I left off in Report #1 with a nest check on May 23rd, with 7 eggs being incubated by mom chickadee. These pictures are from my next nest check on May 27th, when I found 7 eggs still safe and sound.
I had calculated that the first egg was laid on May 17th and the last on the morning of May 23rd. Chickadees start incubating with the last egg and will incubate for 12 days. So the expected hatch date is June 3rd.
So when I approached the box on the afternoon of June 4th, I kept in mind that mom chickadee might now be brooding 1-day old naked nestlings. She was on the nest and flushed when I tapped on the baffle.
Sure enough, inside were 6 teeny tiny chickadees, totally pink and without a lick of feathers. One egg was not hatched. Most eggs hatch within 24-48 hours of each other, so I'll know by next check whether that egg is viable or not.
I quickly took this out-of-focus picture (I was in such a hurry to get out of that box and let mom back it!) I don't think I've ever checked in at the 1-day point before, so it was amazing to see just how little these guys are. Even more amazing is that fact that they'll be fully feathered and ready to fly just 16 days from now!
I'll check in again on June 8th or so, when they're between four and six days old to determine their development and survivorship. Then I'll check again three or four days after that to get an idea of the number of young likely to fledge. That could likely be my last nest check since I don't want to open a nest box when the young are fully feathered (this can cause premature fledging).
Check back next week for my next NestWatch Report. If you would like to monitor a nest, check out Cornell's NestWatch site for information or ask us about it in store.
Read my Chickadee NestWatch Report #1