First flamingo chick in four years hatches at Washington Wetland Centre

Staff and volunteers have welcomed the first flamingo to hatch in Wearside in four years.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th August 2019, 8:16 pm

The team at Washington Wetlands Centre have been on tenterhooks for 30 days to see if the egg would produce a healthy chick – and earlier this week heard some good news in the form of a ‘croaking’ from within the egg.

Experts at the centre said the noise was the very first bonding ritual young flamingos have with their parents.

Then, on August 29, excited staff spotted the freshly hatched young bird taking shelter under the protective wing of its parent.

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Adults tending to the newly born chick

Senior keeper Rhys McKie said: “To have the first egg in over four years hatch successfully is very exciting and it’s great to see the adults doing their job as parents perfectly.

“We’ll be monitoring the chick regularly and checking the adults are doing well in supporting it. It’s a crucial time for both adults and chick and we’re keen to see how the relationships develop and grow within this close-knit flock as youngsters are introduced.

Centre manager Gill Pipes added: “You can imagine how delighted we are to have these chicks, the combination of spells of persistent hot sunny weather and some prolonged rainfall is perfect for the breeding behaviours of our flamingos.”

The centre’s flamingos laid 24 eggs in total this year, but not all of them will be staying in the North East as some will be travelling further up the country

A Chilean Flamingo at Washington Wetland Centre

Gill said: “We only rear the number of chicks we need to keep our flock at optimum head count so we won’t be returning all of the fertile eggs to the flock for hatching. The remaining eggs won’t go to waste though. They are now with Bird Gardens Scotland CIC who are building their flock of flamingos up in the Scottish Borders.”

The youngster at WWT Washington can be seen feeding beak-to-beak with its parents; tentatively exploring the area around their volcano-like nests and 'sunbathing' when the weather is warm, to absorb vital vitamin D for strengthening its legs.

Visitors can discover more about WWT Washington’s Chilean flamingos at twice-daily commentated feeds. Meet at their enclosure at 11.45am and 2.45pm.

Two of the centres flamingos enjoying the summer weather