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NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Eggs and chicks

All babies have a high “cuteness factor”, and chicks are especially unique little fluffballs

In Summary

• Birdwatching is fascinating, especially when they have eggs or tiny chicks

A purple gallinule feeds a chick
A purple gallinule feeds a chick
Image: GARETH JONES

Over the years, we have enjoyed so many aspects of the Nairobi National Park, always with an air of expectation and anticipation, mixed with the excitement of what could possibly be seen.

There is always something wonderfully special about watching birds, especially when they have eggs or tiny chicks, perhaps because they represent new life. With over 500 species of birds recorded in the park, there is no shortage of species resident and breeding in the park. The bird species range from seed eaters, water birds, raptors, insect eaters, sunbirds, and so on.

In order to have a special “baby bird moment”, it is useful to note a few tactics that have certainly been very rewarding for me over the years. Firstly, find a place where there are a number of bird species thriving. Wetland places like the Hyena dam, Athi dam, Naglomon dam and No 10 murram pits are typical rewarding locations.

Secondly, sit quietly and observe the various species for at least 15 minutes. This is because the parent birds instinctively hide the chicks when they feel threatened, and noises like motor vehicles tend to reduce possible sightings. However, if you sit very quietly, we have noted that many species start to behave naturally. That is when we have experienced most of our “baby bird moments”.

Chicks are often completely different from the adults, as they are created with natural camouflage to increase their possibility of survival, as they have high mortality in the wild. Likewise, wild bird eggs are very often camouflaged with blending patterns to make them almost invisible to predators.

All babies have a high “cuteness factor”, and chicks are especially unique little fluffballs. So why not try something different and try to have a “baby bird moment”?