Ducklings! South nest

The merganser ducklings hatched overnight. I expect they will stay overnight tonight and be very ready to jump tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Screen shot of the South nest at about 10:30. The hen has gone out for some food

In the West nest I checked the video recording for the past hour and see only unhatched eggs. They should hatch later today … and I hope they are late in the day: it would be good to have them jump on Thursday rather than tomorrow with the mergansers.

2 Nests Hatching Together … on Tuesday

I didn’t check all of the eggs in the South and West nests today, only about half of them in each. But every one that I looked at was pipped (slightly broken in one place). That means ducklings will hatch within 24 to 48 hours, a time measurement that arguably started earlier today (Monday).

So by this time tomorrow (by 10pm Tuesday) we should be able to see ducklings in both nests. If they’ve hatched early tomorrow (Tuesday) they might jump on Wednesday morning. If they finish hatching late tomorrow then it will be Thursday. They need 20+ hours after hatching to be strong enough to go.

As usual I will have an outside camera set up for jump day. If I have to choose I will point it at the West nest, with 17 wood duck ducklings expected. However I’m also thinking about how I might position it to get a long-range view of both nests.

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The Cardinals are getting bigger by the day. Fun to watch.

Hatch Tuesday, Jump Wednesday?

Two nests hatching and jumping at the same time!? Probably.

When I checked the merganser nest (South) this morning one of the 12 eggs was pipped. This afternoon when the West wood duck went out for supper I checked her nest and two of her 17 eggs were pipped.

(You might recall that she had 18 eggs, but one of them was undeveloped so I removed it. Seventeen of the eggs were entirely opaque and dark when I candled them with a flashlight a week ago, whereas the undeveloped one was translucent. Here is a post from last year that shows what that looks like.)

The term “pipped” refers to the tiny break in the egg shell created by the ducklings to let in some air. It’s part of their development. They do that 24 to 48 hours before they hatch so my best guess is they will hatch sometime on Tuesday. If it happens early on Tuesday – before dawn and completed by mid-morning – then they’ll be ready to jump on Wednesday morning, but if they hatch late on Tuesday (i.e. into Tuesday afternoon, evening and overnight) then they will stay in the nest through Wednesday night and Thursday morning will be the day they leave.

A pipped egg.

New cameras page:

Have you checked out the new camera page yet? I think it is a very significant improvement. It’s great to be able to see all of the nests on one screen, and to be able to quickly focus in on any one of them that has something interesting going on. It also has a side-by-side view which should be very useful on jump day, when I have a camera set up outside of the nest box to with the one inside.

The new cameras page is linked from the birdsgv.com home page, of course. Check it out!

Here’s a screen shot of the page that shows all four nests. The hooded merganser
in the South nest was out for food when this screen shot was taken – there are 12 eggs under that blanket made of down mixed with wood shavings.

Cameras Moved! Cardinal pictures

The live streaming cameras have moved to a new address. If you’ve bookmarked the “AngelCam” links, you will now (soon) find that the cameras are not active there anymore along with a message about where to find them, which is:

Go to the birdsgv.com home page and you’ll find the new link to the cameras.

New features:

  • All cameras are visible on one page
  • You can choose two for side-by-side viewing (great for Jump Day)
  • You still can view a single camera at a time too, similar to before
  • No ads!
  • Full screen view
  • Current status
  • Click the “Help & Tips” button on that page for more information

Wood ducks and Hooded merganser:

The eggs are due to hatch any day soon, but not tomorrow. I checked the merganser nest this morning and the West wood duck nest yesterday evening, and none of the eggs were pipped (slightly cracked to create an air hole). The ducklings do that about 24 to 48 hours before they hatch, so I try to catch the hen away from her nest each day to open up the nest box and check. I will let you know via a blog post, of course.

Cardinal nest

They grow so fast! Here are some screen shots from camera recordings yesterday:

Mom bringing some bugs.

“Who wants this fat caterpillar?”

Both the male and female make dozens of trips per day to keep their hungry babies full.

Cardinal Photos

Two eggs have hatched. If you watch the live camera for even a short time you will probably see the adults bringing in food and feeding their young; they are busy! Both the male and the female forage sometimes, but the female spends more time on the nest and the male brings insects to her. Below are screen shots from the video this morning, and while the female was away from the nest I poked my phone in there and got some images of the hatchlings.

The male brings a small green caterpillar and hands it (well, actually he beaks it) to the female.
Now, where should I put this? …
… a very clear target: bugs should go in here!
Two mouths to feed, pick one.
Feed us! I slightly jiggled the nest as I worked my phone into the tree to take a picture, and they thought (hoped!) it was a parent bringing food.
They are so ugly-cute! The round parts at the top are their heads. How did they ever fit into an egg just a couple of days ago?