A week ago they were mostly bald, with a few bits of fuzz, eyes tight shut, and the size of shelled walnuts. Now they are mostly downy, with a few actual feathers, bright beady black eyes, and nearly the size of their mother. It must be getting a little tight in that nest!
Mr. P bought us a patio heat lamp some time back, because - here in the desert near the ocean - it gets chilly at night, even in the summer, and we had found it uncomfortable to sit outside at twilight or after dark with a glass of wine. It was definitely an indulgence, but I'm really glad we've had it during Our Lady's optimistic (premature?) nesting adventure.
Our overnight temps have been in the low 40s for a couple of weeks now, which is unusual. And we've had rain on and off for the same period. I adjusted the position of my ficus tree one day to bring it a couple inches more under shelter (Our Lady called me nasty names, but came right back to the nest), and I've been turning on the heat lamp for an hour or two every morning, to take the chill off.
It's excessive, I know. It's not freezing, they have some cover, they have plenty to eat. But why shouldn't I take some available steps to make things a little easier for mamacita? She's been hitting the feeders hard, which, given this is the chick-feeding stage and she is hunting a lot for them, means she is having trouble getting enough calories. Keeping the patio even just a little warmer will reduce her stress, which will make it that much more likely that she will successfully fledge these chicks.
I am not a fan of "sink or swim" thinking. I believe there is nearly always something we can do to help ANY situation, and it's often something that costs us little or nothing in time, effort, or money.