A quick look at Osprey chicks in care — and is it really goodbye, Tiny?

You may have heard that osprey chicks do not do well if they are taken from the nest and placed into care. But is this true? Last year, anyone watching the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest knew that Little Tapps was not going to survive. Solly was too big and too aggressive and when the middle chick, DEW, began to turn on the little one and keep it from eating it was not ‘if’ but ‘when’ would Tapps die. It was emotionally devastating. How many wanted to toss a cloth cover over the camera and at least try and rescue that baby?

In less than a week, news of two interventions came to my desk and thanks to my friend, “T”, two others last evening. Wonder how many more there were? There was at least one Osprey chick taken into care due to the extreme heat in the British Columbia interior. It had fallen out of its nest and bystanders notified SORCO, the only raptor rehabilitation centre in the area at Oliver. They retrieved the three week old chick immediately hydrating it. The staff said that Ospreys can become stressed when in care but, this one is so young they anticipate that it will adapt.

On 3 July an Osprey nest caught on fire when the transformer next to the nest blew. The parents were able to escape, one chick perished, and the other chick was taken into care. The chick was suffering from severe smoke inhalation and some burns from the fire. That precious little one is on oxygen and pain relief therapy. It was initially given high levels of oxygen using a mask but now it is an oxygen incubator. The chick is resting comfortably at the Raptor Tales Rescue in Wareham, MA. Its condition is ‘guarded’.

Sweet little baby. That had to be extremely scary with all the smoke, fire, and noise.

Many other Osprey chicks have been orphaned and placed in nests with foster parents. It is surprising how often this occurs with no ill effects. We saw this recently in Finland and near St Petersburg when another Osprey nest fell down on 29 April. The parents left and all of the chicks died but one. Baby Foster was placed in a nest where there was only one other baby. The parents accepted the new chick immediately. Baby Foster fledged on 13 June. The events with Baby Foster and his new family were caught on video by one of St Petersburg’s local photographers, Kathleen Finnerty.

It is midnight in St Petersburg, Florida. All eyes are on the nest of Tiny Tot and right now, it is calm but Tiny Tot is not there. She came in during the early morning of 5 July. Was she scared by fireworks?

It has been 100 years since a major storm hit the Tampa area. If you look carefully, you will see that St Petersburg is right at the entrance to Tampa Bay.

Tiny Tot has not been on the nest since 9am on the 5th of July. She has not come for a fish and to my knowledge, Jack has not brought any fish to the nest for her since 4 July when there were at least two fish brought in during the early evening. Jack knows where Tiny is or he would be on the nest checking for her. Did the fireworks scare her on her way? did she get tired of chasing off intruders? or did her instincts kick in and tell her it was time to leave the nest?

Here are some images of Tiny over the last few months. They are in no particular order and I have left all the lines and date stamps for you. I will, one day this week, put together a comprehensive album of this miraculous little one – a third hatch that was tough, that survived, and who will do well. What a privilege it was to watch this clever little one become a big strong juvenile.

Tiny, thank you for staying around as long as you did! Stay safe out there. Enjoy the fishing. Have an extraordinary life. You deserve it.

Thank you for joining me today. Here is the model of the storm that is set to hit the Tampa area today. We will be watching and sending warm thoughts to all the nests in that area. Be safe little ones! The recent revised forecast is for Elsa to be a cat 1 hurricane hitting the Tampa area around 11pm tonight. Prayers for all the birds.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union for the streaming cam where I took my screen shots of Tiny Tot and her family. Many thanks also to Raptor Tales Rescue for the images on their FB page that I used to show osprey chicks in care.


  1. Salliane says:

    Hi Mary
    It was a nice chat with you today on the Achieva chat room. 🙂

    There is another person, Linda Kontol, that wants to receive your daily newsletters like I do. Could you let me know how she can do so?
    (S Shen)

    1. Hi Sallianne. Oh, S. Chen on chat! It was so nice to be on chat with everyone. Don’t laugh. I am actually trying to figure out how Linda can subscribe to the newsletter. So I am off to read the directions from WordPress. Will get back to you and her shortly!

  2. Salliane says:

    Hi Mary
    Sorry I missed you this evening on Achieva chat. I needed to step out for a half hour.
    I do have a question for you about the rehomer at Patuxent nest 2. At first it seemed the 2 chicks were getting along during the feed and today I checked the nest and rehomer is hanging back while the resident chick gorged itself with food.

    Sometimes the rehomer closed its eyes as if it was going to sleep. It isn’t very enthusiastic about food. I a wondering if it is sick or is on the verge to be ill …just based on its actions.

    Birds tend to hide illnesses and I am thinking this is the case with the rehomer. Any ideas????


    1. It was so nice to chat with you while we were both on. Like everyone else, I have been trying to do other things and watch the weather at Achieva. I think many of us have nervous energy over what could happen there or at Sarasota.
      You are a really keen observer, Sallianne, and you might well have picked up on something. The adopted chick could be unwell, and, as you note, raptors do not readily show that they are unwell or have a physical injury. It would leave them open to attack.
      I have not watched this nest, so I don’t know the detailed circumstances leading up to the fostering and would hate to hazard a guess as to what could be the matter. I wonder if an intervention was made to re-home the little one if they might consider taking it into care again to see what might be the matter or build up its strength before placing it in a foster nest. Just thinking out loud. It has to be extremely traumatic to be moved from one’s own home.

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