We know that other eagle cam nests have struggled with parents who did not live up to their responsibilities as well as they should, but we were surprised that the adult on the nest seemed to be more focused on covering the egg than the eaglet that was not in the nest cup. In years past, the parent has always seemed to be aware when the eaglets were not properly covered, and we’ve never had an issue with the chicks being left on their own to the elements. As some cam watchers observed, on February 24 we did see the adult leave the sole chick uncovered, but then after a few updates, the chick was back under the parent, so we didn’t think anything of it, although it did look odd to see a chick that young out of the nest cup while the adult was laying in the middle of the nest.
So what could have happened? Our first guess is that we might have a newbie parent (likely the male) and this might be his first brood. The other less likely option is that our male has been replaced with an intruder, who is not motivated to take care of this brood, although we think that’s not likely, otherwise the male wouldn’t have tried to incubate the remaining egg. And the reason we’re guessing it’s the male is because during the two events, it appeared that the smaller eagle was on the nest.
As for the remaining egg, it’s too late for it to hatch now, and it’s too late in the nesting season for a second clutch, so this will be the end of our season. At some point when the weather warms a bit, we’re going to zoom out the camera to a wider view, and we do plan to keep the camera on in order to observe the adults.
If over the coming weeks, we collect any more information about what happened at the nest, we’ll pass it along. We want to thank those who have followed the nest this year — even when the camera was having technical difficulties — and sent in photos for our gallery.
Our ospreys will be returning in a few weeks, so we look forward to that event and the arrival of spring after a long, cold winter.