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Therefore, the oldest baby may be a lot bigger than the smallest baby. If hunting is very bad and the babies are very hungry, the biggest may sometimes eat the smallest. The oldest baby leaves the nest before the later babies, too. Sharing Her Body Heat The eggs must be kept warm to develop. A robin's body is degrees F. Feathers insulate by keeping the bird's body heat inside, and the outer feathers can still feel cool to the touch.
That's why female robins need a special way to keep their eggs warm. They have an incubation patch, or brood patch, which is a place on their bellies where their feathers fall out. A mother robin shares her body warmth by parting her outer feathers and then pressing her hot bare tummy against her eggs or her young nestlings. Outer feathers cover the bare area so the brood patch is hidden.
It's a little like keeping the oven door closed so the heat stays inside. Scientists who hold a female robin for banding will often blow on the tummy feathers to see if a brood patch is hiding underneath.
Many birds apparently sense the egg temperature with receptors in the brood patches. This helps the birds determine how much time to spend on eggs, and they can change their incubation behavior accordingly. For example, they may sit more or less tightly on the eggs, or leave the eggs exposed while going to feed or drink. First it breaks a hole in the shell with its egg tooth, a hard hook on its beak. Then it must struggle with all its might, between periods of rest, to get out.
No wonder hatching may take a whole day. The eggs usually hatch a day apart in the order they were laid. Naked, reddish, wet, and blind, the babies require A LOT of food. Now it becomes a full time job for both parents to protect the nest, find food, and feed the clamoring babies during the days they spend in the nest.
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Learn why wild bird eggs come in a rainbow of colors
Robins: 4 Eggs, 4 Weeks on Vimeo
Named them Virginia and Carrollton. Robin eggs. May 27, Rating Amazing things happen right on my front door! Real up-close nature is still the best! Apr 18, Rating hatch time by: Gene Usually about 2 weeks after the last egg is laid. May 16, Rating our babies in Muscatine! They both did great, then they flew away! This yr she built a new nest and had four babies, they all did great and again flew away!
Now we have a momma sitting on the nest again so we are on egg watch!!
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Also we moved the basketball hoop over right under our picture window so we can watch it easier, also our cat is very entertained by them!!! May 11, Rating I'm lonely too!
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When researchers checked the size of hatchlings at age 7 and 10 days, they found that hatchlings that were naturally incubated were the largest and had the highest probability of survival. Temperature fluctuations caused by the female robin leaving the nest to forage or flee from a disturbance may be the key to the longer hatch time, larger size, and higher survival rate seen in naturally incubated eggs, according to co-author Loren Merrill, a post-doctoral researcher at INHS.
Under constant temperatures, as in the experimental incubation, embryos are forced to develop at a constant, high rate. But too many periods of reduced temperatures may also have deleterious consequences, as the results from the low temperature treatment indicate. Moreover, the notion that slight temperature changes during incubation can have profound effects on birds that hatch in open nests has far-reaching implications, since a majority of birds build open nests. Human-related changes to the landscape, increases in nest predators, direct human disturbance, and changing weather patterns may create more disturbances for birds.
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