24 February 2022
Good Morning Everyone,
There is some good news, and there is worrisome news this morning. This 2023 breeding season has really started off like a wild roller-coaster ride.
First…a big shout-out to Laguna Beach, California. They have banned balloons to save the ocean and wildlife. Let’s see who will stand up for the planet and its living inhabitants next.
Spring is coming to the UK. I wait for the Ospreys to tell me but, some are watching the Blue Tits starting their nesting.
Thursday has been a very tense day in Bird World. The female with the black talon attacked M15 when he brought a fish to the eaglets for breakfast on Thursday morning. She chased him around the pasture and then flapped him off the nest. It is mid-afternoon, and M15 has not fed the eaglets. The female with the black talon is on the branch below M15, above the nest.
M15 at the very end of the tree doing security. Or is he waiting for her to leave? We should never underestimate this female. She is larger and heavier than M15, and she is determined. Her talons demonstrate that she is not afraid to engage, and we know from footage around the nest site that she has protected the area. It is extremely difficult to anticipate what she will do next but, it seems that any food M15 brings could be grabbed by her and not get to the mouths of the eaglets.
Females injured feet and talons.
SW Florida video of the interaction.
Beautiful hot, and hungry babies. They are 7 weeks old.
It is 17:15 on the SW Florida Nest. No food has arrived. It is now after 1800, and M15 is not at the nest tree. The Es are searching for any old scraps that they can find. We wait.
I worried M15 might not return, but he did. He is on the branch of the nest tree with the black-talon female. We wait in the hope that the eaglets will be fed on Friday. M15 is caught in a terrible dilemma. If he brings food to the eaglets, the female will swoop and eat it. Then he has to quickly get more for the eaglets, ensuring the female does not injure him. He did this successfully the other day. Will he be able to do it again?
M15 has walked a fine line since Harriet disappeared, trying to do everything single-handedly. This female may not allow him to continue to feed the eaglets as he did so valiantly. If that is the case, I hope that CROW has the permit to remove them so that they can eat, learn to fly, and fledge safely. If that should happen, I do not think anyone will forget the good fight that M15 undertook to raise his eaglets under the most difficult of circumstances.
SW Florida Eagle Cam reminds us:
It is Friday morning 11:00, and the eaglets are yet to be fed. Did I say that I am extremely worried about them? Another person has been caught leaving food! Did I say that the eaglets’ ps are getting thin? If M15 doesn’t feed them because of injury to himself, them, or both, will CROW remove the eaglets and care for them til they fly free?
Maybe if I send this quick he will fly in with a big meal for them but, alas, I fear that the fight in the nest and the fact she took two meals in a row and chased him might have changed this. Stay strong babies!
So where does someone go if they want to see stability and tranquillity? Well, there are many choices. The first up for me would be Gabby and V3. No eaglets to worry about. No intruders at the nest. Just nice and quiet. Both have eaten well and have crops. They are in good physical shape, and V3 has ensured that the revolving door of suitors is closed. Gabby saw his great potential and accepted him. While we may have gone after looks, it seems she went after a good security guard that also was quite handsome. Hopefully, they will have eaglets next year. Like everything else in Bird World, we wait.
Of the nests that have eaglets, Captiva is a good choice, but there are intruders sometimes. The KNF-E1 and E-3 nests of Anna and Louis or Alex and Andria have plenty of food and are doing well. It is difficult to tell precisely what is happening at Superbeaks, but at least one of the eaglets has fledged, and both have branched. This has been a great nest to observe. The Royal Cam nest is always sedate and beautiful until the parents begin leaving the chick. This has just started happening, and now there is anxiety because of the number of juveniles or non-bonded individuals cavorting around SP.
Meanwhile, winter storms are troubling some nests. Jackie is going to begin to get very hungry. Do her and Shadow have a food stash? They must!
Jackie and Shadow are valiantly dealing with a big winter storm in the Big Bear Valley area. This is Shadow in the nest Thursday. More than 14,000 people are watching and wishing. If our love could give them a viable egg, they would have a full nest!
Shadow brought in a ‘black’ bird for dinner at 15:53. The couple switched incubation duties while it was plucked and eaten. All I can think of is — if it is hard to hunt prey today, is it now the pesky Ravens that are being served up?
Nancy and Beau are dealing with a winter storm at their nest in Minnesota, too.
Nancy’s new mate, Beau, is good at bringing in fish for Mum and taking over incubation duties.
There is snow in Iowa at both the Decorah North nest (top three images) and Decorah (bottom). We tend to worry more about the eagles when they are buried under snow than when it is hot. We look at them and think that they will freeze. In reality, the snow and cold are better than the heat. Eagles are also so intelligent – as we all know. According to my grandmother, they are much better weather predictors than any meteorologist. If you had watched, they would have prepared the nest with more materials. We saw this in Iowa and Minnesota recently. They might also stash prey items. The eggs will be nestled cosy, deep in the nest, safe and warm.
At the nest of KNF-E1 Anna and Louis, Trey was doing some winging when Dudley blew up! That is one way to get rid of an egg on a nest. It was obviously non-viable!
The Mum at ND-LEEF, Little Bit ND17’s mother, has been missing now for 19 days. There is a new younger female at the nest but the relationship between Dad and her is anything but cordial. The South Bend news carries the story of our beloved missing mother from the nest in St Joseph’s Park in South Bend, Indiana.
‘H’ sent me a lovely note and images about the Captiva Osprey this morning. Angus and Florence mated four times (looks successful) and had a lovely spa bath together during the day. Things are looking up for a change—some nice news on a Friday morning.
Last year we were entranced with Thunder and Akecheta raising three eaglets. This year they have moved their nest. Oh, how we will miss this amazing family! It is nice to see them even at a distance, though.
Happy Hatch day for two more Kakapo. What a brilliant year 2022 was for the Kakapo Recovery. 55 chicks. 55!
Sweet Pea or South Plateau Chick is now in the post-guard stage. It spent the day panning the horizon for intruders and worked on gardening around the nest.
Bird Flu impacts almost every country in the world. I want to thank one of our readers from Japan for alerting me to this situation. Thank you ‘A’.
Over 10 million birds have been culled in Japan because of Avian Influenza. On the northernmost island of Hokkaido, the first Tanbaku Crane was discovered to have the flu when it died in late October. Since then, there have been—–
Oriental White Storks are Special National Treasures in Japan.
They are smaller than the most famous of the Cranes, the Red-Crowned. They average 110-150 cm in height, or 43 inches to 59 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 6-13 lbs or 2.8-5.9 kg. Their wingspan is quite large at 7.3 feet or 2.2 metres. They have a black beak, red around the eyes and bright white irises. This is the best way to tell them from the Red-Crowned cranes.
The storks live on insects, small fish and reptiles, as well as small mammals. They are a top Apex wetland predator and like Ospreys and Bald Eagles in North America, their presence is a good indicator of a healthy environment. These beautiful wading birds originally lived and searched for their prey in the ride paddies. The industrialisation of agriculture, which included the use of pesticides and chemicals, killed off their natural food sources. The change from having natural waterways connected to rivers to concrete drainage and irrigation was also detrimental. Humans could flood the rice paddies quickly, which meant that many amphibians, such as tadpoles, that the storks relied on for food did not mature. So we now have also a loss of habitat with the logging of pine forests. Many succumbed to mercury poisoning from these pesticides and chemicals and could not breed. This is, of course, very similar to the issues of DDT use in North America. The very last wild storks were seen in 1971, again, a similar time table to the decline of the Apex raptors in the US.
These gorgeous birds are featured in many works of art and on buildings throughout Japan. The risk of extinction caused them to be designed as a special national treasure in 1956 when there were 20 wild storks left. Plans to breed the storks in captivity began to be discussed. It was not until 1985, when Russia translocated six young storks to Japan, that there was hope. Four years later, one pair raised their first chick in the wild! Meanwhile, 300 storks have been bred in captivity and released. Their new threat is Avian Flu.
The female stork hatched in April 2022 and was banded. Her name was Niji, and she was discovered dead at a pond in Muragame on 15 November. Tests indicated that it was the highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian flu. This will have a devastating impact on all the water birds of Japan.
“Hyogo prefectural homeland for the Oriental white stork, Japan” by pelican is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
The image above is Storks by Ohara Boson.
When you think it is too much at some of the nests, just read this. The raptors do not mess around when it comes to territory. They protect it – often to the death.
I can assure you that all of the eaglets on the nests – save for 21 and 22 – are being well-fed. Eggs are being incubated. There are intruders and sub-adults, even following Jackie at Big Bear today. Mating occurs in the hope of eggs and spring at other nests.
Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care! See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, announcements, and streaming cams, where I took my screen, captures for the newsletter today: ‘A’, ‘B’, The Guardian, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, SW Florida Eagle Cam, NEFL-AEF, FOBBV, MN-DNR, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, KNF-E1, South Bend Tribune, ‘H’ and Window to Wildlife, Gracie Shepherd and Raptors of the World, Kakapo Recovery, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, OpenVerse, and Ciryon Hoop and Raptors of the World FB.