Gertrude's Eye Injury
Sometimes Babies Get Aggressive!
We started noticing aggressive behavior after the babies had fledged. It could be due to the fact that there were so many babies and there was such a competition for food. At any rate, we started seeing this behavior in the evenings after the fledglings would leave the box and mom and dad would return to it.
The first time we started to see this behavior was on the evening of April 17th. Dad and mom had come into the nest to mate and one of the babies (we believe it to be #6, Gin (originally called, Ginger) came in and was aggressive. At that time, Gerald and Gertrude left the box, but this began a pattern with little Gin!
April 20 - Gerald and Gertrude come into the nest box at dusk and mate. Gertrude starts cleaning as if she's preparing for nesting again.
Baby Gin comes into the nest, as he's been doing for the last few nights. We can see that her eye has some damage at this point most likely due to his recent aggressive behavior. Mom hides behind dad as Gin moves toward her. Dad kicks baby out, then leaves. Mom is able to stay. Later, Gin comes back, but this time, mom protects herself and leaves the box.
April 23 - Early in the morning, Gerald comes in the box with a bunny. Gertrude follows him in, they mate and she starts to eat. Later, Gin comes in, kicks dad out of the box and steals mom's food. Mom tried to get the food back but baby does not allow it!
Gin becomes aggressive toward mom, posturing himself by spreading his wings, attacking, and cornering her. During this aggression is when we see more damage to her eye! Whenever she would try to get out, he blocked the hole entrance then grabs the food again. This goes on for a long while.
April 20 - We 1st start to notice a slight injury to Gertrude's eye!
Mom is stuck in nest box with baby #6, Gin, and he won't let her go! She incures more damage to her eye!
April 23 - In the evening, Gin has trapped mom in the box all day. Things have calmed down since the morning. Dad comes in the nest box and Gin gets in between mom and dad and is aggressive again. Mom attempts to get close to dad, but Gin gets in between them again, then attacks and corners mom. He continues this aggressive behavior with mom & dad for a while then finally dad leaves.
April 23 - Later, mom is in the box with Gin. He leaves after a while and flies to cam box where one of his sibling's is. They nozzle a little then sit together. Then, one flies over to the perch. A couple minutes later, moves to the top of the box and the other sibling flies to the top of the box with it. They scuffle a little bit, then fly away. Mom looks a bit nervous after the day she's had. But after they fly away, she relaxes and starts to clean.
April 23 - It's been a very long day for Gertrude, poor thing!
She has spent the whole day with her aggressive baby, Gin. Finally, he left to spend time with a sibling outside and she has had the box to herself. But, that was only for a while and now he comes back in the box with mom. This time, however, mom decides to protect herself.
Update: Here are some pictures of the condition of Gertrude's eye as she raises her 2nd clutch. After babies fledge, her eye is worse and concerning! But, when she returns to the nest box in Nov., it looks like it's doing better!
June: Mom on Eggs!
July: Mom with Babies!
Sept.: Mom - After Fledge!
Nov.: Mom in New Box!