Cahow chick hatches
Bermuda’s small cahow population is welcoming a new member after a baby bird hatched from its shell last night.
Located in its burrow on the Nonsuch Island colony, it began making a break from its egg at about 1am yesterday and finally hatched at 9.45pm.
This is the third chick to have been filmed hatching using the high-tech Cahow-cam which is nestled inside the burrow using infrared light so as not to disturb the birds.
Three other cahows have been captured hatching on the camera in the past with some attracting more than 6,000 viewers.
Earlier this year, Nonsuch Expeditions linked up with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, meaning this cahow may be the most famous of all — Cornell boasts more than two million followers worldwide. There are 117 confirmed cahow pairs this season with several new pairs coming together but that are not confirmed as breeding. It is hoped that this season will break last season’s record ten hatchings from the new Nonsuch Island Translocation Colony.
The cahow, also known as the Bermuda petrel, is Bermuda’s national bird. It was thought to be extinct for more than 300 years until 1935 when an unknown bird was tentatively identified as a cahow by American naturalist and explorer William Beebe.
An expedition was eventually launched in 1951 to try to locate a surviving cahow colony. Bermudian David Wingate, then a teenager, was a member of the team. The expedition discovered a handful of living cahows on the Castle Harbour islets and by 1962, some 18 nesting pairs had been documented by researchers. A recovery programme initiated by Mr Wingate and subsequent translocation programme launched by Jeremy Madeiros has increased the numbers.
The cahow has been described in the 2011 film Higher Ground: The Cahow Translocation Project as “one of the great stories of survival in the annals of natural history”.
Jean Pierre Rouja of Nonsuch Exhibitions said that anyone interested in seeing a video of the latest bird hatch can tune into the footage being streamed live on YouTube video via nonsuchisland.com
He advised that viewers click the full-screen button in the right hand corner of the screen to get the best view and to turn the volume up as the baby could occasionally be heard tweeting from inside its shell.
Mr Madeiros posted on the website: “Hello World! At approximately 9.45pm Bermuda time, two hours after the male took over incubation duties, and approximately 40 minutes after the top of the shell broke off, our star chick is completely free from the egg and has officially hatched! Less than an hour later the parent spent a few minutes outside revealing the chick.”
To see a recording of the hatching visit www.nonsuchisland.com
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