Observation date: 21 May 2014
When I saw the young one yesterday clinging by the tips of his talons to the rocky edge of the nest site and flapping to keep from falling to certain death, I said to myself, “This seems way too early to be fledging.”
I went back over my numbers yesterday. May 20th, he should be 33 days old. If normal fledging time is 44 days from hatching, he should have 11 days to go.
The young one has just started to flap and exercise in the last two days to build muscles for his first flight. The amount of plumage with color and some down still present coincides with our developmental photos which show chicks from Day 1 to Day 48. As far as I and some of the other observers, the consensus is that everything is right on schedule.
If we are as good as we think we are, then why in the heck is the chick 35 yards away from where he was yesterday?
Arriving late at the rock today, I saw a young woman that I had talked to the day before now lying in the dirt, back propped up against a rock looking nearly straight up with binoculars.
I asked Stacey, “Can you see the chick?”
Her reply was, “ I have been looking at the nest site for a long time and haven’t seen a thing.”
The tiercel was perched on the diving board, the young chick about 8 feet below and to the right in a large hole barely visible. Where I found Stacey, it was a lot closer to the bird, but straight up. We were next to the kiosk, quite a way from where I normally set up.
I packed up camera, scope, binos, two tripods and humped the 70 yards to the kiosk. Later Heather came to see the chick and helped to pack things back.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: Cleve will be out tomorrow with 4000mm of camera power !