Mini kicks Three off the nest…Intruders and more…Thursday in Bird world

24 August 2023

Good Morning!

There are several books on my night table that I am reading. Sometimes, I pick up one and read it all the way through, but then another arrives in the post, and I might take a peek and begin reading it, too. The most recent arrival is I Can Hear the Cuckoo. Life in the wilds of Wales by Kiran Sidhu. It is not about birds but a young East Indian woman who takes refuge away from her busy life in London in the countryside of Wales. What I have enjoyed most is her discovery of self and place, the author’s discovery of the seasons, nature, and the earth. There are some thoughtful life lessons woven into each chapter that brings the countryside of Wales alive but could, be applied to many rural areas.

One of those lessons is so applicable to the birds that I felt compelled to quote Sidhu. We are now getting ready to have a significant change – from the spring and summer breeding to the fall, and the bittersweet moment of our osprey’s departures is upon us.

Life made me cry in both its beauty and its sadness. I was beginning to think that beauty was often laced with sadness, that it couldn’t exist in the vacuum of its own glory. It was what the Japanese called mono no aware, the bittersweet realisation of the ephemeral nature of all things, the awareness that everything in existence is temporary. The fleetingness of the seasons is not to be mourned but cherished, their impermanence appreciated, for that is where their beauty comes from.

‘A Walk on a Summer’s Day’ in I Can hear the Cuckoo, pg. 107-08.

One of the individuals who inspired Sidhu’s reflection was a local farmer, Wilf. His firmness of place – and the fact that he was happy where he was and had no desire to travel anywhere – was inspirational to the author, who wrote an article and a documentary on Wilf. Everything about Wilf made the author question what she had believed before arriving in the rolling hills of Wales. Wilf’s thoughts help us to appreciate what is right before us! In my case, this morning, it is the Black-capped Chickadees flitting about amidst the Sparrows. Little Red is gathering nuts as if the snow will fall tomorrow. Dyson is scurrying about…the weather is changing, and they know it. I wish to be so acutely attuned to the seasons and to appreciate more.

Lewis did not appreciate me today—poor thing. I put the pet carriers out and opened them early so he and Missey could jump in and out. It is nail trimming day, you see. And then, when it was time to go, Lewis was asleep in his carrier. I quickly zipped up the top, and he started jumping around like he was going to rip the sides out of that bag. He didn’t. Missey is just so laid back. Nails done. Back home and some lovely treats to remind them that I am a nice person. LOL.

Calico. Geemeff has made a suggestion, and round 1 has happened. This time, I am taking the food to Calico with the anticipation that the kitten might smell the food or wonder what Mummy is eating and come romping over. Calico was very reluctant to come out when I went over the dish of smelly sardines and salmon (yes, she eats well – I am determined to get her healthy, and she will no longer have to rely on her hunting skills to survive). She came close enough to see me – she knows my voice. She stayed behind a piece of lattice. I put the food down, watched, and talked to her, but no kitten came over. When I returned to fetch the dish, it had been licked clean – no speck was left. Was it Calico? Her kitten? Both? An intruder? I am concerned about drawing attention to where she is with the food because of the other ferals and the fox that is in the lilies at night across the street. I will not leave food under the deck at night, but I am considering setting up the trail camera with its IR. That might confirm how many kittens there are and if they come to the food once I leave. Then, it is how to get to them. Calico is one smart cookie when she picked this hiding spot – it is tough for me to get my arm (which is tiny) under the wood to put down the dishes. Calico 12- Mary Ann 2.

Geemeff and Tweed Valley provide us with the most interesting image and story of the day:

Local wildlife photographer John Montgomery shared some very interesting photos with us too from birds at a relatively new nest site in the Tweed Valley Osprey project Area. The female, ring number 110, from the Black Isle originally in 2016 and her unringed partner raised two chicks this year and were photographed flying beside the river. Astonishingly, the juvenile appears to have an otter cub in its talons.

Tweed Valley

Migration is on all our minds when we look at the nests and wonder who is home and who has left. This is the latest report from Hawk Mountain in PA in the US. You will note that the Ospreys appear to not be on the move but remember that we lost huge numbers due to the storms, drought, and overfishing this year.

Migration and wildfires bring intruders as do youngsters flitting about their natal nests looking for a mate and a nest. There are many nests dealing with intruders right now. Indeed, it might be easier to name the ones that don’t have intruders there are so many causing mischief.

Blue 33 and Maya have been on alert at Rutland’s Manton Bay. Check out the look in Blue 33’s eye. No way is he giving up his nest and Maya – he scooped it out when Maya was with his brother!!!!!!!! Blue 33 wanted the nest and Maya and he won and he won’t give it up easy.

Aran is having to deal with intruders at Glaslyn when he is bringing in fish for the kiddos.

Fortis Exshaw is still dealing with intruders, and a couple are likely taking over the nest. There needed to be more clarity about who is who – ‘H’ will give us the full rundown about that, but suffice it to say that intruders do not provide fish for the fledglings of the previous owners. We have seen fledglings go to another nest with chicks and get fed; sometimes, the chicks will exchange nests. That happened at Golden Gate Audubon last year.

In reading some comments, chatters wondered why the birds don’t find their own nest. First, this is an ideal location by the Bow River. It is a human-made platform, and there are only so many available. Ospreys prefer to build their nest high on ‘something’ with a 360-degree view. The number of available trees is minimal. Ospreys prefer a dead tree using the top of it. Dead trees are in very short supply. Humans tend to get rid of them, so the ospreys then use poles, hydro poles, and all manner of human-made objects, unlike eagles who want to hunker down inside the pine tree for their nests. It is easy to forget that thousands of raptors have been displaced (if not tens of thousands). This is only a taste of what might happen in all the wildfire areas next year in Canada.

‘H’ reports on the happenings at Fortis: “Banff took her usual short pre-breakfast flights from the nest.  At 0747 Louise brought Banff a small whole fish.  After eating, Banff flew to  the T-perch, and then flew away.  At 0901 a female adult landed on the nest.  Was it Louise?  No, not quite the right markings.  Then another, smaller adult flew to the nest.  Was it O’Hara?  No, the markings were not correct.  They were an intruder pair!  In fact, comparing markings, they were the same two intruders we had seen at the nest yesterday, attacking Banff and stealing her fish, and brazenly standing on the nest with Louise.  We knew that there had been two separate intruders yesterday, but they were never seen at the same time, so we did not assume that they were a bonded pair.  The intruders began some minor nestorating, and the female laid down in the bowl a few times.  Over the next hour or so they took turns leaving and returning to the nest.  At 1032 we could see Banff flying toward the nest, and as she got closer, the female intruder jumped up and attempted to intercept Banff in the air, but Banff landed on the nest and she was then forced off.  Once again, as Banff flew toward the nest at 1206, the female flew toward her, and an aerial chase ensued.  Over the next four hours, the intruders each casually left and returned to the nest several times.  We occasionally heard Banff’s calls, and we could see ospreys involved in chases.  Thoughts and emotions ran the spectrum amongst the chatters.  Some thought that Louise and Banff should put up a strong fight to maintain control of their nest.  Others thought that Louise should hang out in the trees near the river or lake, and take care of Banff away from the nest.  It seems that Louise is completely on her own now.  Banff just fledged ten days ago, and Louise’s helper, the stepdad O’Hara, has not been seen for several days.  At 1613, with the intruder pair both on the nest, Louise landed with a large fish.  We could not understand her motivation for doing that.  The female grabbed the fish from Louise.  Then as Banff approached, the nest cleared out.  All three adults flew from the nest, and Banff claimed the fish.  But, within seconds the female intruder flew back to the nest and attempted to take the fish from Banff.  A horrible battle ensued that lasted four minutes!  At one point the intruder literally held Banff’s head in her talons, and she maintained her grip on Banff’s head for a full minute!  They both ended up going overboard, and we could see that Banff was able to fly away.  The fish remained on the nest.  Ugh, we were feeling sick.  This dangerous situation could have been avoided if Louise would have lured Banff to another location to eat the fish.  The female intruder flew back to the nest and was joined by the male.  The female took the fish to the T-perch to eat.  The male soon departed to chase Banff, and the female eventually flew off the T-perch carrying the remains of the fish.  Aww, but young, inexperienced and determined Banff would not give up her home.  Banff flew to the nest at 1714 and she was immediately dive bombed three times, taking a pretty good hit on her back the third time.  Banff flew off.  Banff returned to the nest again at 1920.   At 1924 an intruder buzzed and dive bombed her a few times, but some activity below the nest and the sound of a nearby car horn spooked the intruder and it left the area.  Banff was left alone to ‘relax’ on her nest for the next hour.  We were pleased to see that Banff had a very good PS, and the quantity indicated that she had most likely eaten more than just the small fish at 0747.  Great!   At 2045 Banff took off toward the south, hopefully to roost near Mom.  Good night, Louise.  Good night, Banff.”

At Patchogue, Mini is sure spunky. She is not having Three in the nest. He or she can perch but don’t think about the nest. Mini ran them off at 0542! In my humble opinion, this behaviour signals that Mini is really doing much better than she was a week ago.

It appeared to be alright to Mini that Three was on the other perch when dawn broke.

She flew over to the opposite perch to have a chat with Three who flew to the nest. You can see Mini’s left leg and talons clearly in the image below.

Three landing on the nest was simply too much for our gal, and she decided to take swift action – Three is, after all, an intruder on her nest!

Brave Mini!

Three left! And again, it appears that the swelling in Mini’s left leg is not o acute Wednesday morning. It sometimes get worse during the day when she has been busy using her legs.

At 1014, Dad brought Mini a very nice headless fish.

Mini is waiting for more fish and she sure has the old ‘snake eye’! Don’t mess with Mini!!!!!!!

All three fledglings were on the nest at Boulder County Fair Grounds on Wednesday. Relief. I had only been able to see two at a time and without any identification, it was hard to tell if there were still three at home.

Fledglings returning to Clark PUD for fish.

The sole survivor of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum nest this year is also returning for fish and everyone is jubilant. So many osplets were lost this year in the Minnesota area.

The fortunes at the Sandpoint nest seem to have turned and Coco had five fish deliveries today. The young lady is starting to hover and fledge is just around the corner!

‘H’s ‘ other reports:

Kent Island – Audrey and Tom are supplying plenty of fish for their fledgling, Molly.

Barnegat Light – Young Dorsett shared some bath time with the gulls, and she collected some nice materials to refresh her nest.

Osoyoos –  Since fledging two days ago, ‘Junior’ has been going out for short flights and exploring her neighborhood (in between fish-calling and eating, of course).

Forsythe – Oscar is still bringing fish to the nest for Ollie, although Ollie is now spending more time away from the nest.

Thanks so much ‘H’. Great sleuthing on Fortis Exshaw!!!!!!

Ludo would have liked some of those fish. it looks like Louis has been focusing on intruders in his territory and it had been 18 hours since Ludo had a fish. You can imagine how excited our lad was when Dad flew in with a nice one but then, Geemeff reports “Fabulous fisherbird Louis brought three fish in 21 minutes 30 seconds this morning! Ludo didn’t know where to start!” Wow. Louis. You are amazing.

All is well at Llyn Brenig. Fish still being delivered to the two fledglings. Fantastic.

In Florida, it appears that M15 just might have himself a mate for the season. Tears. Just tears. What a great Dad he was – no one will ever forget the dedication given to raising the last two eaglets shared with Harriet.

Nothing is happening at Port Lincoln – well, that is not completely true. These two are mating and mating. The consensus is that this is an inexperienced male, not our old Dad.

You might recall that old Dad had what appeared to be some seizures last year on the nest during the incubation period. Perhaps the erratic fish deliveries, etc were due to his poor health. I hope for everyone at Port Lincoln that we have some eggs this year and that this young guy is one super fisher and we have a nest full of healthy vibrant osplets.

Because the Eastern Osprey do not migrate, it is not as critical that the eggs be laid in a specific time although there is a breeding season.

At the Sydney Sea Eagle cam, both eaglets were flapping their wings while SE31 stood – it was the first time I noticed this milestone but it could have happened earlier. SE32 still goes into submission quickly and ‘A’ will have a full round up for us but, it was delightful to watch 32 being fed a really nice meal with some big bites of fish – and, at the end, having a nice crop!

‘A’ reports: “

Dad now starts feeding SE32 and the little one takes every bite. SE31 is not bothered, as she has already eaten a lot, so she just watches her little brother gratefully eating lots of nice fresh fish. Dad is both feeding quickly and at the same time being patient with his son, waiting for him to swallow before offering him anything remaining in his beak. He is offering food to SE32 more than once or from different angles where necessary, but he is ensuring that the little one gets every morsel. It is now after 12:47 and SE32 eats on. Throughout this, SE31 has been amusing herself, wingercising, playing with sticks, and just standing gazing at the view, but now decides she could perhaps eat a little more. She moves towards the table but Dad keeps feeding SE32, who confidently continues to grab every bite he is offered. At 12:47:29 he gives a bite to SE31. He gives the next couple of bites to SE32, then one to SE31.
Dad then resumes giving large pieces to SE32. He is now feeding the little one very fast. It is just after 12:49 when SE31, who has been leaning in a few times for bites that Dad has been giving SE32, finally gets another bite. Then one bite to SE32 and one to SE31. Dad then resumes feeding SE32.SE31 gets another two bites around 12:50:30 and steals the next bite, which Dad had offered to SE32. But the little one gets the next bite, and the three after that. SE31 gets one. Dad is working hard now to get the remaining flesh off this fish. The tail remains, however. Dad resumes feeding all the bites to SE32, who finishes off the rest of the fish, including horking down the tail at around 12:51:24. Dad then picks up any dropped pieces around the table and feeds these to SE32 as well. The little man has a huge crop by now, SE31 is also well fed, and there has not been a single beaking or even intimidatory behaviour at any stage. This is a happy little SE32.” 

At the Royal Albatross Colony, Prince Manaaki had a visitor. ‘A’ reports: Mum L came in again this morning to feed Manaaki. Here is the footage:, with UQ chick (also a male) watching in the background. What a very happy wheeing albie chick Manaaki is. He does love to see his mum after missing her for those 32 days. I am still overjoyed each time I see her beautiful gentle face. I had not quite given up, if you remember – I reread an email I had written 10 days before her return saying that I was definitely giving her another week before I panicked and decided she wasn’t coming home. I just didn’t get that bad feeling you get when you know they’ll never be back.”

At Orange, Diamond is looking a wee bit ‘eggy’. She has been in the scrape and must have been hungry, deciding to take the Starling that Xavier had stashed in the corner for her.

This is a conversation about Hen Harriers and brood management in the UK. Hen Harriers, as you might recall from earlier blogs, are magnificent raptors that are persecuted on the Grouse Moor Hunting Estates.

You might recall that there is an Osprey reintroduction project moving osplets from Norway to Ireland that took place this summer. They had their own private jet. Well, it turns out that at least one pair of Ospreys bred successfully in Ireland this summer as well.

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are going to be transitioning to Bald Eagle season soon – along with the Australian nests. Looking forward to some really boring incubation periods at all the nests – including PLO! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, videos, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog today: ‘ A, Geemeff, H, the Guardian, Geemeff and Tweed Valley, Hawk Mountain, LRWT, Mary Kerr and the Glaslyn Osprey Group, Fortis Exshaw, PSEG, Boulder County Fair Grounds, Clark PUD, MN Landscape Arboretum, Sandpoint Ospreys, Forsythe, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, Osoyoos Ospreys, Kent Island, Greemeff and The Woodland Trust, Anne Windebank and Friends of Llyn Brening Ospreys, Katie Jane and SW Florida Eagle Cam, PLO, Sydney Sea Eagles, Lady Hawk and NZ DOC, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Geemeff and BBC Radio 4, and Raptor Persecution UK.


  1. Sabine says:

    Oh, no! The attacks on Banff and Louise seem to get more and more vicious. Hopefully, after this incident Louise will start to lure Banff away from the nest before they get hurt or worse. Without a male she has no chances to protect this nest, and after everything they have been through already this is just awful…It’s a shame that there are less and less appropriate trees and platforms for ospreys. I keep fingers crossed for more and more projects to create man-made platforms for them – ospreys are such special birds. I am so sorry for the devastation your country has been facing weather-wise. Unfortunately, devastating events seem to occur more and more around the world, and I’m afraid for the future – what the global warming will bring…On the other hand, I’m so, so happy for our hero M15. It’s great for us, watchers, that he’s remained around the same nest, but now a new lady – the icing on the cake that we needed and hoped for. The Lady Eagle is probably unaware how lucky she is to have captured M’s heart – he’s one for the history books. I love how you’re spoiling Calico at this crucial point of her life. She and her kitten are very well taken care of. Good luck!

    1. M15 is a wonderful ‘catch’ and so is that nest on the Pritchett property – nicely stocked pond, all manner of small mammals about..they don’t have to venture far for food. And thank you…we have clearly had a year that is so destructive in terms of wildfires. We always have some but there are so many and so many people and animals/birds have been displaced. It will grow back but even then it is decades before the trees are good for nests for the big raptors. So very sad.

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