As you’ll know if you were following her progress on the website yesterday, 9F’s first flight (video below) ended with her injured and on the ground. After a visit to the vets and a failed release, we decided to keep her overnight. For the full story, click here.
Having kept her safe overnight, this morning we faced a quandary. Should we attempt to release the young female as we had last night, or actually put her back on the nest? Our worry with releasing her – even if we did it when 5R was away fishing – was that she wouldn’t necessarily fly back to the nest. Given that she had only made one short flight yesterday, we felt putting her back on the nest was a much safer bet. The problem with the Manton Bay nest, though, is that getting to it is no easy task – we needed a boat and triple extending ladder.
So, once 5R had gone off fishing this morning we got the boat into the water and headed across to the nest. Typically, as we did, 5R returned – without a fish – and joined his mate and 8F circling above our heads. 8F landed on one of the artificial t perches but the adults birds kept a watchful eye on us as we tied the boat to the pole beneath the nest. Once the ladders were up I climbed out of the boat and up to the nest. First job was to put a fish (kindly donated by a local angler) on the side of the nest. This, we hoped, would encourage 9F to stay on the nest. Next was the bird herself. I took her out of the bag and placed her in the middle of the nest. Instinctively she crouched down – just as we hoped she would – and I quickly returned to the boat.
It was then a case of taking the ladders down as quickly as possible and returning to shore. Within minutes of us returning to land, 9F’s mother had returned to the nest and she was joined soon afterwards by 8F. 5R – now showing no signs of aggression landed on the t perch. By the time we got to the Lyndon centre, the female was already feeding 9F on the trout we had put in the nest. Mission accomplished!
Once 9F had had a feed she sat on the edge of the nest, looking out across the water. It was as if nothing had happened; she certainly wasn’t showing any adverse affects of a very stressful 24 hours. Half an hour later 5R landed on the nest next to her and flew off with one of the pieces of fish we had left for his daughter. Little did he know he had been the cause of all the problems!
It will be interesting to see how long it is before 9F attempts to fly again, but one thing you can be sure of, we’ll be watching her when she does. Let’s hope 5R does the same, too. For now, it’s just great to see her back in the nest.