I checked the nest this afternoon to determine the status of the unhatched eggs. To my surprise, one was missing. I removed the other and cracked it to examine the contents. There was no embryo, just yolk. I wonder if the other one wasn’t the same way and the parents removed it. Sorry, no pic of the egg autopsy.
The babies grow noticeably every day. The parents started feeding them mealworms today. Daddy divided up about 20 among the family this morning and I’ll put some more out in a little while and sit out on the patio for awhile and watch the feeding. Last year Daddy would gather up several at one time when he took them to the young.
This pic is not good quality, but shows Daddy removing a fecal sac. Normally when the adults exit the nest box, they stick their head out and make sure the coast is clear before they fly. This gives me time to adjust shutter speed and focus, but, I guess if you have a mouth full of feces you are in a hurry. Twice today I missed Daddy removing a fecal sac. Cavity nesting birds like chickadees, titmice and bluebirds have a unique tactic to prevent nest fouling. The baby’s feces is enclosed in a thick, white, gelatinous membrane which is removed by the parents. Feeding stimulates evacuation.
Pic of a Black-crested Titmouse removing a fecal sac. Uvalde County Texas.
Click photos to enlarge.
- 14 March First sign of nest-building
- 16 March Nest completed
- 20 March First egg laid
- 22 March Second egg laid
- 23 March Third egg laid
- 24 March Fourth egg laid
- 25 March Fifth egg laid
- 08 April first 3 eggs hatch