Sue and Otto died of Avian Flu, Zoe leaves barge?…Sunday in Bird World

29 January 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

There are two big news items this morning. The test results on Sue and Otto, the beloved Syracuse University Red-tail Hawks and Zoe, the Port Lincoln 2022 Osprey fledgling.

Sadly, it was no coincidence. Testing reveals that Sue and Otto, the long time resident Red Tail Hawks at Syracuse University, had Avian Flu. There are still tests pending. How did they catch it? They either ate infected prey, came into contact with the saliva of an infected bird or the feces of an infected bird. We know that Avian Flu is around. We read about it several times in a fortnight and yet, when it hits home to two much beloved Red-tail Hawks, it becomes more real. Our condolences go out to everyone.

This is a very frightening situation with regard to birds and waterfowl in the area. It is a distance of 59 miles from Syracuse to Cornell which is at at the southern end of Cayuga Lake.

Sue and Otta together in a much happier time. They raised 28 eyases to fledge.

Here is the announcement:


In other news:

People can make a difference. We do not have to sit back and let developers and governments allow sacred woodlands to be destroyed. Have a read!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/28/brockley-residents-raise-100000-to-save-patch-of-ancient-london-woodland?CMP=share_btn_link


On Ferris Akel’s Saturday tour to the wildlife areas around Ithaca, New York, there were lots of ducks – Red Heads and Canvas Backs – Canada Geese and Tundra Swans along with Mallards and Mergansers. Oh, I do miss the waterfowl and can’t wait for April when they start returning to Manitoba to breed.

The waterfowl in the images below, captured during Ferris Akel’s tour, is at the northern end of Cayuga Lake. Please look at the map I posted above to locate Cayuga Lake, Syracuse, and then Cornell so you know where Sue and Otto had their nest and where Ferris takes his tours (he does not go to Syracuse on Saturdays).

A Common Merganser.

An adult Tundra Swan and below it a juvenile.

Note the grey head and the bill which is not solid black – the indications of a juvenile Tundra Swan.

A group of 3 adults and a single juvenile Tundra Swan preparing to land on Cayuga Lake.

A Mute Swan. Note the different bill.

Notice the orange bill and the bulging nodule above the bill plus the black patch from the eye to the bill. A Mute Swan. Mute Swans are larger than Tundra Swans. The Tundra Swans have a black bill and black legs.

A good comparison of the Mute Swan and the Juvenile Tundra. Despite the Mute being farther behind, you can see how much larger these swans are than the Tundra.

A pair of Mute Swans.

Bald Eagles on a partially frozen pond – both adults and juveniles.

Always nice to lurk and listen to Ferris’s tours and then jump up to look if he finds Big Red, Arthur, and any of the kids on the Cornell Campus. No hawks today!


Nest News:

I have to start with Zoe who is 134 days old today. Yesterday (Sunday in Australia) she left the barge and flew to White Flats where there is a River and a Reservoir. Dad brought her one fish on Saturday; it is not known if she caught any fish herself . She remained on the barge in the rain Saturday evening. What ever possessed our girl to fly off and head inland instead of staying by the water is beyond me but, if you recall, Solly also travelled inland at times surprising everyone. Has our girl left her natal nest for good? I feel a little overwhelmed with Zoe leaving. She was always there, screaming for fish. I imagined she would be there much longer.

She flew off the nest at 07:55:43. It was windy and the water was choppy.

Zoe prepares for her take off.

Zoe has been gone for almost four hours at the time I am writing this. Will she return to the barge? Or will these beautiful tail feathers be our last sighting of her at Port Lincoln? It is always a bittersweet moment. We want the fledglings to have their freedom and we want them safe at home.

If this is the last we see of you, Zoe, other than photographs and sat pak tracking, live a long life. Life it fully, have many chicks, stay safe, always have a full crop.

It has been a rough year at the Port Lincoln nest losing Little and Middle Bobs. Mum and Dad were brilliant throughout it all. They will be eating fish alone in peace without a screaming Zoe. They will be building up their strength again before it is August – and if time flies as fast as it has, we will just be seeing the UK Ospreys leaving for migration when Mum and Dad think of eggs again at Port Lincoln.

Parent enjoying a fish meal in peace without Zoe screaming wanting it. The time is 12:18.

There were 277 votes cast in the naming contest for the oldest eaglet at Kistachie National Forest (KNF) E3 nest. Hello Valentine. Votes for naming Valentine’s younger sibling will start next Friday at noon nest time. Then it will be the turn of Anna and Louis’s little one to get its name. We will vote on one out of three pre-selected names.

Valentine got to the table first but, 02 was not long in getting up there to enjoy some nice fresh fish.

Gabby and V3 were together at their nest early in the morning near Jacksonville. This is V3. Note the nick under the nostril on the right side.

This amazing new couple. V3 in the back, Gabby in the front.

Can you find Connick?

That little eaglet of Connie and Clive’s is changing rapidly!

Connick loves the freshest fish on the nest…don’t blame him/her. The old fish must be dry and a little hard.

The sun is setting on the Captiva Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and little Connick is cheeping and wanting some last fish – he is watching Connie eat. Don’t blame him! “Fill me up Mum!” Connie finished the fish and I did not see the wee one get any before fed. Connick was full already. He just wanted a topper. It is a long time til breakfast. At least 12 hours if not a little more.

Everything seems to be going fine at the nest of Ringo and Boots in Webster, Texas. Isn’t this wonderful? You might recall that little Boots had literally been plucked (back of head, nape, and upper back) of feathers. But, Boots wants to live and that is precisely what is happening – and the beaking has stopped. Wish we knew what started those frenzied attacks when the eaglets were so young but, at the same time, it is just nice it is over. So grateful for Paul White’s videos and updates.

It is little Boots time for some food.

If you are US Steel eagle fans, the eagles are working on the nest!!!!!

Nancy and her mate were also busy in Minnesota.

It is always a winter wonderland scene in Decorah, Iowa when the snow falls. Isn’t that just beautiful? What a gorgeous view for the eagles.

Nest restorations include new corn husks. Have you noticed all the different materials the eagles use for the interior of their nests depending on where they live?

This is the scene at Decorah North. I did not see anyone there today.

Jackie is gorgeous in the morning light coming from the sun rising over Big Bear Lake in California.

Jackie was quite alert today. The Ravens/Crows were around making noises at 0933 and I heard them again when I checked back at 1058. I wish they would go away and not want those eggs!

Everyone is doing fine at Superbeaks. They are working those wings. Pearl is 51 days old today and Tico is 50 days old. The next couple of weeks will speed by in a flash…and then we are into fledge watch around 77 days for Florida Bald Eagles.

What an amazing nest this has been to watch this year. I thank everyone who recommended it to me. Pearl and Tico are so healthy and PePe and Muhlady were amazing parents. There appeared to be not a hungry moment on this nest.

It is hard to spot any remaining dandelions. There are just gorgeous espresso juvenile feathers. Beautiful dark eyes and of course the beak is dark black and grey almost ombre style.

At the opposite end is our little butterball cutie pie, B16 at Berry College. Before we blink, B16 will be standing and walking just like Tico and Pearl.

Dad came in with a huge rabbit. B16 was really hoping that Mum might give some of that for lunch but, no, she went and dug in the pantry til she found something nice and ripe!

Ron and Rose can just crack you up! Heidi Mc caught an unusual moment from today for us.

Jack continues to deliver fish to Diane at the nest in St Petersburg. Eggs should be laid if Diane is on her normal schedule this coming week.

Mabel and Angus have been hanging out today at the Captiva Osprey nest. No eggs yet either! Soon maybe. Or not.

It looks like there is some question about whether or not the nest rails are high enough. No, they are not!

Last but never least. Annie and the New Guy caught on streaming cam. Thanks SK Hideaways.

I am so very sorry to have brought you the news about Sue and Otto. Avian Flu is deadly and it can spread like a wildfire. It has not dissipated during the winter months in North America as some might have hoped. Please keep all the birds and wildlife in your most positive thoughts.

Thank you so much for being with me. The nests are all in good form. No worries at all. Looking forward to seeing you soon! Take care of yourself.

Thank you to the following for the announcements, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Red-tailed Hawk Tales, The Guardian, Ferris Akel Tours, Friends of Osprey, Port Lincoln Osprey, KNF-E3, NEFL-AEF, Window to Wildlife, Paul White and the Webster Eagle Watchers, Pix Cams, MN-DNR, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, FOBBV, Superbeaks, Berry College Eagle Cam, Heidi Mc and the WRDC, SK Hideaways and Cal Falcons, and Achieva Credit Union.

If you would like to subscribe so that the blog comes to your inbox daily, just fill in the information below. There is normally only one posting per day. On occasion two. I do not want to fill your e-mail. there are no ads nor are there any fees – just a large group of people from around the world joining together who love raptors.

Both Red-tail Hawks found dead at Syracuse, another fish on E22’s head?…Tuesday in Bird World

24 January 2022

Good Morning to all of you,

Thank you so much for your letters and your comments. I really do enjoy hearing from you. I cannot always answer immediately but, I try not to be too long!

I am having to have a big laugh because I don’t want a big cry! No, no, nothing to do with birds. It is auto-correct! I have gone over this blog twice and keep finding the auto correct correcting things after I have moved on…it seems I have to check the words 3x before it stops. (I do like it to catch my spelling as I go so it is a bit of a double-edged sword for me). So I hope when you read this that the word ‘allopreening’ will be there and not ‘alley preening’!

It snowed a bit and the winds were blowing at times in the gardens. The European Starlings came early to feed off the suet cylinders. There were 43 of them! That is the highest count I have had all year.

The House Sparrows were absolutely everywhere. At the feeders. On the ground foraging and in the lilacs. Everywhere I looked there was a sparrow. Squint. They are in layers blending in to the lilacs and feeding with the Starlings at the suet.

The kittens loved watching them flit about. No Dove today. I hope it has found a wonderful and safe place for food!


Making News:

I am shaking my head in complete disbelief. Just the other day I posted the passing of Sue, the beautiful RTH and mate of Otto, at Syracuse University. She died of what appears to be head trauma on the 18th. The photo of Sue in the announcement was taken in the Oakwood Cemetery on that same day. Otto was found dead on the 19th in the cemetery. Did he also die on the 18th? or the 19th? I find this simply too much of a coincidence and it makes me highly suspicious that something caused these two beautiful birds to meet their demise that is not immediately evident. We will find out from the necroscopy, thank goodness. But that does not make this less a tragedy. If these deaths are not an accident or a natural cause, then the sadness is deepened. Condolences to everyone at Syracuse University and all those that loved Sue and Otto.

Did you know that the Ventana Wildlife Society provides lead free ammunition to hunters in specific counties in California to help halt the Condors (and other wildlife) from getting ill or dying from lead poisoning?

The VWS website gives all the information on what they offer and who is eligible. If you know of someone who hunts or is a rancher in these areas and they continue to use lead ammunition, please have them get in touch with the VWS immediately. The Condors will thank you!

The VWS produced a really short video about Cedric and his recovery from lead poisoning.

Do you want to know more about Condors? Do you love them as much as I do? Why not check out the monthly Zoom chats with the folks at the Ventana Wildlife Society? Go to ventananews.org and click on the link that you see below, to the left.

Skycalls, fluffy white chicks with cute pink bills and feet, allopreening adults, what isn’t there to love about an albatross?

Lady Hawk gives us some real cutie pie images of the Royal Cam chick in this video.

No Osprey egg yet at the Achieva Credit Union nest in St Petersburg, Florida but, we should be looking towards the end of January if our gal, Diane, sticks to her previous pattern of egg-laying.

They have mated on the pole, on the nest and probably around the neighbourhood…when do you think there will be an egg?

CE9 can really handle those big bites that Connie gives it. If Mum would only stop putting her beak under CE9’s, I think they would get a success rating of 100%. The wee one continues to benefit from numerous feedings per day and is growing stronger and stronger.

CE9 and Dudley.

Connie decides it is time for a feeding.

Clive arrives to check on his baby and the pantry and then is off doing territorial protection.

A bit of a stringy mess.

From an empty crop to a full one.

CE9 is getting very, very full.

Nap time. How many whole and partial fish can you find on this nest?

As the sun sets over the Captiva Bald Eagle nest of Connie, Clive, and CE9, the little one gets its last fish meal of the day.

In 2014, the Bald Eagles at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ laid their first egg on the 17th of February. In 2022, the first egg was laid on the 17th of January – precisely a month earlier. This year that first egg was laid on 20 January so the eagles are sticking with this earlier nesting time. It only makes me wonder – as we wish for eggs from Gabby and Rose – if it might just be too hot in Florida for such a late hatch?

And just like clockwork, there is a second egg at Duke Farms!

It looks like Alex on the KNF-E3 nest trying to coax the two eaglets, 01 and 02 over to have some nice fresh fish.

Can you see the Mohawks?

Mum flies to the nest and both adults look over to the lake. Is there an intruder?

Are the parents testing the youngsters? Alex took off and Mum flew back to the branch. That whole fish is still there. Wonder if anyone will move to the table and try to eat it?

E01 is trying to balance itself to stand and walk. 02 looks on with interest.

Walking on a stick nest is not as easy as it looks.

The parent watches when its chick pecks at the fish. The babies are growing up with those big heavy wings and feathers coming in.

Would you like some fish?

Confidence is back in 02. The meal went well.

Do you like the Pittsburgh-Hayes Eagle nest? Mum and Dad were there today – and mating ——in the snow!

There are winter storm warnings for various parts of the US including Oklahoma, my old home State, and a system tracking up through Iowa, Ohio, and into New York. I went to check on Big Red’s nest to see if she was getting the snow that was hitting Pittsburg and the camera was down. Then the computer did a funny thing and there was Superbeaks. I was not expecting this image. It is smaller here but filled up my entire screen almost – and I held my breath. Do not, listen you two, look so far down that you go flipsy.

What is of such interest below? is it a parent on a lower branch?

There are not a lot of ‘dandelions’ left on these two as those almost black juvenile feathers continue to grow longer and longer.

Oh, it is windy on the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. The storm system is east of the Colorado River and is not expected to hit them. Yippeeee. They get a break. Shadow brought in prey and is incubating while Jackie has a break.

The wind is gusty. You can see it blowing the feathers on the back of Shadow’s head above and then it is calm below.

Do you know why raptors roll their eggs? FOBBV reminds us: “Eggs are rolled regularly to prevent the embryo & egg membranes from sticking to the shell & to distribute albumen & heat evenly.”

Thank you, Sharon Pollock. I wish my eyes were a little better but, what a beautiful sight that was of Jackie and Shadow soaring together around and over the nest tree. Just amazing.

Mabel and Angus are sure a handsome couple at the Captiva Osprey nest.

What a difference! The warm sunshine of Florida to the hoar frost in Iowa at the Decorah Eagle nest. It sure is beautiful.

Fans of the Redding Eagles…there was an adult on the nest today!

The cuteness of Ron and Rose caught by HeidiMc.

It is not clear what is happening with the second egg at Berry College. Are those marks or is that chick trying to get out of that shell?

This is little Boots at Webster, Texas raising its head for a bite of fish. It ‘appears’ from the posts today that things are going well and Ringo is behaving her/his self.

Worry spread through the SWFlorida Eagle fans as blood appeared on the top of E22’s head – it was another fish landing there!

Someone will be watching to see if this is just blood from the fish or a possible scratch caused by the fish on the nape of 22.

22 ate well and there was little if any beaking that I could see today.

Zoe is 129 days old. Mum delivered a single fish to her girl yesterday and, she might well have had a fish off camera. Today Zoe left the nest and it appears she might have returned wet from an excursion or she might have tried fishing off the barge (the camera was stuck on zoom). It is really hard to tell. What we do know is that Zoe is still home. From my perspective she looks ‘well fed’ and healthy.

One last tidbit about the falcons…but not Annie and the New Guy or Indigo but Sequoia and her mate at the San Jose City Hall scrape. Seems you have to be careful where you stash away your prey in San Jose, too.

Who is Sequoia’s mate? HeidiMc found out! Shasta is a very interesting falcon.

What the poster below doesn’t say is when you set out and kill any insect or animal, it has a severe impact on the food chain. Think mice and rats. Secondary poisoning in domestic pets and raptors is real. We need those insects, we need the pigeons (yes people put poison on their roofs to kill the pigeons – those pigeons could kill our beautiful peregrine falcons), etc. So take care and talk about this with your friends and loved ones.

Thank you so very much for being with us today. Tomorrow I will have a review of Florence A Merriam’s Birds Through An Opera Glass. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their announcements, posts, videos, tweets, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: HeidiMc, Red-tailed Hawk Tails, Ventana Wildlife Society, Lady Hawk and NZ DOC, Achieva Credit Union, Window to Wildlife, Duke Farms, KNF-E3, Pix Cams, Superbeaks, FOBBV, Sharon Pollock and FOBBV, Raptor Research Project and Explore.org, Redding Eagles, HeidiMc and the WRDC, Duke Farms, Bel-A-Donna and Berry College, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Pollinator Friendly Yards.

If you would like to join our wonderful birding community and receive a copy of my blog in your inbox daily, please feel free to subscribe. I desperately try not to load up your inbox and there is generally only one blog per day unless something really crazy happens and I think you will want to know asap. You can unsubscribe at any time!

Sharpie returns, Gabby’s suitors, Hesgyn’s autopsy and more in Bird World

11 December 2022

Oh, gosh, it is grey and dreary here in Manitoba. The sun did not break through at all today. There were moments when I wish we could ‘wiggle’ our noses and be transported elsewhere. I wanted to feel the warmth of the sun, see the green grass, and sit and just listen to the Tropical Mockingbird and Bananaquit.

At the same time, had I not been sitting where I was, I would have missed Sharpie’s visit! I know that he has been about or the larger female Cooper’s Hawk, but I had just not caught him landing. Today, he did!

It is so nice to see you, Sharpie. You are looking quite healthy with those chrome yellow legs.

At the same time, he caused the 31 European Starlings that were feeding to gather and form a murmuration. It was the first time I had seen these birds clustering and flying together to confuse a predator. It was not like anything I have seen when there are thousands of Starlings together forming intricate patterns. These 31 were a loose knit group but, they did manage to keep the hawk at bay with their flying formations.

Sunday morning and Sharpie is back trying to get a songbird feeding in the lilacs. The three Crows are all upset causing the songbirds to flit and fly away. I figure Sharpie is hungry. He is not giving up easily.

I suspect, like Diamond, Sharpie prefers something other than a Starling – perhaps, his usual House Sparrow. He is too small to go after a Crow but, the Crows get excited when anyone enters their territory. I never resent him taking one of the Sparrows. Everyone has to eat to survive. Sharpie just takes what he needs, eats it all but the feathers and even some of those, some days. He doesn’t waste – like humans do.

While I was away, one of our readers, ‘L’ sent me a photo of a hawk wondering what it was. I knew but I decided to ask Merlin and sure enough, Merlin photo ID said Cooper’s Hawk as opposed to the image above which Merlin IDed as a Sharp-shinned.

Which brings me to a point I want to make. At one time I was not happy with Merlin Bird ID. It drove me nuts. While I was on holiday, there were so many songbirds singing at the same time that I could not separate them. Additionally, they were tropical birds that are completely unknown to me. The Merlin Song ID was incredible. The only bird that it did not identify was the Carib Grackle which surprised me.

The other positive besides knowing all of the birds that are around you is that by using the app, you can learn the song of species that were originally unknown to you. By the end of the week, I was able to tell 8 Caribbean birds by their song. That is pretty good for someone who is tone deaf! Just imagine what you could do. It is free. I really do urge you to put it on your phones. Go out, take a friend, or a young person and teach them to hear the songs and identify the birds. Make an outing of it. It is really fun and it helps Cornell understand where birds are located even when they don’t think they should be! Like Sharpie. Once I sent them the image with all its meta-data, they quit telling me that there could not be a Sharp-shinned Hawk in Winnipeg at this time of year.

The final report has come in on Hesgyn, the last chick that Monty raised with Telyn, found dead this summer in Wales after living through his migration and returning to find a mate. The report is cumulative – meaning that that the most recent finding and autopsy report is at the bottom. It would appear that Hesgyn’s return coincided with the tremendous heat that Wales had during that singular week. The impact on the ability of this magnificent osprey to fish – after returning from Africa – could have been the natural cause of his death. No human cause.

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/hesgyn-has-died

It was nice to see Zoe with a great big fish delivery from Dad. At 0701:14, Zoe sees Dad arriving.

At 0701:20, Dad lands on the nest. Mum begins to fly over from the ropes to the nest.

It was a big fish, not a teaser. Mum seemed to hope there would be some left but, Zoe does love her fish! And has a history of being unable to share.

By 0735, Zoe has finished the entire fish!

At 0801, Zoe sits with Dad over on the ropes. He doesn’t seem to have budged a centimetre from the earlier image above.

At the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the campus of Charles Sturt University, Diamond was having a nice siesta in the afternoon sun. She is so beautiful. Her and Xavier must be very happy with Indigo’s progress.

Indigo arrives and thinks the ledge is a good place for an afternoon nap, too.

Elain has another great highlights of the Day for our Orange Falcon family.

The biggest news in Bird World continues to be the competition for Gabby’s heart and nest.

In order to try and keep the identification of the suitors separate and apart from one another and Samson, the AEF have gone to identifying the birds using their tail feathers.

Tail Comparison: Top Row L to R: Samson, V1. Bottom Row L to R: V2, V3

I have not seen V2 at the nest today. There is now the third male, V3, who has been working on the nest and Gabby has not chased him away. Gabby even got into the nest with V3 for a bit.

V3 has slept on the nest and is very alert.

There is very little known about Gabby including her age. She became Samson’s mate at this nest in 2018. She was an adult so she is at least 9 years old now. She has a nest in a good location and there are many suitors. To date, I do not believe we have noticed a brood patch on Gabby. A brood patch is the spot where the feathers do not exist – they fall out when it is time to incubate eggs. The skin of the adult touches the eggs and helps to keep them warm. If the feathers would there, the warmth of the parental body would not exist – so this brood patch has developed over eons to assist the eagles with incubation.

Wonder who Gabby will choose? There seems to be plenty of time so as the AEF suggests, get some popcorn and sit back and watch. It truly is a soap opera. Meanwhile, Harriet is only letting M15 have a little incubation time while Anna down at the KNF nest in Louisiana loves to give Louis plenty of time with their eggs.

M15 brought Harriet a tasty treat today, right off the Road Kill menu – rabbit. Harriet wanted it plain, not in a cassoulet.

Meanwhile at the Kistachie National Forest nest, Louis is getting another chance to incubate the eggs overnight. Wow! These young eagle mums are really sharing the whole experience with their mates. It looks there is some rain and a little lighting near the nest in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Congratulations to Superbeaks – the Central Florida Bald Eagle nest – on their second hatch as announced by Paul Kolnik on Bald Eagles 101.

‘A’ reminded me that Wisdom is not only the oldest Laysan Albatross in the world but she is also the oldest banded bird in the world. Incredible. There is a new announcement from the Midway Atoll. It seems that Wisdom has returned and was seen on the 24th of November but, her mate has sadly not. Will she get another mate? We wait to see. What an amazing seabird Wisdom is…incredible.

Remember that Ferris Akel has his live tour on Saturdays starting at noon Eastern on YouTube. Today, he didn’t catch big Red on the Cornell Campus, our queen of the Red-tail Hawks. Ferris did find her mate, Arthur – and it is always good to see either of them and extremely special when it is both.

Some thoughts from David Suzuki.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. See you soon! One last one to put a smile on your face – the ever loving Jackie and Shadow kissing in the nest yesterday while they did renovations.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: David Suzuki Foundation, Bald Eagles 101, Ferris Akel Tours, US Fish and Wildlife Services and ‘A’, Tonya Irwin and KNF Bald Eagles FB, Lady Hawk, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, the AEF FB, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab, and FOBBV.

Darling Rubus is dead…and other news in Bird World

Hello Everyone,

What a very sad morning it is.

It was 2100 Monday evening on the Canadian Prairies when I started this blog and the world looked so much better with the idea that our little lad could be flying around with his older brother, Indigo Now that hope has shattered. This morning I know that all of you are feeling the same hole in your life. What a lively character Rubus was — and what immense joy he gave us stretching his little neck to get food and running all over the scrape box screaming and staring into the camera. Oh, little one, you shall be missed.

I am so very glad to have the kittens and the garden animals this morning. The kittens are being as cute as they can be. Both of them spend lots of time looking out to the garden watching the squirrels, the birds, and Hedwig – the rabbit, who came to visit us today.


Our thoughts go out to Diamond and Xavier and to Indigo who must carry on now and to Cilla Kinross and everyone at Orange and to all those around the world who dared love this little bundle of fluff that was Rubus.

Our dear darling little lad. This morning we are all weeping for you.

The speculation as to which fledgling is which has ended at Orange. The body of dear little Rubus was found and it appears he died some time ago. Here is the announcement from Cilla Kinross:

“NEWS 29th November 2022 Bad news about Rubus. His body was found today by one of our medical staff (who also watch the livestream). Cause of death is unknown. I thought at first broken neck because of the angle, but it seemed intact. I have asked the vet for an autopsy, but she said that it is too far gone, so it looks like he died a few days after last seen on 23rd November. That’s a pity as I would like to have known whether it was caused by trichomoniasis (canker) as has been suggested by some watchers. We’ve never had a case here, but the parasite could be present in the local pigeon population and transferred in the prey.”

It is hard to take it all in. Liz M has put together a compilation of Rubus’s life for us.

I will be doing a tribute to Rubus in the coming days and will then add him to our ‘Wall of Remembrance’. So sad today as I know you all are.


I have hoped so much that there would be some good news at the nest of Gabby and Samson, of Annie and Alden, and of Ron and Rita. The only sure thing is that Zoe loves fish and will eat any and all that land on her nest.

Cal Falcons has ‘finally’ issued a statement about what is happening at The Campanile. Thankfully that news is not bad. We just have to wait.

As the sun set over The Hamlet, Gabby looked out over the trees. She has been hunting and has a huge crop. The male intruder appears not to be about but, Gabby has to be wondering where her mate is. What has happened to him?

I am so glad that Gabby has eaten well.

I was reminded, this evening, that Bella was injured. She had extensive injuries and was away from the NCTC nest that she shares with Smitty for three weeks before returning and booting an interested female off. Samson could return. That is my mantra. In fact, I received a note from ‘T’ and the blood on the side of Samson’s face was not an injury but, was from a Coot that he had eaten earlier. Thanks, ‘T’.

In Miami…

Rita, the Bald Eagle mate of Ron, at the Miami Zoo, was a celebrity before she was critically injured with a double compound fracture to her right wing on Sunday. She has been stabilized and operated on and what a lucky eagle she is – had she not been found so quickly and taken to care by the police who found her, she would have died. Maggots had already started growing. So sad.

A round of applause to everyone who helped this injured eagle. The next 48 hours will be crucial – send Rita all your best wishes. The surgery will not happen for another 2 or 3 days and then months and months of rehab before she could released, if she is released. Ron has been on the nest looking for her and just doesn’t understand what has gone on because she was picked up miles away from the nest.

https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/rita-the-bald-eagle-in-critical-condition-at-zoo-miami/

Here is TV coverage of Rita and her injury with more details.

In California, Jackie was caught on camera — yes, the camera is back up and running after the storm thanks to everyone for that. It is so good to see you, Jackie.

In Florida, the GHOWs are striking at Harriet and M15 again.


Port Lincoln Ospreys:

I wonder if Zoe dreams about fish dinners?

Once Zoe spotted Dad away, she flew over by Mum and waited for him to return with ‘her’ breakfast.

Dad did not disappoint. He brought a nice little fish for Zoe.

And our Zoe made quick work of that little fish and was ready for more!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No. 17. The Red List. The Scaup

There are two Scaup. Dominic Couzens in his text for Red Sixty Seven, suggests that the one in the United Kingdom be called the Greater Scaup because there is a Lesser Scaup across the pond in America. The one in the United Kingdom actually resides in both the United Kingdom, Europe and the ‘New World’. That is why, Couzens argues it should be the ‘greater’.

The Scaup breed in the taiga and the Arctic Tundra in the spring. They return to the United Kingdom in the autumn where they will spend the winter. They are medium sized diving ducks – not dabblers. They dive deep searching for aquatic invertebrates and plants. They normally feed during the day but have been seen foraging at night if the water has been disturbed during the day by boats and human activity. Did you know that to catch the invertebrates, the Scaup stick their bill into the mud, snap it closed, and swim forward scooping it up. They have been known to dive to 7 metres!

Greater Scaup LMO 1” by THE Holy Hand Grenade! is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Look carefully at the Greater Scaup above with its magnificent green head, glowing yellow eye, white bill with the tell-tale black ‘V’ at the base. This marks them out from their American counterpart whose head is an iridescent purple, the black ‘V’ at the base of the bill is missing, and the head is less round. The Greater Scaup has a black neck and breast, white underparts, a dabbled grey and white wing and back, with black tail feathers.

The female is a beauty. Her head is black with that striking yellow eye. She has a white crescent between her bill and her eye. The breast is a lovely chestnut, the back and wings a mottled chestnut and white with a black tail.

Greater Scaup (Female)” by Rick Leche is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Scaup make their nests on the ground where the eggs can easily be predated by foxes, dogs, The female lines her nest with the down from her breast. The nests are generally near the edge of the water in areas that are known not to flood. Generally between 8 and 13 eggs are laid.

Their main threat is human development, although they are preyed upon by owls, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and humans.  But there are other threats as well including water pollution and climate change. Alarmingly they are also caught up as bycatch when trawlers are out looking for fish.


It has been a difficult last few days in Bird World. As a friend reminded me, “it would not hurt so much if we didn’t care so deeply.” Continue to care. The Birds need all of us and more. Continue to feel. Do not get numb to the challenges they face that cut their lives much more shorter than they should be. Send out your best wishes to Samson for a safe return to Gabby, to Rita so she will stabilize for her surgery, to Alden so he will return to Annie.

I am sorry this letter comes with nothing but sadness save for Zoe who is thriving which is a good thing. Raise a glass of something – juice, water, your favourite adult drink – to our little lad. Soar high little Rubus. Soar high. You were much loved.

Thank you for being with me this morning. Please take care. I hope to see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ for the news bites about Rita, Envirobites, Port Lincoln Osprey, Openverse, Lady Hawk and SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, WRDC, Channel 10 News Miami, WFLA News, FOBBV, Cal Falcons, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam Project and Cilla Kinross, and Liz M for her tribute to Rubus.