).
Flamingo chicks hatch covered in a thick coat of grey down that feels incredibly plush, almost like satin. This down keeps the chicks warm when under their parents and, for species that nest in hot climates, also relatively cool by insulating them against the fierce heat by reflecting the sun’s rays from their body. The chicks will stay on top of their nest mound for a few days after hatching, waiting for their legs to strengthen before them clamber (or fall!) off to wander around with other hatchlings in the immediate vicinity of the nest sites. When the avics go and check on the chicks, it is important to keep the chicks under a close watch as any that try and leave the nest too early (to follow their parents) need to be put back on so they stay in the safety of their nest site.
Look closely in the Caribbean Pen on your next visit to WWT Slimbridge, but don’t go to the edge of the waterline and scare the birds, and you’ll be able to pick out these adorable bundles of fluff being tended to by their lanky parents.