92° in the Shade

It was 92° in the shade when we parked our vehicle next to the trees on the north side of the Althea R. Sherman Chimney Swifts’ Tower this afternoon. It was hotter in the tower. The open chimney probably circulates air so it may not have been as warm inside it as we were at the peak hole and small window looking into the chimney.

The parents must have been out foraging because no one flew out when Bob unlocked the door and ascended the steps to the viewing area. Linda was ready to use the high speed continuous shutter should anyone fly out the false chimney. When she climbed the steps in the tower she opened all the windows on the way up. Bob had opened the ones on the viewing level. It was still in the high 90s while we made a few images.

The three chicks are 14 days old and their eyes have not begun to open. This usually happens about at this time but may be as late as their 18th day. One eye opens very slowly and then the other.

They continue to grow and are now overlapping in the little nest. They are probably close to 80% of their adult weights. Flight feathers are losing their sheaths and small feathers are filling in their backs and undersides.

They were very quiet and moved very little. Nor did they vocalize. The closest chick would open its mouth as if to breath. It did not pant but would open and close its mouth approximately once per minute.  We also saw the far chick open its mouth several times. The head of the middle chick was not visible from either camera position.

As crowded as they are, they will probably migrate to the walls as soon as they are able. Their feet are well developed and will be able to support them on vertical surfaces. One researcher reported that day old chicks can support themselves on walls.

If it is forecast to be as hot on Wednesday we will visit the tower earlier in the day.

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