Late Monday in Bird World

It was not a particularly nice day in Ithaca, New York. In fact, it was 2 degrees C when Arthur arrived at the nest this morning at 08:16:35. He brought some twigs, tested the nest bowl, and looked around. Arthur has really been bringing twigs at an exhaustive pace recently. According to one of the founders of the FB group, Big Red did once lay her first egg on 13 March. Are we in for an early start this year? Or does Arthur know that bad weather is coming and realize that when it is good to restore Big Red’s nest he should waste no time? Arthur, you are quite adorable.

Arthur was still scurrying back and forth with sticks two hours later.

My very first love was an urban hawk – a Sharp-shinned Hawk that visited my garden one frosty January day. I ran out in my slippers and housecoat thinking that the hawk had killed and was eating the garden rabbit, Hedwig I. The hawk kept eating until I got within 15 cm or 6 inches of her. I have learned so much since that early morning and I would never ever go out and interfere with Sharpie having some breakfast or lunch now. She was not eating the rabbit but a sparrow. We looked into one another’s eyes for several minutes, not moving. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. And how blessed I was – looking into her eyes that morning changed my life. Thankfully, I quietly returned to the house and Sharpie finished.

As a result of this beautiful, close encounter, I have an interest in urban raptors that has grown over the years. Sharpie still comes to visit the garden. Of course, I now also know that Sharpie is a male! He is very cheeky – always pausing to see if I am watching from the window he will turn his head til our eyes meet and then he flies away. I always wonder where he roosts and how far his territory extends. It seems that the peregrine falcons are in the centre of the downtown area which is between 4 and 4.6 km away from where I live. So it would seem that their territories do not overlap. It is curious. I think he has a route and I know that he is ‘mad’ at me for removing a twenty-foot tall cedar tree. The little birds would get inside that tree filling it up. Sharpie would come ripping through a small space between my house and the neighbour’s making a sharp right angle turn into the tree. He was always successful at hunting – always. Sadly for all of us, we had a four year drought and no matter how much water the tree was given it simply was not enough and wasn’t the heavy rains that nature provides. It died and had to be removed. Now, Sharpie really has to work for his lunch. And if you are wondering, yes, I have thought about planting another large conifer for Sharpie! It isn’t a cat or dog that rules our house but the garden animals!

Sharpie was very puffed to stay warm on his last visit. It was -32 that day. He is sitting on his plucking post and if he raises his head slightly, he can see me watching him from the kitchen window. I do not go outside when Sharpie is hunting so all of the images are through glass – and he is fast. Not as fast as a Peregrine Falcon, of course, but fast enough for me not to be able to grab my good camera — unless, of course, he is eating lunch which takes about 35-40 minutes.

He glances back to me and is gone in a blur. Such a beautiful much loved raptor.

Robert Yolton writes a great blog on urban raptors. His focus for years has been the Red-tail Hawks that live in and around Central Park in NYC. While he writes about other birds in the area, I really enjoy this time of year when he begins to report on the hawks preparations for spring breeding season. On 16 February, five days ago, he has lovely images of the couple whose nest is on a balcony of a high rise apartment at 84th and East End Avenue. He wonders if they are merely working on the nest or if the eggs will be laid early this year. And that, of course, is what we are wondering about Big Red and Arthur. Yolton’s reports are always accompanied by beautiful photographs. One other recent one has images of hawks, Kestrels, and a Great Horned Owl in Central Park. I urge you to take a look at his blog: urbanhawks.com You will not be sorry!

I have checked in on the three Osplets at the Captiva nest in Florida on and off today. It was actually wonderful to see my daughter today which meant that I was not sitting and counting the bites Little Bob got in a feeding! Here they are all lined up from the eldest on the far end to Little Bob on the end close to us. They look like a choir. I hope this continues. It reminds me of the three Port Lincoln lads (until they fledged).

Speaking of Port Lincoln lads, if you missed it, Ervie visited the barge yesterday. He was there from 19:15-20:31. He missed seeing Dad who arrived half an hour after he left.

Port Lincoln has asked everyone along the north shore to kept an eye out for Ervie. This is his latest tracking in the area. The green pin indicates his position at the time of the tracking. Continue to notice that Ervie goes back to the nest on the barge. For several weeks I have said that I felt Ervie would continue to stop in. Let us all hope so! It was lovely to see him yesterday. He is in good form.

One of Ervie’s greatest fans is ‘A-M’. She believes that Ervie stopped by to see Dad and to tell him, “ I found a place, it’s cool. I need help moving sticks and nest stuff. Come visit and bring fish!” It brought tears to my eyes. This is the first time I have been able to watch the interaction between the adults and the juveniles after they have fledged other than the adult bringing a fish and getting out of the way quickly. There was something very heartwarming about seeing Ervie and Dad just sitting around the sticks, as if it could be a campfire, with one another.

So keep watching the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. You might catch a glimpse of our handsome Ervie.

After seeming to be missing in action for two days, the male GHOW at the Savannah Owl nest has returned. The Mum was so excited. His return is on video when he brings a nice fat rodent for her to feed the owlet. The sounds from the owls is adorable.

That is excellent news. With all the intruders at that nest, including that Red-tailed Hawk, it would have been almost impossible for the Mum to raise the owlet alone. Cornell did a very cute video of the female GHOW feeding the two-day old owlet Dad’s prey. Have a peek:

Gabby and Samson are doing a great job trying to entice NE26 and 27 to self-feed. Fish are brought to the nest unzipped and left for the two hungry eaglets. So far NE27 who learned to feed itself more than a week ago has done the best. After the eaglets work on the fish then either Gabby or Samson comes in and fills the two up! This nest is doing so well. No one is hungry.

That old saying is knock on wood. And that is what I am doing. It seems that the nests are doing well. If you are a fan of the National Arboretum nest, Lotus laid her second egg yesterday – the 20th of February – at 18:39. Bella and Smitty are both working on the NCTC nest. Another eagle has been seen soaring and both Bella and Smitty have taken to easing it out of the territory.

The couple at the new Bartlesville Oklahoma Bald eagle nest are incubating two eggs laid on 15 and 18 February. I grew up in Oklahoma and it will always hold a special place for me. I hope this couple are successful and have to great fledges. The link to the camera is:

Look closely at the image below. Do you see a ‘meadow muffin’ or a ‘cow pie’? Looks like the Oklahoma eagles have a unique item that they are going to line their nest with!!!!!!! Can I say ‘only in Oklahoma’?

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB where I took my screen captures: The Sutton Group, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Window on Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab, and NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for
    All the great updates
    And photos and links!
    I hope Ervie still returns and we get to see him. I sure miss him.
    The eaglets at Samson and Gabbys nest are sure growing. I watched one feeding today. I watched some of Captiva but missed the feedings. Thanks for the updates. They are so cute and sweet (so far) all lined up!
    Big Redand Little Authur are preparing their nest. Hope all goes well
    With them. Thanks for all the
    Wonderful newsletters Mary Ann that help make mine and a lot of others day!
    Have a great evening! The Hawk is so beautiful that comes to your yard!
    Linda

    1. You are always welcome, Linda. It is a delight to report on these beautiful bird families. Everything just seems to being going well for each of the nests. I hold my breath about Captiva because of the crows but Andy seems to be extremely diligent in getting in fish and being security guard. There have been a couple more feedings. The one at 13:00 they all ate well. I also posted the contest that the AEF has set up to name NE27 which I believe you saw eating earlier. It is so nice – all good. That nest of Big Red’s is even better now!

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