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[Sparrows] Saw that one coming

December 11, 2012

[This is the fourteenth in a series of posts on sparrow nest-monitoring over the 2012-2013 Austral spring and summer.]

Well, there’s that.

Hatchlings in bag

They’re in the fridge for now, until I get back in contact with my ethanol supply. Since they’re a pair from the same nest, both of known age, I’ll probably be able to convince the museum to take these, too.

Now I know what to watch out for, there are a couple of other nests that I suspect will eject hatchlings in the next couple of days – one in particular currently holds five.

An advantage of hatchling-handling time is that I’m less afraid of breaking them now. Today, I tried removing some from the nest for the first time: the trick is to start near the edge of the nest, and gently roll one up the edge, touching only the chick’s upper surface. I had previously been very hesitant to pull out hatchlings because they form a squirming mass in the nest which is confusing to deal with if you can’t see the hatchlings (and since sparrows build enclosed nests, you can’t see the hatchlings). I didn’t want to risk breaking any hatchlings by reaching in and trying to scoop them out – but the rolling trick works well. I’ll now be able to add accurate hatchling numbers to my monitored nests, which is a great help to my data collection.

The only other thing of note today is that my camera has been playing silly buggers. I’ve been able to recover most of the data, and format it into obedience once again, but this has me worried – I need this camera for research purposes! If it dies on me, I’ll be in a sticky situation!



From → Scientist

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