Naturalist Brian Keating Gets ‘Bird’s Eye View’ of Glitter Nest with Spy Camera
When a family of glitter settled in a birdhouse on their property, naturalist Brian Keating decided to set up a spy camera to capture the action.
“The camera is so small it’s the size of a matchbox,” Keating said. The stretch. “I was able to double-sided glue it on the roof of the lid inside the box. So I don’t think the birds really noticed. In fact, after installation, they didn’t jump. a beat in their activity. “
The camera sends a signal to a receiver in the house and allows Keating to watch the action on a monitor.
“I plugged it into an old little TV,” he said. “And it was great entertainment at mealtime.”
Glitter, also known as peak, is common in Alberta.
Keating said the glitter was bigger than a robin, with a kind of soft expression. It has a beautiful scalloped plumage, red coloration and a white flash on the rump.
Last month he said The stretch all about the flickers and their habit of banging on aluminum fireplaces.
But what about their habits inside the nest?
“It was really exciting when they started to lay their first eggs,” Keating said. “They lay five to eight eggs and they lay one every day or every other day… they don’t want to start incubating them until they’re all laid so they have a synchronous hatch.”
Keating was surprised to see that the eggs continued to be laid day in and day out.
“Before I knew it there were eleven eggs in the box before they started to incubate.”
According to Keating, this is not usual. After consultation with Chris Fisher, the author of Birds of Alberta, Keating concluded that this was a competition for a nesting site, as adults vied for top notch real estate – two females were seen arguing at the site.
“Nesting sites, the perfect hole in the perfect old tree, they are rare and every site is coveted. And maybe this is it. [second] the female simply did not have the opportunity to unload her eggs at the appropriate site. So she dumped them. “
Keating said there are issues in Calgary as perfect nesting sites get harder to find, and there is even competition from squirrels.
“[Squirrels] take over nesting areas and they will eat bird eggs and chicks. And the hateful starling will do the same.
“They’ll actually take the eggs and fly out of the nest box with them and drop them somewhere else so they can take over.”
Eventually, the camera revealed great drama.
“Six have hatched, and I think those six came from the female who teamed up with the male,” Keating said. “The other five eggs are gone. I don’t know if they were removed, maybe they were just buried in the wood shavings… at the bottom of the nesting boxes.”
Keating said he first noticed pieces of eggshell discarded to the side in the early afternoon of May 23.
All six had hatched that night.
Keating was able to see the glowing egg teeth of each chick, the only hardened bump at the end of the beak that is used to exit the egg.
“In addition to the shiny egg tooth, there are two equally shiny dots on the joints on either side of the jawbone. So when they open their mouths, it’s the perfect triangle of shiny dots in which the parent can. paste food. “
Keating said a week later the babies were six times their hatch size.
Keating shared a video from inside the nest, and Fisher suggested those hungry mouths could not have been satisfied if they had hatched a week earlier.
“You know, everything is so perfectly timed,” Keating said. “Calgary for the past 10 days has blossomed with insect life… parents are continually coming in and out of food in those gaping mouths.”
For more fascinating stories about Alberta’s wildlife from naturalist Brian Keating, visit his website and check out these stories: