Monday Morning in Bird World

26 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that the start of your week has been a good one. It is 10 degrees C this morning and the birds in the garden are not happy. The men have come to put the skirting on the conservatory and they have a big saw. It is not very appealing! I did work outside and have moved in the some hot pink trumpet plants to reside inside along with the Hibiscus. Perhaps it will feel like a tropical paradise on the coldest days of winter. It is supposed to be excellent weather for the goose and duck flight arrivals as migration truly gets underway this week. Sandhill cranes have been spotted south of me and the honking and quacking at the ponds around the City is louder each night.

In the Mailbox:

‘L’ sends us a joyful little video she found showing ducks, swans, geese, flying.

‘A’ wonders if there are any raptors unique to Australia.

That is a great question since we are primarily looking at nests with eggs or youngsters pre-fledge in Australia right now. I cannot, at the first instance, think of a single raptor that is unique to Australia. One might think of the largest eagle, the Wedge-tail as living in Australia only it doesn’t. I have pulled out Penny Olsen’s Australian Birds of Prey to scour over today and this evening with hopefully an answer tomorrow.

If you are looking for information on Australian raptors, you can do not better than Penny Olsen. The book is sadly out of print and should be revised and reissued. If you happen to be able to find a copy, it is worth gold so hang on to it. The information is detailed and Olsen has a very interesting way of making data seem quite interesting. Very informative book and there seem to be a couple available at a very decent price on an on-line Australian bookseller. Just Google the name of the book if you are interested. Should be in everyone’s library – and not just those interested in Australian raptors as it covers raptors that reside around the world.

Many of you will have watched the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy. Harry did not return to the nest and Nancy raised one eaglet to fledge. The other was pushed off the nest by its older sibling and subsequently had to be euthanized. Well, Nancy has been photographed on the nest with a new male interest. Congratulations, Nancy!

Another study for the reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle to Cumbria:

Farmers are putting out water in the UK for all manner of wildlife. For us, living in other places, it is essential that the birds – songbirds, raptors, all of them, have water. They need it to rehydrate themselves while they are feeding so that they can have a safe and healthy flight – so please, keep the water out!

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-suffolk-62575058?fbclid=IwAR33H4tIitpYoIDG2Ixm-33435ppk3e-bU5t6W2DpENpWwg5rDniU_ZaYkU

The Swiss were set to be the first European country to ban factory farming on the 25th of September. Instead, they voted to retain the practice.

Nest News:

I could watch Samson and Gabby working on their nest in Northeast Florida all day. The moving the big sticks, the negotiating (or not) where they should go, and then moving them again. What an absolutely privilege to be able to see these two prepare for another breeding season.

They are an absolute riot – these two -you can laugh yourself absolutely silly for 10 or 15 minutes in one of these sessions especially if Samson brings in one of his huge twigs.

Thunder visited her nest at the West End Bald Eagle nest in the Channel Islands Sunday morning. She brought in a fish, ate it, and sunned herself on the rock. Isn’t she gorgeous?

SE29 has walked up to the branch of the White-bellied Sea Eagles in the Sydney Olympic Forest. This is not ‘branching’ – the eagles need to fly up to the branch but, we are getting close!

Dad brought in an enormous fish that has supplied the fish from Mum and the three osplets at Port Lincoln for four meals! Little Bob did miss a meal and sometimes he just gets turned in the wrong direction but, when he is up there he is getting full. Mum is fantastic at figuring out the feeding order.

Dad brought in more fish and at the end of the day, Little Bob had eaten so much fish and his crop was so big he could hardly stand up. Now isn’t that incredible.

Look carefully at the top image. There is Big Bob. Notice the head. After the chicks lose their fine light grey down they move into the reptilian phase. To me, they look like they have attended Carnival in Grenada and been out the morning when people throw oil, paint, or mud at one another as a way of freeing themselves from the past and in celebration of the new. That day is called J’ouvert and it marks the beginning of Carnival. Sometimes people dress as red and blue devils as they parade through the streets — and I always remind myself that it is in this phase that the older siblings can become unruly and domineering. Fingers crossed for Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad are doing fantastic and Little Bob is eating – not always at every meal – but, well.

It appears that the female at the 367 Collins Street scrape is accepting food gifts and that the bearer of those gifts is also on the ledge, sometimes in view of the camera and sometimes not. It appears that this is male 2. I stand to be corrected. The ID of the male falcons is very difficult unless you can see their neck!

The male arrived with a prey item when the female was off the eggs. He waited and then flew off with it. The exchange, if it took place, was off camera. Mum did not return for a few minutes so it is possible she was munching away on that nice food gift.

He is clearly looking for the female and he has made no indication of any attempt to try and harm the eggs. All of this is good news especially if the old male is no longer ‘in the picture’ and if those are the ‘old male’s eggs’. I will happily be corrected that this is the old male….

Peregrine Falcon males are, thus, quite interesting in their behaviours. If this is male 2 accepting the eggs and helping to raise the eyases (yet of course to be seen), then he grows a growing list of males that will help a female raise a clutch in order to gain the female and the territory. We know of both Alden and Xavier and studies in the UK have indicated that even fledglings of another year have worked to help with a clutch. These falcons get more unique. I would love to hear your stories if you have any examples.

Earlier in the day a male – I still cannot see the neck and the line that male 2 has – is on the ledge.

This is male 2 in the image below with the female. I believe then it is also male 2 in the image above that frequented the ledge several times on Monday (in Australia).

Diamond gave us a good look at the eggs when she left for a break today. Wonder where Xavier is??? He is missing eggie time.

1at the Captiva Osprey Nest in Florida, Lena is having nothing to do with the young male who keeps showing up. He has been dubbed ‘Romeo’ because of the small heart on his chest.

Migration News:

I want to begin with the news from the family of Karl II, the Black Storks from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There is good news over the past couple of days. The father, Karl II, normally spends much time in the area around Odessa in Ukraine. When we last had a signal transmission from him, he was known to be in the area of heavy fighting on the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Karl II survived! he flew 361 km after deciding he did not wish to stay in Odessa to Olanesti in Romania. He is very near where his mate, Kaia, is. Tears are flowing.

Bonus, the foster storklet from the nest of Jan and Janikka, is also in Romania! So three from the nest – Karl II, Kaia, and Bonus – were safely in Romania, out of Ukraine, on the 25th. Waba is in Moldova.

Here is a crazy colourful map to show you where they are in relation to one another.

It is hard to imagine how dangerous it is for the birds that must migrate back and forth to their winter and spring homes.

You can see what I am talking about in the bright white going right down the centre of North America. Where I live we are in the yellow area. Those light areas are beginning to spread eastward.

Oh, it is joyful to hear that Karl II and his family are safe. I find it very interesting that they flew west and got out of Ukraine. We must be watching for hatch at Melbourne. The eyases can be heard, close to hatch, and I have noticed – and perhaps you have also – that the female is looking at the eggs sometimes. Today is the 27th and it is the first day of hatch watch for these urban falcons. We will mark down the 1-3 of October for Xavier and Diamond. The Sea Eagles will be jumping up and down on the branches but let’s see which one flies up there first – and they must be working on self-feeding. These two truly do love Lady to feed them. By the end of the week all three of the osplets will look different – enjoy the last of that light grey fluff for now.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Everything seems to be going very well everywhere. What a relief. Perhaps I should not have said that! Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: NEFL-AEF, Explore.Org and IWS, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Looduskalender, Stepmap.com, and BirdCast.

7 Comments

  1. Reets says:

    The video of the sandhill cranes was incredible! Thanks so much for putting that out here 👌🏻

    1. You are so very welcome! i wish I had my own. They are migrating here and tomorrow, if no workmen show up, I hope to get to the south of me to see if I can find any of those beautiful cranes feeding in the fields.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for these updates and newsletter! So glad little Bob is eating well. I hope he don’t stop getting the right spot up front and start to get pecked. ❤️🙏. So glad all is going well at Melbourne and for Xavier and Diamond!❤️❤️ Nice photos of all of them. The male sure looks like a young male on that ledge at Melbourne. But I pray Dad hasn’t been hurt and is ok if this isn’t him on the ledge. 🙏❤️
    I pray that Lena’s mate comes soon🙏
    Such good news for the black storks! So glad they are out of the fighting areas and gone away and are also near each other ❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Thanks for the video. I love that they are flying together!❤️
    Have a good Monday afternoon Mary Ann and take care! Looking forward to the updates again soon!
    Linda

  3. Alison says:

    At 11:49:09 this morning, dad landed next to the scrape and after some communications with mum persuaded her to take a bit of a break. His crop was huge! He then fossicked around the edge of the nest, then stood over the eggs and stared at them for a couple of minutes. He made two attempts to roll an egg and perhaps was wondering how to cover four eggs. But eventually, he flew off, having not done any incubation. I am unsure which male this was but from the eyes, I fear it was the new male. If so, at least he is not harming the eggs. Yet.

    1. I think you are absolutely right, Alison. The second male. The old male knows precisely what to do with four eggs as he raised 4 last year as you know. I caught an image of that situation and posted the capture. The question is- is this the only male around??? I have no images from recent days that I believe are of the old male. We live in hope that this will all work out.

  4. Alison says:

    Such great news about Karl 2 and the family. I have been telling myself Karl’s transmitter was being jammed because of the war zone he was in, not because harm had come to him. So glad to be right!! Wouldn’t it be lovely if he actually met up with Kaia? That Bonus and Waba are also progressing well is fabulous, given the high first-year mortality rate of most birds.

    1. Yes, it is all so good. I had huge tears when I saw they were almost all in Romania. It would be grand if they met up = you are certainly right about that. I suspect it would be like the albatrosses landing at the same time!

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