Interesting Stuff At The Nest Cam Site

When will my bees arrive??  They could be here any moment this week and the anticipation is killing me. Cornell just sent a Twitter note about an interesting observation at the Carolina wren nest cam.  The video picked up one of the Carolina wren parents finding a dead nestling and trying to remove it from the nest. Here is the video and if dead baby birds bother you, I would recommend avoiding this video.  It's about five minutes long, but is worth watch until about 2 minutes 45 seconds into it:


What I find fascinating is that Carolina wrens are cavity nesters. It's dark in that nest, so how did the adult know there was a dead chick in there?  It appears to forage around for it from way at the bottom of the nest, under the live chicks.  What could be sensed? Most birds do not have a highly developed sense of smell, so that was probably not it.  Many also can't count since you can sometimes put in chicks from another nest.  Very curious.

The above video ends with the wren getting the chick out of the clutch, attempting to get it out of the box, but the chick gets caught on the edge. The adult wren then goes back to the brood to look around.  Is it looking for another dead chick or to find the chick it dropped?  Eventually the wren comes back, discovers the dead chick on the edge of the nest cup and gets it out of the box:


And if that was a little too morbid for you and you need a cleanse, check out the uniform female rangers had to wear in the 1970s.  They really rocked the go-go boots.