Eye and Dots

This morning while taking another look at culled images from yesterday, an eye in one of the ring flash images appeared worth a crop and a document. This must be the chick whose right eye was half open on Sunday. It is the largest and most feathered. Its eye is quite dark already.

Another thing we noticed inside the lower mandible of both chicks with open beaks are rows of little black dots. These seem to correspond with the little feathers protruding from the undersides of their beaks. We have not found any descriptions of these dots so far. The pink tissue seems very thin and translucent. Perhaps the dots are the bases of the feather follicles as seen from the inside of their beaks.

Though the feathers appear bristly at the moment, they are not rictal bristles. Some insect-eating birds have stiff bristles around their beaks that are believed to protect the eyes when eating large insects. Chimney Swifts do not have them.

The Althea R. Sherman Swifts’ Tower has a webcam. The angle of view is not intimate but quite wide-angle in the ‘chimney’ awaiting the time when the chicks leave the nest and cling to the walls for several days while exercising their wings. They will then fly about in the chimney for several days and then at about 28-29 days leave to adventure in the wide world outside.

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