5 December 2023
Good Morning Everyone,
We must start with Wisdom, the oldest banded Laysan Albatross in the world. She is dancing again! On the Midway Atoll. Can you imagine? 72 years old and dancing. Tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw the message from Holly Parsons. Wisdom is incredible. Send positive wishes that this very special albatross will breed again this year!
Wisdom lost her long-time mate three fall breeding seasons ago. Hold on to your seats this year! It looks like she might have attracted a young male partner.
Wisdom is on the left with the red band, Z333.
And then for news in Cat World. The hunt for the male kitten has come up trumps. Let me introduce the youngest and last kitten I will ever adopt. Hugo. After Grayish turned out to be a female, I was about to give up and then the head coordinator asked me what I wanted in a kitten. A short time later she phoned and said she had the perfect match. Did I mind a Ginger?
Stories about Hugo and the girls will come on Wednesday morning!
When it comes to Ospreys, no one has all the answers. I am grateful to Bart, who has worked hard for Port Lincoln to get the observation board information up to date, work on fish delivery stats, and monitor the chat. Bart has now included those days with zero fish so that his findings will be accurate. It was a simple oversight, but having those figures in there and those days will change the final statistics while providing an accurate view of what happened. Bart’s efforts and those of the fairies have offered everyone an excellent educational and sharing experience.
I gave Port Lincoln a poke yesterday. They are in a tough situation because what they are doing is unique – supplying supplementary fish to a nest where siblicide is a known reality. Dad has never been a stellar performer. As Bart noted today, he is at best good for four fish, no more. (Most of the nests I have monitored average seven deliveries a day for 2 or 3 osplets.) The reasons for the low number of deliveries can only be speculated. This is not just my thinking. We have seen two instances on camera of what appears to be seizures. But how those impact his brain and his daily living is unknown. Then there is his age. Again, there is only speculation as to whether the sheer physicality of osprey fishing is hampered by age, but it leaves us to wonder. Does he lack motivation because of the fish fairies? Anything is a possibility.
At this juncture, using one nest to test whether ospreys will stop fishing if humans provide fish is insufficient for scientific proof. And with this nest having a high siblicide rate and Dad being a poor performer regardless, that makes it even more problematic. Testing this theory on a known superstar like Blue 33 at Rutland would be better. Yes, he has fish right at the nest site. Absolutely. Would he stop fishing if fish were provided? If he did, that would be very telling. Would he start fishing to keep his chicks alive once the fish fairies stopped? Well, that is the question. At Port Lincoln, they struggle with what to do as the fledge nears. They are attempting to motivate the adults to get out there and bring in the fish because they are concerned that the osplets will bolt off the nest if delivery is so close to ‘fledge’. Another intriguing question is: Are the osplets (and ducts) so used to having humans deliver fish that they would not bolt?
I am told that Port Lincoln is disinfecting the old barge to ready it to receive fish (Dad used to take the fish there) in case they need to provide fish after banding.
The issue is this. ‘H’ and I have monitored over 300 eggs in 2023 from being laid to fledge or death or not hatching. We know that relatively good condition osplets who had their crop full can live between 58-79 hours without fish. 79 is pushing it. ‘H’ is checking her data because, in the June deaths of Chesapeake Bay, some of those chicks were younger and did not live that many hours. I will include this information once we glean it from the data forms of the International Osprey Data Project.
So let us send Port Lincoln some real positive energy as they work towards getting these two fledged. That is the goal of the project – two fledglings. After fledge, the fairies should be able to toss all the fish they want on that nest, and the kids will need it. Do you remember Ervie and Falky? or the fights between Ervie and Bazza for fish after fledging? This is one of those dust-ups between Ervie and Bazza. It happened almost two years ago…aren’t we just so proud of our Ervie?
‘H’ reports that Dad brought in a half fish at 16:58. #2 grabbed it to self-feed but Mum took over and both ate with crops. Hoping Mum got some, too.
‘H’ and I will be publishing all of the data with complete explanations but these are the findings in the International Osprey Data Project so far. It will not be complete until I add the final details of Port Lincoln this year and the information from Iowa for their 2023 nests in January.
This is the current information for all the nests and the 335 eggs we monitored. Thank you, Claudio, for making our life easy with those forms!
My interest is in siblicide, specifically, the 3rd and 4th hatches that survive siblicide attempts. This has meant monitoring hours between an osplet getting any fish and counting bites of food when they do in comparison to the rest of the clutch. It is agonising research, but the triumphs are enormous. Think of the fourth hatch at Patchogue this year…imagine for a second that tenacious tiny little osplet whose drive to live was tremendous. Some called her Tiny Dancer. She was amazing.
The following information includes nests in North America, the UK, Europe, and Australia. This is the raw data and it is, as far as I know, one of the largest osprey behaviour studies that is ongoing.
We got some great close ups of Giliath and #2 as a few raindrops fell.
Cute little Dad. His crop is certainly not bulging.
Whole family lining up for the fish fairy! Or that is what it looks like. But…
Today is the odd day so no deliveries from the fairies. Will either adult deliver a fish? We wait to find out.
‘A’ sent us reports about the Sea Eaglets. Isn’t it wonderful to know that one is alive and well. Tears of joy:
“December 3: There was a storm last night with hail and heavy rain so the river is very muddy. Both parents were on River Roost around 8am and the juvenile was spotted on a low branch in the sun – all drying out. Later when the young one was seen near the adults, she was whining for food. At 10:30 when adults are on River Roost and she is on the island, she is quiet. In the afternoon around 4:30pm, both parents were on River Roost, with the juvenile out of sight again. A parent flew into the mangroves; the young one was probably there hidden away. Just after 5pm, she was seen low on a branch at River Roost again.
…Audio file December 4: down by the river 07:24 both parents on river roost and duetting. 08:04, young one calling. Earlier, peewee swooping adults. 08:07 parents calling again, juvenile too. 08:13, the tide has turned. 08:35, a good shake by the juvenile, downy fluff flying, then moved to a different branch. Then a few minutes later, the juvenile flew closer to the adults. When parents duetted, she was listening and looking up. Then again , and juvenile on and off. The parents moved a little closer, but at 9:30 all were still there. Just after 10am an adult left, swooped over the river and caught a fish. Juvie flew down to the ground, and the fish was delivered. She ate on the ground out of sight. Around 11:15, the adult took off, circling overhead. No action then until 12:10, when the juvie was flushed out by 4 ibis flying in to the mangroves. Then shortly after, it changed branches again, flying a short distance. At 12:30, neither adult was there. No more observations later.”
‘A’ sent the latest news from the Parramatta River in Sydney and the WBSE:
There have been no sightings of any juvenile activity at Orange since the 2nd of December Australian time. ‘H’ tells me that Cilla has checked the trees and there is no sign. This is so very sad. The huge effort put into their eggs, their survival in the scrape, ….heart breaking for Xavier and Diamond.
‘A’ provides the latest news though…perhaps there is a juvenile? There are reports that a juvenile might have been heard. There was no sighting. It was very hot in the area and the birds were staying in the shade of the trees to stay cool.
Gabby and V3 are taking a page out of Jackie and Shadow’s play book – gosh, they messed around with those sticks for such a time!
Everyone is cheering for this couple!
Our beautiful Jackie and Shadow.
Ron and Rose are busy, too.
We are so close at Superbeaks.
Liz Schwartz has posted romance over at the Centreport Eagle nest.
Released condors having a feast.
Overfishing. The decline of worldwide fish stocks. It is time to think about this as we enter the breeding season for many of our feathered friends who depend on the oceans for their food and, thus, their lives. It is estimated that the number of fish in the oceans has declined by 90% since 1900. There are many, many scientific articles about these catastrophic numbers – just a sampling of some of general interest and some more academic.
The latest migration count from Hawk Mountain is in.
Maybe some ideas….I recall once when my children were quite little seeing someone hanging the thin orange slices on their spruce tree outdoors. Here we coat the pinecones with melted suet and roll them in bird seed and hang them throughout the lilacs during the winter.
Thank you for being with me today. It is so nice to have you here with us. Take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, streaming cams, and articles that helped me to write my blog today: ‘A, H, HP, J, SP’, Holly Parsons, Friends of Midway Atoll, PLO, Bart M, Sydney Sea Eagle FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, NEFL-AEF, Ventana Wildlife Society, C Roberts, Our World in Data, National Geographic, BMC, Nature Communications, US Dept of English, Helgoland Marine Research, Centreport and Liz Schwartz, Hawk Mountain, and Wildlife Watch.