We have some more sombre news to report I’m afraid. The fourth chick, whose arrival we were eagerly awaiting, has sadly died. Looking back through the recordings we have discovered that it hatched yesterday evening. A crack was visible in the egg at 19:49, and you can just see the chick moving inside it in the below video, in the gap between those awkward sticks!
At 20:04 the chick hatched fully, just visible here in front of Maya.
Maya stayed on the chicks all night, keeping them warm and dry. This morning, volunteer Peter informed us that she had been moving some egg shell at 07:26 this morning, making us think that perhaps the chick had just hatched.
Unfortunately, due to the sticks at the front of the nest, our view is impinged and we found it difficult to work out what was going on. But when a fish came in and there were clearly only two chicks, we knew something had to be wrong. We then had a view of the egg, and at first thought that it hadn’t hatched yet, but then it rotated and we could see it was just an empty shell.
On further scrutiny we noticed that there appeared to be a downy lump lying motionless in the nest near the other two chicks. Thanks to the recording system we were able to then rewind throughout the day and into yesterday, discovering when the chick hatched. We then found evidence that the chick was already motionless in the nest as early as 06:30 this morning. In the picture below you can just see a head to the right of the chick on the right…
As she did with the other chick, at 14:31 Maya removed the body of this one from the nest.
We expect that this chick did not live for very long after hatching, perhaps even only a matter of minutes. We can’t know why it did not survive, but it’s most likely that it simply wasn’t strong enough. Laying four eggs is fairly unusual, having them all hatch even less so. Chicks dying soon after hatching is not an uncommon thing, it is nature and it’s true that you have to be strong to survive. Raising a brood of two is still fantastic, and we are thankful that the two chicks are both healthy, are feeding extremely well and look very strong.
The larger of the two is already becoming very adventurous!