I suspected something was up Monday morning when I was feeding the keets and changing their water. No one seemed to be home nor did they care that I was raising a ruckus.
Since the eggs arrived Kermit the Green can usually be found perched just outside the nest box entrance, or on the opposite side of the cage feeding. This time he was inside the nest box with Billy Holiday and the brood and neither he nor she came out to protest the invasion of the giant fleshy hand. Now according to the book, the male is not normally "allowed in" when she's incubating or hatching chicks. This appears to be a firm but flexible rule.
More and more I get the sense that our birds see the 'rules' more as suggestions, and less as instructions. Since egg #2 came along about 4 days after egg #1, I was not really expecting to find a new chick in the nest box today, but then again, we know how these birds feel about the 'how to' manual. Anyway, it was not until much later in the day that I checked to find out for sure. I am reluctant to open up the nest box while she is in there because I don't want to scare her; those chicks look so small and fragile that I worry she might do harm making a freightened getaway.
The books also say that most chicks hatch in the morning. I'm sure there is plenty of research to support this but in our case I wonder. It's got to be awfully dark inside that nestbox, probably a little more light during the daylight hours but not much, and of course a lot darker than a nest in the wild. Further, the book says that Mr Big and Green will feed the hen, and the hen will in turn feed the chicks, youngest first, until they are about 3 weeks old. Then the male takes over some of the feeding until the chicks are weaned, which is around 5-6 weeks of age. Well I haven't seen him making multiple forays in and out and she only emerged once that I noticed, but then chick watch is only one of my duties here.
So, I checked tonight when she emeged for vespers (though they did not sing their evening duet like they used to, before 'the kids' came along).
Come on out guys
As you can see, number one is still just surrounded by a bunch of mute marbles. I've been worried that the chick may not be getting enough to eat. Based on all the pics I have seen on the web, I half expected this thing to double in size every eight hours or so. Uno still looks rediculously small to me, but then as I look at these photos, I compare the chick to the eggs and suddenly things take on a different perspective. I think Uno would have a time of it trying to get back into his shell. Perhaps I'm just over worrying?
In other but related news, one of you suggested a name for chick #1 - thanks for that! (see comments at the end of the last post) I must admit, as eggs are turning into chicks I have not given names much thought. As you can see from the pic above, gender identification is somewhere in the future. That's not a problem for us however as I hope these little birds are off to their new loving homes by the time that becomes important.
I considered having a naming contest: You know, post up your suggestions for names, then take a vote, select the winners, award prizes and all that, ... but that's just a little more trouble than I am willing to go to. So, just send us your suggstions for names (can be done by commenting on the posts). We'll consider all suggestions, and as we settle on names we'll let you know. (Come on Christina, you know you want to) Of course if you are one of the lucky folks who elect to give these birds a home in a couple months, the naming right are all yours. For the time being, I am consideing the nick name BIG MIG for chick #1. Saturday AND Sunday off for the first person who can correctly enlighten the rest of the legions of Keet about the historical significance of this moniker, (Hint: think bicycling hero)
Chairman and his pals have been up nights worrying about the whole birthing thing, you can see it in their expressions:
Wake me when it's over