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Nestling Development


Montana, USA

After about 14 days of incubation, the eggs will begin to hatch. As each hatchling emerges, the adults will remove the shells from the nest. Sometimes the female will consume the shell for the calcium. All nestlings usually hatch within 24 hours of each other. This is called synchronous hatching. Both adults bring food to the nestlings. Each nestling is fed every 20 minutes or so, sunrise to sunset. Adults feed young nestlings with soft-bodied insects, graduating to hard-bodied insects as the nestlings get older. Prey items range from caterpillers to grasshoppers, butterflies and spiders. The nest is kept clean by adults removing nestling fecal sacs. Nestlings grow rapidly and will be ready to fledge by Day 18-21.

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