Snow and Sadness

It is a very good day to stay home where I live. We had our huge snow fall, the side streets are thick with ice like a hockey rink, and snow is beginning to come down again! It is amazing that the garden birds are out but, of course, their lives depend on getting food. I have discovered that the sparrows will also eat the suet cylinders which is a real plus as they do not seem to get ‘mushy’ like the chipped up peanut and sunflower seeds do.

We had so many Osprey deaths that the people literally rose up and demanded that our public utility put up Osprey poles and covers. The Western Ospreys that come to Manitoba and breed during the summer are much loved. Their nests are around ‘cottage’ country on Lake Winnipeg or farther north along the Mossey River. In Latvia, the Government passed a law that all the power poles had to have protective devices for the birds. It is unfortunate that the government there gave them so long, til 2024, to complete the project. Huge numbers of beloved storks have been killed as a result of the delay in implementing the law. There is a reason that I am still talking about this: Solly. Much loved and with so much potential was tragically and unnecessarily killed on a power pole at Streaky Bay on the 11th. My condolences go out to the entire Port Lincoln Osprey community who have to be just gutted with this news.

The Minister for the Environment and Water for South Australia is David Speirs. He has just been at Port Lincoln and Thistle Island for the banding of this year’s osprey nestlings. If you are so inclined, I am urging people to write to him and ask that he take on the initiative of having the power poles made safe for the birds. It does not mean that the poles have to be removed but, rather, there are covers for the places where the birds can land and get killed. He says he loves Ospreys – so let’s check and see if he is a man of action. His e-mail address is:

Solly’s death was ‘human caused’ and entirely unnecessary.

It looks like the rain is peppering the Osprey nest at Port Lincoln this morning. The wind is blowing at 26 kph with gusts over 40 kph.

If it continues the nestlings will not be fledging voluntarily. Wet feathers and taking a first flight do not go well together. I hope they hunker down like I will be doing today with our blizzard.

The rain at Port Lincoln appears to be easing up but not the wind. Send them warm wishes today. No one wants a premature fledge – a fludge.

Over in Orange (or ‘up’ in Orange), it looks like a rather nice day. Little Yurruga is waiting for her breakfast to arrive.

Xavier did not disappoint! Xavier sure gets out of there quickly. He doesn’t want his talon on the breakfast menu.

Yurruga is really doing well at feeding herself. She has to learn so she can survive.

Yurruga is still working on that Starling. Often Diamond, the Mum, will come in and help the little one when she gets tired. It is so sweet.

If you have been watching the Melbourne Peregrine Falcon Family on Collins Street, I urge you to start watching Little Yurruga. Her name means Sunshine and she will bring joy to your day. Diamond and Xavier are experienced parents and Yurruga is their Only Bob this year. Like Izzi last year. Here is the link to the streaming cam:

Here is a short video, 8 minutes, on the Peregrine Falcon. Yurruga will fly out of the scrape and join the family of the fastest birds in the world!

Here is a ‘too short’ look at falconry. This time we are going to Nijo Castle in Japan. The Castle is a style known as ‘flat land’. It was built in 1603 for the first Japanese Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu. This began the period of Japanese history known as Edo era, 1603-1867. The Shogun also had a castle in Edo, modern day Tokyo. Falconry in Japan, as in other countries, was a noble endeavour. Have a look:

There is another ‘bird or avian’ association with Nijo Castle. The floors have special brackets that cause them to chirp like a Nightingale. The chirping gets louder as the person would get closer to the private quarters of the Shogun. It was a type of security system because there were always individuals who wanted to assassinate the Shogun and take their power.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me and thank you to those who have written to Minister Speirs. Fingers crossed. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.


    1. Linda Kontol says:

      Thanks Mary Ann for the newsletter and all the links! I sent my granddaughter the one in Japan too!
      Hope the weather gets better for the PLO’s. We sure don’t need another tragedy there or anywhere for that matter. 🙏💕💕💕
      It is amazing how fast and what hunters the falcons are! Wow!
      Have a great day and stay inside as much as possible. The snow is pretty there!

      1. Oh, I hope she enjoys it. There is a really good one on Japan but I cannot seem to find it . I keep looking. It is still very windy at PLO but Dad brought in a flounder at 7:05. Ervie aka Little Bob grabbed it and was still eating at 7:56. The other two lads not even bothering. Falky got the tail and Bazza is hungry. I am surprised at how passive they are with Ervie. He really is the boss! Little is the big boss. Take care. We are having more snow and then rain. Horrible weather. Glad not to have to go out.

  1. Akane says:

    Thank you for the Japan topic!
    Every detail was written about Nijo Ca stle, and I learned a lot.
    Yurruga is very cute.I wish they could stay in the nest for a year like Izzi.
    I am very worried because the PLO osprey is on the verge of leaving the nest. I am hoping that the weather will improve.

    1. You are so welcome, Akane. Oh wouldn’t that be wonderful! We would get to see two of their chicks really grow up. I always thought that Izzi was so cute and I am so happy that Cilla can go and get them and bring them back to safety. She has to be wonderfully kind and fit person to go up those 170 steps! Yes, we don’t want little Yurruga to get injured but it would be nice to see her longer. She is so beautiful. I am glad you enjoyed the falcons at Nijo Castle. I know of several but I am looking for one particular video. Fingers crossed I find it. And there are many readers that also enjoy the Japanese content. One has a granddaughter learning everything she can including Japanese. I hope she gets to visit your beautiful country.

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