kingfisher eggs were admitted to the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital
(in Queensland) on the 6th of December. They were found by a
spotter/catcher working in the Redbank Plains area, on a piece
of land that had just been cleared.
The nest, a termite mound, had fallen. One egg wash smashed,
the three remaining eggs were damaged. The eggs were transported
to the RSPCA in the nest.
arrival, the eggs were assessed for viability, not just in regards
to fertility, but also the severity of the damage caused by
Fertility can be assessed using a method called candling, however
this should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary and
only by an experienced person.
all three remaining eggs sustained serious trauma, they were
considered worth a try as all embryos were still reasonably
active considering the trauma they had suffered.
eggs were repaired using nail polish, carefully sealing the
cracks, but being sure not to cover any more surface area than
necessary to ensure that we did not interfere with the gas exchange
through the shell.
It is not recommended that any repairs be undertaken without
the consultation of an experienced person as it may lead to
repaired the eggs were then set in an incubator, where their
temperature and humidity were closely monitored.
few short days later, the eggs entered an early stage of their
hatch known as drawdown. This stage involves a massive increase
in the size and shape of the air cell.
the chick pushes their beak through the inner membrane of the
egg and takes its first breath. As the oxygen supply is depleted,
muscle contractions occur, assisting the hatching process.
this is where our little guys stopped.
to the trauma, transport, handling and repairs undertaken during
rescue, the chicks were weak and disorientated. We closely monitored
the chicks’ activity for over 12 hours, ensuring we did not
interfere too soon.
noting no progress over such a long period, the chick movements
began to slow and it was apparent that the odds were against
needed help quickly!
it is not advised to attempt an assisted hatch without the supervision
of a very experienced person. It can easily result in the death
of the chick, and should not be taken lightly. Assisted
hatches are very delicate and time consuming.
After hours of work on each egg, we finally welcomed three reasonably
healthy kingfisher hatchlings.
natural hatch takes a massive tole on the tiny chick's body,
however in the long run it proves a very important and beneficial
task resulting in a stronger, healthier chick.
these babies were compromised from the start, extra care was
taken every step of the way, ensuring a hygienic environment,
adequate temperature and humidity, optimum nutrition and more.
kingfishers are currently twelve days old and while there have
been a few little bumps along the way, they are thriving and
changing every day.
their habitat was cleared, and so the hunt begins for a suitable
release site where they are able to live and breed safely.