7 November 2023
Good Morning Everyone!
It drizzled again today. There were so many birds at the garden feeders that sometimes it seemed like a solid wall of wings fluttering about. The Starlings ate at the suet cylinders and the table feeder, but I also noticed that they were cleaning out the bowls of kibble for the stray cats my neighbour leaves near her garage. Everyone was hungry! Everyone ‘is’ hungry. The cat’s outdoor feeder has now been positioned so that it is covered, and the dishes stay dry from the rain and snow. Tomorrow will be another shelter for another stray – a huge demand. Every shelter in our city is full and cannot take any more cats, yet there is a constant list of new finds. People struggle to feed themselves and their children to pay rent or mortgage. I have said this before, but it is so worrisome – that which gives us joy and comfort is thrown out to the street, hoping that someone else will take it in or that our ‘best friend’ will find food somewhere and stay alive. It is the beginning of winter. This breaks my heart.
A lovely chat over tea and cardamon buns this afternoon with my granddaughter revealed that the homeless in my city with mental health problems are also struggling. There is no affordable housing. A young man who cannot live alone and whose father died recently was lucky to find a placement, but many do not. She says that they are put on the street and have to try and find a place to sleep in the homeless shelters – people are no different than the cats and dogs, the family pets, that are abandoned. My goodness, what a world we live in. We can delight in discovering that a thirty-something singer now has over a billion dollars in net worth while families struggle to feed themselves on a few hundred dollars a month. Sorry. There is a point to all of this.
Donations to help wildlife are way down. Ordinary families that used to donate to their local wildlife centre – either in the form of cash, volunteering, or wish list items can no longer afford to do so. If they cannot afford to keep their family pet, we know they cannot afford to feed the birds and other animals in their garden. It is a vicious circle, and I have no answer. There is so much waste, and with some ingenuity, a couple of individuals can arrange to collect the food waste and find a suitable place to deposit it for the birds that would happily devour it. Of course, I am thinking about the Crows. (I did find a spot to feed the local ones, but it is a secret to protect their safety because of local health regulations).
Many of you reading my blog will find that the increase in food prices – what? 30% plus – has impacted your way of living. Remember, one thing you can do is to put out water. Water is life. Every animal and every bird needs water to survive. If you are up to it, you can remind your friends and neighbours that the wildlife rehab clinics much need those clean, used towels and sheets. If someone dies and their friends and family do not know what to do with their things and are simply going to ‘get rid of them’, ask if you can check if there is anything that might be useful to the local rehab clinic near you or the animal shelters. You have yet to learn how valuable your actions can be for the shelters and clinics that are now struggling. So, thank you in advance!
My girls are spoiled. Today, Hope spent much time sleeping in Missey’s basket. I think Missey has decided to ‘give it’ to Hope. Hope is a little sleepy head in the image below. Hope and Missey spent much time watching their bird video while Calico tried to find a place to sleep ‘without Hope’. I can promise you that will never happen!
Things are a little out of order because I am so excited about what is happening on the Parramatta River that I have brought it up between the day’s events with the kittens.
I am still so excited about seeing the sea eagles flying around the mangroves near the River Roost of Lady and Dad that I can barely sit still. I can only imagine the joy the adults have in raising their eaglets from egg to fledge to freedom, knowing that they have taught them everything to survive – something that they have not been able to do in past years.
These images were taken by the BOGs and posted on the Sydney Sea Eagle cam, and shared all over FB. They are marvellous and show how strong the fledglings are! It is very reassuring.
‘A’ has some more news this morning: “Tuesday 7: early morning, during the last of this season’s annual Bird surveys, several of us saw both adults and we assume SE32 over on the mangroves across the river. After 10am, we also saw one adult fly across the Nature Reserve Wetlands and then back to the river. Later at around 3:15, the juvenile was seen eating on the ground under the mangroves, after one of the parents brought prey in. Wonderful to see it eating. We have not spotted the second juvenile today. The juvenile osprey from a few bays away is returning to eat near the nest high on a light tower in a playing field. It is interesting to compare the post-fledge behaviour of the 2 species.”
This news, along with the extremely robust eyases at Orange and the Fish Fairies at Port Lincoln, means that the Australia streaming cams have had a good year – not 100% – but an amazing year nonetheless. I would love to have seen the CBD raise their falcons, but that is something to look forward to next year and let us all continue to hope that the Collins Street Mum is well.
It rained on Sunday and it rained a little today. The snow is melting revealing bright green grass. It is a nice surprise – welcome when everything else is grey or brown. The girls have been hanging out in the conservatory enjoying the warmer weather and several chapters from Margaret Renkl’s new book. Tomorrow we pick up another feral winter home for the outdoor kitties.
Hope is a big beautiful girl – almost as big as Mamma. She loves to pose.
Calico’s favourite perch. Missey likes the top and Hope loves the house and bothering Missey’s tail so they all can share and get along – which they are doing, thankfully.
Missey is getting quite ‘woolly’ for the winter. She gets brushed five or six times a day, which is still insufficient for her liking.
The December birdseed order has been delivered from the local farmers. One only handles Black Oil Seed, and the other does a mixture of millet, corn, safflower, and sunflower seeds. It seemed as if the Blue Jays were not so happy with just the Black Oil Seed, so now they have a choice along with the Dark-eyed Juncos, who are still here. If you feed birds, check out local farmers who bypass all the middle handlers and sell directly to those who feed the birds.
Moving on to check our active nests…
At Port Lincoln, Mum cleaned the nest and found some fish.
Meanwhile, Mum is waiting for Dad to get off the ropes and go fishing.
So grateful for the fish fairies. These chicks might not have made it to this age. They are 23 and 21 days old today. Mum waiting with Giliath and #2 for a fish delivery. Mum leaves. Dad remains on the ropes. Thank goodness for those scraps in the nest, too!
At 11:50, the chat says “Fish Fairies on their way”. Relief. Giliath and #2 are so precious. So is Mum.
A large Trevally lands on the nest. Oh, goodness. This will make some nice meals!
Dad will take the fish after the first feeding. He will have a good feed and return it to Mum, who will feed the osplets again and hopefully finish off the tail herself. I hope Dad will get out and bring another fish to the nest before evening.
‘A’s report is always welcome. She tells me that today is the Melbourne Cup and everyone stops everything for the horse race! “The osplets are hungry today, with nothing brought to the nest by either parent, although mum did discover some nestovers very early this morning (about 05:48) and fed a fish tail to the two chicks. We are told by the mods that the fish fairy is on her way as I type, so a large feeding is about to occur. The current joke is that mum and the osplets will be meeting the boat! Certainly, mum is gone for no more than two minutes when fish are delivered. She knows Janet by now and I think she is well aware no harm is meant by the fishmonger. Looking forward to watching this pair eat. I love them both but Little Bob is such a feisty lad, his sister being far more laid-back. Perhaps Giliath is also male. I have thought the size discrepancy made that unlikely, but even when both eat their fill, Giliath is definitely eating at least twice as much as its younger sibling at a lot of the feedings. So it’s hard to tell, but I would still have my money on Giliath being the big sister to younger brother Little Bob. The temperaments seem to be the reverse of what gender would suggest. “
‘A’ and I spend a lot of time discussing the Port Lincoln Osplets and we both wonder – as I have in this post earlier – what would have been the fate of this nest this year without the fish fairies: “Today was a day to wonder what may have happened in the absence of the fish fairy, whose single giant trevally (13:07) was the only fish of the day. There were two monster feedings from the fish, and of course mum ate a lot of fish herself (as always), plus dad took it away for a bit and then brought it back for the second feeding. What interested me the most was how confident Little Bob was – lining up first, getting the prime position, and then reaching for bites in front of his huge sister, who did not object in any way or at any stage. These two are the best of friends, and I would suspect two males were it not for the massive size discrepancy between them. There are times when Giliath does get fed a lot more than her brother because mum for some reason concentrates on her, but mostly Little Bob is eating as much as Giliath, and at all meals, he seems to eat as much as he is able to. (He turns away from feedings, too full to continue, then returns to rejoin the feeding or gets pursued by mum attempting to smother him in fish.) So I have to believe their difference in size represents a gender difference, though we won’t know until banding of course. I do love to watch this pair though. They are so amicable and it is just a wonderful nest to watch as a result. I wonder whether dad feels the pressure has been lifted by the fish fairy or whether fishing conditions were simply bad today. “
At Orange, Marri is beginning to look like a falcon, bigger than Diamond. Both share in the prey and continue to look out to the wide world. The parents will soon turn to doing flying demonstrations with prey in their talons in front of the scrape as fledge approaches.
Diamond appears to be smiling all over. Look at those eyes as she stares at her daughter, Marri.
Barru is a cutie-pie but not match for Marri in a tug-o-war. Thank goodness they get along brilliantly.
The Bald Eagles are either laying eggs, thinking about eggs, or working on nests in preparation for eggs in the US.
Martin and Rosa have made great progress on their brand new nest!
We are expecting at an egg with Missey and Pa Berry at Berry College any time.
Smitty is still missing.
The most recent visit of the male with Bella at the NCTC nest is caught by Deb Stecyk.
Poor Bella. She continues to work on her nest with no news of Smitty.
Gabby and V3 are checking out the nest bowl at NEFlorida.
An owl goes after V3 (for the second time in as many days).
The rails are high and the one camera is set low but Muhlady is in the nest at Superbeaks incubating those two eggs.
More GHOs looking for nests and thinking of those that belong to Bald Eagles! This time at the nest of Abby and Blazer.
Fingers crossed for this pair of Black Storks.
Had to check on the only storklet fledgling of Karl II’s to have a transmitter this year – Kalvi. He is now in southern Turkey. Stay safe, Kalvi!
Wonderful news coming out of Kielder from Joanne Dailey and from Jean-marie Dupart in Senegal:
As we know from the Black Storks flying together (Karl II and Kaia) as well as others, Audubon’s recent report supports the notion of flock migration.
As you might be aware, the names of American birds are about to be changed. Here is a good read on why this huge task of removing names related to individuals is taking place.
Thank you so very much for being with us today. Please take care. We hope to see you with us again soon.
Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, articles, images, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog for today: ‘A’, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam and the BOGS, PLO, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Gracie Shepherd, Dulles-Greenway Eagle Cam, Berry College Eagle Cam, Deb Stecyk, Paul Kolnik, NEFL-AEF, Lady Hawk, Superbeaks, Eagle Country, Maria Marika, Looduskalender, Joanne Dailey and Jean-marie Dupart, Audubon, and The Guardian.