Last year, after much debate and thought about it, we removed an unviable egg from the nest after it became clear that it was not going to hatch. I'll never forget the feeling of calm that washed over the balcony as I stepped back inside the house with the egg in my hand. Within minutes, PPO appeared more relaxed and threw her energy and attention into preening her chicks.
The same thing happened this morning. We looked at the frail body of the dead chick in the nest, and decided to bury it for PPO. We switched the cam off and I headed out onto the balcony - without an umbrella. Carefully, I crept to the nest - all the while talking softly to PPO. PPO kept a beady eye on me, while pushing her chick under her for protection.
I crouched down right next to the nest and slowly reached out and grabbed the dead chick. PPO froze in place and kept watching me. Slowly, I backed away and closed the balcony door.
We buried the chick in our 'bird' garden - a small section of the garden fenced off to allow birds an area to eat and bath in peace. Our dog, Destin, cannot access the area, so it is a perfect spot for our chick to be buried.
We are saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of the chick. Unlike Teeny, this chick did not deteriorate slowly in front of our eyes. The chick was up and about one minute, and lying still the next. Without going into detail, the chick had a big wound which may, or may not, have been the cause of its death. I'm not sure if the chick had anything internally wrong with it.
It's difficult to lose a chick after what this breeding season has already brought. Can you imagine what it must feel like for our sweet PPO? And for Pappa?
I can only send out all my love and prayers to the remaining chick, and hope that not survives, but thrives.
RIP little one!