Life goes on because it must. Two little heads peer eagerly over the nest edge to view all the exciting things the Bassenthwaite Valley has to offer but in the best literary tradition there is a skeleton in the Family cupboard!
What happened to the body?
Like all detectives we had considered a range of hypotheses before the event. Would it be eaten, ( cf the Springwatch bitterns) would it be thrown out (said to have been observed in other ospreys) or would it be buried within the nest?
Whilst alive KL never gave up on her eldest chick even to its last movements; the evening before she was seen to offer it food even though it was too weak to lift its head or open its eyes. However, by the time we turned on the CCTV screens at 10.00am last Sunday morning both adults were completely ignoring the corpse. It was as if it had never been. A most telling sign was that although the parent birds still curled their talons in when walking near the live chicks, they had no compunction at walking on top of the dead one with toes and talons stretched wide.
They made no attempt at deliberately burying the body but over the next couple of days nesting material, grass and leaves, which the birds constantly bring in anyway, gradually covered it up.
– A rather disturbing thought to be sleeping on top of a family member, unless compared with the ancient Maya peoples who considered it bad luck let alone bad manners to bury one’s family anywhere but under the living room floor.

2014.06.29Two chicks