Tag Archives: chicks

Fledging day

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The trio of barn robins fledged today (clutch #2).  H.W. went in to look at them, and said they were all side by side in the nest, looking out, but when he looked up at them, they all burst out of the nest and strewed about on the floor.  He started to scoop them up and put them back in the nest (Uhoh, uhoh), when he got attacked from the air by the parents and beat a retreat.  So they were out of the nest, and stayed out.  Premature fledging?  The rest of the day was full of low-flying overhead zooms from trees to roofs and back, with clumsy landings.  The mother robin shrieked her head off all day, screaming concern or encouragement to the little ones.  “OMG!  The branch!  The wind!  People!  Veer!  No, not there! Ailerons, now! OMG!  Not the roof!  Don’t follow him!  I can’t look!  Augh!  My heart!!!”, or that’s what it sounded like.  We seem to have missed this day on the last batch.

The fledgers seemed ok.  By sunset they had spread themselves pretty wide, judging from the changing source of the mother’s piercing narrative.

Chickadee tragedy (?)

I snuck over to peek at the chickadee nest, and, the horror!  The dead tree was snapped off right through the nest!

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So much for super secure :(  The chickadee’s nest excavations, that made the wall of the tree 3/16” thin on one side, must have weakened the tree too much.  We’ve had some wet and windy days.

I studied the scene and found no trace of violent death from the tree snapping or predators later.  Not a feather, nor shells, on the ground. The top of the tree was lying next to the base.

One tiny poop and one wet feather in the nest- it seems improbable that she raised her young slyly enough for us not to notice comings and goings and they got out in time, but I can hold out hope.

The nest is almost wholly built out of my hair and fibres I recognize from our Icelandic wool blanket and our fleece sheets.  Incredible.  Basically he felted together a little bowl.  I’m glad they benefited from our intrusion here, then.

IMGP7008Once I saw him on the ground outside the camper door, gathering a few hairs and a tuft of wool that’d been swept outside.  He was really working at it, trying to tug the little tangle loose from where it was stuck on twigs and dirt.  Each yank and he’d emit a little “eep”.  The hairs were good and stuck and it looked frustrating.  “Eep, eep, eep, EEP!”  Something I wouldn’t even see- a few brown hairs on the ground- and that little bird spied it.

By the barn, the robin is very sly while feeding her chicks- HW has often worried that she hasn’t been around, but she clearly has been around, enough to rear up clutch #2 to a full feathered trio.  Clutch #1.  They’ll be out of the nest any day.  I should have taken a picture on the day I discovered the little pink wigglers with bruise blue eye bulges.  There were only two, sharing the nest with the third blue egg,  and I assumed that the remaining egg was a dud.  But no, it must have been the day they were born, and the third had not yet hatched.  They barely fit in the nest now, overflowing it.

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Quails and rabbits, oh my.

There’s been a quail family around this summer, with an impressive group of young (about 9).  Turns out that’s merely the low side of average for a quail family, but I’m still impressed with Mum, scurrying a wide zigzag herding all those little quailings.  The chicks are constantly running in all directions and being corralled back into a group. Quails are funny to start with with their pear shaped bodies, head decorations, and preference for speedwalking.

This family has three adults attending the chicks, and it’s always fun to catch them on the road.  Hard to catch on camera though.

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Now the chicks are all being herded down the shoulder into the scrub.

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We have rabbits too, always rabbits.  Especially morning and evening rabbits.  Scampering across the road, running along (OMG, a fence!) and diving into the brambles.  We were watching a mama rabbit one evening in the backyard, right under the deck, and a pile of creeping, fluffy bunnies, so little they just push themselves along on their bellies with their back legs.

The mama rabbit sat up, arching her back and  bracing herself on long outstretched forepaws, as all the little bunnies pushed and clambered their way under her to nurse.  Then as if they’d been told to do it, they all scooted up to the base of a tree and burrowed under the loose leaves, hiding themselves completely, and mama went on eating in the back yard.  Adorable!  We didn’t take pictures because a) we didn’t know then that that was our only baby rabbit sighting of the year, and b) didn’t want to move and interrupt them.

Here’s an unrelated rabbit, one that happens to live in the median between a highway and a parking lot:

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Raptor stage

What?  Not cute?

They’re not cute anymore.  Feathered feet?

They’re in their awkward, ugly stage; plenty of feathers yet not quite enough.  They look raggedy, a little half-plucked.

Two of them have hardly grown in two weeks, and the biggest two have tripled in size, now looking like full grown chickens, one with hilariously extravagant feathered feet. I still can’t tell which are the roosters, and there still doesn’t appear to be excessive aggression.

The black one that was the No. 3 gangster before I left is now one of the three smallest, having not changed at all in size.  He(?) feels plump and vital though.  They’re funny to hold, all pissed off but helpless at being held upside down.  So undignified! Continue reading Raptor stage

Growth spurt

The two big ones are tall enough now to look over the edge of the box without craning their necks.  They spend most of their time outside the box now anyways, and they are joined now by the next largest bird, the black one.  This is the one I crushed, who was dragging a leg around for three days, but he has made an apparently full recovery and is growing at a great rate.  So they are a little clique of three, the out-of-the-boxers, and they tour around together, always near each other, pecking at the wood on the walls and slowly inspecting the perimeter of the coop.

They flap back into the box to warm up under the lamp once in a while.

They can fly short distances now, which one proved when I cornered him to pick him up.  They are sprouting feathers everywhere, that stick out at humorous angles and look glued on, but after a day or two seem to settle into their right place.  Now the Jersey Giants look quite well feathered out, like small but real birds, with their funny feathered feet. Continue reading Growth spurt

Picking up cute chicks

Looks like the chick I injured is going to make it.  I’m very happy, and my guilt is diminished a little.  He/she limps, but the limp is improving.  And there’s been no more death, so I hope that I can keep all these alive now, protected from predators and illness and untoward events until they can take care of themselves.

They’re not out of the woods, though.  I went in this morning and one was lying on its side in the “death’s door” posture.  But he had some fight in him, so I held him to the food trough, since the only meds I’ve got are in the food, and they need to keep getting it in them.  I just cupped him in place, and he ate.  And ate and ate and ate, then he stood by himself, fell asleep standing, and was bouncing among the others by the time I had their box cleaned. Continue reading Picking up cute chicks

Chick disaster

Sleeper on the right!

Today was terrible.  I found something that described the symptoms of coccidosis roughly as “birds become listless, lose interest in food, then expire”.  So they were sick, and I thought they were ok because I hadn’t seen any blood in their shit, the symptom I knew to look for.  The last two probably didn’t need to die.  Hell, only one or two “should” have died; I’m sure that they arrived sick, and the medicated feed wasn’t enough, wasn’t in time.  Not at a week old.  Very frustrating to realize.

Then, as I was carefully cleaning out their pen (urgent and essential when coccidosis appears), I tipped over a board and crushed two of them.  One of them was fine, one was hurt.  My favourite one, too, the most beautiful.  I felt so terrible.  He/she’s seems to have an appetite and energy still, but the pathetic limping around breaks my heart. You can’t tell how badly it hurts, when it’s a bird, so I don’t know if he/she’s got a broken leg, but it’s so painful to cause harm to another creature, even accidentally.  Now he runs and hides behind the water fount when I come in the coop, and I feel awful.  I hope he makes it, but maybe it’s worse to make him live in pain.  I don’t know. I hope it’s a bird sprain, and he can bounce back because they’re growing so strongly. Continue reading Chick disaster

LOLchicks!

That little dish was in there for about a minute, and this one decided it was a nest.

They’re so funny.  You can see them growing in a matter of hours.  Their personalities are emerging.  I’m not inclined to name them until I know who gets to stay or until their names reveal themselves, but there’s a bossy one, a teensy one, a zippy one, and one of them looks just like an Amazonian spider from the top; I love the markings.  One when I pick it up struggles, peep peep peep, but when you stroke his/her head he/she goes to sleep, almost involuntarily.  Zzzz, then wakes up, “hey!”, struggles again.  Funny.

So easy to zero in on and forget time, just watching them be chicks.  They sleep like horses, standing up.  They just stop in the middle of going somewhere, the eyes blink and slowly close, then the head gets heavy and folds down with the beak tucking between the feet or else coming to rest on the ground.  The falling asleep side by side face down in the food trough is especially cute. Then they wake up and keep going, or else another bird bowls into them or into a group of sleepers.   All four in various stages of napping.  Note half step position on the left.You can pick one up while it’s resting, wide awake and scrapping, then set it back down in the same place and it’ll sleep again without taking a step.  When they really get into sleeping, the legs rock and fold until they come to “nest position” on the floor, but that’s more for night time.  The big two don’t sleep on their feet, they fold their legs the moment they have the intention of napping, with the effect of plowing with their momentum.  Flop!  And they crash into the resting clutch of birds that gave them the idea and wake them up.

I was in there looking at the big chicks towering like ostriches over the little puffballs, and their wings are well feathered out.  No sooner had I thought, I bet they’re strong enough to jump out of the box, than one flapped strenuously and leaped onto the edge of the board.  He/she immediately lowered into “roost position”, rocked queasily a couple times, whoa, and after a few seconds, tipped gracelessly back into the box.  As soon as he/she gained the edge of the box, the three strongest small chicks shot their necks up and hopped like kids, trying to do the same thing.  So funny.
Continue reading LOLchicks!

OMG, chicks! They’re so cute!

They just bounce around, like superballs inside of a pompom. Boing boing boing, peck peck peck, bouncing over everything, just zooming around. The two towering birds that look like real birds, almost like doves, and totally different from the puffballs on legs, are the Jersey Giants, I’m pretty sure. Its so weird to see them all just one week old but these two birds four times the size of the smaller breeds. the little ones walk right under them, and between their legs.

Look at that giant one!Very difficult to take pictures of.

Poor little things endured a long drive to get here, and we lost three before getting them home. They were really cute, all the varied anxious cheeping in the box, falling silent as they all promptly went to sleep. Then they woke up on the curvy lake road, clearly protesting the seasick motion of the truck. Already they have distinct, lovely different vocalizations. And they took all of twenty seconds to behave completely at home in their new space, finding the food and water and napping. Continue reading OMG, chicks! They’re so cute!