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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Get the bug for Cornish choughs
A chough at Paradise Park before its release
The park is waiting for 13 chough eggs to hatch
A bird sanctuary is asking people to collect wild bugs to help feed its three pairs of Cornish choughs.

The six birds are part of Operation Chough at Paradise Park in Hayle - a project to return the birds, the county's national symbol, to the wild.

They have laid a total of 13 eggs, the most that have ever been laid there.

The park said the breeding success of the choughs was mainly down to a new method of feeding the young birds "wild caught" food.

The chough, a member of the crow family, has distinctive red legs and a long, red bill.

BUGS WANTED
Ants and ants nests
Woodlice, earwigs
Beetles, centipedes
Small spiders, millipedes

In the 19th Century, there were more than 100 pairs in the county but the bird vanished after its food source dried up because of a decline in cliff top grazing and the use of pesticides.

The wild food the birds at the park are fed is very close to the food choughs would find for themselves on the coast.

One nest of five chicks is due to hatch this weekend with the other two set to hatch a short time later so there will soon be 13 new mouths to feed.

The park's Nick Reynolds said they do buy bugs for the birds but wild bugs like woodlice and ants were better.

"We can buy food in for them but it's not quite as good," he said.

BUGS NOT WANTED
Slugs, snails, worms
Caterpillars, butterflies, moths
Bees, wasps

"Now we need the public's help to collect things like woodlice, ants, millipedes and centipedes."

Mr Reynolds said his father Mike, who founded the park and died last week at the age of 76, would be "thrilled" with how many eggs had been laid.

"This work with the choughs is part of his legacy."

Mr Reynolds said they hoped to eventually be able to release the choughs, which were kept away from the public.

The exclusive pictures of the choughs will be shown on BBC South West's Spotlight programme at 1830 BST on Thursday.


SEE ALSO
Tributes to parrot park founder
17 Apr 07 |  Cornwall
Chough pairs in breeding success
25 Sep 04 |  Cornwall
Released choughs die
01 Sep 03 |  Cornwall
Dispute over release of choughs
07 Aug 03 |  Cornwall
Chough chicks to fly nest
11 Jun 03 |  Cornwall
Rare chough chicks hatch
09 May 03 |  Cornwall

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