Tuesday, June 28, 2005

They're still toddlers: John Blakeman comments


Donna Browne emailed some notes from two observers:

"8:10 by now it's cooler up there (all three beaks are closed), Charlotte retires to south end of nest, and for the next half hour the little ones are alternately lying down or sitting up, alert, watching the activity below. They have an odd way of sitting, at times: they seem to be rocked back on their tails, and their feet stick straight out in front of them."

Veronica's description from her email...."Chicks are huge with the funniest way of sitting on their rumps with their white pointy talons up against the rim of the nest, kinda like fisherman when they are sitting in their boat chairs with their feet up on the rim of the boat. a very silly

The feet-out, rump-sitting mode is just right for the age of the eyasses. Their bodies are growing at a remarkable rate, and their leg muscles can't easily support the entire weight of the upper body just yet, so they plop down on their rumps with their legs extended straight out. Looks funny, but it works. As the leg muscles begin to mature, they will soon be standing on their legs most of the time. Our little birds are just toddlers learning how limbs should work. But because the muscles in them aren't strong enough to support the body for long periods, they don't work very well just yet. In a week or so, this will pass and the birds will be on their feet universally.


John A. Blakeman