Thursday 22 June 2023

Red in tooth and claw

30 Days Wild is very much a cosy 'isn't nature beautiful' kind of challenge, and I enjoy a pretty flower or butterfly as much as the next person, but sometimes nature hits you in the gut with the reality of survival of the fittest. Casually watching a trailer on Youtube earlier this afternoon a link to a goshawk nest cam came up in the suggestions (probably because I watch the ospreys regularly ... and you know ... algorithms). So Monkey and I popped over and started watching, and goshawklings are completely adorable. There was a bit of something half eaten at the back of the nest so we scrolled back looking for the moment when the parent arrived and dropped off some food. We are in for a nasty few minutes. We arrive at a moment when one of the bigger chicks starts pecking at the little one, it looks like a bit of a squabble. It can't get away and the big one persists. We watch in horrified fascination. The two other siblings move, as you can see in the screen shot, to the edge of the nest, pretending not to notice what is going on. It begins to dawn on us what is going to happen and I scroll forward twenty minutes or so (because it's pitiful squawks and efforts to escape are heartbreaking) and the little one is a bloody mess twitching in the corner while their big brother or sister is eating. I slam the computer shut and we sit stunned. Once it decided its sibling was food it was the inevitable outcome. That is one pretty determined goshawk and it is good for the gene pool that the tough ones survive. The trouble is we now have to go back tomorrow and check how many are left. (About an hour later one of the parents arrives back and begins feeding the corpse to the remaining chicks.)
Stay safe. Be kind. Give your siblings a wide berth.
Here's a dragonfly, seen at the park today, to cheer you up after the traumatic story:

1 comment:

  1. I remember watching the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes last year when the smallest, youngest sibling was bullied to death. Horrible stuff, but it's Nature at her wise best.


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