Stolen eggs, fledgling in care, Ervie and more in Bird World on Monday

14 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

Oh, goodness, Sunday was a day full of surprises! Two of them welcome and the other two, just shattering.

I had not anticipated sending out the newsletter this morning. The news coming out of NZ and Melbourne today would overwhelm this wonderful story of birds and emotions that I am working on. So tomorrow I will introduce you to Wolke so that you can enjoy reading about her incredible journey through grief to find love.

I don’t think anyone was shocked to discover that Big Bob at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge was a girl. I am not sure that anyone was surprised that she was the largest osprey ever hatched and ready to fledge either. Big is a BIG girl. The pink band is fantastic and what a super tribute to Janet Forster’s granddaughter to have the 2022 osplet named after her, Zoe. What was surprising was the determination of the local gulls to steal the fish right off the nest on the barge as Zoe was pancaked!

This really opened my eyes to what Dad might have to go through when he is fishing. We have seen the gulls steal a fish right out of his talons but, imagine them swarming him when he is fishing. That makes me sad.

Dad came in with a fish at 132824. He brought an earlier fish at 064935.

Mum prevailed and fed herself and her big Zoe.

It was a good fishing day for Dad who flew in with another fish at 1900. We have all been worried about Dad. Is the lack of fish due to weather? sediment so he could not see clearly? or him just feeling unwell? We probably will never know but, he did manage 3 fish and Mum and Zoe had the fish that were left after banding that the gulls did not get. (I think the gulls only took 1 of the 3 fish).

Zoe screaming loud with Mum as they see Dad approaching with the fish.

The shock of all shocks was Indigo being physically strong enough to fly into the scrape box and scare the wits end out of Rubus and Diamond who were enjoying a nice meal!

What great form! She landed in that scrape safely and took control of that prey. The in climate weather for the past day must have meant she had not had food and was famished.

Indigo stayed in the scrape with Rubus. He was there when they turned the IR off. (Cilla has done this to keep the numbers of mosquitoes down).

Dusk is coming.

Two specific incidents come to mind. One was Legacy, the 2021 fledgling of Samson and Gabby at NEFL. Legacy flew off the nest. I would have to check but, she was gone about a week. Everyone presumed she was being fed by the adults. She was seen flying into other eagle’s nests and it appeared to birders on the ground she was looking for her natal nest. She was caught on camera flying close by and then one day, she landed on the nest. She was famished and she did not fly off that nest for another month! Samson and Gabby were so glad to see her they provided so much fish! The second was WBSE 26. 26 was in the forest for about a week being harassed by the Currawongs and Magpies after fledging. She made it back to the natal nest, exhausted and hungry. Again the parents happily took care of 26 – you could almost see Lady’s delight that her baby was home. 26 stayed, ate, and got her strength up for about a week before being chased out of the forest. That was 2 years ago today that the Magpie helped 26 fight off the Currawongs.

I was also thinking about Izzy who returned to the scrape at Orange for so long. Diamond had to block the door finally for Izzy to get the message to move on. I suspect that Indigo is tired. Flying is a lot of work and the birds have to build up those muscles. Indeed, Indigo did go to sleep eating! Indigo might have been flying around the campus not connecting with the parents for a prey drop during the stormy weather the day prior. It will be interesting to see what happens when Rubus fledges. For now, isn’t it a delight to see Indigo safe and back in the scrape knowing he has had a meal?

The third surprising event was just a shattering. Four eggs from the Royal Albatross that are now breeding at Taiaroa Head have been stolen! There is no evidence to suggest that predators took the eggs and the NZ DOC is working with the police and going over footage to try and determine what has happened. Unbelievable.

Hearts are breaking.

Whenever something really terrible happens, I think of Ervie and today, thank you Friends of Osprey for posting more pictures of our beloved lad. Now notice Ernie’s lovely necklace. We know he is a male so, let this image guide us. Males do have necklaces. Blue 022 has a stunning one. It is not a foolproof method of determining gender in Ospreys.

Just look at Ernie’s nice crop. I wonder how his talon is coming along. I could not tell from the images but, he certainly is a most handsome osprey.

Speaking of Ervie, Friends of Osprey posted another image of Ervie with his satellite tracker and an explanation about trackers and why they are important.

Sad news is coming out of Melbourne. This is the fourth event – another shattering one. One of the fledglings has been found on a footpath near 367 Collins Street. Send all your positive wishes, please.

Just about the time we think things are going quiet, events that we might not have imagined take place. Our thoughts go out to the fledgling from Collins Street so that it will improve quickly and be able to be released. Life is very challenging for the urban birds. While there is generally a lot of prey – pigeons – there are also lots of buildings with glass that are difficult to manoeuvre when one is just learning to fly.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care all. If you get a chance stop in and check on Indigo, she might just stay at the scrape today. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that made up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB, Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for all the updates. Prayers for the falcon that it makes a full recovery 🙏 that is why I always say I hope they don’t fledge too early. I hope the youngest one is still there and ok.
    Prayers that they find what happened to the eggs at NZ albatrosses nests. 🙏
    Ervie is really a handsome Osprey and I hope his talon is healed. Thanks for the photos of him. So glad Dad at Port Lincoln is bringing in the fish and is not stressed as he was. Loosing two osplets was hard on mom and dad. I am surprised at Big not going after the full who was stealing her fish!
    Have a good Monday Mary Ann and hope to hear from you again soon.

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Yes, we all wish so much that the wee one in Melbourne comes around for a full recovery. There are people who steal the turtle eggs where my son lives and they have to have patrols. One would think that would not be needed for the albatross but someone is wanting to get those eggs to sell them. So sad. Indeed, it is hard to believe. It appears that Indigo and Rubus have now worked out their co-existence together and it is such a treat to see Indigo back up in the scrape.

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        Mary Ann with so many eggs gone at one time it must be someone stealing them. Have they gotten a patrol to watch out ? At first I thought maybe another animal could have taken them but I hope if it was someone who stole them that the albatross but a plug out of the them!
        So glad Indigo and Rubus are together again. I was worried about little Rubus and praying he wouldn’t fall off the ledge. 🙏💕🙏💕
        Thanks Mary Ann and take care!

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