Early Thursday in Bird World

24 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone! Do you feel like autumn is coming? It is chilly in the house this evening (Wednesday), The evening temperatures are dropping on the Canadian Prairies but, it will be 28 C this week during the day. I watched the squirrels in the garden fetching peanut after peanut – storing them away in their nests and around the garden for the winter. They do not remember that there are plenty of peanuts and solid seed cylinders during the winter for them. In a week and a half many of us will be traveling to birding hotspots outside Winnipeg to see the beginnings of the arrival of large numbers of birds from the North. Already there are postings about long lines of Canada Geese flying South. Thursday turns out to be a crisp morning – sweater weather now but that will be shed shortly.

A young Least Chipmunk comes to visit. Least Chipmunks are the smallest of all chipmunks. They have five dark and four light stripes along their sides and three dark and two light stripes on the face. Their fur is orange-brown, and their underside is greyish-white. Their habitat in our neighbourhood was destroyed with the building of large condos and they are finding new places to live.

In the Mailbox:

From ‘P’. “We are always told that Ospreys do not respond well to being in care. Is this true?” The first example that I think of when I hear this question is Smedley, the Osprey with the droopy wing who lived in care for 28 years at the Audubon Centre. One of the care givers at the Audubon Centre, ‘L’ answered the question this way for us: “Many times, people assume Ospreys do not do well in care. They do overcome the nervousness that is characteristic of osprey. They’re known to be the lovers and not fighters of the raptor world but they show the same adaptation, feisty spirit and will to survive as all species do. We have had so many here at Audubon with injuries from the short term to severe long term….adults to juveniles to fledgling. I walked into the clinic a couple of weeks ago and saw half a dozen with hoods on so they stay calm just stood around waiting to be hand fed. You definitely can’t do that with hawks, eagles and owls.”

Many have written to ask what happened to the Osplet on the Finnish nest that was always attacking its mother? As a reminder that was the chick on nest #3. The parents are Ahti (male) and Nuppu (female). FYI: Nuppu had on a couple of occasions taken the fish arrival and not fed the chick which might have just prompted that aggressive behaviour.

Here is that famous video:

That very healthy chick fledged and here is a video of Tuulos returning to the nest to get a fish meal two days ago. Lovely juvenile Osprey. Oh, I hope this one is a survivor – he sure has the drive.

A Sparrow Hawk visited nest #3. As it happens everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is getting empty nest syndrome right now.

In the News:

Worrying news coming out of the UK this morning. A white-tail Eagle on the Isle of Mull has tested positive for Avian Flu. A number of eaglets have died on the nest or right at fledge. This is terrible news for the WTE population. Here is the article on the impact from the RSPB:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/mull-white-tailed-eagle-chick-dead-from-bird-flu/?fbclid=IwAR0ae5Qd6FSGEI9MFj5zxbPL4bIDracUna3nkCqj-dH7ktFu8CxO6V6cu1g

Port Lincoln Ospreys has made its mark in Australia for its efforts to save the Ospreys. They need no introduction on my blog for their tireless efforts to get platforms up and nests off the shores so that predators do not get the eggs, chicks, or the adults.

They shot the hen harrier. In order that its killing would go undetected, its wings were cut off with the tag and tracker attached to a Crow. It is not know if the wings were ripped off the raptor when she was alive or dead. Her name was Asta. “She vanished from a known raptor persecution hotspot, in an area managed for driven grouse shooting – an industry with an acknowledged filthy history of persecuting birds of prey, and particularly hen harriers, as demonstrated by decades of prosecutions, convictions and endless scientific evidence.” I have never suggested that violence was in any way the right choice in any conflict but I often do wonder what if the individuals who tear the wings off a helpless bird, or shoot an arrow through the head of an innocent goose or other bird or animal were to have the same treatment done to them – would it help stop this inhumanity! I am happy to attach the short blog that explains this story in full. We are at a time when we are celebrating the successful fledge of two hen harriers in the reintroduction programme in the UK. Will they also be shot over a grouse hunting estate ——or can we begin to hope that that archaic sport is pasts its sell-by date?

There are growing calls to ban the killing of wildlife in the United States. Can you hear me saying, ‘thank goodness’! What happens in the US often has a reciprocal impact on us in Canada. Indeed, one of the wetland areas that I visit just sent an invite for a Zoom talk on this years numbers and how this will impact hunting!!!!!! No thank you.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/how-killing-wildlife-became-a-game?fbclid=IwAR2kwKSzHZXKlUpFN7RqWymrwbqz4WmXO0-40zkmdK3xNNy1YmV6FUik-9I

The BBC is asking people in the UK what it will be like where they live as our planet continues to heat up. I would love to see this for the rest of the world. My concern is – of course – the raptors. Will they arrive earlier? Will the intensification of rain along the coasts cause issues with osplet health and survivability in Wales? The whole story is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-d6338d9f-8789-4bc2-b6d7-3691c0e7d138

Alongside this news I am always asking how can we help our raptors and other wildlife mitigate or adapt? One of my dear friends lives in Singapore and before the pandemic, I visited this area often. Her father was the second President of Singapore from 1971-81, Dr Benjamin Sheare’s. Sheares’s predecessor, Lee Kwan Yew launched Singapore as a garden city in 1967. The idea was carried further in 1992 with the sustainable blueprint, Singapore Green Plan (SGP). This was updated in 2021. Today, half of Singapore is gardens and this is set to increase. Every family will live within 10 minute walk of a green space, cycling areas are being extended while car licenses will only go to clean green aka electric cars. The ash from the garbage collection will be used as an alternative for sand in concrete. Water, green spaces, and even more trees will provide a richer environment for the birds that live in this island City. Further clean ups of the environment will also benefit all of the large raptors that live by the docks and the marina such as the White-bellied Sea Eagles.

https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/

I have been increasingly concerned about heavy metal toxicity in our raptors since Victor tested positive for zinc. As many of you know our world seems to be full of galvanized materials. Yesterday my galvanized chain link fence put here by the previous owner in 1991 was removed. For those of you that have bird cages, last week I posted an article that ‘C’ had sent about the bars being zinc and Cockatiels showing a high level of zinc when tested. ‘C’ has sent me another article on the impact of lead. Thank you ‘C’.

https://rsdjournal.org/index.php/rsd/article/view/12701

Nest News:

In Winnipeg, there are some really late hatches. You have already been subjected to my concerns over the late-hatch ducklings at the nature centre where I walk and at a few other manmade ponds in the City. Last year I was taking photographs of the Cooper’s Hawk fledglings in late June at our Zoo. This year they had to wait for the owls to fledge their owlets (they used the hawk nest) to lay their eggs. The hawklets are so little. There are 5 of them. The crystal ball foresees some sleepless nites come October!

At Glacier Gardens, Peace has yet to fledge. Sibling Love as been flying around, on and off the nest early showing how it is done.

I have a new osprey nest for you with what appears to be a good camera. Put it on your list for next year as it seems the female has already left on migration from Maryland (30 July). The information page includes the history of the nest for the past 2 years.

It is the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Nest and they raised two chicks this year. Here is all the information:

https://www.friendsofblackwater.org/river-osprey-cam.html?fbclid=IwAR1oRNIiMjuYO8SgfVnAJV-jB-CaEBqLq_cJZ7qzIfgU53igmdIct-0xeuE

You might remember that Harry, the male at the Minnesota DNR nest was injured or died. Nancy had to raise the two eagles alone. The youngest was pushed over the nest by its elder sibling when food was in short supply and had to be euthanized. The eldest fledged. Now there is a new male suitor for Nancy. Lady Hawk caught him in a video with Nancy on the nest.

Rosie was on her perch this morning in San Francisco. Any day she will depart for her migration leaving Richmond behind who will be waiting for her return on Valentine’s Day.

The Birds of Poole Harbour posted a fantastic tweet. The one surviving historic fledgling from the Poole Harbour nest in 2022 was seen in the harbour fishing!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone that has ever watched the Loch Arkaig Osprey nest knows that Louis is quite amazing. Today he delivered two big fish – 9 minutes apart – so that both Sarafina and Willow would have their own. Incredible. Is this a record? Willow on the left and Sarafina on the right — two great fledglings for 2022.

Dorcha, Louis’s mate has left on her migration but Mrs G is still at Glaslyn. She was spotted eating a fish in the trees today. Aran continues to keep the fledglings fed. Today Blue 499 has had at least two very large fish!

Idris is not only keeping Padarn and Paith in fish but also himself as well as chasing off intruders today.

Blue 022 continues to deliver fish to H51 at the Poole Harbour nest. Happiness still abounds at the presence of their own ospreys despite losing one to the goshawk attack. CJ7 and Blue 022 did an amazing job as first time parents…a dream come true for CJ7 who waited several years to find a mate.

It is impossible to see the band but at least one of the female fledglings is still on the nest at Rutland waiting for Blue 33 to bring in the tea time fish.

No worries about SE30 getting enough to eat. Goodness. That crop is so full it isn’t even making a nice soft pillow! You don’t look very comfortable 30!

Lots of Kissy-Kissy going on early in the morning between SE 29 and 30.

When the pair turned around you can see some dramatic changes. Look at the plumage on the heads, the chest, and then notice…some of that incredible rusty brown is showing on SE29 under the wings and moving over the chest. Gorgeous.

Bets continue to be made on when Diamond will lay her first egg. If the number of mating attempts is anything, that nest should be full to the brim this year! Moderators are saying in less than 5 days. That would be 29 August. I will say 28 August. What do you think?

Bonding in the scrape…then mating on the tower and then Xavier returns with a nice juicy pigeon. Doin’ good today Xavier!

Diamond got out quick before Xavier could change his mind and want it for his breakfast.

You did really well Xavier – a nicely plucked and prepared fat pigeon for Diamond.

A video of a prey transfer between Diamond and Xavier.

Suzanne Arnold Horning caught Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus Wednesday evening — and she also spotted L2. So L2 is still living with Mum and Dad in their territory.

Big red is moulting. 23 August 2022
L2. 23 August 2022
Sweet Arthur. 23 August 2022

So many things going on in Bird World but for the Northern Hemisphere, the birds are on the move…while many of us turn our attention to Australia. Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, streaming cams and posts that made up my screen captures: Finnish Osprey Foundation, Port Lincoln Ospreys, CBC, BBC, Glacier Gardens, Blackwater Ospreys, MN-DNR, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Ospreys, LRWT, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Suzanne Arnold Horning.

5 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for this wonderful newsletter! It’s is very informative and very wonderful pictures. I am very sorry to hear about the avian flu in the little ones in the UK. I pray it doesn’t spread anymore and the parents and other fledglings won’t get that 🙏
    In the video of Nuppu and Ahti little Toulus had a crop when mom and him woke up. Maybe he was having a bad dream or mom Nuppu frightened him.
    It was the worst attack on a parent I’ve ever seen. But I’m glad all was well
    After that and he is doing good and fledged. Those little sea eaglets are really growing. Their feathers are so pretty! Good evening and hope to see you here again soon:)
    Linda

    1. Yes, he had a nice crop but it wasn’t always that way. Nuppu loved her fish and often ate the fish and failed to feed the chick! A bad dream is a possibility also. Avian Flu is terrible and it has really spread throughout the small islands from the North of Scotland now to the West. We would have arrived there yesterday had our trip not been cancelled to see the eagles. Yes, let us hope that this terrible disease slows itself down.

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        Oh Mary Ann maybe it was good that your trip had to be canceled after all.
        I wouldn’t want you’ll to get that 🙏
        I hadn’t seen Nuupu do that way the season before but she shouldn’t at any time. The chicks are top priority and then self.
        Thanks Mary Ann and take care!
        Linda

      2. Yes, in the end my grandmother always said things work out the way they are supposed to. We might not agree and we may never know why but, yes. I am glad that we did not go this year. I believe there are a few videos of Nuupu eating and not feeding the chick. It was first mentioned to me by ‘T’ who is close to those nests and I did see it. That feisty osplet should thrive though!

    2. Oh, you are so very welcome. I am experimenting with a format so that I try to include news and some of the questions that I get. Yes, Toulus was quite bold. ——Oh, the sea eaglets are such little darlings. Love them to bits.

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