In one of the most definitive books on Ospreys, Ospreys. The Revival of a Global Raptor, author Alan Poole addresses the issue of migration challenges of those Ospreys whose breeding grounds are from California to British Columbia over to Manitoba and the areas in the US adjacent to Canada, such as Montana. Written in 2019, Poole stresses that these summer breeding grounds offer easier migratory routes, ‘less challenging ones’ to the winter homes. One of the big advantages is the fact that they do not have to cross large bodies of water like those in the United Kingdom. Another is that the distances are shorter than those of the UK Ospreys. All of that is true and I highly recommend Poole’s book to anyone who wants to learn about Ospreys.
In 2021, the challenges that these birds are facing with the extreme heat – the second time for some places before July even begins – is having a devastating impact on the chicks (as well as other animals and humans). One dead at Cowlitz, two at Osyoos and another looking very unwell, and several chicks at various nests on Vancouver Island. Within this extreme heat area of the Pacific Northwest in the US and Canada, the chicks are at risk. Perhaps even some adults. The heat has yet to dissipate. As we have witnessed, the Ospreys cool themselves by panting and they are hydrated by fish. In the area of this extreme heat the water channels are low. In British Columbia the salmon are not able to go upstream, and the fish are having to go lower and lower as the water heats up. One other aspect is the glaring sun. It makes it extremely difficult for the Ospreys to fish. Which brings me to something interesting. Night Fishing.
Streaming cams and satellite trackers on the birds are changing what we thought we knew. Last year on the cameras of Loch Arkaig, watchers of the nest saw Louis fishing at night and bringing in fish to Aila and the three chicks. Louis was quite amazing. He fished around the clock. Of course, there could be thousands of others that have fished at night for eons and we do not know about them because their nest is not on a platform with a streaming cam!
What surprised everyone last night was Jack coming in with a fish for Tiny Tot at 2:09 am!!!!! Seriously he had delivered a monster fish to Tiny at 6:41:16 on Monday evening but in the middle of the night?! In many regions of extreme heat, such as Washington and British Columbia, it might well be that Ospreys, who were accustomed to fishing at dawn and dusk, might be fishing earlier or later because the water is hot and the fish are deep. So now we know that it is a myth that Ospreys do not fish at night. If you watched the Tiny Tot or Loch Arkaig cam, you witnessed this ability with your own eyes. And, ironically, if you Google Osprey night vision to find out about the birds, ads for the most powerful night vision scopes with some part of their brand or style name being Osprey appear!
Tiger Mozone uploaded an academic 10-page article on how Ospreys thermoregulate during these heat waves. I am attaching it here for you – even if you glance through the first few pages you will learn a lot! Thanks so much, Tiger. It is a topic on everyone’s mind!
So a quick run through some of the nests:
Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria: Little Tiny Bob or Blue 463 ate first and then went over and started rearranging and helping with nest rebuilds while Great Big Bad Bob and Middle Bob enjoyed some fish with mom. Now how did he get to eat first? It seems the other two were still full from an earlier fish. Always helps!
Cornell Red Tail Hawks: There were some beautiful close ups of K1 and her huge crop on the nest of Big Red and Arthur around 12:30 pm. Gosh, she is such a beauty. Look at that peachy chest. Everyone believes that she is just a mini-Big Red. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!
Here she is looking up. I thought it was K3 she was seeing but no, K3 is having a bit of a nap at the end of the nest ledge out of camera view. Wonder what K1 is looking at? Is it Big Red?
There is K1 resting!
SF Bay and Golden Gate Audubon: The three male chicks of Richmond and Rosie are doing great. Poppy (ZP) hatched on 1 May, Sage (WR) hatched 3 May, and Lupine (VZ) hatched on 4 May. Sage has fledged. He took his first flight on 25 June at 7:05pm. Here are all three preening on the nest of the Whirley Crane in the Richmond Ship Yards today. They are all there. One is behind Poppy.
Rutland Water Manton Bay: Home to Blue 33 and Maya. The kids are starting to be really good at hovering but neither has fledged.
Clywedog: Dylan has certainly been bringing in the fish and that Only Bob is getting the benefit. The other wonderful thing about Dylan is that he loves to feed his chick!
This is Dylan below feeding Only Bob his second breakfish of the day. It was 7:30 am in Wales. Seren is looking out wondering what she can do while these two boys bond. Dylan also likes to feed Seren when she is incubating the eggs. What a sweetheart!
Dyfi: Telyn and Idris are over on the tree. Dysnni and Ystwyth are on the nest. They should be thinking about hovering real soon! This nest is still dripping wet in Wales but what a gorgeous setting for Ospreys!
Margaret Blakeley wrote the following poem about the Dyfi Nest. Here it is for you to enjoy:
Telyn, these chicks are getting too big
Ystwyth is like a feathered pig!
It used to be comfy on the nest
Now, where can I go to get some rest?
Idris, dear, it’s all your fault
Look at the size of the fish you’ve caught!
There isn’t room for you in here
So go and sit on the perch, m’dear.
I hope that you had a good laugh. It looks like both Idris and Telyn are on the perch! With all the sadness we can certainly use a giggle. Margaret’s poem is great! It certainly does sum up this nest with those whoppers Idris has been bringing in.
That is it for this afternoon. All of the UK nests are doing fine. The Ks, Savannah, Tiny Tot, Lake Murray – they are all grand. Kindness, the eaglet in the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle nest is really hot and panting but there appears to be no problems with fish. The worry is for those in the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, Electra has returned to the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest in this heat. A reader wrote to tell me that she was brooding the last chick to die last night. I am worried for Electra. Is she grieving? is she still in the hormonal state of brooding? Send her your warm wishes. Let us all hope that no more Osprey lives are claimed. Thank you so much for joining me.
Just a note. I normally try to answer all of your mail within 36 hours. However, my laptop’s hard drive died. It is in for repairs and the desk top computer I am using doesn’t seem to want to handle e-mail. So thank you ahead of time for being patient. I will definitely answer! We have a holiday in Canada coming up for 1 July. I am hoping to have my computer back in 9 days.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Byrwd Gwyllt Glasly, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Clywedog and Carnyx Wild, Rutland Water Manton Bay and LRWT, Cornell Lab and RTH, and SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon. I also want to thank Tiger Mozone and Margaret Blakeley. Great article for everyone and wonderful poem.
Featured image is Big Red and Arthurs chick, K1. 29 June 2021.