A few updates for you....it is finally time for some eggs to start hatching on our nests! I visited 20 nests today and five of them had some signs of hatching! The signs can be subtle at first, since we cannot actually see the chicks from the ground until they are ten days or two weeks old! The adults may be restless, males may stick closer to the nest, they wiggle, rock, look down into the nest cup. Suddenly those incubating females become more interested in what is happening beneath them than what is going on around them. The clincher is when we observe feeding behavior. I pulled up to one nest today and immediately saw both adults, heads down in the nest....the male was feeding the female, who then fed the chicks. Even after all these years, I am still so moved so be able to view this first indication that a new life has begun. Some males are more involved than others and my heart melted watching this male today, so involved with feeding his mate and new offspring. I wished I could wait at all nests for a feeding, but with so many nests, I have to keep moving and rely on my 24 years of experience to know when the behaviors indicate that hatching has begun. Sadly, I discovered one nest that had failed for unknown reasons. Noone was incubating anymore and the male was perched a ways from the nest. No female seen. Sigh.
I am happy to report that I did recieve the new eyepiece from Japan and it fits my scope and it works perfectly! Thanks to all who contributed via the Go Fund Me page so I could get this replacement eyepiece. The additional funds will go towards gas and placing new poles. We are discovering new nest attempts and I am keeping very, very busy checking them out and trying to read all the bands that I was unable to read without my dearly beloved scope! And of course, visiting all known nests to determine if hatching has occurred. I am feeling overwhelmed, having gotten so far behind as a result of the scope fiasco. We never have enough volunteers but the ones we have are working hard to gather the data on their nests....new monitors are learning about behaviors, the experienced ones are always so ready and willing to run out and check a nest for me if I can't get there. Deep thanks to them all. Happy Memorial Day to you all!