Fish face

Well today has certainly seen an improvement in the weather, after yesterday’s onslaught of wind and rain. It was a welcome change for poor Maya, not to have to crouch over the chicks all day in the pouring rain, with nothing to do but sit and doze. She has been able to leave them uncovered more today, stretch her legs and wings, tidy the nest. The chicks have happily slept, when they weren’t being stuffed full of fish!

Maya and the chicks sleeping, 33 keeping watch

Sleeping chicks

 

Food definitely wasn’t an issue today, and 33 brought the first fish in at 6 o’clock this morning. The female fed the chicks from it a few times during the morning.

Morning fish

Morning fish

 

The oldest chick is still being a bit of a bully, which is only natural at this age. Chicks fight as part of their normal behaviour, it helps to establish a hierarchy in the nest, and sibling rivalry occurs in all species. It’s normal for the oldest, largest chick to be the dominant one. Having a size difference in the chicks is nature’s way of ensuring at least one will survive, if there happens to be any problems, such as a shortage of food or a severe weather event that threatens their survival. All being well, all three chicks survive. Maya has successfully raised three chicks on three occasions in the past, and the year she raised two was because one egg didn’t hatch.

At other times, we have seen that the chicks seem quite happy together. They tend to sleep in a bunch, often with their stubby little wings over the backs of their siblings. Of course, huddling together helps them to keep warm.

Sleepy chicks

Sleepy chicks

 

We have also seen, numerous times, that food is no issue. The reservoir is stocked with thousands of fish per year, not to mention the coarse fish that breed, and if the weather hinders the birds too much, they can just pop to the River Gwash Trout Farm!

33 delivered another fish at around half past one this afternoon, which was only small, but it went down rather well!

Second fish

Second fish

 

As if that wasn’t enough, more fish arrived at 4 o’clock this afternoon – a large perch that still had its face on!

Maya grabs the perch

Maya grabs the fish…

Big bream

…and eats its face

 

She had a job manoeuvring it to a position she was happy with, as it wasn’t quite dead yet…

Chicks line up

Chicks line up

Eating big perch

Eating big perch

 

Maya did a good job of getting rid of all the tough skin around the head of the fish, and fed the chicks the nice, fleshy bits. The third chick had to wait its turn, as the other two resolutely sat right in front of it, but eventually the older two got full and Maya fed the little one. There was some worry in the centre from a few visitors on behalf of the youngest chick, but sighs of relief all round when it got some food! There is no need to worry about the little’un, Maya won’t forget to feed him/her, she’s a good mother and knows exactly what she’s doing.

Feeding the little chick

Feeding the little chick

 

You may have noticed the rather annoying stick that has been getting in the way of the view. Maya and 33 have both tried to move this today, but to no great avail unfortunately. Perhaps they’ll have better luck tomorrow!

Maya moving the stick

Maya moving the stick

 

 

One response to “Fish face”

  1. Lynette Foster

    Thanks for a great report on how the family is doing. Some great pictures and vids.