First-time falcon dad wants to feed his egg, Louis at home with Dorcha…Monday in Bird World

10 April 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

Thank you for all your letters and holiday wishes. Each was very much appreciated. It is so kind of you to think of me!

It is 1800 Sunday evening, and my garden is teeming with Dark-eyed Juncos and House Sparrows. Mr Blue Jay has been for a visit, as has Little Red and Dyson & Gang. I can hear the Crows in the distance as gulls fly overhead. It is remarkable how spending time in the light or stepping away from a nest for 24 hours can refresh your mind and body. Missy and Lewis have voted that I write the blog in the conservatory where there is light! It was not that long ago that 1800 would have meant darkness. Twenty-six Ring Billed Gulls flew over like they do every dusk from spring through to fall when they depart. On the Red River Flyway, more than 400 American White Pelicans flew north. Spring is wonderful!

Both Mr and Mrs Downy came to the garden several times today. They always come right before dusk, no matter how many visits they have made earlier. I am a wee bit sloppy about getting the suet into the holes, but, hey, they seem not to be annoyed.

e-Bird reports from Saturday said that the Dark-eyed Juncos were arriving in our province. On Sunday, more than two dozen were in the garden flitting about. Oh, how grand. Just love these little ones.

The first Hibiscus blossom of the year arrived yesterday! So far, Lewis and Missy have left it alone. They often like to sleep in this pot after I water them. I never knew cats loved the water so much!

Correction: The GHO strike on the Es took place NOT during the day. Lady Hawk’s time fooled me and ‘A’. Thanks, ‘H’ for the head’s up! It seemed so unlikely but, there have been battles with eagles and owls during the day time. The first that comes to mind is Bonnie and Clyde taking the nest from the young eagle couple at Farmer Derek’s three years ago.

We are one day away from hatch watch at Cal Falcons and only Annie and Lou know if they can hear those little eyases chirping away getting ready to burst out of those shells. Mark your calendar! While we have been told that the 11th is probably hatch day here are some figures from Cal Falcons based on past hatch times.

Annie and Lou have made the LA Times! Well done.

Remember! There will be the annual Q & A session and celebration on YouTube with Cal Falcons on the 11th. Here is the information.

Wonder what it feels like to lay that first egg? A very young male still has his juvenile plumage and probably a first-time young female falcon at San Jose City Hall. SK Hideaways caught their reaction to their first egg! Please watch this super-edited video. It gives us some insight!

The female appears to later ‘shade’ the egg.

The young couple bond in their scrape. We wait to see how all this plays out.

Our young dad is ready to feed his baby – even in the shell! This is going to be very interesting!

There were two fledges on Sunday. B16 from Berry College and Ringo from the Webster Texas nest. Congratulations!

There are five eggs at the Manchester, New Hampshire, scrape! The couple has been together for 9 years, and last year they hatched and fledged five. ‘SP’ says the chicks are banded but the male and female are simply known as Mum and Dad. Here is the link to their camera and there are the five from last season. Adorable.

There is nothing more adorable than little pink beaks reaching up from white fluffy bodies to be fed.

Ringo flew strong and in the video on FB by Paul White, you could see her fly way out into the background near the water feature. Brilliant.

‘JL’ asked: “I was wondering if you could comment on aggressive/submissive behaviour sometime. On the SWFL nest, I’ve watched E22 become the aggressor, and E21 turn submissive. It was almost an overnight change (even before E21 left). I suppose the question is, why did 21 allow the change to occur? I noticed the same with the Sea Eagles (29 and 30), with 30 becoming more assertive before 29 left.”

We have all witnessed various levels of aggression on the nests. This ranges from the bobbleheads fighting it out in those first few days to the extreme aggression where a sibling is killed. Dominance ‘play’ is often seen but is not dangerous to any of the nestlings. It is when there is fear for survival that really aggressive behaviour comes in. Research reveals that deadly aggressive behaviour can happen on a nest that is full of prey. Just what causes one bird to turn against another in that situation is a matter of conjecture. Is it DNA? is it toxins that drive aggressive behaviour? is it a particular growth stage that spurs the attacks?

A sibling has never died of siblicide on Harriet and M15’s nest. Never. They have beaked each other, making chatters concerned, but that was dominance play. Both eaglets, E21 and E22, are now similar in size and have fledged. 22 gained confidence and, if I am correct, grew a little while 21 was away. We do not know their genders, although I thought they were the same sex because the fighting and dominance/submission has not been extreme. 22 had control of the nest when 21 returned and wanted to keep that position. ‘E21, you are not going to boss me around anymore!’ In the end, we know that they became beak and branch buddies. All is fine. M15 took good care of them; amazing. You will begin to see how remarkable his parenting was as the saga at Dale Hollow unfolds.

WBSE 29 and 30 were both females. Females are much more aggressive towards little males. So again, it could have been a confidence matter, testing the ‘waters’ of who is dominant at WBSE like it was when 21 returned. In neither case, there was never cause for any concern over the health and welfare of the other eaglet in these two instances.

Concern continues to grow for Mrs G as she is ten days late from her normal arrival time to Glaslyn.

Meanwhile, Aran has been sky-dancing for an unringed female that came to the Glaslyn nest. He has fed her a fish in the nest and he must be understanding that Mrs G is not returning. A new era at Glaslyn could be starting.

Meanwhile, Dorcha has returned to Loch Arkaig and is waiting for Louis to return from his adventure around the loch so they can begin their 2023 breeding season.

Dorcha begins work on the nest just like Louis did last week. Hey, Louis, come home!

Louis home. Both arrive at the nest with a fish as the wind blows strong. And do I hear ice pellets?

In Latvia, a Mallard attempted to land on the nest while Voldis is incubating his and Milda’s eggs. That duck didn’t even get a chance to land! Hatch watch coming soon. Hoping this will be a good year after two tragic ones for our beautiful WTE Milda whose nest is near Durbe in Latvia.

In Decorah, precious DH2 gets a feeding.

Martin and Rosa’s three eaglets continue to do very well at Dulles-Greenway.

There are three eaglets at Bald Canyon. I have noticed a tiny bit of beaking between 1 and 2. 3 was out of the way and did get fed. Relief.

One much adored eaglet at Two Harbours that will be well fed and loved by parents, Chase and Cholyn. For those that do not know, Cholyn is Thunder’s Mum. (Thunder is the mate of Akecheta at the West End).

Everything looks A-OK with Big Red and Arthur!

‘T’ sent her vote for photo of the day…Bluff City eaglet with a crop the size of a tennis ball!

Maya has laid her third egg of the 2023 season at Manton Bay! Blue 33 has been by her side. What a couple!

Yesterday Iris arrived home to her nest at Hellgate Canyon, Missoula, Montana. She is the matriarch of American ospreys and is believed to be the oldest living osprey in the world.

Her first mate there was Stanley and they raised multiple chicks to fledge. Then Stanley passed and Louis came on the scene. Louis has always had another nest at the baseball park. It has been nothing but sadness for Iris and Louis. Lin Lawson gives us the history, in case you did not know it. This will provide some background as to why people get upset when Louis comes to the nest with Iris. Things will not change so do not get upset. They will mate, Iris will lay eggs, the eggs will get eaten by the Crows, and then Iris will spend her summer eating fish and growing strong. There will be no starving osplets on the nest to worry about. And that is a good thing.

DH17 and DH18 ate well and went to bed with full crops. River is trying the best she can. She is followed to the nest by intruders that land and stay there. DH17 is 38 days old, and 18 is 39 days old. DH19 was 32 days old when it died of starvation. We send good positive wishes to River. This situation is tough, and there is no guarantee that any of the eaglets will survive. Diane and Jack were both at the Achieva Nest. Diane fed Big Bob and left Middle Bob in submission without any fish. Later Diane went fishing and brought in one of her nice catfish, and Middle ate for at least 30 minutes. There is a drought in the St Petersburgh area, and all of the water is very low, causing fishing to be difficult. Send your best wishes to this nest.

Reports are coming in that the much loved Finnish Osprey, Salli, has been electrocuted in Iraq on her way home from her winter grounds.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care, everyone. Have a great beginning of the week. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, posts, and streaming cams that helped make up my blog today: ‘A’, ‘H’, ‘T’, ‘SP’, ‘JL’, Geemeff, Cal Falcon Cam, LA Times, SK Hideaways and San Jose City Hall Falcons, San Jose City Hall Falcons, Peregrine Networks Live, Colleen Hayman Orange Australia Peregrine Falcons, Paul White and Webster TX Eagles, Jackie Morris and Friends of Dyfi Osprey Project,, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Geemeff and Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Latvian Fund for Nature, Raptor Resource Project, Dulles Freeway, IWS and, Cornell RTH Cam, Bluff City Eagle Cam, LRWT, Montana Osprey Project, Lin Lawson and Osprey Friends, and Dale Hollow Eagle Cam.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Hello Mary Ann and thank you for the updates and photos and links. We enjoyed the pics from your garden with the birds and squirrels. The Hibiscus is so pretty. Hope the kittens will not try to pull on it. Lol. They are really cute and enjoy them so much. 💕💕
    So sorry to hear about Salli and also that Mrs G hasn’t made it home yet. 🙏
    So sad about the little ones at Achieva and Dale Hollow 🙏🙏💕💕May they Rest In Peace I didn’t know they both had passed away.
    Congratulations to all the new hatches and the ones getting ready for pips .
    Prayers for all who are still trying to make it home from their migration.
    Thanks you and have a good Monday Mary Ann. We look forward to another newsletter soon.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Mary Ann the is is so cute and funny about the new dad trying to feed his egg.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    So glad Iris and Dorcha are home❤️❤️

  3. Alison says:

    Wonderful to see Louis back! So sad about Mrs G but glad Aran has found a new mate in time for a clutch this season. That falcon is adorable – we have seen Xavier attempting to feed an egg, from memory. They may be young but their instincts are strong – mum knew to stand still while the egg hardened and then, when she did move, she rolled the egg. Dad knows that the egg means bringing food and feeding whatever that egg produces. They are doing fine – ish.

    I have thought a lot about the siblicide question too. I think we all have, certainly those of us who have watched a couple of seasons at Dale Hollow or Port Lincoln ospreys! It is interesting that we see it occur on nests without a food shortage, as that is the primary reason for deadly aggression I would have thought. At Dale Hollow, it definitely seemed to be about the lack of food. And then we met Zoe. She changed all my theories because (and I hate to anthropomorphise here) she was just plain mean. No amount of feeding would mollify her. Her siblings were not allowed a flake of fish even when she had a crop fit to burst. Both starved to death. On both nests, this has happened before – more than once. Whether or not that hints at the reason, we don’t yet know. Certainly, it is incredibly distressing to watch, although it is very common in bird species. (Read about ‘obligate siblicide’!)

    My only solution is to stick to ‘safe’ nests. Ones with experienced parents with a good record of fledging chicks. Single-chick nests. Falcon or GHO nests are more peaceful, and of course albatrosses have only one egg (every second year), so there’s no siblings to bonk!

    1. It is much better for our mental and physical health to stick with the nests that are ‘tried and true’ as you say. There is a history of siblicide and as you note, even with lots of fish and crop’s bursting Zoe showed us that doesn’t matter. So it isn’t all about food! Power and dominance. I just wonder how much is DNA related, the aggression. Why the same nests?

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