Early Monday in Bird World

4 July 2022

Good Morning Everyone. I hope that you had a marvellous weekend and for those celebrating independence day in many countries around the world, have a fun and safe time.

With all the talk about storks, ‘L’ asked a question in the comments. Did I know what happened to the White Stork couple, Malena and Klepetan? Thank you ‘L’ – that is a great question and I bet many are wondering too.

Klepetan and Malena are the best romance story in all of Bird World. The intervention to save Malena’s life after she was shot by a man in Croatia is a testament to what love can move us to do for our wildlife friends.

If you do not know the story, before you read further, please watch at least the first one of these videos so you know the background to this truly remarkable story.

Perhaps the most famous stork couple in the world were Klepetan and Malena. Malena stayed year round with Stjepan Vokic in Croatia. As you will know from the video, Malena was shot and it was only through the gentle care of Vokic that her life was spared. What devotion to keep her, clean her, feed her, prepare the nest and fish for both adults and chicks so that Klepatan and Malena could spend all their time together.

For 20 years, Klepetan migrated back and forth from South Africa to Brodski Varos, Croatia. Malena died peacefully on 7 July 2021 of old age. She was 28 years old. Klepetan was by her side when she died along with her other faithful companion, Vokic. Malena was buried in one of her favourite places. Klepetan continued to come every day wondering where his mate was. They had been together for 20 years and had raised 66 storklets. Klepetan was fitted with a transmitter. He did not return to the nest he shared with Melana in 2022. Did he also die? or find a different nest with a new mate? I am hoping to be able to find the time and help to see if Klepatan’s transmitter is still working.

Want to help out Humane Wildlife Indiana? They have an extensive wish list on Amazon including a xylophone for chickens. I have learned through one of our readers, ‘L’ how important it is to have creative stimulation or enrichment for all of the animals in care. Who would want to live strapped to a perch with nothing to do? There are lots of things on the list from a few dollars to $30 or $40. Here is the link. It is good to see what the wildlife clinics are asking for. You can always help out your local clinic too – they always need laundry detergent, bleach, hand sanitizer, wipes, and those old clean towels I keep repeating…Even if you do not intend purchasing anything for the clinic, have a look. It is possible that you intend to get rid of items that could be used at your local clinic.

Here is the link.

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/12TH5G1M7K4DC?fbclid=IwAR26cBDgVhsmN3_U_rzTCKHLaamk0zys4DS3eN8P0piyppMkdBox9oJs1Ms

So busy with Little Bit and the JJ storklets that some others get forgotten so I am also playing catch up this morning. The only surviving eaglet at the Fort St Vrain nest in Colorado, 46, fledged on the 1st of July. Congratulations everyone!

It is not just Annie and Alden bonding in the scrape! As breeding season in Australia gets closer, Diamond and Xavier are doing a lot of bonding rituals in the scrape – some short, some long. Oh, you are going to fall in love with little Xavier if you don’t know him already. Here is that video clip.

‘B’ sent me a newspaper article on the rescue of the US Steel Eaglet. It is a good read with one troubling bit – they state that he eaglet will learn to fly and be released in an area away from the natal nest. My concern is that they must teach that eaglet to hunt – just like Little Bit needs that training. In order to do that the eagles need a little of time, trained professionals, and specialized structures. It is expensive and time consuming and well worth it if neither wind up back in care. Thanks ‘B’.

https://www.post-gazette.com/life/outdoors/2022/07/03/bald-eagle-pittsburgh-pennsylvania-us-steel/stories/202207030127

I want to include a screen capture that ‘H’ sent me on Sunday. It is just a beautiful sunrise at the Boathouse Osprey nest on Hog Island, Maine. How stunning. Thanks ‘H’ for sharing this beautiful image with all of us!

The boathouse osprey cam on Hog Island is currently offline and is only showing highlights.

Two chicks on the Osoyoos Osprey nest on a misty wet morning. Let’s hope that dad gets a pile of fish on the nest today since the weekend festivities have passed.

There is a severe thunderstorm watch in the area of the Canmore Fortis Exshaw Osprey nest…send positive wishes to all!

There was also beautiful sunrise in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic. Betty has flown in and is feeding those four great big storklings.

It is early morning in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The four chicks of Karl II and Kaia are sound asleep. It is so good that Bonus, one of JJ’s chicks, has integrated so well into this family. It is Day 5 for Bonus.

‘T’ sent me an image of Karl II. Last year he discovered the fish basket that Urmas provided. It is about 9-10km from the nest and this year Karl II has been visiting the fish basket and bringing lots of fish to the four storklets on the nest. They are hoping that the herons do not find the basket as it will limit the fish Karl II will find.

This is the other nest where Janus, the middle chick of Jan and Janika, in Urmas and Dr Madis V’s experiment has been placed. It is doing well. Thank you ‘T’.

Takoda decided to come and visit the National Arboretum nest on Sunday. He has found his reflection in the camera. There are some great ‘selfies’ that Takoda is taking! Have a peek.

Some of you became very interested in what your country is doing to help stop avian electrocutions. Knowing what is being undertaken to help the birds is a good way to begin understanding what you can do to spread the word about the dangers and solutions. ‘A’ wanted to find out what Japan was doing and she discovered that there is a special institute working on this problem on the northern most island of Japan, Hokkaido.

“Birds of prey have the habit of perching on high places with a good view and will use tall trees as well as man-made structures such as streetlights and utility poles as perches. When raptors perch on utility poles or pylons, or when they are about to take off from a perch, they are electrocuted when their wings or other body parts come in contact with parts of the body that conduct electricity.

In Hokkaido, accidents involving electrocution of Blakiston’s fish owls, hawk eagles, white-tailed eagles, and Steller’s sea eagles have occurred to date. Electrocuted birds of prey may show severe burns and blackened feathers. Red spots called electric current spots may also be seen on the skin where the electric current was applied.

To prevent electric shock accidents, electric power companies install insulators on current-carrying parts and devices to prevent birds of prey from perching on utility poles. They also install safe perches on top of utility poles to prevent electrocution. The Institute for Birds of Prey Medicine is working to prevent electric shock accidents by analyzing electric shock accidents and consulting with electric power companies and other parties in order to develop more effective countermeasures in areas where electric shock accidents have occurred or are likely to occur.”

Thank you, ‘A’.

I wanted to see what work the Institute for Birds of Prey Medicine is doing and came across something very interesting. Fifteen years ago the use of lead (Pb) ammunition was outlawed in Japan. Today, lead poisoning remains a serious problem for raptors who accidentally consume lead pellets from illegal hunting in various places in Japan but the overall testing of raptors and discovery of those who have ingested lead has dropped significantly (lower than 25%). In comparison, the US Geological Survey discovered that between 2010-2018 (the end of the study) more than 50% of all raptors in the US had been poisoned by lead either in hunting or fishing equipment. The soft lead bullets that break into fragments have the worst impact on the raptors. Other lead fishing equipment can be mistaken by birds such as Loons who think these lead weighs are pebbles and eat them!

There is no nationwide ban in the US for the use of lead. California is the only state to ban the use of lead entirely. New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Maine have partial bans in fishing gear. In 1987, Minnesota banned the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting. In 1991, a federal law in the US also banned lead shot for waterfowl hunting. The problem rests with the DNR who has lobbied against imposing any other lead restrictions on hunters. In April of 2021, three states – Maine, Minnesota, and New York introduced bills that would ban lead completely in all hunting and fishing gear. I am checking to see if HF2556 has been signed into law in Minnesota in 2022.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220217141324.htm

Do you remember the ‘Old Warrior’? He was taken into care after being found on the side of the road lethargic. He went to A Place Called Hope, another great wildlife rehabber. His lead levels were measured at 49. Very extensive lead removal treatments resulted in the old eagle with the broken leg and beak being able to go into an outside enclosure. A Place Called Hope applied to the USFWS for a license to keep the Old Warrior as an educational bird. I reached out to A Place Called Hope and they said that sadly the lead issues had caused so much damage that the Old Warrior had died. He was a poster child of trying to beat the odds. There are other kinds of ammunition – stainless steel and copper. Lead is not the answer!

There has been some concern about Blue 022 at the Poole Harbour nest. He has now been caught on camera and all is well. The two chicks have been ringed and they are both girls! Well done Poole Harbour. Congratulations and relief.

At the Rutland Mantou Bay nest of Maya and Blue 33, 1H2 and 1H3 fledged this morning. All girls are flying about and there is definitely an empty nest! They will return to harass dad for fish, no worries.

Whew! You might need an extra cup of tea or coffee to make it through this today – sorry! Lots happening in Bird World. The kids up at Loch of the Lowes are starting to get the hover going, too. Thank you for joining me today. Please take care. Thanks to everyone who sent news, photos, or comments. They are always appreciated. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages or videos where I took my screen captures: The Dodo, HRT, Ft St Vrain and Excel Energy, Falcon Cam, Audubon Explore.org, Osoyoos Osprey Cam, Fortis Exshaw, Mlade Buky, Eagle Club of Estonia, NADC-AEF, A Place Called Hope (APCH), Poole Harbour Ospreys, and LRWT.

6 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Just after I read your blog, I came across this video of the Kielder Osprey chicks….all 4 of them being ringed! I especially loved that because of ringing, the birds are identified in all parts of Africa as one lady in the clip recalls!
    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-tyne-62016351
    I also saw you mentioned Carnyx who support the only Roseate Tern Colony in the UK “In the 1970s, there were just 16 pairs of roseate terns on Coquet Island, but this year (2018) there were 118 pairs” Unfortunately, they turned the cams off at the end of June due to Avian Flu right as the chicks had hatched so I can only fear the worse….ncredibly sad……

    1. The little ospreys are so sweet when they are being ringed. They just pancake down and stay still. I adore them. I just saw a sad report from the RSPB that Avian flu is all through the Shetland Islands and up north. I am not sure about the one you mention but it is devastating the Gannets. It is so sad.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for these updates! It is the 4th of July Independence Day and what a wonderful day to recognize the danger for our Eagles and all other birds who come in contact with ‘LEAD’. I pray the law will come into effect soon here to outlaw the lead from hunting and our birds and animals will not have to suffer!
    ❤️🇺🇸🦅 ❤️🇺🇸🦅 ❤️🇺🇸🦅 ❤️🇺🇸🦅 🙏
    I’m so sad to learn of the death of the Old Warrior eagle with the broken beak. I remember the story but never knew what happened to him after reading it. May he Rest In Peace ❤️🇺🇸🦅
    I love the story of KLEPETAN AND MELANA
    Thank you so very much for sharing it today with us. I learned of her passing from you. I wonder also what happened to Klepetan. If you find out about his transmitter please let us know. It was amazing how he came every year many long miles to Melana. ❤️❤️It was truly a great love story !!!!
    Thank you for all the photos and links to watch Mary Ann. Have a great day and we look forward to hearing from you again soon.
    Linda

    1. Yes, absolutely – the Eagles, the Condors, the Vultures – any that go down to eat the innards the hunters just dump. If they would take the whole animal home and there was a place for them to take the innards to be disposed of – well that would be another matter but no one wants to go to the bother and of course, it would be costly. — I had known about the Old Warrior. I wrote them but they didn’t post it because so many they felt would have been upset at the time. He tried hard but in the end the lead had just done so much damage even tho he was clear of it. So sad. if I hear anything of Klepetan I will let everyone know. When there is a sadness on a nest the birds often do not return to it. I think that is what happened here in Croatia. I hope he has a new mate and chicks.

  3. Akane says:

    Thank you for all the information. I sincerely hope the lead poisoning is over.
    The morning glow is wonderful. It is beautiful.
    It is hard to lose a bird you have loved for so long. It is very sad.
    I am ashamed to say that I did not know about the “Medical Institute for Birds of Prey.” It was a research and breeding center for birds of prey!
    I would like to donate old towels from now on. Thank you very much.

    1. It sounds like Japan took a bold step and hopefully those that are still using the lead will stop because they understand what it does to the wildlife. Old towels make a huge difference…they are very expensive for the rehab centres to purchase. My neighbours now bring theirs to me and I take them to the centre. It is a wonderful way to help – and everyone wins. You get new towels and the birds have clean bedding.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s