On a 90+ degree day in Richmond, the two chicks are treated to a late afternoon feeding by their mother (see video below). Consumption of prey is the only means by which the nestlings’ moisture needs are met, keeping them hydrated in the face of high temperatures. The nestlings have engaged in additional cooling behaviors throughout the day, including panting and splaying out on the gravel in the nest box, as well as being shaded by the parents.
The nestlings continue to develop rapidly: at only 9 days of age, the difference in size from their first few days of life is striking. The chicks are also in the process of developing a second coat of down, which will be followed shortly by the first tail feathers breaking the skin.