Tuesday, May 30, 2017

4 weeks

The chicks are 1 month old this week and all continues to go well.  The front of the nestcam has been hit again with feces obscuring the view of inside of the nestbox:
At this stage in the nesting cycle the chicks are too mobile for us to access the ledge to clean it, so unfortunately, we'll have to leave it as-is.  Speaking of mobility - the chicks are spending more and more time out of the nestbox exploring their ledge:
One chick even made it to the upper ledge yesterday!!!  This milestone was reached this year about a week earlier than average.
If you check in and don't see them, don't panic.  There is a lot of ledge space out of camera view for them to explore.  Here is a photo of the rest of the ledge taken looking the other way from the nestbox.  There is a nice distance for them to explore:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

3 Weeks - See How We Grow!

This week marks the 3rd week for the chicks and wow, how they grow! They are standing up, walking and even venturing outside of the nest box.  This morning I noticed at least one chick has brown juvenile tail feathers coming in!
It is amazing that more feces has not hit the front of the nestbox cam.  The picture above shows only a small milky film across the bottom third of the view.  Usually by now the front of the cam has been hit several times and it is almost impossible to see.  We'll take a clear view as long as we can! 
Here are a couple of nice pics from the past few days.  First, a photo to document the group at about 3 weeks old:
In this picture it looks like they are comparing feet!  Sometimes, one or more nestlings may have bluish feet but not this year (but even when a chick has bluish feet, the feet are still yellow as an adult).   Interestingly, this year's chicks all have yellow feet. 
Finally, here's a candid!  The bluish bulge on the chick's throat is bare skin, stretched because of a full crop.  All the chicks continue to eat well!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eat, Sleep, Eat, Sleep, and Now Mobility!

We are approaching the 2 week mark!  All of the chicks are doing well and have even started moving around the nest box and flapping their wings:
They are being fed well!  The bulge in the throat each has in the top photo is a full crop.  When one or more of the chicks doesn't get a full meal one feeding, they are usually the first to get fed at the next feeding.
And, what goes in must come out so you'll notice the nest box getting an increased amount of splattering of falcon poo from the chicks.  At some point we can expect them to start hitting the front of the nest box camera which usually obscures our view to a degree.
Thanks to a fan in Georgia, here is an amusing video set to music-enjoy!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

One Week Old

The oldest chicks are one week old today!  It never ceases to amaze me how fast they grow!  Even the youngest chick has some mobility.  Above is the adult feeding the nestlings this morning.  
Below is the male attempting to brood the chicks.  Between his smaller size and the chicks growing, he barely has them covered!
All are looking good and the adults are bringing in plenty of food.  Here is a link to a video of a feeding.   Notice too, how littered the nest is starting to get with feathers and other prey remains!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

4th Egg Hatched!

The 4th egg hatched this afternoon!  The clutch is complete.  Here Durand was eating part of the eggshell--a way to keep the nest tidy as well as replenish some nutrients her body used in producing the egg initially - nature's way of recycling!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

What's Next?

Assuming the unhatched egg is the last egg that was laid, we can expect there to be a day or two lag time before it hatches.  In the meantime, all 3 chicks look great!

The adults will brood the chicks to keep them warm.  The male can do this but because of the female's larger size, she is able to perform this task more efficiently.  His primary job will be to hunt and provide food for the nest.  She will sit much higher on the brood then when she was incubating the eggs not only because the chicks are larger than the eggs were (and will be growing VERY quickly) but also because they are a lot more squirmy than the eggs were!  Depending on the weather, brooding is usually done for the first ~10 days.

Unfortunately, without the audio this year we aren't able to hear the vocalizations between the adults and the chicks.  Even though the chicks don't really need to eat at first, the adults will still feed as a way of bonding with the chicks and imprinting them.  When they bring in food, the adults have a chirp they give that, by instinct, causes the chicks to sit up and open their mouths for food (called gaping).  In turn, when the chicks "gape" and chirp, this encourages the adult to present food.  It's a system that works tremendously well in the bird world!

3 Chicks!

As indicated in my post late last evening, as of this morning we have 3 chicks in the nest!
All is looking good!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

2nd Egg Hatched; 3rd Pipped

Around 7 p.m. the 2nd egg hatched!  Durand was quite cooperative facing the camera and allowing a great view!  Besides watching the chick hatch, early in this video and in the still image below, if you look closely it appears as though a 3rd egg (on the far left) is pipped!  There may very well be a 3rd chick hatched by Wednesday morning!
Here's a photo from later in the evening after the chicks were fed for the first time.  They actually don't need to be fed for some time as they are still being nourished by the yolk sac.

Fluffy Chick!

Durand is doing a great job of keeping the eggs and chick covered!  And, the sun is now out in Columbus so although it is still a chilly, windy day, the sun will warm the nest ledge well above the ambient temp which at this writing at midday is in the mid-50s.  Awhile ago she shifted and this view shows what I believe to be a normal chick, now fluffy after its feathers have dried.

1st Hatch!

The first egg hatched this morning pretty much on schedule!
It is very chilly, windy and damp in Columbus this morning and fans have been very concerned the chick was uncovered and not moving very much.  Yes, elements like these can present serious conditions for survival but keep in mind after a chick hatches it is very tired and it is normal for it to not move much.  Durand has the unhatched eggs and chick covered up now which is the best thing.  Durand has a lot of experience with many successful hatches over the years so we'll all hope for the best and try not to jump to conclusions.

Monday, May 01, 2017


Finally, as of late Sunday we started to see a change.  It looks as though Durand might be hearing something:
This week's temps will be on the cool side so the birds might not give us very good views.
More info soon as we all watch and wait...