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Headstarting is a collaborative effort between WWT, BirdsRussia and the RSPB, and occurs as part of the International Arctic Expedition mounted each year by BirdsRussia under the leadership of Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

The first pictures and video

Once again, apologies for the intermittent and brief posts this week. For Nige and Nicky it has been full-on, 24 hours a day, looking after the rapidly growing chicks and checking the as-yet-unhatched eggs.

So…what has been happening? Well, after the eggs arrived at Slimbridge last Wednesday the first clutch started hatching almost straight away. They continued hatching through the night and in the morning there were three healthy chicks.

Since then, three further clutches have hatched and are doing well. The final clutch is pipping (at the time of writing) and it’s looking like we’ll have the final birds sometime tomorrow.

Early on the extremely wet weather has been a worry. The humidity could have possibly affected the moisture content of the eggs, so Nige has had driers working to get the conditions just right.

Since hatching Nige and Nicky have been feeding the young chicks fruit flies (as you can see in the video below) and live crickets with tweezers, which is intensive work. The live birds have been weighed regularly and the eggs must be continually monitored.

Once the pressure has eased off, we’ll ask one of the team to give you an update from their own perspective. In the meantime, enjoy the photos and video.

  1. Phil Agland Reply

    Fabulous! What an incredible job all of you are doing – the very best of luck for the next few days and weeks!

  2. Lesley Reply

    Wow!!! keep up the good work team!!

  3. Ken Tucker (AKA Turnip) Reply

    This makes me so happy. What a great start to my day. Well done to everyone involved.

  4. Ramapriya Ramanuja Reply

    Great job you’re doing there. No pressure, but the hopes of millions of animal lovers and the future of a unique species which is the outcome of millions of years of evolution is in your hands . . .

  5. Margaret Frusher Reply

    Aww!! what beautiful little chicks. Well done Nigel and Nicky, you’re both doing a brilliant job and the best of luck with them all over the next few weeks.

  6. Chris Whitby Reply

    That has put a big smile on my face. They are delightful little chicks, it,s amazing to watch
    them eating straight away. Nature sure is wonderful.
    What good work you guys are doing!!!

  7. Keith Ryan Reply

    Fantastic footage, gives me a huge lift.

  8. helena Jefferson Reply

    Congratulations Nigel and Nicky. It was SO exciting to see you mentioned on the National news yesterday and to hear how many of the eggs have hatched successfully. Well done both of you. I LOVED the adorable bit of footage of them running about, cheeping and feeding.

  9. Sue Wright Reply

    Congratulations to all involved on this amazing venture. It’s so good to know that all that can be done is being done to help ensure they aren’t like the Dodo. Brilliant work!

  10. Alissa Reply

    Thank you for the work you’re doing to help save these beautiful little birds. The photos and video are just adorable and really cheered me up during a crummy week. I’ve donated and passed this link to friends.

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