Beaking and hurricanes…and other news in Bird World on Wednesday

28 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

My thoughts are with everyone and anything that is in the path of Hurricane Ian. So many of you live in this area and my thoughts are with you and your families and our beloved birds and their nests.

This is the latest image of the eye as it moves. The wind at Captiva is currently 94 kph (or 55 mph). All of the streaming cams are down at Captiva and SWFlorida. The eye of the storm at 12:43 is moving towards Captiva/Sanibel.

Making News:

I started writing this blog on Tuesday so you will also be getting some hurricane news here (as well as above). Here is the news on Hurricane Ian. As I write this, the eye is approximately two hours from making landfall which could make landfall at around 1400 and that hit could come at Sanibel/Captiva. This is live coverage. NOAA is the only institution that can declare landfall and where/when. It looks like this huge and strong hurricane will impact all of our beloved nests. We will be so glad to see them when this is over.

This streaming station was working. If it should go out, check on YouTube for others that are covering this massive hurricane.

Farnley, a female fledgling of 2022, is making news as she continues to work her way south in the UK while she is thinking about migration. I note that in the long list of beautiful images of this juvenile, towards the bottom is an image of her catching a good sized fish. Most of the fledglings will never have caught a fish before they leave the nest for their journey to their winter home. We worry that they cannot do it. Well, if Farnley can so can the rest of them we hope!

Update on 1B3/Farnley | Kielder Ospreys (

It is now 2136 on the Canadian Prairies on Tuesday. This is the current satellite map and the cone showing the wind strength of Hurricane Ian as he moves towards making landfall near Tampa/Fort Myers as a category 4 hurricane.

At 22:25 Tuesday evening, the eye of Hurricane Ian was 100 miles from the Captiva Osprey nest.

Rita came in to check the status of her nest at 0845 this morning.

The platform at Captiva Ospreys was rocking and rolling with heavy rain drops (or hail) when it quit working around 0335. The Southwest Florida Bald Eagle cam is down and this is the view at Northeast Florida and the nest of Gabby and Samson.

Nest News:

Well, it has started – the beaking. It was Middle Bob giving Big Bob quite the headache. Little Bob looked the other way and ignored it. The behaviour, as predicted, began when Big Bob went into the reptilian phase.

Big Bob is miserable with all the itching from feathers growing in. It is Day 9 and this behaviour is pretty much right on schedule – it began yesterday. It is about nest dominance. I have included tonnes of screen captures because I have yet to import my little video programme I use. I hope you don’t mind. Some of the physical gestures and looks are quite interesting.

You have to feel sorry for Big Bob. Just look at him. You can really see how the soft down is leaving Big Bob’s body and being replaced by feathers. We saw this yesterday clearly happening. There is sweet Little Bob with its soft down. Each osplet still has their egg tooth.

The down from the back of Big Bob’s head is almost entirely gone. There are a few whisps of dandelions and a bunch of dandelions on top of his head.

Now you can see the back of Big Bob’s head. Slick and oily black. This will become magnificent coppery coloured feathers.

It all began with Big Bob hammering Middle Bob as Little Bob looks on.

And then Middle Bob got fed up and when Big Bob turned around, he gave it to him. These two would have a ‘draw’ if they were in a boxing ring. Meanwhile, Little Bob is on the other side of Middle Bob looking in the opposite direction.

I did say evenly matched but Middle sure did give Big a thrashing.

The Middle Bob moved over and Big Bob beaked Little Bob just because he was in the wrong place at that moment.

And then Mum finally sat down on all of them. Thankfully Little Bob did not get too much of a thrashing from Big. The beaking stops when dominance is established and normally by 28 days. Of course, siblings can be killed. The dominant bird normally gets fed first and will eat til it is full then the others can have their fish. If the deliveries fall short, which they have certainly done, then there can be death. I do not believe that is going to happen on this nest unless there is a sudden and long lack of fish deliveries. It will be an interesting outcome because Middle Bob is very strong. Let us hope Little Bob keeps getting lots of fish! He needs to grow. Middle Bob will get really cranky when his feathers really change which could be tomorrow late or the next day. Nothing like two itchy rivals in a nest!

The new male has made a stop at the ledge of the 367 Collins Street scrape. The Mum was kerchuffing and they had a bit of a conversation. She had been looking down at the eggs and, she did not leave right away even if lunch was waiting for her elsewhere.

The Mum has been quite restless. I wonder if we might have eyases for the 29th in Australia?

The Sea Eaglets are a bit worrisome. They are so energetic, jumping and flapping all over that nest. Last year SE28 fludged because of this kind of activity. They sure look like they want to fly but, I have not seen them self-feed properly. Have you? That is what I mean by worrisome.

Look at the height achieved in the last image.

Xavier and Diamond wait with one another. We will be ever so excited – like these two lovely parents – when those eggs hatch.

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are sitting on pins and needles for the hatch at the Melbourne scrape. The Sea Eagles will continue to bounce and flap higher and higher. Let us all hope that the PLo nest is flooded with fish and that things go smoothly there today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

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


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for all the updates. We are watching all day at the weather in Florida near our eagles and ospreys. Praying hard. I have shed a few tears this morning as well πŸ™β€οΈπŸ¦…πŸ™β€οΈπŸ¦…
    Prayers for everyone. πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™
    Praying for Port Lincoln that Dad brings plenty of fish and no sibling rivalry continues. πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ™
    Prayers all goes well at Melbourne and the hatches are soon as with Diamond and Xavier tooπŸ™β€οΈπŸ™β€οΈ
    The sea eaglets sure need to learn to fish before they fledge. Hope all goes well there. I guess they are getting tired of being in the nest and need exercise so they flap and jump. ❀️❀️
    Hope to hear from you soon and have a good Wednesday!

    1. You are so very welcome, Linda. I have tried everything today to take my mind off that hurricane and its impact on the raptors. Sadly, we have to wait. And yes, tonnes of fish at PLO. Dad slowed down. Of course, with the gulls I now know that his delay could be blamed on them but it does not help the osplets and Mum.

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        Oh Mary Ann I sure wish Mom would let Ervie bring fish too or bring to Dad to help out and then maybe the sibling rivalry wouldn’t start and get worse. Poor little Bob. Prayers for him. πŸ™πŸ’•

  2. B says:

    Keeping fingers crossed for the safety of all our friends in Florida, birds and humans and all living creatures.

    1. Oh, yes. This is such a huge hurricane and it is causing so much damage almost everywhere. I cannot even imagine what everyone is going through.

  3. Alison says:

    Dear Mary Ann,
    Please do not be concerned about SE29 and SE30 and their ability to self-feed. I have watched them holding down those small, difficult pieces of prey, using both talons if necessary, and they can easily strip meat off the leg bones of smallish birds, which is no easy task. I have not yet seen them tackle a furred prey item but am confident that at least SE30 would manage it with ease!
    My only concern is the currawongs when the eaglets fledge. I am wondering whether (hoping that) the sibling fledglings will give each other more confidence in facing down these aerial pests than either would have on its own, but that is doubtless wishful thinking.

    1. You are right. They can certainly eat well if they need to! The Currawongs are another story. Wishful thinking but let us continue that line of thought.

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