My good fortune includes my friends and acquaintances that know what they are talking about, even when I don’t. My cousin Ernie fits right in. His ongoing commentary about the Peregrines at 1201 3rd Ave. Seattle, I find invaluable as well as entertaining. The following is among the latest notes that I have received from him. Enjoy!
Still four very active and healthy looking chicks up there. One was out of the nest box again this AM.
So … Feather growth.
Over the next three weeks we’re going to see these white floof balls transform before our very eyes into sleek falcons. You can see the wing flight feathers (primaries and secondaries) already emerging on the chick closest to the camera.
They grow out of feather follicles in the skin and each one is supplied with blood as it grows. At this stage they are referred to as blood feathers. They are pretty delicate until hardened. A broken blood feather, especially one of the larger ones, can lead to blood loss and potentially even death.
They grow from the tip out. After they’ve fully emerged, the blood supply is cut off and the feathers “harden up”.