August 01, 2014
Division of Labour
Ospreys show a distinct division of labour, as we have seen here at the Hellgate nest. The male, Stan has done the majority of the hunting and the female Iris spends over 90% of the day and presumably all night brooding, guarding, sheltering and feeding the nestlings. When off the nest she is likely bathing, chasing intruders (defending the nest) and possibly foraging (rare until the young fledge). It is thought that the slow developing helpless young are a contributing factor to this division of care. For several days after hatching the young birds' internal temperature varies considerably, they therefore must be brooded by an adult until they are able to control their temperature/ thermoregulate. However they also require some protection even after they are able to thermoregulate. We have seen Iris sheltering the nestlings from both the rain and intense sun. Both Iris and Stan are helping raise the young to independence. With Stan hunting and Iris brooding they have the best chance of survival. Iris is starting to leave the nest more often now as the nestlings get older and are closer to fledging. Click ‘More…’ for further information regarding Iris’s activity.