It has been an upsetting day at Lyndon today, as we arrived this morning to see no movement from one of our chicks. Our volunteers in Waderscrape called first thing to let us know there had been no sign of life from the chick all morning, despite the other chick being fed – not a good sign.
We went back over the footage from last night to see when the last sign of activity had been. The last sighting of both chicks looking healthy and well was at around half 8 last night, when Maya moves off the chicks for a short while to move a stick on the nest. Then, when Maya next moves off the chicks at 22.34, only one chick is moving – this remains to be the case every time she gets off the nest for the rest of the night.
Looking back over the footage, we did notice that when the chicks are exposed at 8.30pm, Maya seems to accidentally stand on one of the chicks as she settles back down on the nest – the chick seems to bounce back from this, and Maya has her talons carefully tucked under, but this may have done more damage than it first seemed.
We can’t know for sure if this is the reason the chick died, as we don’t know how much weight Maya placed on it – at this stage the chicks are still very fragile and unfortunately there are a number of things that can happen to end a young chicks life. We are of course devastated by the loss of this chick, but for now we take comfort in the fact that the remaining chick seems healthy and strong. Here are some clips of it eating first thing this morning, before the rain started, once at 5.10am and again at around 8.30am.
33 bought another fish in this afternoon – roach seems to be plentiful at the moment and he is catching plenty for his new family, despite the poor weather. We can only see one chick in the nest in these videos, but we’ve not seen a chick be removed from the nest yet so assume the deceased chick must have been pushed down into the nest cup, below the line of sticks blocking the eggs from view.
For now, we feel lucky that we still have one healthy chick remaining, and additionally that we haven’t seen anything like this happen before on our nest. We’ve been very fortunate so far, Maya and 33 have a high rate of breeding success compared to some nests and we are hopeful that the rest of the year will go well for them. Our remaining 2 eggs should hatch over the next couple of days, and we remain optimistic that this will still be a productive year for our wonderful ospreys!