I went to sleep Monday night, 24 May, afraid to wake up for fear that the two remaining chicks on the Glaslyn Osprey Nest of Mrs G and Aran would have perished. Tuesday morning there was still no news. But no news is good news, right? Late Tuesday there was an announcement. The staff and volunteers at the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre had sought advice from Dr Tim Mackirill and had set up a fish table (see blog, The Miracle at Glaslyn). They provide fish for Mrs G, Aran, and the two chicks from dusk to dawn because that is when the crows are sleeping. Otherwise, the crows would take the food for the Osprey family.
It is a huge effort and it has paid off -Aran and Mrs G are regaining their strength and the two Bobs (2 and 3) are alive. Indeed, they are doing very well. The Osprey adults have no problem taking the fish from the feeding table. This is really important. I am hopeful that when the urgency has passed that the staff will give details so that other communities can use their methods if it is ever needed.
Here is a quick video capturing one of the feedings on Tuesday:
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am a promoter of feeding tables in situations like this. Feeding tables work if they are done correctly. The fish that is being provided while Aran’s right wing heals will save all four members of this Osprey family. I also get very upset when people shy away from the work involved in helping non-humans when we have the ability to do so. “Oh, we can’t intervene. They are wild animals.” Yes, of course, but we have already intervened in their lives. We have robbed them of their habitat, we have poisoned the rivers and oceans where they get their fish, we have changed the climate – the list is long. And because humans cut down the beautiful old growth forests, we have also had to provide platforms so they can nest. Cheers and tears for the efforts coming out of Glaslyn.
No more than I had posted my blog on the miracle happening at Glaslyn, than my friend ‘T’ from Strasbourg reached out to me to tell me about a village taking care of a family of storks. The mother was electrocuted when she stepped on the power lines providing electricity to the homes. The villagers felt responsible and so, the community of Mlade Buky took on the task of providing food for the father and the chicks. Are they called storklets? Mlade Buky is in Czechoslovakia. It is east of the Great Mountains and is home to several ski resorts. 2300 souls live there.
The villagers donate 4-6 cm fish, hamsters, squirrels – whatever food the storks will eat. The chicks and the dad are fed three times a day. Fresh straw is also provided to keep the little ones dry. It is spring and rain is frequent. The father is not able to fish for his youngsters as he now has to protect and brood them. You will see him flying over the rooftops as fish is put on the nest. Please take the time to watch the storks being fed. It will warm your heart.
I sat and reflected on these two examples – Glaslyn and Mlade Buky. Each is different. Glaslyn supplies a fish table where the adults retrieve the food and take it to the nest. I do not know the specifics. Are the food alive? are they inside some kind of tank? etc. In Mlade Buky, the donated food is placed directly on the nest by climbing up to it. What if the species is not an Osprey (used to living around humans more) or a stork? What if it were a Golden Eagle? Is intervention different by species? I would like to find out because I began immediately to remember the situation with Spilve and her son, Klints. Klints was near to fledging in 2020 from the Golden Eagle Nest in Spilve, Latvia. Spilve was a single parent like the male stork in Mlade Buky. Her mate had not returned and it was impossible for her to protect Klints and travel the distance necessary to get large prey. Klints starved to death on the nest. I have read academic papers about the removal of older chicks who can self-feed to allow the younger to thrive. Could Klints have been removed to a wildlife rehabilitation centre and given prey til such time he would fledge? Do wildlife laws in Latvia prevent intervention?
The list of interventions to help birds on artificial platforms or nests where there are streaming cams for research or public education, or both, is limited. There must be others. As I was searching, I remembered a story of a man saving another stork family.
The couple are Klepetan and Malena and they are a bonded pair of storks from Croatia. Hunters shot and damaged Malena’s wing in 2002. She cannot fly. Her mate is Klepetan. Every year he migrates to South Africa, a distance of 14,000 km returning in the spring. He flies straight to Malena and their nest where they raise their chicks with the help of Stjepan Vokić, a former school janitor. The couple made their nest in his chimney!
Here is a lovely short video. There are others on YouTube. And if you are wondering, Klepatan returned to Malena on 14 April 2021 to start their 19th year together! Talk about a happy story!
We are fifteen or sixteen months in to the pandemic and right at this very moment the city I live in is the hotspot in North American for Covid. It is really nice to have some positive news and certainly these people helping the birds is a cause for celebration!
Thank you so much for joining me. If you happen to know of an instance when a community or wildlife group has set up a feeding table for the birds, please get in touch with me.
I will be checking in on all the nests for a late Wednesday hop through Bird World later. Stay safe. See you soon!
The credit for the feature image is: “File:Pentowo – European stork village – 25.jpg” by Jolanta Dyr is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0