Choughs fly off to Jersey
30th September 2016
Six Red-billed Choughs bred at Paradise Park have joined the release project in Jersey.
Paradise Park Director Alison Hales comments “Lee Durrell, Colin Stevenson and two members of staff came to collect the birds by plane at Perranporth airfield, as they have done in previous years. Doing this saves at least six hours travelling to Jersey via ferry. It’s great that in just a few hours the young choughs, after veterinary checks, were then in their release aviary on the coast of Jersey.”
In Jersey a total of ten Choughs fledged in 2016, four in the wild and six at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Paradise Park’s partner in the project. The six birds captive-bred in Jersey had already had a few weeks of freedom, but Liz Corry, Durrell’s Chough Re-introduction Field Manager had shut them into the large aviary so that they could be mentors for the new arrivals. All twelve are in the release aviary together and the whole group will soon be released to join the larger flock when their period of quarantine is over.
Ray Hales, Paradise Park Manager and chief chough enthusiast comments “It was incredibly gratifying to see the young birds we have raised heading off to be released. Just four months ago we were feeding and weighing these youngsters, and now they have left for Big School!”
This has been a particularly successful year for the project, which is part of ‘Birds on the Edge’ a collaboration between Durrell, the National Trust for Jersey and the States of Jersey. Alison Hales comments “With the additional release of twelve youngsters in 2016, the total number of birds living wild will be 36. There’s not much more wonderful sight to see than a flock of choughs wheeling above the coast then coming down to forage – a great incentive for further habitat improvement on the island.”
Both Paradise Park and Durrell achieved good captive breeding results, plus a record four wild chicks – only the second year that they have bred in the wild since the project started. The first one for a hundred years was hatched in 2015. ‘Dusty’ as he was named is living wild and has paired up with one of the females, so perhaps he will produce a second generation in 2017.
Monthly updates can be seen at http://www.birdsontheedge.org/
FROM LEFT: Bea Denton, Jessica Maxwell, Colin Stevenson, Alison Hales and Lee Durrell.