Washington Wetland’s chicks in pink of health

NEW ARRIVALS: The flamingo chicks being hand-reared by staff and volunteers at the centre.
NEW ARRIVALS: The flamingo chicks being hand-reared by staff and volunteers at the centre.
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THESE chicks are looking pretty in pink after their birth as part of a pioneering project.

The Chilean flamingo chicks are being hand-reared after arriving at WWT Washington Wetland Centre.

The fluffy births follow a pioneering project last year which saw juvenile flamingos Frankie, Nico, Phil, Flo and Fran successfully integrated into the wetland reserve’s adult flock.

Aviculture expert Owen Joiner is now playing dad to the new brood.

But with 25 chicks this time around – that’s five times as many mouths to feed.

So, just to make sure no one goes hungry, a team of dedicated volunteers has been drafted in and trained up to help care for the latest arrivals.

The flamingos were transported to the North East in mobile incubators last month while still inside their eggs and came from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s headquarters at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

They will eventually join resident birds next spring as part of a strategy to increase flock size and enhance chances of future breeding success.

Owen said: “In the wild, flamingos nest in large groups, with potentially thousands of birds breeding together.

“These crowded conditions stimulate natural breeding by giving the birds a sense of stability and confidence.

“Our own flock of Chilean flamingos failed to produce eggs for the sixth season running this year, despite a noticeable increase in displaying, flirting, mating and nest-building thanks to the introduction of last year’s five hand-reared juveniles in May.

“By adding even more new chicks, we should hopefully finally stimulate the existing adults into laying eggs, while at the same time increasing the flock size and adding young birds that will hopefully breed themselves in a few years’ time.”

Click here to see a video of the chicks.