Kittens, Ospreys, falcons… and more…

5 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that each and everyone of you has had a wonderful start to this first weekend in November. Here on the Canadian Prairies we are really saying goodbye to autumn as the days get colder and colder. It is now time to put away any light to medium weight jackets and pull out the scarves, toques, boots, gloves and all other paraphernalia such as snow scrapers and shovels. The forecast is for a 70% chance of snow on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!! Then a further possibility next Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, it is going to rain in between which means icy roads. I dislike winter until we are right in the middle of it and life has settled down to something resembling a hibernating bear with a mug of hot chocolate.

Are there days in your calendar where events coincide? The 5th of November is one of those for me. It is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. Fawkes was part of a Catholic group that tried to burn down Parliament in 1605. It is now better known as Bonfire Night when effigies of Fawkes are burned on bonfires along with the traditional eating of the ‘jacket’ potato. There are many fond memories of the smell of the leaves, the smoke and the fires, the potatoes with all their fillings, and just the camaraderie of friends gathering on a fall evening. 5 November is also the birthday of my late mother-in-law Vi (she was a real sweetheart), the birthday of my late friend Joanne (who died in a fire), and very much the birthday of my BFF here in Winnipeg who is celebrating her birthday today in Dublin. Happy Birthday, ‘S’.

There are many good things in life – ‘good’ friends, ‘close and loving family’, sunshine warming our face, a soaking forest walk, watching birds, warm cookies from the oven, warm bread from the oven, a smile from a stranger, our wonderful feathered friends with their large beaks and huge talons, and our pets, if we are able to share our lives. Many can’t. Of course, that is not an all inclusive list and everyone will have their own and I can add each of you to that list also. A community of empathetic, caring, concerned individuals. I am so lucky.

My Dad loved all animals. He hand fed the Cardinals and Blue Jays in our garden, took in and found homes for all the stray dogs and cats that mysteriously wound up in our yard and tended a gorgeous rose garden…I am so very grateful to him for opening up the beauty of the natural world to me before I could walk. That is where I turn – the birds, the trees, the animals – when life is at what seems its bleakest.

Lewis and Missy really helped me ‘adjust’ (I never get over) the death of Middle. They could not have come into my life at a better time.

Forget factory made toys, roll up a piece of aluminum foil! Everyone will want to play with it.

Missy likes the in floor heating.

It is not always the little brother that starts all the dust ups.

Lewis just loves toys —————- and food! I don’t know where he puts it.

In the News:

Want to understand more about climate change and its impact on the seabirds of the UK, here is an excellent article from the British Trust for Ornithology. The implications could be applied to other areas as well. It is a good read and it will help us to better understand the challenges that seabirds have and will continue to have only multiplied.

https://www.bto.org/our-science/case-studies/understanding-impacts-climate-change-seabirds

It seems that we need to be careful with our toques (knit caps) in Canada. An owl might just swoop down and take it right off your head! I wonder if it had a pom-pom? or what colour the toque was? do owls prefer cool or warm colours?

https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2022/11/03/owl-steals-vancouvers-stanley-park/?fbclid=IwAR2S-vCTcbfSzbjIoepLWeaAvHqREQwsQopmxhcl0ZzZzt3cw00OuSNJVfA

This article talks about the prowess of Crows getting carrion off the highway. Want to help them? It wasn’t mentioned but, seriously consider stopping and putting the dead animal off to the side of the road – as far as you are able – to keep the Crows, Eagles, Vultures, etc – birds of prey- from getting killed trying to get food.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/04/country-diary-a-peckish-crow-appears-to-observe-the-green-cross-code

At Port Lincoln, the camera will sometimes find Mum along the opposite shore having a bath but I have never seen one close up. Here is a wonderful opportunity to see an Osprey enjoying a bath close up!

There are so many places to adopt birds. Our local wildlife rehabilitation centre will announce their holiday fundraiser shortly – you can adopt one raptor or the whole lot of them. Many of the nature centres connected with Osprey streaming cams in the UK also have fundraising programmes including adoptions. Many rely on calendar sales for 2023 – lovely images of the raptor families from this year to brighten your day and remind you of their bigger than life personalities. If you are looking for a gift that will have a huge impact and not wind up in a landfill, think about these fundraisers.

I have mentioned the Kakapo Recovery last week and I promise this is the last time…but, they do such a fantastic job monitoring, finding, assessing, and caring for this rare flightless parrot. They have limited adoptions available. Every cent goes to the welfare of the birds! (And I promise I do not get a single cent for mentioning them!)

Here is the announcement from the Kakapo Recovery: In case you missed our announcement last week, adoptions are once again open! If you’re ordering for delivery outside of New Zealand by Christmas you have until Monday the 7th to get these in. Kiwis, you have until the end of the month. Please note that if you log in to PayPal to make the purchase it automatically takes the shipping address from your PayPal account details – if your order is a gift then select ‘pay with card’ in order to be able to enter different shipping details!

https://www.doc.govt.nz/…/get-involved/adopt-a-kakapo/

If you live in the UK, the British Trust for Ornithology has a programme for youth to stimulate learning about birds. They provide binoculars and guidebooks to youth. It is part of their Equipment Donation Scheme. If you live in the UK and have a pair of binoculars to donate, please get in touch with the BTO. You can check out the programme at http://www.bto.org/equipment

If you live elsewhere and are wondering how to help youth get involved with nature and learn to appreciate our feathered friends, why not get in touch with your local wildlife rehabilitation centre or birding groups to see if they would like to start an equipment donation programme for youth. It is a win-win.

Nest News:

Jackie and Shadow, one of the most popular American Bald Eagle couples flew into their nest in Big Bear Valley this morning to find snow. The pair are used to it. Indeed, they could be lucky. Raptors do better in cooler weather! They are working on their nest. You might remember that they fledged Spirit last year – she stole our heart! And theirs. A successful hatch following several years of no chicks. Let us wish them the best of luck again this breeding season.

It is so good to see you, Jackie and Shadow!

Dad came in with a big fish for Mum and Big at Port Lincoln this morning. There wasn’t much time to sit on the nest and get hungry! Look at that time stamp.

I miss Middle. He was like a gentle soul on that nest. But, now, I need to live in the present with the birds, not wishing what could have been. We need to see Big grow and get ready to fledge. Banding and the name giving will take place between the 12th and 14th of November. That is one week away.

It took about 24 minutes for that large fish to be consumed. Wow. I sure hope Mum got enough. She was very careful in the delivery to make sure that she had control of the delivery, not Big. Good for Mum. Once Big starts taking the prey and self- feeding Mum will need fish, too. Wonder if she will just fly out and get them?

Big and Mum saw Dad come in with the fish. He was eating it on the ropes. Everyone had dinner before it was light’s out.

It was a bit of a change this morning at the scrape on the grounds of the Charles Sturt University. It seems that Indigo got a lot of the prey delivery. Goodness. Rubus was a little pouty. Still, they both had plenty. Diamond and Xavier will not let either eyas go hungry.

Rubus decides that if he isn’t going to be fed, he will just eat the prey himself! Remember Rubus has already successfully plucked and eaten a Starling’s head.

Thanks to ‘C’ who sent me this great screen capture of Xavier and Diamond putting on flying demonstrations yesterday. This will be to lure Indigo into joining the fastest raptor on the planet club. There is still fluff and Indigo is about a week behind Collins Street – and the older eyases could fledge there any time! They have their plumage – it is fully developed.

At 131730 Indigo has decided to pull Rubus across the scrape by its toe. Poor thing. You could hear Rubus crying.

A meal came in and all was well. No damage done! It was one of the most pleasant feedings I have seen in a long time at this scrape…equal shares.

When I last checked there were still four eyases living – running, flapping, eating – on the ledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Just beautiful beautiful eyases. I wonder when we will have our first fledge? It will be soon!

I had to watch and wait for all four heads.

Sometimes we get a tip of a wing showing and we know someone is still home.

There was some confusion surrounding a falcon that flew off the ledge at 0956. It was Mum, not one of the eyases fledging.

There goes Mum. There are 2 eyases in the scrape, one in the gutter, and another on the ledge. It will not be long but it did not happen at 0956. And it is an easy thing to assume until you begin to count bodies. We are all on pins and needles waiting for the first fledge – and it could happen while I sleep tonight!

All four were still present at 1730. Mum and Dad have done a fantastic job raising four healthy – very healthy eyases – for the first time. Just look at the place – what a mess.

Migration News:

There has been no news from either Kaia or Karl II for some time. They had each arrived in Africa and it is assumed that they are in their winter grounds without satellite service. This happens every year. We lose contact until the spring. As always, extremely grateful to the wonderful folks at Looduskalender that report on the transmissions and create the maps and landscape views. It is terrific.

Waba is now in Sudan. He is still feeding along the Nile River – just in Sudan now and not in Egypt.

Bonus is near Baskaraoren in the Turkish Province of Konya. He seems to have found good feeding spots.

Thank you so very much for being with me. It is always a pleasure to have you here. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: British Trust for Ornithology, The Guardian, Sprotborough Flash, Kakapo Recovery, FOBBV, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Looduskalender Forum.

5 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Good morning and thank you Mary Ann for the newsletter and the updates, photos, and everything !
    Wow it is amazing how the weather changes so fast! The kittens are so cute and having a great time! πŸ’•πŸ’•
    We wish the eyases the best as the will begin fledging soon. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•
    Hopefully Indigo won’t drag little Rubus sibling by his toe any more. I wonder if Rubus was
    Getting too close to the ledge ? They are adorables. πŸ’•πŸ’•
    So glad there is still communication for Bonus and Waba. Hopefully KarlII and Kiai tracking will work soon again too.
    Have a great Saturday Mary Ann and we look forward to hearing again soon.
    Linda

    1. Hi Linda, You are always welcome. You know…I think you just might have a point. Maybe Rubus did get too close to the edge! S/he seems to copy everything Indigo does. I just hope they don’t try to fly!

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        I hope they don’t either. ! It’s too
        soon and they could get injured or worse. In my prayers πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ’•
        Thank you Mary Ann!
        Have a good Saturday!

  2. Alison says:

    At least we know that if either chick does fall from the scrape at Orange, or try to fledge too soon, Cilla will pick it up and put it back (Izzi ‘fludged’ twice in 2020 and had to be returned to the nest box).

    1. Yes, so very, very true. Hopefully if it does fludge no serious injuries. Xavier and Diamond are certainly putting on the flying demonstrations to lure Indigo. BTW. Cilla seems to have decided that Indigo is a male.

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