Tiny Tot is Triumphant

I was almost afraid to go and look at the Achieva Osprey cam this morning. In fact, I held back for some time. Yesterday, Tiny Tot (I am talking about #3 known by various names such as Tumbles, Lionheart, Tater Tot) only had food in the morning feeding yesterday. He had dropped his crop and was hungry when the last fish came in at 7:05:20pm on the 8th. While there are some who wish that Tiny Tot would run and plow his way through his two older siblings to eat, Tiny Tot is not going to do that. He tried it once – maybe ten days ago – . First of all, charging uses up precious energy. Secondly, it gets him on the radar of the older two who could kill him. Tiny is clever. It might look like his head is way down and he doesn’t know what is going on but, he does. He bides his time. Sometimes it doesn’t work for him and the fish is all gone, like it was at 8:14:55 when he finally got up to mom. So, Tiny went to bed hungry and so did Diane.

Today it is Friday the 9th of April and it was 24 degrees Celsius or 75.2 Farenheit in St. Petersburg, Florida. Winds are blowing at 13 kph or 8 mph. Will this be a good day for fish?

Fish 1: Tiny Tot hangs by Diane, the mother, in the morning. The image below is at 8:20 am. Everyone is waiting for Jack to bring breakfast.

The first fish of the morning arrives at 8:32:22. Tiny Tot is right by mom when the fish comes in and he mantles it. Clearly it is not big enough to feed 2 never mind 4.

If you look carefully you will see that Tiny Tot has mantled the fish that is in front of Diane. One of the big siblings is getting ready to peck at him.

The two older siblings move in to eat. Tiny stays in position on the rim up by Diane’s head while the others eat. Tiny is in the submissive posture protecting his head and neck. But, unlike other days, he doesn’t walk all around the nest. He stays put.

Tiny stays on the rim of the nest by mom and Diane gives Tiny a few small bites at the end (8:41 and again at 8:42:22). Tiny does a kind of mantling posture which annoys #2 because he cannot get to Tiny’s head to pull and peck at him. We all have to remember, to continue to remind ourselves, that Tiny Tot needs to save its energy for growing, not fighting. Tiny Tot is not big enough but his older siblings are and seriously, it is still possible for them to inflict physical injury or death. Tiny Tot is smart. He is protecting himself from harm in the picture below.

Tiny did not hardly get anything. Instead #1 ate some leaving #2 to eat almost the entire fish. Tiny Tot is begging for food.

And then a miracle happens!

Tiny is alert. Him and mom know that there is another fish incoming. Tiny Tot positions himself right by mom. There is actually a bit of confusion. The two big sibs are sleeping and not used to another fish coming in. When Jack lands on the nest they don’t seem to realize there has been a fish exchange. But Tiny Tot knows!

Fish 2 arrives at 9:36:50. It actually looks like a big piece of catfish. Tiny Tot got the first bite of that fish at 9:37:41.

Then at 9:41 #1 comes sniffing about wanting some more fish. you can see #1 looking over in the image above as Tiny Tot is being fed. #1 gets some more fish and then Tiny Tot is eating again at 9:50. By then #2 (an endless pit for food) starts sniffing about. #2 is trying to harass and peck Tiny at 9:53:44 but Tiny manages to grab a couple more bites before #2 starts eating. At 10:04:19 the big sibs move out of the way. Tiny is on the other side of Diane and she is pulling out every last piece of fish she can for the little one.

Tiny Tot starts eating and continues to eat until 10:09:29. Tiny Tot has a very nice crop!

You can call it what you want – luck or a miracle. In the case of Tiny Tot they are the same. A third fish came in at 11:43:38. Tiny tot is close to mom. Everyone is looking up thinking or do they see an intruder? Chaos ensues in this very unexpected delivery, too. But Tiny Tot is right by mom and she has the fish in her talons before the big ones realize!

Tiny Tot gets some food before the big ones are asking themselves what in the heck is going on.

#2 goes after Tiny. Tiny continues to get another few bites. Tiny stays out of the way until 12:01:52 and then begins to move his way back to eat. Notice in the image below Tiny has his wings out like mantling and his head away. But he does not move across the nest, he stays put. When the two big ones leave at 12:03:56, Tiny turns around and will eat until 12:09:33.

Tiny is slowly moving back to eat. He is calculating so as not to get injured.

In the image below you can see how Tiny is eating and the two older sibs are behind him. He has his wings out and they are helping Tiny protect himself as well as be able to continue to eat. The older two are unable to move up.

At 12:40 you can see Tiny Tot’s crop. Note: He has dropped his crop once during the morning feedings. Tiny Tot is the one on the far right looking at mom. In fact, Tiny Tot spends much time watching and listening, paying attention so that he can position himself. Today he was more forceful in staying close to mom and it worked well for him. Thank goodness there were three fish brought in very close together!

Tiny is growing but so are the siblings who get and require much more food. So far, today has been a very good day for him. You can see that the white stripe (on his back) is being replaced by juvenile plumage. Note: Tiny Tot is in the middle in the image below. It looks like his tail is growing too.

Tiny Tot had a very good morning. It is now nearly 3pm nest time and everyone is waiting for a fourth fish to come in. Hopefully at least two more will arrive and Tiny will get some of them but for now, let us applaud Tiny Tot’s triumphal morning!

Thank you for joining me. I am elated. My great fear was Tiny Tot would get nothing to eat today. Oh, please let the fish keep coming in abundance.

Thank you to Achieva Credit union for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots.

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