Lots happening in Bird World including a goose taking over a White stork nest!

I love getting notes from everyone with new nests to check on. Tonight my friend ‘T’ in Strasbourg, suggested I check on a beautifully woven nest in Germany. We will go to check on it later in the blog.

Does anyone have any idea how many bird streaming cams there are? I do mean just birds because we live in such a marvellous time that we can watch elephants in Africa, giraffes being born in a zoo, watch the ocean in almost any part of the world, and see a condor hatch.

I have no idea how many Osprey cams exist but, there are only four Red tail Hawk streaming cams in the world. That is one of the reasons that Big Red is such a star.

There she is doing what she loves – feeding and caring for her chicks.

Just look at those feathers. They are all that rich earthy deep dark brown – just like their moms. At the beginning of their second year, these juveniles will get that beautiful burnt orange tail just like Big Red. You can see it in the image below.

So what is with the oak leaves? Some of you will have heard me mention Laura Culley. Culley is a falconer. She has many raptors but one, Mariah, is 28 going on 29, I believe, this year. Culley taught me and a lot of other people many things. One is that the pine brought into the nest is a natural pesticide. Another is that the adults like to bring in a variety of prey for the nestlings. They will imprint those birds and animals so they know what is alright to eat. So, last year, I asked Culley about the oak leaves. Well now. This is interesting. Big Red is telling the nestlings to fly to the oak tree across the road when they fledge – the big oak tree in front of Fernow Tower. How clever!

While Big Red was taking a break this evening, Arthur is doing flying demonstrations. Arthur is really in his element once the Ks fledge – he works with Big Red and teaches them how to hunt their prey and how to fly. I remember both Big Red and Arthur soaring one day. It was an amazing sight.

So, we are going to travel from Ithaca, New York where Big Red has her nest on the Cornell Campus to Germany. Specifically we are going to a region known for both wind turbines and storks – not necessarily a good combination – known as the Minden-Lubbecke District. They even have a Stork Museum! I have placed an arrow on the map below so you can find it.

The specific nest is located at the very edge of the district on the grounds of Schloss Benkhausen (the Castle Bankhausen) indicated by the red symbol in the map below.

The area does not have enough large trees for the storks. In 1987, there were only 3 breeding pairs. In 2019, there were 89 breeding pairs but not enough nests for them. In that year, the Gauselman Family set up a platform on the edge of a hiking trail on the grounds of Schloss Benkhausen. In 2020, they set up a camera for the world to watch the White Storks and their family. Well, something different happened on one of those platforms in 2021!

A lovely little goose has made her nest in the centre of that beautifully woven basket platform in the middle of the fields. I am told this is a White-fronted Goose but, not being familiar with the breeds in the region, I am not 100% certain. Nonetheless, a goose is on that platform and as of today she had laid 12 eggs! Twelve.

The goose will take the down from her body and work to line the nest cup and also to cover the eggs when she is not on the nest. You can see that grey fluffy down that the goose is pulling to cover her eggs in the images below. Look – there are so many eggs! This reminds me of Daisy the Black Pacific Duck that laid her eggs in the White-bellied Sea Eagle nest. Sadly, one day when she left for food, the Raven’s took Daisy’s eggs. Daisy did not have a mate to help her. I wonder if this goose has a mate to defend the nest? Normally the mate would be nearby. Older geese lay more eggs than younger ones. Once she is finished laying, this ‘Mother Goose’ will begin hard or sustained incubating. It is approximately 28-32 days til hatch. Around 24 hours after hatching the goslings will jump to the ground. Their parents will wait for them and walk them to water. It is an amazing sight to witness.

Here is Mother Goose covering her eggs during the night. She needed a wee break.

Here is an image taken earlier in the day. You can clearly see the down lining the egg cup and our beautiful little goose.

Do not worry. The platforms are normally erected to a height of 70 or 80 feet. The record for goslings jumping from a height is 400 feet for Barnacle Goslings from their cliff nest.

This is a better look at our little mother. That looks like a puddle in view but it could be larger – the cameras tend to distort scale – and hopefully it might fill with water before these little ones hatch. There also seems to be a little stream.

You can join in the fun and watch this family through fledging of the goslings here:

And speaking of fledging, one of those ospreys on The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island is sure getting some impressive height to its hovering today.

The chicks on the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest in Washington State do not look any worse for wear today. Wattsworth has been in several times with fish and it looks like Electra filled their crops. Regular supplies of fish will stop any food competition. I love seeing that little one with that big crop today. It sent those warm fuzzies up my arms.

When I last checked on Tiny Tot, he had returned to the nest after being gone most of the day. His feathers looked a little tattered. It was 31 degrees and hot in St Petersburg and no doubt he is really wanting and expecting the parents to bring him an evening fish. Sadly, Tiny went to bed hungry tonight.

Thanks so much for joining me this evening. Lots of good things out there happening on the nests and some interesting developments with that goose! It just takes me back to Daisy the Duck on the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park in January. I certainly hope this lovely goose has much better luck!

Big thanks go out to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Livestream vom Storchennest-Schloss Benkhausen, Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon.

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