Things are happening in Bird World

Oh, just look who showed up on the NorthEast Florida Eagle’s nest in Jacksonville today – none other than the resident male, Samson! It was 7:23. So very nice to see you, Samson.

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. Samson hatched on this very nest on 23 December 2013. Samson fledged and left the area on 22 April 2014. He was 120 days old.

At the end of the summer in 2019, in August, Samson arrived at the very nest he hatched from and began bringing in sticks. His mate, Gabrielle arrived on the nest on 12 September. In May of 2020, their two chicks, Jules and Romey, named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliett, fledged. In 2021, they fledged their only hatch, Legacy.

The picture below is of Mama Gabby and baby Legacy in February 2021.

Samson has been seen at the nest earlier this month when the technicians came to do the maintenance on the streaming cam. Samson remains in the area of the nest year round while Gabby migrates to a cooler place – although, as I have often said, I don’t know where that would be this year! She will return about the middle of third week in September. It will be wonderful to see her back. Can’t wait.

Samson may be working on a nest but the Peregrine Falcon couple, Diamond and Xavier, are expecting eggs in the nest week or a week and a little bit. Their scrape box is high on a water tower, 170 steps up, on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange Australia.

This is Diamond on the ledge of the scrape box today.

Diamond and Xavier’s 2021 fledgling, Izzi, was the joy of everyone. As the only little falcon he was loved and spoiled by his parents. There was some concern he would not leave the scrape box before this year’s eggs are laid. This is the latest message from Cilla Kinross, the head researcher on the Falconcam Project:

“Izzi has not been in the box now for 12 days, but we think he is still around from calls. Parental behaviour continues as normal, with up to three prey a day being delivered to Diamond and preparation of the scrape. Eggs are expected soon (within a week or two). Generally, Diamond starts to spend more and more time in the scrape and her backside looks large and fluffy.”

You can watch Diamond and Xavier here:

Peregrine falcons are nothing short of amazing. Bald Eagles are big but Peregrine falcons are fast.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Jon David Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The cere is the yellow part above the beak. Now look at the nostrils in the cere. There are small keratinous tubercules – they look like small little bumps inside the nostril. Can you see the one on the right nostril of the falcon above? Those are what help the Peregrine Falcon fly so fast. They serve as a baffle against the wind driven in so forcefully into the lungs of the falcon as they do their high speed dives. Otherwise, their lungs would burst.

“Faucon pèlerin / Peregrine Falcon / Falco peregrinus” by FRITSCHI PHOTOGRAPHY is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most Peregrine Falcons that you will see on a streaming cam lay their eggs in a scrape box like the one of Diamond’s, above. Some make their nests on the side of cliffs like this one in Japan on the island of Hokkaido.

“Peregrine Falcon Nest” by Ken-ichi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Peregrine Falcons do not make their nest out of twigs. It is believed that this helps to stop the spread of disease from twig nests pests like flies and parasites.

Here is a short 8 minute video to introduce you to the speed and hunting methods of the Peregrine Falcon:

It’s a great day for Malin! We do not know Malin’s exact hatch date. There were three chicks and the youngest hatched on 18 June. Two chicks perished in the heat. So Malin is either celebrating his two month hatch today or his two month hatch and a couple of days, more or less. His first delivery came around 9am and the second was at around 10:14. Malin is really growing.

Here is Malin next to mum, Marsha, this morning. You can see that Malin’s feathers are growing in nicely. Look at the crossing of those wing feathers. Yippeeeeeee. This chick has really grown with the increase in feedings.

And look at all of the bands on those tail feathers – looks like a clean 7 – while, at the same time, there are no spaces in the wing feathers.

Oh, Malin, aren’t you beautiful?

Malin has gotten very good at self-feeding.

Malin is off to a great start on Wednesday. Terrific.

It is raining heavy in Latvia at the nest of Grafs and Grafiene. There are some concerns on the amount of energy used to keep warm by the nestlings.

This is the nearby ditch. It is 200 m long. A portion of the ditch has been closed off and fish have been placed in there along with the decoy of Grafiene. The decoy of Grafiene was painted by an active chat participant and installed by Janis Kuze, the ornithologist.

I hope you don’t mind if I correct just minor details. The beautiful decoy was painted by the active chat participant B.K. and installed by the ornithologist Jānis Ķuze.

These are the size of fish being put into the feeder for Grafs. So much effort. Now we need Grafs to find this spot for his three storklings. It is a very, very difficult time for everyone especially with the rain. If you would like to check on the Latvian Forum for progress, please go to this link:

The situation of the Black Storklings in the nest in Jegova County, Estonia appears to be better than in Latvia. Jan has come to the nest to feed the storklings 3 times today. The storklings have not almost completely depleted the fish that was brought on the 13th when they received their transmitters and bands. They appear to be healthy and doing well. It is not raining on this nest today.

The three storklings are 63 and 64 days old today. The average for fledging appears to be 71 days but then the young storklings are dependent on their parents for another two to three weeks before leaving the nest area. That only puts us at the end of the first week of September for these three to be totally independent of Jan — but, of course, those numbers are only averages. It appears there is time! We all must hope for these birds. They are very rare and very special and there has not been a lot of studies done on them.

The Forum with ongoing information on the Estonian Black Stork nest is here:

Karl II has been in to feed the one fledgling on the Black Stork Nest in the Karula National Park in Estonia. Oh, that fledgling was so happy. That was at 18:33. It is Urmas, the only chick still being fed by a parent. Kaia has left for her migration and the other two siblings appear to have left the nest area and might be travelling as well.

I know that there is much sadness and anxiety in the region for the two Black Stork nests that had late hatches. But, we must also celebrate the happiness of this nest in Estonia, that of Karl II and Kaia. Three fledglings, all healthy! We need to send the most positive wishes for Kaia and the other two siblings as they make their way through Europe trying to get to Africa. And, then, of course, for Karl II and this storklet when they begin.

I have tried to catch the number to confirm this storkling but it is nearly impossible.

The smudge is right in the way!

For those of you watching the North American migration, it kicked off Sunday, the 15th of August at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. The first over the ridge that day was a Broad-winged hawk. There was a strong wind that day and the count was 4 Bald Eagles, 2 Cooper’s Haws, 25 Broad-winged Hawks, and 3 American Kestrel. If you would like to check on the migration in North American on the route over the mountains with all their thermals, here is the place to go for a day to day check in:

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/hawk-count

It’s 17:16 in Cumbria in the UK and our second great Osprey chick survivor this year – Tiny Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss nest – is waiting for dad, White YW, to bring her the teatime fish! Every day is a blessing to see you on the nest, Tiny Little (Blue 463).

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please send all your positive energy to our friends in Latvia and to Grafs for him to find the feeder and for the safe migration of all of the birds. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams and forums where I grabbed my screen shots: The Forum for the Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork Nest at Jergova County, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Park, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

1 Comment

  1. LindaKontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann Steggles for a great newsletter again! Malin at Collins Marsh nest is looking for beautiful! Glad everything is going well at the Estonia stork nest and praying real hard for the dad at the Latvia nest to find the decoy and fish for the storklets at his nest 🙏
    Tiny Little waiting in the nest looks just as sweet and beautiful like the Tiny tot Tumbles 3 waiting in her nest for the fish ❤️
    Thanks Mary Ann for all the photos and updates on our birds today!
    Have a great afternoon and look forward to the next newsletter and hopefully Grafs will have found the decoy and fish for his storklets!

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