Baby Chicks!

This week Katelyn and I had the amazing opportunity of seeing the Least Tern baby chicks hatch out of their eggs. We went out to Sweetwater Marsh and the Border Field State Park with Robert Patton, and found many baby chicks. It was a bit difficult to spot them, because some blended in so well with the dirt and others had already wandered off from their nests. Once we found them, each chick was banded, weighed, and had its wings measured. Katelyn and I wrote down all the data for Robert, and then we even got to hold a baby chick in the palm of our hands. It was so cute. I was surprised to see how not all the chicks were the same color; some were brown, gray, and even white. I questioned why the chicks had to be weighed, and Robert explained how they have to be above five grams to have a good chance of survival because if they are below that weight they might not have enough body fat to survive for very long. Most of the newborn chicks we found had a wing size of about 12 millimeters and a weight of 5.5 grams. The chicks we found that were already banded were a bit bigger, and it was cool to see how fast these chicks actually grow. I learned that within two weeks these chicks become full-grown adults and begin to fly. I thought it was interesting to discover that these birds grow up rapidly, while witnessing how these chicks just look like fluffy cotton balls at the moment. I can’t wait to go out in the fields next week to see if these birds have begun to look more like their parents.

Anita Sanchez
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