While I was away…

Hello Everyone,

I did not go anywhere exotic. I rarely left my home and garden, and it was a joyful week – full of time with Hope trying to socialise this bundle of joy, calming and reassuring Lewis, petting and reading to Calico and Missey, and writing two articles. There was also time to do what was intended – begin writing up the report on the 2023 Osprey breeding season data forms, focusing on the deaths and why they occurred. I needed the cats to balance off the sadness. Sometimes, you can see the birds waiting for their mate to return, and they don’t. Or the babies starving on the nests because society has yet to understand our need to care for them. If we are to survive, the birds, the animals, and the insects need to as well. As I mentioned before the break, the cats have taught me to live in the moment, enjoy, be thankful, and not dwell on the past or the future so that it wrecks ‘the now’. Still, there is an obligation to do what can be done to make the lives of those around me – the neighbourhood community cats, the garden animals, or the birds – as good as possible. Having travelled the world many times, missing what is right at one’s doorstep is easy. For me – now – ‘there is no place like Home’. I am as joyful watching the Blue Jays flit into the little covered feeder for peanuts as I would be walking along the waterfront in Kuching or Penang.

There was also another cat tree to put together. Poor Missey has been looking out a small window with bins full of birdseed stacked one on the other and a wicker basket with a blanket at the top. But this cat tree is nothing like the solid one I have had for two decades. It was obnoxious to assemble with the holes and screws not always lining up easily. Tip: If you have the funds and know someone handy with wood, get them to build you a solid one out of good plywood. You can take it to a local upholster to get it covered. At the end of the day, Missey prefers the wicker basket on the bins. Of course. My house looks like I have opened a cat daycare centre at times. Too funny, but it is driving me a little nuts, so there will be some consolidation this week!

Before checking what happened while I was away, Geemeff sent me a link to the BBC1 programme on Birds of Prey. Ospreys are about halfway through the 57 minutes, and the couple is Brodie and Asha from Loch Garten. But don’t just skip ahead because you will miss the most beautiful landscapes, and the images of the raptors are extraordinary. Enjoy.

Ranger Sharon confirms Manaaki fledged. Thanks, ‘R’.

Mum L came to feed Manaaki. She looked for him twice. Bittersweet moments for these dear parents.

Upcoming announcement:

Sunday: It seems that a nest of Ospreys is causing trouble for some organisers of a Green Man Festival in Wales. Let us hope that this does not result in any harm to the platform or any birds.

Ervie travelled and might have met his sister, Calypso.

Ron and Rose began making changes to their refurbished and refortified nest in Miami-Dade County.

PG&E put up a new pole and nest for ospreys in the SF Bay Area. We need more of this!

Many Ospreys are still in Canada and have not started their migration. Lucky is well known in the Newfoundland Virginia Lake area.

Sea Eaglets enjoyed another ‘eel meal’.

Monday:

Mini visited the nest again Sunday evening at 2018 (17 September). It was already dark. Her leg looked to be bothering her. I wonder if the water has been rough and fishing hard? Mini will be 4 months old, 123 days.

My Mini mug arrived. She and I will have morning coffee together. The screen capture images work well for digital printing on items. The company I used said it was not a high enough resolution, but I told them to print it anyway. The image turned out lovely.

This will be the last sighting of our dear girl. She has come to the nest to say goodbye. Soar high for decades, dear one. May your crop always be full, may your leg heal, and may you thrive. You gave us such joy and showed us what determination can do.

Thunder and Akecheta were together at the West End.

Gabby arrived at the NE-Florida Nest early. She looks out on her territory and its uncertain future. V3 was last seen on the 16th of September. He has been missing for two days now.

Tuesday: Black Storks flying over the Straits of Gibraltar.

Hope is growing and changing. She is no longer ’round’.

Calico loves her cuddles and still wants a story whenever I am with them. It is such a great way to get them used to your voice.

Cuddle time with Mamma and Baby Hope.

How did Avian Flu or HPAI impact the breeding season? News from the BTO gives us insight.

Has HPAI impacted breeding raptors?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been in the news because of its all too obvious impacts on our breeding seabird colonies and wintering goose populations. However, the disease has affected a wide range of bird species, including birds of prey. Because raptors tend to be more dispersed and often inhabit remote locations, there has been concern that the impact of HPAI on these species could have been underestimated.

BTO Scotland staff Mark Wilson, Anthony Wetherhill and Chris Wernham were commissioned by NatureScot to examine Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme (SRMS) data for any evidence of an impact. The team compared SRMS data from the 2022 breeding season with equivalent data from previous years, assessing whether there had been significant changes in reported numbers or breeding success of raptor pairs, and whether any of the changes detected were likely to be caused by the HPAI outbreak.

The analyses provided strong evidence for declines in breeding success consistent with impacts of HPAI on the productivity of Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle in 2022. These impacts were evident in most of the Scottish regions where these eagles breed but, for both species, they appear to have been greater in areas where pairs had access to coastal and marine habitats, indicating a possible link to predation and scavenging of infected seabirds and waterfowl.

Other factors that could explain the differences observed between 2022 and other years, particularly in breeding success, include variation in weather, prey availability and survey effort. Of these, the weather recorded in 2022 may have contributed to the observed differences but seems unlikely to entirely account for all of them.

The work, which has been published as a NatureScot report, highlights the valuable role played by coordinated monitoring of our raptor populations.

BTO, e-mail of 19 September 2023

And in Melbourne…

At Patchogue, a local enthusiast and lover of Mini, Isac, said on Tuesday when he went checking, “just saw an osprey crossing from the creek to the lake and have a fish in her talons. I think this our lil 4”.

Do you live in Alabama?

M15 and F1 are getting serious. Androcat brings us the action.

It is a beautiful poem to the Welsh Ospreys…completely written by AI.

Black Storks on the move. No data from Bonus and no new data from Karl II.

One of Atlantic Canada’s favourite male Ospreys, Lucky, is still providing fish to his chicks.

The fledgling from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum nest was still home.

CORRECTION TO INFORMATION I WAS GIVEN: The male at the Arboretum nest is not 21 years old. Here is the correct information: “This male is G/B MS….a five year old that was hatched in 2018 on a nest in Carver Park.”

RUTLAND WATER, home to many ospreys but my fav male Blue 33 and Maya fledged their 250th Osprey chick in 2023. Congratulations. The event is being celebrated widely and there is even a BBC Radio Programme on the 22nd of September.

Mini has not returned to the nest since Sunday the 17th. That was three days ago. A local believes they saw Mini fishing.

SE 31 and 32 are getting more steady on their feet.

It’s scandalously hot on F22 at the 367 Collins Street nest. Question: Last year, we witnessed the effects of the hot sun and heat on the eyases. So why was the scrape not taken down in that area or, instead, why wasn’t a shade put on it like at the other end?

Thursday: Mark Avery gives us a brief update on Bird Flu in the UK.

“In 2023, up until 17 September, 46 species have tested positive. The last month has seen just one addition – 4 Pheasants in Moray.  Here’s the list: Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, FulmarMute Swan, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Razorbill, Guillemot, Puffin, Curlew, Ringed Plover, unspecified heron (!), Grey Heron, dove/pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Pheasant, Red Grouse, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Reed Warbler and Carrion Crow.” 

What is happening at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby? V3 has not been seen in some days and I fear that the tragedy of Samson has beset a potential mate for Gabby. Will there be a clear partner before breeding season in 2023? or will all be lost due to territorial disputes?

Friday: New studies on migration with relation to Black-tailed Godwits and Red Knots reveals much about how young birds travel to their winter homes.

There has been chaos at the scrape of Diamond and Xavier due to the persistent presence of a young female falcon. Diamond has engaged with the female, and as of today, Friday, the nest is calm and back to normal. We need Diamond safe. She is not a youngster and she is incubating eggs.

Here is the video of that moment! This must be very unsettling for Diamond and Xavier.

Lotus and Mr President have been photographed together at the Washington Arboretum Bald Eagle nest.

Ervie is exploring more territory.

The Pritchetts are getting ready for a new season with M15 and his young and beautiful new mate. I hope that they have many successful years – even a decade – together raising little eaglets that spend time at the pond.

Saturday: Ervie is flying inland.

Gabby has been working on the nest with the new visitor. There has been no sightings of V3 and the AEF says they have not seen any fights on camera. There now could be two suitors. ‘As the Nest Turns’ has begun. Poor Gabby. The AEF is labelling them A1, A2, etc. Gabby prefers the smaller A1 and not A2. Hoping that V3 was just run out of the territory but, what a way to start the year.

Now Anna has been injured. She returned to the KNF E-1 nest – limping with a head injury. None of this is good…. but let us hope it is all minor with Anna.

Jackie and Shadow have been seen together in the tree on cam 2. I still love the diamonds that appear on the nest when the sun is just rising at Big Bear.

SE31 and 32 have changed significantly over the past week. Just look at that plumage. My friend, the late Toni Castelli-Rosen, loved the plumage of the White-Bellied Sea Eaglets. The two are much more steady on their feet and they are flapping their wings. Beautiful eaglets.

Dad has been working on the ND-LEEF nest. The new female has also been present. (Home of ND17, that wonderful third hatch survivor that went into care at Humane Wildlife Indiana – finally!).

Eagles at Duke Farms.

Calico has come out of her operation in fine form. She has been playing like a kitten for the past 3 days, and Hope loves it. They both seem to have springs on the pads of their feet. What joy it is to see Mamma and Hope play together. After, they can often be found sleeping side by side on the top of their makeshift tent where they can look out at the garden animals.

The bells will be ringing in New Zealand as the first two Royal Albatross have returned for the 2023-24 breeding season!

This short article explains this much-anticipated event.

‘A’ is very excited and provides more details and a video explanation of the ringing. ” Meanwhile, the official ringing of the bells in nearby Dunedin to welcome the returning toroa will occur this Monday, 25 September, at 13:00 local time (in the US on Sunday 24 September at 3pm Hawaii time/6pm PST/9pm EST). Here is a brief explanation of this beautiful tradition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uanfnBN6OPI&t=36s. How adorable is the little girl?”

Sunday: Lady and Dad reinforce the side rails as SE31 and 32 become more active in the nest!

Ervie got home safely!

Speaking of getting home safely, V3 has returned to the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby. He is a little worse for wear in places. Will Gabby show up? Will V3 take the prize? We wait.

Pepe and Muhlady are working on their nest in Central Florida as are many other eagle couples throughout North America.

Akecheta was visiting the West End nest.

This is disgraceful! You can look no further than the driven grouse estates. This is precisely what Hamza was referring to when discussing the persecution of the Hen Harriers in Scotland!

Thank you so much for being with me this morning as I ate back into Bird World. I hope each of you had a good week and are enjoying the crisp autumn air. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, videos, and streaming cams that helped me to write my newsletter over the past week: ‘A, H, Geemeff, L’, Geemeff and BBC1, PSEG, Sharyn Broni, Conservation Without Borders, The Sunday Times, PLO, WRDC Pam Kruse and SF Osprey Cam with Rosie and Richmond, Ian Winter and Ospreys of Newfoundland and Labrado, Sydney Sea Eagles, IWS/Explore.com, NEFL-AEF, Birdlife, BTO, Karen Lang and Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac Alabama Coastal Briefest. Androcat and SW Florida Eagle Cam, Dyfi Osprey Project, SK Hideaways, Looduskalendar, Twin Cities Metro Osprey Watch, Mark Avery, Inatra Veidemane and Bald Eagles in the USA, Hakai Magazine, MI McGreer, Karen Long, Gracie Shepherd and Raptors of the World, Katie Phillips Conners, Tonya Irwin and KNF-E1, FOBBV, ND-LEEF, Duke Farms, The Royal Albatross Centre, Superbeaks, Sharon Dunne and Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ, and Raptor Persecution UK.

Has Manaaki fledged? Saturday in Bird World

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.