The menace that is Malta, Collins Street female injured?…Saturday in Bird World

7 October 2023

Good Morning Everyone!

Thank you so much for your comments and letters. I appreciate hearing about your pets and your experiences with feline teeth – thank you for sharing and caring. I am pleased to report that the pain medication has helped Lewis, and he is eating well again. At this very moment, Lewis and Missey are glued to the living room window. A Hairy Woodpecker is going after one of the corner cedar shakes!

Hope and Calico are oblivious to everything going on with Lewis. They are just happy – loving watching the birds, playing and having stories. We are certainly going through novels!

It is interesting to watch Calico get settled for ‘a story’. She now expects this and curls up on my lap. The little one watches carefully from the edge of the chair as she is doing below. It is certainly one way to plough through books that have been sitting waiting to be read! It is wonderful.

Calico is putting on weight. Talk about a gentle soul. You can see that the dining room table in the conservatory is still their ‘safe dark’ spot…with its duvets piled on the floor for warmth and layers and layers to cover the top and the sides. It is getting cooler at night now that we are into October and the girls get the heat turned on once the sun goes down.

We punched the holes in a small pumpkin and filled them with peanut butter. It sits on the log Little Red uses to jump to the table feeder. Let’s see if this pumpkin treat works! Clearly will not win any awards for beauty but we will wait to see if it is something that the squirrels will enjoy.

In Canada, this is Thanksgiving weekend. The celebration is on Monday and coincides with what was traditionally the end of harvest and giving thanks for the land’s bounty. (Quite different than the American Thanksgiving).

I am so grateful to the garden animals that they will get special treats on Monday.

We are going to Australia right away. It is hot and the wind is really blowing. ‘A’ has already pointed out an interesting problem. M15’s mate at SW Florida has been named F23. We have F22, a falcon, at Collins Street. We are both hoping that there will not be another F23 this year anywhere or it will get confusing.

‘A’ has been watching the Sea Eagles and reports, “SE32 won the fish Dad brought in late this morning (6 October) at WBSE. He held onto it, mantled it, protected it from SE31 and self-fed most of it, before allowing SE31 to take the final piece. The head and tail had been removed from what was originally a medium-large fish, so with the fish unzipped, SE32 was able to get in some wonderful practice, and by the end, he was doing really well. He did get the majority of the fish, finishing with a very nice crop. He was obviously hungry, as he was simply fearless in claiming and hanging onto that food. At one point, there was some serious fighting over the fish (lunging with beaks was involved, along with much flapping), but SE32 fought his sister with great determination while hanging on tightly to his fish. He was NOT letting go. I was so proud of him. After watching that self-feeding, and the consequent boost to SE32’s confidence, I am way less concerned now than I was yesterday. Even though the food supply at this nest has not been as good as I would have liked over recent days, at least SE32 is not now missing out on his share of what there is. Both are doing a lot of wingercising and are looking strong and steady on their feet, with excellent balance. SE32 is doing more hopping than his sister, bounding across the nest like a small wallaby. 

There has been little or no sound or sign of crows or currawongs this season, though I don’t remember seeing them much or at all in previous seasons either until fledge day arrived. I remain hopeful that these two, with their strong relationship, will return to the nest after fledging, if only to be together. I do wish Dad and Lady would spend more time over the next week or two imprinting this nest in the eaglets’ minds as a smorgasbord of delicacies to which they will definitely return once they take the plunge. I think back to last year – in particular, the way SE29, after fledging, came back to sleep at the nest with SE30 each night and what may have happened had SE29 not gone into care the day before SE30 fledged. These two have a very similar relationship to the one between SE29 and SE30 last year, so there is a chance their bond will again help them survive after fledging this year.”

Please keep the female at Collins Street, F22 in your warm thoughts. ‘H’ just sent me the latest posting by Victor Hurley that explains why we have seen M22 incubating the eggs so much!

What a delight it is to watch Diamond and Xavier with the two eyases. The closeness in time of the hatch has made all the difference. These two are developing well – each getting their portion of food. You can see a slight difference in size but this is not hampering the second hatch at all. Xavier is working hard to get prey to the scrape and is doing a fantastic job despite some high winds that have been in the area. The temperature remains around 18-20 C.

Diamond got upset. A Currawong flew past the scrape!!!!!!!!!!! She is not going to let that bird get near her precious babies.

If you missed Dr Victor Hurley’s talk on Peregrine Falcons in Victoria Australia, here is that link.

Gabby and V3 continue to make restorations at The Hamlet. V3 has certainly won the heats and minds of everyone for his staunch protection of the territory around the nest. We are all hoping for little eaglets this year!

Anna’s injury is really improved. You might recall she even had problems landing. Well, that wasn’t the case on Friday when the landed on the nest with a nice fish and began chortling. How wonderful! Nice to see this improvement.

Osprey Season is over in North America, the UK, and Europe. Jeff Kear has posted a very informative article by the Scottish Wildlife Trust about their feathers that you might still find useful as we prepare for hatch at Port Lincoln.

Please keep your positive thoughts going for the migrating ospreys. Things in West Africa are changing and the once pristine habitat is being altered – either by climate or by habitat loss due to human expansion.

This is tragic. As you will remember from yesterday’s blog, there are Ospreys who navigate a route from their spring/summer breeding area in the UK to the precise concrete pillar. Our dear Seren 5F is being impacted. So what happens to those birds when the water and fish dry up or are irreparably flooded?

Countries do listen especially if tourists decide not to travel. Let those that allow poaching – Malta and Cyprus – know how you feel by travelling elsewhere – to places that value nature and wildlife.

Malta has long been a place that is renowned for its illegal songbird poaching.

The fact that Malta lies on the flyway that links Europe with Africa and the winter home of these migrating birds is particularly problematic.

Owls. I have a love-hate relationship with them – and get bloody upset when they start knocking M15 off the perch or fly in and take our precious osprey babies. Did you know that there are 234 different species of owls living around the world, from the ice-cold Arctic to the tropics and the deserts? Their keen eyesight and hearing and specialist feathers help them hunt at night – they are the silent killers.

Thank you so much for being with me today! We will be planting trees later today. It is Re-Leaf day and there are three Azur Maples arriving to add some more colour to the garden. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, articles, videos, pictures, and streaming cams that helped me to write my newsletter this morning: ‘A, Geemeff, H’, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Liznm, Victor Hurley, NEFL-AEF, Tonya Irwin, Jeff Kear, The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Chris Wood, Geemeff, Conservation Science and Practice, Responsible Travel, Google Maps, Cambridge Core, and Cornell Bird Lab.


  1. Cheryl E Grogan says:

    First of all, I love your blog. I have learned so much. I didn’t know nest cams existed until it was on the news about mother eagle on the nest being covered in snow in Minnesota, and then not long after, the nest collapsing. I’ve steered away from Osprey, Goshawk, and Latvian Lesser Spotted Eagle nests because of death and destruction in the titles. However, your blog has given me insight into the life of the Osprey and the adversity encountered, especially this year with all the storms affecting their ability to fish. I don’t like the siblicide, but I understand theirs better. It is also nice to read info on so many nests in one place. Kudos to you Mary Ann!

    It is heartbreaking to read about the senseless shooting of migratory birds. And not just Malta; I read the articles you posted about the same thing over the Caribbean. This is also heartbreaking for those countries (you had mentioned Latvia) that are active in conservation efforts only to have these birds shot down in another country. I read or skimmed through some of the longer articles you posted, and I could have missed it, but I never read any explanation of why these people are shooting these birds. Sport? No way is this a sport; it is blatant murder. Clay pigeons are for sport. And what are they doing with these dead birds? Eating them? I know you can eat quail, but I read not to eat wild quail because of diseases. Eat farm-raised quail. After seeing California quail and their babies (they look like teeny weeny footballs with legs) running up and down my street, there is no way I could eat one.

    In the description of a bird video I recently watched, she said that she had heard that poachers are on their way to Africa to shoot the migratory North American birds. Again, why? It’s not like the populations of these birds are exploding and ready to take over the world. Unlike Mr. Pigeon.

    Anyway, I’d love to hear the reasoning behind all this.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad you have found the blog useful. It is simply sport shooting – they kill them because they are allowed! And the politicians will not enforce it. It is the same for the Driven Grouse Hunting Estates in the UK. Here the extreme wealthy and the aristos own vast tracks of land. They give huge donations and often went to school with the politicians and have them out for a weekend ‘hunt’. Until people realise that animals have souls, families, the right to a life — and the number of people demanding the killing stops – this will not stop. Hopefully, boycotts, embarrassments, campaigns can help. —- Some work so hard. Estonia is one and then they kill their storks en route to their winter homes. I have huge respect for the vets and Urmas who cares for the few Black Storks in their country. — I became Vegetarian long ago because – well, you just have to look into their eyes!

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the updates and photos and and info! So glad all the kittens and Calico are doing well. Praying for little Lewis to continue to be ok and eat well. 🙏❤️
    Happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend to you and everyone in Canada ! Have a Blessed one 🙏
    Take. Are and see you here again soon

    1. Thank you so much, Linda – for the Thanksgiving wishes and for your prayers for Lewis. He is such a big old sweetheart. I am hopeful.

  3. Jan Harmony says:

    Good Afternoon Mary !
    I guess we share the same feelings about owls, Had enough when they were attacking Harriet/M & the E’s..BUT, when I see them in care at rehabs, especially the little ones, they are precious looking…..Sure hope F22is ok… I’d love to put healing ointment on V3’s feet, they look painful……As for the WBS Eaglets, they went from fluffly white bobble heads to close to the branching part, then onto fledging, way to fast..Gorgeous birds.. Speaking of gorgeous, your cats are just lookin at pics of them….. pic of the pumpkin w/peanut butter, looks inviting..I’ve got a Mom & baby squirrel and a Mom & baby chipmunks running around…. Watching the little ones of Di & X almost reminded me of Rubus & Indigo..Love watching them..Hope you & your cats are doing well.TY for your posts

    1. Hi Jan, Yes to the feelings about owls! We have a GHO that terrorises our neighbourhood. People feel sorry for the ‘fluffy’ cute owl. The crows gather – maybe 35 of them – to usher it out and back where it belongs by the golf course. Everyone hates the Crows! Go figure. They are just protecting their nests and all the other birds in this area!!!!!! But we grew up thinking that Owls are cute and wise! I just wish they would leave the eagles alone – and the ospreys. We lost an egg at Loch Arkaig this year to a Tawny attack. It went overboard. Goodness…and thank you for the good wishes. The girls are doing great. Lewis has taken a turn for the worst today. We wait and hope. Thanks for writing in…love to get your notes. You have reminded me to go and cut that pumpkin open a bit for the squirrels who are ignoring it.

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