Mum saves the fish…and other tales from Bird World

25 October 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone!

I hope that your day is starting off wonderfully well.

For those living in Melbourne, oh, enjoy those 24 degrees C temperatures for me, too. My forecast is for it to snow in the next hour! And for it to be -1 C tomorrow. Now…I don’t know about your meteorologists but, ours are sometimes not correct and I am really hoping that they will be wrong. Not for me but for all the birds that remain in our City. There are even reports of the first Snowy Owls arriving in the southern part of our province. Cold weather is really and truly on its way. I have never seen all the Snowys on the fields in our province. Looking forward to finally seeing one this year.

There was no snow when I woke up but it is 1 degree and grey. The Blue Jays are gathering peanuts in the shell and the Lilacs are full of little sparrows singing away eating their Black Oil Seed and millet. Just a few seconds ago six Canada Geese flew over.

Thankfully I had the camera ready because I was wanting to try and catch Little Red. He was too quick!

My attempts to lure the European Starlings down from roosting in the far trees did not work. There were, however, some wrens and sparrows that promptly went over to eat the Meal Worms and the Bark Butter. The squirrels were also busy today and Little Red continues to go in and out of the big box that holds the wood. That is where I put his new house – if he would move into it. I am afraid to go and check but it is possible that he is entering from the back hole to the house. Fingers crossed. It would be a great place for him.

There are a few Dark-Eyed Juncos still around looking for Millet.

Dad brought in one of the nicest fish I have seen to the Port Lincoln nest. Mum had been doing her talon dance and Middle had joined in prey calling. When Dad arrived, the fish, like all fish being slimy, slipped…oh, it looked like Mum was going to lose it down the side of the nest. But…she didn’t. She managed to get that very much alive fighting fish up on that nest and then she decided to fly off with it. I do not know what Mum did to that fish in the few seconds she was off the nest but it sure wasn’t wiggling and jerking when she got back. How many times have we witnessed these big fish, alive and fighting, being brought to nests only to hold our breath as they flipped and flopped over the ospreys??? Manton Bay comes to mind for this past season in the UK. My goodness I thought those two babies were going to die. How the one survived I will never know but, she did.

It is not the first time I have seen this happen and I am certain that you have, at one time or another, if you have watched Osprey nests, seen a fish go overboard. It is heart breaking. I cannot say for certain but many say that it takes about 15 dives to get a catch. That is a lot of energy expended to go over the side. And, as we all know too well, a fish can sometimes mean life or death to one of the chicks.

Mum fought that fish pulling and pulling so it would not go overboard.

The other thing that I find interesting in these situations is that the male does not help. It is as if once the fish is delivered he is done..gone. At any rate, three cheers for Mum. She did an amazing job wrestling that fish.

Middle is very clever. Mum is getting the fish situated and Big is already to eat. Middle does not waste any seconds getting to the table but he doesn’t just rush in either. He can see how long that fish is and slowly moves into place.

Middle is going to get a truly good feed.

It is hard to tell but, Middle has a very large piece of fish he is getting ready to hook.

Just have a look at our dear Middle. That crop could pop!

Notice also how heavy the wings are now. The ospreys will let them droop. I also like to point out the dark down on the chest. The ospreys will have a thermal down underneath their feathers that will help them regulate their temperature.

All is quiet. Two very full ospreys. As I write this, the time is just past 1500 in Port Lincoln. I have not seen another fish come to the nest yet but there will be at least 1 more if not 2 today.

It is so nice to have these three nests progressing along nicely without too much worry of anything untoward happening. Oh, yes, I always say that the fortunes of a nest can turn in an instant – and they can. Thankfully we have no worries about predators, like Eagles, owls, or goshawks, diving down to snatch the chicks out of the nest! Those are constant worries at some nests such as those in Finland and now, of course, at some in the US like Cowlitz PUD where all three ospreys were taken by a Bald Eagle.

Oh, how precious. Indigo walked over to give her little brother a cuddle.

Xavier arrived with the afternoon tea. For a moment I thought that he might get to feed Indigo and Rubus but, no…Diamond arrived. It looked like a Starling but then as Diamond plucked it looked less so. The fact that it took longer to remove the feathers with Rubus getting anxious and walking away to Cilla’s stones indicated that it must have been something larger. Oh, my goodness. When Diamond started feeding the two were jumping and stretching for joy! It was a great feeding.

Notice that Little Rubus is at the kind of cotton ball stage too…the fluffy white down just hanging on as the juvenile feathers grow underneath. Indigo is doing a lot of preening and if you catch a glimpse of her tail, it is really growing nicely. They are changing almost right before our eyes. It is now Wednesday in Orange and by the weekend we should see some dramatic differences in the plumage of both.

It sure looks like a Starling!

Diamond arrives and takes the prey. Xavier has a last look. Oh, he loves being a Dad and what a wonderful one he is!

Some of you more familiar with the prey available around Orange can probably identify this tea time treat. It looks like a Starling to me but please correct me if it is something larger.

Poor Indigo. Both ‘J’ and I noticed that she let Little Rubus be right up in front. I do wonder about the fright she had with that one Starling head having a lasting impression or lasting fright.

Rubus gets impatient waiting for the plucking to end and walks over and gets on Cilla’s stones. Do you know why the stones are placed where they are? It is so Diamond will have to lay her eggs so the camera can see them, not hidden in the corner.

Rubus has a ferocious appetite! Not to worry. Indigo did get some food!

Notice how Indigo is changing. You can see those beautiful tail feathers and we are now getting a reveal of her back as the soft down comes away from her eyes. She is going to be just a stunner.

Oh, and thankfully, someone caught the morning feed at 367 Collins Street on video! (I am not able to use my video app on this machine…I hope to be able to make video clips for you soon but, for now, we will rely on others!)

Around 1345 at the scrape of the Melbourne Four in the CBD of Melbourne, the parents are on alert. One is calling from the ledge and they seem to be spending time on the ledge protecting the eyases.

Even if there was an intruder about, the Melbourne Four managed another four feedings lasting over ten minutes. They were at 0641 for 17 minutes, 1126 for 11 minutes, 1629 for 12 minutes, and a really big feed at 1855 lasting for 18 minutes. Thank you ‘H’ for all those times.

Other News in Bird World:

One of our favourite Ospreys, Richmond from the San Francisco Whirley Crane nest in the Richmond Shipping Yards, has had to protect his territory from Ravens today.

This is the latest news on SE30 who was found in a residential neighbourhood. I sound like a broken record. It is incredibly sad that the eaglets are rushed out of the forest so they cannot get their flying strong and be taught how to hunt for prey by their parents. This scenario is repeated annually. Thankfully, all those wonderful people around the Discovery Centre who love these eagles from here and beyond keep an eye on them. It is also reassuring that the right protocols are in place to rescue the eaglets and get them into care. Let us hope that SE29 and SE30 are both kept in care until they are flying strong and know how to hunt! Thank you Judy Harrington!

There is also some progress being made at the North Dame Bald Eagle nest in St Patrick’s Park, South Bend, Indiana. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Good luck Mum and Dad. They have a huge job ahead of them!

How much is a Bald Eagle’s life worth? Sadly, not much. A Devon, Ohio man shot and killed a Bald Eagle. WKBN27 First News is reporting that a federal judge gave the man a one year’s probation, a fine of $4000 and another $1200 to USFWS.

Thank you so very, very much for joining me today. Take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Norte Dame Eagles FB, Eagle Cam, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon.

1 Comment

  1. Alison says:

    To be honest, I think that’s a pretty substantial penalty for killing a bald eagle. They are never going to jail someone for it in a gun-loving country like the US, and being on the radar of law enforcement via a probationary period is no picnic. Plus that is a decent fine for an ordinary person. I’m amazed he didn’t just get a slap on the wrist.
    I am still waiting to hear from Bonus’s tracker – as you know, the travels of Bonus are of keen interest to me. We desperately want a happy ending to that story.
    The development of the eyases at Collins St and Orange is amazing. I can’t believe how little time we have with them before fledge. We watched them hatch, helpless and damp with eyes closed, and now, just a few weeks later, they are almost independent. Indigo is self-feeding on nestovers (how was the effort on the eggshell the other day?) and little Rubus is just a total joy. As for the four in Melbourne, they do seem much more comfortable in their new scrape and mum loves the perch above. The wing spans on the older chicks are just amazing. How did those tiny wings grow so big so fast? Absolutely gorgeous. The youngest is such a cutie. And a particularly curious and adventurous little spirit – it was one of the first to hit the gutter.
    I think this year, more than any other, I have become acutely aware of just how short a time we have with these beautiful babies. A few oh so precious weeks. Every day brings us closer to fledge, although we may (hopefully) get a look at the post-fledge life of Indigo and Rubus for a few months (remember Izzi?).
    Of course, we should get some idea of the fate of whichever PLO osplet gets a tracker and will hope for updates on SE29 and SE30 (once they are released from care) from the BOTGs in Sydney.
    It’s hard to watch and care deeply every day, then suddenly they are gone, taking a little piece of our hearts with them as they embark on all the dangers of life as a wild bird. We do know Ervie is enjoying life, but how are Melbourne’s three falcon juveniles from 2021? How is our battler ND17? Is Spirit doing well? What has happened to Rocket and Jasper, E19 and E20, Love and Peace? How are the Three Amigos from West End (remember Dr Sharpe rescued the youngest, Ahote, who was accidentally kicked from the nest)? And how are brave Victor and his devoted sister Lillibet faring?
    And that’s just a handful from last year. Godspeed little ones. We remember each and every one of you.

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