Remember how I hatched out those Common Moorhens a couple weeks ago? Well, I got to hatch something else pretty silly too. American Bitterns! Those are kind of like herons for those of you who aren't bird nerds, and if you don't know what a heron is please go look all these names up. ;-)
I see Bitterns flying over here from time to time, and have certainly heard them while out bird-nerding in marshy areas. Don't know what a Bittern sounds like? Here's a video I found on line:
Anyway... shortly before I left for Blade Show, my friend Anne, who also found the Moorhens while out cutting hay, brought me 4 mystery eggs from a nest that had been destroyed. They were dark olive in color (like a pheasant) but more similar in size to a teal, but not the right color for a teal. I was stumped, but guessed Bittern based on the size and color of the eggs, so I'm totally stoked that I was right. It was pretty shocking to see those big gangly beaky things unfold themselves out of the eggs. I was trying to describe them to a friend, and I said "imagine Big Bird as a baby." Yeah, I think that covers it. Two of the eggs were dead when I got them, but the other two hatched right after I got home. Of course I had to take a million photos, and these birds were so funny I really couldn't narrow it down. I'll post some videos on Facebook later. They are loud babies, bottomless pits when it comes time to eat, and spent a lot of time pecking their own and each other's toes. I am not raising them, they are now with the same nice lady from a wildlife organization who is also raising the Moorhens.
These pics were taken at a few different times. By the end, the oldest chick was 48 hours and the younger one (which was not hatched yet in the first pics) was 24 hours old.