Magnificent mothers and dedicated dads

What a day! To find two chicks had hatched on Nest 1 between 20.00 on Tuesday and 09.00 today was excitement enough without another hatch, this time on Nest 2.

On Nest 1 shortly after 09.00 YA took away a piece of fish which Mrs YA had tucked beneath her. Two broken egg shells were then visible as Mrs YA moved her head. Later there were fleeting glimpses of two moving chicks which Mrs YA was sheltering from heavy rain. It eased slightly around 11.00 and YA landed with a new fish as Mrs YA flew off. She returned quickly and the chicks begged. After fiddling with a couple of sticks, Mrs YA went over and fed them. YA is just visible at the right edge.

Possibly the first taste of fish for a chick (c) Forestry Commission England

Possibly the first taste of fish for a chick
(c) Forestry Commission England

Both had moments when they flopped, temporarily full, before summoning up the energy to beg and eat again. YA showed interest in the proceedings and stood watching, moving very close to his offspring.

YA looks on intently at the feeding (c) Forestry Commission England

YA looks on intently at the feeding
(c) Forestry Commission England

Here is a link to a lovely video of  the feeding of the chicks.

After the meal it was a case of protecting the chicks and remaining egg (the third to be laid) as the rain became more relentless again.

A very wet and dutiful Mrs YA (c) Forestry Commission England

A very wet and dutiful Mrs YA
(c) Forestry Commission England

By late afternoon it was a bit lighter and Mrs YA had a couple of flights to stretch her wings and she walked round the nest. The chicks looked fine, although they would have liked more to eat!

Just before 17.00 and the chicks look well  (c) Forestry Commision England

Just before 17.00 and the chicks look well
(c) Forestry Commision England

On Nest 2 Mrs 37 was tight on the eggs for the first hour and a half plus and when she flew off after a fish delivery there was a clear view of the eggs. No cracks were apparent and that was the case when she returned after 20 minutes. Even 10 minutes before the first sight of the first chick there was nothing visible, although the shell must have been well ‘spretched’ by then. (Means cracked egg, Yorkshire dialect, Old Norse origin, in honour of Paul the Wildlife Ranger for Nest 2 who imparted that gem. And who saw the hatch today, well deserved by him.) It is the top egg in the image below.

Just 10 minutes before the chick was seen pushing out of the shell (c)  Forestry Commission England

Just 10 minutes before the chick was seen pushing out of the shell
(c) Forestry Commission England

Out the chick came from its shell and Mrs 37 sheltered it straight afterwards. 37 came in a couple of times with a part eaten fish, but the female wasn’t interested. She stood and shuffled the two remaining eggs a couple of times – on one occasion the chick had (probably) its first squirt! On another she pushed the larger part of the empty shell back over it. Ingenious, an overcoat!

Mrs 37 has tucked the egg shell around the chick (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 has tucked the egg shell around the chick!
(c) Forestry Commission England

By 17.00 the chick had escaped again (c) Forestry Commission England

By 17.00 the chick had escaped again
(c) Forestry Commission England

So a wonderful day on both nests, marred only by the rain. But the mothers’ dedication to protecting the chicks/eggs was outstanding. And the males played their part too. Let’s hope that they can keep it up because the forecast isn’t what we would wish for a few days.

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5 Responses to Magnificent mothers and dedicated dads

  1. Joyce Rawlings says:

    Great blog Joanna and fabulous vimeo of the chicks being fed and Mr YAs reaction – one of shock and curiosity by looks of it….!

  2. joannadailey says:

    Thanks, Joyce. Yes, YA didn’t seem to quite know what to do at first when alone with two begging chicks, but once Mrs YA got back he was very interested in watching the feed. It’s fascinating observing the behaviour, and the changes too. YA has been much more hands on this year, growing into his parental role!

  3. Joanna, all your patience is rewarded. Thank you for giving us the blow by blow account and pictures.
    ViV

  4. Tiger Mozone says:

    Congratulations. Great news and great blogs as always. Now you can relax a bit.

  5. joannadailey says:

    Thanks, Tiger. But more chicks to wait for before relaxing!

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