All of our nine pairs of breeding choughs are now building nests. Some are more advanced than others, and we have one pair which delighted us with an early egg (or two).
These two clips show some of the remarkable behaviour of choughs in their domestic environment. We have seen similar behaviour in the past, and it gives an insight into a small world possibly never seen in the wild.
In the first clip, the male arrives as he knows the female is about to lay her second egg. She laid a first egg two days before, but his actions are likely to be motivated by her behaviour rather than timing.
The egg is laid. The female inspects the new egg, and hops out of the nest to feed. Shortly afterwards, the male goes in to the nest box and casts an eye over the two eggs.
Later the same day, we decided to adjust the angle of the camera to give a better view. We can do this using a hatch at the back of the nest box. This gave an opportunity to take this picture of the inside of the chough’s nest. Ali is in the background, distracting the birds, which are sitting on top of the nest box, leaving a few treats for later.
Over the next week, it is hoped this pair will lay more eggs. The normal clutch size for choughs is five. We have two eggs in another nest, with many more on the way.
We have a live stream of one of our nine nests can be seen here.