Rings and an Egg

The weather at Rutland Water calmed down enough that the two chicks of Maya and Blue 33 (11) could be ringed. Some people call this ‘banding’ but in the UK the common term is ‘ringed or ringing’.

What are Darvic Rings? The Darvic rings are a plastic ring that is fitted to the Osprey’s leg. Normally you can see them from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope. Different countries use different colours. In the United Kingdom, the bands are blue with white lettering. Scotland places the Darvic ring on the left leg while England and Wales put it on the right. In Spain the Darvic rings are yellow, in Germany they are Black, and in France they are orange. Over time the amount of numbers or letters has changed but there are registries of every bird that is ringed.

The birds are also fitted with a metal ring. It has a unique number and address and is more durable than the plastic ones which can, after several years, break.

Birds are ringed before they are 45 days old. The reason for this is so the specially trained banders do not frighten the birds and cause them to fledge prematurely. Also, the leg will have grown to its adult size. This prevents the ring from getting too tight and injuring the bird. Ringing often takes place when the Osprey chicks are in the 30s – such as 36 days old, etc. At the time of banding the chicks are weighed and measured. Indeed, everything about them is measured!

The two chicks at Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Nest were ringed this morning. The oldest, chick 1, has the number Blue 096. Chick 1 is a male weighing 1540 grams and having a tarsus thickness of 13.6mm. Chick 2 is a female and is Blue 095. She weighs 1650 grams and has a tarsus thickness of 15.6 mm.

Just try getting a good image of the two birds showing both of their bands at the same time! It seems like it has been impossible. Here you can see one of the bands of the chicks – look carefully you will see 095 – chick 2, the female.

Other exciting news is that Lady at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in the Ironbark Tree in the Sydney Olympic Park laid her first egg on the evening of the 19th of June. Hundreds of people cheered watching.

She seemed very uncomfortable and then after the reveal she joined Dad on the branches of the tree.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle is the second largest raptor in all of Australia. Their wingspan is from 1.8 to 2.2 metres. Females are bigger than the males – reverse sex size diamorphism. She will weight from 2.8-4.2 kg while the male will weight from 2.5 to 3.7 kg. The adults have a white head and belly which you can see in the image above with the most beautiful blue grey wings and beak.

You can see the nest. It is extremely large with an egg cup in the centre. It is made out of twigs which are carefully restored by the eagles every year. Lady and Dad have been working on getting the nest ready for several months now. This nest in the old Ironbark Tree is close to the Parramatta River where the sea eagles fish.

Lady will lay one more egg – what old timers call the ‘insurance’ egg in case something happens to the oldest chick. That will be in 2 or 3 days. She will do all of the incubating at night and Dad will help her during the day. Hopefully, both eggs will be viable and there will be two healthy chicks. Last year both chicks fledged. The oldest, WBSE 25 fledged first and did not ever return to the nest. WBSE 26 fledged, returned to the nest to rest, and then was found on the balcony of a 22nd floor condo after she left the nest for the second time. Right after hatch 26 had its leg broken and it did not heal properly. At the time no one thought she would be able to stand but encouraged by its older sibling, 26 did everything and fledged. Sadly, it was too injured to live in the wild and the veterinary surgeons thought any measures to ‘fix’ 26 would only result in endless pain for the bird. Sadly, 26 was euthanized but not after this gorgeous bird touched thousands of lives.

You can watch the action of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles here:

Ah, quite exciting. Hatch will come in about 40 days.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in Sydney, Australia is the only streaming cam following these beautiful birds in the world. They live along the coast of Australia and can even be found in the Singapore harbour.

They are such beautiful birds.

“White-bellied Sea Eagle” by birdsaspoetry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thank you so much for joining me today. The action will be gearing up in Australia with the Peregrine Falcons and the Ospreys as well. Lots to come. Take care. Have a great Saturday wherever you are.

Thank you to the LRWT and the Sea-EagleCAM@BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Credit for feature image is: “White-bellied Sea Eagle” by birdsaspoetry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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