Late Wednesday in Bird World

Ever since our big storm with all the snow and -35 temperatures the number of birds visiting the garden feeders has decreased. The European Starlings that once graced the Lilac Bushes and all the neighbouring trees are down to a handful from a record number of 58. The regulars are here along with about 40 Sparrows. That is also a huge decline. I wonder what is going on?? It is -9 and the wind has ranged from 23 kph to now 16 kph. It was the first time that my fingers felt like they were freezing when I was on my walk. One bird and lots of squirrels running around, a few people walking dogs. The garden was so peaceful.

Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest laid her third egg this morning, 9 February, at 07:36. She has been incubating the other two eggs since the second was laid. 37 days is the average for hatching to begin. So the middle of March there should be bobbleheads on this nest. My intention will be to stock up on all manner of ‘calming’ teas should sibling 1 turn out to the brute that it was last year.

The third hatch survived only by its sheer determination not to die many times over and finally, Diane recognizing this and she began to go and catch catfish and made sure it ate. Chatters dubbed #3 ‘Tumbles’ because it was tripping over its feet. I called it Tiny Tot and then merged the two names together. Turns out that Tiny Tot Tumbles became the most formidable chick on the nest, taking over control and staying to even help Jack defend the nest. She was an incredible bird.

The nest is located in a parking lot of an Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida. There is a chat connected with the streaming cam but there has been no moderator. Here is the link to the Achieva Camera:

This morning Big Red and Arthur paid another visit to the Fernow Tower Light Stand. This has been Big Red’s nest choice for the past few years. The nest is on the grounds of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The hawks live on their campus territory year round.

The couple will continue to refurbish this nest for at least another 5 weeks. The earliest Big Red has laid her eggs as on 13 March and she did that only once. She laid the first egg on 14 March once and the 16th twice. I tend to think of her as laying on average around the 23rd but, the birds are surprising everyone this year.

Arthur flew in with a stick at 09:56:36.

Getting the right placement of the twigs on the nest is important as Big Red is very particular.

Here comes Big Red to join Arthur with her own big stick.

Oh, there is our beautiful Big Red, the Queen of all Red-tail Hawks, in good form landing on her nest. She is 19 years old. Hatched in 2003 in Brooktondale, NY, just down the road from Ithaca. Banded on 10 October of that same year. Arthur is from a nest adjacent to Big Red’s territory. Arthur is 7 years old this year. Big Red and Arthur became a bonded couple after Big Red’s first mate, Ezra, was killed in 2017. This will be the 5th breeding season for Big Red and Arthur! Can’t wait.

Both are carefully looking at what needs to be done to whip this nest into shape for this season.

If you look carefully, Arthur has already had breakfast. The evidence is on his talons. Oh, I hope this is a good year for chipmunks for the Ls. Yes, they will be the Ls.

Arthur flies off to get more twigs and Big Red settles in to work on that nest cup.

And here is Arthur. Big Red has flown off and he is giving this nest cup a once over, too. Look at that magnificent tail. That is what makes the Red-tail Hawks ‘red tails’. The hawks do not get their red tails until they are a year old. Until then they have to settle with two colours of grey stripes. In fact, when Big Red picked Arthur out of other possible mates, he did not yet have his red tail! That tail is almost like a badge of honour. If you survive your first year, you get the mark of the red tail. In reality, only 1 out of 3 eyasses survive their first year. The challenges for the youngsters are enormous.

I am going to start marking the days on my calendar. There are two cameras and a dedicated team of moderators on the chat. You will learn everything you wanted to know about hawks and more. Once the chicks fledge there are birders on the ground (BOGs) that submit photos and videos so that we can keep up with them til they leave the territory.

Here is the link to one of the cameras:

Sadly, the streaming cam to the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge is still off line. Oh, I wonder how Ervie and Mum and Dad are doing.

The Netherlands is reporting the third White-tail Eagle killed by a wind turbine. This is 3 out of 15 specially banded birds. There is an easy fix for the birds – install bird alarm systems and/or paint one of the blades black so that the birds can ‘see’ the moving blade. It is well known that this really helps in diminishing the numbers of birds deaths. As we build more and more wind farms, measures must be taken to protect all of the birds, not just eagles. Painting one blade black is a cheap easy fix that can be done in the factory that has been known about for a number of years. So why isn’t this being done?

There was another ground search for Bella at the NCTC Bald Eagle Nest with no luck in finding her. Meanwhile, Smitty and the new female have been working on the nest and mating. I hope that Bella is somewhere recovering from her injuries.

Harriet and M15s eaglets continue to change into juveniles right before our eyes. They sure love to eat! And they have gorgeous juvenile plumage with only a few dandelions lurking about. The top image is E20. What a crop. Don’t need to worry about this one getting its share anymore.

Harriet and M15 keeping the babies full.

Things are going alright on the WRDC in Miami. Both R1 and R2 are progressing in their feather development. Both are getting much more steady on their feet and there is a nice big fish on the nest for dinner. R2 has survived. Worry time is past (for me anyway).

NE26 and 27 are doing great. They survived all the torrential downpours in Jacksonville two days ago. Gabby was such a trooper keeping those kids dry and fed. I was ever so impressed.

Still on egg watch at the Pittsburgh-Hays nest. The adults are busy watching a train pass on the upper tracks at the moment.

Here is a link to their streaming cam:

There is egg watch for Liberty and Guardian at the Redding, California nest. My goodness the wind is just blowing and howling there.

Here is the link to their streaming cam. Also watch out for those very informative videos by Gary.

This coming weekend it is hatch watch for Lena and Andy at the Captiva Osprey Nest on Santibel Island, Florida. I cannot find that streaming cam live anymore. The owner of the property said that he would cut the power once the eggs hatched so maybe it is just offline. I will check again later and report back if i find it operative tomorrow.

Everything is just fine at the Kistachie National Forest nest in Louisiana. The pantry has food and Kincaid is growing like crazy. This is the best set up to actually hear Eagles chitter with one another. Yesterday little Kincaid joined in. It was precious. Highly recommended. There is not a lot of action since the feedings are spread out but it is a great nest ‘to listen’ when the parents are about on and off the tree.

This is not even a dent into all the on line nests. B15 at Berry College is doing great as are the pair of eaglets at Hilton Head. Jackie and Shadow continue to incubate their eggs. So far so good. The same with Thunder and Cheta. While we wait for Big Red to get her clutch started, the wait is also on for the return of all the European birds from African to their spring and summer homes in Europe and the UK. In addition, Lady and Dad have been visiting their nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Expect eggs around the beginning of June. Wow. Time melts.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am so happy to have you here with me and the birds.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Achieva Credit Union, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, WRDC, KNF, Pix Cameras, and Redding Eagles.

4 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    A great newsletter Mary Ann! Thank you! I love the photos and the info and the links. I wonder if someone will post something about Ervie? I pray all is well there !
    That is a beautiful photo of Big Red! I’m so looking forward to them this season.
    Congratulations to the Achieva nest ospreys! I pray the three do well this season.
    All the little ones at the eagle nests looks so cute and as I look at them with the different feathering as their ages are not the same it is so interesting to be able to witness all this! I have learned so much. Thanks for all you do Mary Ann and I look forward to everyone of these newsletters.
    Take care!
    Linda

    1. You are so very welcome, Linda. I hope the three eggs do well, too. I stare at those birds all the time and for the life of me it seems like one of them is the intruder…I thought I was losing my mind and haven’t mentioned Achieva much. Isn’t Big Red gorgeous. She just makes me so happy – and Arthur is such a dear. I hope they have a good year. Take care! Thank you for your comments, Linda.

  2. Thanks for all your latest updates, Mary Ann! I’d never be able to keep track of all the nests if not for your reports. Looking forward to getting acquainted with Big Red and Arthur eventually.

    It’s strange that you aren’t seeing as many birds at home right now. Hopefully they’re all fine. No doubt they’re all looking forward to spring like the rest of us.

    I got lucky again and witnessed Liberty at Redding lay her first egg this afternoon. And so that nest begins again.

    It’s so much fun seeing all the emerging activity right now – all the different stages of development, all at once. Your photos are priceless. Thank you again for everything!

    1. You are so welcome. It is my pleasure. It is very strange about the Starlings. Later about 12 showed up. Normally they are here all day so I am thinking they have found a good food source elsewhere. People are putting out food for the birds and the wildlife. The deer are really hungry. We all know that it is a false security for the animals to feed them but there is no food for them- so people are really stepping up and doing something about it. So happy for Liberty and Guardian. I hope they have a wonderful year.

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