3 chicks growing fast

Osprey chicks on nest with adult 2015. Cumbria Wildlife Trust

FoulshawOspreys 3 eggs finally all hatch, and we look at their first 2 weeks of life.

Watch this new video to see HD highlights of the 3 young osprey chicks in their first 2 weeks of life, taken from the nest webcam at Foulshaw Moss osprey viewpoint

The video starts with the first confirmed glimpse of the third chick, at 6:58am on 4th June. The poor weather & tall grass growing in the nest had made it difficult to get a good view of the eggs during the  hatching period, and there had been several false alarms since chick 2 was born on 1st June. I even announced that the third chick had hatched during an interview for BBC Northwest Tonight, then looked again at the webcam and clearly spotted an intact egg. 

An osprey chick's day involves a lot of sleeping, tucked snugly under mum. Every few hours she gets up and perches on the edge of the nest to feed them tiny morsels of fresh fish, provided by dad. He sometimes helps with the feeding too. At feeding time the chicks suddenly wake up and stick their necks up in the air as far as possible, with their mouths gaping.

Most of the day, the adult male is roosting or preening on another branch, either lower down the tree or in his roost tree, a dead pine standing nearby. The first chick is five days older than the third, and is clearly dominant. Food seems plentiful, and he is clearly not struggling to cope with supplying enough fish for the family.

Finally the weather warmed up just in time, and the female stopped keeping the chicks hidden, meaning we were treated to better views, as she stood on the side of the nest and kept a watchful eye. Sometimes they seemed too hot, and she appears to be shading them with her shadow. 

As well as lots of footage of cute fluffy chicks, we have witnessed evidence of them fighting, as they ready themselves to grow up into predators. At 2:28 and 3:45 we see the oldest chick vciously pecking the other 2, to stop them getting any food. They submissively hide their heads and don't feed until later.  

They all seem to be growing rapidly though. No longer do they look like tiny fluffy white chicks. As they grow bigger and more menacing, the osprey chicks have got much darker, and the beginnings of feathers can be seen growing out of their skin.

We may have had a visit from other ospreys again. On 12th June at 9:30am we got reports that the male flew to the nest and they both showed some territorial 'mantling' behaviour and watched something in the sky, before the male flew off out of view. I've included some footage in this video at 4:11, so see what you think. Yet again, the intruder(s) never flew into the view of the camera, so we don't know who they were. 

There has also been some discussion about the strange wooly objects that have been appearing in the nest. At 7:07 you can see that these are just dead grass/moss tussocks, which will be used as fresh bedding in the nest. Bog vegetation often grows in dense tussocks, and some of these will have been damaged when turves were moved during our recent work to restore the wetlands around the nest.

Finally, at 7:50 the video ends with a look at the nearby roost tree. If you are going to watch the Foulshaw Moss ospreys, its useful to recognise this dead tree. The male can often be seen on the webcam, sitting there in the background. If you visit the site in person, again look out for this tree, a short distance southeast of the nest tree.

Thank you to everyone who has let us know what they spotted on the nest webcam. Your sightings been invaluable in putting these highlights together, and its great to know that everybody is out there watching so carefully.

The nature reserve is free to visit, so we rely on donations to keep the cameras going and to maintain and extend the boardwalk paths. If you enjoy watching the osprey nest, please do consider clicking the button to donate. Every little bit really does help.