That's right, I've named the petrel chicks! I know, I know...... it is not the 'done' thing to name study animals but I simply couldn't help myself. Anyway, it was a gloriously warm day so I decided to take some record shots of the petrels, here they are.....
'Puddle' was born first so he's massive in comparison to the other two chicks. At 67g, he's heavier than an adult - what a chubster! Actually, we expect all the chicks to pile on the grammes and outweigh their parents at this stage but they will drop weight later in the season just before it's time to fledge. I'm now seeing large differences in wing size at each visit so Puddle must be investing lots of energy in growing his feathers. Tail feathers are also starting to emerge so he's generally looking a bit scruffy at the moment.
'Squeak' is the most vocal of the three chicks and isn't shy at letting me know that getting weighed and measured every other day is playing havoc with his sleeping schedule. Squeak's weight has fluctuated a bit more than the other two chicks but I was still surprised to see such a huge increase on the scales today - he's put on almost 40% of his weight in just two days, mega!
At 18 days old, Squib is the youngest but unlike the other two chicks I wasn't the first person to catch a glimpse of him. Squib hatched when I was on annual leave but luckily Kevin and Paul were checking the boxes while I was off Island. Seeing as Kevin discovered the newly hatched chick it was only right to allow him to chose a name....I must admit I was dreading that he'd come up with something rude or unpronounceable! Squib was slow to grow initially but has shown large increases in mass over the last couple of days. He is still covered in very fine fuzzy down but it won't be long before his wing and tail feathers start to emerge.
Unfortunately, last week I discovered that Puddle's nest box had been interfered with. The lid was upside down and put back in the wrong position exposing the box to the outside environment. Luckily, the weather wasn't too severe but Puddle may have shivered a bit more than he should.
If you are visiting St Kilda and see wooden boxes inside cleits then I would very much appreciate if you didn't touch them... and I am sure the chicks would too! I am more than happy to answer any questions about the boxes and can show you literally 100s of photos but I'd rather keep disturbance to the chicks at a minimum. Thanks for understanding!