LONDON — With its striking black and white plumage and elegant upturned bill, the avocet is one of the most distinctive birds. It’s also a great conservation success story for Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Their Web site explains, “Avocets used to breed along the coast from Sussex to Yorkshire, but regular taking of adults and eggs for food, egg collecting and taxidermy eventually led to their disappearance as a British breeding bird in 1842. But, thanks to the work of the RSPB, in 50 years avocets have gone from a handful to several hundred pairs.”
And, now a pair of avocets have set up a nest for the first time in London, only a couple miles from Notting Hill:
The birds have been drawing gasps of admiration from delighted onlookers at the nature reserve run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, not least because they hatched four chicks on 17 June.
The four chicks are growing fatter – they now look like avocet fluffy toys – and they are already past the stage where they can be harmed by bad weather. If they can stay safe for another three weeks or so they will fly, and may subsequently form the nucleus of an avocet colony at Barnes. (Independent)