After my last nest check, I had planned to check in again on June 12th. By afternoon, though, the skies had opened up and a steady rain was falling. Temps were only in the 60s so I passed on my check so that mom wouldn't be forced off the nest on a cool, nasty day.
The next day was warm and sunny, a much better day to look in on the nestlings. Mom was at the nest hole, but flew to a nearby perch when dad approached and entered to feed the young. While dad was in the nest, mom stayed nearby quivering her wings. This is a common parent behavior while the young are in the nestling phase.
The small nestlings are still tucked deep in the nest and very hard to see and count. They did not respond to my opening the nest door by chirping or gaping. I see their feathers developing, with many of them still in their sheaths. Their eyes don’t look open yet, and I cannot clearly count how many nestlings were in that pile of birds. Boy this nest watch stuff is hard work!
These nestlings are 9 days old and have just one week to go before they fledge. They’ve grown quite a bit from those pink, rubbery-looking things that emerged from their eggs just 9 days ago. But they also have a lot of growing to do so that on day 16, they emerge well-developed and as good flyers.
My next nest check will be my last; hopefully I’ll get a good (and countable) look at gaping nestlings just a couple days from their big fledging day!
If you are observing a nest and would like to report what you see, join Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch citizen science project. Talk to us in store if you have questions about NestWatch.
NestWatch Report #1
NestWatch Report #2
NestWatch Report #3