Feedings and fires…Storks fall from the sky over Athens

Today is a gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. The rains helped to contain or put out many of the wild fires in our province and this morning, for a second day, we woke up to blue skies and white clouds! All of the plants are a vibrant green and the birds continue to sing. There was not enough to fill the dry creeks but the downpours we did get are a reminder of how much all life depends on water. The nestlings and fledglings would add ‘food’ to that list!

There is a constant worry that some of the late hatches are seeing dwindling food deliveries and that the parents might leave for their migration with young still on the nest. My friend, ‘S’ is concerned, as are many others, for the nestlings on two Black Stork nests – one in Latvia and the other in Estonia. Some others worry about the little osprey on the Collins Marsh Nature Centre nest that we have been calling ‘Malin’. (The official contest is underway for the official name).

Malin self-feeds from small Bullhead. 11 August 2021

Malin was receiving 5 feedings on occasion. Those were good days. The chick has not been fed well by the standards of other nests. This past Sunday, 8 August, Malin had no food. Yesterday, 10 August, he had two feedings. Today, there have already been 2 – one at 9:35 and the other around 11:42. Always these are small whole fish or pieces of fish. I have not seen a whopper on this nest.

Malin is hungry and several of us are trying to ascertain if the fish are ‘fished out’ or if the Dad has another nest – it really is unclear. A report by the Wisconsin DNR on the number of Bald Eagle and Osprey nests in the state indicate a drop of Ospreys in area 3, where the Collins Marsh nest is located, by -25.2%. While every other area saw an increase in Ospreys, Collins Marsh was only one of two that showed a decline. Does all of this reflect a growth in Bald Eagle Nests in the area? If you would like to read the report from 2019 (I have not found one for 2020), I am attaching a copy. A big shout out to ‘S’ who found this and sent it to me. Thank you.

The feedings for the nestlings of Grafs and Grafiene at the Sigulda Nest show a similar up and down pattern to that at Collins Marsh. However, there has not been a day without food to my knowledge at Sigulda.

‘S’ reports that on 9 August, the storklings had four feedings – which is considered low – but yesterday, they had only two. Today, there have been 2 deliveries by the female, Grafiene, and one by the male, Grafs. Grafiene is also like the female at the Collins Marsh nest, Marsha, who leaves for periods up to 24 hours at a time. The behaviour of these two females is very curious.

It is hoped that there is time for both the Black Storklings and the Osprey to fledge. ‘S’ advises that the minimum is ten days for the storklings. The Ospreys tend to migrate at the end of August or beginning of September in Wisconsin.

Malin is not ready to fledge. It is very worrisome for many reasons. I look at the development and growth of the Osprey fledglings in the UK and then compare this with Malin. Those in the UK have fully developed feathering and have really perfected their flying skills. They are self-feed with ease. Most have been fledged for a month. Will Malin have a month to further develop his body and skills? Will the storklings? The nest that is on the branch of the pine tree in the forest near Sigulda is so very narrow and has collapsed in the past. Will the hopping and flapping cause the little ones to fall?

The storklings are so excited when a parent arrives with fish that it does make you wonder if the could make the branch nest collapse. Grafiene covered the nest with little fish around 17:20. There was lots of food for each of the nestlings.

The storklings were eating and eating and had large crops. I wonder if a parent will bring another delivery before night?

I am including the link to the Black Stork Nest in Sigulda County, Latvia. If you wish to find the chat room or forum (with lots of information) please check the information under the streaming cam.

In Alaska, Kindness is not short of food. She has gone some days with few deliveries and other days, Dad not only leaves her food for self-feeding but today, he fed his baby girl. Dad just can’t help himself. He has an enormous soft spot for Kindness. The image below of Dad feeding Kindness is right after he had delivered prey 20 minutes earlier! Oh, Kindness, how lucky you are.

Did you know that Bald Eagles have a polarizing lens that helps them see fish in muddy waters? (Just like those who fish often wear Polarizing sunglasses.) That said Bald Eagles normally only feed in the top 15 cm or 6 inches. Their bare legs are designed to only go into the water 15 cm or 6 inches. Like the Ospreys and Sea Eagles, if they had feathered legs, they would get water logged.

You can watch Kindness here. The moderator on the camera chat is reminding everyone today that Kindness is 76 days old today. She is already flapping and jumping. The average act for fledge on this nest – not the whole of Alaska – is 89 days. (The whole of Alaska is 80 days). If she behaves like the other eaglets on this nest, you should be able to watch her until mid-September. Here is the link to that camera:

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Lady is feeding 27 and 28. Those little ones continue to look like white fluff balls but if you look carefully, their necks and wings are getting longer and there is a hint of ‘dark plumage’ underneath that natal down. The WBSE nest had a fright a few days ago. Dad showed up on the nest with a laceration on his leg and a cut near his throat that was bleeding. That seems to have subsided and Dad is busy catching fish for the family. (I am wondering about the small amount of salt water in the Parramatta River and its healing effects on Dad’s foot.)

27 and 28 do bonk but not much anymore. Some of the time it is instigated by the ‘little one’! They really are a good match for one another and unlike past years, viewers are remarking that they are really enjoying seeing the nest this year.

The egg tooth is disappearing as their beaks grow longer.

If you wish to watch then, here is the link to the cam:

There is some troubling news coming out in Bird World. ‘S’ informs me that the storks crossing over Greece where the wildfires are raging are being injured in large numbers as they migrate to Africa on the eastern routing. Various news agencies are reporting that people in Athens have been picking up dead storks off their lawns. This is more than sad. Here is a short news report by Reuters. I hope you can open it.

Here is a news article on the plight of these poor birds.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/9/disoriented-by-wildfires-migrating-storks-die-crossing-greece

A second is the number of raptors going into care. In the United States, there is an all out assault on plant life. Various levels of government are asking for and receiving permission to undertake ‘aquatic treatments’ using either Tribune or Harpoon. These are chemical herbicides and they poison birds!!!! At the moment, A Place Called Hope, has raptors in its care because of these treatments.

In Jacksonville, crews have been up doing maintenance on the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam. The presence of humans on ‘his’ nest brought Samson out from the trees and onto the nest yesterday. Wow. What a wonderful treat. Samson remains in the area and does not migrate while Gabby leaves early to travel north to cooler weather. Ironically – and sadly – this year it has been as hot in Ithaca, New York as it has been in Florida.

All three of the fledglings at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest were present yesterday. Poor White YW. Tiny Little Bob almost ripped his leg off trying to get at a fish delivery. Tiny Little! To steady himself, White YW had to put his talon on Tiny Little’s head. Gracious. It ended OK – no bird was injured.

For some reason all of the fledglings have been coming to the nest for fish. One will get the fish from dad, one will stalk that sibling, then they will get it and then White YW will arrive with another fish and confuse the entire situation. It is really quite hilarious. The fledglings are as big (or bigger) than Dad! You can watch them here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

Oh, wow. Tiny Little just snagged a fish from sibling 462. Fantastic.

Tiny Little is a ‘scrapper’ just like Tiny Tot. They both learned ‘street smarts’ to survive. Well done, Tiny Little! It was not that long ago that Tiny Little was shy. Her aggression will help keep her alive in the future.

News Flash. The female companion of Bucacek on the Mlade Buky White Stork nest in Czechoslovakia has been named Marketa.

Everyone reading my newsletter loves birds and animals or you wouldn’t be here. I was sent a delightful story – a view of rewilding through the eyes of a deer. Since we have so many deer in our city that have been displaced for ever more condominiums and roads, it really struck home to me. Perhaps you would enjoy reading it, too. Here is the link to ‘Rewilding is a Two Way Street. A letter from your neighborhood deer’.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/essay-wildlife-rewilding-is-a-two-way-street/print_view

Whew. That was a long newsletter. Sorry. Thank you so much for joining me. Send warm wishes to all the birds – for food and for the storks to survive as they travel from northern Europe to Africa. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Reserve, Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Latvian Fund for Nature, WBSE Sea Eagle Nest, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Mary Ann for all the photos and some great updates on all the birds we follow! The little Malin needs more food and praying for her/ him to get more🙏 The little sea eaglets are still doing very well and so adorable💕💕. Tiny Little sure surprised me with dad’s talon on his head! Lol! The storks do make me think that they may fall or knock each other off the nest. I hope it doesn’t happen but they are so big now!
    Thank you for the links to all the nests and the deer also!
    Looking forward to the next newsletter! Linda

    1. Sabine who is with the Latvian forum says she hopes that you will get to come to Latvia sometime. She noticed you mentioned your heritage in a comment. The birds are adorable. Malin has had 3 feedings today – bigger fish – not whoppers but not twiddlers either. Someone on one of the Osprey FB groups said that Tiny Little was now the dominant chick on the Foulshaw Moss nest. It was not that long ago we thought Tiny Little might not make it. I am so glad that Tiny Tot and Tiny Little came out strong. I hope they do well. The world through the deer’s eyes was excellent. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Linda. Have a great evening.

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