We have had a miserable 9-10 days here with temps soaring above 90 every day, sometimes close to 100, with dew points often in the upper 60s. Truely miserable, and dangerous. It finally started to cool down a bit yesterday and today was lovely. I checked nests almost every day thru that heatwave....leaving home around 6:30 in the morning so I could quit around 12-1:00....a few days I was out longer than that. It totally drained me. And it was not easy to watch those ospreys struggling, panting, eyes closed, wings drooping. I was terribly worried that we would lose some of these newly hatched chicks, since at that early stage of development they cannot thermoregulate. I watched a few experienced and devoted Dads, standing right next to the female, wing to wing, to create a bigger area of shade for the wee ones. Every time the female moved, he would move with her to keep that large block of shade intact. On some nests, I saw him shading while she fed them. It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye, to see them caring for their offspring in these challenging conditions. (And remember, the only fluid they get is from the fish they are fed.) Today it’s only in the mid 80s and the dew point has dropped into the upper 40s. Whew! I was amazed and very happy to see all the nests I checked doing very well....chicks bopping around on the nests, parents both present. No panting, everyone perky and hydrated. I am starting to be able to count chicks on many nests, and it’s such fun to watch the youngsters as I can finally see them, watch their movements, their sweet faces looking up at Mom and Dad with an open beak. We have more heat coming, but I know that they do fine when they get a little older, are beginning to lose some down and grow some little feathers. We still have some nests that are behind, where eggs were laid quite late....and those parents seem to be doing alright and continuing their incubation duties. Fingers crossed for those eggs. This has been an unusually long and intense heat wave for this early in the summer.
These are some tough birds....unlike me!