The cameras inside the duck nest boxes have shown that sometimes a SOMETHING will come in darkest part of the night. The video will show the nest box shaking as the camera bounces around and the audio will pick up the scratching and scraping of … claws? talons? The ducks are scared! Ducks never like to fly at night because they are strictly daytime birds with poor night vision, but they scramble desperately to get out and fly away into the dark to a safer place.
One night this spring one of the goblins finally revealed itself to the cameras – by getting into one of the nests! – and it also was captured in a night-time clip by an outside camera. The video shows how the duck’s choices determine what is required for a successful nest box design (the Little Goblin gets only some feathers).
I just now uploaded a new video. Here’s the Youtube description:
Watch a pair of cardinals feeding their two chicks as they grow from the size of a marble up to nearly as big as an adult in just 10 days. At the end a Cooper’s hawk takes both of the youngsters; a very tragic event for them and sad for us too, yet it is part of how nature works. The hawk has young to feed and songbirds are a significant food source for them.
I posted video of the first few days of this cardinal nest earlier this spring, but this version includes all 10 days of their short lives.
On June 8th the East nest ducklings jumped from the nest box at about 8:45. There were 9 eggs, 1 of them did not develop and did not hatch, 7 ducklings went away with momma duck, and 1 duckling went away with me to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.
The duckling that went with me was a day late and did not hatch with the others; that is, when the 7 left there were 2 un-hatched eggs. But when I opened the side door on the nest box to clean it out the next morning, there was this new little duckling looking back at me. I closed the door, went to get Barbara, and without telling her what she would see asked her to open it and look in. I took video and pictures to record this and also the little duckling’s trip to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I combined this with other video (from other nests and other years) to create a new movie. I’m pleased with it; it is called:
“Little Woodie’s First Day – A children’s story for the child in all of us”
Below are three still images from the video and the video itself. (And here’s another link to the video that takes you to YouTube’s site.) Enjoy!
The nesting season is done for this year. On May 19th we watched 11 hooded mergansers at the south nest and also 16 wood ducks at the west nest, both jumping on the same morning: the streaming service reported 300 views. And then a few days ago 7 wood duck ducklings from the east nest plus the bonus duckling the next morning. It was fun. Good luck little ducks!
There will be two more postings to this blog about videos that I’m working on: 1) I’m almost done with a video about the cardinals. I previously posted video about them but this one has additional footage and editing showing their development over the 10 days of their very short lives, and 2) a video with the working title “Attack of the Goblin!” … what is it? Well, it is coming soon.
The East nest hen went out for supper so there was a clear view of the ducklings. Six have hatched (yay!) and, as expected, there are three unhatched eggs. They will jump from the nest box tomorrow, typically in the morning sometime between 7am and 11am.
The six ducklings at about 6:00 pm (Note: This camera is not working at 100%; it seems to have resolution issues with color images but it will have to do until next time; I can’t replace it now.)
I have set up two outside cameras. One is in front of the nest box and the other is just down the bank from there with a view of the creek. Both are active now if you use the “Live Cameras” button at the birdsgv.com site. (If you are already watching and don’t see the new cameras use your browsers “Reload” function.)
What to expect tomorrow:
The hen will sometimes leave early for a last breakfast without ducklings to watch. If so she’ll come back in a half hour or so. The ducklings will alternate between periods of activity – climbing and jumping practice – and resting.
When the hen decides it might be time to go, she will jump up into the doorway. She will watch for a while, sometimes many minutes, looking for predators that would harm her ducklings. Once in a while she will look just one time and then go, but often she will not be ready on the first look and will drop back into the nest box to rest for a while longer. Sometimes this repeats many times. When she finally decides everything is okay she will drop down below the nest and start to call the ducklings. Her sound is a soft pulsing call, the same sound that she has been using in the nest box. The ducklings are activated by this call and begin to peep loudly, and to jump and climb up to the doorway. They jump from there down to the ground. It doesn’t hurt them. They will gather around the hen and she will continue to call as long as she still hears loud peeping from the nest box. When all of the ducklings are out, she will lead them down into the creek bank. Sometimes they will rest there out of sight. Often she will take them into the creek and they will move on.
Usually it takes only a minute or two between when she starts calling and when the nest is empty.
The east nest hen left for a while at about 4:00 today and we went out to check the eggs. Six of the nine are pipped (slightly broken in one place) and they are hatching. One already has a tiny piece of eggshell missing. The hen has been “talking” to the ducklings all day, and they talk back … from inside their eggs! They pip the eggshell to let air come in and they actually start to breath and chirp while still inside.
I held the egg with the tiny missing piece up against the microphone on my cell phone and turned on its audio recorder. It not only captured the sound of the little duck pecking away inside, but also recorded a chirp. Here’s the recording:
This egg is pipped. The duckling inside has tapped the shell with its “egg tooth”, a temporary sharp point at the tip of its little bill. After staying like this for a day or so, it again starts to peck as it very slowly twists its body around by pushing against inside of the egg with wings and feet, until it is cracked all of the way around and the shell breaks open.