E22 steals fish and self-feeds, Big Red switches site of nest?…It is Monday in Bird World

20 February 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

There is lots of news in Bird World. My focus continues to be on the nest of Bald Eagles M15, E21 and E22 in Fort Myers, Florida, at the moment. There is drama going on at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest in South Bend, Indiana and the Osprey nest on Captiva. Keeping an eye on those as well.

‘M’ sent me an excellent article from The Guardian on the ten birds that most changed the world. Please have a read! We can all learn something…I did. And it was nice to see that the Sparrow made it to the list along with some of your favourites, such as the Eagle.


Big Red seems unhappy with the building works across Tower Road from the Fernow Light Stand. She is moving sticks to another light tower that may not have a streaming cam. This would be a source of great sadness and anxiety among the thousands of people who look forward to this twenty-year-old RTH laying eggs and raising her eyases.

An image of the Fernow Light Tower nest. You can see some of the building equipment at the Rice Building.

CROW continues to monitor the situation. M15 is doing a fantastic job protecting and feeding the eaglets. I hope that he can keep it up; it is so much better if they are raised by him and fledge their nest. I don’t like how the female eagle looks at the two eaglets in the first image below. Her presence is now concerning and could be very dangerous to the eaglets. I once thought this was not the case, but her actions yesterday changed my mind.

If you missed my report on Sunday, the female Bald Eagle, VF3, with the necrotic talon, kicked M15 off the nest and attacked E22 three times when it tried to get food. Here is a video containing those terrifying 11 minutes and 52 seconds.

The female was on the nest tree earlier with prey. Some believed she might feed the eaglets. She did not; she flew off with it after plucked the fur off the item. The situation is growing dangerous as this female is now emboldened to treat M15 with contempt. It is essential for the Es that Dad not get injured so that he can continue to provide food for them. If you are wondering why he does not fight her, this is the reason. She is also much larger than he is, and despite her injured talon, she is strong. I do not think she will go away quickly, if at all.

M15 flew in with another Armoured Catfish at 15:42:21. While he is vocalising to the female who is identified as FV3, Dad just carries on. Perhaps we are the ones worrying and he isn’t! Both eaglets ate, with 22 getting some nice bites.

M15 appears nervous when he is in the nest feeding the eaglets.

At 1700, M15 flew in with a nice morsel, a leftover from his good evening meal. E22 claimed it and ate it! Well done, E22.

M15 did eat well. He had an enormous crop.

The Es are waiting for breakfast on Monday. 21 is on the right, with 22 on the left. Please take a look at the difference.

The Es had a nice big fish for breakfast. M15 brought it to the nest at 10:50:18. 21 eats first, then 22, and then 22 gets a touch insisting that 22 move away. 22 goes into submission. There is nothing to fear. 22 turns around and does the snatch-and-grab that will help him survive in the wild.

Is it another Armoured Catfish?

22 is doing clean-up duty.

Should birdwatchers be afraid? are we vermin?

Some good news regarding Sequoia and Sasha at San Jose City Hall.

Speaking of egg laying, Gabby fooled me with all that nesting behaviour.

They are a gorgeous couple together. Gabby is just smitten by V3.

V3 keeping guard.

No egg!

Annie has been hanging around the scrape.

Here are the names for final voting for the new male. We should know soon!

Jackie and Shadow are still incubating eggs, and the Ravens remain around the nest tree, making a nuisance out of themselves. The eggs are probably not viable – I have thought that since the first day – that Saturday – they stayed away when the earthquakes were in the Valley. I ‘want’ to be fooled by their behaviour. Last year Spirit hatched on day 40.


The male has been incubating the eggs at Metro Aviation Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. The female flew in today and taloned one of them. They are not viable and this might allow the pair to move forward.

Do you watch the Golden Eagles in Romania? Lucina and Caliman were in the nest in the forest today! I love these Golden Eagles, but this nest is not for the faint-hearted. The oldest eaglet in a Golden Eagle nest will almost, without exception, kill its younger sibling. This is called obligate siblicide.

The causes of obligate siblicide in specific eagle species are discussed in this academic paper. Some of the conclusions are below. This will help explain some behaviour that you have seen on nests previously. The observations also apply to Golden Eagles.

These observations suggest that the availability of food does not affect the chances of survival of the second chick in those species in which it never, or very rarely survives. The critical factor appears to be the interval between hatching, which is clearly variable. If, at the hatch of the second chick, the first is already skilful at taking pieces of flesh offeredby the parent, then the younger sibling exerts little influence on the behaviour of the adult. At feeding times, it is offered fewer pieces of food and these, moreover, are proffered only briefly and in an inadequate fashion. The second chick soon dies of starvation. Attacks on it by its sibling are, by comparison unimportant.

If, on the other hand, the interval between hatching is short, then the second chick can develop normally so long as it is protected from its sibling’s attacks by the brooding female parent. As soon as brooding is interrupted, the younger chick is subjected to the attack of the older. It is intimidated, no longer participates in feeding and flees to the edge of the eyrie. This process of the acceptance of intimidation, observed in the Lesser Spotted Eagle, quickly leads to the elimination of one chick, even when two of equal size are experimentally placed together, and explains why two chicks cannot normally be reared.

Bernd-Ulrich Meyburg, Sibling aggression and mortality among nesting eagles

These particular species of eagles are one reason that so many people turn to the gentle Albatross for respite.

Of course, if you are ‘into Eagles’ like most of us are (as well as the Albatross, the parrots, the budgies, the terns….), single chick eagle nests from the start normally bring a lot of joy. Just like little B16 at the Berry College Eagle nest in Georgia.

Zoe. What can we say? According to the Friends of Osprey FB group, Fran Solly and Buzz Hockaday have been up to where Zoe last sent a transmission. That place was Point Drummond near Mount Hope. On all occasions, they did not see her. If she is out of cell coverage range, it ‘feels’ unusual as she was so quick to fly about previously. Let us hope it is a faulty transmitter and that nothing has happened to Zoe.

Point Drummond. This was the site of the last transmission from Zoe. Is it at all possible she flew out over the sea?

Lori Covert has already named the new female at Captiva with Angus. The name is Florence. According to ‘H’, Angus has provided fish, has tried mating unsuccessfully with the new gal, and then has kicked her off the nest. The relationship is a bit topsy-turvy. We wait to see how this works out.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. Please take care of yourself. We hope to see you with us again in Bird World.

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Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, tweets, and streaming cams which make up my blog today: ‘M’, ‘H’, The Guardian, Cornell RTH Cam, @CornellHawks, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, @Geemeff, Karen Enright and Orange Australia Peregrine Falcons FB, NEFL-AEF, Cal Falcons, Berkeley News, FOBBV, Tonya Irwin and Raptors of the Word, Golden Eagle Nest Bucovina, Research Gate, Cornell Lab and NZ DOC, Berry College Eagles, Friends of Osprey FB, Google Maps, and Kakapo Recovery.


  1. Sabine says:

    Thank you for another very interesting post! I’m really happy for Gabby and Sequoia. Really hope that Zoe is safe, and there’s only some transmitter fault. I’m sad for all the Big Red fans, but it’s understandable that they want to nest elsewhere if there’s some disturbance. Nice of you to include info on golden agles. Yes, those live streams are not for the faint-hearted. We had one live stream of such nest in Latvia too, though golden eagles are considered very rare and on the brink of disappearance here. Since one season ended in absolute heartbreak with our female losing her mate and the eaglet subsequently dying, she has not returned to nest at the previous place. It was a very disheartening event for many watchers in Latvia, because the eaglet was quite grown already and everyone thought he/she had to be saved. We have many Lesser Spotted eagles and several livestreams, and the same thing – siblicide happens almost every season. Eagles lay their 2nd egg as a backup and when both hatch, the little one is almost always doomed. I still don’t think that M15’s frequent visitor is intent on harming the eaglets. To me it looks like she’s just shoving them away as a warning and the kicking and pecking could be a lot worse if she wanted to get rid of them. But M15 is smart and understands when the fight over food is not worth it. The biggest danger is both of them stomping over eaglets and accidentlly dragging them out of the nest if a fight ensues. M15 is an amazing provider, and I’m glad to see that he can manage to feed them even with the unwelcome guest hanging around. Now, I worry about Bella’s and Smitty’s nest too. They have had an intruder for the last two days again, and Bella was gone yesterday for the whole day, but luckily came back before dark. I so want this season to work out for them without disruptions. We’ve had too many of those in other nests already.

    1. I remember Klints with great sadness and Spilve. It is always heart-wrenching when the eaglets are so close to fledging…there should be a protocol for either feeding or removing and feeding til they fledge…I hope FV3 is not a threat. I did not think she was until yesterday. Fingers crossed…there is such chaos now on the nests and then some are doing so well. Enjoying your posts!

  2. Sabine says:

    Thank you, Mary Ann! Yes, it’s a whirlwind of events. Referring to Klints (it’s even hard to say his name), I didn’t experience it in real-time fortunately, but wept uncontrollably while reading the recap of events in the forum. I mostly agree with the no-intervention policy, but not in cases like these, especially when it’s a rare bird and grown so much already. People were going mad over this, and I can uderstand why. Yes, I hope that there will be no dramatic escalating changes in FV3’s behaviour and M15 will know how to deal with her. Now, I almost worry more about the absence of rails on the nest, since active wingersizing will begin very soon. As you said, fingers crossed!

    1. It was the most horrible event I have experienced and I am going to say this and someone will get mad. Entirely an unnecessary death of a very rare eaglet. It could have been removed and hand fed and released in the wild. The will and attitude was not there. It still makes me angry.

  3. Mario says:

    I think there’s a pip on one of the eggs at big bear.

    1. Mario says:

      I thought I saw a pip at 12:26:07 on the bottom right of the left egg, but maybe I’m just imagining things.

      1. I thought I saw one too and blew it up big…no official word from FOBBV but egg 1 is 41 days old and egg 2 is 38. So we are within range…I bet there will be over 8000 people jumping for joy if you are right!

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