DH18 in guarded condition…Friday in Bird World

28 April 2023

Oh, good morning to everyone! Have you been checking Twitter or FB for a recent update on DH18? So have I! I want to imagine the little fellow recovering from surgery in a lovely soft nest where he is warm with a vast crop, having filled up on a gourmet quail dinner. You deserve it, 18!

News has come that DH18 is in ‘guarded’ condition. Please send all your positive wishes to this little warrior. I am not a violent person, but this whole situation has me imagining a human with a fishing line wrapped so tight around their ankles that it cuts the skin to the bones for a week. How would they feel if people said they couldn’t be helped?

While you look at the image of DH17 standing on the rails today, please smile. Look at that sweet face and those legs now free of monofilament line and looking forward to a beautiful future in the wild. I keep saying thank you to each of you because that rescue yesterday was only possible because you cared because you believed that intervention was necessary and were willing to work to make that happen. So look in those beautiful eyes and remember never to give up, to keep trying.

There is some great news coming out of Achieva. ‘R’ writes, “At Achieva, Mum brought in a fish and 2 positioned himself at the rail so 1 could not get to him.  I thought she was going to knock Mum and 2 off the nest, but her attempts were futile!  Mum fed the whole fish to 2!  After awhile, 1 just backed off and watched.  I couldn’t believe 2 actually had a crop.  Then…..just before your email, Dad brought in a fish which Mum fed to 1.  After most of it was finished 1 tried to self feed and 2 walked over, grabbed the fish from 1 and finished it whole.  Looks like his survival skills are improving. There is hope!”

If you are interested, the t-shirt fundraiser for this year at Cal Falcons is open for four more days.

As we all know, the falcons grow up so fast and are gone so quickly into the wild. Here is a condensed day in the life of these lovely eyases of Lou and Annie captured by SK Hideaways.

Oh, this one is cute…close ups of these darling chicks.

Have you been wondering how the PA County Farm Eagles are doing? Have a look! All three are really growing their juvenile feathers. Bravo!

‘H’ reports that banding took place at the WRDC today. They did measurements and weighed the eaglets R4 and R5 including taking DNA samples. Here those babies are with their new bling.

R5 is working away at its self-feeding skills as R4 looks on.

It is very true. M15 is going to need a holiday after this breeding season. He is continually trying to feed his babies while fending off intruders that literally come to the nest to grab the food! Today he was plucking a bird for them when he had to turn into security guard and territorial protector.

Earlier M15 had brought in a squirrel, a small one. E22 got it – and worked the entire thing to his complete delight while 21 watched. Gracie Shepherd caught it on video!

Kathryn reports on the Lake Murray Osprey nest. She says, “Every time I check on these osplets that are so stuffed they can’t even move! I love how the mom, Lucy, goes out of her way to make sure C3 eats well. Such a nice nest so far. There has been minimal bonking and the mom just puts food in her beak between them when they did bonk each other but I only saw that in the beginning.” This is wonderful news!

We are so lucky that there are BOGS that keep up with some of the fledglings. Just look at Ringo from the Webster Texas Bald Eagle nest. Perfecting that flying like the Es and B16 and the kidlets down in the Kisatchie National Forest.

Loretta is keeping eyes on the First Utility District Osprey platform for me. The first of the three hatched yesterday. The adults are Ricky and Lucy. Nice fish coming in to feed the little one. It started raining later in the day and Lucy could not risk feeding the baby so, Ricky fed Lucy her dinner. I thought maybe he would incubate/brood but, Lucy didn’t want to give up the responsibility. They are a cute pair and I hope that you will put this nest on your list to watch. It is in a really beautiful setting and it looks like the lake has some good fish. (This will be my first time keeping tabs on this nest).

The Decorah Goose nest had some visitors today but it is empty as I begin writing for tomorrow’s blog. News has come in that the sixth gosling that had trouble swimming and was believed to have temporary paralysis in its leg did not make it. That is very sad. The other five are doing splendidly and have taken to the water like ‘ducks’. LOL.

We are all concerned with the impact that the current strains of HPAI will have on our raptor populations. I know that many of you, like myself, scream when one of the adults brings a shorebird or a duck into the nest to feed to the chicks. Cal Falcons held one of their fantastic Q & A sessions with Dr Victoria Hall of The Raptor Centre in Minnesota. This is an hour’s presentation, and it is excellent. I urge you to listen even if you do it in hits and spurts. You will learn a lot – and that is what we are all doing – learning.

Lots of great questions. Is there a vaccination? How complicated would that be? Where is the highest outbreak now? How does HPAI impact trade? When might this outbreak stop soon? How might this impact zoos? Is this a risk to humans? Are Bald Eagles more susceptible than Peregrine Falcons?

HPAI has having a global impact. ‘R’ sent me this very informative article. Have you seen it?


The UK appears to be particularly hard hit with birds at the wetlands and ponds and along the coast dying in ever increasing numbers.

One of the biggest concerns in the US right now are the Condors, carrion eaters who are particularly susceptible to HPAI.

I will continue to post some of the latest stories on this influenza that is tragically impacting our wildlife. In doing so, I want to remind you to do something you might think is silly. If you go for a walk like I did today, you need to bag your footwear and disinfect it. I do not know if that is even enough. There are geese all around the parking lots of our parks and nature centres. Do they have HPAI? We don’t know. They could be carriers. If so, it is possible that their ‘ps’ could get on my tires, and I could spread the disease. In the Q & A session with Cal Falcons, the measures taken to ensure that HPAI doesn’t spread have been thoroughly considered. Let’s listen again so we know what we could do to help stop the spread.

Two well-fed little eaglets. The Decorah Hatchery eaglet and Two Harbours eaglet.

Decorah Hatchery chick. Losing its baby down. Getting that mohawk and that lovely dark charcoal thermal down growing in so that it can regulate its own temperature.

As the eaglet ages, the pink ‘mouth’ turns yellow.

Chase and Cholyn’s only eaglet gets special attention, too. Just look at that crop. Both the Hatchery eaglet and Two Harbours can now eat all the parts of the prey and their crop will process this material. Anything that cannot be fully digested will form into a hard pellet or a ‘cast’ and they will ‘cast it off’.

The three eaglets on the Denton Homes Bald Eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa are slightly older than the ones at the Hatchery. Look at the two images and see the difference a week can make.

The three eaglets at Bald Canyon are fantastic. What a great rescue that was by the IWS on Tuesday. So grateful to Dr Sharpe and his team who take such good care of these Channel Islands Bald Eagle families.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. Please continue to send your best wishes to DH18 this morning, who is in guarded condition after the surgery to remove the dead tissue from his legs yesterday. DH18 has the best care. We wait. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, observations, videos, tweets, posts, and streaming cams that helped to make up my blog this morning: ‘R’, ‘S’, ‘J’, ‘H’, ‘A’, ‘L’, Kathryn, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Achieva Credit Union, Cal Falcon Cam, SK Hideaways and Cal Falcons, PA Game Commission, WRDC, SW Florida Eagle Cam, Gracie Shepherd and SW Florida Eagle Cam, Lake Murray Ospreys, Jon Truman and Webster TX Eagle Watchers, First Utility District, Decorah Goose Cam, The New York Times, @Mark Avery, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, IWS and Explore.org, and Denton Homes.

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