Even the best of birders have difficulty finding bird nests and the biologists at the Academy are no exception. Despite our best daily observations, our birds are masters at keeping their nests and chicks hidden from us! Occasionally we learn about these chicks after they have already started learning how to fly.
A few weeks ago one of our biologists was in the rainforest when he noticed a big ol’ yellow puff ball accompained by our blue and pink banded bananaquit pair (Coereba flaveola). They were hidden in the plants on the borneo level of the rainforest. Our biologist quickly realized that it was a bananaquit fledgling that was being closely monitored by its parents. One of our other biologists has decided the most fitting name for the little bugger is Omelette (please see the yellow ball in the middle):
Birds carefully choose places to nest that are hard for other animals to find, which is crucial to ensure the survival of their future chicks. Birds will also avoid going into their nest if they feel they are being watched. Nothing is worse than leading a potential threat right to your babies! For these reasons, it can be difficult to spot these nests in our own rainforest dome. Bananaquit eggs take approximately 12-13 days to incubate and chicks begin to fledge after 17-19 days. By this time, the chick still has most of its down feathers so it appears fluffy. Its parents will continue to feed it for about another week, and teach it where to get food and how to eat on its own. Omelette’s parents were sexually mature at around 6 months old.
As of right now, Omelette is familiarizing itself with its new home and learning to eat solo. It is the only bananaquit that has a purple band on one of its legs, so you can tell Omelette apart from the other four we have. Come by and hi to the little ball of fluff!