Thursday Morning at Dale Hollow and other news in Bird World

24 March 2022

Please pardon any spelling or grammar issues today. I have not had time to proof this report, unfortunately. Thank you!

So far it is a pretty good morning even at Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagle nest on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky in the US. I turned on my computer just as a small fish was brought in my River, with its head, at 08:11:14.

Big goes to intimidate Middle at 08:23:49 but it is not the level of frenzy that Middle experienced late on the 23rd. Big ate all of the fish that came in. It was finished at 08:35:16. Then River moved over to the piece of Sucker that was still on the nest at 08:36:29.

I was encouraged by River’s actions as she clearly seemed to have feeding Middle in her mind. Middle turned to River to eat at 08:37:23 and then Big entered the picture pushing herself between River and Middle after she had a PS.

It was evident that both Big and Middle had eaten earlier as Middle had a nice crop.

River began feeding Middle at 08:38:25.

Eight minutes later, at 08:46:15, Big decides it wants to eat and starts intimidation. It ate a few bites.

River tries again to feed Middle at 08:47:33. River stops feeding at 08:47:25. There is still a piece of the sucker left. The nest is quiet of any animosity. At 09:03:38 Big turns and towers over Middle and does nothing! River returns to the nest. She is aerating the area by the small piece of remaining sucker. Big moves down at 10:01:20 and River feeds Big all the Sucker.

By 10:11:40 Middle is up at the top of the nest on the left being fed the rest of the old fish tail (not much on it). Big ignores the whole thing! Both eaglets are full. It is just after 10:15 on the nest.

Despite the modest attempts of intimidation, Middle ate this morning and has a nice crop when I stop watching. Big also has a crop. Hopefully more larger fish will come on the nest. Indeed, I hope that obey knows where to find more suckers! We can be joyful. This morning has been good for Middle!

River returns to the nest later to aerate. It is now 11:35. No more food items but not expected. Both Middle and Big have big crops still!

Middle had a really healthy PS at 11:32:41.

There is Big’s Crop. Because Big is such a large bird – no doubt she is a she – her food requirements are probably twice that of Middl now. Continue to send positive wishes for this nest. We are not out of the woods yet but I sure hope we are in a week. Both chicks cast pellets this morning and both had at least one PS. Enjoy this morning. It has been a good one at Dale Hollow.

Here is the first view of the newly hatched chick at Harry and Nancy’s MN DNR (hatched yesterday).

I have received word from ‘S’ in Latvia that a female interloper White-tailed eagle has destroyed the two eggs that Milda had laid on her nest in Durbe County. This is what ‘S’ conveyed: “Just a quick update. Yesterday evening a ringed strange female came to the nest and destroyed/ate Milda’s eggs while Milda was away feeding. Voldis did not stop her. It’s clear Voldis is not in any nesting mode yet, since his incubation skills also did not improve significantly. The intruder female is a Latvian WTE who was ringed in Latvia, near Jaunpils in 2016.”

Here is a video summary of the events:

As ‘S’ points out, many of the experienced watchers of Milda’s nest believe this to be better as it is clear that the situation could have gotten worse – no care for hatchlings, lack of prey to nest, etc.

‘S’ also included a message sent out by the Ornithologist, Jan Kuze:

“Today we have witnessed a very interesting turn of events – at least I am not aware of any other such cases. The role was played by the fact that the male is young and inexperienced, its connection with the territory and this partner is not sufficiently strong yet. The female continues to incubate due to inertia, but it cannot be ruled out that another egg will be laid in this nest, the next week or two will show.

I ringed the egg-eating female bird in the vicinity of Jaunpils on 25.05.2016. It is a young female who has reached the nesting age and is looking for a nesting area, it cannot be ruled out that we will continue to see her here and that some conflicts will continue.”

In Montana, members of the Raptor Resource Project are installing some ‘goose exclusion’ mechanisms to the Osprey nests. Here is the message from Dr Ericke Green:

It is not an Osprey nest but an unused Bald Eagle nest at Decorah, Iowa. The Canada Goose that has been checking out this nest has now laid her first egg. This is going to be a terrific nest to watch as long as there are is no predation. Imagine all those little goslings jumping off the sides.

The goose laid the egg and then covers it. Did you watch Daisy on the WBSE nest? If so, you might remember that the goose or duck will lay their eggs and then begin to add down from their breast to make the soft nest. After 24 hours, the goslings will all jump down! They have quite a ways to go but video has been taken of goslings jumping 106 m or 350 feet. They bounce! It is really exciting. They will then follow their Mother to water where they will begin eating. Ducklings and goslings are precocial – covered in feathers and able to eat on their own after hatch. Amazing.

On the Cornell Campus yesterday, 19 year old Big Red surprised everyone when she laid a 4th egg! Perhaps most surprised was her 6 year old mate, Arthur. Cornell called it “unprecedented” on Twitter. Red tail Hawks can lay up to 5 eggs. Since the camera became operative in 2012, Big Red has consistently laid 3 eggs. It is not know how many she laid in years prior.

I will alert all of you as pip approaches for Big Red and Arthur as well as for the Peregrine Falcon couple, Annie and Grinnell. If you are used to watching eagles, it is very educational to observe the smaller raptors and how they manage larger clutches.

Speaking of Falcons, it is not time for any egg laying by the Australian falcons at CBD 367 Collins Street or Xavier and Diamond at Orange. That will come in late summer. For now, there are several nests. That said, I am playing close attention to Annie and Grinnell (as much as Dale Hollow allows for). This morning Grinnell was in the scrape at 06:44:05 calling Annie. I sure hope he had her breakfast! In terms of hunting, Peregrine Falcons, the fastest birds in the world flying up to 370 kph, capture their prey when flying. That prey can range from parrots, doves, pigeons, Starlings, to geese and herons depending on the falcons location.

For those just starting/thinking about observing this scrape, there is one quick difference between Grinnell and Annie. Grinnell has a black ID on his left leg and a standard silver band on the right. I would also like to draw your attention to the hue of Grinnell’s legs, cere (the yellow part above the beak), and the yellow around his eyes. Notice how the colour appears to be an orange-yellow. This deep colour indicates that Grinnell is extremely healthy.

At 08:48 Annie returns to the scrape. Peregrine Falcons may have first laid their eggs in twig nests but, if they did, they evolved to using cliffs with sand or pebbles. It is believed that this allows for few, if any, diseases unlike Eagle nests that constantly have to be aerated.

The eggs that Annie will lay are some of the most beautiful in the avian world with their rich red-brown colour. Indeed, because of their beauty and size they became the target of egg collectors. Once Annie begins hard incubation, her and Grinnell will take turns for 33-35 days. On occasion, as at the CBD Collins Street Nest in 2021, all three of their eggs hatched within a few hours. It helps to avoid the issues that we have seen at Dale Hollow and with Eagles and Ospreys in general. Once hatched, it is 5 to 6 weeks til fledge. The parents will then train the eyases to hunt and feed them for about another month. On occasion, the fledglings return to the nest area.

I sure hope Grinnell had a good breakfast for her. Annie appears to be ‘thinking’ about laying eggs. We wait.

Here is a recap by CalFalcons of the 2021 year. You might want to turn the sound down a little – the music is quite loud (or maybe not). It compresses the season from mating to banding to fledge.

At the Berry College nest of Pa Berry and Missy, B15 is one sweet and energetic eaglet! The nest has become a launch pad for ever higher jumping. B15 loves the wind between its wings. This morning he was up checking out the DVR. Fledge could come any day now. It has been a terrific year for this nest.

About four hours ago, Harriet at the Dahlgren Osprey nest laid her second egg. Jack continues to bring in toys. Oh, dear. Last year an egg got lost in all the items on this nest. Poor Harriet.

As we wait for Richmond and Rosie to finish their nest and the arrival of Iris in Montana, the Ospreys heading to Europe are on the move. A couple of days ago there were 51 on a site in Senegal and today only 10.

I want to check on Karl II, the male at the Karula National Forest Black Stork nest who is making his way home for the spring and summer breeding season in Estonia. Yesterday, 23 March, Karl was making good progress and was feeding at Lake Beysehir in Isparta Province in Turkey.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Karl II would normally be heading for an area around Odessa in the Ukraine on the Black Sea. Is it possible that he might revert and fly slightly West? We wait.

The day is half over on the Dale Hollow nest and I would suggest that it was a good start. River is currently on the nest shading the eaglets.

Thank you so much for joining me. I have skipped around checking on other Bird news this morning. All of the other nests are doing well and there is a lot going on. A storm is heading to Captiva that might put fishing off for Andy because the air pressure drives the fish deeper in the Water. Jackie and Shadow have been dealing with intruders. I may not get to all of those today. It could be a very late report. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Cal Falcons, Berry College Eagles, Looduskalender, Google Maps, Dahlgren Ospreys, and Explore.Org. I know that there are more pressing concerns in the Balkans but I am extremely grateful to ‘S’ who took the time to alert me about Milda’s eggs being predated. Thank you ‘S’, I know the birds are your solace right now.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you so much Mary Ann for this newsletter! It is very thorough and indeed a great one!
    Thanks also for the photos and the letter from Dr Greene, I can’t wait to see the goslings jumping! Hope all goes well for Karl on his flying such a long way. We are waiting for Queen Iris too! Good luck to the Dale Hollow middle chick that he continues to get fed and not pecked by Big🙏 We miss Ma Decorah at her nest but I hope they still nest at the other one there in the area. Best wishes to all our nests as they continue to grow and fledge.
    Hope to,hear from you again soon!
    Have a good afternoon Mary Ann!
    Linda

    1. Hi Linda, Oh, thank you so much. It was my pleasure. It is really refreshing when Dale Hollow is going well. I heard that Ma Decorah is still at the new nest so the one that the goose is on is said to have been abandoned. Yes…Iris!!!!!!! Oh, let us hope. It is wonderful to see her. For me it is like the first little spring flowers here. I hope she is well and returns. Have a great day. Both Little Middle (my new name for him) and Big had great crops! We are expecting more snow. It turned cold quickly. Watching how the birds are doing. Poor things. Take care. Thank you, Linda. I always enjoy your comments. You have watched many of these nests for years and have really good insights.

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