Over a 48-hour period this week, all three osprey chicks in a livestreamed nest in Cowlitz County were picked off by bald eagles.
The Cowlitz Public Utility District has two cameras livestreaming a nest maintained by the utility, which it shares through YouTube and its Facebook page. The recorded nest is one of seven that the PUD maintains for ospreys around Cowlitz County.
The official Facebook page for the osprey cam posted clips of the eagle picking off one chick on Wednesday and a second chick on Thursday.
Hours later, viewers of the cam began sharing clips of the third and final chick being taken in the comments.
“The Cowlitz PUD Osprey Cam shows nature unfolding before our eyes showing us both life and death,” the utility posted after the first and second chicks were taken.
Video clips show the mother osprey, nicknamed Electra by the Cowlitz PUD, leaving the nest. Seconds later, a bald eagle swoops into frame and snatches a chick out with its talons.
Bald eagles are competitive predators who have been recorded preying on osprey nests or directly fighting with ospreys for fish. A 2019 article in the Journal of Animal Ecology found that as the bald eagle population rebounded at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, osprey populations declined.
In 2021, the osprey hatchlings at the PUD nest died of complications from the record-breaking heat wave at the end of June. Prior to that, the nest had five offspring survive long enough to take off over five mating seasons.
“We really thought this was going to the year for our osprey family and are so saddened by this outcome. Thank you for viewing and following along with us this season,” the PUD posted on Facebook Thursday.