Participants in Cornell Lab's NestWatch citizen science project are provided good instructions on when and how to visit active nests. During the Hatching Period, they instruct you to visit once "at or just after hatching" to determine the number of hatched eggs.So based upon my estimated first egg date (May 18), I visited the nest on June 2 to see how the 6 eggs were doing. As I approached, I rustled nearby branches so mom knew I was coming, but she wasn't on the nest. As I got near the box, mom swooped over to try to chase me off.
Mom was waiting and not happy so I had to move quickly. Before I even opened the door, I had my camera all set and ready to shoot. I opened the door and through the mirror could see that hatching had begun!
I took a few images using the mirror to view the cup and within 60 seconds, I was able to close up the box for mom's return. She watched me the entire time from a very nearby branch.
Afterwards, I was able to count the eggs and young from the pictures I took. There are 4 live young and 2 eggs (the second egg is barely visible under the chicks at about 2 o'clock in the picture below.) Eggs hatch within 24-48 hours of each other so it will be interesting to see if the remaining 2 eggs are viable.
Dad, who I hadn't seen too much during incubation, is back. And now the REAL work begins for mom and dad chickadee, who will both bring food to the nestlings.
My next visit will be when the young are thought to be between 4 and 6 days old, so I'll check again between June 6-8. Stay tuned!Read Chickadee Nesting Report #2
Read Chickadee Nesting Report #1