NORTH HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Science, the environment, and school children are joining forces to battle Lyme Disease on Long Island.
Thanks to a ‘quail cam’ — part of a pilot program to hatch and raise tick devouring quail — all eyes are on a batch of Bobwhite Quail.
The tiny camera inside a Westbury incubator filled with the fragile eggs has biologists buzzing.
The northern Bobwhite quail are rare in the area, but used to be prevalent. Soon the native birds will be pecking for their favorite food, ticks.
Web Extra: Quail Cam — Incubator Live Stream
“These little things you find around here on Long Island are called ticks,” biologist ‘ranger’ Eric Powers explained to a group of students.
Last summer, Powers worked with North Hempstead to mount bat houses in parks to help control mosquitoes. This summer tick eating is their response to those worried about pesticide spraying.
“Lyme disease is a very serious condition, and people get it through deer ticks,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said, speaking exclusively with CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “These Bobwhite quails will in fact eat our deer ticks without causing any damage to our environment.”
There’s one more week to go until hatching.
“We have a thermometer in there, because it has to 9.5 degrees exactly,” North Hempstead TV studio director, Alan Ginsberg said.
The humidity levels must be kept at 40 to 70 percent, if it’s too dry they can’t peck out of the shells.
“Make sure they are moving properly, and all the chicks are alive and growing,” producer, Samantha Hollinde explained.
Once hatched, the tiny quail will grow and mature — nurtured by naturalists for 2 months.
Then the northern Bobwhites will be released into North Hempstead’s woods, trails, and aprks where ticks abound.
The eggs are due to hatch on Memorial Day.