Severe Storm hits Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, will chick survive?

There is this overwhelming sinking feeling in your throat and the tears begin to swell up in your eyes when you know something horrible is going to happen to someone or some animal or bird and you can do absolutely nothing but sit, watch, pray, and wait. That is what is happening with a few of us as the storms move into the area of the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest. The weather forecast is for severe thunderstorms, heavy winds up to 75mph, hail, and tornadoes.

The mother is not on the nest with her chick. There are seemingly no tall sides to the nest, nothing for the chick to cling to but scattered non-secured twigs.

This is the chick earlier in the day waiting for a fish to arrive.

From the angle of the camera it is extremely difficult to understand if these twigs are level or if there are sides. When the chick has looked below at activity around the tower, it appears that there are not high sides.

There are many Ospreys who build their nests in trees. Year after year they add twigs and sticks. There are artificial platforms built for the birds. Is there a standard? would walls help in times of high winds?

Notice the amount of twigs interwoven together on the Osprey nest below. You can see the metal disk that holds them. That looks similar to what the Collins Nest is on but then it is attached to the top of a retired wild fire tower. In New York City, to secure the nest of Pale Male and his mate, Octavia, spikes were installed to hold the nest in place.

It is very difficult to see what is happening at the nest at this time. There is no moon and even if there were the cloud cover could block that light out.

This is not the first night that this wee babe has been alone. That in itself is unheard of. I used to give out ‘beefs’ to the ‘dead beat dads’ of the Osprey world but this mother beats them all. It could possibly be the first night it has been alone with a major thunderstorm system passing through the area. Right now there is lightning overhead and a system heading SE towards the area of the nest that is coloured mostly red with yellow meaning high winds, hail, possible tornadoes. The lightning is now illuminating the sky. You can see the chick hunkered down below and slightly to the left of that light in the centre top.

This baby has to be terrified.

The lightning is now so steady that the nest is illuminated as if it is daytime.

This is the current system heading to this nest. I am going to try and watch the sticks to see what the winds are like. Right now there is lightening and maybe rain. The nest is just to the right of Chilton on this map.

I hope when I wake up that this chick is wet but safe. Wonder if there is drainage for this nest?

WBSE 27 is making great progress on getting out of its shell. That egg tooth is really tapping away at that hard shell.

I suspect by the time I wake up in the morning that WBSE 27 will be a bobble head trying to eat fish and I hope, beyond hope, that our wee Osprey chick will be alive.

Thank you for joining me. I wish that this were a more optimistic blog today. The lightening is intensifying at the nest. The winds are only 11 mph right now according to ‘S’ who seems to find this information so quickly. I am so grateful to her. Some of us are staying awake with the little one.

Chicks in nests with their parents protecting them have survived gale force winds in Wales. Those nests had rather deeper sides. But let us just continue to hope that there is a good ending in the morning. The weather says two more hours and the storms will pass this area.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, the Sydney Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and Discovery Centre WBSE Cam. I also took screen shots from the channel 12 news in Wisconsin.

UPDATE: It is 12:41 am nest time at Collins Marsh. We are holding our breath but it does appear that the most severe of the storm swerved SE and will not hit the Collins Marsh Nest. Let us hope that this is the case. Severe weather warning until 2am continues. The chick continues to hunker down in its safe spot on the nest and it has to be terrified but we remain hopeful that it will be alive and well in the morning.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Prayers went up for the Collins Marsh little ospet. It is alive in the nest this morning. Hopefully the parents will come and feed this precious baby. I know it must have been very frightful and stressful last night for the baby. Thanks Mary Ann for this newsletter and look forward to another one today! Have a good day and I will of course continue to pray for the little one at Collins Marsh 🙏❤️

    1. All those prayers worked wonders for this wee babe and all the Ospreys in that area. It is hoped that all of them are fine. The chick was self-feeding, then mum arrived and then dad brought another fish. This is a very strange nest, but this chick is stronger this morning in its experiences. Thank you, Linda, for your warm wishes for this little Osprey.

  2. Salliane says:

    Good Morning!
    I only saw 2 feedings of the chick after scrolling back. As of 219pm(CDT) it is alone again and its crop isn’t quite full. I am hoping that mom will bring a big fish soon

    It was quite a worrisome night with the possibility of a severe storm passing thru Collins. Thankfully the major mass moved to southward, and Collins was spared.
    Lots of lightning flashes for several hours were seen and periodically you could see the chick huddled to the right of the red light bulb.
    I think it is one of its fav sleeping places.

    Thanks Linda for your prayers!!

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