Well, it's May 19, the estimated hatch date for the peregrine falcon chicks in the nest box at the King power plant in Bayport. Haven't seen any chicks yet, but Belinda's made a little moat of pebbles around the eggs -- the folks on the Raptor Resource forum say that's something she always does right before hatching. Stay tuned...
"Female Gouldian finches 'decide' to have more male chicks if they are less compatible with their mate.
The birds, which have either red or black heads, prefer to mate with males with the same head colouring, as this signifies a better genetic match.
Chicks from a mismatched mating - particularly the females - are weaker and more likely to die very early.
A report in the journal Science says that the birds compensate for this by having more male chicks in their brood.
Join the ongoing discussion about whether or not humans should use technology to select the sex of offspring when a genetic roll of the dice is a risky proposition.
Spring is springing, and birds are nesting, and you can be a part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch project. They provide the training. You can observe natural nest sites or nest boxes, and your observations get permanently archived in North America's largest breeding bird database. The data collected helps scientists better understand threats to bird species. Pretty cool.
On Saturday, May 26, Buzz blogger Thor Carlson emailed the staff here at the Science Museum of Minnesota that our resident peregrine falcon Athena's first egg had hatched:
Athena the peregrine falcon was quite agitated this morning and I think midday we had our first hatching. Something fuzzy seems to be fluffing out from under her and than about 2 p.m. I saw her picking her beak through half of an egg shell. With the weather being pretty drippy today, she's likely keeping the little one underneath her with the three other eggs.
Stop on up at the Mississippi River Gallery and check out the latest developments...more falcon chicks should be on the way.
The city of Chicago is looking for volunteers to go on a wild goose chase. The city has been plagued for over a decade by an ever-growing flock of Canadian geese. The birds have virtually taken over some city parks, harassing users and covering the ground with their droppings.
The city wants volunteers to find goose eggs during the nesting season. Then, wildlife control experts will shake the eggs to destroy the embryos. The geese will continue to incubate the eggs (and not lay new ones), but no goslings will hatch. Experts claim this is a more humane form of animal control than rounding up wild geese and killing them.
Farm animals are being modified genetically to produce milk and eggs containing pharmaceuticals. Just after ferilization "Pharmers" insert into the embryo human genes for producing proteins needed to treat humans unable to produce their own. They attach that DNA code with a gene that codes for a sugar found in milk. The therapeutic protein will then be produced within the animals milk.
GTC Biotherapeutics anti-clotting agent, ATryn, is the first government-approved drug from transgenic animals. It replaces human protein antithrombin, which helps prevent blood clots that could lead to a stroke or heart attack. About one in every 5,000 people has a genetic deficiency of this protein. One goat can produce a kilogram of antithrombin each year. It would take 50,000 people to donate that same amount.
Chickens can also be modified to produce human proteins in the albumen of their eggs. Origen Therapeutic scientists hope to breed a chicken that will produce the entire range of human antibodies in its eggs.
Source article: Wired.com
This series of photos, taken over 24 days, shows a hummingbird hatching and leaving its nest. (Click through all 5 pages for the full series.) Cool!
One of the falcon chicks spent part of the day learning to fly. The others are doing a lot of looking and wing-flapping, and will be joining their nestmate soon.
The little fluffballs are gaining feathers fast and looking more like adult peregrines every day. They've been flapping their wings and looking over the edge a lot. We expect them to fledge--leave the nest--sometime before June 16. See today's comment for more information.
All four of Athena's chicks have hatched now! Congratulations to Athena and her new Peregrine Falcon family. As far as we can tell from the pictures the fourth egg must have hatched around 5pm yesterday, Thur. May 4th.
Courtesy Excel energy
Three of Athena's chicks have hatched and you can see them crowding around the one brown egg that hasn't hatched yet.
Athena can be seen feeding two of her chicks on Xcel's Falcon Cam. You can keep updated by watching the new pictures appear every couple minutes in the daily photos section.
Update from atop the giant smokestack at the High Bridge power plant here in Saint Paul and down the street from the Science Museum:
"Athena's" eggs have started to hatch.