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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Sad flamingo tries to hatch stone
Andy the flamingo
Andy tried to incubate a pebble which he had mistaken for an egg
A lonely and confused male flamingo has caused a flap at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire.

Andy, an Andean flamingo, spent a fortnight trying to incubate a pebble which he has mistaken for an egg.

Wardens at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge first thought the 40-year-old bird had injured himself.

Nigel Jarrett, a bird nesting expert, said: "The birds are very attentive and do make excellent fathers, but this is above and beyond the call of duty."

Mr Jarrett eventually replaced the pebble with a wooden replica of a flamingo egg.

Two weeks on, Andy is still there, leaving the "egg" for only an hour a day when he goes to feed.

Mr Jarrett said: "We let Andy sit on the replica in case a female flamingo for some reason rejected her own egg.

"We could have then placed the rejected egg under Andy for him to incubate as an alternative parent."

Breeding season

Mr Jarrett believes Andy's broodiness is down to his body being full of hormones at the end of the breeding season.

"He doesn't seem to have a mate. It's possible that he did have a partner and for some reason their egg didn't survive as they can be snatched by gulls and crows.

"His mate may have left after the egg disappeared, but Andy may still not have noticed and carried on, thinking the pebble was a prospective chick."

Scheme hatched for flamingo eggs
15 May 04  |  Gloucestershire

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