I have attended a few bandings in the past few days and most chicks are looking very good and healthy. However we have come upon two chicks at different nests that had a large number of black flies swarming and crawling on them. Vanilla was applied to one of them as this is believed to help keep the flies away, and the other had both vanilla and some essential oil bug repellant applied. It is not known if this will really help. I will try to keep my eye on these nests to see if those chicks survive to fledging. I also found another chick missing from a nest today. We may never know for sure what occurred there. It is easy to blame black flies this year, but there are many causes for mortalities.
PS...july 13: another long day in the field. Sad to report that one of the chicks who had black flies on him last Thursday is now missing from the nest and presumed dead. Another nest that had just one chick is now empty. It's a challenging year for the ospreys.