We have a new feathered family

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We have a new feathered family

Postby vivian maxine on May 5th, 2016, 8:11 am 

http://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-natur ... web-camera

Three little chicks getting their first feedings is a great way to start a day. :-)
Last edited by BioWizard on May 7th, 2016, 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added "feathered" to title
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Re: We have a new family

Postby Serpent on May 5th, 2016, 10:00 am 

One of the Toronto banks had a Peregrine nest for years. I used to watch them until pretty momma brought home a pigeon for the fluffy chicks.

I also used to watch these guys http://www.knittelsheim-storch.de/livestream/ every day, in three different European countries.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby BioWizard on May 5th, 2016, 10:07 am 

Very cute. The mama sitting on the babies now.

I'm all too familiar with the joys of watching a clutch of bird eggs hatch, be fed, feather out, and fledge. Here's a recent fledgling from my aviary.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby vivian maxine on May 5th, 2016, 10:19 am 

Ahhhhh. :-) They are all such fun to watch when they start showing off. Right now ours have just hatched. So, still in their helpless infancy. In a week or two, they'll begin to demand attention. It is said they are quite loud.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby BioWizard on May 5th, 2016, 10:20 am 

What do you have?
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Re: We have a new family

Postby vivian maxine on May 5th, 2016, 10:29 am 

BioWizard » May 5th, 2016, 9:20 am wrote:What do you have?


Three little peregines just about a week old, perhaps. They are already covered with their white down. No idea how long that takes. They seem to never appear on camera until that happens. Mama just keeps them covered and warm. Now they are out long enough to feed.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby Serpent on May 6th, 2016, 7:47 pm 

I saw a surprising thing.
Just coming off the Burlington bridge, I noticed four bare trees in clump, quite near the railings of this very busy highway, covered with cormorants. Some nesting, many perching; there must have been 60 or more. All those big heavy birds on just these four smallish trees - I wondered the branches didn't break.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby uninfinite on May 6th, 2016, 8:06 pm 

Why doesn't the mother Perigrine Falcon eat the young? She's a predator - the chick is about the same size as a mouse - her natural prey, and yet she recognizes it, feeds it, cares for it. That's really quite amazing. I mean, there's experiments in which an animal is shown a mirror - and conclusions drawn about their cognitive processes, from whether they recognize their own reflection. But if that bird didn't have a concept of self - how could it recognize the chick as non-prey?
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Re: We have a new family

Postby Dave_Oblad on May 6th, 2016, 10:20 pm 

Hi uninfinite,

Perhaps it's the sound they make or their smell that protects them. I heard once that if you handle a baby bird, putting it back in its nest, the mother may reject it.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: We have a new family

Postby uninfinite on May 6th, 2016, 10:33 pm 

Dave_Oblad » May 7th, 2016, 3:20 am wrote:Hi uninfinite,

Perhaps it's the sound they make or their smell that protects them. I heard once that if you handle a baby bird, putting it back in its nest, the mother may reject it.

Regards,
Dave :^)



Very good point. I heard that too. Don't know if it's true. Maybe Vivian or Biowizard can enlighten us.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby BioWizard on May 6th, 2016, 11:41 pm 

Dave_Oblad » 06 May 2016 09:20 pm wrote:Hi uninfinite,

Perhaps it's the sound they make or their smell that protects them. I heard once that if you handle a baby bird, putting it back in its nest, the mother may reject it.

Regards,
Dave :^)


That's actually a myth and usually only applies to mammals. I handle my birds' babies all the time and sometimes keep them out of the nest for several days, and when I return them they get fed like their siblings. Their sense of smell can't be as keen as that of mammals. Once birds get into breeding mode and start the incubation phase, they become tied to the "nest system", rather than to any of the individual eggs/chicks themselves. Sometimes I remove the eggs under an incubating pair, and notice that it can take the female several hours before she realizes there's no point in sitting in the nest anymore and actually leaves. It's as if they follow a set of preprogrammed steps.

Some bird species have evolved to exploit this programmed behavior, and will lay their eggs into the nests of other birds. The fosters will raise the chick thinking it's their own (even if it grows to be 3X the size of the foster parent). As the chicks grow and gain appearance and vocalization, the bond with the parents strengthens and they become more tied as individuals - which is an important thing to happen prior to fledging.

I switch eggs and even babies between nests without problem (zebra finches). As long as the babies are of the same age (i.e fit correctly into the program), and a couple of days before fledging (to allow a bonding window), the new parents will raise them as if their own.

Birds of prey are programmed to feed, rather than eat what's in their nest. Any variants that eat all their young won't be established as a specie, since they will literally eat themselves out of existence.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby uninfinite on May 7th, 2016, 3:58 am 

That's interesting Biowizard. Is it also the case that chicks that fall from the nest are ignored by the mother? So is nest building a territorial instinct, and she will care for whatever is within the territory of the nest - and ignore what's outside it?
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Re: We have a new family

Postby vivian maxine on May 7th, 2016, 7:26 am 

Serpent » May 6th, 2016, 6:47 pm wrote:I saw a surprising thing.
Just coming off the Burlington bridge, I noticed four bare trees in clump, quite near the railings of this very busy highway, covered with cormorants. Some nesting, many perching; there must have been 60 or more. All those big heavy birds on just these four smallish trees - I wondered the branches didn't break.


Perhaps because birds are very light-weight due their hollow bones? Cormorants are large but are they heavy?

P.S. I just checked the bird book. Weight is given as 2.8 pounds. You could have a lot of three-pounders on a sturdy branch.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby vivian maxine on May 7th, 2016, 7:45 am 

Biowizard, birds will even hunt out heir lost nests. One year some trees were cut down where I lived. For two days afterward, a goldfinch was swooping up and down the street where there had been a tree and calling loudly. No doubt she had a nest in that tree. We cut down more than a tree when we cut. We cut down homes.

Back to the weight of a bird, have you ever seen a humongous squirrel nest? There is a tree down the street with a nest in it that spans almost the width of the tree. It's hard to estimate but maybe six or eight feet across. That would really be heavy but it hangs there safely.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby Serpent on May 7th, 2016, 11:28 am 

I always enjoy spotting squirrel nests.
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Re: We have a new family

Postby BioWizard on May 7th, 2016, 11:55 am 

uninfinite » 07 May 2016 02:58 am wrote:That's interesting Biowizard. Is it also the case that chicks that fall from the nest are ignored by the mother? So is nest building a territorial instinct, and she will care for whatever is within the territory of the nest - and ignore what's outside it?


At the beginning, yes. But then over time, as she feeds the chicks, they will imprint on each other. This will allow the feeding/caring to continue for some time after the chicks fledge and leave the nest, until they're ready to fend for themselves.

With zebra finches, I've been successful at fostering chicks to parents as close to one day before fledging. Though that doesn't always work for all parents, and the best time to foster is before the chicks feather out and become extremely vocal. And I always try to foster to parents with similar aged chicks. Otherwise, there will be problems with competition for food amongst the chicks.
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Re: We have a new feathered family

Postby vivian maxine on May 7th, 2016, 12:34 pm 

I think there is going to be a problem in this nest because that third egg seems not to have hatched yet. If it does, the chick will be a week to ten days younger than the other two. The feistiest of those two is already showing signs of independence.

Before these were hatched, I was watching an eagle family. The youngest had hatched late and had a terrible time. I never saw it reach food being doled out. An older one kept shoving it back down at his back. I don't think he made it as there are only two in the nest now. Those two do not seem to be developing as fast as the falcons are. I wonder if that is natural - that young eagles are slower to develop.

These falcons will be standing on the edge of the box exercising their wings and screaming for food in no time. Or, so it seems - terrible fast and the show is over. The box is atop an Ameren building with a lot of beams stretching hither and yon The chicks use the beams the same way smaller birds use tree branches. One year we had one that had developed more slowly and seemed more timid - if I may anthropomorphize). She was also much smaller than the others. There were four altogether. The other three had long since left the nest, ready to start their own lives. Even the parents seemed to have abandoned her. They never responded to her calls. Still she hung around "refusing" to fly farther than from one beam to the next. We were beginning to wonder if she could fly. Finally, after another week or more, she took off. I hope she made it out in that big, bad world. :-)
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Re: We have a new feathered family

Postby BioWizard on May 7th, 2016, 1:40 pm 

Vivian, think of those youngest chicks as "insurance policies". They're only "expected to kick in" if the older chicks don't make it. Nature be a harsh mistress.
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Re: We have a new feathered family

Postby vivian maxine on May 7th, 2016, 1:49 pm 

BioWizard » May 7th, 2016, 12:40 pm wrote:Vivian, think of those youngest chicks as "insurance policies". They're only "expected to kick in" if the older chicks don't make it. Nature be a harsh mistress.


That's pretty much what Jeff (their "care-taker ") tells us all the time. A couple of years ago, I think it was, we lost the only male in the brood when he fell to his death. Since falcons and other such birds generally nest on cliffs, Jeff was pointing out that chicks fall from those nests, too. As you said, nature is harsh.

Nevertheless, being human, we still worry about the runt of the litter every year. We keep wanting someone to feed it. Not going to happen. They are left totally alone to grow up as nature would have it. The only time a human gets near them is on banding day. Other than that, they are on their own which is how it should be and will be once they fly away. Those mamas do not wear any apron strings.
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Re: We have a new feathered family

Postby BioWizard on May 7th, 2016, 2:04 pm 

Yep, we've evolved very different breeding strategies from these birds. And it's hard not to athropomorphize. I frequently find myself handfeeding runts and switching them between nests to help them make it. Now granted, I only do this cause they're captive pet birds and part of my genetics hobby/project. And I only do enough to help the otherwise healthy birds survive. Natural selection is allowed to work on the weaklings (I don't want my stocks to get weaker over time and/or develop all sorts of resistance to treatments).

I would not be doing this with wild birds, of course.
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Re: We have a new feathered family

Postby vivian maxine on May 7th, 2016, 2:19 pm 

I don't think it is at all bad that we do this. Being able to feel for the animals helps us be more caring toward our fellow human beings. Sensitivity is a trait to be desired - a mark of good character in my book.
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