7 March 2022
Good Morning Everyone,
I hope that the beginning of the week started well for you. We are so happy to have you with us today. There is just too much going on at the nests! Osprey cams are coming online because the ospreys are arriving in the US! The eagles have returned to their nest in Glacier Gardens in Alaska, eggs are being laid, and it is getting hard to remember everything that is going on. And, yes, the beaking has started at Duke Farms for no reason other than dominance. This behaviour will probably start at Moorings Park, too. Just hold your breath.
Monday was an interesting one with the kittens. Missy and Lewis have shown that they have a keen interest in ‘things’ in packets. Missy loves savoury Japanese snacks. Lewis will eat anything, and I mean anything, but he is especially fond of sweet things such as Japanese strawberry-filled crepes. Lewis will carry the little packets away while Missy is the ‘opener’. She would be great at unzipping fish for the Es. Today, a small pack of Madelines was on the island. Madeleines are delicate cakes that are the size of a cookie and in the shape of a shell. The French bakeries in my City make delicious ones. They were meant to go with Monday night’s after-dinner coffee. At 1900 the Madelines were nowhere to be found. Did I put them up, and did I forget? A thorough look in all of the drawers and cupboards turned up nothing.
Missey: ‘I didn’t take the cookies!’ [Any Mum who believes that has her head stuck in the sand!!!!!!]. Just look at that sweet face.
Lewis is now in a ‘cookie coma’.
It took ages to find the cookie packet! With Lewis practising opening doors, it seems the only safe place for any bags of treats – human or feline – is up high under lock and key!
Lewis did get another cupboard door open, too. Inside was a small vase with a handful of Canada Geese feathers picked up at the park over the summer when the geese were moulting. He was running all over the house and having such a time! Sort of playing ‘hockey’ with that feather batting it around. Such energy and agility.
Next to boxes with paper wrapping or paper bags (cut the handles), the feathers proved to be great toys.
Lewis is often a very bad influence on Missy! He is not afraid of anything, and his battery never dies. Some of the cell phone companies should find out what his secret is! (He seriously makes me tired just watching him most days).
Missy waits for Lewis to get the paper out of the box. They will play with it for hours.
What joy these two rescue babies have brought. I cannot imagine life without them!
In the Mailbox:
‘N’ writes: Are ospreys born blind? I just saw this on a chat.
Oh, thanks, ‘N’ for sending in that question. Ironically, I saw that and a few other statements on a streaming chat today, too, and was puzzled by it. The leading authority on Ospreys in the US is Alan Poole.
The chicks are born with a furry down that is tan in colour with the distinctive black stripe down the back and the dark eye line to help them with the glare. This is not down as we think of it but it is “actually made up of feathers, simple unbranched feathers” (Poole, 97) – forming what looks like a fuzzy appearance. This helps them regulate their temperature. Now this is the important part to the answer of your question and I want to quote Poole. “Osprey hatchlings are known as ‘semi-precocial’ which means they are a step back in the development from the precocial young of chickens or ducks” (98). “Osprey hatchlings are a step ahead of their altricial young of songbirds, which are born largely naked and barely able to move much of anything beyond their heads or necks to beg for food.”
Two key terms are the thrust of the answer to the question. Precocial. The goslings and ducklings jump out of the nest after 24 hours and can care for themselves. They walk and feed. They turn to their parents for warmth and security. Altrial hatchlings are entirely dependent on their parents. So, what about Ospreys? Well, they are in the middle. They are not born blind like owlets. [A 2010 article from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey says they are “born semi-altricial, or blind, feathered, and completely helpless.”] It does take a few days for their eyes to focus completely, but they are semi-Precocial, not semi-altricial. This is the bobblehead phase. They see a ‘beak’ and think of food. It could be their sibling!
Ospreys do not normally leave fish in the nest because it attracts predators or intruders. Normally the female will feed the begging chicks before she feeds herself. The new hatchlings can eat 10 small meals a day, the female taking the fish down to the open beak of the osplet.
Here is a good talk by Poole about Ospreys on YouTube. You can watch it in chunks:
If you are looking for a really good book with great images of the behaviours and development of Ospreys, I recommend Alan Poole’s book, Ospreys. The Revival of a Global Raptor. It also includes a section on threats and solutions. It is currently priced at $54 CDN or about $40 US on Amazon. You can also check any of the used book sellers, such as Abe Books or Thrift Books. I have this one and his earlier addition and both were purchased used.
There are many good volumes on Ospreys and over the course of the nest month I will be mentioning my favourites from the UK. Osprey season is starting – learn as much as you can!
At the Nests:
At the KNF-E3 nest, Nugget has branched at 67 days old! Congratulations everyone. Way to go Nugget.
At the nest of Connie and Clive, Connick is perching (standing on the rim of the nest like E21 and 22 at SW Florida).
I love the hatchling ospreys. However, those two little fluff balls at Duke Farms are adorable. However, the beaking has started. Thankfully, they are both about the same size, and hopefully, all of this will end soon.
Fan of Liberty and Freedom at Glacier Gardens in Alaska? Well, the streaming cam is back on early because the beloved couple was on the nest together on Monday.
Here is the link to their cam:
And guess what? the Ospreys are back at Dahlgren!!!!!! Oh, I wonder how many stuffies will land on the nest with Jack and Harriet this year?
Here is a video that HeidiMc did of the afternoon feedings at the Moorings Park Osprey nest. Sally sure does love her fish! Notice that the chicks are not yet screaming for food when she is eating! Their necks will get stronger, so they do not flop around. They need to hold their heads steady and have those beaks wide open. Otherwise, Mum does not think they are hungry!
The beak that is open is going to get the fish.
Wow, what a Dad. Harry brought in a late fish for Sally and the Bobs. Time 20:09. The Bobs were hungry. Just fantastic.
Turn around little ones!
The first GHO owlet hatched around 05:44 at the nest of Bonnie and Clyde on Farmer Derek’s property in Kansas. Apparently, the name already chosen is Butch Cassidy. After the event, Bonnie and Clyde were vocalising loudly, and Clyde flew to the nest tree.
Clyde is directly below Bonnie on another branch.
The voting has begun for the Corona Owlets of Owlvira and Hoots. If you go to the YouTube live cam page for the Corona Owls, click on the tab at the top to vote. The names have been organised in groups of four possible choices, with ‘Peanut’ appearing multiple times!
M15 brought in a squirrel and 2 fish to the SW Florida nest today despite the presence of a sub-adult at the nest tree. Doing good, Dad.
This was the 16:14 fish that M15 dropped and flew. Those eaglets are quick and it was a scramble. At one point, each appeared to have a piece of fish.
E21 and 22 are perching and working their wings (21 more than 22 with the wings).
M15 appears to have been alone all day. No sightings of R23-3. Everyone is wondering where she is. Does her absence have anything to do with the intruder? This morning, a posting from SW Florida indicated three eagles around the property yesterday. I presume it was M15; we know the sub-adult and, most likely, R23-3.
Good Night, Dad. You are amazing. Your kids are perching and flapping. Today 21 is 60 days old, and 22 is 58 days old. It is hard to imagine that they could take their first flights in less than three weeks. You have put us all to shame because we doubted you…no one will ever forget your great efforts. When someone asks: can a single parent Bald Eagle raise one-month-old eaglets on their own? The answer will be, ‘Of course, M15 did it!’ *
Question: Who (or what) is on the branch below towards the road?
The IR seems to be picking up two figures on the other cam. I do not believe it is R23-3. She would most likely be on the same branch close to M15.
Annie and Lou are taking turns incubating the eggs at The Campanile on the campus of UC-Berkeley. Looks like a bit of delayed incubation. Will we see a third egg on Wednesday?
At the nest of Big Red and Arthur, something caused Dad to work frantically on the nest today. Does he know something we don’t?
On March 4th at 19:15:49 that Jackie looked down at her eggs, reflecting on them before leaving them and the nest. Shadow was flying off, and she paused. A woman on FOBBV wrote that she believes eagles have feelings after seeing Jackie’s behaviour. Of course, they do. Of course. We collectively grieve with Jackie and Shadow as their hope for a family this year dissolved on a cold winter’s day in Big Bear Valley.
Oh, I love this. We see so many lonely widowed Canada Geese in my city. These are domesticated geese, but how wonderful…a romance ad answered for a goose! Single mingles for Geese.
Speaking of geese…remember the Canada Goose couple that took over the old Decorah Bald Eagle nest last year and raised those goslings? They could be back!
This article came in the mailbox from Geemeff. It would be fantastic if every organisation controlling an area where our waterfowl breed would close the space off during breeding season. All too many – at least here in Winnipeg – chase the geese and ducks or send their dogs running. It is horrible treatment and causes great stress to the birds.
After at least eight years in the making, The High Seas Treaty has passed. This treaty will protect 30% of the high seas. While not everyone agrees about every point, most biologists believe this will go a long way to helping with climate change. It will also help our seabirds!
Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care! See you soon.
My sincere thanks to the following that sent me notes, posted announcements, videos, and stories or have streaming cams that formed part of my blog today: ‘L’, ‘A’, ‘N’, ‘H’, ‘Geemeff’, Alan Poole, Amazon.com, Rhonda A and the KNF-E3 Eagle nest, Window to Wildlife, Ondabebe and Window to Wildlife, Duke Farms, Glacier Gardens, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, Heidi Mc and Moorings Park Osprey, Moorings Park Osprey, Farmer Derek, Corona California Owls, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Cal Falcons, Cornell RTH, FOBBV, CBC Radio, Laura Rose and the Decorah Eagles Love Nest, kpax.com, and The Guardian.
NOTE: A few single-parent bald eagles have successfully raised their entire clutch to fledge. I am thinking of Decorah, who had three eaglets in the nest. You might know of others. Let me know!
Thank you Mary Ann for these updates and photos and links! Another great newsletter !
The kittens are so cute. I had just watched a video today of a cat opening the door and then I read what you said Lewis opens the cabinet doors! Lol
They are so much fun I bet to watch!
Thanks for sharing them with us.
So glad Dahlgren ospreys are home. I love watching them and the dad is so funny with his toys to help
Keep the chicks warm and inside the nest. Congratulations to the little owlet.
I learned something today here again about the eyes of the newborn osplets.
Thank you Mary Ann for this info. It is very interesting! So glad the eaglets are all doing good and we will miss them
When they start fledging. Hope the UK nests will soon be up to watch.
Have a great evening and I look forward to the new newsletter.