June 11, 2007

Real life in a nest box

Yesterday I checked the nestbox and was a bit worried about one of the chicken. It was smaller and weaker than the others, and was not able to fight with its siblings to grab the food. The parents seemed a bit disturbed, they came into the box multiple times without bringing any food, as if they were stressed about something.

And sad to say, my worries were justified. When I came to work this morning, I could only count six chicken. It was rainy today, and rather poor light conditions inside the box, so I could only count their open beaks when the parents brought them food. So I concluded that one of the chicken had died. And at two o'clock this was confirmed. I could not get it on tape, but one of the parents suddenly grabbed the dead chicken (which was still inside the nestbox) in its beak and carried it outside. It was a tough battle for the adult, it seemed almost to heavy and to bulky to bring through the drilled hole, and it had to try several times before it succeded.

It was sad and rather weird to be an eye witness to this, which probably happens each year in most nests. Being human I've got at weak spot for this small family, even if I know they are simple creatures which don't have feelings the way people do. And I hope the rest of them survives, at least long enough to leave the nest and see the world outside their small closure.

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