Birdworld delighted to support the Great Bustard Group’s best ever year

Staff at Birdworld are today celebrating the Great Bustard Group’s announcement that the charity has had its best ever year. The park is delighted to support the group in its work to bring the majestic Great Bustard back to Britain and has for the second year hatched the eggs for the GBG in their specialist incubation facilities.

The eggs are transported by the Great Bustard Group from Spain via Madrid Zoo to Birdworld where incubation is continued by Curator Duncan Bolton and his team. The eggs are measured and monitored, calculation data is recorded and analysed, and a record is kept for future reference. When the chicks hatch they are moved to a brooder, weighed and fitted with an ID ring, then monitored until they are transported to the Great Bustard Group’s rearing units on Salisbury Plain.

Rearing is carried out by staff wearing dehumanisation suits and using feeding puppets to prevent the young chicks becoming attached to humans. 2014 saw 33 birds released and a spring census showed a survival rate of over 50% through the first winter. This percentage is significantly better than the 22% which may be expected in a natural wild population.

2015 promises to be even better for the wild UK’s wild Great Bustard population, with four nests discovered in Wiltshire with wild hatched chicks already seen. At least 30 more young Great Bustards will be released this year. The UK wild population is growing steadily, and is getting closer to the point where it will be self sustaining and can continue to grow through natural reproduction.

This year’s release will bring the UK closer to this point and the Great Bustard now has a positive future once more in Britain and Birdworld is thrilled to play a part in this project. Find out more here.