16 September 2023
Good Morning Everyone,
This is our last blog until we return on Monday 25 September. We hope that you have a great week while we are away!
Today it was cold and rainy. Not a great day for the annual open house at Wildlife Haven, our wildlife rescue hospital, in Ile des Chenes, Manitoba. Normally the grounds outside would be filled with people listening to speakers and visiting with the raptor ambassadors. Today, most huddled inside.
It was good to see so many parents with children aged 5 and up asking questions and being ever so curious about the animals.
One of the highlights of the tour was seeing the new home for Majestic. Majestic is a Bald Eagle that came to Wildlife Haven from Rainy River, Ontario ten years ago. She arrived as a juvenile and is believed to be between 10 and 12 years old. She was starving, dehydrated, and was suffering from an old fracture in her left wing at intake. She cannot live in the wild as she does not have control over her flight feathers but – now – she can fly about landing on various perches within her new enclosure safely.
Meet Una, a Great Horned Owl. Una had problems in the nest, according to the presenter. She was born with a missing right eye and a beak that was not aligned – he is small for the species. As a nestling, Una was neglected by her parents. Today, she is living the good life as an ambassador.
It felt ‘very odd’ holding the tail of an Osprey that was once very much alive.
Or a Red-tail Hawk.
There were tours throughout the surgical wing, the food preparation area, the big flight chambers, and special areas for clients such as otters and fox cubs.
Every wildlife rehab centre relies on donations and volunteers. It is amazing what they do with so little. You can normally find a ‘wish list’ at your local centre of items that are urgently needed and, of course, I will continually remind you about clean used towels and sheets, bleach, washing up liquid, laundry detergent, stainless steel bowls, small hand tools that work, pet food, vegetables from your garden, and items of enrichment such as toys. Clean kennels are particularly helpful in transporting animals or isolating them while they await intake or treatment. So before you bin it, think again. There is some wildlife rehab centre near you that might find those things useful – and they would be very grateful. Thank you!
Meanwhile – the kittens. I am guilty of taking way too many images of Hope. She is growing so fast and every day I can see subtle changes in her appearance.
Calico is getting very restless to get out of the conservatory and back into the house’s main part. The vet says ten days. Meanwhile, Hope is nothing short of energy in a small packet. She wants to play and runs from chair to table to tent and couch and then scurries under the covered area over the dining table and out again. Mamma is tired and, I think, growing weary of this big kid of hers. LOL.
Hope gets excited when anyone enters the conservatory – she wants to play with her favourite feather-dangling toy. She was introduced to healthy cat treats full of flax, cranberries, chicken, and other goodies. Her treats look healthy, like homemade human granola bars with extra protein. I made a line, and sure enough, she followed it to my lap. She is still very nervous, and I try not to breathe or move when this happens. She remains reluctant for me to hold her, so we are going every so slowly.
Lewis wants everyone to know that he is cuddly, adorable and a goof.
Lewis and Missey found a way to look out the window in the old office where Calico first stayed. Little birds were flitting about the apple tree. I am so glad that their closeness has not been jeopardised by the arrival of the two new siblings.
Looks like one of the things that we will be doing next week is building some insulated cat shelters. Winter will arrive on the Canadian Prairies before we know it. The Dark-eyed Juncos showed up in the garden today looking for Millet and Robins are passing through. There are still some hummingbirds being photographed along with Pine Siskins. Geese are everywhere, filling up on grass and grain left on the farmers’ fields before going south.
There is still concern over Hurricane Lee. There are reports that one beloved male Osprey adult, Swoop, is still near the nest at Hog Island in Maine. As I write this, the defined eye of the hurricane appears to have broken up, but this could still bring high winds and heavy rains to NE USA and Atlantic Canada.
Keep all of the wildlife in your thoughts as this system moves. We still have many fledglings and adult Ospreys in Atlantic Canada that have not left for migration.
Annie and Lou are bonding! How sweet. These are rare occurrences this time of year, but what is so good about this behaviour is that we can confirm that both are healthy and doing well.
In South Australia, Ervie is back fishing at Delamere, where he used to join Dad when he was just a youngster. Ervie is now two years old. Happy Birthday, Ervie!
It is always good to see Osprey platforms being replaced or installed for new couples. There are not enough old dead trees in situ for them near good fishing spots. This is a good solution and far superior to them building nests on power poles where they could be electrocuted.
Remember the two Royal Albatross chicks that failed in their first flight? Here is the story of their rescue. Thanks, Holly!
‘H’ brings us up to date on Barnegat Light and Date County:
Barnegat Light – “Duke is enjoying a few days of well-earned rest and relaxation since Dorsett left the area on 9/11. Duke can often be seen in one of his trees at the north tree line, and Thursday he was wading at the shoreline with some gulls. Friday Duke enjoyed a nice breakfish on his perch. Later in the afternoon, he was seen on his perch shaking his tail and drying out his wings. We love ya’, Duke.”
Dade County – “The juvie, R5, was back at the nest again on 9/15, and this time he was looking for food scraps. Ah, he is so mature looking! R5 has been at the nest 5 out of the last 6 days. There is still some time before nesting season begins for Ron and Rose, but as much as we love R5, some of us are hoping that he will be bitten by the wanderlust bug soon, lol. R5 is six months old on 9/16. Happy Birthday, R5 !!”
Flaco, the Eurasian Owl that escaped the Central Park Zoo is doing well despite initial worries some months ago! You can check out more of Flake’s adventures by going to Bruce Yolton’s website urban hawks.com
‘A’ reports: “At Collins Street, F22 had a large crop today when she left the nest at 10:36, and little M22 arrived by 10:41 to take over the incubating until the shadow covered the scrape. He was panting a lot, and both parents this morning were using the technique of standing over the eggs with wings outstretched to shade them, rather than settling down on the clutch. Little dad looks so cute when he does it! He works so hard at enfluffling the eggs. It’s hard work for him to cover them all. He’s going to have major problems when it’s four eyases aged, say, a week to 10 days, without thermal down and exposed to the rain and the direct sunlight.—Yes, I’m going to say it again. WHY OH WHY could they not have strategically placed two small squares of wood to shelter from above and to extend the shelter of the building on the far side!??? What will happen on the first wet day?”
‘A’ continues: “I am genuinely concerned that there is the real possibility of a tragedy at Collins Street this season. Last year was the third consecutive La Nina year. That is not a normal Australian summer. We are about to get back to our usual summers, which include days reaching as high as 43C and I shudder to imagine what that scrape will look like by the time the chicks are, say, 10 days old. There is going to be a period of up to a month when the chicks are very vulnerable to that heat and are unable to escape it along that gutter. Not only that, but dehydration is going to be a potential problem even if they are getting enough food.”
SE31 and 32 were very hot on Friday, too. They were panting to help cool their bodies.
‘A’ reports about breakfast: “Breakfast was something that had been feathered (it looked young, but its feathers may just have been wet – it lacked a head so identifying it was not easy), which Lady brought in at 06:40:35. SE31 was in the right place at the right time, so was already in perfect position for food when it arrived, and shortly after 06:41 tried to help herself to the prey. Lady waited a while for some reason, and SE32 joined SE31 waiting for food. Because he came up on his big sister’s inside, SE32 was in primary position when mum did begin feeding, so was fed first rather than his sister. But Lady is relatively even-handed and is feeding both. The blood appears to be nearly gone from her head. so it must have come from her talons,. perhaps while scratching herself, and there is no apparent sign of what yesterday looked like a wound on her left foot. This is really lovely juicy nutritious red meat, and a decent-sized piece of prey as well. Both eaglets are eagerly grabbing bites, some of them very large. Their manners are impeccable. Neither is being at all aggressive and each is happy to watch the other eat. When they lose a competition for a bite, they just wait for the next one. It is lovely to watch. Lady is doing her best to feed both, and it seems they will end up having roughly equal amounts of this meal.”
‘J’ brings news that there is a new camera at the Centrepoint Bald Eagle Nest.
Gabby and V3 have been very alert at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest on Friday.
The cameras will return to SWFlorida on the 30th of September.
At the Royal Albatross colony, ‘A’ reports: “Manaaki is hovering so high, he is out of camera shot. Twice, I have thought he has fledged, but he has landed far down the hill and walked back up. He may well go today, but he shouldn’t. He is still not in control of his flying and he still has too much fluff. Another three days is my guess, as he is still not tucking his feet and legs up confidently and is unable to surf the thermals with any real control. Still, he is getting great height on his hovers and staying airborne for increasing lengths of time. He is very serious about his practising, and cast another bolus at 01:40 this morning. So he is preparing to leave and it could be at any moment now. Literally.”
‘A’ returns later with what is ‘sad’ news: “Manaaki has not returned to his nest. UQ is waiting for him, in his new spot near Manaaki’s nest. The general consensus on the chat is that Manaaki has fledged, although we need to wait until the rangers do their walkaround and head count tomorrow to know whether he is elsewhere on the headland. Unless of course he returns to his nest during the night. It is agreed that he was last seen on camera at 16:39:45 and has not been seen since. Other sightings thought to be of Manaaki were in fact of UQ chick (whose hovering skills are way better than Manaaki’s). I am still sceptical because he really did not seem to be sufficiently balanced in the air and still looked very uncertain. Not to mention the fluff he still had. If he has fledged and landed on the water in the bay, he will be spotted and if necessary rescued. If he has fledged successfully, he has done so at 238 days of age. We wish him godspeed and all the luck in the world out there. We pray we (and he) will live long enough to see him return to his birthplace (some return as early as age three, others not until they are five or even older). One or probably both of his parents will visit the nest over the next few days to make sure their baby has fledged and is not hanging around nearby, needing to be fed. It is so bittersweet watching them wait. If their chick does not return to the nest to be fed, then all their devotion and hard work has paid off. They have done their job for the season, successfully raising a chick to fledge. But somehow, there is a pang as they wait. Sometimes, they come back more than once, just to be sure.
So now, a year after we watched QT fledge, we are waiting for her parents to return for the new season. Mum YRK and dad OGK. Of course, our hope that OKG will return is very slim indeed, but it does remain a possibility. They ring the bells at the colony when the first returnees arrive home, and then the bells ring out all over the area. They love the toroa.”
There is good news. While I do not know the number of butterflies in Canada this year, we have noticed a considerable number in the garden and the local parks. Others have mentioned this as well. In the UK, the record of butterflies has grown this summer – excellent news. This does not mean that there has been an increase in the number of insects – so vital to the lives of our songbirds.
Indeed, a group of residents at one of the condominiums in Winnipeg has noticed that the songbirds have disappeared from their property after the management had the grass treated by a firm claiming to be ‘Eco’. If it kills weeds, it will kill insects that the birds eat and often kills the birds. If you know of any well-researched articles on the issue of lawn treatments and songbirds, please send them to me. I hope to help some of my former students prepare a united front and argue against this practice in the future.
Do you know the Island of Mull on the west coast of Scotland? It is notorious for its wildlife, and the White-tail Eagles are no exception. There are also dolphins and whales to be seen.
While the Ospreys are away, want to watch a different table feeder in Scotland? Check out the one at RSPB Loch Garten. Here is the link. You might see some of those adorable red squirrels.
Thank you so much for being with us today. Please take care. We look forward to seeing you on the 25th of September when we return from a brief break.
Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, videos, articles, and streaming cams that helped me to compose my blog this morning: ‘A, H, J’, Geemeff’, Wildlife Haven, NOAA Hurricane Centre, SK Hideaways and Cal Falcons, PLO, Jeff Kear and UK Osprey Info, Holly Parsons and Albatross Lovers, Wildlife Conserve F of NJ, WRDC, Bruce Yolton, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sydney sea Eagle Cam, NEFL-AEF, The Guardian, and Hakai Magazine.