Sadness and Joy

Everyone has been very saddened by the fact that there will not be four fledges from the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape in Melbourne. Everyone was both shocked and happy when Mum laid that fourth egg. It would have been a historic moment if all four had fledged. It is hard to lose a little one that we have come so close to – watching all of its antics.

Trichomonosis is caused by a parasite. In urban raptors, it is normally by the eating of an infected prey item. The neck and throat can swell and sores or cankers can appear. The birds cannot swallow and it is difficult to eat and breath. That is certainly not something we would wish on any bird. No one will ever know which of the prey deliveries carried this deadly parasite.

As one person said today – putting this loss in perspective – “we are lucky that we did not lose all of the birds.” They are absolutely correct. We have seen how prey items are shared and we now must hope and send warm wishes that none of the other family members succumb to this parasite. You can see in the image below how swollen the neck is of the little male in this image taken last evening. He is the one with the floof on his wings and back still. It is so sad.

Two of the siblings stayed with their little brother in the scrape box last night. The parents had been in earlier. I will disagree with anyone that says the parents and the siblings do not know what is happening with their family member. They do. They are just not afforded the luxury of having several days to mourn. They have to get on with their lives so that they survive.

In her book, The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman addresses (briefly) issues related to death and mourning in Corvids. The Peregrine Lady (Kate St John) who writes about the falcons in Pittsburg in her blog Outside My Window, has often commented that whenever one of the fledglings would die, the Mum falcon would go to her “mourning corner”. While she could not stay there for long because she had survivors to look after, it was a noticeable change in her behaviour when one of her own died and it was the only time she goes to that particular place. Kate St John’s blog is excellent and can be accessed at: birdsoutsidemywindow.org

Here is another article on mourning.

As Jennifer Ackerman states, “The jury is still out on whether birds grieve their own. But more and more scientists seem willing to admit the possibility.”

There is not a lot happening on the other Australian nests today, thankfully. The water is still a little choppy at Port Lincoln. Certainly not like it was yesterday when one of the nearby boats sunk. The three will no doubt be working on their hovering after getting some energy once that breakfast fish has arrived. And, yes, they could fledge anytime but I am counting on another week with these guys.

Yurruga is also waiting for her breakfast. She will be ready to fledge in a week but will she fly then? That is hard to imagine with all the floof still on her body! At that time the parents will continue to provide her with food and train her so that she can live a successful life as a falcon. Once she reaches that stage, they will invite her to leave their territory and find her own space.

Yurruga is adorable. Her name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori and she does certainly brighten up everyone’s day. Notice that she is standing on the rocks in the corner. She slept next to her Mum, Diamond, on Diamond’s rocks last night. Those rocks were put there on purpose so that Diamond would not be able to lay her eggs where they could not be seen by the camera. Yurruga only knows that Mum stands there and we get the benefit of seeing her beautiful face up close. What a darling.

Please do watch this beautiful family. Diamond and Xavier are fabulous parents! Yurruga is very vocal and right at this moment she is screaming for the parents to bring breakfast! I promise that Yurruga will delight you just as her brother Izzi did last year. Here is the link:

It is a very snowy day on the Canadian Prairies. A wonderful day to hunker down and read and drink lots of tea. If you have good weather and are heading out for a walk, enjoy it for me, too. This snow is like walking in a 15 cm or 6 inch Slurpee it is so heavy and wet. The birds are hiding in the wood boxes today, some of them.

Take care everyone. I so wish I had been able to have brought you good news about the little fellow. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

4 Comments

  1. Salliane says:

    such sad news but in any animal world it signals the survival of the fittest. It is fortunate the others have not been affected. Maybe this little one didn’t have enough immunity built up yet…just a guess mind you.

    It is so tough to see…even in the osprey world when there are siblicide (?) death of a young one because it is unable to compete with the other chicks.

    We all would like the chicks to survive but the ones that do, faces new challenges in the world after they fledge. We can only hope for the best and wish them all the luck the world can give.

    1. It is sad and it is tragic. I was thinking about this little male. The other two seem to be the big females. I wonder if the other little male is sick, too. We will never know but what a joy it was to watch them. You are right we hope for the best and we try to make the world as safe a place as we can for them. Sometimes one yard or balcony at a time. My garden birds are struggling today. The snow is really whipping around and blowing and the trees, too. They are hiding in the wood boxes and under the large eaves and under the deck. Winter came to us in a flurry in a short time. I am hopeful the ones caught here got away before it set in. You take care. It is lovely to hear from you.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks so much Mary Ann for the update.
    It is so sad for me. I really pray the others survive if they ate the same prey. 🙏I guess we will never know though.
    I just looked at Yurruga from the link you posted and she was preening.
    Thanks the photo of all of them.
    May God Bless th em all everywhere.
    Take care!
    Liinda

    1. Dear Linda. It is just horribly sad. I do hope the others survive. I did note that there were only two siblings on the ledge. They look like the two big females to me. I just hope the other little male is alright. The ones in the garden are struggling with our deep snow and we always worry. It is one of the reasons we have not removed two decks because they do seem to go under there. You continue caring. I wish everyone did! Thank you.

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