The last fledgling is coaxed out of the nestbox by a parent. The remaining nestlings left the box the afternoon before. The parents continued to feed the laggard, trying to entice him out by going back and forth from the mealworm feeder to the box, and squawking up a storm. This last holdout fledged the following morning.
It is not uncommon to have a "runt" or late bloomer, especially in species like titmice where incubation begins on the next to last egg, which can result in asynchronous hatching.
Nancy's box is right up against the house and five feet off the ground. She noticed that the mother continued to bring in nesting material during incubation, which is common in titmice.
Nancy used a Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod, operated remotely, with a Canon lens. Despite the difficult lighting situation extreme shadow and highlight areas), it is a great shot.
You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is vital not only for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself—a point that seems to escape many people.
-Gerald Durrell, The Nature Conservancy
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