Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Do we have chicks? A note and then Donna's Field Report of 4/16

Note to Pale Male & Lola Fans eagerly awaiting final confirmation that there are chicks in the nest:

When the chick hatch they are small, naked, and helpless [altricial]. They cannot raise their heads, and lie quite limp for at least the first few hours after hatching. [Source--BNA-#52 -account by Charles Preston] They become active by second day, begin to issue small calls.

Consequently they must be kept warm in order to survive. This the mother accomplishes by brooding, that is, sitting on top of them.

NOTE: Brooding is hard to distinguish from incubating, the activity Lola has been doing for the last month. The greatest difference, as we hawkwatchers have come to understand, is that the brooding female is sitting a little higher on the nest. Not necessarily ALL the time. But much more often than during the incubation period.

Because as of April 17 Lola began sitting higher on the nest a good part of the time, we believe she is brooding at least one chick. The chicks hatch asynchronously, that is, first one hatches, and a day opr two later the next one, and if there are three, then the third. So all this time Lola will seem to still be sitting on eggs. But she is likely to be brooding.

The confirmation will be when we see the parent birds standing on the edge of the nest making feeding motions, up-and-down, to an unseen something deep in the bowl of the nest. And then the same feeding motions at a different spot, indicating the feeding of another chick.

It may take 7-10 days for a chick to grow big enough to be seen from the model-boat pond. Although the nest is not as high as it has been in recent years, so it may be sooner.

But the bottom line: Without 100% certainty, we believe. Chicks.

Below is Donna's 4/16 Field Report. That is the day before we saw the changed position on the nest. I am eagerly awaiting her next reports, to see whatb other differences we can find.

Field Notes 4-16-05

Sunset 7:36PM,
Humidity 24%,
Wind NE 8,
Gusts to 20,
Prey Tally-None reported.

1:35PM Pale Male in nest, brow and eyes visible
peeking over twigs.
1:50PM Lola arrives on nest with a great beak full of
dried grass/long thin bark? Puts it down, Pale Male
immediately leaves the nest. Lola preens.
1:55PM Lola not visible in nest.
1:56PM Eyes become visible.
2:04PM Lola stands and digs, bead down, then settles
out of sight.
2:13PM Lola's head becomes visible, very alert.
2:23PM Lola looks WSW.
2:24PM Lola looks WNW
2:25PM Lola looks S.
2:26PM Lola looks N, extremely alert. Beak opens
several times, calls? Lola flies off the nest to WNW,
Boathouse, very fast. Sam runs in same direction. The
nest is left unatended.
2:29PM Lola returns to nest, settles in with some
footwork, looks N.
2:30PM Sam reports Lola has chased an intruder
Red-tail away, that was circling in the W.
2:40PM Lola invisible in nest.
2:43PM Pale Male discovered on Oreo antenna.
3:00PM Pale Male faces E.
3:01PM Lola invisible in nest.
3:06PM Pale Male up and into trees in W, with speed.
Lola completely invisible.
3:07PM Lola's eyes appear above nest, very alert,
looks W, then alert back and forth over surroundings.
3:13PM Lola stands, preens, stretches, then settles.
3:15PM Lola stands, vigilant.
3:18PM Lola looks W and N, into nest, settles.
3:22PM Vigourous preening while still on nest of upper
3:25PM Lola stands, arranges lining, back down, twig
3:26PM Pale Male discovered Carlyle 4, facing out.
3:27PM Lola down but shuffling around deep in nest.
3:36PM Lola stands, head to S, preens lower anterior,
head up,visual check, preen, check, preen lower back,
vigorous head scratching, down.
3:40PM Lola head up, looks W.
3:46PM Pale Male still on Carlyle 4. Lola, one eye
shows through twigs.
4:00PM Lola stands, preens, beak to concave.
4:04PM Settles.
4:07PM Pale Male heads W, Ramble.
4:21PM Lola stands, preens, works nest lining, preens
wing feathers, does lining work with feet.
4:25PM Settles.
4:28PM Lola head up alert to NW.
4:30PM Pale Male discovered on Oreo.
4:40PM Lola watches W and N.
4:43PM Lola stands, back to bench, some preening. Pale
Male is gone from Oreo.
4:47PM Lola invisible in nest.
5:03PM Lola stands, preens.
5:05PM Lola preens, 8 to 10 flying insects visible in
air around her, shuffles feet.
5:07PM Lola alert W.
5:27PM Pale Male to nest.
5:28PM Lola off to N and W.
5:29PM Pale Male tail to bench, shuffling, digging.
5:55PM Invisible in nest.
6:00PM Pale Male looks into concave.
6:05PM Pale Male peers through twigs.
6:28PM Nest exchange, Pale Male west and north. Lola
6:33PM Lola, deeply in nest, eye visible through
6:39PM Lola, stands, preens.
6:40PM Settles. Pale Male to ?
6:47PM Eyes above twigs.
7:04PM Golden light on Fifth.
7:07PM Lola stands,preens, surveys area to N.
7:10PM Lola settles in, then up, checks, preens chest.
7:11PM Back down. Pale Male discovered on Oreo
7:13PM Lola down in nest, through twigs something red
in beak? Whets beak on nest twigs.
7:14PM Lola stands head to bench, backs up squashing
tail into wall while turning, as if avoiding stepping
on something in concave, resituates in nest.
7:33PM Pale Male still on Oreo Antenna, preens chest
slightly, surveys area.
7:34PM Lola stands, preens right wing.
7:37PM Lola alert.
7:38PM Lights visible on Carlyle roof. Pale Male
still on Oreo.
7:4?PM Pale Male to W.
Exit circa 8:15

Submitted-Donegal Browne