Feather Buds

The new Chimney Swifts are two days old and changing quickly. They were pale pink with only their dark eyes showing through their skins on Tuesday. Today their skins are rosier and some of their feather buds are starting to make the follicles from which their feathers will sprout. Wings are getting a gray cast and little spots are appearing along their flanks and rumps.

This is an image crop of the rump of the closest chick in the top photo. The dots will soon become bristles and then tail feathers. Research articles about feather formation may be found online and in libraries. The bits we have read are fascinating.

The fourth egg is still there unhatched. If it does not we wonder what the parents will do. Today we did look at the unbroken egg that fell into the rainwater pan last week when Barbara Boyle of the Althea R. Sherman Chimney Swifts’ Tower Project came to empty the pan.

To add to our telling of the story of this year’s nest we decided to try for images as the parents enter and leave the false chimney. Several our attempts have encouraged us to try harder.

We set up a tripod with a 70-200mm lens on the lawn and used the camera’s high speed continuous shutter drive mode. Seeing and pressing the shutter to start the continuous sequence is not as fast as birds going in and out of the chimney. We may need to use video and pull jpgs from those files to get the birds close to the chimney.

Comments are closed.