Saturday in Bird World

The wind is calm on the Canadian prairies today. The sun is pouring through what leaves are left on our trees, the squirrels are carrying off peanuts while the Dark-eyed Juncos dance around on the deck. It is 22 degrees C. Just a perfect day.

I wish I could trade my day for the one that the Port Lincoln Ospreys are having to endure. The winds at 6am were blowing from 40-45 kph with the promise that they will rise to 50 kmp. That is a horrible storm. There are white caps and rain. Everyone is hunkered down. No fishing for Dad for quite awhile. Mind you, he did well at 34 mph maybe there will be a break for him to go out fishing. The Bobs will be starving when fish does arrive. Or let me put it this way, they will think they are starving. Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey nest went without food for 72 hours twice. So it is not like they are really going to starve but, it could destabilize the food security of the nest that these parents have worked so hard to foster. That would be a tragedy so, send positive thoughts to this nest.

In the image below the wind is blowing parts of the nest around and causing them to flap. You can see them hanging over. Dad is hunkered down on his perch. Despite the fact that the osplets can thermoregulate better now, we do not want them to get damp and get a chill. Mom is really down low in the nest so that she can keep them warm and dry. I just bet she isn’t letting anyone poke their head out!

Meanwhile over in Melbourne, the four eyases had their first feeding at 6:12:50. Mom has left the nest for a much needed stretch and break.

Oh, such sweet little fluff balls. Here comes a parent with part of an old stashed pigeon. Doesn’t that sound just yummy?

Breakfast has arrived. Wake up everyone.

At 7:10:34, Dad comes in to check on the babies and feeds them the remaining pigeon left in the scrape box from the earlier feed.

Mom gets a good break. In fact, one of the things you should be noticing is that Dad loves feeding his babies. So instead of just seeing Mom feed them, look carefully because it could just be dad!

Dad is actually very good, just a bit messy for Mum’s liking.

Mum arrives back. Just look at how beautiful she is. She has to be pleased that she chose such a good mate. Dad is an excellent hunter and when he is not feeding his babies he is out hunting for Mum and them. It really makes this family quite magical!

Dad loved getting time to incubate the eggs but he is no so good at brooding them. He seems quite nervous around those wiggly white bodies.

Mom watches from the ledge. Someone made a joke on the FB page of the falcons. It was Dad telling the kids to listen and make a great effort to eat because Mum was watching to see if he did a good job feeding them. Looking at this image it seems really fitting.

Dad is off and Mum is back to brood. They still have their little mouths open. It sometimes seems that it is an automatic reflex when an adult comes around.

Mom is inspecting the nest and wondering what that thing is that Dad has left.

For those of you that have not watched this nest before, you need to know that Dad is a very messy feeder sometimes. On several occasions he has been known to bring a fresh pigeon into the scrape box and pluck it right on top of the chicks. Imagine dark grey feathers everywhere – and I do mean everywhere. Dad pays no mind. He can also make a real mess of the chicks with these really fresh birds. There is no need to worry if you see blood on them after one of his feedings – they are not hurt, just in need of a face cloth!

This is the third feeding of the morning and it has just turned 08:07. Here comes Dad with part of a pigeon he had in the cupboard.

Wakey, wakey. Time to eat again!!!!! You want to grow big and strong.

I noticed some of the FB members wondering what Dad is bringing in for the meals. 99% of the time it will be a Melbourne special – a pigeon. Urban falcons thrive on them. Indeed, one old falconer told me that is the only reason for pigeons – so they can be turned into falcons.

In contrast, the little eyases that will be hatching over in Orange, will have a different diet. There won’t be any pigeons. In fact, they might like a nice fat pigeon. Their diet consists of lots of Starlings and various types of parrots. But the real treat at Orange are the Cicadas. They hold them in their talons like a popsicle to eat them. Such a treat. Last year, Xavier and Diamond’s only hatch, Izzi, at them by the dozen. It is a wonder he did not turn green.

A clump of cuteness.

They keep each other warm but oh, they are so wiggly. I wonder how Mum gets any sleep.

Mom returns from her break. That egg shell seems to have caught her attention. I wonder if she will eat it? Those shells are full of calcium and Mum depleted much of hers making those four eggs.

She sure is beautiful! Have I said that twice?

Over in Orange, they are taking bets on when Diamond and Xavier’s eggs will begin to hatch. Yesterday, Diamond was not wanting to share incubating with Xavier. Many thought this might signal an early hatch. My bets are on the 7th or the 8th.

In Sydney, the two White-Bellied Sea Eaglets have recovered from the horrific storm with its very strong winds and hail. The impact on the nest was caught on camera. Notice the trees whirling in the background. This had to be terrifying for these young eagles. Here it is:

It is still misty in Sydney but the bad weather is gone.

Wow. That little sea eagle is really getting some air under those wings. I think it even surprises its sibling.

Now look. “See, I told you I could do it too!”

27 is standing up on the rim of the nest. It will not be long til there is more flapping and jumping all over the nest – and branching. These two are so healthy. Their interactions are so cute. Both would like a big breakfast delivery!

A last glance at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. The winds have not let up but the sun is out. The weather report says they might decrease slightly later in the afternoon. Mum is working hard to keep those three under her, out of the wind and the rain. Oh, let us hope that a break in the weather comes.

Other than Port Lincoln, every nest is doing well. Xavier and Diamond continue to incubate their three eggs while Mum and Dad are feeding the four eyases every hour or so in Melbourne. WBSE 27 and 28 survived the storm and are busy getting their wings and legs strong.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Sydney Discovery Centre, and the Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross.

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