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jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Baby Birds 2

Length of Segment: 00:01:09

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Most small birds lay one egg a day until the clutch is complete. Eggs are usually laid in early morning. During egg-laying, an adult may be near the nest but won't be warming the eggs. Development of the chick inside an egg doesn't begin until the heat of incubation is applied by the bird fluffing its feathers and placing the eggs against its bare skin. By waiting to begin incubating until after the last egg is laid, the birds assure that chicks will all hatch at about the same time. The chicks will thus be evenly matched when competing for food and the nest will be occupied by baby birds for the minimum amount of time. Songbird babies usually hatch after only about two weeks of incubation. When they hatch, they have at best a few wisps of down emerging from almost translucent pink skin. During their first week, one parent usually stays at the nest, often sitting over the young to protect them. During these early days, it's important to keep your distance from the nest. Keeping parents away for only a few minutes can be the difference between life and death.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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