Thursday, 2 July 2009

Coping with the Heat

Here in the Tweed Valley we are sweltering in the heat, with hot muggy conditions and some sudden thundery downpours that haven't been unwelcome!

With the osprey nest being so high up and exposed, there is of course, no shade to be had for the chicks. Our female Osprey has therefore been doing a great 'parasol' impersonation, trying to provide enough shade for all three of her young. She has been standing with her wings outspread, almost like a cormorant, and with her own feathers fluffed out to increase air circulation. Heat and dehydration can be a real risk for young Ospreys who are getting all their water needs from their fish diet.

Fascinatingly, when the male has arrived with food over the last couple of days, mum hasn't made her usual quick grab of the fish to feed it to the chicks. She seems to realise keeping the chicks shaded is even more important than food, so she has held her position. Dad therefore has stepped into the breach and been feeding the chicks himself- not very common behaviour, but a sensible way around the problem. Osprey parents are nothing if not dedicated!

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