The end of one chapter, the start of a new one?

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…

33 on the nest last night after kicking the eggs out

33 on the nest last night after kicking the eggs out


8 responses to “The end of one chapter, the start of a new one?”

  1. HilaryJ

    Loch Garten’s EJ laid a 2nd clutch after Henry booted out eggs fathered by Orange(VS) but the 2nd clutch (eggs 5,6 & 7) failed.

  2. Dolly Cox

    Thank you for the great commentary, I missed last night’s events’

    Very sad for you all, but this is nature, and these are wild birds, thank goodness. Darwin rules apply – survival of the fittest.

    Watching and waiting with you.

  3. Stuart Probst

    I volunteer at Loch Garten, in fact I am there now, a few years ago this happened here, a second clutch was laid, they hatched but did not survive for long

  4. Joanna Dailey

    Really feel for you all, but it did seem quite likely that the eggs weren’t viable given the number and length of times they had been left with the turmoil on MB. At least now there is a chance the pair will bond, and as you say, 33 is acapable defender and tactician. Hard to feel that positive about the events, though, fascinating as they are.

  5. julie

    Nature at it’s most brutal. Watching it all unfold yesterday evening was hard to watch. I just hope 33 will step up and become the good mate Maya deserves.

  6. Sally Bell

    Having read back through the archives, we can maybe see why 33(11) is such a strong bird………
    But why so early this year? With only one chick in the nest, 33 had been getting plenty of fish and parental attention, perhaps more so than the chicks at Manton Bay, so it is no surprise that the 33 quickly felt able to leave the nest and become independent from his parents.

    Let us hope all settles down now and some bonding can take place for next year and hopefully an egg or two this year? EJ managed it previouly up at Loch Garten.

  7. terri

    all I can say is wow…..this is an amazing view and learning experience into nature. Thanks for keeping us updated

  8. Katie

    Although it’s sad that there will be no chicks from the nest this year it’s great that the Rutland Osprey Project has the technology in place to be able to share these stories and provide an opportunity for people to access nature, to learn and to appreciate. Great job.