It has been a particularly exciting week at spoon-billed sandpiper HQ. After a couple of weeks’ preparation work, the 2nd wintering room was ready for the birds to move into. The heaters were cranked up to optimum temperature, the heat lamps hung, the pool filled with circulating, filtered water and the river sand laid. Minutes before the move, Nigel and I went in to scatter some live treats, including brine shrimp and bloodworms, in the pool and in the birds’ food bowls to make it as welcoming as possible.
It was time to lift the hatch. We both eagerly watched as I pulled on the cable to open up the hole leading in to the adjacent room. The inquisitive flock peered through the gap. You could tell they were a little unsure at first but keen to go and investigate. After a few minutes one bird crossed the border in to the new room and this was enough to persuade the others to quickly join it.
The birds immediately started racing around feeding whilst giving lots of high-pitched excited calls. And it didn’t take long for them to investigate the pond and start feeding on the live food swimming around in there. This was the smoothest transition we could have hoped for and we are really pleased with how quickly the birds became settled in their new home.
A few days on and the novelty of the new room has still not worn off. The birds continue to be very active and are feeding well. One thing I have certainly noticed is that the happier and more excited the birds are, the tamer they become. I was delighted to have one bird feeding less than a foot away from me, as I knelt on the sand completing my daily inspection of the flock. It was a real treat to be so close to such a special little bird going about its business!