If you’re like us, your browser homepage has been set to Explore.org all summer so you could watch the progress of a nest of cuddly osprey chicks. On Aug. 1, however, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d inadvertently clicked on a link for a Game of Thrones trailer when this happened:
Yep. Baby ospreys, just hanging out on Maine’s Hog Island, enjoying a little fog, waiting for mom and dad to come back with some delicious fish, when WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!?!!? COVER YOUR EYES, TIMMY! COVER YOUR EYES! BARB, TURN IT OFF! TURN. IT. OFF!
You saw right: That bald eagle just cruised in and plucked osprey chick No. 1, named Spirit, right out of there like a ripe strawberry, taking advantage of indecision in the face of danger. Watch again, and you’ll notice the middle osprey chick says screw this, time to fly for the first time, while the one on the right instinctively flattens down onto the nest. Unlucky Spirit however, tried to split the difference, and he won’t get the chance to make that mistake again.
The chick was taken despite a frantic effort by one of the parents to intercept the much larger eagle, and the attack comes a year after the parents lost their entire younger brood to another eagle attack. Scientists had thought these were safe because of their size. Apparently not.
Nature is cruel. But, then again, at least the eagle didn’t kill Spirit for no reason at all outside of the desperate hope that it will somehow make his penis larger.