Early Sunday in Bird World

16 October 2022

Good morning, Everyone,

It was a very long night. I want to thank you for your outpourings of love and empathy for Little Bob at PLO. If love – human love – could have saved him, that nest would have been full of fish. Little Bob died of the effects of siblicide (starvation and a possible early morning injury) in the late afternoon of the 16th of October at the age of 24 days. Port Lincoln received permission to remove his body from the nest. Fran Solly (?) moved the camera away from the nest to the landscape while Little Bob was being taken off the nest.

Port Lincoln posted the following information on their observation board:

A sad day at port lincoln as #3 didn’t survive. It didn’t get fed properly these last few days and collapsed around 1 pm this afternoon and died at the end of the afternoon. PLO got permission to retrieve it for burial, but didn’t get permission to interfere before that. It is sad, but also the way of life in any nest. The other two siblings are thriving and have every chance to successfully fledge in a few weeks.

If you go to the obs board, you can also join in guessing the fledge time of the two surviving osplets. That obs board can be viewed here:

It is a shame that Port Lincoln did not get permission to intervene once they realized what was happening on the nest.

There are divided feelings on which osplet should be removed when food competition is present. Most researchers believe you remove the eldest if it can self-feed instead of the youngest – leave the youngest with the adult who will feed it. In other instances, smaller birds being beaked have been removed and fed and returned to the nests to live happily. Perhaps, in the future, should this occur again (and it almost seems inevitable at this nest if the first hatch is a big female), permission to intervene can be gained even before the eggs are laid. Just a thought.

Little Bob was loved by so many and we remain heart broken. I am glad that his suffering has ended, however. The parents have little time to grieve – they have two large osplets to care for and get to fledge.

Making News:

Warming seas, overfishing, hotter temperatures are all having a huge impact on birds. Will there be a time when Ospreys will only be able to find enough food for the parents and one chick to survive?

We have just witnessed at Port Lincoln the ospreys eating fish that were fresh and left on the nest or the one that magically appeared on the barge. Since climate change is human caused, it is time that we began to consider ways in which we can help our Osprey friends adapt – and that is through intervention. Providing fish when there is not enough. Fish tanks. There are figures of how many fish come to an Osprey nest with three chicks. The average, if I recall correctly, is somewhere around 450 fish.

Already scientists are seeing a 43% decline in Penguins. Here is the story:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/12/australian-scientists-observe-rapid-decline-in-adelie-penguin-numbers-off-antarctic-coast

The article might be about penguins today but, it is easy to see that the Royal Albatross chicks are requiring more supplementary feedings. What others will we be reading about?

Here is a story coming from Cyprus about the Griffon Vulture. When will countries realize that wildlife and bird watching tours add much income to an economy. So instead of trying to wipe them out with poisons why not embrace the beauty of all and celebrate it?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/10/its-a-serious-problem-battle-to-save-griffon-vulture-heats-up-in-cyprus

Nest News:

There remain three active nests in Australia with chicks to fledge: 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, Charles Sturt Peregrine Falcon scrape in Orange (Xavier and Diamond), and the two Osplets at Port Lincoln. There are currently no concerns for the falcons at Orange. Both are eating well and food is arriving with no issue. There is concern about the amount of time the female is away from the scrape box at Melbourne. My understanding is that there will be two very hot days this week that will impact the eyases. They do not, as yet, have the ability to run up and down the gutter nor are they feathered to further help them regulate their temperatures. Big and Middle should thrive at Port Lincoln.

The Melbourne Four had several feedings yesterday. The last was at 1832. The four were absolutely bursting at the seams!

Indigo and Rubus ended their day with a duckling feed. Yesterday they had Starlings, a parrot and a Rosella. Xavier is bringing in quite a variety for his family. The Rosella feeding was at 16:29:58

At 1740 a duckling arrived on the ledge which Diamond happily took to feed Indigo and Rubus. Rubus did not have a crop from the earlier Rosella feeling an hour prior and so, this little one got to fill its tummy before bed with a favourite, duck.

At Port Lincoln, after the removal of Little Bob’s body, Mum fed the two surviving chicks one of the fish that was left by Port Lincoln. She also enjoyed some of it herself. It is worth remembering that both Mum and Dad have to retain their health or the entire nest suffers. Mum worked hard to find Little Bob fish when he was eating – at the expense of herself. The females lose weight and body mass as they produce eggs, incubate, brood and feed the chicks until such time as they fledge. Often, at about 30 days, Mum will, in fact, go fishing and supplement the fish Dad brings to the nest.

I do not personally believe there will be any more problems on the Port Lincoln nest. It is not always the case, however. At the UFlorida-Gainesville nest, after the third hatch died, the eldest began to take their angst out on the second hatch. The competition continued but as Middle got bigger, it was clear that Big could not kill it. At that nest, it was evident that the Mum often favoured the eldest. It was a very interesting nest to watch – it had two strong fledglings in the end.

Middle has grown a great deal in the last couple of days as she began to figure out how to get fish and be away from Big. Let us all hope that lots of fish continues to come in and that Mum will also get her share.

Breakfast has not yet arrived at all the nests. I hope to have a very late day report on the comings and goings early on a Monday morning at the nests in Australia. Thank you for being with me and thank you for all of your outpourings of sympathy for Port Lincoln over the death of sweet Little Bob. It will be very difficult to watch that nest for many. Port Lincoln is not a nest for the faint of heart. For those of you that love Ospreys, I want to now recommend three nests in the UK: Rutland’s Manton Bay with Blue 33 and Maya. That Osprey family has raised four osplets twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are Super Stars in the Osprey world. The second is at Dyfi in Wales, the home of Idris and Telyn. It just so happens that Telyn is Maya’s daughter from Rutland! The other is the home of Louis and Dorcha at Loch Arkaig. Louis melted our hearts when he helped his former mate, Aila, feed their three chicks in 2020. He is an amazing provider just like Blue 33 and Idris.

Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their stories, posts, and our streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

6 Comments

  1. Mary Ann, I was so terribly sorry to hear this sad news. (Read it just before going to bed last night.) Heavy hurting heart, lots of tears for that little one. Words fail me…. 😔

    Thinking of you and I hope you’re having a peaceful Sunday.

    1. Oh, thank you, Betty As you know, it is so hard to lose a little one. So many this year. He was much loved and I know that it will take you and me and all who loved him days to come to grips with what happened so that we can begin our healing. And thank you for the best wishes. They are much appreciated.

  2. Tavi says:

    It looked to me like the mother gave up on him. He was up begging for food, and she held it out to him then snatched it away and ate it herself. He collapsed shortly after.

    1. Hi Tavi, Thank you so much for your comment. Little Bob had managed to get up in line but yesterday morning at around 0930 Big Bob ferociously attacked Little Bob. After that Little Bob stayed rolled up in a ball, not moving. He had displayed that behaviour at another feeding when Big was away but Little was too fearful to eat. He had difficulty raising his head. Then at 1330 or thereabouts, Mum offered that sweet baby a bite when the other two were away. There was still fish left but Little could not raise his head. He had already had some seizures. Things went quickly downhill. You are correct that Mum knew that her little baby was dying. Of course, she did. She has seen this before. So, if I can defend her actions, it was no so much giving up but recognizing the reality that was before her. At other times, in the last few days, Mum worked tirelessly to get every piece of fish flake she could out of what was left when Little was allowed to eat by Big. There is also the question of whether or not, at around 0930 Big injured Little Bob which caused him to bleed internally, etc. Perhaps we will know if they release the tests on his body.

  3. Lisa says:

    No matter how many times we see siblicide, the heartbreak is as raw as the 1st time. I have to remember those ‘Little Bob’s’ of many raptors that actually made it against all odds. Where there was no hope and yet miraculously, they survived what seemed the unsurvivable.
    This article really affected me….not a 100’000, not a million, a BILLION snow crabs gone compared to 2018. Our inaction and confusion about intervention across all layers of nature is beyond my comprehension
    https://thefishingdaily.com/featured-news/one-billion-snow-crab-missing-season-cancelled-for-alaskan-fleet/

    1. Thank you so much for that article. I want to read it again carefully and while they are not raptors, the impact of our harm to the environment impacts all.

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