You may have noticed that the last 48 hours our Osprey Cam has been down. We have had a bit of a tragedy hit our Duke and Duchess, and also the family here at Snappy's. July 21, 2017 - Friday afternoon we were made aware of a chick that did not appear healthy in our nest and concerns were expressed about how to handle what we were watching unfold.
As you know Snappy's has no ownership of these magnificent birds, but has enjoyed the pleasure of providing a home in our courtyard. These are wild animals, and as such, we have tried to keep our involvement to a minimum. We have enjoyed watching the natural process evolve now for a second year, but this was a bit much to just leave alone.
One of our three chicks was indeed having a difficult time, and things looked grim. As we were talking with Doug MacCarter about how to proceed, the poor chick perished. At this point, we made the decisions to suspend the live broadcast of our video stream. With the advice of Doug, we arranged to have a bucket truck brought in so that the chick could be removed from the nest.
Doug and his comrades could only speculate on the cause of the death, but were keen to see if any more could be learned by examining the remains. In Missoula, there have been problems with high levels of mercury found in the birds that are causing health issues. They want to make sure that our birds in the Flathead Valley are not struggling with the same problem. We were able to remove the remains today.
At first glance there was no external cause, like strangulation from bailing twine or a fishing hook caught in the chicks throat. It appeared this chick was malnourished. When the chicks are small the parents will feed them one at a time ensuring all chicks get enough food. As the chicks grow, the parents will drop a fish in the nest and let the chicks feed themselves. It is a learning process for the chicks, but unfortunately sometimes one chick is bullied out of food. It appears this is what has happened.
As we hear more and if there is a different cause found, we will be sure to post an update. However, it appears we have witnessed the "survival of the fittest" as difficult as it is to watch. We will continue with the Naming Contest for all three birds, and give our expired chick a name when the voting is finished. We have enjoyed watching all three of our birds now for almost 2 months. And the Snappy's family wishes Duke, Duchess, and the other two chicks all the best!
CAUTION: Images and Video of the chick are posted below....