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Thread subject: Any Thoughts on #4??
Name Date Message
Tiger 05/26/05 07:31 pm Here we have a seemingly perfectly healthy chick begging for food. Lots of fish available and mum keeps ignoring it??

Has she decided that two are enough??

Or is there some other explanation?

Celeste 05/26/05 07:41 pm It's hard to say, but I am inclined to think the only explanation is that she is instinctively feeding the two stronger chicks. This is very reminiscent of Season 1.....though I think she is neglecting the chick a bit more than the Season 1 Betty did in the early days of that last chick. Season 1 Betty would also feed the stronger ones, for a while the young chick would manage to get in line for a feeding and we would write in our obs' when this chick had a decent meal....but again, after a while aggression was the determining factor....and though this chick is stronger than the 3rd chick, it will always be considerably smaller than the older two....not very good odds I would think. But I would love to be wrong!
Shelley 05/26/05 07:42 pm You know, Tiger, these were my very thoughts. I suspect that animals know instinctively if an offspring isn't healthy or likely to survive and that may be why some are rejected. But just now was my first look at #4 today and even as a newborn, it looks bigger, more vigourous and healthier than #3 ever did. And I, too, wonder why Betty is ignoring it. I can understand the sibs trying to keep it from getting *their* food but Betty? I have the same questions you do.
Cecilia 05/26/05 07:46 pm Who knows? It's been very hard watching today's events. I've been working at my computer so I've had the cam on almost all day and I've been amazed at the sizes of the fish Dennis has delivered. So food availability is not the problem. I mentioned on the Obs page that this Betty seems to feed for awhile and then just stop...not because the chicks walk away or stop eating as we saw last year but just because. So the bigger chicks never seem to get full and the little guy never gets a bite. The interesting thing is that Dennis either brings the fish back or brings another fish and still Betty doesn't feed long enough to fill up 1 & 2, so 4 never gets a chance. It does not bode well.
Tiger 05/26/05 07:48 pm I know that there is something about chicks absorbing the egg white just before hatching and that does for 24 hours. But as far as I know there is nothing wrong with feeding as soon as the chick asks for it.

What is really amazing is that there is a huge lump of fish in the nest.

Cecilia 05/26/05 07:50 pm That too Tiger! For the first time Dennis must be so full that he hasn't even bothered to take the fish away. That makes it doubly hard to watch :-(
Celeste 05/26/05 07:51 pm Can this be the "inexperienced" female at work? The experienced male is more necessary than an experienced female as far as bringing enough fish to the nest to secure survival of the nest. Last year there was more fish than 03 and we had 3 chicks...it was felt we had two experienced parents...however, Dennis might be more experienced than we realized at first, and it is Betty that is the most inexperienced...
Tiger 05/26/05 07:58 pm We must never forget that this it cutting edge osprology. We have the privelege of being the first to really see what goes on in an osprey nest. As we are continually finding out it is not at all what we imagined.

Who will ever forget all those severe peckings that Cz handed out to poor Spirit. Then the wonderful day when Spirit flew away and even better when he returned to steal Cz's dinner!

He he he!

Pam 05/26/05 08:11 pm I have only been watching for about half an hour and reading the messages but from what I have seen I think it will be a miracle if Chick #4 survives. I haven't seen it receive any food and now it seems to be getting crushed by the other two and has not got the strength to get out from under. It is very hard to watch because it seems quite a good size for a newly hatched. Well - it is after 1.am. now here in UK so it is switch off time. Goodnight all.
Celeste 05/26/05 08:12 pm Yes, that was such a great nest! How loud that CZ was! even Betty.....was always turning the speakers down! You are right, having Spirit be the first to fly and "getting" back at CZ was the greatest...I also remember in the early am's the chirping back and forth between CZ who was late to fly, and Spirit in the distance urging him to leave the nest....their chirps would change in tone as if they were really chatting with each other, and they would also mimic each other:))
Mickey 05/26/05 08:16 pm I dont give #4 till Saturday. Then I believe the nest will fledge 2 chicks.
RonS 05/26/05 09:22 pm Could it be that the hen will only feed the chick(s) that "earn" it by their persistance and, after they are a bit bigger, their aggressiveness? I would think that this would ensure that survival of the strongest chick(s) for the preservation of the species. It would also serve to strengthen the younger chick that could overcome it's hostile environment, e.g. Spirit of last year.
I also agree with Mickey's assessment above that the younger chick has only a short time to prove itself. That way the food resources wouldn't be "wasted" on maintaining a lost cause. It sounds cruel and heartless, but there is a certain efficiency in the way nature seems to work.
Tim P 05/26/05 09:41 pm Itâs so cool that all involved here have expressed rational explanations and ideas regarding the current situation in the nest.
Also making comparisons to observations of seasons past in the attempt to understand the osprey.
Trying to comprehend the current events unfolding in this nest is a difficult task.
Having this type of rational conversation helps to understand and deal with what may be a sad turn of events. The passing of 2 chicks so soon into the season is new to us and by understanding that nature has to run its course, we cope.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing and we all have become very educated in the life cycle of the osprey by sharing with each other our thoughts and information. Thank you to those who take it serious. This has truly become a scientific data base over the past years. I appreciate each member of this board for what they bring to the table.
This is the best conversation I've read this spring. I agree with all of the above.
Thanxâ¦

RonS 05/26/05 09:50 pm Amen, Brother Tim!!
cathy 05/27/05 12:37 am Chapter 5 of Tao
Heaven and earth aren't humane
To them the ten thousand things
are straw dogs.

Wise souls aren't humane.
To them the hundred families are straw dogs.

Heaven and earth
act as a bellows:

Empty yet structured
it moves, inexhaustibly giving.

I like this chapter in the Tao since it seems to express the neutrality of nature.
Marie 05/27/05 01:40 am Thank you Cathy............it gives a different slant on Nature....and I need something else to think about after the demise of my little Eaglets......
We can never come to understand why 'SHE'' /Nature behaves in the way she does..........but for reasons unknown it is all part of a delicate balance of species preservation. From what I have read the more chicks to feed the greater STRESS on the pair especially the breeding female. This stress in turn apparently affects future numbers of breeding years so if she keeps the number of chicks down then her reproductive years are longer... Interesting idea put forth. Each year we learn more about these wonderful creatures..... our knowledge base blossoms with each season. As hard as it is to watch Nature in the nest we must ''Accept'' that it is all for a VERY GOOD reason. It is not in our realm to question........
Celeste 05/27/05 05:47 am Once again I am referring to Carpenteri's book. Some interesting points
1. It is generally young or newly mated pairs that fail to fledge their young, and simple inexperience that maybe to blame in some cases, (This may not apply to colonies who breed late because of harsh weather when experience or inexperience is not the factor

2. "Ospreys have learned through thousands of years of evolution, that more food does not necessarily translate into more chicks or better chick survival, a phenomenon researchers have only lately come to understand." For the good of the populations, it is the fate of third or fourth chicks to be doomed to die prior to fledging, especially in areas where food is less abundant, but also where frequent, violent storms are common during the spring and early summer.

3. I would think harsh spring weather would apply further north to us, in areas like Maine, etc as Carpenteri also states that "Prolonged stormy weather may make it difficult or impossible for the male osprey to hunt and if such conditions continue, chicks starve to death. Also, incubating females may abandon a clutch of eggs when severe weather threatens the nest.
karen 05/27/05 08:55 am I am glad I missed yesterday and am just catching up with the posts now. The weekend weather is improving so that may help #4. I hope we are not in for what we went through in 2003. I am off for the weekend
and no computer access so will tune in Tuesday.
Mickey 05/27/05 10:31 am I actually hope that #4 goes now. Fast. Its strictly for selfish reasons mind you.What we`ve learned over the past few years is that aggressiveness is inevitable between the chicks. And once it starts, it doesnt stop till each chick can stand up for itself. IMO, #4 will never be able to stand toe to toe against 1 and 2.
wildmaven 05/27/05 10:38 am I watched Betty actively feed #4 a few minutes ago!

Marian

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006