11 December 2022
Oh, gosh, it is grey and dreary here in Manitoba. The sun did not break through at all today. There were moments when I wish we could ‘wiggle’ our noses and be transported elsewhere. I wanted to feel the warmth of the sun, see the green grass, and sit and just listen to the Tropical Mockingbird and Bananaquit.
At the same time, had I not been sitting where I was, I would have missed Sharpie’s visit! I know that he has been about or the larger female Cooper’s Hawk, but I had just not caught him landing. Today, he did!
It is so nice to see you, Sharpie. You are looking quite healthy with those chrome yellow legs.
At the same time, he caused the 31 European Starlings that were feeding to gather and form a murmuration. It was the first time I had seen these birds clustering and flying together to confuse a predator. It was not like anything I have seen when there are thousands of Starlings together forming intricate patterns. These 31 were a loose knit group but, they did manage to keep the hawk at bay with their flying formations.
Sunday morning and Sharpie is back trying to get a songbird feeding in the lilacs. The three Crows are all upset causing the songbirds to flit and fly away. I figure Sharpie is hungry. He is not giving up easily.
I suspect, like Diamond, Sharpie prefers something other than a Starling – perhaps, his usual House Sparrow. He is too small to go after a Crow but, the Crows get excited when anyone enters their territory. I never resent him taking one of the Sparrows. Everyone has to eat to survive. Sharpie just takes what he needs, eats it all but the feathers and even some of those, some days. He doesn’t waste – like humans do.
While I was away, one of our readers, ‘L’ sent me a photo of a hawk wondering what it was. I knew but I decided to ask Merlin and sure enough, Merlin photo ID said Cooper’s Hawk as opposed to the image above which Merlin IDed as a Sharp-shinned.
Which brings me to a point I want to make. At one time I was not happy with Merlin Bird ID. It drove me nuts. While I was on holiday, there were so many songbirds singing at the same time that I could not separate them. Additionally, they were tropical birds that are completely unknown to me. The Merlin Song ID was incredible. The only bird that it did not identify was the Carib Grackle which surprised me.
The other positive besides knowing all of the birds that are around you is that by using the app, you can learn the song of species that were originally unknown to you. By the end of the week, I was able to tell 8 Caribbean birds by their song. That is pretty good for someone who is tone deaf! Just imagine what you could do. It is free. I really do urge you to put it on your phones. Go out, take a friend, or a young person and teach them to hear the songs and identify the birds. Make an outing of it. It is really fun and it helps Cornell understand where birds are located even when they don’t think they should be! Like Sharpie. Once I sent them the image with all its meta-data, they quit telling me that there could not be a Sharp-shinned Hawk in Winnipeg at this time of year.
The final report has come in on Hesgyn, the last chick that Monty raised with Telyn, found dead this summer in Wales after living through his migration and returning to find a mate. The report is cumulative – meaning that that the most recent finding and autopsy report is at the bottom. It would appear that Hesgyn’s return coincided with the tremendous heat that Wales had during that singular week. The impact on the ability of this magnificent osprey to fish – after returning from Africa – could have been the natural cause of his death. No human cause.
It was nice to see Zoe with a great big fish delivery from Dad. At 0701:14, Zoe sees Dad arriving.
At 0701:20, Dad lands on the nest. Mum begins to fly over from the ropes to the nest.
It was a big fish, not a teaser. Mum seemed to hope there would be some left but, Zoe does love her fish! And has a history of being unable to share.
By 0735, Zoe has finished the entire fish!
At 0801, Zoe sits with Dad over on the ropes. He doesn’t seem to have budged a centimetre from the earlier image above.
At the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the campus of Charles Sturt University, Diamond was having a nice siesta in the afternoon sun. She is so beautiful. Her and Xavier must be very happy with Indigo’s progress.
Indigo arrives and thinks the ledge is a good place for an afternoon nap, too.
Elain has another great highlights of the Day for our Orange Falcon family.
The biggest news in Bird World continues to be the competition for Gabby’s heart and nest.
In order to try and keep the identification of the suitors separate and apart from one another and Samson, the AEF have gone to identifying the birds using their tail feathers.
Tail Comparison: Top Row L to R: Samson, V1. Bottom Row L to R: V2, V3
I have not seen V2 at the nest today. There is now the third male, V3, who has been working on the nest and Gabby has not chased him away. Gabby even got into the nest with V3 for a bit.
V3 has slept on the nest and is very alert.
There is very little known about Gabby including her age. She became Samson’s mate at this nest in 2018. She was an adult so she is at least 9 years old now. She has a nest in a good location and there are many suitors. To date, I do not believe we have noticed a brood patch on Gabby. A brood patch is the spot where the feathers do not exist – they fall out when it is time to incubate eggs. The skin of the adult touches the eggs and helps to keep them warm. If the feathers would there, the warmth of the parental body would not exist – so this brood patch has developed over eons to assist the eagles with incubation.
Wonder who Gabby will choose? There seems to be plenty of time so as the AEF suggests, get some popcorn and sit back and watch. It truly is a soap opera. Meanwhile, Harriet is only letting M15 have a little incubation time while Anna down at the KNF nest in Louisiana loves to give Louis plenty of time with their eggs.
M15 brought Harriet a tasty treat today, right off the Road Kill menu – rabbit. Harriet wanted it plain, not in a cassoulet.
Meanwhile at the Kistachie National Forest nest, Louis is getting another chance to incubate the eggs overnight. Wow! These young eagle mums are really sharing the whole experience with their mates. It looks there is some rain and a little lighting near the nest in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Congratulations to Superbeaks – the Central Florida Bald Eagle nest – on their second hatch as announced by Paul Kolnik on Bald Eagles 101.
‘A’ reminded me that Wisdom is not only the oldest Laysan Albatross in the world but she is also the oldest banded bird in the world. Incredible. There is a new announcement from the Midway Atoll. It seems that Wisdom has returned and was seen on the 24th of November but, her mate has sadly not. Will she get another mate? We wait to see. What an amazing seabird Wisdom is…incredible.
Remember that Ferris Akel has his live tour on Saturdays starting at noon Eastern on YouTube. Today, he didn’t catch big Red on the Cornell Campus, our queen of the Red-tail Hawks. Ferris did find her mate, Arthur – and it is always good to see either of them and extremely special when it is both.
Some thoughts from David Suzuki.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. See you soon! One last one to put a smile on your face – the ever loving Jackie and Shadow kissing in the nest yesterday while they did renovations.
Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: David Suzuki Foundation, Bald Eagles 101, Ferris Akel Tours, US Fish and Wildlife Services and ‘A’, Tonya Irwin and KNF Bald Eagles FB, Lady Hawk, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, the AEF FB, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab, and FOBBV.