May 8th 2018
“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”, the old saying goes. Today was our day to do just that. With choughs.
The first of the five clutches is due to hatch at the weekend. The weather is now much better, and generally warming up, so it was time to see how many of our thirteen eggs are likely to hatch.
This is a fairly simple procedure, using the light from a mobile phone to “candle” the eggs. Ali goes in to each aviary, to add food and generally rummage about in order to distract the adult choughs. I then open the inspection hatches, hand the eggs to keeper Becky Waite, and she checks to see if they are fertile. (I have passed this job over, due to my remarkable inability to notice fully formed chicks inside the eggs).
The birds had been late getting into the aviaries. The weather has been horrible, both before and after the birds have been installed. Winter was nasty, and spring has been wet.
As previously posted, two of our pairs are now quite old, and were infertile last year. We were not expecting great things.
But great things occurred – all thirteen eggs are fertile. This includes two eggs from a female who is twenty years old!
A good day at work.