Backyard Chirper

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The Grim Reality of the Wild

Everyone knows that the wild can be brutal and unforgiving. We sometimes get too attached to the idea that everything will turn out fine, but out in the wild the reality is usually much more grim.

In one of the stories the Backyard Chirper has been following about an Osprey nest that was moved from a crane, we last wrote about how the single chick that hatched was doing fine. Since then, the lone chick suddenly stopped growing and died soon after in the care of the Audubon Society.

Although it’s hard to say whether the chick would have survived and another egg would have produced a chick had the nest not been moved, it’s common for chicks to die in the wild.

It’s very sad to lose an entire nest without it yielding at least one healthy bird, but that is how it is sometimes. The two parents are already building another nest (this time on a moored shrimp boat) in hopes of raising new young.

As for the other story we’ve been following, the Decorah eaglets that were hatched on a live webcam are all very healthy right now, but there’s a big possibility all three might not survive to become full grown Bald Eagles.

One article pointed out that it’s not at all unusual for a larger eaglet to kill a smaller one without the parent intervening. Likewise, about 40 percent of eagles do not survive their first flight. The nest of those eagles is 80 feet above the ground, so the plunge would definitely be fatal if the eagle does not know how to fly yet.

Though we will always wish for the best and help animals in the wild as much as possible, the dog eat dog world shows us that you can’t get too attached to wild animals (which is why scientists don’t give animals cutesy names).

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. […] on the nests of birds around the world, I predicted that eventually we’d be forced to see the grim reality of nature where things don’t always work out as well as the Decorah eagles, which has just become the […]

  2. […] a moment, it seemed as though the grim reality of the wild I’d posted about not too long ago was going to come true. About a quarter of a Red-Tailed Hawk’s first attempt […]

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