Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Socially Progressing

When mama Social Flycatcher was absent the nest, I pointed my camera into the opening and got these shots, two days apart. In the top left image, the first chick has hatched, and two days later, the second and third have hatched. Staggered hatching is called "asynchronous." It is thought to benefit the parents by spreading their workload and reducing sibling rivalry since the young are at slightly different stages of development.

Meanwhile, both parents are feeding the chicks and also spending a fair amount of time keeping them warm. These particular Social Flycatchers are not in the least spooked by us moving around on the veranda. I'm sure they are well familiar with us and have long since realized we pose no threat. And who knows, one of them may even have been raised in this same hanging basket location, a favorite with Socials over the past nearly decade.

Postscript: Just before this was to be published, I decided to check the nest as it had seemed suspiciously quiet all day. I peeked in only to find it ... empty. Something happened to the chicks overnight -- I suspect a snake -- although I did check the ground to make sure they hadn't somehow been tipped out. With the nest right outside my window, I can't help but be a little sad, especially for the hardworking parents. Now the question is ... will they re-nest?

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