Cal Falcons getting banded, update on SE30…Friday in Bird World

5 May 2023

Good Morning Everyone!

Wednesday was a tough one. Thursday was better, but there are still two worrisome nests – Achieva’s and Angel’s. When it gets too much – and it does for everyone, we need to step back and change what we are doing. There has been no food for the little one at Angel’s for a day, and the little one has only had a few bites. I do not expect it to survive and, as of this morning, I, too, will step back.

It is true – go out and spend some time in nature, go for a walk, say hello to people you don’t know…at the end of all, you feel better. That is precisely what I did – a spin or two around the pond, stopping to chat with everyone along the way. The Wood Ducks are back.

Not in any great numbers, about five males and a couple of those sweet little females. There were a handful of Mallards and several hundred Canada Geese. It was sunny and dry, and everyone was happy to be outside.

There is green grass coming and some vegetation growing quickly so they can feed.

In the garden, Dyson sees me. She knows that I am taking her photo. Isn’t she lovely?

The table feeder is becoming more popular as the birds get used to seeing it in the garden.

While Dyson and the Starlings were eating peanuts, the Crows were assembling in the big tree in front of my house. It was planted in 1902 so 121 years old. I will not start about our City’s tree trimming policies! Normally when the Crows gather they are here to escort the GHO out of their neighbourhood!

Specific events tell me spring is here, and hopefully, there will not be any more snow. The first is the arrival of the Canada Geese, then the Dark-eyed Juncos and Blue Jays. The second is the opening of the local farmer’s market. There are a few ingenious farmers who have built greenhouses, not to grow flowers like the Dutch arrivals in our area in the 1950s but, to grow – strawberries. The farmer’s market opened yesterday, and those berries had not only the aroma of a ripened berry in a field but the most delicious flavour. Well done to those trying to figure out how to grow things locally that might be otherwise flown in from thousands of miles away – and have no taste and be polluting the planet. The third is the arrival of all the annual flowers and herbs to be planted in flower boxes or gardens. Today was a celebration of all of those – the geese at the pond, a trip to the farmer’s market and a box full of herbs and, instead of a hanging basket of flowers, a Tiny Tom Hanging Tomato vine. How will it do? All of this helped to wash away the anger and some of the sadness over the death of DH18.

In celebration of these spring rituals, the kittens and I will enjoy a lovely little Japanese sponge cake with strawberry buttercream filling.

Do you know Aldo Leopold? He was talking about biodiversity and stewardship of land before any of the more recent environmental movements. He died in a fire in Wisconsin helping a neighbour in 1948. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin but loved escaping to his weekend refuge without modernisation. I love his sense of humour. One time during a flood – and you have to understand that his cabin is the family escape from the world of humans, Leopold writes, “There are degrees and kinds of solitude. A n island in a lake has one kind; but lakes have boats, and there is always the chance that one might land to pay you a visit..I know of no solitude so secure as one guarded by a spring flood; nor do the geese, who have seen more kinds and degrees of aloneness than I have. ..So we sit on our hill beside a new-blown pasque and watch the geese go by. I see our road dipping gently into the waters, and I conclude with inner glee that the question of traffic, in or out, is for this day at least, debatable only among carp.” (27)

Leopold observes, “Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with out Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” (xviii) I highly recommend his little book, A Sand County Almanac. Essays on Conservation from Round River. Written like a diary, Leopold says of March, “One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.” (19) Leopold takes you through the months, and he loves his spring geese. It is more than just Leopold’s close observation and love of all things wild. He stops to make us think about the value of our land and why some, like trophy hunters, will never be able to understand those of us in the minority who see the word of living things connected and sacred. “…our bigger-and-better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap…Perhaps a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, time, and confined in terms of things natural, wild, and free”. That was written on the 4th of March 1948 right before his death. It could have been written yesterday. Today, the situation with DH18 continues to weigh heavy on my mind and I would substitute in much of the quotes of Leopold the term wildlife instead of land…we think we own it, it is a commodity that we can abuse…that kind of thinking has to stop.

Our smile for the morning comes from the Cal Falcons and the food tug-o-war caught by SK Hideaways. Then marvel at how well falcons tend to feeding three chicks! Most of the time (Angel and Tom excluded) falcon and hawk nests are incredibly energetic and full of laughs.

Right now we need all these precious joyful moments that we can garner. It has been a ‘depleting week emotionally’ for all of us.

Check your clocks. Banding is taking place at Cal Falcons between 0830-0900 Pacific Time. The cameras will be off during the banding. A video of the event will be uploaded after. There will also be the annual Q & A session with Sean and Lynne (see further down for details) tomorrow.

The Australian Raptor Care and Conservancy has provided an update on SE30! Oh, she is doing well. This is the kind of news we want and need. Thanks, ‘H’.

George Smith gives us an update on the Rutland Ospreys. Quite a good read and happy to see that Maya and Blue 33 are attempting to raise their fourth set of four osplets. Wrap your head around that one. Some nests cannot manage even two! But four sets of four. Super couple! Some of their fledglings are out chasing down nests and mates. Have a read!

Thanks for posting some successful rescues. We all know about Dr Sharpe but there are also other rescues for monofilament line as well as non-human caused issues. CROW was at Captiva last year with the Osplets. CROW intervened when E17 and E18 at SW Florida had conjunctivitis. There are so many more. In the incident below, the eaglet appeared to have half its body ‘stuck’ to the nest. It was removed because it was weak..information below. It was successfully released after this 4 May 2012 intervention. Thanks, Deb.

M15 still gets my vote for ‘Dad of the Year’ for Raptors. E22 knows precisely when there is a food delivery and is on it!

There are a lot of Peregrine Falcons hatching in the world and the first one at Cromer Peregrine Falcons is here.

You can watch this white little fuzzy with its pink beak and toes here.

Today is banding day at Cal Falcons. There is a Q & A scheduled. You can go to YouTube and search for Cal Falcons 2023 Banding Q&A. You can get a notification to watch it live and they always archive the event if you miss it. For me, it looks like it is at 1300 but if you live in California, I bet that time is 1100.

We are all aching for Angel and her baby. Tom has not provided any prey today. He has not been seen. Angel has left the little one for long periods of time – once an hour – to go hunting but came back to the nest empty taloned. Whether or not Tom is still around or if the prey in the area is so limited is unclear. The little one cannot thermoregulate its temperature, and it should be fed much more often than is happening. At the same time, Angel is also hungry. The chick’s last meal was Thursday morning.

It is dusk and Angel has left the baby again to go hunting. I hope she finds some food for them. The possums and other creatures often come out at dusk. Oh, I hope she finds some food. Remember, I told you that this situation is very dire and it is. Unless Tom steps up and begins to deliver prey regularly it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Angel to feed the two of them and provide security and warmth. The area is obviously not prey rich like that of Big Red and Arthur. It is heartbreaking.

Angel did not have any food when she returned. Many believe Angel is at a disadvantage as the prey can see her coming since she is leucistic rather than camouflaged. This creates a huge problem if that is the case. Tom is not helping. Please send your good wishes…I wish some food would drop from the sky. The forecast does not look good. Rain for 5 days in a row at the nest…we could easily lose this baby. Personally, if I owned the land this nest is on, I would put out a prey table now!

If this year has already been too much for you, you might want to step away from this nest. Come back on Monday and see how things are going.

We are really waiting for a pip and a hatch at Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the Cornell campus. The changeovers have been swift. These two work like a well-oiled and cared for machine. There is little time to even get a glimpse of those eggs.

When Big Red lost her mate Ezra, everyone thought she was ‘nuts’ picking such a young mate as Arthur. Well, she wasn’t. He is an uber hunter and wooed her with the number of squirrels he could catch! I know there is a lot of chatter about how young Angel’s mate Tom is but, I just don’t think it is that. There is either hardly any prey to be had in the area, he is not the father of the chick so really has not much interest, or he is just a dud.

Cute little Arthur.

Big Red.

You may recall that a group at Cornell University worked diligently to get the windows on campus fitted so that bird strikes do not happen. Several of Big Red’s fledglings have been injured or died. Now there is movement in other places to ensure that birds are safe. Thanks, ‘S’ for sending me the latest news on what is happening in Washington, DC. This needs to go international.

This is the weather at Big Bear Valley today for Jackie and Shadow.

The eagles did a nest check.

Looking for a US Osprey nest to watch? You cannot get any better than Moorings Park. Victor and Abby still have up to seven fish meals a day. Neither has fledged although they are spreading their wings!

Achieva is a tough Osprey nest in the US to watch. It is on my list of not recommended nests. At the present time, food is also scarce and Big Bob, number 1 is acting like Zoe at Port Lincoln. Jack delivers the fish, Big takes it and neither Diane or Middle get anything to eat. As we know, there is a drought in the area that is causing canals to dry up and fears of wildfires. This means that all those Ospreys are fighting for little fish.

These beautiful osplets have their juvenile feathers and they need more fish. It is always a problematic nest but with climate change and so many ospreys in the St Petersburgh area, the competition for fish could become ruthless and many ospreys might not survive. They might have to move further north. Let us hope that both survive to fledge.

Little Decorah Hatch – DH2 – is doing fantastic. What a crop…the joys of being an only nestling.

The crop on Chase & Cholyn’s only eaglet is equally as large at Two Harbours. And check out those thighs!!!!!!!!

Precious trio to Martin and Rosa continue to thrive at Dulles-Greenway.

There is good news coming out of SF Bay Ospreys!

The winds at Loch Arkaig were so intense on Thursday that Louis was literally blown off the nest while incubating. Thankfully, he returned, unharmed. Geemeff caught it on video:

There is some concern and a little bewilderment at the Osoyoos Osprey platform in British Columbia. The nest was that of Soo and Olsen. ‘H’ sent the history of the nest in terms of egg laying: “Egg laying history for Osoyoos Osprey Cam: 2016- Apr26. 2017- May 14 (late because they had to wait for Canada Geese goslings to exit the nest) 2018- Apr 28. 2019- May 5. 2020- May 2. 2021- Apr 29. 2022- May 6.” No one knows for certain if the male at the nest is actually Olsen. Some believe it is a new male. It is now 4 May and I actually wondered, last season, if Soo and Olsen might lay their eggs earlier to try and avoid the sheer magnitude of the heat in the area. That is certainly not the case and, as of this evening, the nest is not ready.

Fellow Canadian, Deb Stecyk who administers the Bald Eagles 101 FB Page has posted the following call for action following the death of DH18. Many of you will recognise our request for simple emergency numbers under the streaming cams. Some of you will recall the sheer panic two years ago when the foster osplet fell off the Patuxent River Park platform. ‘S’ and I phoned – her halfway around the world to try and get help. The park office was closed but thankfully a staff member checked and returned with a canoe – just in time as the tide was going to start to go out. Deb’s is a good plan and a good protocol. We need to work towards finding a rapid response for all the raptors that are on streaming cams now – and it needs to be universal.

One of the two eaglets at Duke Farms has ‘officially’ branched on Thursday. Congratulations! They have both done so well this season.

Tom and Audrey at the Chesapeake Conservancy Nest have their second egg. It was laid 74 hours after egg 1.

As the coronation of King Charles III approaches, Australia’s gift is a donation of 10,000$ to help save a beloved parrot of South Australia. “The government has pledged $10,000 to help conserve the critically endangered “shy and rarely seen” species in honour of the monarch, on behalf of the people of Australia.” Will the king’s views on conservation influence any changes towards wildlife, biodiversity, land management, etc in the UK? We wait.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/03/australias-coronation-gift-to-king-charles-is-10000-donation-for-wa-endangered-parrot?CMP=share_btn_link

There is lots of good news out there in Bird World. I am getting so excited to see the Cal Falcons banded and to see the list of names the children select so we a vote. Of course, waiting for Big Red and Arthur’s first hatch of 2023 is agonising. So, all of the nests are doing well but Angel’s and Achieva where Middle really needs some fish and so does Mum, Diane. Again, Angel’s baby needed feedings every few hours, not a few bites in a day. Angel is extremely hungry as well. Send her your love.

Thank you for being with me today. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you so much for their notes, posts, tweets, videos, and streaming cams that helped to make up my blog today: ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘A’, Geemeff, Cal Falcons, SK Hideaways and Cal Falcons, George Smith and the LRWT, Deb Stecyk, MN Bound Eagle Family, Gracie Shepherd and SW Florida Eagle Cam, Cromer Peregrine Falcons, Window to Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, American Bird Conservancy, FOBBV, Moorings Park Ospreys, Achieva Credit Union, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, IWS and Explore.org, Dulles-Greenway, SF Bay Ospreys, Geemeff and Loch Arkaig, People’s Postcode Lottery, and the Woodland Trust, Duke Farms, The Guardian, and the Australian Raptor Care and Conservancy.

2 Comments

  1. Alison says:

    One of those moments when I am actually proud to be an Australian. Unfortunately, we lead the world in species extinctions, so we have a lot of catching up to do.

    I am very much hoping that King Charles will have a positive influence on conservation in the UK and the Commonwealth generally. He has been well ahead of his time – a keen lover of wildlife and natural habitats for over 50 years and has been very outspoken in this regard. (I remember him being ridiculed decades ago for “talking to trees”). Perhaps he could even dissuade members of his own family from shooting birds!

    1. That would be really something if he could have a keen influence on this grouse hunting fiasco or on the penalties for the gamekeepers who are cruel beyond belief! Let us hope so.

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