Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eat, sleep, eat, sleep: busy eyasses!

At five days and three days old, the eyasses are already getting their daily routines down.  Actually, it's a pretty simple routine: eat, sleep, eat, sleep, eat, sleep......  As soon as they are fed in the morning, they crash into the first food coma of the day, while mom takes a quick break to stretch her wings.

She is never gone more than a few minutes.  The Nature's Promise bag has become a beloved feature in the nest, and mom seems loathe to remove it. (The white line is a reflection from the privacy screen by the window.)

Dad brings in a mid-morning bird snack, and starts ripping out the feathers with his beak.

The feathers rain down on the eyasses below.

After he finishes plucking the bird, the tiercel leaves and the formel begins feeding the youngsters. She has to reach way down from the nest edge into the bowl to fill those hungry beaks.

Those beaks gradually stop demanding food, and it's coma time.  Mom
appears to do a last check to see if anyone needs a final morsel.

In addition to eating and sleeping, the baby hawks are starting to pay attention to their environment.  Mom's Nature's Promise bag intrigued one of them...

... and soon all three bobbleheads poked out from under their mother.

For some unknown reason, she decided to drag the Nature's Promise bag right over the top of the curious eyasses...

... covering them completely.

She sat quietly content, but it was not long before the bag started twitching.  I wish I had video of this as it was hilarious to see her looking down in apparent astonishment...

 ... trying to figure out why the bag was heaving up and down.

Finally, one of the eyasses managed to get its head out from under the bag, and mom greeted it as if to say, "Oh, there you are!"

The other two struggled out and then all three took a nap to recover.

Dad arrived with pigeon for lunch...

 ... and headed right back out for more prey.

Mom tucked into her lunch...

... and the eyasses gradually awakened, and lined up to get fed with #3 always at the back of its bigger sibs.

Whoever is at the front and moving around the most gets fed.

Eventually, everyone gets a share and then it's nap time again.

The formel moves carefully around the edge of the bowl and has to clamber down to reach the eyasses.

A little later in the afternoon, she gets up to eat some more pigeon, and the breeze blows that ubiquitous bag back over the eyasses.

An indignant little face eventually peers out...

"Can we get some help here?  Anyone....?"

Finally, mom seems to see the problem, and nonchalantly pulls the bag away.

A little too nonchalantly, as it turns out, because no sooner does she fly off...

... than the bag flaps right back over them again!

Nothing to do but take another nap, and await further developments.  When she returns, she pulls it away a little...

... and makes up for the bag bother by making sure all three get a hearty share of the pigeon.

It's wonderful to see all three hatchlings eating well, thriving and growing fast.  #3 is holding its own despite its small size.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Egg #3 hatches: the family is complete

As dawn broke on Monday, the formel stood up, and there was #3 wriggling halfway out of its shell as its sibs slept on.

By 6:30 AM, it was fully hatched, and at two days younger, is noticeably smaller than the other two.

All three eyasses looked alert and interested in getting fed as a rain-bedraggled dad brought in breakfast.

 After the youngsters were fed, it was time for the parents to share leftovers.

Mom then took off leaving dad in charge.

He quickly settled down on the eyasses to keep them warm on this cold, wet morning.

 The formel soon returned, ready to resume her nest duties as soon as the tiercel left to go hunt...

... but he appeared to have no intention of leaving - and really, who could blame him on such an ugly wet morning?

The more she glared down, the flatter he seemed to get.  It was a stand-off!

 She appeared to screech at him...

... and in response he turned his back on her!

When she moved farther around to try to get him up...

... he turned his back some more.

Finally, she tried some head butts...

... and eventually she shoved him off.

And order was restored.

Time for a mid-morning snack.  #1 and #2 are ready to roll, but #3 is sleeping face down, recovering from the hours of exertion it took to get out of its shell.

A little later, Dad brought in a mouse...

... and this time, all three were eager to eat.  Here's #3 getting to the front of the line, finally.

The parent hawks are somewhat victims of their nest-building enthusiasm.  The nest bowl is so deep this year that it is difficult to fillet the food up on the rim, then reach all the way down to the tiny eyasses.

 Several times today, the formel almost overbalanced as she reached down, and there would be a sudden wing flap as she recovered.

It has been interesting to watch her hone her technique of stepping down different sections of the nest bowl.

It is good to see all three eyasses looking active, strong and feeding well.  A wonderful start to the fourth season of the Franklin Institute nest as these magnificent hawks welcome their 10th, 11th and 12th offspring.