Iris lays her first egg, C3 dies, Tom helps, Dorcha crashes…Tuesday in Bird World

9 May 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

As I write this, a gentle rain is falling on the garden. The Chickadees are at the tube and table feeders, the Starlings have been and gone, Mr Crow and Mr Blue Jay were here, and the Hairy Woodpecker. It is just turning 1330 on Monday. Life in the garden is good. The rhythm is so reassuring, knowing that everyone is here and safe. It is also my ‘go-to place’ when events on the nests get just too much. This has been a challenging year for many of our Raptor families. It is almost hard to imagine all that has happened.

Lewis and Missy continue to love the conservatory. Today, for whatever reason, they were not so interested in what was going outside.

The Starlings cooperated and ate together at the table once the squirrels had left. At one point there were five finding food.

Before we check in on all the action at the nests, two educational items in today’s blog: the first about monofilament line (with some images later from ‘B’) and the second about siblicide and the theories of why this happens.

First up, fishing line – any posting about this will be in tribute to DH18 whose life could have been spared had help been called immediately to come to the nest. All moderators of all chats must notify the proper authorities and local rehabbers immediately when a monofilament line or baling twine is seen on a nest. It is imperative, moving forward, no excuses.

It is not just Bald Eagles that get tangled…every kind of waterfowl has been seen dead or dying from this horrible stuff.

It appears that Iris has laid her first egg of the season. As I always say, we know how this will go so we should not fight it. At the same time, I would love her to feel the teamwork that Maya and Blue 33 have, to have Louis there with her with a celebratory fish and to have him help raise those chicks. Sadly, he cannot take care of two nests! So, Iris…lay the eggs, let the Crows get them, and spend your summer leisurely taking care of yourself.

The time was around 19:50-59.

Diane and her two surviving osplets from 2023 – Big and Middle. Aren’t they gorgeous? Everyone was so happy when Jack brought two fish to the nest. Let us hope that despite the drought, he and Diane will get enough fish to the nest for these two to fledge. They have gorgeous plumage, and they should have taken their first flights by June.

A short video clip posted by Heidi McGru on FB showed the Bald Eagle trying to snatch Middle at Achieva. I had wondered if it was after the fish but, no. He did not make it…I want to hope those osplets are too big. We wait. Everyone is now very vigilant on that nest.

Cowlitz PUD put up guards so the eagles cannot steal the osplets off the nest…maybe if this continues Achieva needs to think about that.

At the Moorings Park Osprey platform, the osplets are eating and they are helicoptering. We are right on the verge of fledge – it could come at any moment.

Our cuteness overload is coming from the nest of Big Red and Arthur. M2 hatched sometime around 0300 Monday. M1 is a strong feisty little hawk let, typical for Big Red’s chicks. Arthur has the pantry already full and we are already wondering if he will bring a nice Robin for Big Red for Mother’s Day. She loves Robins and will take them off the nest and eat them herself.

M1 is a very strong hawk let. It is already eating large morsels of prey. Look at that crop. Big Red has filled M1 up and will move to feed M2. Everyone at Big Red’s table gets fed if they want food and have that beak open. We have never lost a hawk let from siblicide or being hungry. Only one K2 had an issue with its beak and did not fledge…Big Red has been having chicks since probably 2005. That is an amazing record. She is 20 years old this spring.

Too Big!

There is a pip on that third egg…see image below the next one.

Early evening feeding…

There has been a significant change in the nest of Angel the Leucistic RTH and Tom in Tennessee. Monday morning, Tom gently preened the chick. He also brought in a lizard which Angel fed exclusively to the chick; she had previously delivered a nestling. Angel is more comfortable with Tom, and Tom is helping now with the nest by providing prey items. Progress.

At 10:17 Angel is feeding the nestling to her nestling.

Tom delivers lizard at 2:05:33.

At 2:05:42, the baby gets some lizard.

Beautiful Angel and her baby, the baby she is determined will live.

Big Red at Cal Falcons ran off with the breakfast prey this morning. It was finally retrieved and everyone ate but this gal is determined (and big).

With hawks and falcons, whose time in the nest is much shorter than eagles or ospreys, you can blink and they have gone from hatching to fledge!

Is Rose missing from the WRDC nest or is she just taking a break? The eaglets have not fledged! She was last seen at 0635 Sunday morning at the nest. If she has not returned by late Tuesday or Wednesday it is time to get really concerned.

Ron is bringing in fish to the two eaglets. Thankful they are older. This trend of single-parent nests this year is almost unnerving but Ron will manage as the eaglets are so much older than when M15 had to start caring for the Es.

There are three eggs for Tom and Audrey at Chesapeake Conservancy.

Idris has been working overtime with the fish coming to the nest for Telyn one after another!

Geemeff caught Dorcha crashing into the Loch Arkaig nest in the middle of the night…she is OK, thankfully.

Looks like Cape Henlopen has attracted some visitors but they are not Ospreys! They are Black Vultures. They feed almost exclusively on carrion but have a poorer sense of smell than the Turkey Vulture with its red head. You will often see Black Vultures following the Turkey Vultures to find prey. They roost in tall trees with unobstructed views…looks like this platform could be their roosting spot! ‘H’ writes that they are there every day. How lovely!

The tragedy with the three Osplets starving on camera when the male was killed and the female driven away (maybe injured) by a new couple was heartbreaking.

Zephyr and Bruce are at the Seaside Osprey nest near the Neawanna River in Seaside, Oregon.

Eggs being rolled at the nest of Jack and Harriet at Dahlgren.

Dad and Lady have been sleeping at the nest tree and they have also been working hard to repair the damage that the Ring-tailed Possums did to the nest. It is so lovely to see them! And to also know that both 27 and 30 are doing well in the wild after having been rescued and rehabilitated.

Thank you ‘B’ for sending me these images. More and more places are setting up containers for broken fishing line and hooks. Here is another example from the East Bay area near San Francisco. There should be educational programmes for children and adults on the dangers to encourage responsibility.

Much easier to see how big Murphy’s baby is…I wonder if Murphy will ever incubate another rock?

Look at those legs…wow. This baby is doing fantastic and thanks to Murphy, World Bird Sanctuary, and all the donors, Murphy’s baby will get to live wild. Please tell me that they are going to band this little one…er, big one.

World Bird Sanctuary has a Red-shouldered Hawk that is incredible in caring for more babies than you can imagine – and they are not hers! Some of the rehabs’ work is decidedly not high tech…here just gold old parenting skills. In others, the birds are enriched with paper flowers for their birthday to shred. I am trying to see if anything is being done with feathers other than having new feathers glued in place. Many wind up in care for at least a year until their new feathers grow in like the one below. We know this is the case with Connick from the Captiva Bald Eagle nest.

Before we move on to Lake Murray – which is, at present, one of two tense events (Rose missing being the other at WRDC), we need a bit of a laugh and it is thanks to Chase and Cholyn’s eaglet!

The weight of the size difference in the Osplets at Lake Murray is certainly worrisome. I have seen this once before and that was at the Foulshaw Moss nest of White YW and Blue 35 in Cumbria in 2021. That third hatch survived – for many reasons. Blue 464 was bloody clever and determined and Mum, Blue 35, made special attempts to make sure it was fed when the others were asleep. I have not seen that diligence at Lake Murray. Blue 35 actually flew away with prey and waited til the two big siblings were asleep and then feed 35. There was also not the level of aggression as is being shown at Lake Murray. I often wonder ‘why’ the UK Ospreys are so much more civil than the US ones?

I would like all of them to live but I am not hopeful. Just look at the difference in the first screen capture of the wing sizes.

C1 zealously attacked C3 most of Monday and unrelentingly close to 1700.

*distressing image*

C1 holds C3 down so that it cannot move at all…more or less suffocating its sibling. Then, by some miracle, C3 gets up and tries to get to Mum. The time is 19:27. C3 died on the 8th of May. It was 15 days old having hatched on the 23rd of April. Soar high little Peanut.

Another article on siblicide by Robert Simmons in Animal Behaviour.

Kathryn has been helping me with the events on Lake Murray. She has found another article on siblicide. I will, as noted yesterday, continue to post several articles during the next week. We have lots of ospreys incubating eggs with many of those nests not practising delayed incubation. It is possible that there will be many more chicks die this year. We wait to see. In the meantime we can educate ourselves on all the ideas that scientists have.

In Canada, we have had ‘heat domes’ that have taken the lives of many raptors including the chicks at Osoyoos, others jumping out of their nests in the interior of British Columbia to get away from the heat…that was previous years. This is the lead up to what could be another tragic year in Canada. Send all those babies on nests in BC your most positive wishes along with all the other nests we are watching.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care…we should have a hatch for Big Red by the end of the evening or early Wednesday morning. See you soon!

I want to thank Kathryn, who helped me with the siblicide at Lake Murray. It is not easy monitoring a nest where there is anxiety, where there is a ten-day difference between the age of the hatches (laying + hatch). She stayed right in there and provided me with valuable information. I also want to thank ‘H’ for sending me notes also. These are sad events that are very difficult to observe.

Thank you to the following for their notes, tweets, pots, videos, articles, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures that helped to make my blog today: ‘B’, ‘H’, ‘A’, Geemeff, Kathryn, PC Clavier and Bald Eagles Live Nest and Cams, Montana Osprey Project, Achieva Credit Union, Moorings Park Ospreys, Cornell RTH, Suzanne Arnold Horning and the Cornell Hawk Chatters, Window to Wildlife, Cal Falcons, SK Hideway and Cal Falcons, WRDC, Heidi McGru and Raptors of the World, Joan Brady and Friends of Dyfi Osprey Project, Geemeff and Friends of Loch Arkaig, people’s Postcode Lottery, and the Woodland Trust, Cape Henlopen State Park, Seaside Ospreys, Dahlgren Ospreys, Sydney Sea Eagles, East Bay Regional Park Department, World Bird Sanctuary, Jann Gallivan and CIEL, Lake Murray Ospreys, Animal Behaviour, Bird Watching, and @VladRadica.


  1. Linda says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for all the photos and updates and links. The garden animals look good and thanks for the pictures !
    So sad to hear about baby ospet Peanut. May he sour high and rest in peace🙏💕. I really pray Rose will return to the nest and I feel sorry for Ron. So glad he is able to take care of the two eaglets. Just like M15 does. I miss seeing E21 and hope she is ok wherever she is. So glad E22 is still there with dad to watch.
    So good to see all the ones here and the UK are doing well!
    I’m so thankful the AEF is helping the importance of early rescue when needed!
    Have a great afternoon and take care Mary Ann! See you again soon on here!

    1. Thank you so much for writing in, Linda. Lake Murray is sad. I wish Lucy would only have two eggs. It seems that there are particular nests where siblicide is always present. I think I have to add that one to my list. If you know of others please let me know. I want to observe them for the project. E22 is incredible. It is lovely to still be seeing him/her and we wait in hope for news of Rita. Gabby would take off and come back so maybe…

  2. Alison says:

    Louis sure looked startled when Dorcha crashed into the nest! Glad she’s okay – it looked like she could easily have injured her beak as she fell or even broken her neck. It was worrying to watch at normal speed and even more so in slo-mo.

    Yes, the hawklets at Cornell and at Angel’s nest are the cutest little butter balls ever. Just adorable. You are so right – Angel truly is determined that her second hatch will live, and is often going without food herself to ensure it does, as well as hunting at every opportunity. It is so good to see Tom finally getting the idea – he brooded the little one this morning while Angel was having a break and he is bringing in one prey item per day. Angel seems to be trusting him a little more each day. Now for Tom to up those prey deliveries in a big way. This chick is growing fast.

    The articles on siblicide were fascinating – thank you so much for those. It is an interesting question why there seems to be more bonking and siblicide on US osprey nests than on the UK ones, but at first glance, those stocked pristine lochs would surely have to be a main reason for that. And it also seems that there is less rivalry for the nesting sites and more stability in the couples as a result. Fewer parents disappearing in mid-season etc. That may be a superficial analysis, however.

    Didn’t you love the looks of great concern on the faces of the younger two when the oldest eyas at Cal Falcons tried to commandeer breakfast? TOO funny. And mum’s determination to retrieve the prey! Remember who’s boss of this scrape, kids. Those three are going to give us hours of viewing pleasure as they explore that rooftop! Ah, the melodious (not!) screeching of falcon chicks. Now that would make a great alarm clock. I doubt anyone could sleep through it.

    1. Hi Alison, Good Morning…Red at Cal Falcons is a force! What an incredible female. Hoping she lives a long and productive life like her Mum, Annie. I feel for Angel. I just wonder – now that Tom is helping – why this area is not prey rich. — And yes, there is such stability at the UK Osprey nests for now. The numbers are so small as they work to reintroduce the Ospreys but, at nests where food does not matter and there is evidence in much more recent research to indicate that it is not just food that causes siblicide – why it doesn’t happen more often. DNA? Just thinking out loud! Grateful for your wondering!

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