If you were watching the webcam yesterday evening, or have switched it on this morning, you’ll see that Maya is only incubating one egg. The other two have been kicked out of the nest by 33(11).
All day yesterday 33(11) hung around in the Bay. Maya sat resolutely on her eggs and chased 33 away when he came too close. As the day wore on, she gradually became less aggressive towards him, and more tolerant of his presence. He landed on the nest more than once, as was shown in yesterday’s videos. We began to think it wouldn’t be long before she accepted him completely.
At about 7:40pm Maya made a decision, and she left the nest to go fishing. 28(10) has not been around since Friday, and 33(11) didn’t bring his earlier catch to her, so she finally decided it was time she fed herself.
This was a massive indicator that things were not going to work out. The fact that she allowed 33 to sit on the nest with her as she ate served to reinforce that opinion. It was only a matter of time before he made a drastic move…
He got his chance when Maya took the fish away to eat elsewhere, and he was left alone with the eggs. We knew what would happen if this situation ever occurred, it was inevitable. No Osprey wants to raise young that are not his. It was truly heartbreaking to watch. First he stood all over the eggs, then he began to scrape at the nest with his talons, kicking the eggs out of the nest cup as he did so.
In the long-run, this has probably worked out for the best. As heart-wrenching as this situation is, this is nature, and nature is and always will be survival of the fittest. We knew that 33 was a stronger bird than 28. 33 knew it, that’s why he was relentless in his advances. 28 knew it too, and that’s why he stayed away whenever 33 was around.
Although Maya has continued to incubate the one egg that is remaining in the nest cup, there is no chance of that one hatching after last night’s events. We expect that 33 will try and remove it at some point today, but until he does Maya is likely to continue to sit on it – the urge to incubate will prove too strong at this stage to ignore it.
We believe that Maya will now accept 33 and form a pair-bond with him. This means that next year, all being well, they will return to this nest and breed together. They will make a strong partnership. 33 is evidently more capable than 28 of defending the nest, and his genes will produce healthy chicks. Perhaps it is even possible that, if Maya and 33 begin to mate, she could lay another clutch of eggs this season. We have not seen this happen at any of our other nests before, but who is to say that it couldn’t happen? Perhaps this is the start of a brand new story…