Chicks at 10 and 11 days old

The chicks have exited the sort-of-cute teeny, tiny Purdue oven-stuffer roaster stage and entered the hideous “yes, Virginia, I’m a modern dinosaur” stage. Perhaps the plan is to discourage predators by being too ugly to eat. This lot is particularly unappealing because it’s hot so they sleep with the beaks open to keep cool since birds can’t sweat.

If you have the stomach for it, you can see that their eyes are beginning to open. The black circles on the side of their heads are ears. The bumpy area on their wings and bodies are pinfeathers starting to emerge. Finally, their beaks are beginning to morph into a sharper point.

Gwen is dutifully still trying to brood them but with diminishing success. They don’t like being stepped on and she is having a hard time managing to find a chick-free spot for her feet so that she can sit on top of them. They may be more cooperative at night but I don’t think she’s big enough to cover everyone up even if they were interested in the warmth, which this one clearly is not. The instinct to overheat babies appears to be universal.

According to the the latest research on crow intelligence, they not only recognize faces but also body shapes and gait. This confirms what I suspected, namely that my clever disguise for inspecting the nest (black raincoat, sweater tied around my face, and floppy hat) wasn’t fooling anyone. At any rate, both of them freak out whenever they see me, even if I’m nowhere near the enclosure. And when I deliver food, I regularly get dive-bombed. This is new. My guess is that going directly from chasing Stephen around to give him medicine to unauthorized nest inspections (not to mention removal of a chick, even though I rescued it and put it back) has made me persona non grata. Crows are notoriously unforgiving but I do produce food so I have some hope that we can go back to our regular love-hate relationship once breeding season is done.