First egg for Duke Farms, Ringo stops beaking, Royal cam chick hatches…life in Bird World for Saturday

21 January 2022

Good Morning to Everyone,

To all of our readers celebrating The New Year, The Year of the Water Rabbit or for those celebrating Tet, the Year of the Cat, in Vietnam, we wish you joy, good health, prosperity, and a long life. Have a wonderful holiday. I hope that you were able to spend it with your family, friends, or loved ones.

So what is entertaining the kittens! The Dove was as fascinated with them as they were with it. Tomorrow we are putting up a high table feeder for this Dove so that it might be able to eat without fear of the neighbourhood cats killing it! It spent part of the afternoon in the tree that you can see. That is a ‘female’ Maple. It has those helicopter seeds. I do wonder if the dove was able to eat some of those.

Making News:

Oh, my goodness, tears of joy. Redwood and Phoenix’s chick is now a fully grown juvenile and seen for the first time at Big Sur.

A little history for those that do not know the California Condor community. Prior to the Dolan Fire that began 18 August 2020 and destroyed much of Big Sur, the top male condor in the Big Sur Colony was Kingpin 167. Redwood Queen was known as ‘Slope Slug’. She spent all her time down the slope of the hill because the other condors harassed her so much. She was the one at the bottom of the hierarchy (just like all new ones are). THEN something magical happened. Kingpin 167 paired with Redwood Queen 190 and she instantly rose to the top of the ranks. Their most famous chick was Iniko 1031 who survived the Dolan fire as a nestling in a large Redwood Tree. Iniko was famous. Images of the young condor with the fire crackling around the tree went viral. Iniko survived the fire only to be injured when a male condor came into the nest. Redwood Queen arrived to save her chick. Iniko was injured when it was shoved out and down the nest. Iniko was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo for medical care and rehabilitation. Kingpin 167 is presumed not to have survived the fire and died. He has not been seen since. Redwood Queen pairs with 477 Phoenix, aptly named because he also survived a horrific wildlife, earlier. Their first egg laid in the old tree where Iniko hatched was not viable. The pair moved to a tree in Pinnacles National Park that Phoenix had shared with his former mate. There they raised 1174 in 2022. How lovely for both of them – both survivors of wildfires.

The VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY has all the information about all of their condors and their programme to protect and improve their lives on their website. Today, however, there are many celebrations because the chick of Redwood Queen and Phoenix has been seen at the feeding station at Big Sur. This is a place, high in the hills, where the VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY brings carcasses (without lead or any other toxins) for the Condors to feed on. We all know about the dominance issues with the little eaglets and ospreys, so you can well imagine what it is like in this pecking order!

In the UK, fury is growing over the most recent killing of raptors. Hopefully the voices of the people will become so loud that those politicians and police that are to protect the birds and obey the laws will change and do what is right.

I love Goshawks despite their raids on Osprey nests. Just like I love Red Kites – all raptors. Geemeff reposted this Tweet. It is so difficult to explain how people feel when day after day and week after week, the illegal killing of raptors in the UK continues in or on those estates where grouse are hunted and killed. The entire country should rise up against the privileged — and it is the privileged that own these estates and have hunting weekends on them. A small group that have loyal ties (both figuratively and literally) that allow this to keep happening.

I would also like to say the it takes skill to kill one goshawk but five??? So many of the bird community offering rewards to find the culprits which will be individuals associated with the hunting estates. Mark Avery says “Both RSPB and Wild Justice have each offered rewards of £5,000 for evidence leading to a conviction and Rare Bird Alert has started a crowdfunder to add to that sum. Let’s see the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the Game and Wildlife ConservationTrust do something similar if they are serious about rooting out wildlife crime, but it would take a lot more than that to persuade me that they are. By the way, I haven’t heard or seen any comment from the local MP –  a guy called Matt Hancock.” The collusion needs to be stopped…and people need to do the right thing.

For those of us worried that something might have happened to Richmond, the resident male Osprey mated with Rosie, at the Richmond Whirley Crane in SF Bay, Richmond is fine. There he is in the streaming cam below! Oh, wonderful. Rosie migrates and she normally returns to her Richmond right around Valentine’s Day. The couple raised Brooks and Molate in 2022. Sadly, we lost Molate when he died on the nest. As far as I know the precise cause of death is not known.

Kakapo Recovery have positions open. If you or anyone you know might qualify to work for them for the next year, please check this out. I wish I were younger! What a privilege to help this species thrive and grow in numbers.

A Check on the Nests:

So happy to announce that there was a peaceful feeding at the Webster TX Bald Eagle nest. Yes!!!!!!! No beaking at all. Thanks Paul White for letting us know. The pleasantness has continued all day. The real question is why did it start and excel to such viciousness…but, the great news is that it is over for a day, so let’s add another day, and another one and see two fledge. Yes.

There is only one day separating them in age. Ringo is the oldest – hatched on the 12th of January – so 9 days old today.  Ringo stopped beaking on his 8th day. Boots is the youngest and hatched on the 13th.  There is only a day’s difference.  8 days old.

I have been checking Duke Farms now and again but, not often. Thanks Paul for posting these images on Bald Eagles 101 for us. Congratulations to Duke Farms.

Beautiful Jackie first light. 20 January 2023.

This is a video to go with Shadow flying in and wanting a turn at incubation on the 15th. What a great guy. I love these two…they are so funny. Shadow with his big sticks and wanting time with the eggs. Precious.

Elain’s highlights from the 20th at the scrape of Diamond and Xavier. No worries. Indigo is there in full volume. Gosh, we will miss him when he leaves the territory!

All is well at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest.

CE9 and the parents really have this feeding thing down…the little one is going to get stronger and stronger. Isn’t this just such a relief? Just look at the fish on that side of the nest!!!!!! This baby should never be hungry.

Nice crop after the first feeding of the morning. Little one is stronger, is using its wing tips to balance – and is eating well. Bravo.

CE9 snatched that big piece of fish out of Connie’s beak before she could change her mind. Way to go CE9!!!!!!!!!!

Here comes another biggie!!!!!!!!! Never fear. CE9 is on top of this. He has figured it out. Mum gets a big bite, then wants to think about whether she should feed it or eat it. CE9 says ‘feed it!’ and he grabs. Gets it.

CE9 is getting fluffier and fluffier, too and you can see this cute little eaglet with its little tail. So thankful that all that fish juice did not cause any problem to its eyes.

Fish everywhere! This nest has really turned around. Thanks, Clive for all the fish and giving the little guy a boost the other evening. It sure helped.

Life is good at Superbeaks. Seriously. These eaglets are huge!!!!!!!! They will absolutely be the size of their parents in about 10 days. Like all other raptors, their wings will be longer than their parents to help them fly at the beginning. Think of a very large turkey!

Pearl.

Tico is panting to regulate his temperature in the hot Florida sun.

Working those wings.

The Royal cam chick has hatched. Congratulations to L and GLY and to all the NZ DOC rangers and everyone at Taiaroa Head.

I did not watch the KNF E3 nest today but, ‘A’ filled me in. Her description of what happened is detailed and wonderful and I want to share it with you (with her permission). This flowing record is a precise recount of how the dominant eaglet often gets fed and the others down the line might not. Were the parents preoccupied with something? We do not know. It is, however, a relief that E02 was full to the brim. A week ago I was giving Adrian the Mum of the Week award. Things change quickly and E01 did quite a bit of beaking and shaking – enough to give E02 pause to be cautious. Survival. Survival out of the eyes of both eaglets.

Alex brought a new breakfast fish in to the KNF3 nest at about 06:48. Mum flew up to a perch branch and left things to dad, who looked a little confused. The eaglets were ready for breakfast! At 06:51:20 mum flies off. Dad is still unsure, and eventually he flies up to a perch branch, then away. The chicks are surprised and disappointed and go back to sleep. Mum reappears at 07:03:51 and starts feeding 01, who is first to the table. Little 02 waits a few  moments for 01 to have some food, then edges up to mum’s beak but at 07:12 it still has not had a mouthful. 01 considers turning away from the table, full already, but sees 02 getting close so considers changing its mind and going back for more fish. In the end, it decides not to bother, Finally, at 07:12:38, 02 reaches the beak but by now, Andria is eating her own breakfast. The little one waits patiently, while 01 waddles away and collapses in the middle of the nest, in a food coma.  The little one moves even closer to mum, reminding her that it still has had no breakfast. At 07:13:18 it gets its first (and only) mouthful. It tries to nibble at the fish. Mum flies off at 07:14:14, having fed 02 a single mouthful of breakfast and nothing more!! The little one continues to attempt to self-feed. The headless, largely uneaten fish is a much easier proposition for 02 than yesterday’s ancient coot, and it is getting some bites from the fish but soon gives up. The pair settle in for a snuggle. 

When mum returns at 07:28:04 she is empty-taloned. She does not attempt to feed the chicks, instead aerating the nest, moving some sticks around, and then brooding the eaglets! She flies off the nest at 07:37:36, having still not fed 02 more than one mouthful of breakfast. There is a hardly touched, decent-sized fish sitting on the nest. Just before 08:08 a parent (Alex?) arrives, surveys the scene, and aerates the nest. He goes to the fish and little 02, having just had a reasonable PS, rushes up to his beak to be fed, as 01 watches but doesn’t get up. Finally, 02 is getting some breakfast. But not much, as Alex feeds it only a mouthful, at m two,08:09:56. before flying off at 08:09:56. Little 02 resumes nibbling at the fish (try the headless end, sweetie, not the tail) but eventually gives up. Dad returns a few minutes later with a stick, which he positions carefully. He then flies off again, without feeding either eaglet. By now, 02 is getting really hungry. It falls asleep in a cuddle puddle with 01. 

Dad is back with another stick at 08:32. As he moves around the nest to place his stick, dad is followed by 02, who is desperately hoping for food. But dad flies off the nest at 08:40:15. Mum is back at 08:53:42 but sits on the nest for a full 20 minutes. It is after 09:13 before she finally moves to the fish. Little 02 is up to the beak in a flash and finally gets some bites of fish. It is soon joined by 01, who takes over front position. Little 02 remains patient and finally gets fed breakfast. Afterwards, both eaglets have massive crops. 

‘A’, 20 January 2023

There were many other feedings during the day. Both eaglets ate well and there is no cause for alarm.

11:00:53

12:22:20. E02 getting fed. E01 in food comma from the earlier feeding at 11:00.

4:56:44. E02 eating again.

By 15:10, E01 is up at the table getting the bites. Good thing little one was up there first!

Zoe is quite the character. She is 126 days old today. And yesterday, Dad brought her 2 fish. She had to wait on Saturday until 15:23:40 for a fish delivery and oh, wow. She was so excited to see that fish coming in. What is interesting is that Zoe had been away from the nest for approximately an hour. She flew in to the nest, did the toe dance, and the fish arrived. What I am suggesting is she was where the parents were fishing and saw them heading to the barge with the fish OR was somewhere near enough to see them flying in with her dinner.

If you are wondering when Zoe might leave the nest, Calypso the 2019 female fledgling left on 9 February; Solly left the nest area for good on 2 February. Zoe has some time yet before parents begin to think about eviction. Of course, Ervie was there a way longer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gabby and her ‘man’.

E22’s eye is fine. Is there a pip at Berry College – will find out in the morning! So much going on but, for right now, it is all good.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, their posts, their announcements, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures for my blog: Ventana Wildlife Society, Raptor Persecution UK, Geemeff, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Kakapo Recovery, Webster Texas Eagle Cam Watchers, Paul Kolnik Bald Eagles 101 and Duke Farms, FOBBV, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Window to Wildlife, Superbeaks, Sharon Dunne and the Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ and the NZ DOC, KNF-E3, Port Lincoln Ospreys and NEFL-AEF.

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Egg stealing, eaglets and more…Bird World for Wednesday

11 January 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The month of January is flying by. My children are back in their classrooms teaching and I am enjoying the benefits of retirement – being here with you and the birds. I must begin with a request. If you have been writing to me at my outlook address (check your e-mail) and I have not responded, my apologies. Lewis finally chewed through the entire cord despite my putting electric tape all over it. He does not like the cord to the Mac Air – thank goodness. I will get a replacement but, I think moving forward please send letters to me at this address now that I have this other machine: maryannsteggles@icloud.com

Doesn’t he just look innocent? I blamed it on teething but I think Lewis is just ‘nuts’ about dangly things. In the image below, he has uncovered a window that was ‘wrapped’ so that he could not get to it. Surprise! The foamy stuff that has dried over the years caused me great anxiety. Of course – he found it! Terrible Mum put him in ‘time out’ until I could remove the window to the basement! You would have thought I was pulling his toe nails out. Poor thing. I wonder what he will think when I do trim those nails this evening?

Missy is a very big girl and she is not even six months old. That is the beautiful blanket that was given to her when she was adopted – I love the pastel granny squares. Perfect for such a sweet girl. The issue is her size! This is my grandmother’s old quarter-cut oak dining table. It is 50 inches in circumference (without the leaves) or 127 cm. Stretched out Missy is 38 inches or 96.52. How do you say Maine Coon? BTW. Yes, they have taken over the dining room table. They like the light on – like a heat lamp!!!!!!!

They are not fighting. Missy sleeps with her head on Lewis’s leg. Seriously. They are almost always inseparable. Never seen anything like it.

In the Mailbox:

Question: ‘A’ wonders if Indigo is capable of catching his own prey.

Answer: The majority of the resources that I read and have checked state that Peregrine Falcon Fledglings in North America can and do catch their own prey after about 4 weeks from leaving the scrape. So Indigo is certainly capable. He has been bringing in beetles which we all presume that he has caught. It reminds me of Izzi with his cicadas and then eating them like popsicles on the ledge of the scrape. If Indigo has not caught a bird yet, he is able to and should be doing so soon. I asked how much an adult peregrine needs to eat in a day and from several centres that do peregrine falcon recovery, the answer is approximately 70 grams of food a day is good for an adult – that is apparently equivalent to two Starlings or Blackbirds.

This video is actually from the 30th of December so it is now 12 days ago. Indigo arrives at the scrape with a large bug. He is so pleased with himself over these bug catches that it leads one to believe that they are his first successful hunting forays. Good protein in those bugs, too, for our young lad.

In the News:

Gemeff sent me this news item the other morning and it was too late to include in my blog for that day. You might think that egg collecting and putting feathers in ladies hats died out in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Turns out Scotland Yard has been working on Operation Easter Egg for 25 years. This is very sad, indeed. I am reminded of the four eggs stolen from Taiaroa Head where the Royal Albatross nest late in 2022. Despicable. You can find the entire story at Raptor Persecution UK.

‘A’ has written to me about the torrential rains and flooding that Melbourne has experienced. Have you ‘A’ or any of our other readers in Melbourne seen these floating platforms? and if so, are they working to help wildlife? I would love to have a personal account. They look brilliant and I am reminded of the floating loon nests that I just wrote about in my blog posted on 10 January.

Most of the people who read my blog know that helping wildlife makes you feel good. Many of us recognise the animals that come regularly to our gardens. An article appearing today in The Guardian carries the following message from the author:

Getting to know animals as individuals with varying personalities and behaviour grants them elevated importance. But be aware that it is likely to push you closer to vegetarianism and inspire you towards conservation. Because once you have a relationship and an attachment to another living creature, they become part of your sphere of compassion. And then there is no choice but to protect both the animal and its environment. 

Kate Ahmad, The Guardian, Befriending a wild animal will make you a better human – here’s why

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jan/06/befriending-a-wild-animal-will-make-you-a-better-human-heres-why?CMP=share_btn_link

Ever wondered what it would be like to go to a Red Kite feeding station? I have and I would love to see these magnificent raptors. The Bellymack Hill Feeding Station is near Castle Douglas and the Galloway Red Kite Trail. This is a great little 10:04 minute video created by visitors to see the kites being fed. They also got to see other farm animals. At 1400 every day, food is put out for the raptors. They have hides where you can watch. Your admission helps buy the food. So, if you travel to anywhere in the UK, check and see if there is a Red Kite feeding station! Watch them for me! And if I get there first, I will publish lots of photos.

We all have dreams and like seeing Red Kites in the Wild come to feed, I really would like to see Ospreys migrating to their winter homes and then go on a trek to photograph and count them in those winter regions. Jean-Marie duPart goes up and down the Senegalese coast and into the parks and rivers in search of ospreys and he reports back. There seems to be more good news this year for various nests. You can catch his reports on FB by searching for his name: Jean-Marie Depart. He works for Nature et Oiseaux Sénégal .

The Nests We are Watching (some of them):

Connie and Clive’s first eaglet together is a cutie – CE9. So happy for this eagle couple after all they have been through.

Little eaglet is tuckered out. Hatching is hard work!

Some fish for the wee one? That first feeding will just be little bits and bobs and some fish juice and saliva. It is actually unclear whether the eaglet has been fed. Certainly Connie has eaten!!!!! Little one will be strong and hungry tomorrow morning screaming for fish.

Lady Hawk caught the hatch in a video. Dad Clive was on the nest when it hatched. The chick hatched at 11:22 on Tuesday. For whatever reason, Connie has yet to feed it despite fish on the nest.

Louis and Anna’s little eaglet is a chubby little one…so sweet. Anna is already covering up Louis’s fish – hoping that those nasty flies and mosquitoes will stay away. Maybe these nests need Zappers! I think the fact that the beautiful Spirit Bluff peregrine falcon chicks jumped to their death because of black flies has me on edge now when I see lots of insects. And, yes…we need insects. I am not proposing that we don’t have them. We need more actually but, maybe just not on smelly eagle nests when there are babies.

KNF E#-01 and 02 are doing well. Both have had big crops and there is no issue about an eaglet not being fed. Everything is going along fine.

It continues to look like Pearl is self feeding at the Superbeaks nest while Tico is being fed …that said, Muhlady also feeds Pearl but the oldest eaglet is trying. She is just over a month old.

At the Southwest Florida Bald Eagle nest, Harriet got a break around 0742 Tuesday morning. M15 took over the feeding and let Mum hang out having a break. M15 is fantastic. I love it when he feeds the eaglets because each gets to eat. He will also step in and feed the little one, this year little E22, if 21 is getting the majority. I often wonder if he came from a nest where he was the last hatch with a big sister? Things are fine at this nest!

These kids had a bunny breakfast. While eagles bring many things to their nests, some of the prey M15 delivers is road kill – bunnies, cats, etc. Bald Eagles eat almost anything – fish, ducks, Coots that they have caught, other mammals they have hunted, and carrion.

M15 and Harriet have given E22 several little private feedings. Fantastic.

The weather is nasty at the nest of Shadow and Jackie in Big Bear Valley today. Strong howling winds, blowing snow/ice. I really hope our gal doesn’t decide to lay her eggs during this period of bad weather. This storm caused power outages, etc even in San Jose where Sequoia has her scrape (an hour south approximately).

The winds have calmed down slightly.

They have calmed down for Sequoia, also.

It poured on the University of California-Berkeley campus. I hope that Annie is safe. So glad no chicks in the nest for Annie. Weather, wet weather, is difficult when there are new chicks. Many studies show that the decline in Peregrine Falcons in the far northern region is often due to rain – the damp cold and hunting for prey become issues for the adults.

The weather looks pretty good in Iowa. Both eagles were at the nest at Decorah, near the trout hatchery, at dawn. They later worked on the nest.

In Australia, Zoe was at the nest early hoping for a fish on the 11th. Before Dad arrived she turned and I would almost guess she had already had something to eat. Look at her profile. This is at 07:11. I think our girl is catching fish although it is a bit of a mystery. She did leave the nest between dawn and the time the fish was delivered. Was it enough? or did she get a fish drop off camera? I am so curious about this huge crop.

Dad obliged at 0714. Zoe is 116 days old today (115 when this fish was delivered in Australia).

For Achieva Osprey fans, Diane and Jack have both been at the nest today in St Petersburg, Florida. Jack brought Diane a fish and Diane was seen defending the nest. Her leg must be getting better. Such good news! Now if a fairy would repair the hole in the centre of that nest.

Thank you so much for being with me today. It is so exciting having a few more little eaglets to enjoy – and also to have a few nests with eaglets developing at different stages. It is a real way to visually see the changes from week to week at different nests. Somehow I always find I remember these developments easier if I can ‘see’ them rather than read about them. We should be watching for pips at both Captiva and KNF-E1. Pips will be coming up at Barry College in a week or so. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, tweets, announcements, blogs, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: ‘A’, Geemeff, Orange CSU Peregrine Falcons, Raptor Persecution UK, #BirdTheFeckAtHome, The Guardian, Red Kite Feeding YouTube Video, Window to Wildlife, Lady Hawk, KNF E1 and KNF E3, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Achieva Credit Union, Superbeaks, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, FOBBV, San Jose City Hall Falcons, Cal Falcons, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org.

Bald Eagles working hard on their nests…it is Friday in Bird World

30 December 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

Can you believe it? It is New Year’s Eve in Australia and Asia while in North and South America and in Europe it is the 30th. 2023 is almost here and for many, it feels like we were just welcoming the birds back to Canada in the very late spring and early summer. What will the New Year have in store for all of us and our feathered friends?

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies but it isn’t that nice. We are having sleet which makes driving or walking rather hazardous. Still, I got out and the birds and the house fur balls have food for another month. The birds don’t like it especially since I decided to break up a large cylinder of suet and scatter it around. The sleet has managed to make certain that the pieces are difficult to unlodge. Still, I cannot complain and won’t…although Canadians really are known for complaining about the cold and then when the heat arrives, equally complaining about it! But, right about now, I wouldn’t mind sitting outside listening to the birds or heading for a coconut ice cream and watching the Magnificent Frigatebirds dive for fish in Grenada.

Mr Blue Jay taking flight with a peanut – taken with iPhone.

A video with really good images of Blue Jays and 10 Fun Facts about one of my favourite garden birds.


We have all been waiting for an update on WBSE30 with nothing appearing and many fearing the worst. Well, our sleuth ‘H’ found an update with a video on FB showing WBSE 30 flying in its aviary. Fantastic news. Thanks, ‘H’. The key is to go to the Raptor Recovery Australia FB page it seems.

I cannot think of a better way to end the year than to know that that both 29 and 30 will have a chance at a full life in the wild like WBSE27. This news and knowing that it is the same team that gave 27 such a commanding start to her life in the wild is so reassuring.

What everyone down in the Sydney Olympic Park needs to consider – based on 27, 29, and 30 – is that the minute the sea eagles can be picked up after fledge and taken into care, the better. I know. It sounds ridiculous but, the Pied Currawongs and Magpies will not allow them to thrive. If they are found at all, they are emaciated and sometimes injured. They have had no time to perfect their flying skills or to be taught how to hunt by their parents. Indeed, when did you last hear of Lady and Dad training a fledgling to fish down by the Parramatta River? have they ever? No, the nuisances drive them out of the forest to their death OR they are picked up and taken into rehabilitation. So instead of pondering it, just do it! Pick them up the minute they are seen on the sidewalk or in someone’s yard and give them to the rehabbers for 27 and 30 to train.

Now how is 29 with that break?

Climate change and the extreme weather conditions that are striking some areas of the Earth are the subject of an article in The Guardian. It is really a good read and we must, we absolutely must, realise that climate not only impacts humans but everything on the planet – especially our feathered friends. How long will we ignore it? and what can we do to help? If everyone in the world woke up on the 1st of January resolving to not buy a single new thing in 2023 unless it was essential (and I really do mean absolutely essential), turned down their heating 3 or 4 degrees, did not waste any food thus cutting down their purchases by 30-40%, resolved to feed the birds (purchase of birdseed can come from food not purchased that would be wasted), cut down on car travel and thus reliance on fossil fuels ——–would it make a difference? Surely during the pandemic we saw the most noxious skies in places like New Delhi and Beijing clear as well as animals coming to life. We need curious, determined, and ‘efficient’ people to help us get motivated to really get on with what needs to be done. And we need ‘paid’ influencers – I don’t need to tell you who is on my list not to ever be persuaded by but their names end with a ‘K – banned from the air waves. I really do not want my kind and empathetic granddaughter to ever think that being beautiful requires altering every aspect of her body! Enough of a rant. I am going to read Bill McGuire’s Hothouse Earth. An Inhabitant’s Guide again this week.

And now that we have completely lost our train of thought, a good look at a woman who ties the knots of weather disasters together to give us the whole view.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/29/i-am-an-optimistic-person-the-scientist-who-studies-climate-catastrophes?CMP=share_btn_link

So in the world of hungry raptors and other feeders of carrion, who will win? The Red Kite, the Crow, or the Magpie? There is a pheasant lunch waiting for one of them!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/28/country-diary-a-downed-pheasant-draws-quite-the-scavenging-party?CMP=share_btn_link

You might remember that I wrote about Beauty and the Beak, a book chronicling the Bald Eagle who lost her beak and could not feed herself. Deborah Rose and Jane Veltkamp worked to give her a new life with a 3D printed bank. And now, there is an update from ‘J’ on Beauty who is part of the Birds of Prey Northwest in Idaho:

“Beauty is doing very well. Her upper beak has slowly regenerated some growth, which pushed the specially-fitted prosthetic beak off. The GREAT news in this is that the beak growth now allows Beauty to feed herself. We cut strips of salmon (one of her favorites) and lay them out, and she is able to scoop them up to eat on her own. We are in a wait and see pattern before determining any kind of new prosthetic beak, which is dependent upon any continued regrowth. Beauty continues to live in her own large aviary where she moves about, spreads her wings during short flights, perches on large tree limbs, and looks out over forested mountains and a lake. She remains a stunning, very special bald eagle, and a reminder that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Port Lincoln has published a video on the life of Zoe, the only surviving Osprey chick at the barge near the marina in Port Lincoln. It was really bittersweet watching it – there was Little Bob and Middle. So, I suggest having a tissue handy.

This morning Zoe was screaming for Mum to bring her a fish. ‘R’ and I could not help laughing. Poor Mum and Dad. I wonder if Zoe is going to sit on that nest for the next couple of months screaming for fish! Go get a Puffer, Zoe! Let Ervie show you how. Give Mum a break.

If I was hoping that E3 – 01 would be nice to E3 -02, it was just wishful thinking. The oldest sibling at the E3 nest on Kincaid Lake in Louisiana took great exception to its younger sibling being in front when the food was being dispensed! The little one wasn’t even 12 hours old.

It’s blurry but he is dispensing the beaking at the back of the little one’s head. Hopefully this dominance issue will be settled quickly. My problem is I know how it can end and we have seen too much siblicide during 2022. I would just as soon start out 2023 on a positive note).

There is lots of food and everyone will be well fed. Still, the beaking can continue regardless. ‘A’ wrote that she hopes that the first hatch is a male and the second a female – that would certainly level out the field!

Andria will brood the eaglets because the natal down they are born with does not allow them to regulate their own temperature. By about the 9th or 10th day, the two eaglets will have a grey thermal down. Andria will not have to brood the eaglets after this period but, she will. That is her instinct to keep them warm and dry. She can be off for longer periods. By 21 days, the eaglets will be entirely covered with a grey thermal down that looks like an old carpet! We will start to see the juvenile feathers emerge from the wing tips, the back, and the tail. The growth of the thermal down should be fully complete by 30 days when the juvenile feathers will begin to grow on the breast of the birds and their head. Believe it or not, in 6 or 7 winks – yes, if you blink too much near Valentine’s Day you will be shocked. These two will be covered entirely with juvenile feathers. Unbelievable growth. Right now they will be fed often, usually every hour, a little food. As they begin to eat more and hold food in their crop, they will be fed less. I do not know about Andria but Anna at the E-1 nest had so much fish on the nest that she just stuffed her last two eaglets!!!!!!! I think this might happen here at the E3 nest, too.

A later feeding by Alex and both eaglets got bites. E3-01 has a ‘huge’ crop for such a little gaffer and so does its smaller sibling. Now this was Dad, Alex, feeding. Well done, Alex.

It sure looked like the eagles had been visiting the MN-DNR nest the last few days. Last year Harry and Nancy hatched two eaglets before Harry was injured/killed at this nest. Later you will remember that food was scarce- Nancy had to hunt, protect, and keep away intruders, impossible – and E1 pushed E2 off the side of the nest not long before fledge. E2’s injuries were such that it was euthanised. So is Nancy with a new mate? or is this a new couple? I am not completely sure. We do know that Nancy did have a new mate in the early fall. I await confirmation from the MN-DNR or Pat Burke who knows Nancy well and will be able to ID her.

Caught Thunder out on Tor Thursday morning. Oh, what a beautiful view! I would not mind being in warm Southern California right now sitting there on top of that rock looking out at the water. I wonder how many would like to join me?

Staying with the Channel Islands eagles, Andor and Cruz were both at the Fraser Point nest today.

Ron has been bringing gifts to Rose including part of a squirrel. Both have been working on the nest but whether or not there will be eggs is unknown. Maybe next year?? Bald Eagle season in Florida can go into May so it isn’t too late for both Rose and Gabby.

There is definitely a defined egg cup at the NEFlorida nest of Gabby and the new mate, V3, today. Does this mean anything? We will have to wait and see.

New grasses have been added for softness and Gabby has tried out the bowl.

Gabby and V3 were working on the nest again late Thursday evening. Well they are a beautiful couple and if my math is correct, this is the 5th night that V3 has spent with Gabby at the nest. I would say the deal is being sealed…and no other intruders appear to be about either. Fingers crossed for a long productive union. They really do make a handsome couple.

The snow had disappeared (but it will return today) at the Big Bear Valley nest of Shadow and Jackie. Both of them were at the nest moving sticks before the new snow started falling. Here they are around 0715.

Eagles have been at the nest in Decorah, Iowa near the trout hatchery working on the nest cup today, too. I couldn’t help myself. The close ups of the eagle were incredible. What a wonderful place to have a nest and so different from that of Jackie and Shadow high up in the mountains east of Los Angeles.

You should begin to look at the different materials that the eagles use for their nests. The Decorah eagles love corn stalks!

It was really a treat to move over to the Decorah North nest and find not only a juvenile but also Mr North and Mrs DNF! At last. Everyone has been worried about them and here they are just fine.

There was a visitor to Decorah with a backpack. You can see the sat pak if you squint hard). I hope that I did not confuse any of my identifications up with this eagle. I will write Raptor Resource and check!

Here is the announcement. The visit was on the 28th.

Oh, it is frustrating trying to see those two eaglets at the Superbeaks nest in Central Florida. A ‘ps’ has really clouded the camera and until they get a good rain, the view will stay this way. The little ones are really growing. Here you can see the beak of one being fed.

In this video from a couple of days ago, Lady Deeagle shows us the pair exercising their little wings and cheeping away. ‘H’ tells me that if you click on the YouTube symbol at the bottom left it will take you to the YouTube channel where you can read the description.

And a feeding where you can see them:

We have a few more days before the eggs at SWFlorida and KNF E1 or Captiva hatch. Gosh, there is Pa Berry and Missy, too. Too many Bald Eagles nest to keep track of…soon, it will be time to check on those Florida Ospreys.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, their videos and announcements, and their letters: ‘H’, ‘A’, ‘J’ and ‘R’, Lesley the Bird Nerd, Superbeaks, Lady Deeagle and Superbeaks, Raptor Resource Project FB, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, IWS and Explore.org, MN-DNR, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF-E3, The Guardian, and Raptor Resource Australia.

Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.