Here are the one day old nestlings she was sitting on. One of them actually hatched today. The mother starts incubating after she lays the penultimate egg, or the second to last one. The last egg she lays hatches a day after the rest of the clutch to ensure each egg receives equal incubation. As eggs hatch, I am beginning to record begging calls, which I will do until the nestlings fledge, nine to eleven days after hatching. My goals have shifted a little bit because I found females do not vocalize on the nest. Now I am studying begging ontogeny and trying to determine whether nestlings’ begging calls differ between environments and among nests. Many of the nests I have found are on or near the beach, which is constantly subject to a cacophony of gulls as well as waves and wind, while others are inland, where it is quieter. I am going to analyze the amplitude and frequency of the begging calls in different ambient noise environments to determine if nestlings make adjustments to their begging, which might make it more detectable to the adults. The effects of ambient noise on bird song is pretty widely studied, but most research concerns adults and anthropogenic, rather than nestlings and natural noise, so I’m excited to see the results.




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