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December 2019 – Aviculture

9 Jan 2020

Our Head of Species Manager, Chrissie, reflects on December

The aviculture team were extremely sad to lose our long-time friend, the late Professor David Bellamy OBE, who died on 11th December. David was an inspiration and so passionate about the work we are doing here at Pensthorpe. Bill Jordan has penned a blog post and tribute to David, and shared treasured photos of David’s time spent here at our reserve.

January is a key mating period for red squirrels so we have completed the movement and pairings, well in advance, giving time for the squirrels to get settled and acquainted with one another. It’s also a good time of year to ensure that they have plenty of warm bedding for when the cold snap arrives. Squirrels may not hibernate but they will stay in their drays for days at a time in exceptionally cold weather.


A photo of one of our aviculturists, Kat, having cuddles with our flamingo chick

At almost three months old the greater flamingo chick is doing well after being moved by our aviculture team, into a heated indoor area, to keep it warm over winter. It is self-feeding but is also still being fed crop milk, which is a curd-like, semi-solid substance created by its parents containing high levels of fat and protein. Around this age the bird will wean off crop milk and become fully reliant on self-feeding. As usual, we will keep a close eye on the chick’s feeding habits and ensure it is kept nurtured and warm throughout the cold months.