Osprey season 2010 - Two chicks in a shallow nest.

PERTH, Australia

We came from here. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1129065/

First thread for the 2010 season here. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1109408/

Very sadly, one of the two chicks perished when its mother accidentally sent it flying when she stumbled in the nest. Astonishingly, a third chick hatched the following day. There were concerns that the new chick, being that much smaller, may not get enough food, as the older chick may dominate and the new one would end up starving. This hasn't been the case. Big Hook, the mother, feeds both chicks equally and the latest one, although smaller, seems to be catching up to its sibling in size.

The greatest worry is that there doesn't seem to be any clearly defined nest cup. The nest cup is a smaller nest within the larger nest structure in which the eggs are laid. During there first two to three weeks, the chicks are safely contained in the nest cup, the sides being too steep for them to be able to get out of. Big Hook attempts to build up the sides of the nest to corral the chicks, but when she moves sticks she may well displace one, or even worse, both of the chicks. Additionally, in her attempts to avoid stepping on the chicks, she stumbles and when she moves to recover herself, she is in danger of propelling a chick to the outer perimeter of the nest, as happen the other day. We will watch and wait - and hope for the best.

From this afternoon, the two chicks with Big Hook. I just love how their tiny little wings are showing and they look like two peas in a pod.



Thumbnail by MargaretK
Kelseyville, CA(Zone 8b)

Oh Margaret, these photos are all so clear! Those beautiful little creatures have good parents and the best chance for survival. Each day is a chance to get a little stronger. We have to keep positive thoughts.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

I may not have any fingernails left....lol!

Marlton, NJ

I'm with nanny!

Such a heart warming photo Margaret!

PERTH, Australia

Thanks you. Sorry about the brevity of last nights post.

From this afternoon. Dad comes and goes quite regularly delivering fish to Big Hook, which she feeds to the chicks after having a sample of the fare herself. He'll fly to the pole branch and as soon as she's finished feeding, he'll fly down to the nest and remove the remainder, taking it to one of the branches below the nest or into the tree outside Madame X's house.

At times my heart is in my mouth as I watch Big Hook clumsily moving around the nest. I'm sure she had the fish on top of the chicks for a while this afternoon. I live in fear that there'll be a repeat of the tragic event that occurred the other day.

Just a few shots from today, heavily cropped to provide some detail. First, the whole family. Big Hook on the left of the photo, beautiful Dad on the right and the two chicks in the centre. Dad had just delivered part of a fish, that Big Hook has at her feet.




Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Here, Big Hook is feeding the littlest chick. It's a bit worrying that, although she is feeding it, it seems to be hungrier than its larger sibling, maybe an indication that it isn't being fed enough. Fingers crossed.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

I've mentioned before that when there are eggs or chicks, the parent birds land with their claws bunched to prevent them causing damage or injury. I thought these few shots show this quite well.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Seconds later, she has landed and her claws remain bunched up. Have a look at those fabulous wings! (And those two beautiful little chicks)

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Last one for tonight. A shot of Dad coming in, again with claws bunched.

Needless to say, I'll head back there tomorrow and will hopefully catch up with Pete.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

Absolutely fabulous! Great photographer as well!

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

Oh Margaret...breathtaking shots!!

Family portrait is so neat...and the one with Big Hooks wings up.....WOW!!!!!

Kelseyville, CA(Zone 8b)

I drool over every one of your photos each time I see it Margaret. Each photo is just as clear as if I were there in person. I, too, am crossing my fingers that the smallest chick will survive.

Melbourne, FL

Beautiful shots, Margaret. It's going to be nerve-wracking for sure. Just have to hope for the best....sometimes nature gives us the worst.

Marlton, NJ

Excellent shots Margaret! Love the one with Big Hooks claws bunched up as she arrives. I'll be hoping for Big Hook to become more graceful. The chicks are adorable.

Grand-Falls, NB(Zone 4a)

Super shots!!!! love the family photo, and the landing shots. Am amazed at the 2 little bundles in the nest.

Sandusky, OH

Great shots Margaret!! The wings up with the 2 chicks is beautiful! As long as the food keeps coming I think the little one will do just fine.

Mount Pleasant Mills, PA(Zone 5a)

Just wonderful Margaret. Love the one with the wings up and the claws curled up; and those babies are adorable!

Stafford County, VA

Great shots, Margaret!! Her wings really are spectacular against the blue water in that one shot.

Dave

PERTH, Australia

Thanks, everyone. How nice to have you post, Dave. That's high praise indeed from the Bluebird master.

I've been finding it very frustrating trying to milk a little more distance from my 400mm lens. All of the shots I've been posting of the chicks have been sharpened and cropped, sometimes to within an inch of their lives. I caught up with Pete at the nest yesterday so will leave it to him to post some clear images of the chicks. (I will say it was very tempting to push him over the embankment and nick his 500mm lens).

This shot is from the 7th, but I just love it when I can get a family shot. Dad's on the left of the image and the smaller chick is snuggled down, next to its older sibling.





Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

The size difference between the two chicks is quite marked. Before I arrived Pete saw the bigger chick beating up the smaller one. It is also getting most of the food. I think we have to hope that the smaller one is able to get enough to promote growth. In the Osprey world, the greater the number of chicks in the nest, the lesser the chances of the youngest (and smallest) surviving, both because of bullying and not being robust enough to be able to position itself to get food. Even though there is only a 3 or 4 day age difference between these two (I haven't tried to see if it was the 1st or 2nd hatchling that died), the bigger one is getting most of the attention. It's not uncommon for three chicks to survive until fledging (and beyond) and there's a nest somewhere in the north-east USA that has successfully raised 4 chicks.

In this shot, Big Hook is about to feed the larger one.

This message was edited Oct 10, 2010 8:38 AM

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

The smaller one about to receive a piece of fish. For every 6-10 pieces the larger one demands (and gets), the little one gets one. The odds improve when the larger one is full.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
Sandusky, OH

The family shot is beautiful Margaret!!

Quote from MargaretK :
(I will say it was very tempting to push him over the embankment and nick his 500mm lens).


ROFL!!!!

Sandusky, OH

ROFL!!!!

Marlton, NJ

Wonderful shots Margaret!

Kelseyville, CA(Zone 8b)

I can tell you're trying to prepare yourself, and us, for the worst that might happen to the smaller chick. My heart breaks for you having to watch things that aren't fair but we have no way of fixing them. I just hope this smaller one will be tough enough to survive. I've seen it happen here with my orphaned deer so I know it can happen.

Fantastic photos. There's always a larger lens or a better camera that we'd like to have, but your photos prove that they're not always necessary to have a true sharp photo.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from MargaretK :
and there's a nest somewhere in the north-east USA that has successfully raised 4 chicks.


Also known in northern Europe; the long summer daylight hours in the far north help a lot.

Resin

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Interesting Resin, how do long daylight hours play a role.


Margaret, you may be cropping the heck out of these, but for this web photo journal, it's all crystal clear and telling the story so well. Amazed at how we are a part of it!

Keep it up. Pete, make sure your insurance is paid up.

PERTH, Australia

I'm glad you appreciated that, Burd. I don't know if Pete will.

Thanks, Pelle.

Yes, duc, I wonder if there is such a beast as a satisfied photographer. It is tough to watch these dramas unfolding and not being able to do anything about it. Undoubtedly such dramas have been occurring for tens of thousands of years, but it's when it's observed first hand that the toughness of nature really hits home.

Thanks, Resin. My understanding is that the one in the US has had 4 chicks on several occasions. Is this correct?

Thanks, Mrs Ed. It's good that you feel part of it.

Pete mentioned the dolphins in the river. They are having their own problems, but not associated with a lack of fish to feed on. We frequently see them slowly cruising by. Here's a couple that were part of a pod of four or five (dolphins are amazingly difficult to count) from the nest site a few days ago.

I've had a call from Madame X who has increasing concerns about the smaller chick. Just now, Big Hook was sitting on the bigger chick, but the little one was out on its own in the nest for twenty minutes before it somehow got back under its mother again. She did feed the smaller chick whilst Madame was watching, which is a good sign, but she says the size difference is now even more noticeable. This little one has a very tenuous hold on survival.

I didn't go to the nest yesterday because it was cold and wet and I can't go this afternoon. I'll keep you posted when I go tomorrow or if Madame contacts me in the meantime with any news.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from Mrs_Ed :
Interesting Resin, how do long daylight hours play a role.[/quote]

More time to catch fish! With a 20, or even 24 hour day, it means the male can go and catch another fish for the 4th chick when the first 3 are full.

[quote="MargaretK"]My understanding is that the one in the US has had 4 chicks on several occasions. Is this correct?


Sorry, don't know.

Resin

London, United Kingdom

There is more than one nest in the USA that regularly raises four chicks. I like the one I call the Conneticut nest. Here is a link to the website.

See http://www.ctaudubon.org/action/osprey.htm

They are a fabulous pair of ospreys. The dad regularly feeds the female and also the chicks. They also are rather slow to hatch often taking 40 days to hatch. I thought the nest had failed this year but no they all hatched and they raised four chicks as usual.


Hi Resin. Interesting to meet someone from the United Kingdon in such a "far away" place.





This message was edited Oct 12, 2010 5:08 AM

London, United Kingdom

Margaret those are great pictures as always. Sad to hear tthat there is aggression in the nest. That does not bode well for the younger chick with their being such a difference in age. The next week or so will be critical.

PERTH, Australia

Thanks for the information and the link, Tiger. I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Yes it is awful that there's conflict. I haven't heard from Madame X today so no news is good news.

I'm heading off to the nest very shortly and will give an update this evening.

PERTH, Australia

Well, some good news. The smaller chick seems to have grown in the three days since I was last there. Big Hook fed them almost equally and I didn't observe any conflict between them.

In this first shot, Big Hook has just taken delivery of a live fish. The youngest chick, closest to Big Hook is still covered in the buff-coloured down. Right on schedule, the older chick is losing the down and is taking on the less than cute reptilian phase.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Here, the oldest of the two chicks can be seen, looking like something that wouldn't be out of place in Jurassic Park. Amazing the transformation in just three days.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

I hope you can see the chicks clearly enough. The older one is facing towards the camera and the youngest, still buff-coloured, is facing in the opposite direct. Dad had come to take the remains of the fish and was just about to fly off with it. There's lots of to-ing and fro-ing with the fish. In the two to three hour period I'm there, it can change hands up to three times.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Big Hook returned from a couple of brief flights up and down the bay. Dad returned with the remains of the fish and she started feeding the little ones again. Here she's in the process of feeding the oldest chick.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Now feeding the youngest. This was so amazingly good to see. Even though we're not out of the woods yet, I feel more optimistic than I have for a few days.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
PERTH, Australia

Big Hook feeding the oldest. The size difference doesn't seen as marked as the other day.

Thumbnail by MargaretK
Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Wonderful pics and wonderful news to start my day! Thanks Margaret!

PERTH, Australia

I was so happy to see them like that, Bea. I'm glad you've woken to less pessimistic news.

Dad was really putting on a show. I only managed a couple of shots and have had to play around with the images so you aren't blinded by the contrast.

Thumbnail by MargaretK

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.
BACK TO TOP