The Big Picture

Birds of the same feather

Check out these chicks, or rather flamingo chicks.

Around 600 of them waited to be tagged and checked before being released at a lagoon at the Fuente de Piedra nature reserve, in the town of Fuente de Piedra in southern Spain, last Saturday.

The tagging operation - to record and monitor the evolution of the species - has been an annual rite for nearly 30 years, involving hundreds of volunteers.

The birds are corralled at dawn, after which they are individually fitted with identity rings, weighed, measured and blood drawn, with the aim of amassing information on the conservation of the species as well as the wetlands .

Since 1986, nearly 190,000 flamingos have been born at the nature reserve, which is located north of the port city of Malaga. This year, 13,000 hatchlings were added to the colony, according to Olive Press, Spain's daily English news website.

The main attraction of the lagoon, which covers an area of 13 sq km, is the large colony of pink flamingos that use it for breeding annually. The birds have been described as one of the largest colonies of flamingos in Europe, according to the authorities of the nature reserve. It is also a haven for other birds, with more than 170 species recorded there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2015, with the headline 'Birds of the same feather'. Print Edition | Subscribe