Late Sunday in Bird World

16 October 2022

Once upon a time, someone asked me why I write a bird blog. What was in it for me? I smiled. First, I have met hundreds of the most caring people I could ever hope to meet. You. Your passion for and love of our feathered friends is infectious. Secondly, I cannot help myself. I love all birds and want to do whatever I can to help improve their living conditions and educate humans on what we can do to enrich their lives now that we have taken away their habitat, put toxins in the water where they get their fish, caused changes in climate. All of you know these things – which is also what makes you very special to me. You get it. One day I looked into the eyes of a female Sharp-shinned Hawk and ‘something’ transformed me. I will never be able to fully explain the connection with that raptor, at that moment, but it was intense. Not fear. It was as if the entire world stopped for those minutes. I have also learned something very special – nature and birds enrich our lives. They calm us when we are stressed out by daily living. Spending time with them is much better than paying a therapist!

In the Mailbox:

From ‘R’: “How do you deal with watching so many osprey chicks be killed by their sibling”?

‘R’, that is a great question and many have asked me something similar this morning. The real answer is that I don’t get over them. Each time one dies a piece of me goes off into the ether with them. I never forget them and their struggles and, I shed more tears than anyone knows for days after. At the same time, I rejoice – I mean jumping up and down cheering – when a third hatch that has been terrorized survives. It is my belief that they are clever, problem-solving, and will eat anything including the dry skin off a bone to survive. What I want to find out is if that translates into returning at two years to breed. Years of data still to come. As for Little Bob at Port Lincoln, my heart still aches and tears still flow. We watch them grow, we love them, we cheer them on to eat…it is difficult to see them come to harm.

I was touched by the many letters expressing the joy that Little Bob had brought to your lives and the sadness that nothing could be done to help him. Let us continue to support intervention. As one reader reminded me, ‘B’Dr Sharpe acted quickly to get permissions to help the eaglets in the Channel Islands clinging on the edge of a cliff for their life. Perhaps the authorities that give the permission for interventions in South Australia will come to understand that the tide of change in public opinion has already happened. We want nature protected and cared for! As humans we realize that many of the challenges faced by our raptors is because of us. Let us support having fish at the ready or by removing chicks to feed them and return them to the nests. Fix their eyes like CROW did for those little eaglets of Harriet and M15 (E17 and E18) or the removal of monofilament line at Captiva. Whatever it takes – much of their suffering is because of our bad habits – let’s fix things for them by being active in their lives in a positive way.

Making News: Videos and Posts:

Harriet and M15 have doubled the size of their nest. My goodness what a hard-working pair of Bald Eagles getting on with the job of replacing their home after Hurricane Ian destroyed it. Industrious. That is the word my mother would have used for these two! Well done, Harriet and M15!

Fishing gear – in the oceans, in the lakes, along the rivers and streams. It is absolutely dangerous for our water birds and other animals that live in the oceans. Individuals who partake in recreational fishing should take a course on how their equipment can harm wildlife. Commercial fishing vessels have to be held accountable in a manner that will harm their profits if they do not comply. They should also be required to load their hooks at night so as to lessen the chance for decapitating an Albatross. It is such a simple fix.

New study reveals ‘staggering’ scale of lost fishing gear drifting in Earth’s oceans | Fish | The Guardian

Nest News:

I really want to start with some good news and it is about Ervie and Dad. According to Fran Solly, Take2 Photography, Dad fishes at a place called Murray Point which is about 2-3 kilometres from the nest. It just so happens that is where Ervie fishes, too! They have plotted it on his tracker. So Dad and Ervie are fishing together. Just makes me smile.

Breakfast is being served in the three nests in Australia or, at least, I hope it is. Let’s check in and see what is happening.

At 367 Collins Street, that beautiful glow of the city just waking up had Mum flying off the nest at 06:16.

Off she goes!

Mum returned at 0639. She looked around. Was she expecting Dad to show up and feed the eyases? Then she began feeding them that fresh pigeon. One of the great things about falcon and hawk nests is the way the chicks are fed. Everyone gets food. Lessons are taught – Mum holds the prey higher or stands further back getting them to stretch those necks and get them strong. It was a great feeding.

Aren’t they adorable?

In Orange, Xavier came to the scrape at 06:20:59 with an unplucked Starling. Diamond was less than impressed. Xavier quickly took the bird to pluck it.

Xavier did not return with the Starling – well, not yet and it is 07:14. Rubus is really hungry. He is prey calling very, very loud.

Xavier returned to the scrape at 07:17:10 and got to feed his two babies a Rainbow Lorikeet. Oh, my goodness, Rubus was full. Talk about dancing talons (a phrase ‘A’ uses for the Mum at Port Lincoln when she sees Dad coming with a fish). Rubus was excited. Both chicks ate well. Xavier was determined to do a good job. He sure had them stretching their necks.

Xavier is very good at feeding Rubus and Indigo.

Loo, at that big bite Rubus is going to hork. Incredible. And Xavier in his cute little pajamas. Gosh, these male falcons are adorable.

When Rubus is full, he turns his back on the parent.

Xavier thinks otherwise….please eat some more, Rubus.

It is half an hour earlier at Port Lincoln and all were sleeping as the falcon scrapes prepared to begin their day.

The wind at Port Lincoln is making the water really choppy with some white caps on high waves. Apparently Murray Point is a sheltered area where Dad can find fish. He leaves early in the morning according to the local observers.

It is nearly 0800 at Port Lincoln and there is still no fish. The waves seem to be getting higher with more white caps. It could be a difficult day – easy to catch but hard to fly against that strong wind back to the nest. I have yet to see any beaking between Big and Middle. That is a good thing.

We will all wish for fish – enough for Mum, too.

Migration:

Checking on Karl II and his family, the Black Storks whose nest is in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The Mum, Kaia, is in a dry part of Chad. She has flown the furthest.

Karl II is in Israel.

Bonus remains in Bulgaria near the River Bazau.

Waba is also in Bulgaria, east of Plowdiw.

Everyone in the family is fine. The transmissions have been good so far the last couple of days.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, their streaming cams which form my screen captures: Looduskalender Forum, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, SWFlorida Eagles and video by Marti Lord, and The Guardian.

8 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    This was a wonderful newsletter Mary Ann! Thank you so much for it. All you said is very true and I hope they will decide that intervention would be the best we humans can do to help the survival of the birds in need !
    Glad all the others are fed well today and also thanks for the great pictures.
    So glad to hear that Karl II and family are still doing well and their transmitters are working. Port Lincoln’s Ervie is such a great Osprey. I’m so excited to find out that he and Fad are getting to fish together some. ❤️
    Thanks again for all these updates and have a good Sunday evening.
    We look forward w the newsletter for tomorrow.
    Linda

    1. We must live in hope and work to make the Earth a better place, to right our wrongs, to intervene with fish if necessary. As Lisa says above, we need a global movement demonstrating how humans cause the majority of issues with raptors and find a way to help that does not involve endless red tape and forms.

  2. Jill says:

    Mary Ann, First, I am so sorry for the loss of this youngest chick and the impact it had on everyone’s feelings.   I was on the Port_Lincoln Youtube site and decided to ask within “Chat”  why they chose to remove a dead chick instead of a live chick.  I also asked what the public can do to encourage them to consider intervention in the future.   The response I got from “Rene” at Port-Lincoln was that I need to keep my mouth shut or they would remove my access permanently (actually she said, no negative comments allowed or I would be removed). So I guess I’m asking you if there has been any public outcry that you are aware of on the decision not to intervene and how to get them to reconsider their position?  I know we were able to voice our concerns about how poor Junior died without threat of removal.   Your thoughts/directions are appreciated. Jill

    1. Dear Jill, I am very much aware of the impact that Little Bob had on so many. Some of those people chose to write to Port Lincoln to encourage them to fight for intervention in the future. As a result of those letters, I also became aware that Little Bob’s body was removed for testing, not for burial. I presume it would be respectfully buried later. Every jurisdiction has its own rules and many, like the ones in the US written in 1948, need to be revised. They need to reflect the fact that humans are now responsible for much of the direct harm to the wildlife on our planet. I note in the UK that the protests by people for the new government’s policies regarding nature has stirred the general population to speak up for nature. — It appears that so many people who write policy and enforce it do not understand that there has been a sea change of opinion regarding intervention. In the past it was always ‘nature knows best’ and ‘the survival of the fittest’. Often the fittest is the third hatch who did survive brutal attacks. But as the planet warms, overfishing continues to the detriment of those birds that eat fish (and other wildlife), we have to recognize that humans are responsible. Then we need to set in place policies to help wildlife and birds in the same way that NZ intervenes directly to try and save the Royal Albatross and the Kakapo, two species amongst a host of others. — I once believed, quite wrongly, that the lives of our wildlife could live outside of politics but, of course that shows how blind-sided I was. Vote for those who not just talk the talk but who will do something. I hope that those individuals that make up Port Lincoln Friends of Osprey have the support of the South Australian government so that they not only build platforms to protect the nest from foxes but also get permission to intervene and provide fish if it is needed. Sorry. That was long winded. As you know, I am a great believer in intervention. I am also saddened by the reaction you received on the chat, Jill.

      1. Jill says:

        Hello, I just received this response from the Friends of Osprey about the recent activity…

        —– Forwarded Message —– From: Friends of Osprey friendsofosprey@gmail.com

        Thanks for your email I know that the past few days have been difficult for those who follow Port Lincoln Osprey and most certainly for those who provide the camera and maintain the Barge. South Australia has a Policy of no intervention in this situation and as the only live streamed nest in the State, the owner is extremely mindful of the need to remain with in State guidelines or risk being closed down.  Two years ago the youngest chick died and its body was left on the nest which led to days and weeks of debate on line.  On this occasion Port Lincoln Osprey contacted the local authority and sought permission to remove the body.  Permission was given and the body was removed.  Further back an older chick was thrown from the nest by its sibling, that chick was rescued and taken to a care centre but did not survive.  More recently an adult bird was found injured, cared for and returned to the wild but also did not survive in the longer term. We do not advocate for intervention as a general rule because:- Osprey do not do well in captivity- The normal situation for Osprey in our area is for there to be three eggs laid and for one or sometimes two chicks to fledge. Your question seems to suggest that if the chick was removed it could have been hand raised and then returned to the nest. I think that scenario was extremely unlikely even if there were facilities to care for the bird in the short term which there are not. Port Lincoln Osprey are doing everything possible to progress Osprey recovery in South Australia and without them we would not have approvals to band and track Osprey or to build nesting platforms.  Their work is making a difference and I know they want to continue to live stream because  the information gained from viewers online who watch other nests helps all of us to understand what is needed for Osprey recovery I hope this event doesn’t put that at risk. Yours sincerely

        Fran SollySecretary0427013509friendsofosprey@gmail.com

      2. Thank you, Jill. Sadly, there is some misunderstanding about Ospreys not doing well in rehabilitation. The Audubon Centre in Florida has a number of Ospreys. One of the most famous, Smedley lived at the centre for 28 years. He had a cage mate and she now has another Osprey in with her. One of the readers, Lisa, cares for the birds so I am so aware that it is an urban myth that they do not do well. Of course, it requires a centre with the will and ability and understanding to care for any species and it sounds like there is little in this regard in South Australia. That is a tragedy. I know that Friends of Osprey – the entire group – is working hard to for the Ospreys and they must follow guidelines. Every camera is under the watchful eye and, of course, we do not want to ever hamper any of the wonderful things that they do. It might well take the public in South Australia’s attitude towards intervention to change in order for Port Lincoln to be able to proceed in the future – and those attitudes to be reflected in people elected to the State government.

  3. Lisa says:

    I had just read your prior blog and commented. I then came here and read how you expressed the same sentiments perfectly!!! When you are involved in rescue, your motto ‘we can make a difference to this one rescued life’……but that is no longer enough. We have to ‘Go Big’ and push for change outside our towns, cities, states, Country’s, Continents….nature is screaming out for help on a Global scale and yet so many Governments are deaf to her cries.

    1. They are and I am hoping that with support Port Lincoln can demonstrate a strong need for intervention in the future if it were to become necessary! But everywhere, as you know so very well, intervention and rehabilitation must become priorities. We need a Global Movement!!!!!!!!!!

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