Celebrate Feathered Mums This Mother’s Day

Keepers at Bourton-on-the-Water’s Birdland are paying tribute to some of the avian world finest feathered females as part of its Mother’s Day weekend. (Saturday, March 25th – Sunday, March 26th).

This is the time of year the hens are starting to lay and sit on eggs and their progress is closely monitored by the bird-keeping team.

Among those already laying are the roul roul partridge, masked plover and grey peacock pheasant.

It’s also been a record year so far for the park’s colony of Humboldt penguins with five pairs laying no fewer than 10 eggs between them.

Head Keeper, Alistair Keen, said: “This is actually a double first since my time here as it’s both the most pairs and the largest number of eggs laid we have had.

“We are also keeping a close eye on our colony of king penguins who are now moulting and getting ready to begin their courtship rituals,” he added.

Over the weekend, the talks programme will highlight some of Birdland’s hard-working mums, providing a fascinating insight into about how different bird species looks after their young.

In some cases, like the king penguins, the parents share incubation of their single egg – taking it in turns to keep the egg warm on top of their feet while in others it’s actually the males that end up doing most of the hard work when it comes to looking after the babies.

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 eight eggs which they will incubate and hope that their dull coloured plumage will help camouflage them

-Pigeons build a flimsy nest on a platform of twigs and lay two 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 hatches the chicks. Once the chicks are full size they will then break out.

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