8 May 2022
I had a lovely letter from a friend today. Like so many of you, she has tried to watch some of the nests and gotten attached to the birds only to have her heart pulled out when an older sibling shoves them out of the nest or, in other instances, they were starved or killed by beaking or both. It has been a tough year on the nests. Tough even for me.
My friend pulled back and has started watching Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the campus of Cornell and Annie and Alden on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. Her question this morning was simply to clarify that hawks and falcons do not practice siblicide. The answer is that the preponderance of siblicide occurs in eagles (some species more than others), egrets, boobies, herons, pelicans and, I am going to add ospreys to that list. There are lots of reasons, some explored in earlier blogs but, it is safe to say that if you wish to enjoy the birds on the streaming bird cams, falcons and hawks are generally a very safe choice as are ducks and geese. Because the chicks are precocial (are fully feathered, can walk and swim and eat on their own), the ducks and geese need those chicks to hatch all at once. They delay full incubation until the last egg is laid. Robins do that too and so do hawks and falcons. In this way, the older chicks are not that much bigger (normally) than the younger. The ducks and geese and even the raptors need their babies to fledge at the same time. So incubating them so they will hatch together really helps. It is called synchronous hatching (begins hard incubation after the last egg is laid) as opposed to asynchronous hatching where the parent immediately begins hard incubation immediately after the first egg is laid.
Annie makes a kind of chee-up sound when she is ready to put the food in the beak. The chicks learn this. Annie might well give the biggest chick the first few bites but she immediately moves around giving the youngest some. Today, the Peregrine Falcon Mother at the scrape in Oudenaarde, Belgium spent a whole hour making sure that all 5 of her eyases were fed and full. No one left the table hungry. The Mum at the Manchester NH falcon nest also has five eyases. Not one of them went to bed hungry tonight despite their size difference – the smallest had a big crop just like the largest. That is what hawks and falcons do!
A clump of falcons in a feather bed.
The wee one is piled on top of one of the siblings to stay warm.
Here is Annie feeding her two chicks brunch on Mother’s Day! Watch carefully how she feeds the big one several bites, then the small one and then goes back and forth. Annie is a pro. Both are well fed!
And Cal Falcons posted a second feeding just a short time ago. It is really cute. Alden checks in on the babies who see an adult and open their beaks. Alden is so cautious and nervous. He It very happy when Annie arrives with lunch he provided in her beak from the other side of the scrape!
Here is that feeding. It is so cute. Notice how the little one gets full and then gets back up for some more. Falcons eat everything. Nothing is wasted. Some of the first few bites were feathers.
It doesn’t get much better than the Red-tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur at Cornell. Little L4 is growing and surviving and well, I haven’t watched this nest 24/7 but I have not seen any tendencies by the oldest to interfere with the younger ones.
SF Bay Ospreys does not want us to forget about Rosie on Mother’s Day. I adore her and if there is an osprey nest in the US to watch that is stable – Rosie and Richmond in SF are it! —- Oh, and no. Ospreys are not prone to Avian Flu. They eat fish.
Someone dressed Spirit up. LOL. Good thing I don’t have the software to do this!!!!!!! I think Spirit is a Jackie in the making, too.
We all loved Kindness at Glacier Gardens. Many have been watching the nest cam and have been wondering where the eagles , Liberty and Freedom, are. Well, they have built a new nest! Here is the video reveal of that find:
The camera remains off line at the UFlorida-Osprey nest if you have been checking. It is unclear when it will be back on. If it is a mechanical issue it would be difficult since the chicks are older.
The Dale Hollow Eaglets have full crops and are drying off today. These two are doing very well.
Some nest renovations have been going on at the National Arboretum. I don’t think DC9 appreciated some of those branches.
At 2045 there is still no hatch at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Maya is certainly restless tonight.
If you are a fan of Lady and Dad at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest in the Olympic Forest, you will know that the couple have been working on the nest. We are about three weeks away from the first egg being laid.
Where’s Ervie? Looks like he still hanging around the barge area of Port Lincoln. Fine by me!
It has been a busy day at all the nests and throughout different regions as the migratory birds continue to move through. My garden was full of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows again today along with the usuals. The little Chickadee couple love to have a swim!
The Starling was not so pleased when Dyson came along and wanted some of the seeds.
Dyson is trying to try out for the local gymnastics team. Look at her stretch! She is losing her winter fur and the tufts on the end of her ears are gone. Ironically, her tail is much thicker. She is in really good health. Good to see.
I hope that each of you have had a wonderful day today and, hopefully, if you could, got to spend some time outside. It really is energizing – even for a few minutes sitting in the sun. Thank you so much for joining me today. It is a joy to have you here. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Falcon Network, Cornell RTH, Friends of Big Bear Valley, NADC-AEF, DHEC, Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the LRWT.