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Week 10 - 4th June 2006

The 10th week started with 9 healthy chicks. Or did it?

On Saturday evening (3rd June) only 8 chicks could be counted in the nest box, but this was far from certain owing to their constant fidgeting - just like their mother! On Sunday morning, however, it was clear that there were only 8 chicks, so one had fledged.

At about 10:30 AM, a chick peered out of the nest hole and within seconds had gone, quickly followed by a couple of other chicks. During the early afternoon, the others left, leaving just the smallest chick, Frodo, and the corpse of one of its siblings.

The parents were kept busy by their newly fledged youngsters and so Frodo sometimes went for more than an hour without food. The corpse was attracting large numbers of blowflies.

At about 7PM, I opened the nest box to remove the corpse but, as may be expected, Frodo hampered the extraction and amongst the fumbling shot like a bullet past my ear and down into the undergrowth.

Bear in mind that Frodo is about the size of a chipolata, is a similar weight to a one pound coin, cannot fly but sure can flutter and hide. Now imagine me chasing this fluttering chipolata around the garden with a towel, trying to catch it... Eventually, I did catch him and after a quick inspection to see he was all right, Frodo was returned to the nest. About 10 minutes later, the parents returned with food, feeding him another half a dozen times before bedtime.

The following morning I was awakened at 4:30AM by the greatest hullabaloo - Fidge and Fudge were doing their best to distract a cat from near the box. With the cat gone, the parents entered the box with food 5 times between 6:15AM and 6:30AM. Afterwards, both parents stayed in close proximity, one feeding Frodo once while he had his head poked out of the hole.

At 7:15AM, Frodo made his leap for freedom and dropped to the ground. At this point, his parents started to feed him and I left for work...

28th May - One of up to 85 feeds per hour
4th June 5:30AM - 8 chicks
28th May - Wing stretching
4th June 10:30AM - 7 chicks
29th May - Waiting quietly for the next feed
4th June 1:30PM - 3 chicks
29th May - Tail feathers growing (Frodo at 5-o'clock)
4th June 2:30PM - 1 chick, "Frodo", and corpse
29th May - Night time (Faecal sacs on side)
4th June 7PM - Frodo
30th May - How they've grown!
5th June 6AM - Frodo is given an ultimatum
31st May - Night time without mum
5th June 7:15AM - Mission accomplished
 
 

Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
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