New life at the farm

The curlews’ long wait through cold wind and torrential rain has paid off – they’ve got a brand new chick.

One day old curlew chick on its first walk with parent curlew
One day old curlew chick on its first walk with parent curlew

Here’s how the new arrival went down….

Yesterday, the curlews suddenly began making a lot of noise, calling to each other excitedly.  I thought maybe (maybe!) the eggs had hatched.  But the curlew sitting on the nest didn’t get up, I couldn’t see any chicks, and life in curlew-world continued as usual.  With nothing changed, I figured something else must’ve been going on to make the birds act up.

Later, as the sun was going down, my husband had to walk past the nesting curlew to access the water pump down at the creek.  The curlews, who’ve always been incredibly placid, were not impressed at all; both birds stood up, held their wings outstretched and began hissing.  That was unexpected!  After he passed, the birds resumed their places – one on the nest, the other standing guard.

When hubby got back to the house, he said when the nesting curlew had stood up he’d caught sight of the eggs.  One of the eggs had cracked open and he thought he’d seen something feathery that wasn’t moving.  The other egg was still whole.  He figured the egg that’d cracked open was probably unsuccessful and the chick had died.  As the curlews were holding firm, still waiting for the other egg to hatch, we thought there might still be a chance for the second chick.

Early this morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw the curlews in the same position as yesterday – one on the nest, one standing guard.  No change, I sighed, and wondered how long the poor things were going to stand out there before they gave up…Then I noticed movement around the feet of the guard curlew – just the slightest something moving about the grass.  I looked a bit harder and saw it again.  Grabbing the camera I zoomed in for a look.  It was a chick!  A teeny tiny little fluffy thing bumbling and fumbling about the feet of its parent – seriously, seriously cute!  After about fifteen minutes of this, the curlew sitting on the nest stood up and the three of them walked off together.

The parent curlews have spent the day hovering over the chick, allowing it some time to get up and run about but often squatting down over top of it and drawing their wings around it protectively anytime they hear a sudden noise.

As they’ve been showing no further interest in the nesting site, I took a walk past for a closer look.  As you can see from the pic below, left in the old ‘nest’ is an unhatched egg.  I’m guessing as the curlews have left the egg for this long they won’t be coming back for it.

The abandoned curlew egg
The abandoned curlew egg

The new chick must’ve come from the broken egg hubby had seen the day before.

It’s sad seeing the whole egg there, unhatched and abandoned, but after the bad weather we’ve had I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d ended up with no chicks at all.  Not an entirely happy ending, but not all bad either.

And now for some pics of the new family…

Spot the chick hiding between the parent curlew's legs
Spot the chick hiding between the parent curlew’s legs
Off for a walk - the chick leading the way
Off for a walk – the chick leading the way

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