THE BIRD BOX CAMERA - 2001 - page 2

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  1 May - day 1

After 10-13 days incubation, two of the chicks had hatched by mid-morning. They are lying fairly motionless at this point. Notice how the female has already eaten their shells.

Cracks are visible in the top egg, indicating another imminent hatching.
   1 May

By late afternoon, about 7 chicks had exited their shells - a bit difficult to tell how many especially as they are covering the other eggs.

Occasionally, one chick would reach up and open its mouth skywards for about 20 seconds and then drop straight down, as though exhausted.
  1 May

This is a rare view of the male. He appears to be waiting for one chick to produce a poo (more correctly, a faecal sac) which he will then dispose of.

Call them 'bird-brained' if you must, however for house-training standards, there is much your typical cat/dog could learn from them!

   1 May

Feeding over, but a sound near the box causes three of the fittest to reach up again.

   4 May - day 4

Nine chicks hatched successfully, their rapidly increasing size meaning that their mother must enlarge the nest cup.

Here she is pushing back the nest material at the bottom of the cup. If she widens the top of the cup, she will not be able to fully insulate her as yet unfeathered brood from the cold night time temperatures, typically 7'C/45'F.

  4 May

More cup enlargement in progress. Mother is persuing this objective with vigour, so much so that the children are doing their best to keep out of her way!
  4 May

Job done! Or so it seemed until one chick pushed its way up the side.
  4 May

Its now approaching dusk and the chicks are hoping for a last feed of the day.

Watching the chicks rising up to be fed on the video footage from this camera is rather like seeing time lapse photography of a group of flourishing tulips!!

  5 May - day 5

Starting to look a bit crowded now.

The chicks' eyes are now well formed, but not yet open.
  5 May

A caterpillar is being supplied more or less whole to one hungry chick.
  5 May

Here one chick is pushing itself up the side of the nest cup - presumably with a view to being fed first!

  6 May - day 6

One of the chicks has been fed a whole caterpillar but doesn't seem able to handle it.......

  6 May

....... so the caterpillar is pulled back out again and offered to another chick.

  6 May

Which one managed to swallow the caterpillar? The one lying flat out with a bulge in its throat of course!