(Our woods): Incubation -
Usually nests below the canopy
in deciduous or mixed forest,
often near some form of water.
Typically from 30-60 feet (9-20
meters), but can range from 4-115
feet (1.5-35 meters).
Composed mostly of live or dead
sticks, dried leaves, strips of
bark, Spanish Moss, and lichens; the
inner cavity is lined with finer
shreds of inner bark, mosses,
lichens, and sprigs of conifer are
added at egg-laying.
1-6, usually 2-4, eggs laid between
January-June, mostly during
Incubation begins with the laying of
the first egg, and is performed by
both sexes, but mainly the female
who is fed by the male. Young hatch
asynchronously, around day 33.
The semi-altricial young are
inactive, becoming active at about
10 days. Nestlings are thickly
covered with long, soft, silky down
and vary in size due to asynchronous
hatching. Feathering begins about 2
weeks. Nestlings vary in size Young
leave the nest at 5-6 weeks, first
flight may not occur until day 45 or
Parents supply food to young for
about 8-10 weeks after fledging.
Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Photographed from a
platform 82' about the Sycamore tree's
base (thx Marcia) Nest height:
6-27-09 Day 61
Much vocalization from chicks nearby
but none came to the next; a Great
Crested Flycatcher enjoyed the flies
drawn to the nest
6-26-09 Day 60
A click waits
quietly in the nest but seems less
comfortable with my
presence and departs...
Mom arrives with no food and quickly
departs and then Chick #3 (shown
above) arrives shortly after looking for
An older chick arrives sending an aggressive message
that has now evolved beyond
typical sibling posturing for a meal...
The older chick pounces down on
the nest sending a message that
feeling more like Law of the Forest
versus Nest Protocol
Both clicks contemplate the
possibility of mom returning with a
meal this time...
Their patience is short-lived and
the older click quickly departs...
The younger chick stays momentarily
and then also departs...
6-20-09 Day 54
6-19-09 Day 53
6-18-09 Day 52
Another lazy day in
the nest... this chick laying
there like a dog laying in the
sun... one wing and leg lazily stretched outward...
It appeared that dad showed up with a
frog and before the chick has a
chance to eat it, and before the
other chicks responded to dad's
arrival, dad left and
mom then shows up a minute later
with a mole.. see
the chick now has a mole from mom
and a frog from dad, and the other chicks
saw mom's arrival so they start
quickly... the other chicks arrive...
nest protocol dictates that the
nearest/first chick gets the meal and will
defend it aggressively...
Chick is covering both the frog and
the other chicks, thinking this
chick has just finished the last of
the food, depart the nest.
This chick then starts eating the
two meals in the crop, the chick
6-17-09 Day 51
Quiet evening at the nest. One
click quietly waits for a parent to
arrive with a meal
Starts getting a little impatient
and starts calling out...
Gets up and looks
around for a parent....
Decides its had enough waiting and
Moments after, mom shows up...with
Chicks don't know she doesn't have
food and start showing up one by
Immediately upon arrive, start
looking for food
Even mom starts looking at what they
are looking at/for...
2nd chick shows up (1st chick
momentarily obscured from view)
3rd chick shows up
Confused and disappointed, they
watch as mom flies off...
And start vocalizing for food...
3rd and 2nd chick fly off...
Last chick contemplates the lack of
food and later flies off
empty nest again...
Shortly after, mom shows up with a
frog and is quickly joined by a
6-14-09 Day 48
Chicks are now
moving easily to and from the nest
6-13-09 Day 47
Day 47 started out like any other
day in the nest for the 3 chicks...
...until Chick #1
decided to jump out of the nest to a
close branch slightly above the
3 minutes later, chick #1 jumps back
down to the nest...
however... chick #1 was forever
changed...having its first taste of
flight and freedom from the nest
4 minutes later, chick #1 flights
from the nest...
now 10' from the
nest, it contemplates its life
...and reflects on its siblings and
life in the nest...
and click #2 and #3 contemplate
Chick #1's exodus from the nest
now what do I do...
Chick #2 thinks... if chick #1 did
it, so can I...
so chick #2 hop/flies to the first
mission accomplished for chick #2...
meanwhile, chick #1 is thinking...
"what have I done!"
now chick #2 starts getting serious
and begins testing the equipment...
focusing on chick #1's move to
chick #3 even gets in the testing
chick #2 ponders the implications of
this next big step...
again... chick #3 gets into the
as chick #3 continues to try its
wings, chick #2 prepares for first
in an instant, chick #2 is gone, and
chick #3 is alone in the nest...
chick #2 makes it safely to its
first perch outside of the nest...
and looks down...
chick #2 thinks
about its next move...
chick #2 quickly
moves to a new perch...
contemplates the new locations of
time for some more
After all that
exercise, I'm hungry. I'll
just wait here for mom and my next
I wonder if that
butterfly is eatable?
Good. Dad's back with a
rabbit, and no-one I have to share
Dad's thinking.... last time I was
here, there were 3 chicks..., now
click #2 returned to share in chick
chick #3 takes
evasive action and spins away with
rabbit in tow...
chick #2 looks on
chick #3 thinks...
maybe this whole fledging thing is
will the foot...
a quick scuffle over
the rabbit...to no avail...
another attempt by
the interloper is answered with a
sharp bite to the head of click
now full, click #3
allows click #2 to pick through the
defecation after a good meal or a
harbinger for first flight my chick
click #3 takes its
first flight from the nest..,
leaving its sibling with the
click #3 now moves
to higher ground...
click #2 thinks...
if chick #3 can wait here and get a
meal, so can I...
soon after, mom
arrives with a nice mole...
mom thinks..., left
3 chicks, no I only see one...
well... off to hunt.
click #2 stands
alone...wondering what life has in
store for them next....
6-12-09 Day 46
6-11-09 Day 45
Missed Days 42,
6-7-09 Day 41
Mother arrives with a mole...
... and mole
"mayhem" breaks loose...
...one chick ends up with the mole,
turns around and spreads its wings
as a gauntlet against the other
...and down the hatch...
6-5-09 Day 39
Swallowing a whole field
mouse...while the others watch...
6-4-09 Day 38
Male arrives with mole
Male intentionally drops mole in
front of chick #3 (smallest), i.e.
likely the chick most in need of
Male fends off Chick #2 attempt to
encroach on Chick #3's mole
Male stands guard while Chick #3
gets meal under control
Male flies off
Chick #3 hovers off mole to protect
Swallows mole whole...
And works on getting the mole down
Harmony returns to the nest
Wing flapping noticeably increases
by all chicks today
Chicks wearily watch the vultures
First day chicks attempt to fly,
i.e. enough flapping to rise above
the nest several inches
A poop to be remembered...
6-2-09 Day 37
A rainy day in the nest...
Male arrives with mole, drops it in the
nest, and immediately flies away...
Chick #1 claims it for itself... while
Chick #1 & #2 look on...
Attempts to swallow it whole... to avoid
Male arrives briefly without food and
then quickly leaves
6-2-09 Day 36
6-1-09 Day 35
Chick #2 grabs the family meal with an
ensuing tug-of-war with Dad
Clicks watch wearily
as vulture circles overhead...
Missed Days 28-34
5-24-09 Day 27
5-23-09 Day 26
Opps... Sibling got in the way of a
Most likely birth order (left to
right)... 1st, 2nd,