More tragic news in Bird World

12 June 2022

UPDATE: BOTH PARENTS AT THE CAPE HENLOPEN STATE PARK OSPREY NEST ARE MISSING. THE ADULT ON THE NEST IS AN INTRUDER. INTRUDERS WERE AROUND FIGHTING WITH MUM ON FRIDAY. THEY HAVE TAKEN OVER THE NEST AND REFUSED TO FEED THE CHICKS. THE THREE CHICKS, THUS, DIED OF STARVATION.

I did not expect to be writing another post today but there has been another tragedy today.

The youngest chick, Little Bob, of Louis and Dorcha at the Loch Arkaig nest has died of hypothermia (best guess). After a really good feeding Little Bob went over to the rim of the nest and it appears he got his foot caught. Dorcha called. Little Bob did not – could not – get free to get under her in the very cold wet weather. He died several hours later. So very sad. Little Bob was healthy and had really eaten his fill at that 11:44 feeding. Condolences to all at Loch Arkaig and to Louis and Dorcha.

Dorcha had taken the opportunity in a break in the weather to feed the wee chicks. There is Little Bob with his light grey head on the far right.

It turned rain and miserable right after the feeding and remains so. Send all your positive wishes to this family. Let us hope the other two osplets stay safe and thrive.

At the Redding Eagle nest of Liberty and Guardian, Sentry fledged yesterday, Saturday, at 19:42. Sentry has not been seen since the fledge. He was 84 days old. Ground crews are searching for him. Not seeing him does not imply in any way that there is anything wrong. With all of the foliage it is difficult to see birds – even ones a metre tall!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, Star continues to branch and has been eating a fish brought into the nest.

Another nest to send your positive wishes for so that they find Sentry and he is OK or he flies right back into the nest!

Gosh, Star is such a gorgeous eaglet. Is it my imagination or the colour settings on the camera that Star and Sentry both appear to have the most beautiful ebony plumage especially on their heads? Star will be fledging soon. She will be 84 days old next Wednesday, the 15th of June.

Takoda has now branched as high as his dad, Mr President! All of these nearly ready to fledge eaglets are so beautiful. You can imagine that the adult is keeping a close eye on Takoda!

There is good news in Estonia at the Veterinary School at the University of Life Sciences. The three Black Storklets are eating and acting the same way that they would in the wild – grabbing fish from one another and being very lively! Very grateful to Urmas and Dr. Leivitis for their care of these young vulnerable storklets.

If you wish to send Dr Madis Leivitis a thank you note for what they are doing, this is his e-mail. I am certain he would appreciate hearing from you and for the moral support of the international community. Here it is: mleivits@gmail.com

The three of the West End nest of Thunder and Aketcheta. The fledglings Ahote and Kana’kini – and soon to be fledgling Sky – on the nest wanting fish!!!!

The latest image of fledgling Kana’kini below the transmitter. Look hard. She really blends into the landscape. Ahote has been on the nest and I believe he had an entire fish to himself! Way to go Ahote!

The Mum at the Cape Helopen State Park Osprey nest appears to be in shock. She comes and goes, always with little quiet cries. I wonder if she will bring in some material to cover the osplets like Dad did at the Captiva Osprey nest when Big died? Will continue to monitor but please if you see anything, let me know. I just feel so bad for her – and I wish that attitudes would change so that help would be forthcoming. No one in Estonia has ever taken Black Storklets into care but Dr Madis Leivitis did and is hoping that he can show that they can thrive in care and fledge to live a normal life in the wild. And dear Smedley lived at the Audubon Centre in Florida for 28 years and he was an Osprey. I am afraid I am long passed the statement that ‘Ospreys do not do well in care’. Who first said that? When did they say it? Is it a statement that has been passed down as fact for decades? Maybe it is time to try it again. We have an opportunity to help and we should be trying. Sorry for the rant. — Osplets could have been taken into care or fish could have been provided. — Even if the osplets died in care at least we could walk away and say we tried.

It is late in the day and the sun is just starting to go down. It looks like Mum with that beautiful necklace has tried fishing. Her head is still wet and slick. I do hope she was successful. Keep her in your most positive thoughts. We know her mate was 20 years old and was at this nest since 2006. We do not know how old Mum is or how long they were together (I can’t find it but if you know, please tell me). It is difficult to know what grief looks like. Unlike the other Osprey Mums this year who had other chicks to care for when tragedy hit, this Mum has lost her entire family.

A study in Scientific American printed in 2013 discussed grief in birds. Ducks have drowned themselves after the loss of a mate, a swan did the same thing, Crows and other Covids have roadside funerals. Magpies cover their departed with grass. Of course, there are other examples. You have seen many yourself. Shock would be the best way that I could describe this Mum’s behaviour. It is so sad and as one reader pointed out – “so entirely unnecessary!”

At the ND-LEEF nest, Little Bit 17 has eaten well today. Dad has delivered what appears to be another raccoon and Little Bit is keeping back but waiting to see if pecking sibling 16 leaves anything. Fingers crossed.

Little Bit moves up closer giving the hint that he would like some of that Raccoon. Little Bit has become quite the raccoon specialist these days.

Little Bit 17 hurried over to the porch area around 18:16. Did he find something?

Little Bit is around and back and up and at 18:56 he is at the top of the nest eating ‘something’.

Good luck, Little Bit 17!!!!!!!!! You are our inspiration.

Thank you for joining me for this update. It has been a tough year but let’s look to the survivors – and the ones like Little Bit 17 who have struggled to live – and be thankful they are still with us.

Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: EMS, ND-LEEF, Cape Henlopen State Park Osprey Cam, Explore.org and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Friends of Loch Arkaig, People’s Post Code Lottery, and Woodland Trust, NADC-AEF, and Friends of Redding Eagles.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Mary Ann I’m so thankful little
    But 17 is still with us 🙏 it’s so sad to see the Mom in grief at the Helopen nest. 🙏
    Also the little Bob at Dorcha ‘s nest. I’m so sorry it had to suffer like that in the cold rain with its little leg stuck. 😢
    Thanks for all the updates and photos Mary Ann.
    Have a Blessed Sunday evening and see you soon!
    Linda

    1. Me, too – re Little Bit 17. He has sure fought to live! It is very sad. I hope we do not lose any more! You keep sending those prayers and good wishes. I ‘think’ Little Bit is over the hump if things continue as they are but those poor chicks in Scotland and Wales with the cold damp and wind.

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