Eighteen days have now passed since the first chick hatched, and they continue to grow well, increasingly left to their own devices in the box, though at least one of the adults is typically in attendance nearby.
The chicks (proper name eyasses when talking of downy raptor chicks) can now shuffle around the box, but are not yet standing. What they are resting on is their tarsus, which connects the foot to the ankle – it’s the ankle (and not the knee) joint that you can see on a bird’s leg. They’ll soon gain the strength and balance to be able to stand and start to become more mobile. As it is, they can already move about enough to hide in the corner (almost) out of sight: they’ve definitely not fledged yet!
In the last three years that we have known dates for the laying and hatching of the eggs, the eyasses have taken 38 days (2013 and 2014) days from hatching to leaving the nest, though in 2015 that was just 35 days, the result of one juv getting blown off the edge of the box in strong winds! So we are approximately half-way to fledging.
They are very well fed, as is evident from the full crop (throat) in the bird being fed above, so the adults are being excellent parents and even though the chicks are unbrooded tonight, there’s an adult on the perch.
A visit this morning gave a chance to observe both adults head off to hunt in tandem, though I didn’t see them bring in any prey.
The female left the male to it as he drifted off further away from St George’s, and went into a terrific stoop that brought her several hundred metres back to the nestbox in a couple of seconds.
As they came and went, it gave the chance to capture some photos, which I’ll leave you with below.
And finally, a word of warning: the cameras will be going off on Monday morning for an hour – entirely scheduled and nothing to panic about.