Thursday, May 26, 2011

And then there are five

In February, we noticed that the pair of Black-winged Kites had begun to nest. This post is the result of many trips to observe the pair, and watch them successful raised three chicks over a period of four months.
06 March: the female was seen eating a rat at dawn brought to her by the male. These mid-sized raptors are just about the best rodent control I've seen. It's a pity that there's less and less land available to these raptors in Singapore.
Based on research the female will lay 3 to 5 eggs, at intervals of 2-3 days. She then incubates her eggs over a period of 25 to 28 days with male feeding her on or close to the nest during this period. Her  eggs will hatch at 2 to 3 day intervals, which means that a complete brood may take a week or more to hatch. Despite the wide variation in the size, older chicks are rarely aggressive to the younger chick.
26 March: The female was seen bringing a rat into the nest for her chicks in March.
09 April: Chicks could be seen sitting in the nest. These white fluffy balls were vulnerable to attack by other predators. All through out this period the female stayed close. When necessary the pair would defend their chicks from crows that harassed them constantly.
23 April: The three chicks are almost full grown and were observed flapping their wings to strengthened their wing muscles. Two days later, the two older chicks took to the air for the first time.
17 May: All three chicks fledged successfully. The juveniles would return to the nest between their flights, and were fed by adults away from the nest. 

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