Victor is a picky eater, Little Bit Soars, and Ervie tests out spikes – early Thursday in Bird World

18 August 2022

I have started writing this with the news of Wednesday the 17th that some of you might not have seen. It has been raining and raining with tornado warnings for a couple of days now and it is expected to continue. As a result I am scooting out to the nature centre and local ponds to continue the duckling and gosling counts whenever I can. Good thing. The skies opened up in the middle of the night – many friends had pets who were frightened by the fierceness of it all.

It always puts a smile on my face when I go out and all the waterfowl families are where they normally are. It is true that they develop an area to their liking and it is equally true that some wander from one place to another. I hope that some images might brighten your day, too. I did not do any colour adjustments. The water looks like pea soup – the surface is made up of tiny little leaf like bits.

This Mallard family lives in a particular spot. I have been following them since June.

I always know which pond to find them. Today, I saw them coming around a bend. Ducks paddle fast. The female kept a watchful eye but seemed not to be bothered by my presence. She has seen me so many times that it seems she just goes on about her business as if I am not there.

You can see the leafy bits easier in the image of the Mallard below. It is clearly a different surface from the much-needed-to-be-cleaned-full-of- human-debris pond at one of our other parks.

I found this bunch lounging under one of the benches in the shade trying to stay cool.

What has been most interesting to me is that the Mallards are thriving – what ones that survived – at the Nature Centre with their ever growing ducklings while the Wood Ducks have taken over a park and there are only 5 or 6 Mallards. I do know that they do not like one another!

The Ojai Raptor Centre has given us an ‘excellent progress’ update on our dear Victor.

Look how tall and handsome Victor is – remember when he could not stand and he required physiotherapy by being held by a towel with holes for his legs? What an amazing transformation! (At this point, it is perfectly permissible to shed a tear or two).

I wonder if Victor is yelling for fish?

Now, it turns out that Victor is a very picky eater!!!!!! He only likes Whitefish so the Ojai Raptor Centre has sent out a call for the fishermen to bring in fresh Whitefish. It is costly. If you have been thinking about donating or making a shop purchase in aid of Victor, maybe now is a good time to do this. He has really made fabulous progress with their great care.

There is very sad news coming out of the Arboretum in Minneapolis. The only osplet on the nest was near fledge. It had leapt off of the nest – and survived a couple of times – due to human activity below the platform. Two days ago the little one jumped off again in fright. Searchers have not found the youngster and it is assumed that it was predated. #85 on the list of feathered friends departed. I will happily delete that entry if the osplet turns up!

This was the announcement:

Of course, I have an opinion! (And I am certain you do, too) It won’t help this osplet but protocols need to be developed and put into best practices everywhere there is a raptor nest. Areas near Osprey platforms need some separation from human activity. This chick was known to leap out of the nest due to its fear of humans below. It was nearing fledge. Two options: Once a near fledgling has leapt out of a nest due to the fear of human activity, Kept the chick in care til it could fly OR stop the human activity around the platform until such time as the chick fledges. It really is that simple. When do non-emergency human activities take precedent over the safety and concern for wildlife?

Little Bit ND17 has been caught perched on ‘his’ branch and soaring over the St Joseph River near to the natal nest in St Patrick’s park. Oh, he is doing so well. Just brilliant. What a role model Little Bit is for all of us. He ate anything he could find on the nest to stay alive. I will never forget him scurrying back to the part we couldn’t see to eat something – normally the pelt of a squirrel or a raccoon so 16 could not come after him. It didn’t matter to him – it was food and it kept him alive. He kept his wits about him even when he did not have food for a couple of days…and he never gave up! Little Bit wanted to live and to soar like a big eagle — and he is doing just that. Look at him go!

Suzanne Arnold Horning found L2, the first of Big Red and Arthur’s 2022 clutch to fledge and the second to catch its own prey (L4 was first), today after there had been a brief storm. L2 is incredibly beautiful. He is out by the fields and it looks like he is sitting on a pole like a good hawk watching for voles and chipmunks. Red-tail hawks are gorgeous. Like the hawks that visit my garden on occasion during the fall and winter, they are capable of sitting like a statue for extreme periods of time waiting for prey.

Sadly we are entering a period where the raptors will be going into care because of lead poisoning or from being hit by cars. Those that eat carrion are especially at risk as many people will not stop and remove a dead animal from the road and place it safely away from the cars. — If you do see a dead animal, you need to think quickly on your toes because you do not want to be a casualty either. Not everyone carries a shovel and a collapsible pet carrier or cardboard box in their car but it really helps if you have a shovel or piece of wood to remove the carrion to the side of the road. Put your flashers on. Watch so you do not open the door when there is oncoming traffic. Then be bold. Wave your arms to stop cars. Most will but be darn quick to get out of the way if they don’t. Then scoop up the animal and put it away from the road in the ditch — we do not want it close to any cars. Thank you! Tonight, however, the culprit is monofilament line. None of the children at our nature centre, when questioned, realized that ‘fishing line’ was dangerous to wildlife. Education is key.

This little Osprey fledgling was lucky that people were willing to work after hours to give it a second chance when it was found tangled in fishing line.

Oh, what a sweet little thing. It looks like it is feeling better already.

Even the fish get caught up in line – many break the line leaving the hook inside of them. A kind person living in my city found this fish near the shore wrapped in monofilament line. They stopped, cut it off, and worked with the fish for 5 minutes to get the life back in it. That fish got a second chance, too.

Every living thing deserves our kindness.

The Sea Eaglets 29 and 20 continue to thrive. Lady fed them both a nice breakfast – not a crop buster but, a good start to the day.

30 is really starting to have a growth spurt. We can still tell them apart because 29 is just that little bit ahead. you can see the down gone from its entire head to the nape. There are more back and wing feathers.

The feathers are really developing. In a wink these two are going to look so different…and look, hardly any down bits left on those heads.

Cooper’s Hawk

Most of us know Dr Eric Greene from his work with the Montana Ospreys and, in particular, his love of dear Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world. Yesterday he posted a video on the University of Montana website about a very special raptor family on the grounds of the campus.

Our City is home to numerous Cooper Hawk families and I am hoping to get out to see one of them at a park called Bunn’s Creek this weekend with a group. You might recall that a large female Cooper’s Hawk took up residence on my deck early this spring. It appears that they have ousted the little Sharp-shinned Hawk from the territory.

‘H’ sent some great images of Sloop. He doesn’t have his landings perfected — or does he mean to buzz those siblings???? Congratulations to Dory and Skiff – they fledged three beautiful ospreys this year who have ample time to get in form for migration.

The take off – wings up, Sloop!

The buzz. Thanks ‘H’. Great screen captures. Too funny.

The Black Stork, Kaia, continues to stay in Belarus travelling only a few kilometres to find food. Her battery is operating at 99%. Here is her current position.

Mama Cruz has visited the Fraser Point nest this morning. She is showing concern – there is a ‘stranger’ in her territory. It is Trey, her 2019 daughter with Spirit. Trey is under the natal nest in the bushes.

How do I know this is not Andor? There is no wing tag. Mama Cruz shed that tag in April 2021 and she has only one band, a federal silver band on her right leg because when she was ringed Dr Sharpe believed she was a male.

Has something happened to Trey? It is not clear why she is in the bush under the nest and not flying.

Migration is under way and you can go to this link to find an interactive map.

Emyr Evans has posted an image of Pedran, Idris and Telyn’s daughter, who is today 84 days old. She has not been seen at the nest for the last 7 days. Did she undertake the earliest migration in Welsh Osprey history? or will she return to the nest from some adventure? or, sadly, is she lost? No one can answer that question yet.

News coming out of Port Lincoln Osprey is really good. Dear Ervie has demonstrated that certain approaches to keeping birds off poles simply do not work!

And there is a great article about Mum and Dad’s three eggs this season. Osprey are so rare in South Australia.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves! We are expecting more and more rain but I hope to get out into nature somewhere — you sleep better. Your mind is refreshed. I hope that you will make an effort, no matter how small, to take in nature’s beauty today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB posts where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Dyfi Osprey Project, BirdCast, Explore and IWS, Looduskalender, University of Montana, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Bobby Horvath, Suzanne Arnold Horning, Notre-Dame Eagles FB, Twin Cities Metro Osprey Watch, and the Ojai Raptor Centre.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Mary Ann thanks so much for this wonderful information and photos and links. Very good to hear about Victor’s improvements! ❤️🦅🙏Very good to hear about ND17 doing so well especially after when he was little what he went through to get food and survive! 🙏❤️🦅 Ervie is amazing!❤️Please be safe Ervie and away from the dangerous poles❤️🙏 So happy for Mom and Dad with their 3 new eggs incubating them at Port Lincoln.🙏
    Prayers for the missing Osprey at Dyfi that all is ok with her and we hear a good update 🙏❤️ Prayers for Kiai to be and stay safe. 🙏❤️ Praying that Trey is ok. She is very pretty. When I saw her posted yesterday on the tree branch she seemed fine but now under the bushes is worrisome 🙏❤️🦅. The little sea eaglets are so cute and growing and getting their new feathers. Adorables 💕💕. Red hawks are beautiful. So glad she was seen. Wish we could get an update on the 2 who are in the care center. 🙏🙏
    So thankful help got to the pretty Osprey
    Tangled in the line ! This is something that is so worrisome for fishing and also hunting season will be coming in season and the lead is so worrisome. Praying word gets out enough about this all around the world and reduce this danger for our birds and animals. 🙏
    Thanks again Mary Ann !Have a good day
    And hope the weather will
    Be better and you can get the duck counts. Take care!

    1. Oh, you are so very welcome, Linda. It is nice to have some really good news about our lads…and we hope that all of the others are OK. The fishing line issue is increasing – possibly because so many people have been out fishing or the rains and flooding have shifted the line and old branches about in the water. It looks terribly painful and I suspect no human would want to be bound up like that! It is so reassuring that people stop and help – and actually have something to cut the line and know how to help the fish!

  2. Hi Mary Ann – thanks for another comprehensive post! It worries me that Trey is in the bushes below the nest. Isn’t that the same place where Victor developed zinc poisoning? I hope she hasn’t done the same. Crossing fingers she’s okay….

    1. It is lovely to hear from you, Betty. It is the same place that Victor was when he was rescued but I believe they do not know where he picked up the zinc. Still, it is worrisome that she is still down there and I hope that she is not unwell. I am sure that Dr Sharpe and his team have their eyes on the situation. He is a real angel to these eagles…our dear Victor doing so well. Which reminds me…I cannot get a definitive answer from anyone but it would appear that zinc is quite toxic and so much is being ‘galvanized’ these days. Stay away from it!

  3. Jill says:

    Hey Mary Ann, Just wanted to share with you at 13:13:19 29 started to play with 30’s toes.  It was really cute, and continues for a few minutes.  Best bonding I’ve seen so far between these two. Take care, Jill

    1. Hi Jill. Oh, thank you! I had lots of earlier images of feedings but those are super nice close ups and that is a precious moment between the two siblings. Much appreciated! Everyone will be so grateful to you like I am.

  4. Jill says:

    Hello again, Nest interplay with the Sea Eagle chicks starts at TS 7:09 through 7:18. 29 is playful with 30, but poor thing, 30 just doesn’t trust 29. Nice to see 29 can be tender, if untrustworthy!   Jill

    1. Hi Jill. First time I have been at the computer since morning. I will go and check. How lovely. 30 is right not to trust 29…If food gets short, 29 will demand to eat it all…I would like to see 30 reach down and bite 29’s beak!!! Thank you so much for the time stamps. It is truly appreciated.

    2. Hi Jill, I hope you can help me. I noticed that Lady did not sleep with the eaglets last night. I also notice that it is nearly noon and I have not seen them have any food. Did you see a feeding this morning that I might have missed? Thank you. (This is concerning).

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