Early Thursday in Bird World

13 October 2022

Good morning, Everyone,

I hope that you had a very good mid-week.

For us on the Canadian Prairies, we have been plummeted into cooler wetter weather. Chilled to the bones and it is raining snow. It reminds me of when I moved to the UK to go to Leicester University. It was December and it rained every day – heavy, beating down, cold rain. I understood immediately why a pot of hot tea, always at the ready, was important! And my friend from the Shetland Islands showed me why ‘wool’ socks and sweaters were her mainstay. I learned my lesson – I have my ‘woolies’ on right now and there is a big pot of hot tea sitting beside me.

It is 13:36 in Melbourne, Sydney, and Orange and a half hour earlier in Port Lincoln. Here it is 21:36 on a Wednesday. As I write this, the Melbourne Four are having another feeding. Geez to be such a rainy day, these urban falcons have been eating pretty good! Nice fat freshly caught pigeon has been on the menu and Mum has tried to make absolutely sure everyone is full at every feeding today as if there might not be another prey item brought in for a fortnight! She is teaching them a valuable lesson. All raptors know it – live for the now, eat all you can because you might not see food for a day or two.

The feeding is over, and Dad is now at the scrape giving Mum her long break in the middle of the day.

‘H’ summarized the day at Melbourne after I went to bed as 5 good feedings with Mum out for lunch with the girls from 1345-1518. Mum is training Dad well and my goodness, look at him in the picture above. He is so bonded to the care of those little ones.

Are you familiar with the term ‘food coma’? If not, you will hear it a lot when discussing raptors. It is when a chick has eaten so much, they literally fall asleep. It is an induced sleep caused by eating. That is precisely what happened to Rubus and Indigo at the Orange scrape today. They collapsed into a very sound food coma. They had a duckling for breakfast and not long after, Dad brought in a bird with some green feathers. Someone mentioned it was a ‘King Parrot’. Diamond kept filling their beaks and it was surprising when little Rubus had some really big bites but, also lovely. Diamond almost spent as much time feeding Rubus as Indigo!

The images below are from the second feeding – a King Parrot. The two eyases had previously had a duckling for breakfast.

This was a very large parrot and when the feeding was over 25 minutes later there was only a scrap left. Diamond had some good parrot at the end but, she really forced the food on the youngsters. She might well know that the weather is changing and they should eat all they can now. The little ones can only hold so much but, as you look through the images you will see when they begin to get really full and don’t care. Mum is still offering food.

Rubus is just so much more stable. He balances himself on his wing tips like in the image below and sometimes he leans on Indigo but not nearly as much as earlier in the week. He is also raising himself up, stretching his neck, to try and get level with Indigo’s beak.

The hawk and falcon mothers will raise the prey higher to get their eyases to stretch their necks. It helps develop their muscles! The eyases develop so fast that everything is a learning experience.

Rubus has a very nice crop…see the shiny purple area where the feathers are gone? For those of you that do not know what a crop is, it is a very thin-walled pouch at the bottom of the esophagus that stores food before it enters the rest of the digestive system. It is also the place where the raptors create pellets of prey parts that are not easily digested. They will ‘form a pellet’ and then regurgitate it. Scientists study the contents of these pellets to tell them what prey items the raptors have been eating.  The raptor can eat and ‘drop the crop’ (allow the contents to enter the digestive system) so they can eat more. When the crop is very flat or sunken in, you know that the bird has not eaten for a while.

These two are just adorable. Indigo is so sedate and Rubus looks like he is going to be a real feisty one! What we want, of course, are two very healthy fledglings.

Diamond offers some big bites, Rubus can’t eat them. Sometimes she will break them into smaller pieces for the little one. Sometimes Indigo gets them but, today, she had more patience and tried more times to make sure that Rubus got really nice bites of prey. Even if he was no longer hungry.

They are both so full.

And now this is a food coma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were all so joyful and relieved when Little Bob at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge got fed by Mum early Thursday morning in Australia. Despite the wind and the white caps, Dad did deliver a fish at 13:22:05. On its arrival, Little Bob was closest to the camera with Big on the other side and then Middle. Big Bob consumed 99% of the fish. Middle Bob moved from beside Big Bob and maneuvered its way around to the left side of Little Bob. All this time Little Bob has been rolled up like a roly-poly, tight, head down. Middle Bob kept its eye and ears open and did not move to get any fish until Big Bob had really slowed down. At 13:50:41, you can see the big crop that Middle Bob has. Little Bob made no effort to eat. The fish was all gone at 13:57:54.

I am only attaching one image. Little Bob was like this, curled up between both siblings the entire feeding.

There was another fish delivery at 14:54:33. ‘A’ informs me that Big had an enormous crop but kept eating. Middle did well and Little Bob was simply too frightened to eat. Mum offered and finally he had a good feed for three and a half minutes at 15:38:52. Mum fed Little Bob fast just like she did with the fish tail so that he could get as much as he could before Big started with the anger.

Little Bob was so hungry. He just appeared ‘beaten down’ in his demeanor prior to receiving these bites. I suspect he is just being careful. Big Bob is so large in comparison.

This image prior to Little Bob having bites.

The best feedings for Little Bob were the one early in the morning where Mum pulled all she could out of the tail and with the 2003 fish delivery where Little Bob had a big crop at the end of that feeding.

Just look at that crop! Tears with the coffee this morning.

As much as I am troubled by what is happening at Port Lincoln, the average time for nests to calm down that have had troubles is 28 days. By early next week, if this nest is going to calm down, it will. Please send them your warmest wishes. Little is not the only one hungry – Mum is, too! She did eat some during the night but she worked hard to find anything to feed Little Bob early yesterday morning. She needs a spa day.

367 Collins Street just keeps putting a smile on my face. There is so much food. Dad also seems to be enjoying his time with the kids every day around noon. Today Mum was a little late in leaving. He brooded the Melbourne 4 and then went to get them a pigeon so he could feed them. How fantastic is that?

Everyone did well including Little Bob. The birds are all sleeping in Australia now. Meanwhile the snow is getting heavier here in Manitoba. The Starlings are here, a Raven has come to visit the garden, and all seem to be in a bit of their own panic. I don’t blame them. They are outside in our dreadful weather. Speaking of dreadful weather, ‘A’ tells me there is very hot weather coming to Melbourne. She checked the dates and the two eldest eyases are 2 weeks old today (the 14th in Australia). They need about one more week before they can run down the gutter to the shade. So, let’s wish everyone well while it is rainy and then when it is hot. I wish I could send them some of the cold winds blowing this morning through my garden.

Thank you for being with me today. There will be a posting later with all the breakfast news. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to ‘A’ and ‘H’ for being my eyes when mine are closed. Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for these updates! So good to know that Melbourne nest Dad is getting so much fish and the kids are full!๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
    Also Diamond and Xavierโ€™s 2 little ones getting plenty of food too is wonderful ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
    Prayers for little Bob at Port a Lincoln.
    Mom is doing great by him. Just praying big could be way on the other side. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•little Bob extra prayers ๐Ÿ™
    Hope to see you again later on here Mary Ann. Keep bundled up and have a good Thursday!
    Linda

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