17 December 2022
It is a bit like a winter fairyland outside if you can stay in and not have to drive. The main City streets are clear but in the country cars have been sliding into the ditch all of Friday. Hopefully no one was injured and…everyone can stay home until the weather improves.
I am having a hard time getting over the fact that someone stomped four beautiful Hen Harrier chicks to their death. It is simply unimaginable. And, yet, cruelty to animals appears to be on the rise. What has happened to us? We pollute our planet til it is gasping for breath and then treat the wildlife that we share it with in disdain. I say ‘we’. Anyone who reads my blog does not harm anything but, how can we cause a sea change in the rest of humanity? Of course, those four chicks are only the tip of the iceberg as evidenced by the listing of 77 Hen Harriers killed or missing (those known) since 2018 when the persecution of the birds was to end. Humans can be very disgusting. One of the latest below. If you wish to follow Dr Ruth Tingay’s blog, Raptor Persecution UK, go to raptorpersecutionuk.org
While the UK is battling this intentional killing, there are serious persecutions of raptors happening throughout the world. No country is immune it seems. What a sadness.
This morning, we need something uplifting and I cannot think of a sweeter sound that little eaglets wanting more bites of prey and being fed by their mum. In this case, it is Muhlady at the Superbeaks nest. You can hear them and see them, finally. That nest bowl is deep! And a good thing. We will not worry about them falling over!
The soap opera continues at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest. It is surely a good thing that Gabby has not laid her eggs yet because it is a revolving door of suitors. Just when we think V3 is the winner – ‘behind door number 3’- he disappears and is missing for 24 hours and then V1 shows up! My question is: will V2 return?
According to ‘J’ who is watching this nest closely, Gabby was not too happy when V1 showed up instead of V2. (Rollin’ Rag is calling this one new but some have identified him as V1). ‘H’ says we need to buy more popcorn!!!!!! Yes, ‘H’, it is the best soap opera in Bird World at the moment. Indeed, I have not ever seen anything like it. Have you?
Here is another announcement – with another sub-adult visitor.
Gabby waits, looking off in the distance. Oh, I would give anything if Samson would fly in!
As Ron waits for Rita to return in the WRDC nest at the Miami Zoo, Rita is busy getting well in the clinic. Here is the latest news form Ron Magill:
The WRDC welcomes any and all donations to help with Rita’s care.
At the Bald Eagle nest on the grounds of Berry College in Georgia, Pa and Missey welcomed their second egg on Friday. Let hard incubation commence. Oh, I hope the snow and ice are not bad this year. Poor Missey is often buried, just like some of the other Mums.
Jackie and Shadow are used to snow and, as we all know, eagles prefer it cooler than hotter. The couple were caught working on their nest in Big Bear Valley today. Lovely to see you Jackie and Shadow.
This is the view of the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest of Nancy and her new mate today.
There is also snow at our favourite US Osprey nest – of Iris in Missoula, Montana. She is the oldest living Osprey that we know of…And we can look forward to her return the first week of April. While it is doubtful there will ever be osplets fledged off this nest again, it is always good to see Iris. Reassuring that everything is right with the world.
Good news coming out of San Jose City Hall. Annie and Grinnell’s 2020 hatch Sequoia is bonding with her mate! on camera!!!!!!!! It doesn’t bring sweet Grinnell back but his amazing personality will hopefully live on in his children and grandchildren!
Grandmother Annie’s ‘new guy’ sure does like to scrape! He’s hoping she will choose him. Let’s wait and see!
In Port Lincoln, Zoe remains on the natal nest and Dad continues to feed his big girl. She flew off the nest to get that fish! Look at that plumage. Zoe is rather magnificent.
A short but very precious video of Indigo lekking.
In the UK, the banning of certain fishing might help to keep some birds from extinction~including the darling Puffin. This is very good news. Now let us just hope that there will be oversight. Perhaps more and more governments will begin to take seriously the needs of our wildlife for food and habitat and begin restricting other fishing and building permits to help protect the sea birds.
There is, however, other disturbing news and that is the decline in the number of insects – vital to the health of many birds – and humans, too!
Ever wonder what Ospreys do after they fly from their spring and summer breeding grounds to their winter homes? Well, apparently they don’t do much! I became particularly interested in 4K because of Belvoir Castle (pronounced ‘Beaver’ Castle). When I was studying at Leicester University, Belvoir Castle and the Benton Estate were frequent haunts of mine when I needed to clear my head. There were no Ospreys back then so this is very exciting!
Tim Mackrill is giving a free talk on Ospreys. Here is the information:
When I was a student of Dr Klaus Klostermaier, I visited Germany for the first time. It was eons ago. I returned commenting on being able to open the windows and have no ‘bugs’. Manitoba is always awash with mosquitoes. Well, my tutor set me down and gave me a good talking to – you see he grew up in Germany before heading to Rome to become a priest and then to India where he was disavowed. It seems I was quite ‘wet behind the ears’. Germany’s industrial pollution had killed the insects so vital to life. That said, Germany spent considerable effort cleaning up its rivers and I wonder today about the insect population. So a world without insects biting us is not a good world at all!
It is now a week until the Christmas holiday celebrations for some of my readers. Others are celebrating Hanukah which ends on 26 December – right when Kwanza beings. It is a busy time of year.
I have been overwhelmed by the urge – the sheer panic – I see in so many when I go out. They are scampering about like starved mice to buy and buy. In keeping with the notion that the world has too much stuff, we are cancelling presents this year and from now forward. Instead ,we are opting for a simple Vegan pot luck. Today, I also got a fantastic idea to make that potluck even more fun from my friend, Sassa Bird. She is going to teach her friends and family to make bird seed ornaments. What a delightful idea. She is happy for all of us to join in the fun! It is a win-win.
Here is an easy recipe for that very expensive Bark Butter that my garden birds love: 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal, 1/2 cup of oatmeal (either quick or original, it doesn’t matter), 1/2 cup of lard (you need real lard not shortening and you can ask your butcher if you cannot find it), and the last ingredient is 1/2 cup of peanut butter (either smooth or chunky). It should be a wee bit sticky so it doesn’t crumble. I add more peanut butter if I need to. You can smear this on the trunks of trees, you can dip the tops of pine cones in it. One clever way I saw was to roll it in a log and chill it. Then roll it in cranberries. Cut in shapes and place in suet holders. I promise your guests will learn something and all the birds will be grateful. There is not a visitor to my garden that doesn’t love this mixture.
Thank you so very much for being with me today. I hope that all of you are well. I wish you good friendships, some good food, and lots of smiles and laughs as we bring 2022 closer to an end. We are all hoping in Bird World that it will be a better year. Take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their notes, their videos, their posts, and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ and ‘J’ for all the news on NEFL and the giggles, Sassa Bird for the great holiday idea, The Guardian, Tim Mackrill Twitter feed, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Port Lincoln Ospreys, San Jose City Hall, Cal Falcons, Montana Osprey Project and Cornell Bird Lab, MN-DNR Bald Eagle Cam, FOBBV, Berry College Eagles, Ron Magill and the WRDC, NEFL-AEF, Rollin Rag, and Superbeaks.
Thank you for another lovely post, Mary Ann! And for additional recipes for our lovely bird visitors ♥️I hope more and more people will want to engage in making nice, fatty treats to help birds survive the harsh winter! It is a win-win situation – it is such an overwhelming joy to watch them visiting feeders and looking so content and well-rounded 😁 But then sadness has its way of creeping in – I share your grief for those hen-harriers – such cruelty is just unimaginable. It’s the scariest thing – knowing what some people are capable of…and towards vulnerable creatures with just one simple goal – to survive in this world. I feel some sadness for Alden too, but the main thing for Annie is to have a good mate, and I hope this one turns out to be as reliable and loving as Alden is. Wonderful news about Sequoia! Hope we get to watch the upcoming nesting efforts! And thank you for all the other news and educational information 🤗
You are so welcome. It is my pleasure. The birds have brought all of us such happiness. I cannot imagine a mind that could do the cruelty those little Harrier chicks experienced. I am looking forward to working on a whole host of bird treats this week. I will let you know how they turn out!