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Acrobatic antics

Monday madness set in a little on the Manton Bay nest as the chicks get bigger and bigger, their wings are getting restless and the space is dwindling for them to move around!

The chicks had many good feeds yesterday, including a feed where the chicks look like they’re dropping an awful lot of it or being fussy as Maya tears off chunks for them.

The weather was rather humid yesterday, and we saw the chicks gathered at the edges of the nest in an attempt to keep as far away from each other as possible. You can see their tongues as they pant to cool off.

And when the chicks were expecting another feed in the afternoon, they had a rather clumsy surprise from Maya dropping a stick on 055’s head. Her son wasn’t impressed and took the stick completely off his mother and tried to rearrange it better on the nest.. we’re starting to see hints of the inner architect emerge! She quickly wrestled the stick back and moved it around until she was happy.

The chicks experienced a wetter day today but have waterproofing on their feathers now so can withstand the cold a little easier. They are 6 weeks old now and it won’t be long before they start to fledge!

Vital statistics

When the Rutland osprey chicks are ringed, the trained staff seize the opportunity to take measurements of the birds and weigh them while they are in the hand. This furthers our understanding of osprey ecology and helps indicate the sex of the birds.

As well as being heavier than males, females are generally the chunkier of the sexes. Females tend to have thicker bills, legs and larger heads and this is usually noticeable as early as around five weeks old when the chicks are ringed. It is worth remembering, however, that the female chick 057 is by far the youngest of the brood (having hatched six days later than the first two chicks and four days after the third), therefore the sexual dimorphism usually seen in ospreys isn’t so marked and some of her biometrics are actually a little smaller than her male siblings.

Biometric measurements of Manton Bay chicks 21-06-2019

BTO ring no.Colour ring no.SexBill to cere (mm)Bill depth (mm)Head inc. bill (mm)Tarsus length (mm)Tarsus thickness (mm)Wing length (mm)Weight (g)
1380 101054F30.119.17960153481620
1380 102055M26.918.77857.3143441400
1380 103056M26.617.477.95814.93001440
1380 104057F25188063.3162831620

The ringing of the osprey chicks is conducted as quietly and efficiently as possible by our trained ringer, in order to keep stress to the osprey chicks and the adult birds (as well as Wildlife Trust staff undertaking the work) to a minimum. The welfare of the birds comes first and is prioritised above all else.

Lloyd of the rings

Lloyd of the rings

Early this morning Lloyd our field officer and other staff members set out for the Manton Bay nest. The mission was to ring our fantastic four! All chicks were adorned with a grey BTO ring, and a blue coloured ring. By attaching rings to the birds we are able to gain information on their whereabouts, their age and where they hatched from.

We now have the latest Osprey additions: 054, 055, 056 and 057! Of the four chicks, two are female (now with ring 054 and 057) and two males (ring 055 and 056). 054 being the first to hatch and 057 being the fourth chick to hatch.

All photos by Dave Cole

They are all healthy and we look forward to seeing them take their first flight in the next few weeks!

Beak to beak..

The Manton Bay nest really is starting to fill up now the chicks are heading into their 5th week, and we can really start to see some of that fantastic helicoptering behaviour going on, as well as Maya and 33 both working hard to keep the chicks well fed, and even some mantling behaviour due to a couple of intruding Ospreys.

Early this morning, as it is now getting light at 4.30am, the chicks were up and moving around the nest, basically pushing Maya out of bed to go and fish for their breakfast. There was a lot of excitement in the nest when she brought back a roach for them. The two older chicks gathered at the front of the nest to warm up for their brekfast, exercising their flight muscles and clearing out their digestive system before sitting down to their meal!

Whilst the feeding was underway, 33 arrived with another fish at the edge of the nest, took one look at the chaotic breakfast affair, and decided to go and eat the fish elsewhere in peace!

As the chicks rolled around the nest after their feed, Maya took off to give her and the chicks a little breathing space. She returned a little while later with more nesting material: a rather large stick which she crow-barred into the nest, taking no care of which chicks she bumped on the head as she arranged it to her liking! Thanks mom!

it’s a lovely bright day here at Lyndon finally, and with any luck we’ll see some more fish brought into the nest and the chicks practicing their helicoptering skills more and more!

Full house

The June deluge has been tough on our Osprey parents and babies, and they have been hunkered down against the elements which have been ruffling feathers and making it incredibly difficult for the chicks to stand.. actually they’re not very good at it normally anyway!

This afternoon, we were lucky enough to see 33 and Maya both feeding the chicks at the same time. This is particularly good news for the growth of our chicks, as there are a lot of them crammed up on that nest, and Maya needs all the help she can get to ensure the chicks are fed well.