Big shuts Middle out of fish…and other breakfast news from Australia

20 October 2022

Yesterday was a good day. All four of the Blue Jays were seen along with all four of the Crow family. The two Chickadees came flitting through. Four grey squirrels and one red one. Loads of Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. I know I have mentioned all of them recently but there is something so reassuring to see them – alive. Urban environments present particular challenges for our feathered friends and, it is like knowing that your whole family is fed, warm, and tucked in for the night. It feels good just like watching the little falcons eat. Something very rewarding.

Making News:

SE 30 was seen in a residential area around the Discovery Centre. What a beautiful sea eagle.

Jackie and Shadow have been working on the nest in the Big Bear Valley. Shadow has a new hair style to show off for this breeding season!

It is that time of year that lead begins to make news – and never in a good way. Read the post by one of my favourite Wildlife Rehab Clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope. It takes one lead pellet or one lead sinker to damage or kill an eagle. When there are alternatives, this is unacceptable. If lead paint is outlawed because it can harm humans, then lead hunting and fishing equipment that causes death to our raptors needs to be outlawed as well.

I wish that I could tell you that all is well at Port Lincoln. A whole fish arrived at 090824. Middle did get some bites but Big ate the majority of that fish making Middle have to do the snatch and grab. At 124709 another fish arrived on the nest. Big is going to eat all of it. She has beaked Middle so that he is afraid to come up to the table. Middle was tucked in tight. Listening and watching. At 13:10:58 Middle slithers up to Mum. Is there any fish left? No. Mum just ate the fish tail.

There will, of course, be other fish. But there is still a problem. We had high hopes that Big would calm down and everything would be civil on the Port Lincoln Nest on Monday. Big did get most of the fish but she was not chasing Middle away from the table.

Both eating on Monday.

By Wednesday everything had changed significantly. If Big continues to eat the way she is, Mum is not getting enough food and Middle will continue to be intimidated and afraid to go and eat.

Big will stop eating to intimidate Middle.

Middle really needs to have a good meal.

There were other fish but beyond the 0909, Big did not allow Middle much. Those fish came in at 1247, 1651, 1931, and 1952.

If Middle moves a speck, Big raises its head. This is not a good situation. Middle neeeds to eat today, Thursday in Australia.

At Melbourne, the problem was the heat. The eyases were very hot. Some made it to the other end of the ledge to enjoy the shade. Mum and Dad had turns acting as umbrellas to block the sun.

Both parents dug in their talons and tried to help the Melbourne Four.

Thankfully the shade came! What a difference a couple of hours makes.

Lots of prey came for the Melbourne Four. It looks like Mum took charge of all the 5 feedings. Thanks to ‘H’ and ‘A’ for the time stamps and information. At the 0552 feeding, the eyases ate for 9 minutes; at 0749 it was 21 minutes, at 1627 for 32-33 minutes, at 1734 for 12 minutes, and a bedtime snack came in at 1859 and the kids ate for 5 minutes.

Indigo and Rubus had five feeds yesterday, too. Those came at 072721, 100848, 105425, 144754, and the last one before light’s out was at 181056. The prey thought to be a Red Waddle bird at 100848 was positively identified as a Noisy Miner later.

Have a close look at little Rubus. He is starting to get pin feathers.

Diamond is making sure that Indigo uses her neck muscles, too!

Diamond is fascinated by the camera!

Migration News:

The news coming for Karl II and his family of Black Storks from the Estonian Karula National Forest appears to be all good. Little Waba flew 298 km and is now in Turkey. S/he did that in one day!

This is an image from where Waba’s tracker indicated s/he is feeding. Just lovely.

There was no new transmission from Kaia. She continues to be in Chad in a dry area it is believed.

Bonus is still in Romania feeding in the ditches east of Latinu.

Karl II really got to flying. he covered 373 km in one day and is now feeding along on the eastern side of the Nile River near Asswan.

Great News.

Two things I try to avoid when bringing you news about our feathered family are politics and religion. Sometimes, politics cannot be avoided because our wildlife are wrapped up in particular views and policies that belong to the different parties in the various governments around the world.

There is a quiet movement behind the scenes to see what can be done to change the intervention laws in South Australia in the memory of Little Bob. What we have learned is that David Speirs -often seen with the ospreys, Janet Forster (Port Lincoln Osprey founder), and who is now President of Friends of Ospreys- was the Minister of the Environment for the State of South Australia and, as you can tell, extremely supportive of the Ospreys. The Liberals lost the last election and the Labour Party is in power. David Speirs (Ervie is named after the village in Scotland where Speirs was born) is now the leader of the Opposition.

Every day something new is discovered. Current regulations and policies are being examined to see how to move forward. The last thing anyone wants to do is to damage the fine work that Port Lincoln and Friends of Osprey have already done. It takes time for change but, no one is forgetting Little Bob least of all Port Lincoln who support intervention but cannot within the current policies and guidelines or they would lose their licenses and everything they have gained in terms of being able to provide for the Ospreys. All of this is good. Little Bob is not forgotten.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you later today with the breakfast news. Send positive wishes to Port Lincoln, please.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Friends of Big Bear Valley, A Place Called Hope, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Looduskalender.


  1. dorcha22 says:

    Hi Mary Ann, thank you for today’s update. You often mention some of the visitors to your garden. Today the squirrels were included again. I’m interested to read that you have greys & reds visiting. As you know, the greys in the UK are a threat to the reds, I wondered are yours a different species?

    1. That is a good question and I will try and find out the answer for you. I certainly believe that the Reds are different – they ‘look’ slightly different than your Red squirrels with those amazing tufted ears. The two do not like one another but, there is lots of food for them. They generally stay clear of one another. What I have found interesting is that the Crows are afraid of the squirrels while the Blue Jays simply ignore them.

    2. Dear Dorcha, Your question intrigued me and I hope you don’t mind if I use it in the newsletter. The Grey Squirrels are native to North America and, as you know, they were introduced to the UK during the Victorian era by the aristocracy. There are three types of Red Squirrels: the American Red, the Eurasian, and the Fox Squirrel. The American Reds are native to North America and are the ones in my back garden. They have no ear tufts and their colour is not as rich a red as the tufted ear squirrels, the Eurasians that live in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia. The other difference is your Red scatters their cache while our red squirrels put all their winter food in a winter cache – it was my garden shed and now is the woodshed. I learned a lot! Thank you again for that great question.

      1. dorcha22 says:

        Thank you Mary Ann for your swift & informative reply 🙂

      2. Oh, you are more than welcome. I love squirrels, Dorcha and was saddened when I did not get to make my trip to Scotland this summer. I am hoping for next year and I plan to try and find them – the Red squirrels. I have not been to Scotland in a long time and Dorcha and Louis are on my list, too. I had found a small house in a village at the foot of the Cairngorms with a steam in the back. With ducks and squirrels.. Hopefully it will be available again!

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks for these updates Mary Ann. Glad your birds and squirrels are there in that very cold weather and eating well!
    I’m just so sad that Big has now started on Middle in an aggressive beau to scare Middle so much it can’t hardly eat. Prayers for Middle. ❤️🙏
    All the falcons still seem ok and well
    fed. Thanks for all the photos of all the birds. So glad that SE30 is being seen and hopefully getting enough food ! Such a beautiful young eagle ❤️
    Thanks for the updates on the black stork family and so glad they are doing well on their travels.
    Have a good Wednesday and hope to see you again soon here !

  3. Alison says:

    I did hope that the longer time SE30 spent on the nest would be a good thing and would make her stronger when she did fledge. SE29, until flying into a wall or a window, had also been doing wonderfully well, returning to the nest daily for food and also I believe for SE30’s company, usually sleeping in the nest tree. These two have done so much better than previous eaglets from this nest.
    The Melbourne four are beyond parental control at this point, which is worrying mum greatly. When she does settle down, she is the best mumbrella I have ever seen. Some of your shots of her with wings outspread and tail fanned are magnificent. What a wonderful mum she is turning out to be! Now all she needs to do is learn from the eyases and lay her eggs in a sheltered scrape next season. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the scrapes at both ends of the ledge had shelter from Melbourne’s harsh sun and all these La Nina rainy spells? The chicks can really get so hot on that ledge without it and look how hard poor mum has to work to shade them.
    At Orange, after Cilla climbed all those stairs plus a long ladder to clean Indigo’s PS off the camera, Diamond was very suspicious that Cilla may be hiding behind that camera. She kept checking it, pecking it and generally eyeing suspiciously.

    1. Diamond is a riot and bless her heart. Cilla Kinross is amazing. She is so dedicated to the falcons…170 steps up and down. It is good that Melbourne erases moved house…maybe Mum will lay her eggs there next year!

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