As reported previously by LSM, on Wednesday, April 21, the first chick hatched in the white-tailed eagles' nest in Durbe, whose livestream is watched by thousands. A second chick followed soon after.
This was only one in a series of plot twists worthy of any soap opera. Male eagle Raimis mysteriously disappeared at the end of March and never returned to his family's home. That forced female Milda to quit the nest from time to time to look for food, which raised early concerns about the eggs she was hatching at the time and their exposure to the cold.
Then at the beginning of April, Milda got a new partner, a male named Čips, who seemed willing to help out by sitting on the three eggs in the nest.
However, Čips neglected his babysitting duty while Milda was out of the nest Monday morning, simply sitting by as the two hatched chicks froze to death during an unfortunate cold snap in the weather.
When Milda returned to the nest, she discovered her chicks were dead and proceeded to peck at them before settling back into the nest on the one remaining egg.
"The moment the babies are frozen, they simply turn into food for the female - they are a source of energy, and they are simply eaten, it's what happens in nature," explained ornithologist Jānis Ķuze to LSM.lv. He added that the chance of the third egg hatching is small but not impossible.
Coverage of life in the nest has proven to be a hit with international news outlets, too, who will now have to update their readers regarding the realities of nature red in tooth and claw rather than cute and cuddly. It seems unlikely to be the last act of the ongoing treetop drama.
The forum of the livestream in English is available on this site and you can watch the continuing webcam footage via the link below.