Stories tagged chicks

The first two of Belinda's five eggs hatched early this morning. (Belinda is the resident peregrine falcon in the nest box at the King power plant in Bayport, MN.)

Chicks 1 and 2: Baby peregrines are helpless at first, and are cared for by both parents. But they grow at an astonishing rate, and should be ready to leave the nest for the first time by the end of June or the beginning of July.
Chicks 1 and 2: Baby peregrines are helpless at first, and are cared for by both parents. But they grow at an astonishing rate, and should be ready to leave the nest for the first time by the end of June or the beginning of July.Courtesy Xcel Energy/Raptor Resource Project

The other eggs, if they hatch at all, should follow in the next few days.

For more on peregrine falcons, visit our 2011 peregrine cam page.

The fourth, and last, of the peregrine falcon eggs in the nest box at the Sherco power plant hatched sometime on Saturday. The hatchlings may be helpless, clumsy, and funny looking now, but in a few months they'll be sleek, fearsome avian predators. Keep watching the falcon cam, or the daily stills, until they fledge in a few months.

Laugh it up now...: ...but watch out later. These guys are going to be FIERCE.
Laugh it up now...: ...but watch out later. These guys are going to be FIERCE.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy

Spring is springing, and birds are nesting, and you can be a part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch project. They provide the training. You can observe natural nest sites or nest boxes, and your observations get permanently archived in North America's largest breeding bird database. The data collected helps scientists better understand threats to bird species. Pretty cool.

Scientists will be banding Athena's chicks starting at 9am on Tuesday, June 26. Science Museum visitors get to pick names for the little peregrine falcons: vote now for your favorite! We'll be closing the poll on Monday morning.

Jun
01
2007

Big surprise! Sometime between Tuesday and yesterday, the fourth egg hatched. (This youngest bird hatched out of the first egg laid, and we didn't have high hopes for it.)

The whole brood: This shot, captured yesterday, shows Athena and all her chicks.
The whole brood: This shot, captured yesterday, shows Athena and all her chicks.

Dinner time...: Keeping these guys fed is a full-time job.
Dinner time...: Keeping these guys fed is a full-time job.

The young birds will grow fast, and will fledge--leave their nest--sometime in mid July. They'll stay with their parents for about two months afterward, learning to hunt. First the parents catch prey and the young birds learn to snatch it from them in mid-air. When they get good at that, the chicks start learning to hunt on their own.

Here's the sobering truth, though: On average, only two juveniles successfully fledge per nest. And the first year is dangerous. But a peregrine that survives the first year has a good shot at a long life. Some birds have even lived to be 18-20, but that's not typical. An average lifespan is more likely somewhere between 2 and 8 years.

New pictures appear every few minutes on the High Bridge Falcon Cam daily photos site.

Here are earlier 2007 falcon updates, as well as the story of the 2006 season. Or learn more about peregrines, and get to know Athena.

Visitors to the museum get to name falcon chicks. Right now, we're taking name suggestions. Later on, we'll turn those into a visitor poll, and the names with the most votes will go to the chicks.

May
30
2007

Visitors to the Science Museum will get to pick a name for at least one of the peregrine falcon chicks in the High Bridge power plant nest box. (Last year, we got to name one. Your pick? Starshadow.)

The challenge? Each chick in the nest box program gets a unique name. No repeats. So here's a list of all the names that are "taken" already:

Abby, Alice, Allie, Alpha, Amanda, Amilia, Amy, Andrea, Andy, Angel, Anton, Apryl, Athena, Barbara, Belinda, Bend, Berger, Bern, Bert, Bertha, Beta, Bolt, Bomber, Bor, Brice, Britta, Burt, Buzz, Candy, Cassie, Charlee, Charlie, Cherokee, Chicklet, Chris, Cleo, CoCo, Cole, Colleen, Coz, Craig, Crystal, Cyndi, Dale, Dana, Danberg, Davey, Dawn, Delene, Delta, Diamond, Diana, Diane, Dick, Dixie Chick, Donna, Doolittle, Dot, Ed, Eileen, Elaine, Electra, Esperanza, Faith, Fast Track, Fluffy, Fran, Frank, Gamma, George, Gib, Gloria, Gold, Gretta, Grunwald, Harmony, Hickey, Hippie, Hope, Horus, Hotshot, Howard, Hunter, Huske, Irvine, Isabel, Jackie, Jacob, Jan, Janice, Jasmine, Jay, JB, Jenny, Jessy, Jim, Joe, Judy, Julie, Kali, Karlsen, Katraka, Kester, Kitty, Kidy, Kramer, Krista, Laura, Leo, Leon, Leona, Leonard, Liberty, Lightning, Lily, Linton, Lolo, Lon, Lora, Loree, Loretta, Lori, Louise, Lucky, Mac, Mae, Maggie, Malin, Manthey, Mapper, Marie, Marshall, Marty, Mary, Laude, Mew, Mica, Michael, Michelle, Minnie, Miranda, Miss, Miss Pam, Mulder, Murphy, Neil, Nero, Nicole, Nora, Oar, Orville, Oscar, Pam, Pamella, PF Flyer, PaTao, Pathfinder, Penelope, Penny, Phyllis, Polly, Porky, Prescott, Princess, Putnam, Quark, Queen, Rachael, Ralph, Razor, Red Ed, Rick, Rochelle, Rocket, Rocky, Romeo, Ryan, Ryu, Sarah, Scarlett, Screech, Scully, Seminole, Shakespeare, Sharky, Sheri, Sheridan, Sherlie, Smoke, Smokey, Sonic, Sophia, Speedy, Spider, Spirit, Spivvy, Starshadow, Static, Stephanie, Sue, Survivor, Swoop, Terri, Thelma, Thunder, Travis, Tundra, Vector, VernaMae, Veronica, Waldo, Wanda, Warren, Wayne, Webster, Wilbur, Willie, Wood, Younger, Yugi, Zack, Zippidy

Have a name you think would suit a falcon? Tell us. We'll turn the list of submitted names into a visitor poll, and the names with the highest number of votes will go to the chicks.

One other thing: last year, the number one name was "Santa's Little Helper," but it was too long. Keep the names short, if you want yours to be the one!

Apr
16
2007

“Athena”—the female peregrine falcon at the High Bridge power plant nest box—laid her first egg of 2007 on Sunday, April 15. Peregrines usually lay three or four eggs each year, so we'll be watching for more in the next few days.


Athena's first egg, 2007: Hard to see, but it's there. (It's the orange blob by her foot.) Congratulations, Athena.

The male and female falcons share the 33-day incubation duties, which include turning the eggs regularly. (The birds don't incubate the eggs in earnest, though, until they've laid all the eggs they're going to lay.) If all goes well, the baby peregrines will hatch sometime in the second half of May.

You can get daily updates here on Science Buzz, or get hourly updates by visiting Xcel Energy's High Bridge daily photos page.


Falcon chicks: Baby peregrines are helpless when they hatch, but they grow at an astonishing rate. (Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service)
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More on peregrines from Science Buzz...

Jul
21
2006

We've had mourning doves nesting in our backyard evergreen trees all summer.

Mourning dove: You can see the messy nest and a chick's head peeking out. (Photo by Ken Kornack)
Mourning dove: You can see the messy nest and a chick's head peeking out. (Photo by Ken Kornack)

They're good parents--far more attentive than the human ones who share the space! They lay two eggs at a time, and almost never leave them alone. The male usually incubates from midmorning until late afternoon, and the female tends them the rest of the time. (Warning: gross fact ahead!) Mourning doves of both sexes feed their hatchlings something called "pigeon milk"--a substance that oozes from the lining of the parent's crop and contains more protein and fat than either human or cow's milk. Hatchlings eat nothing but pigeon milk until they're three days old; after that, they're gradually weaned onto a diet of seeds. The parents continue to feed the hatchlings until they're totally feathered out.

The crazy part is that mourning doves can produce five or six sets of chicks each year. (This may be one reason why mourning doves are among the ten most abundant birds in the US...) If things at the first nest are going well, the parents will build a second one nearby. One adult feeds the older chicks, while the other sits on the new eggs. It's a baby bird factory!

Right now, we have a couple of newly-fledged doves running around on the ground. I think the parents are still feeding them occasionally. And there's a new set of hungry hatchlings to feed, too. Makes me feel lazy for complaining about keeping up with my two little ones!

Listen to a mourning dove

More on mourning doves

Even more on mourning doves

Mourning doves are related to pigeons. Here's a great article on why you never see baby pigeons.

May
02
2006

UPDATE - Wednesday, June 14th

One of the falcon chicks spent part of the day learning to fly. The others are doing a lot of looking and wing-flapping, and will be joining their nestmate soon.

Peregrine chicks: Photo taken by the High Bridge web cam between 8 and 9 am, Friday, June 9.
Peregrine chicks: Photo taken by the High Bridge web cam between 8 and 9 am, Friday, June 9.

UPDATE - Friday., June 9th

The little fluffballs are gaining feathers fast and looking more like adult peregrines every day. They've been flapping their wings and looking over the edge a lot. We expect them to fledge--leave the nest--sometime before June 16. See today's comment for more information.


All four chicks have hatched!: Yeah! Four hungry mouths to feed.

UPDATE - Friday., May 5th

All four of Athena's chicks have hatched now! Congratulations to Athena and her new Peregrine Falcon family. As far as we can tell from the pictures the fourth egg must have hatched around 5pm yesterday, Thur. May 4th.


One more to go: Athena seems to look straight at the camera and we have only one more egg to hatch.Courtesy Excel energy

UPDATE - Thu., May 4th

Three of Athena's chicks have hatched and you can see them crowding around the one brown egg that hasn't hatched yet.


Three mouths to feed: One of Athena's chicks raises its mouth for food, Thur. morning.

Wed., May 3rd

Athena can be seen feeding two of her chicks on Xcel's Falcon Cam. You can keep updated by watching the new pictures appear every couple minutes in the daily photos section.


Athena feeding her chicks: Check out Athena droping food into her little chicks' mouths. So cute!

Update from atop the giant smokestack at the High Bridge power plant here in Saint Paul and down the street from the Science Museum:

"Athena's" eggs have started to hatch.