A PAINSTAKING process has finally paid off as Washington Wetland Centre welcomed its first naturally-bred flamingo chick in seven years.
And the flock of Chilean flamingos can expect further additions as another twenty eggs have been laid – with the potential to produce five chicks.
It is a triumph for the centre, as staff and volunteers have spent the last two years hand-rearing birds with the hope that they will come to reproduce on their own.
Two further eggs are expected to hatch on Saturday and next Tuesday.
The remainder of the eggs will stay in incubators for up to 30 days until the chicks show signs of emerging.
They are then placed under one of the female birds, who have been deemed to make the best parents.
Grounds and facilities manager at the centre, Dan Barker, said. “It’s the first time at Washington that they have bred naturally for the past seven years so it’s very exciting news for us and we are hopeful that in the next week or so we’ll be able to see the first chick emerge from under the adult mother.”
“For the past two years we’ve hand-reared some chicks on site, which was a very hard job for the staff but obviously worthwhile, because we think that has been a key ingredient for the parents in the flock here, giving them the kick to want to produce their own young which is what we’ve got now.
“We got the first egg in early August and the it began to pip – which is when the chick is wanting to come out of the egg – on Friday.
“The chick will create a little hole and from that point we have to get it under the adult bird so they can bond. This chick arrived either late on Saturday or early Sunday. It was a very exciting moment for us.”