I still get a lot of questions regarding the “rare” Love Birds. So I decided to go through some of the material that I had gathered. For this article, I’ve decided to provide the information we’ve acquired on the Red-faced (Agapornis pullaria). Yes, I am aware that the “powers that be” have changed the Latin term to Agapornis pullarius in order to avoid being attacked by some of our elite members, but being rather old and obstinate, I still like the names I have used for the previous 40 years.
Before I begin, it is worth noting that the Red-faced Love Bird has been held in captivity for the longest of all Love Bird species. The Red-faced may be traced back to the sixteenth century as a pet, according to both the Duke of Bedford’s book “Parrots and Parrot-like Birds” and E.N.T. Vane’s “Guide to Lovebirds and Parrotlets.”
A picture of an English lady with a Red-faced as a pet may be found. Even after all of this time in captivity, it is still regarded as one of the most difficult Love Birds to breed.
According to E.N.T. Vane, the following is the basic description of the Red-faced:
- Distribution: Western and Equatorial Africa are home to this species.
- Adult male: Bright green on the outside, paler on the inside. Green tail feathers with black and crimson markings. Scarlet face, vivid blue upper rump, and black underwing coverts. The bill is brilliant crimson. 6-inch total length
- Adult female: Unlike the male, the underwing coverts are green, and the red patch of the face has a more orange color and is generally smaller. The rump is less blue.
- Immature: Green with a touch of blue on the rump and a touch of yellow on the brow, around the beak, and on the neck.
- Species: Agapornis pullaria pullaria – West Abyssinia (near the Omo River), Uganda, and Rwanda, between 1,500 and 4,500 feet at the higher elevation west of Lakes Albert, Edward, and Kivu. Agapornis pullaria guineensis – West Africa, from Sierra Leone to North Angola, and all the way through Central Africa to Lake Albert.
Breeding The Red-faced Lovebird [Agapornis Pullaria] In South Africa
In 1956, I was lucky to get a pair of these birds from a friend, who had gotten them from a visiting ship’s sailor. It is probably unknown in England that importing exotic birds into South Africa is a tough and expensive operation.
However, I was eager to attempt breeding from this couple and, after consulting various ornithological treatises on the issue, concluded that providing a nesting place comparable to that utilized by the birds in their natural form would result in success. The couple was released in an aviary 24 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 7 feet high, together with a variety of seed eaters and waxbills.
When breeding, most aviculturists in Cape Town offer live food for their birds by providing a termite that produces mounds of black dirt. These are abundant in several areas of the Peninsula and are an efficient way of delivering essential food material throughout the breeding season.
With knowledge from Cave and Macdonald’s Birds of Sudan, I chose to utilize many of these termite nests strategically placed in the aviary as probable nesting locations. The couple first paid little attention to these ant hills, but after approximately a week, I saw that some burrowing had occurred. The burrowing continued until the couple succeeded in tunneling completely through the ant mound! This occurred in each instance, and since the weather was dry and warm (it being November), the nests collapsed and were destroyed completely.
I was going to attempt again when I was forced to dismantle my aviary and dispose of my birds due to unforeseen circumstances. My neighbor, David Dale, brought this couple over and freed them in an aviary 30 ft. by 12 ft. by 10 ft. high with a shelter 12 ft. by 6 ft. by 10 ft. at the southern end, housing a mixed collection of finches and waxbills, as well as some Barbary Doves. Knowing about my failure with ants’ nests, he decided to try cork cubes. Two 12 in. by 10 in. by 3 in. cork pieces were connected together, resulting in an overall dimension of 12 in. by 10 in. by 6 in. This substantial material was then enclosed on five sides by 3/8 in. planking and hung at the aviary’s north end, entirely open. Nothing occurred until March when the female was seen burrowing through the cork slab. This continued for a few days until a deep hole was formed and the hen vanished completely. My acquaintance was really upset when the hen went missing for almost four weeks. He was certain she had perished in the nest, so he violated the golden avicultural taboo by removing the nestbox and gingerly peeping inside. To his surprise, the hen shot out, and to his dismay, he saw two unfledged babies in the nest, both dead!
It should be noted that the year 1958 was unusually dry for the Cape Province. In reality, we had a stretch of warm, sunny days virtually throughout winter, thus the nest box stayed dry and untouched by rain.
In this case, the nest was made out of a tunnel that traveled through the cork until it reached the wooden rear of the box, then twisted to one side and built a little oval chamber.
This year, Mr. Dale tried again, constructing a totally new cork nest site in a similar area and with the same exterior design. In early February, the couple resumed digging and created an entrance about 1 1/2 in. in diameter. As previously, this stretched all the way through the cork to the rear of the covering box. However, this time the tube climbed vertically and over to the front, where the breeding chamber was built. Another intriguing aspect of their behavior this time was that the hen did not hide away in her nest as she had previously done, but was spotted leaving the nest twice a day to be fed by the cock. The male was also seen bringing little bits of a creeper (often known as the Morning Glory) to the nest beneath its mantle.
By the first week of March, it was safe to assume that breeding activities had begun in earnest. The hen began to leave the nest more often and for longer lengths of time at the beginning of April. She also began to feed herself. Both the male and female made frequent visits to the nest and stayed there at night. Hilly, the first young bird to leave the nest, fledged on May 30th, despite the fact that no sound of young had been heard. This juvenile flew well and had a somewhat darker green body color than his parents. The head was orange, and the bill was light orange with a black tip. On June 3rd, a second youngster exited the nest, this one with a deep red head and streaks of black on the underwing, indicating that it is a male. At this point, I should explain that this year has been one of the wettest in years, with the nest exposed to a steady deluge for days on end. Mr. Dale fully anticipated the young to drown in the nest; nevertheless, on June 6th, a third chick fled the nest, and on June 11th, a fourth. This looked to be the entire nest of young, but to Mr. Dale’s amazement, a fifth youngster has now arrived (14th June) and is being fed by the parents at the nest entrance.
A seed blend of yellow manna, Japanese manna, Canary seed, and golden millet was given to the birds.
Successful Breeding In Europe Of The Red- Faced Lovebird [A.P. Pullaria] In 1976/77
This paper is intended to provide the necessary knowledge to eventually establish the Red-faced as an aviary-raised bird in Southern Europe, California, and most other countries. During the 1976/77 breeding season, a few juvenile birds were reared in the aviaries of my brother and myself in Lisbon, Portugal. We are therefore exposing the fundamental basis for successful breeding because we would be delighted to assist parrot breeders in firmly establishing this species in Aviculture.
The birds were still breeding when Part I of this article was written (February 1977). Part II will detail each pair’s unique breeding performance, including the size and shape of each nest.
New color mutations will be accessible soon since they have been spotted on two occasions and this subspecies has a high frequency of color divergence.
The NEST is a critical success component (size, shape, materials used, construction method).
Certain of the information addressed in this study may be important to some breeders as well.
Breeding season – In Europe, the regular breeding season begins towards the end of summer. During that time, the large nest transforms into something more than a nest. It’s really a dorm and a hiding spot. The males spend the night inside the nest with the ladies and their offspring. When disturbed, all of the birds, including the males, will flee inside the nest. During cold weather, the birds will spend the majority of the daylight within the nest.
The following are the local conditions: Each pair has an aviary covered on top at both ends. The nest is at one end, while the food and aviary corridor is at the other. The weather was mild and wet, with temperatures never dropping below 4 degrees Celsius and averaging 9 degrees Celsius at night and 13 degrees Celsius during the day.
A few additional males are housed in an outdoor aviary near the mating pairs without roosting nests, indicating that cold tolerance was well developed.
- Parent Stock Is Available
My first bird was a Red-faced lovebird around 30 years ago. I’ve always been drawn to lovebirds, but I didn’t keep this one owing to the practical difficulty of reproducing.
In January 1975, I got an unexpected phone call asking whether I was willing to have 200 Red-faced “Imported” from Portuguese African Territories. I was taken aback, and the importation turned out to be the largest and last I heard about. A special acclimatization chamber was set up, and the birds were given particular care and maintained in tight quarantine. They were in bad shape, having had the flying feathers on one wing severed.
I was informed to anticipate a 50% to 75% fatality rate. I did all I knew to keep the birds alive, and I was fortunate that just 25% perished, the majority of which were mature birds.
Early that summer, I relocated all of the birds to various outside aviaries. I had separated around 40 of the really young chicks by that point. They had very little orange on their brows. At the time of importation, some of them were being fed by a few adult cocks.
With 40 baby birds to begin with and a moderate environment, I realized I had probably been handed the final opportunity to conduct breeding experiments and test all conceivable nest materials.
When compared to adult birds, the young were not as wild. If you didn’t hold the cock birds too tightly, they wouldn’t bite your hand. When they bite, it is not painful, although the females have a stronger beak.
Aside from the juveniles, I chose a couple of remarkable adult birds for myself, including a deeper green male and another with a yellow and red forehead. They partnered with young females in an outdoor aviary.
I sent a number of birds to Japan, then allowed the remaining birds to couple up on their own and sent numerous genuine pairs to Denmark, England, Spain, Brazil, and, of course, others in Portugal.
- Description of the Bird
To Forshaw’s description, I must add the following: Females have an orange forehead and face region, although on a lesser scale than males. The orange intensity varies greatly; some are red-orange, while others are green or yellow-orange. Only one female has the male’s red color.
The most vital food is a sweet apple, which should be present at all times. It’s worth noting that the peel must be removed in a few places otherwise the birds will not start eating the apple.
Every three days, green foods such as New Zealand spinach stems and wild grasses are also offered.
The most crucial thing is to hang the green food and apples on the side wire since this species will not eat from the aviary floor. I’ve never seen birds on the floor before.
Sunflower is also essential during cold weather and for child raising. Millets and canary seeds are also necessary. Bread and milk should be crucial, yet my birds don’t consume much of either. Aside from milk, some animal protein may be necessary since I assume the hen ate a few termite eggs pupee during the nest excavation. Some like nibbling on pelleted chicken feed.
- Size of Aviary and Nest Positioning
The size of the aviary is unimportant. The nest should be suspended in the shade, 5 to 10 inches above the ground, and as far away from humans as possible.
I have a tame couple that has the nest 3 feet away from the passageway. If the nest is against the end wire, the entry hole should face the aviary door, since this gives the birds a feeling of security. For the same reason, I hung a 2 x 24-inch piece of plywood 3 feet away from the nest to shield the nest hole from prying eyes. This is used by the birds as a balancing perch.
- 75 / 76 Breeding Season Outcomes
1st – Breeding in a colony is very difficult since females that have been together for a year would murder each other when the nest is offered and the mating season begins. Before I came to this decision, three fine girls were lost over the season.
2nd – Peat or compacted grass, since dried nest material is too dusty.
3rd – Rotted wood logs have low insulating properties.
4th – Ten nests of various forms, sizes, and materials were not utilized by the birds because they were created with an entry hole and a tunnel; we now believe the female must dig the tunnel herself.
5th – During that season, the perfect nest size and form were not discovered.
6th – The breeding season begins at the end of summer with the first rains and continues through the winter.
7th – One-year-old birds can couple, and they most likely mate for life.
- Conclusions for 1976
At the completion of the 1975/76 season, there were few favorable judgments. I contacted numerous Indians and eventually located one who had some experience capturing wild Red-faced in the nest. I was certain that if I had firsthand knowledge of the natural nest, I would be able to replicate it. I discovered for the first time in a natural nest that the tunnel runs straight in for a few inches, then twists up, and ultimately finishes on a large fist-size chamber not far from the top of the termite nest. The termite nest is fairly sturdy and impenetrable on the exterior wall, but not so much on the interior.
The termite nest is typically 2 to 3 feet tall.
For protection, the birds choose the tallest trees with termite nests, and for the same reason, they hang their heads down since they can fly away at a much faster-starting speed when disturbed.
With all of this knowledge, plus the 75/76 season findings, and a few fascinating hints in the articles that came in the April 76 edition of The Parrot Society Magazine, we began creating 14 cork nests of various shapes and sizes to be utilized in the next season, September 76.
The native also gave me an intriguing anecdote from his town. They claim the birds have a “formal deal” with the termites in which the termites allow the birds to use their home in exchange for the birds leaving one egg and one young bird behind. This tale demonstrates how occasionally the parent birds abandon the final fledgling bird.
As there are currently only two young birds out of the nests and I have not yet opened any nests, I will write the second part of this article in three or four months giving full details on the size and shape of each nest with a cross-section of each tunnel, as well as the individual breeding results of each pair, so that further conclusions can be reached in time for the 77/78 breeding season.
- The start of the breeding season
I said in Part I of this essay that the breeding season begins at the end of Summer. Last week, on July 10th, it was discovered that two or three females were producing eggs. That was a wonderful surprise because it suggests that the birds are gradually shifting their breeding season from winter to spring, or that they are just used to the old nest. In any event, this bodes well for the Red-future faced as an aviary breeding species. We have 8 breeding couples this season, with 4 pairs using the same nest as previously.
- Description and behavior of a young bird
The fledgling birds emerged from the nest in full plumage. The beak is pale brown and will become yellow and crimson in a few weeks. On a tiny scale, the forehead and face region appear golden green. The region grows swiftly, and after two weeks, the yellow becomes orange. The immature bird develops adult plumage around the age of 4 or 5 months. When disturbed, the baby bird will return to the nest. For nearly a month, they fly extremely slowly, hovering like a sunbird.
- The size of the aviary
The size of the aviary is not a major consideration. The exact sizes of the successful breeding parents’ aviaries are No. 1: length: 2.5 m (8 1/2), height: 2 m (6 1/2), and width: 0.75 m (2 1/4). No. 2 – Length: 3 m (10′) height: 2 m (6′ 1/2) width: 0 m (2′ 3/4). In one aviary, I had to install double netting on the side wall to keep the females from biting each other’s nails.
- Material, proportions, and building process of the nest
Cork is the best substance discovered since it is readily dug by the female and, more importantly, it is a very excellent insulator. The nest must be effectively insulated so that the warm air within the nest chamber does not escape to the outside via the nest wall.
It’s fascinating to read the Parrot Society 76 issue and see why Herr Blome was unsuccessful, especially when he states, “I was fortunate in that the nest chamber was below the lid, allowing me to glimpse into it.” Our nests contain a 6″ x 8″ x 8″ or 6″ x 6″ x 8″ core piece of regular-density cork. The female uses this center component to complete the tube and chamber. This core block may be constructed from horizontal layers of 3″ or 4″ panels or as a single unit. The core block is then completely coated on all six sides with 2″ or 2 1/2″ high-density cork panels (harder cork conglomerate).
This final piece of information might be the key to effective Red-faced breeding. The insulating panels must fit snugly against one another to prevent hot air from escaping to the outside. Elastic adhesive (patex kind) is utilized to cover any gaps between each panel surrounding the nest. If these tougher cork panels are not available, the core block may be totally covered with thin plywood, which can then be coated with a hard and very excellent insulating material with a thickness of at least 2″. One of the bigger sides is selected as the front, and a tiny hole at the bottom is constructed for the perch. Several holes are made in the high-density cork just above the perch, making it simple for the female to dig the entrance. If plywood is utilized, a 2″ diameter hole must be drilled in it to serve as the nest entrance. To hang the nest, two wires may be wrapped around it.
- The nest tunnel’s shape
The tunnel’s form changes so much that showing a cross-section of one of them is pointless. The tunnel will usually go virtually horizontally or up on a gradual incline until it hits the harder surface of the high-density cork, at which point it will turn up for approximately 4″ or 5″ and then turn to one side where the nest chamber is located. In around half of the situations, the tunnel will not be built. It just rotates to the right or left.
- Final breeding season results for 1976/77
Thirteen of the 14 pairings began breeding at separate times. The first was in early October, and the last was in December of 1976. On December 25th, the first fledgling emerged from the nest. That was around 90 days after the hen began digging the nest. Several dead and very young birds were found on the floor of the chamber amid the old eggs and cork residue after the tops of the nests were sawn off. The cork residue is an issue during the first year since the eggs are readily buried in that light substance. When the excavation is done and before the female begins to lay eggs, take the nest down and flip it upside down so that the cork leftovers fall out. You may lose one or two eggs, especially if you do not time this procedure well, but this is generally preferable to discovering all four or five eggs intact but buried in the cork residue.
I now believe that the females reuse the same nest chamber the following year, with no further excavation. The nest must be removed without causing any disturbance to the birds. We may let the birds fly to the hallway in our aviary by opening the top aviary entrance. We can lead the birds back into the aviary without disturbing them by using a flexible net. Great caution is essential since the female will have a large egg within her by that time. One or two females have discarded the old eggs, but the majority of females do not clean the nest chamber. During the season, three young birds fledged from the nest. The second chick fledged without complete plumage (perhaps one week early) and perished one day after leaving the nest owing to heavy rain. That specific aviary was underserved. They were separated from their parents at 4 months of age and placed in their own aviary.
- When to remove the nest
The parents (and young) utilize the old nest as a dormitory all year. Breeders should then remove the nest as soon as the weather warms up (April?). The nest should be cut apart with a saw blade to remove a 4 “Remove top layer. The nest chamber should then be readily cleaned; a moderate pesticide should be sprayed in the chamber and tunnel, and the chamber should be washed with warm water and soap a few days later. When fully dried (10 days?) the top four “The layer must be attached (patex type), and the entry hole must be entirely or partly covered with a tiny cylinder or cube of normal density cork. Because the perch is in the same location, right below the entrance, the female will dig in the same location. The nest should be maintained within the home, and care should be taken to ensure that mice do not find this wonderful nesting location. The nest should be put in the aviary around May or June, and the female will begin digging at the entrance as soon as the mating season begins, which might be as early as June or as late as December.
We intend to provide more information next spring, and we will gladly address any inquiries from breeders, ideally via the Parrot Society.
The Breeding Of Agapornis Pullarius In The Netherlands
The cock’s front and face are red-orange, while the rump is a clear blue and the remainder of the body is a vivid grass green. The hen wears an orange-yellowish mask on her face. A cock’s undercoverts are black, whereas a hen’s are green. Agapornis pullarius ugan- dae is a recognized subspecies. It has very identical coloring but varies mostly in having a fading rump color. (Editor’s Note: I’m presuming the sub-species is the same ‘guineensis’ mentioned above.)
The habitat of the pullarius is wide, extending from Guinea and Sierra Leone to southwest Eritrea and northwest Angola. Pullarius is found on broad grassy plains and breeds in May and/or October.
Termite mounds are where the birds breed. They excavate a 25-30 cm long tunnel through which the actual nest is discovered. That nest is about the size of a human hand.
In 1986, I purchased my first pair of pullarius, one from one importer and the other from another importer. Pair one survived for almost a week, whereas pair two perished within two days. The fun is over!
However, once bitten….
I discovered them again in 1992 at an import station and purchased two pairs. Unfortunately, they did not live long.
In 1994, I was fortunate to purchase two pairs from a friend who had retired from the bird breeding hobby. One couple had previously laid two eggs without hatching, so I was hoping for more. The first egg was laid in October 1995, and the clutch totaled six eggs. The eggs proved to be blank after the whole incubation time and were removed. The second batch of six eggs arrived three weeks later. To eliminate any danger, I removed the eggs and transferred them to a breeding pair of A. canus (Madagascar Love Birds) that was sitting on infertile eggs. All six were found to be fertile! Unfortunately, I had neglected the fact that A. canus incubates for roughly 20 days, but Pullarius requires 25 days. Results? The embryos perished in the egg when the canus hen left the nest.
On New Year’s Eve, the parents were most likely terrified. On New Year’s Day, I discovered them dead. The cock died a few months later when the second pair failed to produce eggs. The exercise is over.
I learned about pullarius from a dealer in February 1998. I quickly called him, dashed to his stores, and purchased three pairs. I suppose they were still very immature birds since they were not fully colored. That occurred a year later, in 1999. One of the birds perished immediately, but keeping five birds alive was already my first triumph!
The birds are kept in breeding cages that are one meter long, 50 cm high, and 40 cm deep. They are given a 14 x 14 x 14-centimeter nest box. A cork-filled spout stands in front of the entry hole. The box’s bottom is doubled up so that a thermostatically controlled heating unit may be installed as required.
- Is this the first breeding in the Netherlands?
I’d kept the birds for a year and a half by July 1999. I spotted one of the duo nibbling away at the cork. A week later, all of the cork has been removed, and I am now missing a hen. However, the first egg was not laid until August 18th. This clutch grew until there were five eggs in all. I left the birds to their own devices, and the hen began to incubate. I candled the eggs after 24 days (I hadn’t seen the hen at that time) and they were infertile. “Better luck next year,” I told myself as I plucked the eggs.
On October 20th, to my amazement, another egg was discovered, bringing the total to five. After 25 days, I heard a slight noise within the box, indicating the presence of a chick. I listened every day for 12 days and eventually located one child. It was banded right away with a 4 mm band. I noted that the hen spent most of her time outside the nest a few days later. Because there was only one hatchling, the nest might be rather frigid. I turned on the heater and maintained the temperature inside at about 25 degrees Celsius. The chick grew, and the cock performed the majority of the feeding. The hen and the male never joined the nest during the day, only at night. At night, everyone slept in the box.
After precisely seven weeks, the chick fledged and proved to be a hen. She returned to the box with her parents in the evening. The top bill of the newborn was black, and the face mask was little and yellowish in hue. She was about the same size as an adult hen. I removed her in February and caged her with an imported cock I had purchased a few months previously. They got along without incident.
- The feed
I feed my pullarius a standard Neophema seed combination supplemented with a lot of spray millet, sprouted seeds, egg food, different veggies, mealworms (usually not eaten but they did devour approximately 100 a day while feeding the chick), and willow branches (they prefer the branches of the curly willow). Freshwater, grit, granite, and oyster shell are constantly accessible. I’ve never seen a pullarius bathe, in stark contrast to my Tarantas (Abyssinians).
Perhaps my experiences can teach you anything. I can only hope that additional breeders would concentrate on this species and attempt to build a healthy supply of these living wonders.
Notes On Red-faced Love Bird
I’m sure you all read Lee’s piece on the Black-cheeked and the Nyasa in the latest issue with great interest, so I won’t go into detail about our African commerce in 1974. Hopefully, you recall that the cargo also included eight Red-faced Love Birds. All eight came to our house on January 2nd, fresh from quarantine. We were fortunate to have four hens and four cocks. As you are aware from the previous two posts, the birds are dimorphic, which makes matching the birds much easier. Each of the eight was put in one of our normal flights, which are 6 feet wide, 15 feet long, and 8 feet high. Heat lamps were given, and the birds seemed to be at ease. We went out the following day and examined each of our new arrivals, and everything seemed to be in order. They had discovered their meal dishes and were all eating the various seed mixtures. That night, I called David West and advised him to come down here right now if he wanted to witness actual pairs of Red-faced; otherwise, you never know what might happen.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you should never speak about a bird’s health because they can think you’re a liar. Unfortunately, our nighttime temps remained abnormally chilly, and all of the cock birds perished that night. Needless to say, horror set in the next morning when we came into the flight and saw four dead birds, all of which were of the same sex.
As the months passed, Spring came, and we were left with two lovely chickens. With the exception of a solitary male in the San Diego Zoo, we were aware that they were the only Red-faced in the United States. Rainer Erhart had sold this bird to Rick Smith, a young aviculturist in Los Angeles’ San Pedro neighborhood. Rick had lived near us while we were still in Los Angeles, so we phoned him. He had sent the bird to the Zoo in the hopes that it might find a mate, but it had not. Rick contacted the curator of birds, K.C. Lint, and asked that his bird be delivered to us. This happened in May of 1974.
The new lone cock bird joined the two hens in flight. Everyone seems to get along. We had provided them with every nesting sight we could think of. Boxes of various sizes and shapes, some filled with material, some empty, and one lovebird box filled with cork. We had purchased sheets similar to those used for putting up announcements and the like. Aside from the various sizes of boxes, our sole brilliant idea was to include the trunk of Queen Palm in the trip. We found one of the dead logs in an area near us where they had been used as street plants but had been neglected. We chopped the wood to an eight-foot length that would fit in the flight, drilled a few beginning holes in the log, and decided to let the birds fly.
Both chickens appeared to like the log and began tunneling. We eventually concluded they had to have gone deep within the log since the chickens would be missing for hours at a time. Unfortunately, the broodier of the two chickens decided she was ready just as the weather turned chilly again. I saw she was eggbound but had no idea what to do. Lee was out of town, and this had never occurred to any of our Love Birds before. In despair, I phoned Ethel Meyers in Los Angeles, who provided me with all the clues I needed to retrieve the egg. The hen recovered and finally returned to the flight.
One of the chickens died in the late spring of 1975. The remaining couple kept working on the log. Two or three egg nests were deposited in the log, but none of them hatched. Because of the tunnel’s complexity, we were never able to investigate the nest. We could have chopped the log into portions that could have been picked out for inspection before putting the log in the aircraft if we had known what they were going to do, but hindsight is usually a great late afterthought. The hen died the next year, while the cock bird survived for many years longer. When the flight was demolished following the death of the final hen, we split through the wood and discovered the last nest chamber with 5 nicely developed eggs that were viable.
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