Staff at Bourton-on-the-Water’s Birdland are paying tribute to some of the best of Bird Mums for a weekend celebration as part of Mother’s Day.(Saturday 29th & Sunday, March 30th). This is the time of year that the residents are starting to lay and sit on eggs and their progress is closely monitored by the bird-keeping team.
Over the weekend, the talks programme will highlight some of Birdland’s hard-working mums, so you can hear more about how birdlife looks after its young.
Birdland’s Head-Keeper, Alistair explained: “In fact in some cases it’s the males that actually do most of the hard work when it comes to looking after the babies, the Rhea male has a harem of females laying eggs into his nest. He will then incubate for 40 or so days and be responsible for protecting the chicks. The King Penguin parents share incubation of their single egg – taking it in turns to keep the egg warm on top of their feet”
Currently the bird-keeping team have a few eggs in the special incubator that they are monitoring carefully including the Grey Peacock Pheasants who have 2 eggs with incubation around 22 days.
Alistair said “The mild winter has meant that some species are trying to breed earlier. The Peacock Pheasant eggs are 2 months earlier than last year and we have put the eggs in incubation as the male has in the past broken the eggs”
The Blacksmith Plovers are also currently laying with 4 eggs counted so far – the female does most of the incubation but with the male standing closely on guard.
The Tawny Frogmouth’s also have at least one egg. The male will do his fair share if the incubation.
The Kookaburras and Trumpeter Hornbills are showing interest in nest sites earlier than normal
Amazing Bird Mum Facts:
- Burrowing Owls burrow underground where several eggs will be laid, away from prying eyes.
- The Flamingos build a nest cone of mud up to a foot high to protect their single egg from flooding.
- Female pheasants make a scrape on the floor and lay up to 8 eggs which they will incubate and hope that their dull coloured plummage will help camouflage them
- Pigeons build a flimsy nest on a platform of twigs and lay 2 eggs.
- Parrots will find holes in trees in which to nest.
- Female Cassowaries are possibly one of the laziest of bird mothers, she will lay eggs in the nests of several males then leave them to incubate and rear the young.
- Possibly the most committed mother is the female Trumpeter Hornbill, she will seal herself into a cavity in a tree (or a nest box at Birdland) using mud, droppings and saliva. She will leave a narrow gap through which the male can feed her for the following three months whilst she lays eggs, incubates them and hatchs the chicks. Once the chicks are full size they will then break out