Monday, 27 July 2009

High Drama and Dramatic Rescue

Monday the 27th July 2009 will go down as one of our most dramatic days ever, but I am happy to report 'All's well that ends well'.

Yesterday afternoon, the youngest chick " Stig" took a tumble from the nest, despite not being anywhere near ready to fly . Witnesses describing him 'stepping backwards and falling of the nest' late afternoon. This is not uncommon in birds near to fledging and we waited to see if this unscheduled departure would force him to fly and see him return safely. (Almost all young Ospreys come back to the nest after their early flights, which usually only last few minutes.) Unfortunately by early this morning he had not reappeared and our concerns for him grew.

If "Stig" had been able to glide to a nearby tree, his parents would continue to feed him and all would be well until he was properly ready to fly in a few days. If however, he fell to the ground, he would most likely not have the strength to take off and would of course be desperately vulnerable to predators and unlikely to survive.

After consulting with our experts and much discussion on the merits of interfering, we decided that the other two chicks would not be compromised if we went to the nest to see if we could find " Stig". After a short search, we found him stuck amongst very long bracken near the base of the nest tree, looking forlorn, but unharmed. After a short confinement in a quiet and safe box, "Stig" was fed with some fresh fish ( kindly supplied by Ronnie Graham of Barony Country Foods at short notice!) and returned safely to the nest by Forestry Commission Conservation Manager Tony Lightly.

We watched on camera this afternoon as he sat on the nest feeding well and waiting for his two older siblings ( both now flying) to return to share his windfall of fish! He seemed none the worse for wear for his adventure, but was still standing perilously close to the nest edge having learnt little from his mishap! This happy outcome seems to vindicate our decision to intervene- since he most probably would not have survived if we hadn't. We will report on his progress tomorrow and hope all the excitement won't have done him any harm!

Whilst all this was going on, we shouldn't ignore the fact that our female chick "Caledonia" fledged naturally today as well, at about 2pm. Her first flight was a text book five minutes and she came back to an impressively accomplished first landing- well done lass!

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