It was a very special and exciting day at Potoroo Palace when one of the keepers discovered a baby curlew had been born.
Merimbula's native animal sanctuary had been caring for the two bush stone-curlew birds, an endangered species in NSW, for the last two years.
The love birds had been trying for years with no success, until the first week of November - when to the surprise of all, a little chick was found walking around the enclosure.
One of the animal keepers at Potoroo, Demi Grainger, said the female curlew had laid a "lot of eggs" since 2020, but none had ever hatched.
"We left the eggs be and waited the appropriate time then when she'd rejected them we took the eggs away. We just assumed they couldn't have babies," she said.
"Then one day one of our keepers went into the enclosure to feed them and saw something small move and they were like 'wait is that a baby?'."
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Ms Grainger said the little curlew's arrival had brought much excitement to the staff at Potoroo Palace.
"The chick is thriving and quite energetic," she said.
Ms Grainger said the parents were very protective of their first baby, and they even made sure to "escort our keepers back out" of the enclosure.
"They just hold their wings out and walk towards you while making this horrid screeching sound to let you know that they're big and scary," she said.
"One of our keepers acts scared and leaves the enclosure to help them feel better."
Ms Grainger said the chick had already started picking up the necessary behaviours to survive which included a very comical defence mechanism in which they pretended to be a stick.
"Bush-stone curlews will lay flat like a stick and just stay really still until something gets too close to them and they'll run away and then drop again like a stick," she said.
"It's really funny watching the baby do it because he's so little," she added.
Ms Grainger said visitors may find it hard to spot the baby chick when it's pretending to be a stick.
"I guess it's kind of like a 'Where's Wally?' situation, where you got to try and spot him camouflaging in the leaf litter," she said with a laugh.
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