Birdland Park and Gardens is paying tribute to some of the finest feathered fathers living at the park this Father’s Day. For some bird species, it is the males that actually end up doing most of the hard work when it comes to looking after the babies.
For rheas, after the females lay eggs in their nests it’s the males who will then incubate them for 40 or so days and be responsible for protecting the chicks once they hatch out
King penguin parents share incubation of their single egg – taking it in turns to keep the egg warm on top of their feet.
The father makes sure its chicks have the best possible home by creating a nest complete with roof, entrance tunnel and nesting chamber, made out of grass, reeds and palm blades. A female will survey his handiwork and pick her favourite nest to lay her eggs.
Some other species of bird, which aren’t residents of the park include;
They have the ultimate stay at home dad, sitting on the egg for the majority of the 72-day incubation. Once it’s hatched, he then files hundreds of miles across the ocean searching for food for as long as six months until the chick can leave the nest for himself.
The heat of the deserts in southern Africa makes a father’s job harder. He will fly early in the morning when the temperature is cooler to find the nearest watering hole, which can be up to 30 kilometres away. He then soaks his feathers, and like a sponge, flies the cargo back to its hatchings who drink from his plumage.
As well as these, many other male birds also help incubate the eggs during the day, when the chicks need lots of food and predators may be about.
Birdland wishes you a happy Father’s Day!