The chicks are now 18 days old. In the next week you will start to see them standing more often and beginning to move about the nest. The amount of time mom spends brooding them will decrease significantly. You may also start to see them beginning to pull meat off the prey the parents bring into the nest by themselves. If we had sound (something we will definitely have in place by next season!) you would also be able to note that nest has become a very noisy place to be---they were vocal right from hatch, but they get louder as they get older. If you watch carefully, you can see that the primary feathers (flight feathers) are just beginning to emerge from under the downy feathers.
The three chicks are pretty close in size so they may all be the same gender. One is slightly smaller than the other two but that may just be that it was the last to hatch. Anybody care to take a guess at which gender they are?
Some folks have wondered whether the Raptor Cam is in color or black and white. The answer is that it is in color---sometimes it is hard to tell since a lot of what happens in the nest is in tones of Grey and brown and relatively colorless. However occasionally you see bits of greenery that the parents bring into the nest. I think the colors this year are a bit less vivid than prior years---I wonder if the camera lens needs a good c!leaning.
Mystery Question of the Day: Red-tails are not the only raptors that use human structures for nesting. What bird of prey is living inside of these hay bales? (Answer on next blog):
By Mariah Keutchmann