Friday, May 28, 2010

Where's the 2nd Chick?!

A little over a week old and the chicks are starting to get mobile. This is the time we start to get anxious inquiries wondering why there is only one chick?! The simple answer is that the chicks can walk around and there are places in the front of the nestbox that the cam doesn't show. So, don't be alarmed - they are both still safe - if you don't see any chicks or just see one, it is because they are starting to wander and explore their surroundings outside of the view of the camera.
When they are out on an "excursion" there is no danger of them falling off of the building though - by looking at the ledgecam view you will notice the nestbox actually sets down in a recessed area of the ledge. The upper part of the ledge is a good 10 inches higher than where the nestbox is and at this young age the chicks cannot make it up that "step" so there is no danger of them getting anywhere close to the actual edge of the ledge where they might fall off.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Week Old!

I always like to post photos of milestones to help put into perspective how fast these birds grow. Here is a saved image at about one week of age. It is interesting also with the unhatched egg in the frame for comparison. Within a week they have at least tripled their size!

Unusually hot temperatures with clear skies (=brilliant sun on the ledge) this week has resulted in the chicks needing less brooding than they would normally get at this age. That allows us to get good looks at them doing what they do best: sleeping and pooping!

The unhatched eggs (if still present) will be removed from the nestbox at banding, which will likely be the week of June 7.

The students at Benjamin Harrison Elementary School in Marion County have submitted their choice of names for the chicks. Tomorrow a panel of wildlife enthusiasts will pick finalists from over 180 entries received. This group of names will be set up on a webpoll next week to allow the public to select the winning names. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Final Count: Two Chicks - Two Unhatched Eggs

The chicks aren't even a week old and they have already more than doubled in size. It is amazing how fast they grow! The nestbox is starting to get a little messy with feces. Soon, they will be pooping on the front of the camera housing and it may block our view. However, if the chicks stay towards the east end of the nestbox where they have been lately then perhaps the camera will stay cleaner longer!

There was concern yesterday that one of the chicks was "caught" at the rear of the box. Despite whatever was going on--if anything--all seems fine now.
If any of the remaining eggs were going to hatch, they would have by now. Scout may continue to brood them along with the chicks but as time goes on and the chicks continue to grow, the unhatched eggs will eventually be moved aside. It is possible the adults may even remove them from the nest.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Columbus Falcons in the Media

A lot of media has covered the hatching this week! I was interviewed yesterday by WBNS (10TV). WSYX (channel 6) will air an interview on tonight's newscast, plus they put a blurb on their Facebook page. There have also been blurbs in the Columbus Dispatch and other outlets as well.

Still waiting for another hatch...it is possible we could only have 2 chicks this year. The two chicks appear healthy and are eating well and only time will tell if we see another hatch...

For those of you who missed it, this video of the 2nd egg hatching was put together by Pascal Gerding in the Netherlands. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Still 2 - Trooper's Antics

Still only 2 of the eggs have hatched as of mid-afternoon today. There have been a lot of feedings and all looks normal. Here's a video clip from yesterday when Trooper was messing around with one of the egg shells. Some think it looks like Trooper was "wearing the shell like a hat." It was actually just momentarily caught on his beak--one of those awkward moments in nature that we aren't supposed to see!
video

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Second Chick and 1st Feed

Things are progressing well! The second chick hatched a little after 11 a.m. today, 5/19/10. The chicks were fed awhile later:

#2 on the Way...?

Nice picture sent in by Terry shows a very prominent pip!

1st Chick

The first chick revealed this morning, Wednesday, May 19th:All looks well. The chicks don't need to eat for at least a day or two after hatching, as they are still being nourished by the yolk sac.

Late last evening, watchers reported hearing the chick vocalizing from inside the egg and a video was posted to YouTube. One fan even reported "watching" a dark screen in the middle of the night but was still able to hear the chick(s). I'm glad we were able to get the nestbox audio working in time! Hopefully, more hatching to come!

We have a Hatch!

Definitely sign of hatch - egg shells in the box! But we'll have to wait a bit to see the first chick:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hatching Expected Soon...

No hatch over the weekend but it could start at any moment. The weather forecast for Columbus today and tomorrow calls for rain and temps in the 60s. This will likely result in Scout staying tighter on the eggs than those of us who want a good view of things would prefer! But keep in mind that the chick working to free itself from the egg generates a lot of heat (think of it along the lines of exercising vigorously inside a wet suit!). So, when it comes to actual hatch she will be up forming a tent around the eggs with her wings. Let's just hope she doesn't have her back to the camera! In the meantime, expect to see a lot of up and down, up and down, looking down at the eggs, etc. Here is a short video clip of typical behavior:
video

We plan to work on the nestbox mic today - evidently there is a problem in the wiring between the microphone and the computer that sends the audio with the live stream. More on that later....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nearing the Home Stretch

Incubation in total takes around 33 days. We are in the final days before hatch, however, it was difficult to predict when the birds actually began setting full time so I don't have an exact date to expect hatch. My best estimate is that hatch will occur between May 16-19th. Keep in mind this is only a prediction and so could be off. Don't be surprised if hatch begins earlier and don't panic if hatch is late!

The eggs usually hatch over a couple of days time. Here is what to watch for to help tell when hatch is close: A day or so prior to hatching the chicks will begin vocalizing from inside the egg and pecking to work their way out. The adult birds can hear the chirping and feel the vibration and so their behavior will change. While throughout the majority of incubation they have set tight on the eggs we can expect the incubating adult to become very restless. It will get up and look down at the eggs more often, settle back down, and be up looking again within a short time.

Eggs can hatch at any time of the day or night but we usually see the most hatching during daylight hours. The process will start with a pip--a small hole pecked through the shell from the inside by the chick using it's "egg tooth." It will take some time from pipping for the chick to actually come completely out of the shell.

Don't be surprised if you see Scout eating the egg shells. This is one way for her to replenish calcium in her body that was lost from her system when she produced the eggs initially. After hatching the chicks will need to be kept warm so Scout will brood the hatchlings. This may look similar to incubation but she will actually be sitting up higher and may hold her wings out from her body more than we see during incubation.

There is still some troubleshooting to be done (from inside the building) to get the nestbox mic back to 100%. We hope that work will be completed this week and it restores the audio to what it should be.

As for whether the "odd egg" will hatch or not...we'll all be watching to find out the answer to that question together! Here's a picture of one day when it appeared as though Scout was using the egg as a pillow!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Forgotten Egg...?!

More and more we are noticing that Scout seems to be "forgetting" about the egg that lacks pigment. Oftentimes it has been left out at her side and not incubated while the other eggs are warm beneath her. This afternoon it is even cast off to the side away from the others. We can't say for certain what is going on, but I suspect that because the pigment it did have seems to have faded, it could indicate a “dead” egg. If the egg is infertile or the embryo has died then it isn’t developing as the others and so it would be a different weight/mass then the other eggs. This would make it not “roll” the same as the other eggs. The adults would be able to pick up on this difference when they are moving the eggs and settling down on them. It will be very interesting to see if it hatches but if it continues to be left out and off to the side it doesn't look promising. At least we can assume that the other 3 eggs are doing well!