Brood of chough chicks hand-reared by Jersey keepers

Red-billed chough chicks being fed by hand Image copyright Durrell
Image caption The four chicks are being fed on an almost hourly basis

A brood of red-billed choughs is being hand-reared by wildlife keepers in Jersey after last year's chicks were all lost.

Four chicks are being fed on an almost hourly basis by staff at Durrell Conservation Trust who have to take them home at night.

The birds are part of a conservation effort to re-populate Jersey with the native bird species.

Rick Jones, of Durrell, said the chicks were "noisy and voracious".

"Last year we lost all the chicks and that can't happen this year so we've decided to hand-rear," he said.

"They're in an incubator and they're fed every hour and fifteen minutes.

"You wouldn't believe the dedication you have to have to be a bird keeper, especially this time of year."

Image copyright Liz Corry
Image caption The red-billed chough has not thrived in Jersey for more than a century

Conservation biologist Glyn Young heads the breeding project, which started in 2010 and began returning birds to the wild last year after an absence from the island of more than a century.

"They haven't fledged yet so they're still very small," he said.

"They're in a box together instead of a nest and being fed by a human instead of a chough. They should be fledged next month.

"Choughs haven't been hand-reared very often by us or anyone else."

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