June 08, 2007

Seven hungry chicken to feed

According to our information, the eggs in our nest box would hatch some time between the 29th of May and the 3rd of June. This was a bit problematic because the whole staff was going to Lisbon from the 31st to the 3rd. So we got ourselves a couple of babysitters, Kristin and Jørgen worked on shift monitoring the nest box while we were away.

The eggs hatched sometime between the afternoon of the 31st and the morning the 1st. Kristin came at eight o'clock and found 7 chicken and one egg, and sent us an sms right away. Imagine how proud we were, and a bit sad because we weren't there to see it for ourselves! :)

Since then we've monitored them closely, and taken films and photographs daily. They change remarkably from day to day, and now being one week old they have huge problems cramming into the tiny nest. The last egg never hatched, and it was probably the one that was laid last. Shortly after the hatching this last egg disappeared, and we don't know if it was removed from the nest or simply eaten. I've read elsewhere that the female adult eat the egg shells after hatching, probably to refill her calcium reserves.

It is quite funny to watch the live footage. And we've got some press coverage lately because of it. Both the local papers has stories about it in their net editions; called "Are you ready for Bird Brother" (why didn't we come up with this title ourselves!) and "A close look at the Great Tit". The University of Tromsø has linked to us with the heading "Songbird reality-TV" and even our national TV has written about it with the title "Busy Great Tit Mom".

Because we don't have a live webcam, you can't take a look at the action right now. But we have a number of films from the nest at our official webpage for your amusement. For those of you who don't understand Norwegian; to see the latest film - click at the photo. Older films are linked underneath; ordered by date. For still photos, take a look at this page.
If there are other monitored nestboxes out there, it would be cool if you could send me a note about it. I know of a few, mostly in Norway; here is a list:
Mobil blogg (Blue Tit, only still photos, in Swedish)
Tårnfrid-kassen (Falcon, live webcam, in Norwegian)
Midttun skole (Great Tit in Bergen, weekly films, Norwegian)
Blåmeishybelen (Blue Tit, video, stills, Norwegian)
Familien Selander (Great Tit, video, photos, Norwegian, links to other pages)
If you know of other pages, I will add them to the list.