Four short weeks ago, this little egg was presented to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service after being found on the ground by a lovely passer by.
While eggs are sometimes abandoned by parents, or stolen by predators, it is always important to be sure mum and dad aren’t near by, and just taking a quick break.
This single egg was found on the ground with no birds, nests or other eggs to be seen.
After a quick assessment to be sure there were no cracks or dents the egg was set in an incubator, and the wait began…
After approximately 6 days in the incubator, we began to see some signs of life! In the first photo, you can see some very faint blood vessels beginning to develop. At this point, we were able to see it’s tiny heart beating inside of the egg.
Another week later, upon candling, we would see further development. A beautiful ‘spider-web’ of vessels had developed and the embryo can be seen in the middle.
Later down the track, as the time came to hatch, we noticed that our little embryo (now a rather large baby bird) had accidentally pipped (cracked his little shell) below the air cell and his little beak had not made it to the right spot. Normally, a little bird’s beak would puncture the air cell, where they would take their first breath. Unfortunately our little friend was a bit confused. Little chick lungs require a very delicate balance of gases as they adjust to the air they will breathe in the outside world, so errors like this can prove fatal for vulnerable hatching babies. While it can be very dangerous to assist baby birds in hatching, and should never be performed at home, this little one required an intervention.
After a tiny bit of help, this little one was back on his way to hatching normally. Over 24 hours later, in the middle of the night, we welcomed a fuzzy baby wood duck into the world. He has been resting peacefully since his big ordeal, and after a top-to-toe with the vets, he is now on his way to a wildlife carer.