February 2015: The eggs have hatched
1. The first step in the hatching process is “pipping”, when a small hole is chipped out from the inside. The chick starts enlarging the hole over the next few days, while the parent watches and keeps the egg warm. This nest is in the hedge at the edge of our property. This is the fourth chick for KP618, the male.
2. On January 31, the new chick is totally free of the egg. Homeowners pick nicknames for the chicks. However, the chick receives a leg band in May for the Fish and Wildlife Service official records. This chick is nicknamed Weber. (Photo by Cindy Granholm)
3. The female was away from the nest when the hatching occurred, storing up on food. She is KP252, a new mate for KP618. His mate for the first three chicks did not return in 2012 and 2013, so he took a new mate. This is the first time she has seen her new chick.
4. Weber gets his first meal shortly after her return. He reaches into her mouth to get morsels she has regurgitated from one of her four stomach sacs where she stores food and desalinated water for her chick.
5. Weber is now almost two weeks old and about twice his original size. The mother still covers him most of the time to keep him dry and warm. While this is the first chick for KP252 with her new mate KP618, she has also had three other chicks with a mate who also disappeared in 2012.
. The second chick on our property was hatched on February 2. Nicknamed Fern, she is the fourth chick for this pair, K233/O324.
Amazingly, the bird watching the scene is K771, their first chick in 2010, named Ana Malia. We have never seen this type of interaction with parents and a returning chick, especially just after their current chick had hatched.