Despite making an impressive entrance on Saturday, our third osprey chick unfortunately died in the nest early this morning.
The season’s youngest bird had a difficult time of it. It wasn’t able to get much fish at feeding times and was struggling to hold its own against rapidly growing older siblings. While it received some food from NC0 on Monday we were increasingly worried about its prospects.
We don’t know for sure why this chick was not being fed, as plenty of fish are being brought in and the other chicks are developing well. But there are a few things that could have hampered the youngest chick’s chances, including wet weather, strong older siblings and a relative young breeding female.
We have had an unseasonably cold and wet spring, with prolonged periods of heavy rain, often days at a time with cold northerly and easterly winds. This has led to NC0 keeping feeding times where the chicks exposed to the elements to an absolute minimum.
At this young age, osprey chicks are very vulnerable to chills, as they have not developed the feathers which will eventually keep them warm and dry. This means they still need to be sheltered by their parents and it is the most likely reason for such hurried feeding sessions.
Having two older, stronger siblings in the way at feeding time may also be a factor. Chicks get progressively weaker the longer they go without food, and it becomes harder to manoeuvre into a good feeding spot.
A young parent
Another possible factor is that NC0 is relatively new to both breeding and raising chicks. 2021 is just her second breeding season. She fledged one chick with LM12 last year, from a different nest on the reserve. And it may be that as her confidence and experience grows her success in raising chicks will increase.
Here’s hoping for some warm spring days and full osprey bellies!
Species Protection Officer
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Despite making an impressive entrance on Saturday, our third osprey chick unfortunately died in the nest early this morning. The season’s youngest bird had a difficult time of it. It …