It’s like a moral fable for the pandemic era. The kite chick that shelters in place survives and thrives. The kite chicks that venture out are exposed to the crowavirus and catch Corvid-19.
Number four chick — that’s the runt of the litter, the one that still remains in the nest — appears to be in good shape. And smart. I saw it climb up out of the nest onto a higher branch and flex its wings. (Video above.) Within 15 seconds, a crow buzzed the chick at close range, silently. The chick got the message and quickly hopped back into the nest and folded its wings. Smart chick. And looking a lot stronger — not runty at all.
Meanwhile chicks number two and three, after days of being harassed and mauled by the crows, are said to be at Lindsay Hospital. The Berkeley Animal Control officer who came for the first chick yesterday morning, and said on the scene that the second chick should stay and be left alone, quickly reversed himself. He came back and took the other chick as well. The hotel employee who had summoned Animal Control and is monitoring the situation told me this afternoon that Lindsay had not brought the chicks back.
That leaves a big question mark about chick number one, the biggest and strongest and the first to leave the nest. It has not been seen, dead or alive. In my estimate it was strong enough to fly to the Berkeley Meadow and survive there, but I walked that area this afternoon and saw no sign of it.
During my visit to the kite area, I did not see either of the parent kites, and the second nest was unoccupied.