Owl Strike at SWFlorida, Earthquakes, Fireworks, DDT…2023 is getting off to a terrible start for Bird World

14 February 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is apparently Valentine’s Day – so give some love to someone, to the raptors, to your birds, or to your local wildlife rehabilitation centre. I began to wonder what a windfall it would be if everyone who was going to buy flowers or chocolates would, instead, donate those funds to clinics and shelters instead. Imagine. Millions and millions of people around the world giving their local or favourite rehab centre a $30-50 bill instead. It could make all the difference in the world. If you already have that chocolate or flowers, then think about this the next time there is a holiday and you reach for the roses.

If the 2022 breeding season for raptors on streaming cams was a difficult one then, 2023 has started out feeling like we are witnessing a nightmare. So it is not surprising that many of you are writing to tell me that you are thinking of taking a mental break. It is a good thing to do. Sometimes you just need to step away for a day or two, get outside and go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air and listen for your local birds and their songs. It really is up lifting. And believe me, I have to take these breaks, too, and build up my mental reserves for when those third hatch little male ospreys are getting beaten up by their big sister. Personally I have gotten to the point that I would love to see one healthy chick on every nest. No more than one. Just one. One is enough.

Ironically, one of the nests that is bringing me a lot of pleasure lately is the nest of Gabby and V3. They are a magnificent couple and let us all hope they have a long and productive future together. It is nice to see life settle even if V3 needs to deliver a lot of prey and drop it from the sky on the nest so his talons don’t get hooked! They have been working on the nest and I noticed a spring of evergreen which perked my attention this morning. Maybe it just smells like fish and the flies are about. Surely Gabby isn’t thinking about eggs?

Reminds me so many times of seeing Gabby and Samson stand like this. They are a power couple. V3 came, went, returned and set the rest of them packing. He will be good for Gabby.

The situation at SWFlorida is in a state of flux. It was terrifying right after Harriet and we all feared that E22 would be dead from siblicide. Then the fish starting coming on the nest and life was good. Then there were the intruders – the individual with the flash and the female eagle. To what extent they and others have placed this nest back in the state where E22 is constantly afraid to eat but, needs to, is unknown. Monday morning M15 brought in a ‘Jumping live mini fish’ and E21 got all of it.

Then there was a nice sized fish but, as is becoming common again, E21 scared off 22 until there was not much left. 22 got one good bite of that big fish. Now..remember, if M15 can get another big fish on that nest before 21 gets hungry, 22 has a chance and so does Dad. I also need to say that M15 moved the fish so he could feed 22 but 21 came over the back side. Not good.

The only bite that 22 got. Look at 21’s beak.

The third fish came in at 14:39. Well, M15 is the best dad when he is left alone. He flew in with a big fish – was it one of those silvery Ladyfish – and he is feeding it slow. Obviously M15 knows that 22 needs to eat. Feeling optimistic. That fish came in at 14:39 and please note that M15 has eaten the head. Way to go Dad. You need your strength to take good care of the babies. Is the VF upstairs wanting that fish?

Some wonder if there is enough food. The pond is stocked or that is what I was told. And it was restocked about 9 days ago – or so I was told. M is a good fisher but he has distracters – human and eagle and that female and others might be trying to take his fish or do…

Clearly, 21 is shutting out 22. Will he get any of this enormous fish? Let’s hope so.

22 you need to move around the rim of the nest…and get some fish!

It would appear that M15 is going to wait for 22 to move around. He has not fed 21 anymore and is sitting on the fish. I am so impressed with this super Dad.

Dad left. 22 trying to self feed.

Hunger and surviving. It looks like 22 is holding the fish down and pulling up getting some bites. I hope he eats that entire last of the fish! If M15 flew down now (he is on the branch but the VF is on another one it seems), 21 is asleep finally and he could possibly feed 22 the rest of that fish, too.

A video of the beginning of the self-feeding. Before this, 22 picked up scraps from all over the nest. He is a survivor BUT he needs to eat and let us hope he gets enough. It is a lot of work to get the skin off those fish and 22 spends much time trying before he gets to the ‘open’ end. There he figures out to stick his beak in and pull out the flesh (second video).

E22 finished. I do not think there is a crop there. Hard to tell but he did have something to eat. Every bite is important. 22 has decided to sleep on the fish! Too funny.

M15 flew back down but 21 was there and got the fish feeding. What can I say? 22 needs a good feed. We wait. M15 did eat as we saw from the fish brought in and this is good…now 22 we need you to step up tomorrow and get some fish – and Dad….stand right between those two if you have to – between them as in physical separation.

Good Night M15. Thank you for the fish today!!!!!!!! Sweet Eagle Dreams Everyone.

M15 you look super tired. We worry about you. Make sure you eat…

And sleep. It looks like you are so tired and you have left the female at the end of the branch. And she was by the pond today? Someone took photographs and is she part of a pair with the other eagle down getting drinks at the pond? Again, like Gabby’s nest we will have to wait and let this play out with the hope that M15 can get some fish for him and the babies tomorrow in peace.

Oops. GHO knocks intruder off and M15 gets into nest with 21 and 22.

Bandicam shows it also. The intruder came back to the nest branch and M15 chased her off.

Human negligence – and our long standing desire to control nature for our own ends – has caused Jak and Audacity to lose all four of their eggs this season. It is not a new story but it ties in with the human interference in SWFlorida and the damage it can cause – 2 separate incidents now on Saturday night with two people with flashlights. Police out to both incidents. It was the latter one that drove M15 off for 3 hours, not the person with the camera (according to the FB announcement). Our interference in the natural world by using toxic chemicals to kill insects causes irreparable harm. The Sauces couple have had some success. Have a look at their history on Santa Cruz Island and remember, this is in the northern area, which has more contamination from DDT (DDE) than other areas of the islands.

Then there are the fireworks that caused Diamond such distress that it was simply difficult to watch. They sounded like they were right under the tower. If you missed it, here is that video again. It is worth a second look just to remember what fireworks do to wildlife…unlike pets, they cannot come and be safe beside us in our homes when these unnecessary events happen. It is time to outlaw the use of fireworks as a means of celebrating along with the colouring and release of birds or balloons! I do love parties but not if there are things happening that don’t need to that will potentially damage our feathered friends.

There is a call to action to help stop what happened to the falcon family. Please send an e-mail, help Diamond and her family. You can cut and paste a letter but make sure you change who it is addressed to!

Cilla Kinross has commented that the authorities cannot tell the car it is too blurred and are thinking this is a misdemeanour. We hope that, instead, they will take this seriously. Endangering wildlife. Any act – flashlights, flash cameras, anything – we know this – endangers their lives. So Holly is suggesting that we continue to write letters. Maybe there is an animal cruelty organisation in Orange that might like to take this on.

I received the following response from MP for Orange, Mr Philip Donato:

To date, only Xavier and Indigo have returned to the scrape. Diamond has not.

‘J’ alerted to me of something that could, indeed, be causing Jackie and Shadow to get up and off those eggs – the seismic disturbances at Big Bear Lake. One was the largest magnitude felt so far this year. Humans could feel that one but it appears the eagles were disturbed by the other 23 that happened yesterday. Thanks, ‘J’ for bringing this to my attention!

Jackie are on and off the eggs again today. This is three days in a row. We keep the faith and hope that all is well. As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, Milda had a terrible couple of years but, her eggs were left for 5 hours and no harm (it was bitterly cold). The two eaglets hatched only to die later of starvation. The story is accurate but I said Milda was Estonian – she is a Latvian WTE.

There was, of course, earthquake activity on Saturday and I am trying to see what is happening today in the area.

There have been larger quakes in the past. I hope this calms down and the eaglets hatch and life is good for Jackie and Shadow.

It is, of course, only speculation that the earthquakes might have caused the eagles to be up and down and on and off the eggs. The timing of the low level quakes – which the eagles would have felt – suggests that with the start of the behaviour on Saturday. We can only wait and see what is happening. Is it possible that Jackie and Shadow can no longer hear the eaglet/s? We might never know. And even my questions are just speculation. Please read them as such. One or more eggs could hatch on time. The only silver lining for this couple who have been so super diligent – which is why their behaviour now is worrisome – is that they can have a second clutch. There is plenty of time. They were mating today. It is only a note to this but, have you noticed that raptors confirm their pair bond when something has happened…the death of a fledgling in the field, etc? But we must wait and see. Personally I would love nothing more than a Valentine’s pip. We need some good news.

Shootings. Really? I live in a place where gun crime is almost non-existent compared to what it is south of our border with the US. Here is one person who is going to pay the price for shooting a Bald Eagle in the US. Let us hope the word gets out. He thought it was a hawk. Sorry, hawks are protected, too.

There are Bald Eagle nests that are doing very well this year. The single eaglets at the Captiva nest of Connie and Clive, sweet little Connick survived the first few days without much fish, to thrive.

B16 is the apple of Pa Berry and Missy’s life – adorable cuddle bun that one is.

Her name is Trey at the KNF-E1 nest of Louis and Anna and she – they will not take DNA but this is a huge eaglet and could well be a female compared to the two earlier males, Kistachie and Kincaid. Three healthy beautiful eagles. Valentine and Nugget are getting on with their lives at the KNF-E3 nest of Alex and Andria. These two have benefited from fish tests! What can we say about Superbeaks? Huge eaglets Pearl and Tico will fledge but the fact that the nest railings are falling due to wing flapping scares me.

So there is some good news amongst the not so good…and I have not touched on all the nests. It seems to be balancing out.

This is a reminder: Tomorrow is the official day to suggest names for the Cal Falcons ‘New Guy’. Go to the Cal Falcons FB or Twitter page and put in your name and why…be convincing. Must be associated with Cal-B. There have been several responses to the use of the word ‘comfortable’ as in Annie looks ‘comfortable’ with the New Guy. Some say ‘much more than comfortable.’

The challenges that our raptors have now and will have in the coming decade and then the next one are going to be huge. It is up to everyone collectively and governments and companies to stop with the status quo, get some good minds working, and take a stand and don’t back down. Create a better world for all living things. All living things.

Coming Up this week: Why you do not want to buy birds at pet stores. The new hawk streaming cams. Where do birds go to die. I was going to write about one of these today but, events over took that. It will be towards the end of the week. Stay turned.

Take care everyone. My whole family, the garden critters and Missy and Lewis thank you for the love that you have for our feathered friends. Happy Valentine’s Day! Please keep our three nests in your most positive thoughts and send them well wishes – M15, 21 and 22 at SWFlorida, Jackie and Shadow and whatever is going on at BBV, and Zoe. See you soon!

If you would like to join our family of lovers of all things with feathers but mostly those big Apex predators, please sign up for our daily newsletter. You can unsubscribe any time.

Thank you to the following for their notes, their posts, their videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures that make up this blog today: ‘J’, NEFL-AEF, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Lady Hawk and SWFL and D Pritchett, Bandicam and SWFlo and D Pritchett, IWS, Heidi Mc and Falcon Cam, Holly Parsons and Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcons FB, Volcano Discovery, Los Angeles Times, FOBBV, Cleveland.com, Window to Wildlife, Berry College Eagles, Superbeaks, and Cal Falcons.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Happy Valentines Day to you Mary Ann ! Oh Mary Ann it is all kinds of sadness happening. Praying for things to get better everywhere. Thank you for the updates and pictures and links. Have a good Tuesday and take care !

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