Thursday in Bird World

5 October 2023

Dear Readers, Good Morning!

I hope that this newsletter finds each of you well and happy.

Thank you so much for your continued kind wishes. Your warm thoughts and notes are always appreciated.

Wednesday. It had been on my calendar for several weeks. It was the day that the three older kittens had to go in for their shots, and Missey and Lewis had to have their annual check. My vet is very busy and I so hoped that my Covid test would show negative and the clinic would allow me to come with the babies. They did. It all worked but it turned out quite differently than I anticipated. I am hoping that soon things will become ‘calm’ – boring. Gosh, boring would be so nice.

Off we went – three cats – one huge hard carrier for Lewis and two soft-sided ones for Missey and Calico. They were all darlings, thankfully, on the way in and out of the car and to the clinic.

Lewis peeking out.

Calico is in there!

Missey’s eyes are always so expressive. She was allowed to wander freely around the examination room.

Calico passed her check-up with flying colours. She has healed nicely and is the proper weight with nothing untoward. The vet said she can continue to nurse Hope as long as she wants -it wouldn’t hurt either. Eventually, Calico will have enough and stop it all but it could be some time. I do not care as long as they are healthy. Missey was a tad ‘pleasantly plump’ – the problem associated with her still eating kitten hard food, which is being corrected. Nothing major. Missey’s teeth were sparkling white with good, strong gums. She had her shots and explored the room – a confident, dominant female cat. Quiet, confident, secure. Lewis, on the other hand, is insecure and quite frightened. As it turns out, he was so stressed that the vet did little with him besides checking his teeth and giving him his shots.

But Lewis had a serious problem, and I did not even notice. Lewis’s gums are swollen and red. Lewis, poor dear darling Lewis, needs all his teeth, but the canines, pulled. Cats are able, I was told, to live fine eating soft food.

Lewis was not tested for AIDS when he was adopted. The Humane Society used to test for the disease but stopped when the costs skyrocketed. So, we do not know if he has AIDS, which could cause his body to respond this way. If he has AIDS, is there any point in agreeing to have the surgery – which, according to the vet – is major? So, all of these things begin to twirl through your head. Is Lewis in pain? How long? Why didn’t I notice? But he is still eating. So, is this an issue of over-treating? or good sound vet advice? Too many things to think about. Tomorrow, I will walk in the park and sit with the ducks. Perhaps an answer will rise to the surface.

It took the wind out of me and so, this newsletter is shorter.

Geemeff sent me the most amazing article on Godwits, weather, and migration. We know about the extreme distances that Godwits fly to get to their winter homes but this is the tale of the return trip due to weather. Incredible story!

All of the Royal Cam chicks have fledged at Taiaroa Head. We now wait to see which adults will return for the upcoming breeding season. I am particularly interested to see if there is any remote possibility that OGK might appear. He has not been seen since the 19th of May 2022.

The joy and love continue to radiate out of the scrape at Orange. Two beautiful eyases. Both are fed well, both are a good size to one another. It is all good.

‘A’ remarks, “Those eyases are just darling. When isn’t a scrape containing fluffy chicks the most wonderful thing? Those sweet little squeaks (before they become ear-splitting shrieks) are the cutest sound, and I love the noise they make when their squeak is suddenly cut off by a mouthful of meat). Not to mention mum’s adorable chups to get them to open their little beaks. So cute. One chup and the little mouths automatically spring open. Both the chicks appear to be healthy, strong and eating well. Today, they were fed seven times through the day, and Diamond appears to be feeding both of them at each feed. She is carefully making sure that each chick is getting fed and she is being very patient in doing so. This is helped by the lack of a significant size difference, although of course chick two is a little less stable than chick one in terms of knowing which direction is front. It can, however, hold its little head up very well and is pretty stable when it does so, meaning it is able to eat when it eventually works out how to face mum (which it usually does within a couple of minutes of the feeding beginning). Xavier is not getting nearly as much chick time as he would like (of course) though Diamond is very tolerant of him remaining on the ledge if he wants to, sometimes even when she is feeding the chicks. She is especially okay with him being there very early in the mornings, when he was coming for lengthy periods before the chicks came along (and he was there for a couple of hours before both hatches). This is new, as was Diamond actually allowing Xavier egg/chick time when chick two was only halfway out of its egg! Now that’s something I never thought I’d see. So these two lovebirds are very comfortable with each other now, in season seven or eight or whatever this is for them (Xavier arrived in 2016, I believe, but they weren’t his chicks that year, so although Xavier raised three chicks with Diamond in 2016, their first season breeding together would have been 2017).” 

Want to take part in the naming of the chicks? Holly Parsons tells us how.

There is a bit of excitement going on in Surrey at the Hancock Wildlife Foundation with the arrival of this Bald Eagle couple.

An owl attacked the juvenile at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum nest Wednesday night. Thankfully the fledgling returned to the nest seemingly unharmed. Time: 1957.

Gabby and V3 were at the nest on Wednesday. We are all hopeful.

This gave me a chuckle!

Everything is good at SW Florida with M15 and F23. Lots of bonding!

Contentment at Collins Street. It is supposed to be very hot for these falcons because it is an El Nino year. So thankful they have a reprieve for a few days and wish that a shade would be put in place above them.

El Nino is heating the oceans, too, and our seabirds might be seeing some change to their ability to find food. In the Caribbean where my son lives, outside his office, the coral is bleaching because the ocean is so hot. “The symbiotic algae inside the coral can not take hot water for a long time and die. The algae provide energy for the coral and without it they will die also.”

The Sea Eaglets continue to get more beautiful each day but as ‘A’ remarks there is some concern about the level of prey deliveries, “

I am far more concerned about the food situation at WBSE. There was one day this week when I saw no food brought to the nest at all. I may have missed something small, but certainly nothing large enough to feed them both. (It is possible for example that I missed a small fish that was immediately claimed and horked down by SE31, but I don’t think so – I certainly scanned through the footage incredibly carefully). So I am a little concerned. The parents don’t seem to be worried about it, sitting in the nest tree and not heading off to hunt for most of the day. At 07:46 this morning, they were mating on the branch behind the nest (within full view of the children, too!). So their minds are perhaps on other things. The wind this morning was extremely strong and worsened as the morning went on. Around 09:28, it was blowing a gale when Dad flew in, The kids were very hopeful, lining up at the table, but although it appeared Dad had been fishing, as he was shaking water from his feathers, he had no food in his talons. Lady flew in around 09:33 and took up a submissive position, though Dad decided not to mount her. This is bonding behaviour, I presume, though I’m wondering why it’s being considered necessary at this point of the season. Fishing would be more useful, though in that wind, it would definitely be difficult. The whole tree was tossing wildly today. Shortly before 09:58 both parents flew off, first one then, a moment later, the other. At 10:03:45 Dad flies in with a smallish whole fish. SE32 immediately claims and mantles the prey be can he keep it? SE32 is not good at unzipping a whole fish but he is trying. SE31 watches for a chance to steal the fish. SE32 is not giving her one. At 10:07, he still has the fish. Whether he is getting any bites off it is another question (and impossible to answer, as the eaglets have their backs to the camera and we cannot see much of what is happening, only who is in possession of the fish, currently still SE32). SE32 is doing a great job of mantling the fish and seems to be getting some bites from it, but about a minute later, SE31 succeeds in stealing the fish, and we can see that SE32 has got very little from it at all. He waits for a chance to steal the fish back but gets no chance until about 10:20, when he makes a frantic grab for the last piece, realising he is about to miss out altogether. SE31 responds to this by horking the remaining food down in one go. She has had a very nice breakfast. SE32 has eaten nothing. During the self-feeding by SE31, SE32 twice backed up for a PS, on one occasion trying three times, and I saw nothing come out on any of these tries. So it appears likely that food is being brought very irregularly to the nest and what food there is largely gets eaten by SE31, as SE32’s self-feeding skills simply aren’t good enough and he is not getting a chance to practise them much! When those large eels are brought in, as happened two days ago, I think, there is probably enough food to keep them going for that day and the next, and I think there had been a late afternoon eel the day before the (probably) food-free day, but perhaps Lady and Dad are encouraging these two to fledge. Surely not. Perhaps it’s just the bad weather the whole southeast of Australia has been having, with lots of rain and quite heavy winds at times too.”

The pair made another milestone on their way to fledging. They did sleep standing up just like Lady and Dad.

At the same time incubation continues at Port Lincoln with an average of two fish coming in per day for Mum.

Thank you for being with me this morning. Please send your good wishes to our dear Lewis today. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their notes, photographs, videos, articles, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog this morning: ‘A, C, Geemeff, H’, BBC Royal Albatross Centre, Charles Sturt University, Holly Parsons, Hancock Wildlife Foundation, MN Landscape Arboretum, NEFL-AEF, Carol S Rifkin, SW Florida Eagle Cam, lady hawk, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, and PLO.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Hello Mary Ann and thanks for these updates and photos. Prayers for Lewis as I didn’t know kittens could get AIDS. This was new to me.  I hope he don’t have it and will  be ok too❤️🙏
    Glad  Missy and Calico are all ok❤️❤️
    Good luck to Rey and Brit at the Hancock nest. ❤️🦅❤️🦅
    The little falcons are adorable at Diamond and Xavier nest💕💕
    Good luck to all the others mentioned here and also hope the owl doesn’t bother the eaglet anymore at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 🙏
    Have a good afternoon and take care. Hope you enjoy your trip to the park with the ducks. See you here soon!

    1. Thank you so much, Lewis. Seems it is one thing after another here right now but the good news is Lewis just ate a tin of cat food!!!!!!!! I have two different vets that are going to give me second opinions and I hope that something not so dramatic can be done to help Lewis.

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        Thanks for the update on Lewis Mary Ann!  So glad he likes the soft csn food.  Good luck and prayers for him ❤️🙏

      2. susan says:

        Resorption happens when your body, due to a traumatic injury, rejects its tooth as a self-defense mechanism. Resorption specifically refers to the inflammation and loss of the tooth’s dentin (inner tissue under the enamel) or cementum (outer material covering the tooth’s roots).

      3. They are sure looking at what might have caused this dramatic problem for Lewis. The gums are all swollen and covering the top third of his teeth. Looked like bright red balloons only all the way around. I was horrified and stunned…had no idea he was feeling ill in any way. Like our raptors. Hopeful he will be HPI free and we can move forward with treatment for him! Thank you for caring and sharing.

  2. susan says:

    i wanted to say 2 of my cats had that problem. one lost all on left side and the other one lost all but canine. both doing great. 7 year old and the other 14 years.
    both on soft and dry food. losing teeth has not stopped them from eating.
    7 year old is 19 lbs and 14 years old is 14lbs.

    1. Dear Susan, Oh, thank you so much for letting me know how your kittens did with the surgery. I am so grateful for everyone that has written to me to tell me the wonderful stories of their cats and what they have undergone and survived. I am happy to report that the pain meds have really helped Lewis and he is eating well today. — Glad to hear that the surgery did not hamper your cat’s life in any way! Thank you.

  3. Mario says:

    Hi Mary Ann,

    you should try brushing your cat’s teeth. I would use a wet toothbrush dabbed with baking soda. This is how I personally wash my teeth. I stopped using toothpaste years ago because I read it leaves a glycerin film which prevents remineralization. Baking soda is antibacterial and antimicrobial.
    When I read that the vet was telling you that your cat’s teeth should be extracted, I got so upset that I immediately exited your website; I never even got to the part about your cat possibly having aids. Please don’t extract your cat’s teeth, don’t do that to the poor animal.

    1. Hi Mario, Lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for your concern! I will try the baking soda and see how that helps. The others get their gums massaged with one of those old things they used in banks that you put on your finger with the prickles and some chicken-flavoured toothpaste for cats. They love it but it never suited Lewis. Lewis has responded well to the pain meds – I had to insist. He is eating. My concern has always been over treatment by vets and my son says as long as he is eating leave him be!

  4. Jan Harmony says:

    Good Morning Mary Ann,
    Oh God, I pray he comes to you and helps with your thought of what to do about Lewis..I pray there’s no aids …. My gosh, the winds in Australia have been wicked..Watching Diamond & Xavier face expressions as the winds went from calm. Hopefully the food picks up in Australia for SE’s 31 & 32, as I noticed the almost non existent PS, BUT, I also noticed the exact same on V3 in NEFL, that I don’t understand.. Not sure if that’s due to the continual hot weather in Fla. I’ve been praying that YOU are healing better & better each day. Take Care. Love from eastern Pennsylvania

    1. Dear Jan, Thank you so much for your prayers and warm wishes for me, Lewis, and for all o four feathered friends. I am feeling 90% and Lewis has responded positively to the pain medication and has eaten well today. I so hope he is alright…he is the sweetest boy. These teeth changed him and caused him to be aggressive when he would not otherwise be…so I live in hope and wait for Wednesday. I, too, worry about the prey for the sea eaglets. The seas are so warm and it must also be the same in the rivers where you are. Keep sending your most positive wishes. I hope things calm down!

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