An important part of the Red-billed Chough re-introduction to Kent is engaging the public, so it was exciting that in August 2021 a new chough display aviary at Dover Castle was unveiled (after a slight delay caused by a global pandemic).
Due to the delicate nature of the historic groundworks, the aviary is made from sections which do not damage the earthworks below. It may not be the prettiest aviary, but it is a perfect way to connect the historic setting to a living species with a promising future.
The aviary holds four young birds, reared at Wildwood from parent birds on loan from Paradise Park’s chough breeding hub. A dedicated team of keepers from Wildwood spent the previous months rearing and training the birds in preparation for their move to the castle. This included enrichment to habituate the birds to their new surroundings, including new sights and sounds. These birds will not be stressed by the busy environment, and will be quite happy to be close to people.
The young birds will spend the summer months in the aviary and will then be moved back to Wildwood for the winter.
Three of the birds have been given names by staff from suggestions sent to Dover Castle, Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust. The names reflect cultural and historical significance – Becket, Eleanor and Vera.
They had a bit of fun choosing the name for the remaining chough who was presented with three options – Edgar, Ramsay and Pyrrho. Watch the video to find out which name he chose…