Zoe flies more, rare Albatross incubate their egg…and more news in Bird World

24 November 2022

Good morning to everyone and the best of Thanksgiving to those celebrating in the US today.

It has been wonderfully warm on the Canadian Prairies. I do not know if it is atypical for this time of year but, it certainly feels like it. The birds in the garden had some of their feeders rearranged and thanks to a lovely friend I swopped out some old feeders for some she gave me yesterday. One of the visitors today was a beautiful Starling. It’s an immature non-breeder. Note all of the white spots on his breast and it has yet to get its oily black head. The males and the female Starlings look alike. Did you know that? One difference is that the beaks of the males are a deep blue while those of the female are a pink colour. This then looks like an immature non-breeding male.

Look closely and you can see their rose coloured legs. It is also a pair of non-breeding adults. They are really loving this soft suet.

The Starlings will not perch on the metal. I do not know why. They want to lean down from the branches to get to the suet. You can see this behaviour in the image above also. So the feeder below was moved so they could more easily reach it! Who says I am a softie?

Junior was grateful for a bowl of corn today.

One of many varieties of the Sparrow family that visit the garden. They are particularly enjoying the Butter Bark Balls on these damp days.

The kittens have had great fun watching the birds and the squirrels. They continue to find places in the house to get into mischief. And they do not always come when they are called setting in a panic that they have miraculously gotten outside in the cold. Of course, they are somewhere laughing (do cats laugh?) while I panic!

Missy has discovered a Rodney Mott sculpture that is just perfect for hiding in. Lewis is in the overturned basket not even showing a whisker.

At the Australian nests, Zoe took off for her first flight of the day at 0901. It was an absolutely perfect take off and her landing at 0907 was spot on, too. She is a very strong osplet. I do hope she gets some nice fish. It has been 24 hours since she last had some food.

While the camera was down for a couple of yours, Dad brought in fish. We are only seeing the tail of the fish but I hope that Dad had some nice fish – the entire head – and that it was big enough for Mum and Zoe to also have a good feed. This family would really enjoy a day with several deliveries but, I am grateful to know that there was a delivery mid-afternoon.

Zoe had a nice crop.

At the scrape in Orange, things were decidedly low key. Xavier and Diamond in and out of the scrape box and Diamond enjoying sleeping in the box all by herself at night. They have busy days chasing after Indigo and Rubus. Little Rubus is, apparently, doing more flying and getting much better.

This was the news from Orange: “Rubus and Indigo both seen within the last hour. Rubus is exploring the campus, going from building roofs to trees etc. He fledged on 20th November. Indigo is way ahead getting flight training from parents, visiting the box etc. He fledged on 11th November at 41 days.”

If you haven’t checked out the FalconCam site in a few days, I urge you to do so. Someone is really adding historical data and you can go back to 2007 to see earlier chicks and read about the big events at the scrape. Here is that link if you lost it.

https://science-health.csu.edu.au/falconcam/home

Oh, it is stormy up near Jacksonville. Samson and Gabby have been on the nest today working despite the wind and the bad weather that looks like it is moving in.

I put this image in not so you could peer at the fluffy bottom of a big Bald Eagle but, rather, for you to see the colour of the legs and feet of Gabby. Then look at their beaks. This is a bright chrome-yellow. This is a very healthy bird.

Harriet and M15 are sleeping at the nest and so far no eggs, just like at NEFL.

At the E-3 nest in the Kistachie National Forest, they have their second egg today. Congratulations Andria and Alex.

There is also news coming out of the Midway Atoll about a very rare pair of Albatross.

As we give thanks for all the birds that bring our lives joy, remember that we are the cause of much of their suffering. Please spread the word to anyone you know – or where you work – that there are solutions other than using rodenticide to get rid of mice and rats. Also teach them about secondary poisoning. It could be their dog or cat but, it is often one of our beautiful raptors.

At small islands in New Zealand, Dr Digby and his team care for the rare non-flying parrot, the Kakapo. In 2016, they hand-raised more than a dozen of these precious little birds. Today they continue to do that work when it is required. The work that Digby and his team do to restore the health of these birds and to keep them safe and try and increase their numbers is remarkable. So thankful.

No 13. The Red List. The Marsh Tit

At first I thought these were out Black capped Chickadees. The Marsh Tit is small, it is mainly shades of a soft grey-brown or taupe with a shiny black cast, a black bib, and a pale ivory underbelly. The bill, eye, and legs are black. They are not plain by any means, look closely at the plumage patterns. Simply lovely.

The woodlands of the United Kingdom – and elsewhere – are changing and that it causing a huge decline in the number of this very small song bird, the Marsh Tit. The woods are more fragmented now, separated by grazing pastures, a growing number of introduced deer. Marsh Tits, according to Mike Toms, “favour woodlands with a complex understory and require surprisingly large patches of suitable habitat in order to breed successfully.” And they’re like their woodlands to be “wet”. Climate change has meant that they are now laying their eggs at least ten days earlier than they were 50 years ago. This change has had a decided impact on available or peak food supplies for the chicks which is also contributing to a decline in population numbers. The Marsh Tit is also known to visit older gardens, copses, and parks, and has sometimes been seen on feeders.

Marsh Tit” by Vine House Farm is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

They feed mostly on insects, seeds and berries, and often cache food over winter if they find a good supply. They nest in existing tree holes, rather than excavating their own, and produce seven to nine eggs.

Their song sounds like a sneeze “pitchoot”.

Here is their range.

Thank you so much for being with me today. I hope that each of you had a wonderful day no matter where you are — or will have a great day if you are just waking up reading this. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, NEFL-AEF, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, KNF, Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, A Place Called Hope, Kakapo Recovery and Dr Digby Twitter, Openverse, and RSPB.

Sex hats for Birds?…and other stories from Bird World

12 November 2022

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to their Saturday. It is -8 degrees in Winnipeg, heavily overcast with some flakes of snow drifting down. The Blue Jays have been scurrying back and forth for peanuts since dawn.

The following quote is from an article that ‘K’ sent me and I wanted to share it with you. I do so treasure these feathered friends of ours. They have brought me so much love and joy. I cannot imagine – for a single instant – life without them. When I park my car on the street and walk to my house, I can hear them. Singing. What happiness that brings!

“All is an Ocean. All flows and connects so powerfully that if, in this life, you manage to become more gracious by even a drop, it is better for every bird, child, and animal your life touches than you will ever know.” (Dostoyevsky’s, The Brothers Karamazov)

The pictures are from the day before the snow. Mr Crow is here, Junior and one of the three siblings, a White-breasted Nuthatch came to visit, too.

This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledglings this year. Junior normally stays all winter. How do I know it is Junior? His feathers are a little duller but it is the thin eye line that extends further back. You can compare them. Junior is sitting on the edge of the bird bath while one of the fledglings is down getting a peanut.

Black isn’t just Black but depending on the light it is a green black or an iridescent purple blue with green as in the second image. Mr Crow is beautiful. My heart warms every day that he comes as it does for all the others.

It was the first time ever I have seen a White-breasted Nuthatch at the feeders in a long time. The last was on the 13th of October in 2019. A little over three years. According to the recent bird surveys, the Nuthatch population is on the rise in Canada and the rest of North America. We normally recognise the Nuthatch because it moves along the tree branches with its head facing downwards.

The squirrels have all been here, too. They have not cooperated for photos! Most of the time they are trying to get as many nuts off the solid seed cylinders as they can!

Making News:

Oh, we all love those shy flightless parrots who are more than vulnerable. There is new research that might help in caring for these marvellous characters. Adorable. Simply adorable.

Halfway around the world, a much anticipated California Condor release took place a week ago. The Condor is as vulnerable as the Kakapo is. These releases are always great moments, full of emotion and excitement. I missed this event and am so grateful that the release of these four birds back into the wild has been archived so that we can see it at our leisure.

In the Mailbox:

‘N’ writes: Today this was posted by one of the moderators at one of the streaming cams: “We’ve been trying to discourage anthropomorphic stuff for years, I’m afraid. It’s a losing battle. people project human emotions on the birds all the time.” You have mentioned this subject several times. Is it possible for you to repeat what you have said?

I would be happy to, ‘N’. First I would like to introduce Dr Marc Bekoff who is the international authority on animal emotions. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I am extremely impressed with the work that Dr Bekoff and other Cognitive Ethologists are conducting. Cognitive Ethology is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of animal minds. This includes their emotions, their beliefs, their reasoning and processing, their consciousness, and self-expression. The keen interest, ‘N’ in animal cognition is not new and it is extremely important for animal welfare and protection. Bekoff sees the field as all encompassing in terms of understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals.

In his research, Dr Bekoff has consistently said that as humans the only language we have is our own and it is the only thing we have to describe animal emotions. If we do not look at them and use the words joyful, grieving, then what words would we use to describe what we are seeing? We have nothing more than what we have. Dr Bekoff continues in his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals, by saying that he knows no researcher who, when working with their animals, “DOES NOT FREELY ANTHROPOMORPHIZE. THIS ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, BY THE WAY; AS ALEXANDRA HOROWITZ AND I HAVE ARGUED…THESE SCIENTISTS ARE SIMPLY DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY. ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS AN EVOLVED PERCEPTUAL STRATEGY…IT IS NOW LARGELY ACCEPTED AS FACT, THAT ANIMALS, SHARE THE PRIMARY EMOTIONS, THOSE INSTINCTUAL REACATIONS TO THE WORLD WE CALL FEAR, SURPRISE, SADNESS, DISGUST, AND JOY.” (10). The capital bold letters are mine.

I could continue on for pages ‘N’ but, it is upsetting when someone makes the statement that you have written. I am sorry but they are not informed by the current science. There are many who believe that animals do not feel pain or fear. It makes it easier to kill them! We know animals feel pain. I have seen eagles and other raptors grieving along with the Corvids in my own neighbourhood. I have seen Grackles celebrate the fledge of one of the chicks in my garden (they invite the extended family) and we have all heard and some have been blessed to witness the rituals associated with Crows when one of their group dies. I hope this answers your question and provides you with a beginning from someone expert in the field, Dr Bekoff, to rebuff those statements. I also urge everyone who is interested in this topic to get a copy of this amazing book. It is paperback and can be ordered through library loan as well. It will provide you with a clear foundation on this subject backed up by clear examples, not anecdotes.

In other mail, ‘K’ sent me a wonderful letter and an article, “Cherish This Ecstasy” by David James Duncan from The Sun written in July 2008. I want to share the topic of that article with you – bringing back the Peregrine Falcons from extinction. It seems so appropriate as we just watched Indigo and 2 or is it now 3 of the Melbourne Four fly and await Rubus’s triumphal departure.

Now do you know what the invention was that brought the Peregrine Falcons back from sure extinction? It was the Peregrine Mating Hat invented by one of Cornell’s Ornithologists. The ornithologist would put on the hat. He would sing Chee-up! while, at the same time, bowing Buddhist style. You have seen our falcons do this in their bonding rituals. The male falcon copulates with the hat. The scientists remove the sperm and inject it in the few females they had at the time. The hatchlings were raised in a DDT free environment – and that is how we now have Peregrine Falcons living almost everywhere.

Here is an example of the hat and the process. Turn your sound down a wee bit.

While we are talking and thinking about everything falcon, it is a good time to mention some of the really good books that are out there. They are in no particular order but each is loved and well worn and I pull them off the bookshelf often.

Falcon by Helen MacDonald. I love MacDonald’s books. That is not a secret. This little paperback volume is the social history of falcons from the gods of the Ancient Near East and Egypt to the hunting falcons of Europe and the Middle East. Everything you wanted to know about falcons and more including their use in the military. It really is a good read particularly if you want to known more about falcons than just scientific data – their entire cultural history of falcons in a wonderful narrative. My first pick always for a book on the subject of falcons (not just peregrines) other than a guidebook.

On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by Alan Tennant. Ever wanted to fly? to understand how falcons migrate? This is the view from Tennant’s flying and tracking of the falcons as they migrate. Tennant narrates the voyages tracking the birds with the tiny little transmitters on their tails. I like it because the science is woven in with the narrative.

Queen of the Sky by Jackie Morris is a beautiful little book. It not only includes the stunning watercolours of Morris and gorgeous photographs of Hiss and her friend, Ffion Rees, who rescued this dying falcon from the sea and nurtured it back to health. This is a profoundly personal and moving book. There is a deep connection between Ffion Rees and Hiss that develops over time but which began the minute Rees looked into the eyes of that raptor. They looked into the souls of one another. Highly recommended for the art work alone but the story will certainly move you.

The Peregrine by JA Baker. Baker tracks a pair of peregrine falcons during their daily lives. He is transfixed by them. You get to know their habits – everything about them – through the eyes of Baker. Many consider this a ‘must have book’ for the shelf.

There are more but these would get you started – but, as I said, out of all the MacDonald is first. Since I love the paintings of Morris and the positive story of a falcon rescue and release the Morris is second.

And one last falcon bit. Dr Cilla Kinross (the researcher at Orange) went out looking for Indigo today. Xavier and Diamond saw her. I imagine they did not want her to get too close to their beautiful fledgling. The video will not win any awards but it does give you a fantastic idea of the sounds the adults can make if they are anxious about someone being near their offspring.

Before we check on any of the other nests, let’s see how Rubus is doing in the scrape alone. It would appear that some of those dandelions are shedding but there are lots to go. Rubus also appears to be only interested in the visits by parents if they have prey! My goodness Rubus is ferocious when there is prey about. Diamond has been flying up and checking on Rubus quite a bit this morning.

The beautiful golden glow of dawn falls over our dear little one, Rubus, who now looks out to the wide world of Indigo and the parents. Rubus, you will fly too but…it is going to be awhile. You need to get rid of most of that fluffy down. Flap those wings and shake, shake, shake.

Dare I say that Rubus is missing Indigo?

Rubus would love another prey delivery.

Diamond goes over to check on Rubus.

At 367 Collins Street, it is anyone’s guess as to how many of the eases are now fledglings. We know from a video clip from ‘Bathroom Guy’ that at least one has fledged. It is now believed that there are two. This morning very early there were three erases on the ledge waiting for a prey delivery – or at least hoping for a prey delivery! Did one return for breakfast? We know that the eyases can easily reach this height.

Here is a group of photos of the erases on camera this morning. Looking, listening, eating, and loafing.

Loafing has spread around the world…starting with Alden at UC-Berkeley. What an influencer he is!

It seems as if two have fledged and two remain to fledge – but, in truth, we have no idea! That is the nice thing about the scrape at Orange. You can be absolutely certain when the eyas flies for the first time!

The streaming cam remains off at Port Lincoln. This morning when it was back on there was a note that Big had two fish meals both of them brought in by Mum. Thank goodness Big is older and Mum is a good fisher. It is difficult to determine what is going on with Dad but, whatever it is could be linked to his two seizures seen on camera during the early incubation stage.

5 Red Listed Bird: The Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) captured at Borit, Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

I first saw an image of this lovely bird after the ospreys had started their migration to Africa. For the life of me I cannot remember if it was the Glaslyn or the Dyfi nest in Wales but, on one of them was this stunning little bird, the Missile Thrush. The scientific name Turdus viscivorus means ‘devourer of Mistletoe’. It is a large songbird with a grey-brown head, back, and wings. Its breast is spotted with the same grey-brown on ivory. Piercing deep espresso eyes with an ever so slight eye ring. The pop of colour comes in the pinky-peach legs. One can only imagine that this combination in haute couture would land it on the Paris runways. In its behaviour, this Thrush is powerful and aggressive. It eats insects, invertebrates, and loves berries. They do love mistletoe but will also eat hawthorn or holly berries. The largest of the warblers in the UK, their son is loud and is carried for a distance from their perch high in trees. Actually, it isn’t a song but a rattle.

These lovely birds are globally threatened. Their numbers have declined dramatically, as much or more than 50%. The cause is a lack of habitat. Hedgerows where the find food and wet ditches because of the drainage of farmland has led to a lack of earthworms and other invertebrate that the Missile Thrush relies on for its food. Cow pastures and woodland have also been lost or degraded.

Research conducted by the RSPB suggests that ‘Farming measures likely to help song thrushes include sympathetic hedgerow management (with tall, thick hedges), planting new woodlands on farmland, and planting wild bird seed mixtures including leafy cover.’ In addition, the RSPB found that preventing the soil from drying out during the summer would be of great benefit to the thrushes. Hotter summers have brought more rain so perhaps, there is some hope here.

Migration News:

Bonus remains in close proximity to the area he has been in Turkey for the last little while. Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile but has moved slightly south.

It is so wonderful to have you with us. Thank you so much for being part of this marvellous international family of bird lovers. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Special thanks go to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, Ventana Wildlife Society, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Kittens, Ospreys, falcons… and more…

5 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that each and everyone of you has had a wonderful start to this first weekend in November. Here on the Canadian Prairies we are really saying goodbye to autumn as the days get colder and colder. It is now time to put away any light to medium weight jackets and pull out the scarves, toques, boots, gloves and all other paraphernalia such as snow scrapers and shovels. The forecast is for a 70% chance of snow on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!! Then a further possibility next Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, it is going to rain in between which means icy roads. I dislike winter until we are right in the middle of it and life has settled down to something resembling a hibernating bear with a mug of hot chocolate.

Are there days in your calendar where events coincide? The 5th of November is one of those for me. It is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. Fawkes was part of a Catholic group that tried to burn down Parliament in 1605. It is now better known as Bonfire Night when effigies of Fawkes are burned on bonfires along with the traditional eating of the ‘jacket’ potato. There are many fond memories of the smell of the leaves, the smoke and the fires, the potatoes with all their fillings, and just the camaraderie of friends gathering on a fall evening. 5 November is also the birthday of my late mother-in-law Vi (she was a real sweetheart), the birthday of my late friend Joanne (who died in a fire), and very much the birthday of my BFF here in Winnipeg who is celebrating her birthday today in Dublin. Happy Birthday, ‘S’.

There are many good things in life – ‘good’ friends, ‘close and loving family’, sunshine warming our face, a soaking forest walk, watching birds, warm cookies from the oven, warm bread from the oven, a smile from a stranger, our wonderful feathered friends with their large beaks and huge talons, and our pets, if we are able to share our lives. Many can’t. Of course, that is not an all inclusive list and everyone will have their own and I can add each of you to that list also. A community of empathetic, caring, concerned individuals. I am so lucky.

My Dad loved all animals. He hand fed the Cardinals and Blue Jays in our garden, took in and found homes for all the stray dogs and cats that mysteriously wound up in our yard and tended a gorgeous rose garden…I am so very grateful to him for opening up the beauty of the natural world to me before I could walk. That is where I turn – the birds, the trees, the animals – when life is at what seems its bleakest.

Lewis and Missy really helped me ‘adjust’ (I never get over) the death of Middle. They could not have come into my life at a better time.

Forget factory made toys, roll up a piece of aluminum foil! Everyone will want to play with it.

Missy likes the in floor heating.

It is not always the little brother that starts all the dust ups.

Lewis just loves toys —————- and food! I don’t know where he puts it.

In the News:

Want to understand more about climate change and its impact on the seabirds of the UK, here is an excellent article from the British Trust for Ornithology. The implications could be applied to other areas as well. It is a good read and it will help us to better understand the challenges that seabirds have and will continue to have only multiplied.

https://www.bto.org/our-science/case-studies/understanding-impacts-climate-change-seabirds

It seems that we need to be careful with our toques (knit caps) in Canada. An owl might just swoop down and take it right off your head! I wonder if it had a pom-pom? or what colour the toque was? do owls prefer cool or warm colours?

https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2022/11/03/owl-steals-vancouvers-stanley-park/?fbclid=IwAR2S-vCTcbfSzbjIoepLWeaAvHqREQwsQopmxhcl0ZzZzt3cw00OuSNJVfA

This article talks about the prowess of Crows getting carrion off the highway. Want to help them? It wasn’t mentioned but, seriously consider stopping and putting the dead animal off to the side of the road – as far as you are able – to keep the Crows, Eagles, Vultures, etc – birds of prey- from getting killed trying to get food.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/04/country-diary-a-peckish-crow-appears-to-observe-the-green-cross-code

At Port Lincoln, the camera will sometimes find Mum along the opposite shore having a bath but I have never seen one close up. Here is a wonderful opportunity to see an Osprey enjoying a bath close up!

There are so many places to adopt birds. Our local wildlife rehabilitation centre will announce their holiday fundraiser shortly – you can adopt one raptor or the whole lot of them. Many of the nature centres connected with Osprey streaming cams in the UK also have fundraising programmes including adoptions. Many rely on calendar sales for 2023 – lovely images of the raptor families from this year to brighten your day and remind you of their bigger than life personalities. If you are looking for a gift that will have a huge impact and not wind up in a landfill, think about these fundraisers.

I have mentioned the Kakapo Recovery last week and I promise this is the last time…but, they do such a fantastic job monitoring, finding, assessing, and caring for this rare flightless parrot. They have limited adoptions available. Every cent goes to the welfare of the birds! (And I promise I do not get a single cent for mentioning them!)

Here is the announcement from the Kakapo Recovery: In case you missed our announcement last week, adoptions are once again open! If you’re ordering for delivery outside of New Zealand by Christmas you have until Monday the 7th to get these in. Kiwis, you have until the end of the month. Please note that if you log in to PayPal to make the purchase it automatically takes the shipping address from your PayPal account details – if your order is a gift then select ‘pay with card’ in order to be able to enter different shipping details!

https://www.doc.govt.nz/…/get-involved/adopt-a-kakapo/

If you live in the UK, the British Trust for Ornithology has a programme for youth to stimulate learning about birds. They provide binoculars and guidebooks to youth. It is part of their Equipment Donation Scheme. If you live in the UK and have a pair of binoculars to donate, please get in touch with the BTO. You can check out the programme at http://www.bto.org/equipment

If you live elsewhere and are wondering how to help youth get involved with nature and learn to appreciate our feathered friends, why not get in touch with your local wildlife rehabilitation centre or birding groups to see if they would like to start an equipment donation programme for youth. It is a win-win.

Nest News:

Jackie and Shadow, one of the most popular American Bald Eagle couples flew into their nest in Big Bear Valley this morning to find snow. The pair are used to it. Indeed, they could be lucky. Raptors do better in cooler weather! They are working on their nest. You might remember that they fledged Spirit last year – she stole our heart! And theirs. A successful hatch following several years of no chicks. Let us wish them the best of luck again this breeding season.

It is so good to see you, Jackie and Shadow!

Dad came in with a big fish for Mum and Big at Port Lincoln this morning. There wasn’t much time to sit on the nest and get hungry! Look at that time stamp.

I miss Middle. He was like a gentle soul on that nest. But, now, I need to live in the present with the birds, not wishing what could have been. We need to see Big grow and get ready to fledge. Banding and the name giving will take place between the 12th and 14th of November. That is one week away.

It took about 24 minutes for that large fish to be consumed. Wow. I sure hope Mum got enough. She was very careful in the delivery to make sure that she had control of the delivery, not Big. Good for Mum. Once Big starts taking the prey and self- feeding Mum will need fish, too. Wonder if she will just fly out and get them?

Big and Mum saw Dad come in with the fish. He was eating it on the ropes. Everyone had dinner before it was light’s out.

It was a bit of a change this morning at the scrape on the grounds of the Charles Sturt University. It seems that Indigo got a lot of the prey delivery. Goodness. Rubus was a little pouty. Still, they both had plenty. Diamond and Xavier will not let either eyas go hungry.

Rubus decides that if he isn’t going to be fed, he will just eat the prey himself! Remember Rubus has already successfully plucked and eaten a Starling’s head.

Thanks to ‘C’ who sent me this great screen capture of Xavier and Diamond putting on flying demonstrations yesterday. This will be to lure Indigo into joining the fastest raptor on the planet club. There is still fluff and Indigo is about a week behind Collins Street – and the older eyases could fledge there any time! They have their plumage – it is fully developed.

At 131730 Indigo has decided to pull Rubus across the scrape by its toe. Poor thing. You could hear Rubus crying.

A meal came in and all was well. No damage done! It was one of the most pleasant feedings I have seen in a long time at this scrape…equal shares.

When I last checked there were still four eyases living – running, flapping, eating – on the ledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Just beautiful beautiful eyases. I wonder when we will have our first fledge? It will be soon!

I had to watch and wait for all four heads.

Sometimes we get a tip of a wing showing and we know someone is still home.

There was some confusion surrounding a falcon that flew off the ledge at 0956. It was Mum, not one of the eyases fledging.

There goes Mum. There are 2 eyases in the scrape, one in the gutter, and another on the ledge. It will not be long but it did not happen at 0956. And it is an easy thing to assume until you begin to count bodies. We are all on pins and needles waiting for the first fledge – and it could happen while I sleep tonight!

All four were still present at 1730. Mum and Dad have done a fantastic job raising four healthy – very healthy eyases – for the first time. Just look at the place – what a mess.

Migration News:

There has been no news from either Kaia or Karl II for some time. They had each arrived in Africa and it is assumed that they are in their winter grounds without satellite service. This happens every year. We lose contact until the spring. As always, extremely grateful to the wonderful folks at Looduskalender that report on the transmissions and create the maps and landscape views. It is terrific.

Waba is now in Sudan. He is still feeding along the Nile River – just in Sudan now and not in Egypt.

Bonus is near Baskaraoren in the Turkish Province of Konya. He seems to have found good feeding spots.

Thank you so very much for being with me. It is always a pleasure to have you here. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: British Trust for Ornithology, The Guardian, Sprotborough Flash, Kakapo Recovery, FOBBV, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Looduskalender Forum.

Godwits, owls, fireworks, and Aussie raptors…early Saturday in Bird World

29 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It was so nice to hear from so many of you. I am glad you enjoyed seeing some of the feathered friends at my local zoo. I have not been there for years and it was simply a delight to see how zoo management has changed. One of the big features is our Polar Bear Conservation Project. Children love them. The place was packed – that made me happy but, I wish more people would sit and watch the birds and not be so attracted to what they are told is exotic – aka, ‘the tiger’.

Making News:

Alaska to Tasmania in one 13,000 km epic journey?! It seems a Godwit has set a new record!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/godwit-migration-alaska-tasmania-record-1.6632658?fbclid=IwAR2Sq0cOfXqg3aJDFCdwk02a4ZkWRKpMZ9_tHLeMxImoeezDPpPXmrKjc5s

A wee owl being attacked by seagulls 100 miles out to see in Scotland was saved! This is a make you feel good read.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-63425826?fbclid=IwAR0vCiStXvVZWRNQl8sHjNA4faCQIeJ2Uob9VjW7gXlChlEWS95wSej_ZZU

Please don’t put all your leaves into bags. If you must, rake them and put them in a pile, Lovely Greens made this great poster to remind us that it is better for the birds if you just leave the leaves! Look at all the wonderous creates that will thank you.

The Kakapo Recovery Group – those great people that monitor, care for, assess, and generally make sure that as many of these critically endangered non-flying parrots live – have opened up adoptions for the next year. I can say as someone who waited too long – if you are intending to make a donation to the Kakapo by adopting one of the birds, do it now! Don’t wait. My Kakapo lives in one of my huge plants, often hiding, just like the real ones.

If you are looking to help out other wildlife groups or nature centres, many are busy making money selling their annual calendars now. Check out the individual websites.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

The takings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest would not win any awards today. It is now 2100 on the Canadian Prairies on Friday night and it is 12:17 in Port Lincoln. There have been two deliveries: 061847 and 093829. Both were small! And I do mean small. The first appeared to be a chunk of fish and the second was simply a teaser. Let us hope something bigger comes on the nest soon. Still, it has been pleasant and that is fantastic.

Another fish, a little larger, came in at 131223. Big got the lion’s share of this fish. Middle is hungry and was doing a bit of snatch and grab but at 1315, Middle pulled away as if he was afraid Big would attack. Big continued to eat and at 1324, Big took the tail and ate it. This nest needs 2 big fish to come on it. Middle will be fine but both Middle and Mum need to eat, too.

Middle pulls away. He has had some bites but Big had domineered the feeding.

Middle watches Big eat the fish tail.

I don’t know if anything could get cuter than the antics of Rubus and Indigo. Particularly when prey is delivered. The pair of them seem to go after Xavier much more than Diamond – jumping, and pulling, and trying to take the prey out of Dad’s beak. I wonder if Xavier and Diamond have noticed that it is double the work taking care of these two than it was when they had only Yurruga last year or Izzi in 2020? Mind you those two were a little like energetic Rubus!

This scrape is the real winner in terms of prey deliveries. They had six deliveries yesterday of which 5 were Starlings. Today, there have been three deliveries already – a Starling at 060733, a parrot at 063831, and a Noisy Friar at 091333.

Here is a video of the earlier feeding:

It is getting much more difficult to tell when the Melbourne Four have been fed. They had a whole pigeon early and if you rewind you will not see any feedings. Still it is 1300 and, based on past performance, we know that the adults would have been in with prey. The sun is shining and so far there is no rain falling.

There is some serious concern over the Mum at 367 Collins Street. She was abruptly woken last evening and flew off the perch at 213426 and has not returned. It sounded to me like it was people partying in the CBD. Were there fireworks set off? Was it the Spring Carnival Fireworks? If that is truly the case, this is a very good reason not to have fireworks! It definitely disturbs the wildlife! I hope that Mum is perched somewhere safe. If you live in Melbourne and know what was happening around this time in the CBD, please send me a comment. Thank you!

‘H’ caught it all on video. Thank you ‘H’ for alerting me to this happening and creating this video for us. It is much appreciated. There are falcon sounds coming from the ledge above a few minutes later.

Continuing with the loud noises that happen when there are big gatherings, dozens of people were treated for cardiac arrest in Halloween celebrations last night. Perhaps it is time for civic leaders to recognize the harm to all by loud surprising noises bouncing off of tall buildings in urban spaces.

All of the Bald Eagles in the US are building their nests or renovating their old nests. Sometimes hearing that Xavier brought in another Starling can be like fingernails on a chalkboard. So ‘A’ and I have come up with something that we hope is fun and helps oil everyone’s brain! ‘A’ began making a list of the names of streaming cam birds that correspond to the alphabet. Then she sent it to me. Oh, it was fun trying to remember all the names and clear up the few missing bits. So, we both thought you might enjoy it, too. So, get a sheet of digital or real paper, get out your pen or your keyboard and put down all the letters of the alphabet. Then start adding the names of the birds next to them. Let’s give ourselves until Midnight Wednesday 2 November -CDT. I will give you a count down so you remember. I will post the results as soon as I can collate all of them. You can send them to me via e-mail: maryasteggles@outlook.com

To get you started. Can you think of a female Peregrine Falcon living at The Campanile whose name starts with an A. It is ____________________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and/or their streaming cams where my screen captures came from: ‘H’ for her alert and video of 367 Collins, ‘A’ for her fun game idea, Lovely Gardens, CBC Canada, BBC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Kakapo Recovery, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.