For the past few weeks I have been following an Osprey nest. It is one of the best nests I have seen in terms of visibility into the nest and proximity to a vantage point. There is one chick (one would normally expect two to three chicks), but this chick appeared to be healthy and thriving. All was well and papa was fulfilling his role as provider. Here he is delivering a flounder to the nest: A few days later I went back to the nest to see how they were getting along. The chick was alone on the nest and practicing its flying moves: Papa was there and coaching the flying and delivering food: But, something was wrong. Mama was sitting on a nearby piling and had a huge gash in her abdomen: She did not look good at all and we realized that nothing would be the same from this point on. It was very unlikely that mama would survive this mortal wound. Most likely she sustained the injury while defending the nest.
The following day I returned to the nest to check on mama and the chick. Mama was still on the same piling looking no better. She had been without food at this point for two days. One of the most interesting things that happened that day was that papa flew over to her several time to do what I called "checking her vital signs". He jumped on her head and shoulders to see how she would respond; was she able to care for her chick?? Each time he jumped on her she could weakly lift her head and wings. She also tried her best to get him literally and figuratively off her back. The good news in all this is that the chick appeared to be well cared for. Papa continued to deliver food, and at this point the chick is old enough to feed itself (mama used to tear off pieces for the chick). What was intriguing was that it appeared that another male had stepped in to help care for the chick. I saw this male giving "flying lessons" to the chick: While we were encouraged that the chick was being well cared for, it was clear that mama was not going to make it. Sadly, the next morning she was no longer on the piling. May she rest in peace knowing that her chick is being well cared for. It takes a village: