Estonian Black Storks fledge…and other news from Bird World

All you have to do is watch a songbird catching insects for her wee nestlings, coming and going all day, to clearly see the great effort this is on behalf of the adult. As the nestlings grow ever larger, those same parents have tremendous pressure to increase the amount of food and the number of deliveries. Just finding food has been a serious challenge for all the birds this year whether they are in Montana, Florida, or Latvia. The tremendous heat waves, droughts, and urban development have impacted hunting areas as well as the quantity of fish or prey available.

I recorded an evening food delivery to Grafs and Grafiene’s storklings in Latvia. This is about a minute long. I could have recorded them for much longer but I can only upload so many MBs. It is absolutely fascinating. The parent arrives, regurgitates the fish, and quickly gets out of the way! Those three are so excited– and hungry!

There have been some concerns over the availability of food. Latvia has experienced, like other countries, excessive summer heat. ‘S’ tells me that they have also been experiencing land amelioration that has caused drainage issues in the surrounding area. If you have ever watched Ferris Akel’s Live Tours of birding areas in upstate New York, you will be aware of how the drainage of land impacts the birds. One day the water and food are there and two or three days later – gone! Poof. The summer heat has exacerbated these issues. Still, this trio of Black Stork nestlings seem to be developing quite well.

If you missed it, Karl II and Kaia’s nestlings were ringed on 9 July at the nest in the Karula National Park in southern Estonia. They also had Kotkaklubi transmitters put on their legs so the researchers can follow them as they migrate. They are Pikne 716P, Tuul 716 T and Udu is 716U. Tuul is the youngest and is seen here in this short video clip flapping and jumping. That nest seems so small!

All that flapping was leading up to something — Udu 716U fledged at 6:19 and then another fledged 716T, Tuul. This leaves Pikne, 716 P to fly. The fledgling Udu has flown and returned to the nest and flown again. It is so wonderful to see them in the early morning enjoying the little bit of wind under their wings. Always exciting and bittersweet.

I promised you an update on Big Red, Arthur, and the Ks. Everyone is doing well. K1 and K3 are very strong fliers and have really extended their range within the territory of their parents on the Cornell University campus. K1 is a very successful hunter. It is unclear to me whether or not K3 has caught his own food yet but, if he hasn’t, he will soon. Big Red and Arthur seem to take turns watching the fledglings progress from a distance.

Here is K3 on top of Roberts Hall.

K1 has been hunting. Wonder what she has in those talons?

A small bird.

K1 finished her snack and is ready to find some more prey!

I love this image. You can clearly see the ‘eyebrows’ that keep the glare out of the hawk’s eyes. Then there is that amazing red streaked belly band – enough to rival that of her mother, Big Red. K1 is such a gorgeous hawk. In this image she is completely focused on the task at hand – finding another prey item.

There is proud papa, Arthur, watching his kids closely but not interffering with their learning.

K1 seemed to be all over the campus hunting. I am not so familiar with the buildings but doesn’t she look gorgeous on this one with the red clay roof tiles? Just a beauty.

The Ks are doing well. We are moving into August. They should be hunting in the fields by highway 366 shortly, if they are not already. The days will pass quickly. The pair will begin soaring and then it won’t be long til Big Red and Arthur will be empty nesters.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope to get some images of our local water fowl to share with you tomorrow. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots and video clips: The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thanks go to Suzanne Arnold Horning again for sharing her great images of the Red tail haws with us.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Mary Ann for updates on all these lovely birds! Tiny Little is getting to be so amazing with her fish skills!🐟
    Zenit has grown into a beautiful golden eagle and I wish her the best life as she leaves her nest. All the beautiful storkletts are doing very well and wishing them the best as they fledge also!
    The red hawks look so good as big red and little Arthur watch them learning their new skills.
    Thanks Mary Ann for the photos , videos, and updates on all these wonderful birds we all enjoy watching!
    We look forward to the next newsletter !
    Linda

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