Achieving the ‘right’ balance between sheltering small osprey chicks – who can’t regulate their temperatures well – and giving them enough nourishment is a tall order in prolonged bad weather. Mrs 69 has incubated solidly through hours of heavy rain this week. But meals have been few, and often cut short when the rain has become heavier. Yesterday, the chicks ate for only 11 minutes between 08.00 and 20.00. Chick 2 received little food and chick 3 wasn’t seen to eat at all, although it was begging hard late yesterday afternoon during a 4 minute feed.
Today, it seems that chick 3 has finally succumbed. The tiny body has been in the same position on every view into the nest cup. The head is visible beneath the rear chick’s chin in this image.
Despite better weather from about 10.00, 69 didn’t provide a fish until 13.17. In this image chicks 1 and 2 stretch to receive morsels. They are 10 and 9 days old, but look half that age.
9 minutes later and chick 2 was feeling quite full.
That meal lasted about 20 minutes – Mrs 69 moved and the end point was unclear – and was the longest we’ve seen.
Recently, 69 arrived with a new catch and the chicks fed well again.
Chick 3’s head can be seen behind chick 1. As is the case for many third hatches, chick 3 – despite rallying very unexpectedly for a couple of days – has not survived the combination of lack of food/poor weather. So very sad. But not unusual.
With another wet day forecast for tomorrow, at least chicks 1 and 2 stand a better chance after these meals.