Day 22 | The four chicks reached another milestone yesterday when BTO ringer Phil Littler fitted their uniquely identifiable leg rings and now have an orange coloured ring with a two-letter code on their left leg. These coloured rings, which you may just be able to see on the rightmost chick in the image below, do not cause the chicks any difficulties and help significantly in gaining a better understanding of their lives. None of the chicks showed any interest in their new adornments when they returned to the nest, and soon settled down.
The size of the tarsus – the first long leg bone above the foot – and the size of the chicks’ feet indicate there are 3 females and probably one male. Hawk and Owl Trust Conservation Officer Nigel Middleton tells me that all were in great condition and showed no health defects.
The ringing, performed inside the spire, was filmed by a TV crew so we hope that you will be able to see it on an upcoming TV program entitled The Big British Wildlife Revival, hosted by Ellie Harrison, later this year.
Today we also noticed that two of the larger chicks are now starting to stand and walk on their feet, albeit rather shakily, rather than shuffling around on their haunches. One has also made the first wobbly attempts at exercising their wings, such as they are. The primary feathers are now clearly defined but the rest of the wing is still in down. Nevertheless exercising the wing muscles is important for them, even though the prospect of flight is still several weeks away.
All you wildlife lovers out they may also be interested to know that the Hawk and Owl Trust at their Sculthorpe Moor reserve have also just started streaming images from a wild Marsh Harrier nest. The female is currently brooding 5 chicks and one yet-to-hatch egg. See here for more details : http://hawkandowl.org/sculthorpe/webcam/
David Gittens | Volunteer – Wildlife CCTV,
Hawk and Owl Trust – Sculthorpe Moor
For the live video stream, and to help with the costs of running our webcam please visit www.upp.hawkandowl.org/live/