It's almost the end of the field season for the summer and I can't help but feel a little sad that I won't be seeing these little birds every day. In about two weeks we will see the last of the European Pied Flycatchers fledge and that will be the end of it. I know I have said it many times before but I really can't believe that in just 18 days the chicks go from little, featherless blobs, to full on birds. It is a little bittersweet watching them grow and then saying goodbye since you know it will be the last time you get to measure them. On Friday, for instance, we measured a nest of Blue Tits that had ten chicks from start to finish, and when we got there on Friday one of the chicks had already left the nest, so we measured the nine others for the last time. It was really amazing to be able to see them change their colors from the juvenile brown/gray to a more blue tinted gray with the distinct white markings around their eyes. Hopefully all the chicks that have fledge and will fledge soon come back next year so their rings can be monitored and even more growth data be recorded.
Most of the Flycatcher nests have between five and six chicks, but some have up to seven and others only four. We found a nest of seven arranged in a pretty organized fashion so that all of them had a chance to get food from their parents. These birds have a more speckled coloration when they are younger. The adult birds can be distinguished by their plumage. Males are black while females are a light brown. Both the male and female feed the chicks, although male Flycatchers are known to be polygamous, they will abandon the second female to help the first with their chicks.
This post will be short as most of the work is winding down. There will be another short study done however which will be covered in the coming weeks. It's hard to believe that the internship is almost over!
|A Great Tit chick that was all grown and ready to Fledg|
|juvenile Great Tit wing, colors and patterns.|