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jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Baby Birds 4

Length of Segment: 00:01:07

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Unlike our backyard songbirds, baby chickens, quail, ducks, and killdeer hatch covered with down and ready to go. They leave the nest soon after hatching and are led by a parent to an area that's safe and that can provide the food the chicks need. Like a child who seems advanced for his or her age, we refer to chicks that are well-developed at hatching as being precocial. Obviously, precocial chicks do a great deal more developing in the egg than do the babies of songbirds and it takes a bigger egg to provide the nutrients needed for that development and a longer time in the egg for the development to occur. While a cardinal's eggs may hatch in two weeks or less, the eggs of precocial birds such as ducks may take nearly a month to hatch. Precocial chicks are not fed by their parents, but are led to food by them. Just as with the helpless babies of songbirds, however, precocial chicks feed extensively on insects, snails, and other small creatures, food that's high in protein.

'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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