We had a great picture-taking day today.
As near as I can tell we’ve got three female babies and two males. The picture above is a bit dark but I included it to show the white rim around the tail feathers of the two babies whose tail feathers are showing (the others’ are tucked in). The white rim indicates a female. But, since we rarely (never!) see all the tail feathers at once it’s usually a guessing game. And one thing I’m very good at is guessing wrong!
Today is bittersweet for us because it is the last day we will engage in active monitoring of the nest box. It’s generally not recommended past this age, because if the babies get startled and are particularly active they may leave the nest box prematurely, and it’s not time yet. They need another good three or four days in the nest, though they could “fledge” (leave the nest) anytime after Saturday. Early fledging is not typical with nestings that occur earlier in the year as this one has, but we don’t like to take chances. So, we hope you enjoyed our final baby pictures, but rest assured we have much more to show you in the coming days. We have feeding pictures, parent pictures, and by the time we run out of them the babies will start sticking their heads out of the hole in the nest box looking for Mom and Dad and “getting curious” as they prepare to make that big leap! We are bound and determined to capture the actual fledge on film also. So, stay tuned. It gets very exciting at the end even though we won’t open the box anymore.