As osprey chicks grow and develop so quickly, they change very fast and we can see a difference in them almost every day. They all look bigger today, and it’s not just the largest one losing its brown down and turning a darker colour, they all are! Here is a close up shot of one of the chicks today.
All three chicks are becoming a lot more mobile, and are even attempting to stand up on their large feet. They are shuffling around the nest and getting a bit more adventurous, using their wings to help them move. Despite their new-found curiosity, they are still spending most of their time in the middle of the nest, sleeping in a bunch in the comfort of the nest cup. They usually look peaceful and content together, but this morning one of the larger chicks seemed to have some anger issues, and began savagely biting at anything it could, the nest material, the fish, and its sibling!
The smaller chick either didn’t care it was being attacked or pretended not to, for it didn’t get up or move – perhaps it didn’t even wake up! The large chick was clearly feeling the need to vent its frustration, as it then began to attach the other chick! This chick was wide awake and fought back admirably, and it looked like an even fight, until the attacker eventually won out over the attackee, who lay down in defeat.
This sort of behaviour is common in chicks, particularly when food is involved, and it helps them to develop a hierarchy. It will only end badly if there is not enough food to keep all three chicks sated. That will never be a problem here, because even if the weather makes it difficult for 33 to fish in the reservoir, he can always pop to the River Gwash Trout Farm!
The fight between the two larger chicks did appear to be food related, as they usually are, as Maya was holding onto half a roach at the time. She was patiently waiting for the chicks to look at her so that she could feed them, which she did when they had calmed down!
The adult birds are still very nest proud, and continue to bring sticks in to the nest and painstakingly arrange them. Today, 33 brought in a very long stick, which caused them a bit of trouble to move about, and it ended up on top of the chicks a couple of times! No harm came to the chicks, and the stick was eventually moved to a suitable location.