After the death of the middle chick last night, Mrs G kept the wee one warm even though it could barely hold up its head. It died late this afternoon. There has been much speculation as to what happened on this nest but nothing will be known for sure without a post mortem. Did the chicks get a pneumonia from all the rain and the damp cold nest? was it some other avian disease associated with rain and cold? I saw some chatter on another nest’s streaming cam speculate that it was starvation. I cannot even imagine that anyone would say that. The quantity of the food brought to this nest is not an issue. They were fed well. Was it a matter that the chicks had no food for several days that caused this? We do not know if that interruption caused damage to their systems. The Ospreys have been eating and the little ones were eating well. Mrs G tried to feed the little one at 8:20 am this morning but it was just too weak. Another person mentioned the deadly bird flu that is currently in northern Europe. That was the virus, the deadly HPAI of the subtype H5N1. The chicks would have, like others, caught the HPAI by eating an infected wild bird. Dr Thijs Kuiken of Erasmus University is a Virologist who deals with deadly pathogens in birds. I have written to ask him but I suspect that he would say nothing is sure without a post-morten. I believe he might also say that the Ospreys at Glaslyn have only eaten fish and could not possibly have the deadly H5N1. I will let you know when I hear from him.
Mrs G understands that all of her chicks are now deceased. She stood over them for a very long time in the same way we have seen the Bald Eagles at the Captiva Nest and the White-tailed Eagle Nests in Latvia and Estonia when eaglets pass. She was disturbed in her mourning by the crows who were finally driven away by Aran.
Mrs G looks down at her chicks many times. What does she understand about their death that we might not?
In her 21 years, she has lost few chicks. So this is a great sadness for this well established and respected – iconic – Osprey family.
Mrs G flies to the perch where she can still protect her babies and the fish on the nest from the crows if it is necessary while she eats.
Mrs G was ravenous. She has laid eggs depleting her calcium, she has incubated the eggs, and brooded her chicks during the most dire weather. Force 11 winds and steady rain came right when they were hatching. To add to that, Aran, her mate was injured by intruders and could not fish.
The volunteers and staff at Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife set up a fish table for the Ospreys. They placed large quantities fish there from dusk to dawn so that Aran and Mrs G could take them to the nest and so that the Crows would not get the fish (they would be sleeping).
More fish are brought to the nest after Mrs G finishes eating.
Mrs G is not ready to say goodbye to her three babies yet and she is brooding them another night.
Mrs G and Aran will be back to the nest next year. Aran needs to mourn and to heal and grow in his flight feathers and Mrs G needs to mourn and restore her health. It is a very sad occasion indeed but it is hoped that both of the adults will recover fully.
Thank you for joining me on this quick posting. I appreciate the streaming cam set up by the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Center. It is where I obtained my screen shots.