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Flight of the Tropicbird chick

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Nonsuch Expeditions is involved in conserving and documenting Bermuda’s wildlife (Image supplied)

The first longtail of the year to hatch out of hundreds of nests monitored around the Castle Harbour area in St George’s took to the skies for the first time on July 4.

Live-streamed footage was taken of “Sunny”, a White-tailed Tropicbird chick, from its nest on Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve thanks to an ongoing partnership between Bermuda conservation effort Nonsuch Expeditions and the New York-based Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Sunny hatched at an artificial nest on April 24 at 71 days of age before fledging.

Jeremy Madeiros, principle scientist for the Terrestrial Conservation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said: “Events at this nest for the 2021 nesting season have been fairly dramatic, to say the least.

“After laying one of the earliest recorded eggs for this species, around March 7, the pair of Tropicbirds that have made this nest their home for the last six years hatched their egg on the April 24.

“This made it the first Tropicbird chick to hatch in 2021 out of the hundreds of nests monitored every year on the Castle Harbour Islands Nature Reserve on Bermuda, home to the largest concentration of breeding White-tailed Tropicbirds in the North Atlantic.”

Mr Madeiros said that sadly, around May 5, the female bird stopped visiting the nest, most likely because she had been killed at sea, perhaps by a predating Tiger Shark.

He added: “Normally, the loss of one of the adults means that the remaining adult will not be able to adequately feed the chick, which will slowly lose weight and be unable to develop and fledge successfully unless we intervene and take the chick into care to hand-feed it.

“The male bird from this pair however is an exceptionally healthy, vigorous bird that has experience in raising several successfully fledging chicks, and for the next two months, was able to carry out one to three feeding visits almost every day.

“The male did a better job of feeding and taking care of the chick than most adult pairs, working together, are able to achieve.”

To learn more and watch all the videos from this season visit: http://www.nonsuchisland.com/live-tropicbird-cam

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Published July 12, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated July 10, 2021 at 7:50 am)

Flight of the Tropicbird chick

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