Falcons return to scrape, E22 gets some food and flaps wing at sib…Wednesday in Bird World

15 February 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is Valentine’s Day (as I begin writing Wednesday’s blog) and it would feel a lot more warm and fuzzy if fish started falling from the sky on the SWFlorida Eagle nest. The FFV has been protecting the area (photographs by local photographers confirm this). Her right foot has lots of injuries as if she has been in a recent fight during the last 2 or 3 days. She might need some time to heal before she is able to help bring in prey. I wonder how she is eating? M15 helped Harriet in 2015! The eaglet was E6. There are other examples of male or female eagles stepping in to help raise eaglets that are not theirs, also. There is a snow storm with high winds hitting Jackie and Shadow after three days of their on again-off again relationship with the two eggs they guarded so closely for over a month. It seems things are back to normal in Big Bear. If the earthquakes have significantly decreased, I am going to really think they might have had something to do with their behaviour for 3 days.

So, some good news was needed to mend my aching head and heart and it wasn’t, however, the third egg laid at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida on Valentine’s Day at 03:30. No, it came in the form of three pieces of news. The first one was a tweet from Geemeff Wednesday morning:

It is a huge beginning. Come on North America!!!!!!!!!!!

The second is form ‘H’ saying that all three of the falcons at Orange have been seen on the tower. Excellent.

The third is news about a small owl named Flaco that had been living at the Zoo at Central Park. Someone cut the wire to its cage and the owl escaped. Flaco has been seen eating and living nicely in the wild around New York City’s Central Park by a circus of curiosity seekers and residents. Zoo officials thought that Flaco could not live in the wild but he is proving them wrong. We learn something new every day from our raptors!

The New York Times reports for Valentine’s Day on Flaco…In the image below there is a bait tap but Flaco is not hungry!

“A major concern for everyone at the beginning was whether Flaco would be able to hunt and eat,” the society said in a statement, noting that zoo employees had observed him catching and consuming prey. “That is no longer a concern.” The officials from the Zoo also said, “In addition to proving himself as a hunter, the society said in its statement, Flaco had shown “a rapid improvement in his flight skills and ability to confidently maneuver around the park.”

The image above is a baited trap. Right now Flaco is full form his good hunting and is ‘not taking the bait’. The goal, according to the article, is to retrieve Falco and bring him back into the safety of the Zoo where he would not fall prey to rodenticide, GHO attack or killing, and collisions. Those are the risks of any urban raptor (or songbird for that matter). I find myself torn – while I believe in intervention, Flaco appears to be doing quite well living the ‘wild’ life.

Good news is also coming out of Orange. Xavier and Indigo have been back to the scrape. We wait and hope that Diamond was not too traumatised…Cilla says that Xavier will check and make sure it is safe and inform Diamond. Well done, Orange falcons.

Xavier made sure Indigo had a good breakfast. Look at that nice prey item that is in the scrape! (or am I wrong and this is Indigo’s great hunting?). The image was taken around 0849, the 15th of February in Orange.

Elain captured yesterday’s highlights.

I was so used to the Landings Nest near Savannah being an Osprey nest…then it was taken over by a GHO couple. Yes, those owlets are adorable. :)). I just wish they would leave the eagles alone!

An Osprey flew by this morning. Getting hopes up!

Heading to the SWFlorida nest..I am taking a bit of a breather today. E21 is 41 days old today and E22 is 39 days old. I am still concerned for E22 but, I want to be hopeful. Observers at the SWFlorida nest have posted this explanation as to what they think is going on at the nest. M15’s duty right now is to finish raising these eaglets. The female wants M15 and the territory ——she should be interviewed. There would be 100s of 5 year old female eagles wanting to match up with this super guy. I just wish she would prove her devotion by not just doing security but also becoming Mommy Door Dash.

This was also posted on the SWFL FB group this morning:

E22 is hungry. Dad jumped down first thing and fed the old fish tail to 21. Wishing for several big ones.

Bird with long legs and tail feathers came on the nest – it was a carcass. If the whole bird had made it, maybe 22 would have had some good food. I wonder what is going on. M15 ate, 21 ate, and 22 got some bites. Not many. Some by his quick snatch and grab out of 21 and Dad’s beak. Some up at the table when there was not much left.

On top of everything else, now there are drones. When will M15 cut a break?

At 1828, E22 got bold. Tired of having 21 get all the food for the day – and I do want to use the word ‘starving’, 22 went for it. M15 backed up a bit to help 22 and there was some quick snatch and grabs. It is unclear to me how much fish 22 got after 21 ate – 21 has a crop in the image below. The snatch and grab netted him a number of bites. And 22 was bold – he has to be. His life depends on it. I have seen statements that he got lots to eat. I would not characterise it as that but…he ate. And he had a ps that looked reasonable during the day. Someone got a screen capture of it.

It was frenzied for 22 who worked to get between Dad and 21 and grab every bite he could. Some were a nice size. We wait til morning. Again, the fish was not huge, 22 got some at the end.

After the feeding, M15 joined the FFV in the tree.

Wednesday morning M15 and the FFV were close on the tree.

M15 came in with a fish which 21 seems to have gotten the best of. 21 bonked 22 to keep it away. At 09:38 21 is self feeding on a leftover fish piece and 22 grabs it and takes it and wolfs it down. He is hungry.

To be clear, this is a small piece of fish and 21 will retake it, then 22 will get it back, and then M15 will fly down again. Someone said that in all of this 21 ate half a fish – if I had seen 21 eat half a fish I would be jumping on top of my roof for joy.

At 10:49, 21 is still eating and 22 is trying to find a scrap.

There is no shortage of food at many of the other nests. Still it helps to be ‘the one and only apple or Valentine of your parent’s heart’. Connick has an enormous crop! Looks like he is trying out for the role in some super hero movie with those amazing wings and big strong legs! Granted it is hard to take your eyes off that enormous crop to look at those wings and legs. He is one healthy eaglet…and I for one, wondered if he would make it early on. Well, no worries here. His smile is yellow and the black of his beak is shiny and healthy. Of course, nice clown feet, too, Connick…they go well with the mini-mohawk.

B16 is adorable. Notice the difference between B16 below and Connick above. Ask me if I would like to see 22 look like this? Of course.

There is something terribly ‘sweet’ about this little eaglet..I don’t know quite what it is but, something. Now look at B16’s wings. Consider for a moment how large they are.

The cameras have been on and off in the Kisatchie National Forest. The eaglets are fine and all of them are growing and developing those gorgeous juvenile feathers that we are going to see on Connick all too soon.

Gorgeous Trey. The IR camera really shows the thermal down and where the juvenile feathers are coming. Trey is incubating Dudley! She takes good care of that old unviable egg. Practice for the future. You can just see a little triangle of white almost directly under her beak. That is Dudley.

Anna and Trey with Dudley hiding underneath Trey.

Valentine and Nugget are simply developing into beautiful feathered eaglets. Valentine seems to have had a huge growth spurt…or is it the camera angle?

Jackie and Shadow have had at least one shift change today and they are both staying close to the nest and those two precious eggs. The storm system with snow and winds moving through is due to pass later today (Tuesday as I am writing).

The couple look much more settled.

At 11:06 Jackie called Shadow and he was there in a second to relieve her and incubate. Not leaving those eggs for a second longer than necessary. Am I thinking that we are back to normal and that pip watch is tomorrow? Hope.

Gabby and V3 were at the natal tree perched on the branches and in the nest bowl doing some work today. Gabby is in really good condition. Look at the colour of her beak and her feathers. Her eyes are clear. She is not tired and she is really healthy.

There are now three eggs at the Achieva Osprey nest. I mentioned it in yesterdays blog. So right now we have three osprey nests that have eggs being incubated in Florida: Moorings Park, Venice Golf and Country Club, and now Achieva in St Petersburg. We wait to see if there will be any eggs at Captiva this year for new couple Mabel and Angus.

Beautiful Diane will be doing hard incubation for between 38-43 days. Mark your calendars. Looks like 24-29 March. Later than 2021. (No eggs survived in 2022).

Most of you know that I am very fond of Diane and often get rather irked at Jack. Some of us even thought he had 2 nests in 2021 – the fish delivery was erratic and poor little Tiny Tot Tumbles, the third hatch, well…was deemed to be on death’s doorstep, literally, several times but, thanks to her Mum who saw her daughter want to live, fed her catfish after the two older siblings were sound asleep. In the dark, the little one ate and ate. TTT become the dominant bird on the nest staying long after the older two had fledged. She even helped her dad defend the nest and I want to add, as a juvenile having hatched in early March, she defended the nest many times by herself beginning in June. So….a warm soft spot for this Osprey Mum. I wish that third hatch had a band. Several times it looked like she visited the nest late in 2021 and in 2022.

Other Bird News:

Several months ago I added a note about two individuals that care for Cockatoos – sanctuaries for unwanted birds. One was April whose Victoria Cockatoo was believed to be dying and required urgent medical care. Individuals came to the rescue with their donations and now Victoria Cockatoo has gained weight and is doing extremely well.

The other was Dan Scott with Chloe’s Sanctuary. Funds are now in place for Dan and his flock of 11 ‘highly needy’ Cockatoos to take up residence in a new home in Nevada. Their old home in California was flooded. Thank you to all who answered their call.

Most people think Cockatoos are beautiful. So do I. We know that they are highly intelligent. Not Sulphur-Crested but Guffins have demonstrated that they can use tools!


People want one as a pet – that is what some of the YouTube videos do…make us want a pet bird.

Around the world, people go to pet stores and buy birds instead of going to sanctuaries. This means that the rescued or sanctuary animals could be euthanised if no home is found. I was sent a list of parrots, cockatoos and budgies requiring homes in one European city. It was huge. There is a growing call – by individuals that have ‘rescued’ parrots and budgies as well as animal right’s persons – to stop the breeding and sale of birds.

Two pet stores in North America that are getting a lot of attention because of their relationship to puppy mills, and other factory breeding programmes for animals, birds, and amphibians are PetSmart and PetCo. You may know these companies. Organisations that want the rights and lives of animals to be respected are asking customers to boycott those stores. Wallets do speak loud when profits are the only concern! There are a number of videos on YouTube that you can access showing dumpster divers finding fish and amphibians literally being tossed in to die. But there are just as many concerns for the dogs, cats, and birds as well. Our beloved feather friends often come from pet mills that are anything but caring and will do what they can to cut costs and maximise profits. So before you buy a bird from a pet store, think twice. Before you buy pet and bird food at a pet store, think about which store and what their policies are that you are supporting. Call your local organisations to see if your local humane society or rescue centre has any birds. Check out the reputation of the company selling the animal. A certificate saying an animal is a purebred does not mean that it came from a caring lovely small family breeder. Believe me I can tell you horror stories about cat breeders! Ask about surrenders and rescues. Give them a second chance at life. Parrots and Cockatoos live for a long time and many outlive their owners. Planning should be in place for all feathered friends just as you might do a dog or cat. Research the species. Every one of my contacts with Cockatoos warns that they are like tyrannical toddlers. I am also told that getting a beak trimmed can cost anywhere from $100-140 and the beaks must be trimmed.

‘J’ reminded me this morning that you can also adopt a ‘Cockatoo or a Parrot’ from a sanctuary which will help with their care. Many allow you to visit your adoptee. What an idea…a win-win for all. Some provide photographs.

Birds can be fantastic friends. My maternal grandfather had a Blue Budgie. My grandmother knew he adored that bird more than her! Think first! Thank you for listening…we need to be mindful, always, of the welfare of the animals and birds, both in our care and in the wild.

Thank you so much for being with me today. If you haven’t done so, do suggest a name for the new guy in Annie’s life. Go to Cal Falcons FB Page. I am not certain how long they will take potential names. Take care everyone. See you soon….please continue to send your good wishes to M15 and E21 and 22, our dear Diamond so traumatised by the fireworks, as well as Zoe who has yet to send in a transmission.

Thank you to the following for their notes, essays, articles, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures that form this blog: ‘A’, ‘H’, ‘Geemeff’, and ‘J’, The New York Times, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Elain and the Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Cornell Bird Lab, SWFlorida Eagles FB and Lisa Marie, Iris Schneider and the SWFL Eagles FB, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Paul Kolnik and Bald Eagles 101 FB, Window to Wildlife, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF-E1, KNF-E3, FOBBY, NEFL-AEF, Achieva Credit Union, Victoria’s Playhouse, and The Guardian.


  1. Sabine says:

    Hi, Mary Ann! Thank you again for the lovely post! I am so happy for Flaco, rescued Cockatoos, Indigo, Diane, etc. It’s so nice to read uplifting news. And there’s a lot to be happy about in regard to bald eagles’ nests too. Though every season there are some that weigh heavily on our minds (like for you it must be with ospreys too). Not sure what we can expect from Jackie’s and Shadow’s eggs. There has been snow and eggs were left alone again for a while. Seismic activity could be an explanation for the erratic incubation pattern, but I feel like there’s something else too. The first egg is due to hatch any day now but will it?! I hope but there are some doubts. People in private SWFL nest groups are going crazy over E22 getting less food which can be somewhat understandable, but now is a bit over the top I think. We see this all the time in bald eagle nests. Besides, M15 is feeding them alone, by himself with lots of distractions!!! I am happy to see that today E22 can calmly sleep during noon, making me think he’s not overly hungry. Yesterday, he was definitely more restless. Today he had some pieces from at least two meals, self-fed again and swallowed a very large leftover piece. There’s definitely something in that crop and belly, because his PS seems ok. There are loads of fledglings that have gotten to the point of fledging by being hungry pretty much all the time. Our WTEs have had such seasons where the youngest were in constant hunger and constantly bonked by the older ones. Still, they got to that fledging point. So I definitely have high hopes for E22 and try not to worry too much. Now I am more worried about the new female’s feet – they look really bad, especially the one with the black toe. And it’s a shame because I kind of like her. Persistent, but humble and respectful, helpful in guarding the nest. Hope she’ll be ok. Thank you and take care!♥️

    1. Thank you so much for your note. Sadly, 22 is very hungry. Conserving energy. Indeed, if you look closely, even 21’s eyes are not so good. The health these tow had a week ago is slipping…the distracts definitely do not help and yes, I am worried about her feet and the fact that she might even lose a talon….she must be in a lot of pain. My heart aches for her.

  2. Geemeff says:

    It would be lovely if the persistent female does pairbond with M15, and helps keep E21 in check. But, looks like E22 is getting a bit bolder after several good meals.

    And it’s wonderful news about Flaco – long may he thrive living his life wild and free.

    1. I see two issues here. First 22 has not had a good feed in several days…several. Scraps. Had half a fish 3 days ago. Reports of him having half a fish this morning are not true. But he has done snatch and grab. And M15 moved and gave him a few bites to himself but 21 is strong and even then if you look at 21’s eyes they are a bit sunken and dry. The female is fantastic. She has some very bad wounds to her feet which I hope heal. Then she might be able to help bring prey. I wonder if she is not in a lot of pain…..we live in hope! That is how I felt about Flaco too…let him live in the wild as long as he can and fly free. He could live a decade! I wouldn’t want to be in a cage.

  3. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for all the updates, photos, and links. I hope the food and eating for 22 gets better and better. I was hoping 21 had gotten over this! 🙏💕💕
    Congratulations to Diane and Jack on their third egg. I hope all goes well with them. I sure wish Tumbles a great life. ❤️ Wish we could see her again ❤️
    Glad that Diamond and Xavier are back at the scape and good to see Indigo !
    It’s good to see all the others little ones eating good and growing so well.
    Hope the Female at M15’s nest will begin to help out and that her talon will be ok. ❤️especially for little e21 and e22 sake. M15 has certainly been doing a good job ❤️🙏
    Thanks and have a good day Mary Ann!

    1. Thank you for your comment Linda. Always great to hear from you and you are so welcome for the comments. Yes, I hope Diane and Jack have 1 osplet hatch. They can take care of one easy…not three. Please not three! It has been a horrific day on the nests…just tumultuous. Lots of news for tomorrow.

  4. Mario says:

    The intruder is on the nest right now eating left over fish. When the eaglets go toward her thinking she is going to feed them, she strikes at them. Earlier M15 had to fight her off the nest they both trampled the eaglets. It’s scary.

    1. Hi Mario, Yes, it was an extremely tense time on the nest today. Thank you so much for writing in…It is so hard to know what is going on with that nest. M15 looks exhausted to me. And there has been 6 hours of nest battles at Captiva Osprey, and Liberty was missing…It is unfortunate about the female, Mario. She must be starving with that infected talon/s and cannot get her own. She can go to the pond and drink…so glad no one was hurt. Would have loved to have seen 22 hork the fish tail at 16:24:59….

  5. Mario says:

    Hi Mary Ann, M15 does look exhausted; he looks ragged. He needs a bath but with all the traffic around the nest, he probably feels it’s not a good idea to get his feathers wet. You mentioned that even E21’s eyes look dry and sunken. E21 has been eating reasonably well, perhaps it’s because they both are exposed to the sun all day that high up. When Harriet was around she sheltered them from the sun. I have only seen a close up of this female eagle at night. She looks huge, like a linebacker. I can’t help but feel that the wounds on her talons were inflicted by Harriet. I know, I know, it’s speculation on my part and we’ll never know what happened.

    1. Hi Mario…thank you so much for writing in..I had a note that one of the photographers on the ground believes there to be 3 females around the nest tree, 2 with injured talons!!!!!! It is hard to know what happened to Harriet and your speculation is as valid as the nest persons. We will never know…and that is the lingering problem. We miss her and M15 and the Es need her…I hope M15 catches a break. If he could pull some good meals for himself and the kids and sit down and sleep in the nest…I wonder. And – yes. Of course Harriet shielded them from the sun…hence the dry! Thank you for that, Mario!

  6. Sabine says:

    Phew, yes, it was a crazy day…just when I was about to turn off the live stream, all the ruckus began at SWFL nest. My heart jumped reading your comment about Liberty, but glad to see in FB that she came back after 4 PM. I’m overjoyed about first eggs in Bella’s and Smitty’s nest and Minnesota DNR Nancy’s & Beau’s nest. Last year, it was a rough season in both of these…will wait for your news on Captiva ospreys, hope they are alright 🙏

    1. It was a nutty, nutty day yesterday – whirlwind…and, as you know, difficult to tell what was going on! I am glad that the Es are OK. Wishing for fish, glad Liberty is home but apparently she was exhausted and probably been bothered by intruder…and yes, to Bella and Smitty and I didn’t know about Nancy so thank you! Fingers crossed~! Thanks so much for writing in and also for your FB group…

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