Saturday in Bird World

4 November 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that finds you all well and that your weekend will be a lovely one.

‘M’ sent me an image of Bald Eagles along our river. A gathering of eagles is called an aerie or a convocation. There were apparently hundreds of eagles, of various ages, yesterday along the Red River.

The raptors are coming down from the far north, feeding at our rivers in the south. The Partridge and Grouse are about and lots of small mammals.

The girls are recovering from their big day on Thursday. They mostly slept but I was delighted to see that Missey and Hope were playing on the big cat tree and chasing one another around the house. Missey has been eating lots of organic chicken and I do hope that she is on the mend from missing Lewis. He was her best friend. He was always with her. I know that she has been lonely and missing that companionship.

I did not have my camera when they were together but here is Missey watching Hope on the floor getting ready to pounce and run!

It could be a better image. All of these used the phone camera, but here they are on the same cat tree- Calico and Missey. Who is the boss?

The day hovered right around freezing and then in the late afternoon the temperature began to rise a tad. It is -6 C at 2130 Friday night and tomorrow our high will be -1 C. I hope the wind is not bad. I am wondering if any ducks or geese remain anywhere. Hoping to get out to check on Saturday.

In the meantime, ‘EJ’ wrote to me about a book. It is called The Comfort of Crows. A Backyard Year. by Margaret Renkl. This is an incredible read. The girls and I began, and we are now halfway through. Renkl digs deep into her soul as she looks out at the birds in her garden and her new year’s bird, which happens to be a Crow. She closely examines all things – flowers, weeds, the vines climbing up a tree, the knots in the wood to help us appreciate the natural world even though we are destroying it.

Renkl has a wonderful way with words. Writing of winter she says, “Even the most ideologically stubborn amongst us have finally come to understand how fragile winter truly is. It is only the first week o February, but the daffodils have already begun to bloom. There can be no reasonable argument about what is happening to the planet, now that daffodils so commonly bloom in February.” In another chapter, “I’m not trying to hide from the truth but to balance it, to remind myself that there are other truths, too. I need to remember that the earth, fragile as it is, remains heartbreakingly beautiful.”

Renkl addresses the need to leave our leaves: “An unkempt garden offers more than just food for the birds. The late offspring of certain butterflies, like the black swallowtail, spend fall and winter sealed away in a chrysalis clinging to the dried stems of what’s left of a summer garden…These days we don’t drag fallen limbs out to the street for the city chipper service to clean up, either. A good brush pile is a boon to ground-foraging birds, who eat insects from the decomposing wood, and to all manner of small animals hiding from predators or sheltering from the wind and snow.”

“According to birding tradition, the first bird you see on the first day of the new year sets the tone for your next twelve months.”

I love how she describes the beauty that surrounds her – asking us to look at what is near, to notice what we might not have seen, to treasure what is before us now – staring us in the face – before it is gone.

Moving on to a quick check around Bird World.

Where is Smitty? Are there more battles? Is Smitty healing or injured and cannot return to the nest? We know that he has been away in the past for periods of time – some so long we fear his demise. What will happen at the NCTC nest this breeding season?

We almost lost an eyas at Orange. How many times did we worry about the chicks falling off the ledge at Collins Street in Melbourne? Well, during a tug-o-war, we almost lost Barru at Orange.

Early morning recap at Orange:PREY 06:43:16, 06:49:48, 07:34:38, 10.37.35 FEED 06:43(M&B), 06:49(M), 07:35(D), 09.22(D earlier juv star), 10.37(M) RECAP 06.47.40 Barru slips off ledge & recovers

SK Hideaways catches that fall for us:

Besides the fright of Barru almost being lost to us, a huge storm went through the area. Hail came flying into the scrape! Barru and Marri were both curious and afraid but look at Diamond’s eyes as she takes cover in the corner.

I want to – for a second or third time – thank Fran, Bazza, and Janet for their foresight in providing fish for the Osprey family at the barge. It would be possible to gather the stats on the fish provided at various osprey nests over the past several years – nests that have fledged 2 or 3, sometimes four chicks. I hope to see Dad bringing 4-5 nice-sized fish to this nest for this family of four daily. Indeed, I would like for it to be more. That is not happening regularly. His average appears to be about two fish. The supplemental fish are keeping the bonking down and the family fed. I fear what would happen if this were not the case.

Galiath’s little wings.

More copper-red feathers coming in.

Hoping for fish.

It is nearing 1100, and there has been no fish at Port Lincoln. It is now 1158. Dad has been in the shed on the barge and is now on the nest. No fish. The fish fairy cannot come soon enough. The chicks are being good, but it is clear that they are hungry, and so are the adults.

‘A’ gives us the report: “That half fish dad brought in at 16:16 was the last for the day, and there was a short feeding from it, largely going to Giliath because Little Bob was not really interested. Both were still full from the feeding that had not really ended after the visit of the fish fairy at 15:38. The interesting part was the osplets waiting until 12:27 for breakfast, with the bonking incident that resulted more from boredom than from hunger I think. When breakfast/lunch finally came, it was huge and the feeding lasted for 42 minutes. Both also ate extremely well at the 38-minute feeding that followed the fish fairy’s visit. So fewer feedings (only three really) but larger ones.”

And then there was this from ‘A’s Australian report that really put a smile on my face!

“I’ve left the best till last. I know this is clutching at straws but the news from WBSE is marginally (okay, I know, but just a tiny bit) better than the two days before. Here is tonight’s report from Ranger Judy:

November 4: neither parent was seen on the nest overnight, but were seen down on their river roost in the morning and later during the day. Our ground team found SE31 and watched her for about 3 hours. She then flew off strongly and was seen again later several times. Earlier, one of the parents caught a fish and then the other had bird prey – both flew with prey over the wetlands, as if encouraging a juvenile to approach. We have not definitely seen either juvenile feeding though the ground team are fairly confident they have seen or heard both today. Whenever either has been seen, other birds have been swooping still. Late in the afternoon, Dad brought in a large bream which he then ate himself. It is a pity neither juvenile was there to get it. All is more positive though.

‘A’ recalls, “I know, but remember two things. First, SE32 definitely had a crop when he arrived at that nest nearly three days after fledging. Before he rested on the nest most of the day and ate the fish his dad brought him. He had definitely eaten since fledging. And second, on the occasions SE32 was seen being harassed by smaller birds on the ground, he flew off strongly, with good lift, each time. “

Dr Sharpe retired. Really? He is out helping set up new cameras. One at the West End for Thunder and Akecheta at their new nest and now at Frazer Point for Andor and Cruz. So looking forward to eagle season on the Channel Islands.

The behaviour of the GHOs at the nest of M15 and F23 is continuing to worry some.

Baiba gives us a few minutes with V3 and Gabby on the nest.

This is the tower where Karl II was electrocuted. Someone asked me if Kaia would know if he died. They were flying in a flock. She is the pink line, and Karl II is the blue in the image below. You can see where their paths diverge.

This is a new tower. Why were safety measures for raptors and storks not put in place?

Here is the news for Kalvi – and fingers crossed.

I reviewed Carl Safina’s lovely book the other day about Alfie, the Owl, that he rescued. Here is a short article in the garden about what Safina learned. Enjoy.

As Bonfire night approaches in the UK, here is a reminder! Oh, how I love hedgehogs. They would eat the fruit in the orchard at the end of our garden and sometimes come for water at the back door. Warning, though. Do not pick one up. They are full of fleas ordinarily. Seriously. Adorable. Full of fleas.

All of the other nests appear to be doing well. That is excellent news coming out of Sydney. Fingers crossed for images of 31 and/or 32.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, graphics, videos, posts, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog this morning: ‘A, EJ, M’, Amazon, Deb Stecyk, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, SK Hideaways, PLO, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, IWS, Lady Hawk, Baiba, The Guardian, and Maria Marika.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for the updates. The kittens having fun and I’m so glad Missy is having fun with Hope! Hope you get to the park to see about the geese and ducks. So glad little Falcon is ok at the Diamond and Xavier nest
    💕💕 I pray they don’t fall out 🙏🙏
    The owl is very scary it knows that is M15’s nest and has always been a problem in the past of knocking him and Harriett off the perch at night. I wish it would just go to its nest and stay put. Our eagles don’t bother them and their family. 🙏
    So glad the other eagles are doing ok getting their nest ready. ❤️
    Sad about poor Karl 11. I hope Kaia is ok and also good to know Kalvi is ok too!
    So good to have an update on WS31and WS32. Hope they are fine and being fed by the parents ❤️❤️
    Port Lincoln is doing good and thanks to the ones with the fish delivery and we see how it helps our birds. Hope more will start to do this where and when needed too! 🙏💕💕
    Have a good Saturday Mary Ann and see you soon here again!

    1. I was devastated about Karl II. Like so many males, he just rose to the occasion and raised those storklets of his in some dire circumstances when food was very scarce. He will be remembered and missed.

  2. InstructorRita says:

    Thanks for the updates! Had to catch up on several days worth. I think the falcons Marri and Barry are quite the motley looking two! Love the birthday cake for Cali 🎂Always love seeing pictures of the park near you. Have a great weekend; go well 😌❤️

    1. Oh, thank you. Hoping to go out to the park this afternoon…the falcons are doing so well. So happy for Diamond and Xavier – two really healthy kids.

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