Overnight was warm and pretty quiet in the canyon. Although, just like their parents, the nestlings don’t sleep straight through the night. They move around in the box, preen, and stretch their wings. There were no overnight feedings – only a couple of early morning chick checks. Ares brought food to the box at 5:40, Astrid took it and just left it in the box without doing a proper feeding. Spirit and Zander picked at it for a while, but no one seemed all that interested in the buffet. The next meal was at 8:10 AM, when Ares brought in some unidentified prey. Astrid followed him in and took it, but then it was immediately stolen by Zander. Astrid tugged at it to get it back, but before she could manage it, Spirit barged in from the other side of the box, grabbed most of it and brought it to the corner. There she fed on it by herself. With the hunk that Astrid managed to hang onto, she began feeding Zander and Max. Through most of the morning, the nestlings were highly active in the box. A great amount of wing flapping and short-sprinting was taking place. Max and Zander continue to be the most interested in what goes on outside the box and in the canyon. Max got up onto the lip of the box numerous times. He even held his wings out. It was very windy downtown, so he got to experience wind hitting his wings for the first time. At 10 o’clock Astrid and Ares we’re doing some swooping around in the canyon. Astrid took a perch on the window sill just east of the east veranda. This is a place that our adventurous nestlings have traveled to in past years. Ares did some slow passes in front of the nest box. We interpret this as a “come join me” coaxing type flight. We will be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming days. At one point an object blew in on the wind and zoomed right by the nest box. It elicited some alarm calls from the chicks, but no reaction from the adults. It turned out to be a plastic bag. Shortly after that a Turkey Vulture flew over. It was flying quite high and no one seemed to take notice of it. Looking up at the nest box from street level is interesting. There is an almost constant rain of feathers emanating from it. They are mostly fluffy down feathers that are being shed from the chicks, but there are plenty of prey feathers in the mix too.
The afternoon was very hot and fairly quiet. For the most part, the nestlings were keeping to the few shady corners in the box. By 5:30 PM, they began to get more animated. Luna (the last chick of the four to hatch) got up on the lip of the box and even walked out a few inches onto the perch! That was furthest any of the chicks have ventured yet this season. At 6:20 PM, Astrid flew in with food. She first landed on the east veranda and then on the west veranda. This is what she does when she’s trying to encourage the nestlings to do more exploring. Finally she landed in the box. She had most of a pigeon and she conducted a long feeding. During the feeding, all the nestlings pretty much behaved themselves and all got fed. After their dinner, the youngsters seemed to be more full of beans than ever. Max couldn’t resist but to climb up on the lip of the box again and hold out his wings.
Given all of the activity that took place today, we will be starting our Fledge Watch tomorrow, Monday, June 12th. It’s still not the official watch until Wednesday, June 14th, but anyone who wants to stop down would be most welcomed. With four nestlings in the nest box this season, there’s a greater possibility of accidental fledgings, and so we’d like to have people on hand just in case.