Today we started banding Black Guillemot chicks! We have been waiting excitedly to start this, and could hold off no longer! We had to wait this late in the season because Guillemot chicks take a size 4 band (2 sizes bigger than terns!) and we needed to find chicks that are old enough so the band will not just slip off. In addition to banding the chicks, we also weigh the chicks and take their wing cord length. These measurements will give us an idea as to if and when these chicks are likely to fledge.
In the next couple days we will be checking all the burrows that had eggs in them for chicks. “Grubbing” chicks is almost like a puzzle; we have to figure out where the chick hid, and then how to maneuver our arms so we can reach into the burrow and grab the chick. This can be difficult as some of the burrows are very deep! Our chick banding efforts will let us assess guillmont productivity this nesting season by comparing hatch and fledging rates to our original egg counts.