Early Friday in Bird World

22 April 2022

The beginning of what sounds like deplorable weather has arrived in parts of Manitoba for the third weekend in a row. The American White Pelicans have returned, the Golden Crowned Kinglets are here, the Garter snakes are waking from their winter hibernation, and the weather is supposed to be problematic. We currently have rain which is supposed to turn to snow and ice on Sunday. Apparently the amount of rain is an issue with creeks and rivers full and the ground saturated. They are saying 50mm or 1.9 inches. We wait. We are prepared for just about anything. There are birds eating away in the garden and going into the wood boxes to get dry. The Juncos, the Sparrows, the Grackles, and the Blue Jay have visited so far. It has been a lonnnnnngggggg winter on the Canadian Prairies for all of us.

There is so much happening and a problem nest to check on. It is fantastic but I need 3 or 4 of me to keep up!

Breaking News: Little (or MiniO) the female nesting took flight this morning at 06:46:54. She has yet to return to the nest.

Very nice. It is thought that Little (Mini) has done some flybys and that she has been heard. She is fine. She will get back up to the nest or the parents will deliver some fish to her off camera. For me – I want her to return to the nest box so we can see her flying again!

Big Red and Arthur would be thrilled if their nest was in Southern Manitoba (if the weather were nice) because all of our Garter Snakes are coming out of hibernation (mentioned above). L1 hatched at 21:46 last evening and the first meal that Big Red her fuzzy little chick this morning was snake!

Oh, such a cute little eyas. Look carefully. Red-hawk nestlings have pink legs, black talons, black beaks with a yellow cere and are white. When the Peregrine Falcons hatch they will have pink legs, feet, and beak.

But what a gorgeous image. Big Red looking so lovingly into L1’s eyes. “Hi, Mama”.

Oh, this little one is so strong and healthy. What a cutie pie. Poor Big Red, the years have certainly taken a toll on her feet. They are really showing their age.

There is a second egg that is pipping. It is the one in the very front with the dark splotch. Soon there will be two!

Red-tail Hawk FACT: Digestion: A hawk’s digestive system is much different from ours. In addition to the Crop, their “stomach” is actually divided into two parts. The proventriculus (glandular stomach) is the next stop after the crop. The proventriculous is where food is mixed with digestive enzymes before it passes to the gizzard or ventriculus – a strong muscle pouch that contracts to crush and mix the food (RTH Chat moderator).

How old do Red-tail Hawks live? “The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.” – (Hibbie, RTH chat from AAB site). The US Govt says the oldest banded hawk was 29 years and 8 months. Sadly, many of the bands were taken from birds that had been shot. They could have lived longer if the shooting of raptors was halted!

Cornell made a short video of the first snake feeding:

Some more snake was fed around 11:00.

How often is prey delivered to a RTH nest? Generally, prey is delivered to nestlings ten to 15 times a day, starting just before sunrise and ending just after sunset.  How often food is delivered, as well as how big the prey is, varies among individual hawks and is affected by the number of young, as well as prey availability. In one study in Canada, researchers estimated that an average of between 14.4 oz, (nearly a pound) and 1.6 pounds)of food per day were brought to broods of 1 and 3 nestlings, respectively. That’s 410 grams a day and 730 grams a day. (Cornell RTH moderator, Deron). This does not include the parents’ food!
Summarization of 11 studies showed that RTH diet was made up of 68% mammal, 17.5%other birds, 7% reptiles and amphibians (mostly snakes), and 3.2% invertebrates. 

Last bit of information. Researchers have learned so much by watching streaming cams which often changes the information found in older texts that used observation of nests only. Do raptors assist their chicks in hatch? Until yesterday, I have noticed Akecheta helping this year at the West End nest. It surely happens more often! And, yes, Big Red assisted L1 by rolling the egg gently so that super hard shell (no lingering DDT issues here) to help break it up.

The Cornell RTH chat which is open M-W-F from 12-2 and T-Th from 10-12 Ithaca NY time. It is a great way to learn about the hawks. Go to the link below and click on chat (scroll down as it will be under the image of E3):

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/red-tailed-hawks/

The oldest of the siblings at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest woke up on the wrong side of the bed again this morning. He pecked at both Middle and Little. The breakfast fish came in around 9ish. Little Bit got a few bites. This nest needs another fish soon.

In the first image you can see the size difference of the three osplets easily. Big is at least 4x the size of Little Bit now with all the food it has been getting. At least 4x, possibly 5x.

Big goes after Middle. Little is staying out of the way.

Big will eat for a good 20 minutes before Little Bit gets the courage to go up and get a few bites – and yes, it was only a few. The fish was gone at 09:30.

As Mum was cleaning her beak, Little and Middle were up hoping that there was some more fish. You can hear them fish crying. Meanwhile Big is full past the brim and sleeping.

For those watching this nest, please be cautious. Middle attacked Little bit ferociously when the Mum moved. There was nape pulling and at a point I thought he was plucking. Little Bit might not make it if it continues to be kept from food and –well, it is the attacks.

Mum left the nest and returned around 12:17. Little Bit is looking up at her wanting food.

This once lovely nest has turned. Bonk and get bonked. What Big does to Middle, Middle then does to Little Bit. How sad! Send positive wishes to this nest. We need lots of fish brought in to turn this behaviour around and even then, it might not work but we hope.

It is 13:27 nest time and Little Bit is constantly prey calling. Oh, I wish this nest would turn around for the good. I wondered this morning if this stage of plumage development makes the nestlings more anxious and cranky. They are constantly preening those itchy feathers. That along with being hot and dehydrated and little fish…???????

Aran and Mrs G are celebrating the arrival of their second egg today. Yipppeeee. Let us all hope the weather and the intruders cooperate so these two have healthy hatches and they all fledge this year.

Everyone is busy laying eggs. Idris and Telyn now have three eggs in their Dyfi Nest as of 17:07.

Buckachek and Betynka at the Mlade Buky White Stork nest have their second egg as well.

I went to check on the two eaglets at the Dale Hollow nest. Because you can only go so far back on rewind it is difficult to state with some precision what the two have had to eat but they have had some fish that was brought in and there could be more. The amount that each got is unknown. They are both doing well and it is beautiful and green in the forest around the nest.

This has been a very long blog! There are so many nests with so much happening. Will try and do a nest hop later this evening for everyone who is missing out on hearing about their favourite nests. Yes, we do have our favourites. We will also be looking for another hatch for Big Red and Arthur.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that the weather is grand where you are. Get out and go for a walk and take me along. If you are waiting for the UCal Falcon Q & A, that is currently about 45 minutes away. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Dyfi Osprey Project, Brwyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, DHEC, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Cornell RTH Cam, Capri Mlade Buky, and Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann. So sad to
    Know what is happening in the Florida lamp nest with little bit.🙏💕prayers
    for it to make it.
    I hope the weather there improves and you’ll don’t get too much rain and snow there again.
    Have a good afternoon and I
    Look forward to the next newsletter soon.
    Linda

    1. It is very sad. The only solution is going to be more food closer together it seems! Maybe! Maybe Mum will get out and fish like Harriet did for Tiny Tot. It is awful how quickly these nests can take a nose dive!!!!! Our weather is horrible. It is pouring rain on frozen ground so flooding. I am hopeful that the pump station and the drains and our high location above the river – as well as our floodway help. The people who live in the rural areas are having a desperate time in certain areas. It has been quite the year. I really appreciate your kind words and prayers, Linda.

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