At least one of the cardinal eggs has hatched! I made a short video of the tiny young bird’s first appearance on-camera and also include segment showing the male cardinal bringing some food, where he gives it to the female and she then feeds the little one.
Here is a link to the video for email subscribers, since video is not included via email. (It does show up within this message in the blog on the birdsgv.com web site.) Also for the email, here’s an image from the video.
Today, or maybe yesterday, the East nest box finally got started. A wood duck hen is now incubating 7 eggs there. A couple of those were laid a month ago but they might still be viable.
If you’ve been watching you may have seen her in the East nest box quite often in the last few days. On Thursday she was there all day and when I checked after she left late in the day, the eggs were toasty warm. However she then didn’t come back and left the eggs to cool all night, so I’m not sure that day “counts”.
In any case, she is there tonight surrounded by lots of feathers – an unusually thick blanket – so incubation has started and ducklings are due about 28 days from now.
Here’s a schedule of events; mid-May should be very busy!
+/- 3 days
|West nest – wood duck||18||1 day after hatching|
|Cardinal nest||3||7 to 13 days after hatching|
+/- 3 days
|South nest – hooded merganser||12||1 day after hatching|
+/- 3 days
|East nest – wood duck||7||1 day after hatching|
Email subscribers: I did not put the link to the Cardinals! video into my post so that you would receive it in your email message. Sorry for the omission. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYUrHLlGTbc
I got some good video of the cardinals on their nest, including a segment where the male feeds the female. That is something they do as part of pair-bonding and during nesting. It’s very practical then because it allows her to stay on the nest and incubate full time while he forages and brings food for her. Unlike wood ducks where the males are out of the picture once incubation starts, cardinals work as a team during incubation and later, to feed the young ones.
There are now 3 eggs, so I now think that incubation did not quite start yesterday even though she was on the nest a lot. We probably found the nest just as they were wrapping up the egg-laying part. There might even be one more egg soon, although 3 is a typical number. Incubation time is about 12 days so the eggs probably will hatch around mid-May, about the same time that the wood ducks and mergansers are due! But for the cardinals there will then be a week or two of watching them grow.
First, a ducks update:
No changes for the wood duck in the west nest and the merganser in the south nest. Both are on their nests for more that 20 hours each day and both should have ducklings sometime around the 16th, give or take a few days.
The east nest has been strange this year. In past years it’s often been the first to be claimed but this year the ducks have visited but not stayed. Two ducks provided eggs a few days apart, but then no more for a while. However … finally today one was in the East nest for a few hours, and she added an egg, and in particular she added some down. The down indicates she intends to claim it and incubate. Usually they don’t add down until they’re almost done laying. It might be a very small family.
Yesterday we found a cardinal nest in our small Yew tree, so of course I had to add a camera. You can watch!
HOWEVER: I’m revising the camera pages to improve them so this link might be replaced in the near future. If that occurs, I will announce the new link via a posting to this blog, of course. It will then also be linked from the birdsgv.com page.
We don’t know when she started incubating and thus also don’t know when the eggs will hatch. Incubation time is 11 to 13 days and the young cardinals are in the nest for 7 to 13 days after they hatch. When that occurs there should be lots of activity since both parents feed the young.
And, a Robin Nest
Finally, today we also happened to see some fluttering near the top of a tree next to the driveway. Binoculars revealed a good view of a robin on her nest. We’re lucky that there is a perfect gap in the branches if we stand way back away from the tree in our front yard. Here’s a telephoto shot taken from that spot. So …. I really should figure out how to get a camera up there too, right? Well, probably not. Her nest is about 20 feet above the ground.