It was a wet and quite breezy morning at Kielder on Thursday. Mrs YA wasn’t being too errant, but soon after 11.00 when she was standing eating the chick somehow toppled over and couldn’t get onto its feet again. Mrs YA certainly stayed calm and carried on – eating! She ignored the chick who was trying desperately to get back upright. Mrs YAs decisive next step was to drop a stick on the chick’s head. For a few more minutes the chick struggled and Mrs YA walked round the nest wondering what she should do. She picked the stick off the chick and then sat over it to protect it from the rain; despite giving it a nudge it disappeared under her still upside down.
When she got up later it was back on two feet but seemed quite weak and disorientated. However within half an hour or so it was eating and had several more meals during the afternoon. But trauma for the chick and helpless observers in Kielder Castle Cafe.
So what’s going on? The more we see of Mrs YA the more her actions indicate she is inexperienced and just doesn’t know what to do instinctively. Although she is quicker to stop eating herself and feed the youngster she is still not as attentive as most osprey mothers. And she is still off the chick when the weather requires her to be keeping it dry and/or warm. As for the chick, it is getting plenty of food but isn’t ‘growing overnight’ as the three Nest 2 chicks did at the same stage. It hasn’t got out of the ‘egg cup’ area which is deeper than it looks in images and was dug out even more by Mrs YA after the second chick died. Normally a chick can right itself if it topples over. It is possible the chick has an illness, perhaps the same one led to the elder two not surviving, although the reason for their deaths is not known. We have to hope that the chick hangs in there and Mrs YA cottons on to parenting skills a bit faster.
The only other excitement (was more needed?!) on Nest 1 was YA’s appearance mantling then flying off speedily. No bird was seen on camera but perhaps one of the intruder ospreys was about.
Click on any of the images to enlarge.