Day 28 | Its now 4 weeks since the first chicks hatched so this is a good time to review their progress, most graphically shown by the images below taken from our webcam system at 7 day intervals starting when they were just over a week old.
As you can from the large image they are now making the transition from chicks in down to juvenile birds with feathers. Its no longer necessary for them to huddle together for warmth all the time and they are able to stand on the extended legs, more-or-less. Although still dependant on their parents for food of course, the chicks are starting to make the first attempts to feed themselves by pulling at the carcass that the parent is feeding them from.
The most obvious difference though is their physical size. From a hatching weight of just a few grams they will now most likely weight around 700-800, or maybe even more in the case of the female chicks who are now noticeably larger than their male counterparts even though the may have hatched after them. This size difference with be maintained and at fledging the females will be around one third larger than the males. However, although both sexes will continue to grow in size, their weight when they take their first flight will not be much different to what it is now, and may even be less.
Needless to say, they should not be too heavy when they take to the air for the first time so development from now on will start to focus on their bones and feathers, with an increasing amount of time and energy spent exercising wing muscles. Food intake has already been reduced to around 4, albeit good, feeds per day and will reduce further as their first flight draws close. Incredibly, fledging is probably now little more than 2 weeks away.
Now is a great time to go to the Cathedral Watch Point. With at least one parent guarding the nest most of the time and the chicks starting to peer over the edge of the nest platform, you are almost certain to see one or other of these magnificent birds. The dedicated and hard-working Hawk and Owl Trust staff and volunteers there will be more than pleased to give you the latest update.
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/