4/30/2000

Here's the first glimpse we had of the first chick.  On the morning of 4/28/2000.  Clockwise from the 3:00 position, that's an empty egg shell (big clue), two whole eggs, and a bit of the chick's head peeking out.

A few minutes later, Mom moved just enough that we got to see the whole top half of the chick.  This isn't the best frame capture in the world, but under Mom's left wing you can see the chick's head and both wings.

That night, Mom went out to hunt.  We thought that when brooding, she didn't ever leave the chicks, but she does go out for 5 to 10 minutes at a time while they all huddle together and peep madly.  Note that they're all huddling with each other and with the fourth egg.  Also, note the dead thing in the lower right that has been providing their meals all day.

Saturday there was nothing to see, no food in the box, and little activity.  But this morning, 4/30, was pretty interesting.  There are bird feathers everywhere from the bird that mom killed at 12:30 AM the night before.  What remains of the bird is hidden under her tail.  There is also a big, dead gopher sort of reclining in the upper right corner.  He's sitting on what's left of the fourth egg.  In this view, and in many others, it looks intact and we wondered if Mom and abandoned it.  We scanned a lot of tape to see her move the egg fragment and see that it was, in fact, only half an egg shell.   Tonight when she went hunting, we could clearly see 4 chicks (but that tape is still in the VCR...)  There's another dead rodent in here as well, but it doesn't seem visible in this frame.  There is also a chick in the lower left corner, trying desperately to squeeze out from under Mom.

Here, Mom tucks her head under for a minute and allows us a glimpse of the chicks.  There are clearly three here.  We didn't see four all at once until she left the box this evening.