Grieving? Surviving? A look at Bird World early Monday

17 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The mailbox has been full. So many of you want to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene should siblicide be apparent in the future, others want to know if raptors grieve, many are concerned about the hot sun on the eyases at Collins Street. What a caring community you are! It warms my heart. The outpouring of love for a small little Osplet still brings tears to my eyes. It is so very difficult to lose one. It takes days to get over it.

It was cold this morning. -5 C. We are being told that there will be a warming period with temperatures up to 13 the end of this week. I hope to go and check on the ducks that day and see how many remain in our City. The past two evenings there have been no Canada Geese flying overhead. It will be interesting to see how many are still at the nature centre.

Today, however, I have appointments this afternoon and I expect that my breakfast updates will be arriving late.

In the Mailbox:

My mailbox has been full of individuals wanting to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene in the future should the fish deliveries run low. I would love to help Port Lincoln secure those permissions. There have also been other questions – ‘Is Big really a survivor’. My answer is below in Nest News’.

One question that is very important comes from ‘F’ who writes: ‘Will the mother know that the youngest has died because of the eldest?’

The answer to that question is ‘yes’. At times Mum even ‘sat’ on the three when they were younger to stop the beaking. Other osprey and eagle parents have tandem fed so that the youngest gets food. There are many examples of tandem feeding but Harriet and M15 come to mind immediately. I always refer back to the falconer, Laura Culley, who insists that raptors have a higher level of communication than humans – that we have lost that ability. She would answer this question with this answer, ‘And why wouldn’t the Mum know what happened?’

Animals and raptors grieve. A few good examples are when the sweet Moli chick, Ka ha Ki’i died unexpectedly in April 2021. His Mum, Laysan Alobatross, Kauai often visited his grave. When Hope and Peace died on the Captiva Bald Eagle nest due to a rat brought to the nest by their dad, Joe. The rat had eaten rodenticide poisoning. Both parents stood over the body of the second dead eaglet and mourned before it was removed for testing. Humans only believe that we are the only ones with feelings and emotions. This is not true. One of the best books on the subject of the emotional lives of animals which includes grieving is Marc Bekoff’s The Emotional Lives of Animals.

It also needs to be understood that most parents do not get the opportunity to grieve because they have other chicks to care for. In many instances, when the male has felt responsible for the deaths of the babies, such as the case with Joe at Captiva, he is mourning, leaves the area, and never returns. Connie, his mate, has taken several mates since him but has had no eaglets to fledge.

Making News:

The attacks on Chris Packham and calls for his BBC presence to end by Nature’s Alliance are not being supported by the public. Indeed, the mood of the UK population is to support nature, not harm it. Packham has been lobbying to end grouse hunting on the hunting estates. He has had his gate and car burned and has threats on his life.

Public support for Chris Packham overwhelms Countryside Alliance’s latest vindictive attack – Raptor Persecution UK

If you ever travel to Port Lincoln, they have indicated that Ervie often perches in front of the hotel on the Morton Bay Fig Tree.

Nest News:

‘A’ wrote to me about Indigo and the Starlings head wondering if anyone would mention it. Yes, it comes in the form of a video! It was one of those great moments in streaming cam history.

If Academy awards could be given out in Bird World surely the ‘Starling Head Scene’ at the Orange scrape would rate right up there with the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Here is the video of that interaction with the Starling head.

If you are trying to watch Orange today, you will not be able to see the chicks from the side camera (the one I use) very well. Indigo made a perfect bull’s eye with a big ps. I wonder if Cilla will climb up the 170 steps to get to the scrape to clean it? I am betting she does.

Victor Hurley has announced that Mirvac is going to install a second camera at the 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne next year. He also indicated that the camera will be panned out to show part way down the gutter now that the eyases are becoming more mobile. There are a few of us that are hoping they might put a shade cover and rain protector – like they have at the other end of the ledge on the other scrape box – on this one if the F22 is going to continue leaving her eyases alone in the heat of the day.

‘H’ takes very detailed notes of the Collins nest. She counted 5 feedings yesterday: At 1640 for 15 Minutes; at 0852 for 11 Minutes; at 1343 for 19 Minutes; at 1657 for 27 Minutes; and the last feeding at 1920 for 21 minutes. I was astounded at how fast the Melbourne Four could eat a large pigeon yesterday. Thanks, ‘H’.

At Port Lincoln, Big decided a few times that Middle was getting too much of the fish. The beaking was not awful and you can see Middle has a crop in the image below but, the intimidation remains. I continue to hope that her angst slows. Today Big will be 30 days old.

Let us all be clear about ‘Big Bob’. Big Bob did not have to survive anything. Big Bob ate all the fish including times when Mum needed some nourishment, intimidated its siblings, even killing one of them by starvation and possible injury. Right now Middle is having to survive Big and Middle is ‘clever’. She went under mum’s bottom and between her legs to eat. Middle has -so far – survived Big. Sadly, Little did not. Big has had no hardships to face. As ‘H’ puts it, ‘How would Big do if it went up against some bird bigger than it?’ ‘H’ is right. We would then see if Big was a survivor. The use of the word is misleading – you must survive ‘something’ to be a survivor.

The weather was not good yesterday with choppy water and strong winds. Dad managed to bring in several fish – one whole and the others partially eaten. The fish he brings in must feed four. If he is to provide, he has to eat. So does Mum. Dad has no control over the wind, the waves, and the gulls that attack the Ospreys wanting their fish. We hope that he has much better fishing luck today. The nest could use some large fish to fill everyone up — and I am speaking mostly of Mum since you will notice that both Big and Middle had crops at several feedings.

With the first eggs due to laid in November for the Bald Eagles in the US, ElfRuler has posted links to all of the streaming cams for eagles. Here is the link to their blog to find those cams.

LINKS TO STREAMING CAMS | Bald Eagles (elfruler.com)

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. I hope not to be too late with the breakfast news today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to all those who wrote in with questions or comments, to ‘A’ and ‘H’ who are my eyes in the middle of the night, and to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Raptor Persecution UK, ElfRuler Blog, 367 Collins Falcon Watchers, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

2 Comments

  1. Alison says:

    I am presuming that Harriet and M15, being in southwest Florida, would be one of the earlier bald eagle couples to have eggs? Will that nest be ready for a November clutch? I know they are working on it very hard but it’s not long till November.

    I am confused by the single camera at Collins Street. Does that mean they wait until the eggs are laid and then set up the camera at the appropriate end? Surely the best idea, with only one camera, would be to remove the unshaded scrape altogether and then train the single camera on the remaining scrape. The operator could zoom in or out as an egg pips or the mobility of the eyases increases. Or am I missing something here?

    So glad you gave us the footage of The Starling Head incident. I laughed myself silly when I saw this one live. Not to mention the late-night poop spray at the camera that added a layer to the direct hit Indigo made on it with a large PS in the early afternoon.

    1. Yes, you are absolutely right. Harriet and M15 are one of the first nests along with Ron and Rita, Samson and Gabby. A December hatch is not unheard of. Samson hatched on the 23rd at the NEFlorida Nest himself. Eagles have been recorded rebuilding an entire nest in 16 days. They are doing well! Those are great questions. ———————- Indigo and Rubus have provided laughter when we needed it the most this year.

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