Troubles in Bird World

16 February 2022

Oh, good morning everyone!

Before we begin today, I want you to watch a really short and sweet video of Nugget and Valentine at the KNF-E3 nest by Rhonda. As you might recall, Nugget had an injured leg. Thankfully that is all better. Have a look – you will need this before you read the rest of the news, I promise. It is also a reminder that legs can heal, that good things can happen!

Also on the plus side – Diamond has returned to the scrape after the fearful fireworks set up near the tower several days ago. That was around 08:42 on the 16th in Orange. All three of the Orange falcons are now accounted for and all three have now been in the scrape. Diamond was the last. Welcome back, Diamond. sorry you had to go through that extreme stressful ordeal. Fireworks should be banned! Maybe, Diamond, they could use your beautiful face as the poster for why all loud sounding celebratory items need to be banned, not manufactured, not sold, banned…Every other raptor, wildlife, dog or cat will thank everyone.

Oh, goodness. Soap operas do not hold a candle to ‘As the Nest Turns’ and right now that saying goes for Redding Eagles Liberty and Guardian, Big Bear Valley Samson and Jackie, Captiva Ospreys Mabel and Angus, and, of course, SWFlorida with M15 and E21 and E22. Add the Frequent Female Visitor with the injured talon/s who is so hungry well, Wednesday was quite the day. There would be awards if this was afternoon television! Every nest would be signing contracts…just kidding, of course, but…what the heck?

There were quite a number of feedings at the SWFlorida nest today. I won’t go into them in detail but the one around 1300 caught one attention. M15 is really trying his best to get food to 22. We have all watched him move the fish around, side step, pause with a piece of fish hoping that 22 will grab it. Sometimes 22 is just too scared. Sometimes the fear of what has happened is cause to stop 22 from eating. So at this feeding, ‘A’ wrote this. It is lovely.

Towards the end of that lunchtime feeding, E22 eventually made a frantic grab while M15 was working on a piece, and got the tail of the fish, with some flesh attached. When he turned away with it, mantling, he couldn’t swallow it and M15 came over and picked up the piece. Just when I thought M15 was going to swallow it himself, he instead started feeding it to E22, who managed at least half a dozen decent mouthfuls plus the tail, which he was able to swallow once M15 had pulled off those half-dozen mouthfuls for him. 

No matter what happens on this nest…M15 is trying even going without himself to ensure that these two eaglets survive to fledge. He is exhausted. You can see that when he finishes feeding them for the evening and gets on the nest and his head just falls. He is ravenous if you look at how fast he ate some fish today, too. He really is Dad of the Year and he is certainly making me tearful just thinking at how hard he is trying to make this work.

7771 people watched M15 feeding the eaglets when the hungry female flies down landing on the nest and scuffling with the eaglets. She flew down, began eating the fish, and nipped at 21. It was 16:12-13:18ish.

She started eating the fish so quickly. She is – I am sorry to keep saying this – but, she is starving because she cannot hunt for herself with the condition her talon is in. (I cannot confirm it but there are rumours that there are more than one female around the nest with 2 of the females having injured talons).

She is ravenous and is eating. The eaglets give her a wide berth.

Then M15 is back at the nest and he sees what is going on. At 16:14:28, M15 flies down to the nest and gets rid of the female.

He moves the fish so that he can continue feeding E22 but he is also very hungry and eats ravenously, too.

21 already had a crop and is ready for a nap…good timing for 22.

E22 did get food – that was all I cared about and so did M15. He ate like he hadn’t seen fish for a month which made me – at first glance – think it was the female but there were those dark streaks on top of the head! M15 looks exhausted.

E22 got the fish tail and at 16:24:59 he tried to hork it without success.

There’s the part of the fish tail!

M15 is still feeding 22 at 16:37. E22 leans over and does a reasonable PS at 16:38:40.

Oh, it wouldn’t splatter to the pond but it was a ps and that is good – 22 is not dehydrated. 22 actually was doing a pretty good job eating that fish when the commotion began again. So glad he had some bites.

And, yes, M15 must have forgiven her – or he knows she is extremely hungry and is sick, hopefully healing from talon injuries. He also knows that she has helped defend the territory. Still, he will not give her food before he feeds 21 and 22 and himself. So…hunger is a driver for bizarre behaviour. I have seen osplets attack their older siblings which are 8 times their size. And let us all be honest…M15 is worn out and tense. He is ferociously hungry. The eaglets are hungry. And the female is ravenous like 22.

The female returned and ate all the scrapes. She is with M15 on the branch tonight. She is awake and he is getting some much needed sleep. M15 you are our hero…you are working so hard and it is taking its toll on you – a single dad with all these intruders to contend with!

The struggle for survival at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest is a good example for all of us – it is helping us to understand the challenges that our eagle families face each and every day of their lives.

The latest news:

At the Captiva Osprey nest, there are now ongoing battles that have lasted for at least six hours for control of the nest. This could get rather gruesome. Hormones are raging during breeding season and we all know that many of the trees that are good for osprey nests and – some established nests on Captiva and Sanibel – even on the mainland – were destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Everyone is looking for a nest. ‘H’ recorded more than 40 separate events in 8 hours..frightening.

Then the excitement came to the Redding Eagle nest when Liberty laid her first egg of the 2023 season last night.

And then, it waned. Liberty flew off the nest and left the egg. The Magpies came and pecked on it. Finally Guardian was there …According to ‘B’, there are boots on the ground looking for Liberty. These two are dedicated parents like Jackie and Shadow, M15 and Harriet…there is something wrong. Do they have intruders as well?

Relief. Liberty flew in…was she gone since morning. An avid Redding eagle lover, ‘B’ commented that she arrived at the nest in full alert mode vocalising. Oh, I hope that there is no trouble at this nest with intruders. It is simply too close to what might have happened to Harriet.

The problem with the success of the osprey and Bald Eagle breeding in the US – their big comeback after DDT – is that their habitat is being lost, their food supplies are diminishing and everyone wants and needs a nest, food, and security!  They will fight to the death to get it, too.

Then there is the lingering question of why Jackie and Shadow continue to be on and off again with the eggs? and Mating? Right now – it is early evening on the Canadian Prairies on Wednesday the 15th and the eggs at Big Bear were left for the last time at 16:28. No Eagles on them at 15:41. While eggs can survive for different periods of time and hatch, I am beginning to wonder if the eggs are non-viable to begin with…and when after a period of time, no sound or movement was detected – or they heard the eaglets and then it stopped – something has caused Jackie and Shadow to behave differently. Like everything at these nests, there is nothing for us to do but wait and watch. Or take a break and return in a day or two.

Last year we all wept when the fourth hatch – that energetic little scrambler – at PA County Farm died of hypothermia. It is congratulations to Lisa and Oliver on their third egg of the season. Oh, that nest bowl is deep this year…I wonder if they will have a fourth egg?

There is no news of Zoe. An osprey was on the power pole at Streaky Bay. Not identified as Zoe. So long and no news…surely with the way she flew before there would be some place she would ping cell service by now. Patience required.

Making News:

Audubon reports that there are several victories in Alaska at the start of the year that will have us all cheering. The Bristol Bay Project is one of those and the most recent is the Tongass Forest rulings. The Bristol Bay mining project had the potential of harming the waters and the fish and therefore, the birds that depend on those fish such as the Bald Eagles. The Tongass will not have roadless entry protections for species. Have a read.

Sometimes it just feels like a roller coaster. There is great environmental news and then, we turn, and there are 350 dead waterfowl in a Victoria nature reserve in Australia. Why?

Authorities believe it is a case of Avian Botulism which occurs when there is a lot of water and then that water dries up. “Avian botulism is a serious neuromuscular illness, causing problems with muscle paralysis which can result in death. Botulism outbreaks are common during drought when wetlands evaporate rapidly, causing more birds to be concentrated in smaller areas of warmer, shallow water, and resulting in a concentration of bird faeces”. So sad.

Let us all wish our nests a little calmer day today! There was a small piece of fish (or small fish) brought on to the SWFlorida nest at 0928. 21 ate. 22 got a scrap….

The camera at the nest of Big Red and Arthur has been offline for a long time. It is now back on just in time for nest building!

Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, articles, and streaming cams that form my blog: ‘J’, ‘A’, ‘H’, Rhonda A and the KNF-E3, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, Nancy Babineau and SWFL Eagles, FORE, M and FORE, FOBBV, PA Fair Country,, The Guardian and Cornell Bird Lab.


  1. OMG..So eggcited…5th egg laid for Jak & Audacity, and so far so good..Praying that this is the one that makes it. Big Red & Arthur..looking forward to their return to their nest…Looking forward to Falcons back home here in Harrisburg, Pa..Love watching Indigo.. Counting down the days for Iris to return to Missoula, Mn (Hellgate Osprey) . I pray the M15 & the eaglet lives will be drama free (not holding my breath w/her) but, that’s life in the wildlife..Miss Zoe, hoping she’s fine and we’ll hear from her soon.Connick is so darn cute, Captiva Ospreys (love). Way to many animals, I’m watching, as well as the Deer..Waiting on the Juneau Alaska Eagles @glacier Gardens , wish we could see them better..

    1. Yes…oh, let us all hope that 5th egg has a good solid shell…So happy to hear you are excited about Big Red…Her and Arthur always make me happy…Thanks so much for writing in JanMarie….it was a pretty good day at SWFlorida. Hopeful for tomorrow!

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