I have been doing the early counts of chicks on nests. We like to count as early as possible so we can document mortalities along the way, tho some have surely occurred before we are even able to see the little guys. My high powered scope is very helpful in these attempts. The experience I have acquired over the years is also helpful in peeking between the sticks, watching for subtle movement and good old patience is required! I noticed many years ago that there is a phase the chicks go thru at approximately two weeks of age when they do peck at each other. Perhaps it is a way to establish "pecking order"! On most nests it is not seriously aggressive and siblicide is rare with Ospreys. On some nests, it can become more aggressive. I have not seen that in person but have seen it on some cams. Most osprey researchers maintain that the adults will not intervene in these sibling squabbles. And up until yesterday I would have agreed with that. I was watching a nest with three chicks in it, and the largest chick was repeatedly pecking at both siblings. At first the female just watched, even moved away to the nest edge and then she suddenly moved back into the middle of the nest cup and stuck her beak out, as if she were feeding, but she had no fish and she tapped the bully chick on the beak with her beak. Then she pulled back. The chick began pecking again, and again, she moved into the nest cup and reached out with her beak towards the aggressive chick. She repeated this action over and over until the chick ceased its pecking. I have never seen anything like this, and it was very clear she was responding to the chicks behavior. I won't project meaning or pretend to know what her intention was, but her behavior seemed to successfully distract him from his aggression. Do these behaviors happen when the chicks are hungry? Shortly after that, the male arrived with a fish and she fed them all. I watch all these subtle behaviors with such interest. I remain curious, still learning. How could anyone ever lose interest in these birds????? How could anyone get bored? Wish I had more days in each week, more hours in each day to watch them.
On a different note, I am happy to say that more nest checks have so far shown no other losses from the big storm last Sunday. Today I visited several nests on very high transmission towers, including one that has collapsed during storms in the past, and all were fine. Adults were feeding chicks even tho one nest was a bit ragged around the edges. I am relieved.