SEASIDE — The last of three osprey chicks in a Seaside nest that is the subject of a popular online livestream died sometime Wednesday night.
The chicks lived in a nest above Broadway Park that has been monitored by camera since 2013, providing online viewers with around-the-clock opportunities to see ospreys in the wild. An osprey pair — nicknamed “Bob and Betty” by viewers — were raising three chicks this year.
But the first two chicks died soon after the disappearance of the adult male osprey at the end of June. Despite some hope that the third chick would survive, the female osprey struggled to bring sufficient food back and appeared to be absent from the nest entirely for at least 24 hours earlier this week.
Some viewers reported that she showed up Wednesday afternoon with a fish, but after hours alone in the nest, exposed to rain and chilly weather, the chick was not in any shape to eat.
Wildlife rescue groups and the Necanicum Watershed Council, which maintains the nest camera, could not intervene after the male osprey disappeared. Federal regulations protect migratory bird nests and forbid anyone from disturbing a nest while chicks are present.
“We are heartbroken of the passing of all three chicks in the osprey nest and the disappearance of the male this year,” the Necanicum Watershed Council wrote in a Facebook post Thursday morning, and explained they were shutting down the livestream for the season.
Angie Reseland, executive director for the watershed council, first shut down the camera at 3 a.m. Thursday. The night before, she heard from the Wildlife Center of the North Coast that the last chick appeared to be dying.
“I woke up thinking about it,” she said. She thought: “If I shut the camera down now early in the morning, nobody will have to wake up and see this.”
The feed came back on a couple of more times, but was completely shut down by midmorning.
“Thank you for providing the camera,” one woman wrote in response to the watershed council’s announcement. “It’s interesting to watch nature, the good, bad and ugly.”
Osprey begin breeding activities in the spring and can lay up to four eggs. Male osprey typically take on the role of provider and bring food to the female while she sits on the eggs, according to information provided by the watershed council.
Chicks begin to fly about 52 days after they hatch, often in late July or early August, but continue to return to their nest for food and rest between practice flights. Mature osprey head south for the winter and return to the North Coast to breed in the spring.
Osprey live on a diet of fish and it is believed the chicks in the Broadway Park nest starved to death.
Last year, Bob and Betty successfully reared three chicks to maturity.
“So now it’s like the opposite, the swinging pendulum,” Reseland said. She sighed, paused and added, “Next year, it’s going to go great.”