First ever pelican eggs laid at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: First ever pelican eggs laid at Birdland in Bourton First ever pelican eggs laid at Birdland in Bourton

A PAIR of pelicans have started laying eggs for the first time at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-water.

So far the pink-backed pelicans have laid two eggs and keepers are confident a third is on its way.

It is believed to be the first time ever that pelicans have produced eggs at Bourton's Birdland and staff are cautiously optimistic that the eggs are fertile and will eventually hatch out.

They have carefully placed the real eggs in an incubator and replaced them in the nest with dummy eggs due to concerns the parents could accidentally break them.

Head keeper Alistair Keen said: “We took the decision to remove the eggs after the male was spotted standing on one of them and we did not want to take the risk of losing them.

“This is a new pair of birds which only arrived at Birdland earlier this year and, as far as we know, they have not bred before.

“They have been displaying and nest building ever since they were introduced to the enclosure towards the end of March, so we were keeping a close eye on them and came in on Saturday morning to find the egg.

“A second arrived soon after and it now looks likely a third is on its way,” he said.

Pelican eggs usually take around a month to hatch but keepers should be able to see if they are fertile within 10 days.

Pink-backed pelicans are found in Africa, southern Arabia and India. They get their name from the fact that some individuals have a pinkish colouring to the feathers on their backs.

The birds have a wingspan of close to two-metres and their beaks can be nearly 40 centimetres long.

With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from the UK’s only colony of king penguins and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.

Visit birdland.co.uk for more.

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