Big changes are expected for the four peregrine falcon chicks hatched last week on the 21st floor of Monarch Tower in Springfield.
Dr. Tom French from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said Wednesday, the first few weeks was the most dangerous time for the newly hatched chicks. He also said they would be ready to fly in about seven weeks.
In about two more weeks, the soft, white down will start being replaced by feathers. French said seven weeks from when they hatched, all of the feathers would be in and long enough to provide lift for them to fly.
He said until then, the chicks would start becoming more and more active, exploring the nest and looking out over the side. He said the height of the nest was actually in their favor because it will give the chicks a better opportunity when they do try to fly.
During a visit to the CBS 3 studios Wednesday, French noticed one of the chicks in obvious distress. Because they are protected and the state is trying to increase their numbers, the chick was removed immediately and taken to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton.
Tufts Clinical Asst. Professor Dr. Maureen Murray said the belly of the chick was distended, most likely because it ate more food than it could handle.
The bird was placed in an incubator and veterinarians have been giving it food and fluids. On Thursday they said the chick was still resting comfortably in an incubator and taking food. French said he expects to return the bird to the nest by the middle of next week.
Tufts has been using Facebook to post updates about the bird because of a flood of calls from concerned people. They asked people to check Facebook for updates instead of calling because the staff was busy taking care of all the patients at the clinic.
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