Fledgling Shenanigans

OK, the drought is officially over. The water has been coming down in buckets so much that the pool is over flowing and when you stand on our back patio you get the feeling you are on a ship or an island. Ducks were actually swimming by where dry land was only last week. Nest checks are almost impossible on the numbered gourd rack due to the standing water by the base of the pole. If I had a pair of waders I would have used them. The lettered rack now has too many nests close to fledging to do a check.

The purple martins on the nestcam have long since fledged and though they are still returning to sleep, most of the others on that rack are not, as per my previous post. Mornings are still quite active with visitors and fledglings flying about. Evenings are getting more quiet with all birds in the gourds well before dark.

The new nestling in the Sunset Inn house is missing and no further eggs have hatched. Now only 6 of the eggs (of eight) remain and of those remaining eggs most seem far along in development. The translucent pearly quality of the eggs is gone and the remaining eggs seem dark and heavy. If they are still being tended to, they should be hatching shortly but if they have been abandoned then they were very close to hatching and taking into consideration that one nestling did hatch, I am thinking the nest was abandoned very soon after the nestling hatched and the remaining eggs have since perished. Another terrible blow to the egg / hatch / fledge ratio. Next year I will make sure that the house is positioned so that I can view both sides from the patio. Though the birds seem to like the open fly way on the north side of the housing, I will have to make the change so that I can better see what is going on with the nests.

The bigger problem at the moment seems to be lazy fledglings. Several fledgelings have taken to hijacking nests to steel food from nestlings. It seems that once the fledgling is in the nest the parents can not distinguish these young from their own and will feed them. The spoiled brats sit and wait for their meals to arrive while pushing the smaller nestlings out of the way. On the last nest check there were 2 nests of younger birds 12 & 18 days old) that had older, already fledged birds stealing food from them. I evicted them but I wonder if this behavior had something to do with the little nestling dying. Somethings we will never know.

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