Late Monday in Bird World

For now NE26 is an ‘only child’. NE27 is steadily working its way through the hard shell that has enclosed it for the past 35 days.

Will 26 be a brute of a big sibling or a sweetheart…we wait.

NE26 is really cute and fluffy. I did notice that the tiny pick at the end of the egg tooth seems to be gone. That beak will grow, just like our finger and toe nails. Any remaining bits of the egg tooth will be gone by the time the eaglet is losing its furry light grey down and switching it for its darker charcoal coloured thermal down.

As the sun sets on Samson and Gabby’s big stick nest, NE26 is having a late meal while NE27 continues breaking that shell. Hopefully by tomorrow morning we will have a new fluffy baby in this nest.

Someone asked me about the large stick nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Lake. Do the eagles have anything to line the nest that is soft besides sticks? That is a great question.

Today, Shadow was incubating the egg. Anyone that has watched this nest knows that the eagles bring in huge twigs. Just compare Jackie and Shadow’s nest with Gabby and Samson’s above. The eagles have to use what is available to them. Gabby and Samson along with Harriet and M15, Ron and Rita, Connie and Clive, and Lena and Andy favour lining their nests with Spanish Moss. That is what is available to them. Looking out over the landscape of northern California there is, of course, nothing like Spanish Moss. Conifer needles are wonderful when they are fresh but anyone who has gotten pricked by one of their dry needles instantly knows why they do not line the nest with them. According to Peterson, the type of nest that Bald Eagles create are platform nests made of sticks and twigs. In terms of the nest placement, it will be at the top of the tree where the branches are stronger and larger as opposed to being on lower branches. The eagles will re-use their nest adding to it every year. Some nests weight are estimated to weight up to a metric tonne or 2200.04 lbs. The vantage point allows the eagles to have a full view of their territory and any incoming predators. Peterson says that they line the nest with feathers and greenery.

As many of you know, Jackie and Shadow have had challenges. I hope their eggs are strong and they fledge a very healthy chick or chicks. I have not seen any announcement (yet) of a second egg but stay tuned for news tomorrow!

All of the other birds are doing fine. E19 and E20 ate a bird and 2 fish. The KNF eaglet has had its multiple feedings of fish. The eaglet at Berry College seems to be fine after scares that its wing was injured after being stepped on yesterday. R1 and R2 have eaten. The parents have slowed down the feedings and some watchers were worried. You will notice that once the eaglets have their thermal down and are getting feathers, the number of feedings decreases but there is more food at a feeding. The eagle parents know what they are doing! I would only be worried if there was a shortage of prey. Speaking of prey. I think Samson at NEFlorida has heard all of the praise for Louis in Louisiana who is known to have 10 fish on the nest at one time. Today, it looks like Samson has 5, at least. Gabby is quite pleased!

An ex-library book came in the post two days ago. It is Mark Avery’s A Message from Martha. The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its relevance today. This book tells of Martha, a Passenger Pigeon, who died on 1 September 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo between noon and 13:00. Martha was the last Passenger Pigeon in existence. At one time there were millions of Passenger Pigeons. They lived in a distinct geographical area of the United States and ate a specific food, mast from the Beech and Oak trees.

Avery worked for the RSPB for over 25 years. He is a scientist, a naturalist, and a writer who is concerned about the impact of modern day farming, the landscape, and the extinction of our birds. Avery is a very descriptive writer who helps you visualize hundreds of thousands of birds flying through the sky making it dark or how their process of eating mast is like a contemporary combine-harvester. The most birds I have seen at one time are the evening gatherings of the Canada Geese during migration. It helps to have seen that but to go from millions of birds to only one living one is frightening. We all know that if we do not do something, there will be more Marthas. Avery traces everything that is known about these plentiful birds and what it was that led to their demise. The book is not doom and gloom. We cannot bring back the Passenger Pigeon but we have to be on alert creating new partnerships with nature so that everything can survive in harmony. Avery provokes us to think about what it would be like without birds and what we can do to make sure that what happened to Martha does not happen to others. I highly recommend it! It is available as a Kindle book but also, if you like to hold a book and turn the pages, used through several outlets.

Ervie was on the nest this morning. The camera had been off line and it is impossible to know if he had a fish earlier. Ervie will spend even less time on the barge. Port Lincoln has posted his latest tracking and Ervie is getting his mojo back. Whatever happened on that trip to Sleaford and Tulka is dissipating and Ervie is returning to his old wandering, curious self.

Here is Ian Falkenberg’s (the bander) report on Ervie:

There is other good news coming out of the Australia streaming cams – Daisy the Duck has not laid a clutch of eggs on the WBSE nest. It is 25 January in Australia. Daisy visited on 1 January. Let’s all hold our breath that she is safe somewhere incubating a cup full of eggs!

Trudi Kron posted a video of the Hilton Head Island eaglets of Mitch and Harriet’s. They are both eating well. Watch to see that one of them is thinking about taking some bites out of the fish on its own! I really appreciate this video because you cannot rewind on the camera. Both eaglets were full to bursting!

Thank you so much for joining me for our evening nest check. Take care of yourself! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen capture: NE Florida Bald Eagle and the AEF, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page, and Friends of Big Bear Eagle Cam.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the updates and photos! So far all is going well with all the little bitty eaglets and Ervie. and I’m so thankful and I know everyone else is too, hopefully Daisy Duck has payed her eggs in a safe place. Thanks for the links and I’ll look at them all tomorrow.
    Have a great night and sleep well!
    Linda

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