X Marks the Spot

The Chimney Swift chicks left their nest sometime late Friday. We checked the webcam late in the evening and only the formerly “little bald one” was clinging to the nest. By Saturday morning all were huddled together on the wall. They have moved below the nest and that means that we need to use a lower peek hole through the south wall of the “chimney” to see them on the north wall. Linda no longer needs the small stool to use the viewfinder on the camera.

We like diagonal lines in photographs and other art and today the swifts provided all sorts of X lines with wings crisscrossed and overlapping. They mostly stayed huddled together even when one or the other parent came in. Sometimes one would step away slightly but always returned to the huddle. On our next visit we expect to see them more scattered.

From the observation window four of the five appear to be in a row with one tucked below under the tails of the rest. Their eyes are darkening but at some angles still appear a bit silvery. The camera needs to be more angled down to see the chicks. This sometimes makes reflections of the open shutter on the window, especially at slower shutter speeds.

The truly special events of the day were when each parent came in and did not panic at our presence. Of course, we hardly breathed when they were in and did not make camera adjustments.

Here is the parent with the lighter epaulettes just after feeding the nearest chick. This adult stayed for much longer than the other one who landed on the left side of the chicks. This one eyed the camera lens that was just on the other side of the observation window but did not seem particularly concerned. The glare in the lower corners is from the edges of the peek hole.

The other important observations today were the changes in the chicks vocalizations when a parent was present. They did buzz as they have all along. Sometimes the buzz would quiet and their vocalizations would be similar to an adult’s twitter interspersed with short buzzes. They must be learning to “talk”. We were afraid to move to get the recorder so did not get audio files of this behavior. Perhaps next time.

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