Saturday, August 15, 2009

Don't Fall In!

I took these photographs, yesterday, August 14th, day five from hatching. I have taken photographs every 24 hours. I've waited to update you though, because not much had changed. They have looked like newborn mice, pink and slightly downy. I've been surprised that the chicks have not progressed faster. I expected that they would have more feathers. It's supposed to take 14 days from hatching for them to leave the nest, so they've got some work to do! All three of them are alive and well. I haven't noticed that any of them are less vigorous than the others. That's good because it means they each have more of a chance. In these shots, you can see that their eye lids have a slight opening now. They have pigment changes in their skin. See the dark tipping on the wings and feet? They are stronger than when they were hatched and more demanding. They hold their heads up for food a little longer each day. That's a lot of work for them, like holding a bowling ball on the end of a noodle. Their necks are quite floppy. Their mom, who I call Clarise, is very busy gathering worms and caterpillars for them. She's on her own; the father finished his work long ago and disappeared. We avoid giving her reason to be aggressive around the nest, but nonetheless, she seems kind of stressed. She's okay, just really busy. As you can see from this open pit of a mouth, it probably feels like an endless job shoving food into that cake hole! Yesterday was my sister's birthday, the one who died. By the time my mother had three of us, she was at least as stressed as Clarise. My father wasn't much help either, after having gotten her into that mess. I know she was overwhelmed by her children. And, she would have two more, like a North American Robin that has a second or third hatching in a summer. I was the first hatching. Every one thereafter exhausted her further. My mother became like an ant that has fallen into a sand pit. There was nothing she could do but keep scrambling to get out, ultimately, to no avail. In the process of that, she stomped on some of her children, too.


  1. The one in the back, with the big yapping mouth, has a slight resemblance to David, I think, at the dinner table at the Robinson's house. Great photographs!

  2. Your photos were marvelous. How do you take them without upsetting the
    mother? Do you have a permanent blind or ladder?

    The image of your mother as in an ant lion trap was very compelling and
    it's wonderful that you can have a sympathetic view of her life--though
    I don;t know much about what it was like for all of you. I like the way
    you weave your observations of wildlife with that of your own life.

  3. I have a ladder set up that stays put. I exit the house from a different door and check to see if Clarise is off the nest. Then I listen for her out in the yard. If I don't hear her, I make my move. I make sure my camera is all set to go so I can be quick about it. I hurry so that if she's around, she can get back onto the nest as fast as she wants to. Real stealth photography!

  4. Great update! What a color those little mouths are. Just amazing really.

  5. If you don't try to sell the photos when thru to a nature magazine you're crazy. They are fabulous. Keep going girl. Don't forget I have the Hooter. Ha Ha
    Love ya

  6. Excellent images! Thats second one is outstanding!!

    Feed me! Feed me!! FEED ME!!!