Baby Bird Study

On June 20, 2017, I observed something astounding right outside my very own house. We have always had lots of birds flying over, or even nesting in, our yard, and today I had the honor of seeing a seedeater nest. Every now and then I would glance over at the nest to see if there were any eggs and/or chicks. My efforts were rewarded with two tiny hatchlings; which were almost completely featherless, their eyes still closed tightly. It was obvious they were still very new to the world—they craned their necks, beaks wide open to beg for food when I stood next to them. They later did the same when my brother got near. I’m going to keep watching the hatchlings over the next few weeks, to keep an eye on their development.
June 21st, Wednesday. Early in the afternoon, I actually got to see the seedeater father return to his nest. He didn’t stay long though, flying away almost as soon as I’d seen him. Later, 2:50, I got closer to the nest, close enough to see that one of the babies’ eyes were open. I also noticed, for the first time, the slight beginning of feathers on their little bodies. While of course they still have some downy fluff, there were barbs going down their backs, and on their wings.
June 23rd, Friday. Today, from a distance, I actually got to see BOTH seedeater parents return to the nest at different points during the day to feed their babies. Early afternoon, the black and white father flew to the nest, and about two hours later, the mother was visible with her brown and green plumage. Later that afternoon, 4:00, the father was back at the nest. He flew onto a telephone wire as soon as I walked outside, and once I approached the nest, I saw that the chicks were turned to face his direction, eyes wide open. They continue to show signs of growth; the barbs that will become feathers growing longer. Also, they are not as small as I believed before—could this simply be their normal growth rate? Or was I mistaken on the rate of their growth?
June 26, Monday. Today I didn’t see any sign of the birds. I didn’t even see the seedeaters’ nest until I looked down, seeing it near the tree. I searched the area, but didn’t see the hatchlings, or any remains of them. The fact that the nest was on the other side of the tree makes me think that maybe it blew away and/or a basilisk lizard took off with one or both birds. Though it could simply be that they finally matured and flew away on their own?
Over the last few days, I have observed the hatchlings’ feathers growing in more—orangish hues alongside the gray, and less downy fluff on their heads. In addition, I have seen both parents at the nest at various times. To feed their children, yes, but also perhaps to encourage them to take flight? I can ascertain from this and my prior recordings that growth comes faster than I thought in seedeater chicks. What I thought would take a few weeks was only a few days. Those babies aren’t babies anymore, and my hope is that they’re now somewhere out there, spreading their wings and getting ready to start a new cycle.


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