Ten days since the first chicks hatched, things are progressing well for the three eyasses (a term sometimes used explicitly for downy chicks taken from the nest for training in falconry, which won’t be happening in this case!). Both parents continue to feed them regularly, and while there does seem to be a pecking order, there’s plenty of food to go round, with Woodpigeon and Starling both identified today as prey items.
Both adults are heavily involved in the feeding, with the male often reluctant to move off the nest to allow the female to take over. One or other of the adults is almost constantly on the platform, providing good warmth in the decidedly unseasonal weather.
As can be appreciated in the picture above, the male in particular is now struggling to cover the chicks, and looks to be snoozing very uncomfortably!
The female is more able to brood the rapidly growing chicks, but the male is more typically in a pose like that above, in which the fourth egg is also visible. As the chicks have grown the egg has been increasingly pushed aside, quite literally, despite the adults’ attempts at times to pull it under their body to incubate. However, over the last couple of days, the egg has been ignored as the focus falls entirely on raising the three chicks that did hatch. It’s been amazing to see how quickly they have grown over the last week and there are the first signs of feathers starting to poke through the down, just about visible as darker tips in the photo below.
Clearly the chicks aren’t as excited about the whole process as those of us who are watching them!