One Week Old Today

The Chimney Swift chicks are now a week old and so very different than the little pale pink blobs they were when we first photographed them as chicks rather than eggs. We photographed them late Saturday (our last post) and were not able to visit again until this morning (Tuesday).

The remaining egg was not visible in the pile of chicks who sometimes pointed their heads upward in a characteristic swift posture. We think the egg has fallen into the rain pan. It rained heavily yesterday.

The three are growing so fast and already crowding one another. Chimney Swifts do not require much personal space. As they grow they will spend more time propped up against the wall. When they leave the nest they will spend several days clinging to the wall with their heads pointed up.

When we looked in the peek hole, one of the chick’s ear hole was very visible so we made an image before it moved so we could show this anatomical feature. This is a crop from the image so the ear hole is more apparent.

Birds’ ear holes are usually just behind and below the eyes. When the youngster is feathered out, those feathers covering the ear hole will have special characteristics both to protect the ear hole and enable the bird to hear when flying or in the wind. The internal ear structures are similar to that of mammals.

This close-up crop also shows the sheaths of several feather groups. We think the coverts, scapulars and primary flight feathers are emerging. It is hard to tell when compared to adult feather groups.

Today we heard the buzz saw sound that Chimney Swift chicks make in unison for the first time. It was two brief bursts. There will be more, especially after their eyes open. We also heard a few soft chipping sounds that we will hear more of as they mature.

A parent came in to check on us several times but did not stay for a photograph. The chicks did not respond in any way that we could determine. We were able to do a bit of video of the chicks typical behaviors in between their quiet times. They preened, squirmed, changed positions and one defecated.

We look forward to our next visit and the changes we will see.

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