Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Birds nest revisited

I have been following the progress of a few nests recently including a Sparrowhawk nest that was shown in an earlier post. There were 5 chicks which is a fairly typical brood size and when they were ringed I found that 3 were males and 2 were females. Sparrowhawk chicks can be sexed on leg and foot size from about 9 days of age but females are starting to become much bigger overall by that age too. It is good to report that they have been making good progress as can be seen in the images below.

The Sparrowhawk nest was found 24/06/14 when the chicks were about a week old and it was quite crowded then.

When I returned to ring them on 30/06/14 it really was a full nest.

The chick was sexed as a male and fitted nicely in my hand.

This female chick was much more of a handful than the male above.

I returned on 02/07/14 to check them from a distance and they were clearly doing well.
I had been worried about this nest being disturbed or worse still the chicks being stolen because of its location.

I went back this afternoon and this young male was standing proud on the edge of the nest. He has lost most of his down and could leave the nest by the end of the week.
I will go back again to check that they have fledged successfully and when they have finally left I will also check the nest for pellets to see what prey they have been eating. In the past I have found the remains of some interesting prey in Sparrowhawk nests including Swift, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Brown Hawker Dragonfly but young Blackbirds and Starlings are often the most common prey items. If I do find anything of interest I will report it in due course.

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