Video: Tropicbird Chick takes off successfully
The white-tailed phaeton chick that has been tracked since it hatched in April on Nonsuch Island has successfully flown out to sea.
A spokesperson said: “At 8:50 am on July 4, 2021, the white-tailed phaeton chick ‘Bermuda Longtail’ [Phaethon lepturus catsbyii] which has been followed since its hatching on April 24 at the artificial nesting site # 387 [which is fitted with a Nonsuch Expeditions / Cornell Lab of Ornithology live-stream video camera] in the Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve in Bermuda successfully flew to sea at the age of 71 days.
“Events in this nest for the 2021 nesting season have been dramatic to say the least; after having laid one of the first eggs recorded for this species, around March 7, the couple of tropical birds that have made their home in this nest for 6 years hatched their egg on April 24.
“This made them the first tropical bird chick to hatch in 2021 on the hundreds of nests monitored each year in the Castle Harbor Islands Nature Reserve in Bermuda, which is home to the largest concentration of breeding white-tailed tropical birds in the North Atlantic.
“Only a few weeks later, around May 5, there was another drama when the adult female bird stopped visiting this nest. This was almost certainly due to the bird’s death at sea, possibly due to predation by a large fish or a tiger shark.
“Normally, the loss of one of the adults means that the remaining adult will not be able to properly feed the chick, which will slowly lose weight and be unable to develop and fly successfully unless we did not intervene and take charge of the chick. feed it.
“The male bird of this pair, however, is an exceptionally healthy and vigorous bird who has experience in raising several successful fledged chicks, and for the next two months, has been able to perform one to one. three feeding visits almost every day!
“This was when the value of regular weekly chick growth checks was highlighted, as I was able to confirm that not only was the chick fed enough squid and flying fish to grow normally. with an above average body weight, but the adult male bird was also able to catch enough food to maintain his own body condition at normal weight.
“It’s very rare that a single adult can be successful and to put this feat in context, the male did a better job of feeding and caring for the chick than most adult pairs, working together, are capable of. to do. .
“Even though our ‘Tropicbird Cam’ chick is now gone and has flown out to sea, the Tropicbird Breeding Success Survey, which has been conducted annually for 16 years [since 2006] is only halfway. Each year for this survey, I monitor over 300 tropical bird nesting sites at ten study sites around the eastern half of Bermuda.
“This is because Bermuda is home to the largest breeding population of subtropical seabird species in the Atlantic Ocean. [over 3500 breeding pairs], which makes it a population of international importance for the species. During this survey, the reproductive success rate and the number of fledged chicks are recorded. And all adult birds and chicks that can be safely reached are fitted with corrosion resistant identification rings, to ensure that individual birds can be positively identified throughout their lives. Additionally, a subset of chicks are weighed and measured each week as a study of chick growth rates, in order to assess the relative annual productivity of the ocean around Bermuda.
“So far, as of July 4, I have been able to visit about 250 of the 321 study nests. Although I did not ring the chicks until they were at least half their growth, it was possible to ring 76 chicks and 14 adult tropical birds, and I hope to continue this work until the last chicks fly from late September to early November.
“Bermuda was hit by 2 hurricanes in the latter part of the study period last year, and a lot of work had to be done this season to repair damaged nests so that birds [both Cahows and Tropicbirds] could use them. Hopefully hurricanes will give Bermuda a big place in 2021! “
“To learn more and watch all the videos from this season, visit: http://www.nonsuchisland.com/live-tropicbird-cam”
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