Following the death of the youngest osprey on July 15, one of the two surviving chicks has shown labored breathing amid the high summer temperatures. Biologist Janie Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest provides these observations today:
Unfortunately we are watching nature in action as the young osprey loses its hold on life. If the young osprey does fledge it will not likely be able to sustain flight and will become grounded. That is the best time to attempt intervention – not now. Should we intervene now we risk jeopardizing the remaining healthy osprey.
So for nearby viewers that is my advice. Be vigilant as both these youngsters approach fledging as they may become grounded. We here at Birds of Prey Northwest will be there to provide medical treatment and assist should it become necessary. In the meantime know that raptors have an inherently high mortality rate in nature and this is part of that mortality. Focus on those that can survive and beat those odds.
Thanks all for your caring concern.
In response to queries from nest watchers concerned that the youngest chick is not thriving, biologist Janie Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest provides these observations.
I too, have been watching the little osprey chick with the labored breathing in the nest. From my experience with young osprey, I know that these signs of difficulty breathing can be related to a fungus known to effect raptors called aspergillosis. Youngsters can be susceptible if they are immunosuppressed.
While relocating osprey for reintroduction in other states, I have encountered several young osprey with labored breathing. After diagnostic medical testing and subsequent anti fungal treatment, the young ospreys died. It was difficult for our staff and myself who were so vested in their well being to experience the loss.
When placing a webcam we must be prepared to view ALL that nature has to offer. If this young osprey dies eventually we must accept that fact. If this were to occur, the remaining two ospreys would have an increased chance for fledgling. With life comes death.
The concern is heart warming. I wish there were more I could do.
Editor’s addendum: Later in the day after this note was posted, the youngest osprey died.
Photo from a feeding this afternoon. Our consulting biologist Janie Fink with Birds of Prey Northwest provides the following observations:
The faithful and responsible osprey parents continue to nurture their young. A few things to note. The male osprey is a good provider of fish and defending the territory. The female tends to the needs of the young – feeding and shading them. Note also how very well the young are camouflaged in the nest. They also respond to mother’s call to “get down” and lay flat in her absence, a protective mechanism. This week of predicted high temperatures will be challenging for the osprey family, no doubt.
We here at our rescue center Birds of Prey NW have admitted our first young grounded osprey of the season. The youngster fell prematurely from his nest at about 5 weeks of age and ended up in the middle of Highway 3. A passing citizen saw fit to recover the youngster and call us. Lucky bird. He is housed with an adult osprey and will be returned to the wild in a few weeks.
See more about Janie’s work with raptors at BirdsOfPreyNorthwest.org. More raptor news: Check this story from the Bonner County Daily Bee about her recent rescue of an injured eagle»
What a difference a couple weeks can make. As of today, all three chicks are thriving, with even the youngest and smallest growing at a good clip; compare these close-up shots we captured today to the photos in our post of June 16 just below. The osprey parents have proven to be attentive to the chicks – to say nothing of excellent fishers, seeming to be easily capable of keeping their brood well fed.
Each of these three shots features one of the chicks. Click to enlarge (and see as a 3-photo slide show). Temperatures today are warm, and the chicks can be seen panting a bit even as mom and dad attempt to provide some shade.
The third chick hatched out at about 3:15 a.m. this morning – thanks to the cam’s infrared that lets it “see” at night, nest watcher RP Osprey was able to capture the break-out. The main action occurs a little after three minutes into the video. Click to watch, and thank you RP:
The second osprey chick was observed “pipping” or cracking out of its shell a bit before 4 p.m. yesterday, June 10, and succeeded in hatching out at around 8 p.m. Here’s a photo of mom feeding both chicks at 5:19 p.m. this afternoon; click to enlarge. One egg remains to hatch … we hope! No pipping is evident in this closeup.
With three eggs in the nest – a first since the web cam was launched in 2012, the osprey pair are well into incubation now. Biologist Janie Fink with Birds of Prey Northwest provides these observations as of today:
The female osprey continues her vigilant incubation period. With three eggs beneath her to keep warm, and frequently turned for even heat distribution, she maintains her role. She is evidenced by her speckled neck patch of chocolate barring. About 80 percent of females sport this “necklace.” She is also the larger of the pair.
Osprey can and often do produce and raise three young. These three eggs will need to be fertile to hatch and commonly spaced apart. This reduces competition among the young during feedings. The most vigorous feeders have the best chance for survival. Only time will tell…