Tuesday 20 July in Bird World

It has been a very strange day. We had a tiny bit of rain during the middle of the night on Monday with lots of thunder and lightning. It was not enough rain to help anything. South of where I live in a town called Morris, Manitoba, the river is practically bone dry. Dead fish is all you see and dirt. Old timers are starting to talk about the days of the Dust Bowl. I think about all the birds that depend on the water and the fish. A follower wrote to me and asked me if I knew anything about the ospreys at a nest in Wisconsin – the Collin Marsh Osprey Nest. It is not a nest that I follow but I did check. Just as ‘S’ had noted, the only chick on the nest looks a bit thin. As it turns out there were originally three relatively healthy chicks. Now there is only one. They are not sure what killed two of them. I am hoping that the Neustadter Nature Centre will be doing a post-mortem. It could well be the heat. A bander in Wisconsin said that they had found many dead chicks in the nests. That is very very sad. In England, many of the nature areas that were closed during the pandemic were taken over by the wildlife only to open and have humans scare birds off their nests and chase animals out of the area along with purposefully setting fires. What in the world is wrong with humans? Sorry. It just seems that you go two steps forward and three backward sometimes. Very frustrating.

As you know, I really admire Ferris Akel. He has a regular tour of the Montezuma Park area, Wildlife Drive, Sapsucker Lake, and the Cornell Campus every Saturday. Ferris has someone editing his videos and they are simply excellent. Today, he posted the Red Tail Hawk highlights from his tour on 16 July. It’s OK to say, ‘Oh, my, aren’t they cute!” Have a look:

The Royal Cam princess, Taiki, on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand was weighted today. Las week she weighed 8.2 kg. Today, her mum, Lime-Green-Lime came in to feed Taiki right before weighing. Taiki is 177 days old and today she weighted 8.8 kg or 19.4 lbs. No worries about any supplemental feeds! Taiki’s mother has been in to feed her every day for the past six days. That means that she is foraging very close to Taiaroa Head which is in the very south of New Zealand near Dunedin.

Every year the New Zealand Department of Conservation bands the chicks born on Taiaroa Head. This year the bands will be white. Last year they were green. The banding is very important. It allows the rangers and all other interested parties to identify the birds when they return as juveniles, when they select mates, and when they return to breed. That banding will take place between 11-4pm NZST.

Many of you will have heard the term ‘translocation’ in relationship to the Ospreys in the United Kingdom and many of the projects of Roy Dennis and his Wildlife Foundation. There is news of a different translocation project, an extremely complicated one. To save the Black-footed Albatross on Midway because of rising sea waters, eggs are being transported 6000 km from Midway to Guadalupe Island in Mexico. The researchers say it was their only option. The waters are rising fast and soon Midway will flood.

“Black-footed Albatross” by tombenson76 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Black-footed albatross chick. Photo credit: Eric VanderWerf” by USFWS Pacific is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

They hope that the Laysan Albatross foster parents will accept the chicks and eggs and that those chicks will fledge and return to Mexico to breed – not Midway Atoll. So far 93% of the hand-reared albatross, in other projects, have fledged. Let us hope that this project has such a high success rate! Here is an article on this incredible project:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/06/they-were-destined-drown-how-scientists-found-these-seabirds-new-island-home?fbclid=IwAR0ZtdwlPW1PElHy6uW5c1zW-Ojt4JC825Ccgor8f_imnjxVgs1COq5NolY

Of course, rising waters and seas heating up and fish dying are not the only threats to the albatross. Another is the level of plastic garbage in our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 if humans do not curtail their use of and dumping of plastic, there will be more of it in the oceans than there is water.

“Black footed albatross chick with plastics. Photo credit: Dan Clark/USFWS” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Black-footed Albatross is exclusive to the North Pacific Ocean living and breeding at the Midway Atoll which is part of the state of Hawaii. Some nest off of Japan. They breed around the age of five years. Like other albatross, they forage off of what they can find on the surface of the ocean such as squid, fish, and crustaceans. They have been known to eat refuse and carrion. When they intake the water, you can see in the image above, that they also ingest plastic floating in the ocean. It is not, of course, just the plastic that you can see but the chemicals that keep the plastics soft that are appearing in the eggs of the birds. Those chemicals are known as phthalates. These are found in the yolk of the eggs of the birds. An ongoing study on gull eggs may reveal the damage that will be done to the chicks. I will keep you posted.

Did you know that at the turn of the century it was fashionable to have an entire dead bird decorating your hat? Etta Lemon campaigned against the use of feathers of any kind in the fashion industry.

Many of the species that I write about were made or almost made extinct because of this practice – the Albatross and the Osprey – are only two.

It is 4:30 in the morning at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. Tiny Little is waking up. You can see the silhouettes of the other two siblings and the parents on the tree in the distance.

After missing out, at 13:30, Tiny Little figured out what he had to do to eat. When White YW comes into the nest with a fish, you claim the fish as yours! And TL did that. Yeah for Tiny Little!!!!!! This is a good lesson to learn. In the world of Osprey you need to be a little assertive even if you would rather not.

Thanks, Dad! So glad no one else is here!

Tiny Little has the fish between his talons and he is going to eat it. Dad took the head off so he doesn’t have to deal with those annoying bones like the ones around the eyes.

It is now 16:34 on the Foulshaw Moss Nest. Tiny Little is standing on the big stick and 464 is eating a fish. Will there be any left for Tiny Little? or will Tiny Little take off flying?

Thanks so much for joining me this morning. It is raining again where I live. The sky is light grey, the trees and plants are green and it is wonderful! It is 18 degrees, a much more normal summer temperature for us. They even say we have a chance of rain tomorrow. This will not fill up the Morris River but it might help the grass, the trees and the flowers the nectar eaters need. Take care all. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and the Cornell Bird and NZ DOC Royal Cam Albatross.

The credit for the featured image is: “Black footed albatross chick with plastics. Photo credit: Dan Clark/USFWS” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

1 Comment

  1. Hello Mary Ann!Thanks for the updates and photos!  The Hawk photo is so pretty!Tiny Little was lucky when dad brought in the fish and no one was in  the nest but her!  It’s so sad about the black footed albatross waters rising. Hope the translocation project works out. 🙏The little albatross chick is so precious in the photo. 🙏💕 It’s indeed sad about the plastic. The poor bird had too much plastic swallowed. I hope they can clean the plastic up before it is too late! Thanks for al the updates on Tiny Little and family too!Thanks for it all and I look forward to the next newsletter as well !  Take care! Linda 

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPad

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