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Raptor Cam Update--April 28th

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on April 28, 2009 at 7:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

Wow check out how fast the birds are growing. They are now 14 and 15 days old. Their feathers are really starting to emerge.

View: Latest photos from the nest

They will spend a good part of the rest of their lives taking care of those feathers---a red-trailed hawk, or any bird for that matter spends a great deal of time just perching and preening (using its beak to make sure that its feathers are clean and well organized.)

The feathers are the birds primary protection against the elements. As a result of the feather growth, the birds are increasingly able to maintain their own internal temperature and the parents are doing much less brooding.

The chicks have also become increasingly mobile. Frank the Web Master writes that it has become a growing challenge to keep the camera on them! In this short time they have already moved one third of the way towards their first flights. The action in the nest should continue to increase dramatically with the chicks starting to self feed, increasingly exploring their immediate surroundings, etc. Even if you don't see them the parents remain close by during this period-- The chicks are big enough to draw the attention of other aerial predators.

Some folks have asked about banding the birds. We typically band the young between the age of 14-24 days. We want to band when they are old enough to maintain their temperature (so that they don't become hypothermic) and still young enough that they are not so mobile that they can jump out of the nest. Hopefully we will be able to do this in the next few days, but Audubon business has kept me on the road these past several days...by the way the birding is awesome right now out here in Harney County!

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