Video: Cahow Chick Hatches Live On Camera

March 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

As the Nonsuch Expeditions team and viewers from around the world watched online, a Cahow chick in burrow #831 hatched at approximately 12.00am on Friday, February 28, officially launching the 2020 CahowCam season.

This the eighth season that the team has been live streaming from the underground nesting burrows on Nonsuch Island, during which tens of millions of minutes of footage have been watched by scientists, students, and followers via nonsuchisland.com.

Cahow chick’s first health check:

Jeremy Madeiros, Principle Conservation Officer [Terrestrial Conservation], Department of Environment & Natural Resources, said, “As the end of February approached, we began to prepare for the first Cahow chicks to begin hatching, as this usually occurs around the 26th to 28th of the month.

“Cahow eggs take from 50 – 55 days to hatch after being laid and incubated in turns by both adult birds.

“Sure enough, in the early morning hours of 28th February, 2020, an eagle-eyed viewer spotted the first signs of a pip, or small hole in the shell of the egg in the “CahowCam 1″ [R831] nest on Nonsuch Island, which is the first sign that a chick is beginning the often lengthy process of breaking out of the eggshell.

“By 3.00pm that afternoon, the pip was getting larger and the chick could easily be heard cheeping from inside the egg.

Cahow Chick Hatches Bermuda March 2020 (1)

“By 11.18pm that evening, the egg was splitting apart across the top, and by 11.40pm the chick was clearly emerging. At 11.51pm, the chick was mostly out of the egg, but still wearing the shell on its posterior like a diaper.

“The chick then fully emerged shortly after. The adult bird incubating the egg during the hatching then gently preened the chick and brooded it until its down had dried out and the chick assumed its normal fluffy appearance.

“I managed to get out with JP Rouja to Nonsuch Island on the following day, Saturday, February 29, where we found that the CahowCam 1 chick was one of four Cahow chicks that had already hatched on Nonsuch. I was also able to confirm that it was the male bird [band no. E0197] that was with the chick during the hatching, and that the 14-hour old chick already weighed 54 grams.

“Since a newly hatched Cahow chick weighs between 34-39 grams, it had obviously already been fed by its father. It was also clear that the male had been incubating the egg for some time and was probably on the verge of being relieved by the female, as its own weight was down to 305 grams, compared to 421 grams when it first arrived in early January to begin sharing egg incubation duties with the female bird.

Cahow Chick Hatches Bermuda March 2020 (2)

“At 4.00am the following morning, after feeding the chick again, the male left the nest burrow, and was seen departing to sea on the surface cam shortly afterwards at 4.07am. After spending its first day alone, the chick was then joined by the female bird, which arrived in gale-force winds as soon as darkness fell at 6.59pm on the night of March 1.

“We were relieved to see the mother begin bonding immediately, preening and feeding the chick and then staying over in the nest with it the rest of the night and the following day.”

For more information or to observe the CahowCam, visit nonsuchisland.com.

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