Slimbridge Wetland Centre is hoping for a bumper year of chicks, after the recent heatwave has brought forward the laying season of its Chilean flamingos.
The popular daytrip destination is the only place in Europe where all six species of flamingo can be found, and last week welcomed its first Chilean egg much earlier in the season than in previous years.
Since then, four more have been laid, giving aviculturists hope that if the weather continues as it is, 2013 might just be the most successful breeding year in recent times.
In the last few years, the Chilean chicks have been hand-reared at Slimbridge before returning them to the flock, as they have hatched so late in the season, but this year, any eggs laid now will be parent-reared as nature intended.
‘Generally, when the first egg is laid the rest of the flock takes note and get busy laying, so it’s really good news,’ said Mark Roberts, head of aviculture at WWT Slimbridge.
‘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 organisers say that the first chick will be welcomed into the world when it hatches next month.
Meanwhile, visitors to Slimbridge Wetland Centre can already see its Caribbean flamingo chicks on the nest islands alongside the restaurant, as this particular species lays earlier in the season.
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