White stork chicks hatch at WWT Martin Mere

Photo credit: Lisa Wilkinson-Gamble

Following on from last year’s success, WWT Martin Mere is pleased to announce that four white stork chicks hatched near the end of April.

The white storks are part of the wetland centre’s living collection, which boasts birds from around the world such as flamingos, southern screamers, Inca terns, and cranes.

White stork with chick. Credit Gary Gray (1).jpg

Photo credit: Gary Gray

Most of the chicks are just over two weeks old now. They will stay in their nests until they are around two months old, but will still be fed by parents for another two to three weeks before they start fending for themselves.

The chicks are born with white down feathers and don’t have black markings like the adults. You will also notice that their bills are a dark grey colour which will start to turn red over the first year.

The living collection team has been aiding the parents in raising the young and stepping in to make sure they are well-fed with fish. In the video, you will see the chicks raising their heads back and making a noise with their bills. This is called bill-clattering, a communication technique used between white storks.

In the wild white storks will eat fish, amphibians, insects, and even small mammals and birds. Parents will feed their young earthworms and insects, which they regurgitate into the nest for the chicks to eat, but will give them water directly.

Victoria Fellowes, Deputy Center Manager at WWT Martin Mere, said “We are pleased to see that once again the white storks have successfully had chicks. The white storks are one of our star species here and are loved by our visitors.

“If you take a visit to our white stork enclosure, you may see their little heads peaking over the nests as they await their food. We are open 9:30am - 6pm for anyone wanting to come and see them”.

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