Discovery Day

There were four eggs on Friday at the Althea R. Sherman Chimney Swifts’ Tower. There had been five a few days before but one had fallen out of the rather flat nest. Within the last day or possibly two, three of those eggs became hatchlings.

The egg tooth visible on the top of the prominent chick’s beak was used to break the egg so it could emerge. The egg tooth is a special structure made of calcium that is much harder and sharper than its beak or claws. It falls away within several days of hatching.

Though we were in the tower for short while, the three chicks moved about and seemed to be trying to get more comfortable. Between these two images the chicks changed positions several times. They quieted when two of the chicks wrapped around the remaining egg, brooding it much as a parent would.

The top image is through a peak hole using our 90mm tilt-shift lens as a regular lens. It just occurred to us today that its lens diameter of 55mm should be better than using lenses with 72 or 77mm diameters. Why that did not occur last year is a mystery. We will be using it more in other situations where it needs to look through small spaces.

The bottom image was made looking down through the little glass window with a 24-105mm lens.

The remaining egg should hatch within the next several days. Last year there was a chick that hatched much later than the first four. We referred to it as the “little bald one” all the way to fledging. It liked to remain in the middle of the pile of chicks long after they were all feathered out. Perhaps this one also will.

Our visits will be closer together now that they have hatched. They grow so quickly and we do not want to miss their progress.

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