CE9 at Captiva eating well, dual feeding at KNF-E3…Friday in Bird World

20 January 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

It is a good day or, rather, I should say, Thursday was a great day in Bird World.

Thursday turned out to be a fantastic day for a walk at the nature centre. It was only -8 degrees C with a wind of 8 km/h. Did the 5.65 km trail. It felt good to get out and breathe in some fresh air. There were even a few critters around.

This male Downy Woodpecker was having a real go at this pole.

Then he decided he would check out the Black Oil Seed feeder tube.

This little Red Squirrel has figured out how to get the peanuts out of the feeder. The sky was too bright behind and I cannot lighten the image any more but, I hope you can see him a bit. He was adorable.

His friend, on the ground, found some peanuts, too. The colour of their plumage is so beautiful. Love that red with the black tips on the fur of the tail.

The Black-capped Chicadees flitted in and out to the feeders when the others were not there.

The squirrels were everywhere!

There was a White-breasted Nuthatch on the square feeder when I turned the corner. We normally think of them feeding upside down on a tree or a tube feeder but, there it stood. Notice the long beak and then stop for a moment. Everyone knows that raptors have a back toe called a hallux. But did you know that the Nuthatch has one, too? The White-breasted nuthatch has three toes in front and the hallux or back toe which is long, behind. It helps them to grip tree trunks so that they can forage upside down!

Compare the length in the image below of the hallux and one of the front toes.

The Nuthatch sees me, gets its peanut and prepares to take off into the forest. It was a lovely day. Thankful to have real birds to see!


In the News:

Warming temperatures are causing fewer swans to winter in Britain. What if the tundra in Russia warms as well? I am very interested in the story of the swans. During the summer, there was a family of Tundra swans at one of the wetlands that I frequent. I took some poor photographs of them for you. As it happens, a Tundra Swan that should have migrated is wintering in Manitoba in the area north of me about an hour known as the Interlake. It has discovered an area of water fed by an Artesian well. Will it be able to get food? will we get really cold temperatures? or is Manitoba set for continuing warmer winters that might suit some swans? I wonder.

It appears that the warming climates in the UK might not be beneficial to the swans during the winter.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/19/bewicks-swan-population-vanishing-britain-climate-crisis?CMP=share_btn_link

Checking on the nests:

As it happens I was confused about the name of the eaglet at the Captiva Nest and had seen and been given different ones. then I confused all of you. Apologies all around! ‘F’ and ‘M’ wrote to confirm (thank you both) and I mention this below but, for everyone – it is Captiva Eaglet 9 or CE9. (LOL. I had CJ7 on my mind once – apologies. Thinking about Osprey!)

The worries at both the Captiva Bald Eagle nest and for any for the second eaglet at KNF-E3 clearly can take a back burner. Connie and CE9 are doing well. There is nothing wrong with the ability of the eaglet to open its beak and eat as seen in the second image below. The wee one has a full crop also.

That late feeding of Clive the other evening made all the difference in the world to this eaglet getting strong in order to hold that head up. Fantastic.

The eaglet is getting stronger. We can see this by how it moves around the egg cup and is holding up its head – not much bobbling. The eyes are clear and focused so none of that fish juice seems to have caused any issues. This will all help with the feedings. Sweet little one. So happy to see this. Such relief.

I am just so over the moon for the turn around on the Captiva nest that I don’t know what to do! The next couple of images are from later in the afternoon. Baby has a nice crop and less juice on the head. Magnificent.

A new Coot had been brought on the KNF-E3 nest and a nice large fish. The eaglets are pecking at the Coot and Andria gives them a good feed from the fish. E02 ate first and this time nothing E01 did deterred the little one from the table. It is amazing how seeing food on a nest can calm things down!

The pair had a good feeding with Mum at 16:16. You can see the crops. Oh, oh, and fat little bottoms with tails. 02 is getting its mohawk. Watch for their ‘lips’ to turn yellow!

Thanks to ‘A’, I did not miss the dual feeding for the last meal of the day. Alex flew down to the nest at 17:47 and joined Andria in feeding the eaglets. E02 was stuffed!!!!!!! It was a good day. Nice to see the babies going to bed full to the top of the crop. Alex brought that fish in at 17:46. A nice big half of one so lots of food for all.

At the KNF-E1 nest of Anna and Louis, Mum makes E03 stretch that neck (this is great for building good muscles) for its fish. Not a big crop from this feeding but fine.

If the eaglets at Superbeaks are not bursting at the crop, we might wonder what is wrong. They appear to be doing some self-feeding and some winger sizing. Towards the end of the day Muhlady lands on the nest to give the pair a feeding. Tico is eating first and getting some nice bites. Pearl is watching from behind. After awhile, Pearl decides she is ‘fed up’ with Tico’s grabbing all the prey and she becomes dominant. No worries. Sibling stuck at the back and wanting food. A series of images from Thursday so you could see how big these eaglets are. Another feeding followed. Muhlady likes to keep those babies full and happy.

Both eaglets still have a few dandelions on their heads. Pearl is darker overall as she has lost more of the dandelions on her body than Tico.

Wingersizing and self-feeding.

Big world out there for a 5 week old eaglet.

The eaglets are walking on the nest and are the size of a turkey about now. They have grow so well and Pepe and Muhlady have been amazing parents to these two. At 42 days or 6 weeks, the eaglets will be the size of their parents. Can you believe it? Look at how strong Pearl is and how steady she is on her legs now…improving every day.

Big world out there!

This is where I can identify the eaglets. Tico is nearest to us and Pearl is behind Mum. She waited and did not get a good location. Tico began eating first at the 16:04 feeding.

Tico got some really nice bites! Look at Pearl watching closely.

Tico gets more and more bites and Pearl is getting impatient. She wants to be fed by Mum, too.

Enough. Pearl wants some bites and she tells Tico.

You can see how dark Pearl’s head is and her body compared to Tico’s.

Pearl gets fed but Tico is a real good one at the snatch and grab. No one goes away hungry.

Meal is finished. Pearl is on the left and Tico is on the right. Now you can see their plumage differences better.

As the sun goes down, the pair are fed again just so they go to bed with a full tummy. What a fabulous nest. So lucky to be able to watch this family of four.

As many of you know, M15 dropped a fish on E22. There has been much concern over E22’s eye. E22 has been eating well and following with its eyes today (Thursday). This morning, Friday, E22’s eyes look much better. The Pritchetts have posted a bit of a long stating that E21 has been bit of a stinker this morning. See below with this morning’s images.

These details are form the Pritchett website.

“9:45a H still on the attic. E’s resting at the rails. 9:49a H flies to the drive snag. 9:50a M in with a squirrel. E’s move close to M , watch it being defurred. E21 warns E22 off, E22 submits. 9:57a M feeds E21, E22 moves away.”

Here is the link to their page. You will also notice that they state no intervention will take place. I find this interesting after E17 and E18 and their conjunctivitis. But…what is important is that E22’s eyes seem much better!

https://dickpritchettrealestate.com/southwest-florida…/

Wingersizes:

At Big Bear, Shadow brought in an American Coot yesterday. Jackie has been feeding off of it. For those that do not know, a Coot is not a duck. It is specifically a rail but, it swims in the water and forages in the ponds. It is black with a distinctive white beak and a brick-red cere. They are large and the eagles eat off of them for days!

Shadow is up to his old tricks to get Jackie off the eggs so he can have some incubation time — it is called ‘Let’s Move some Sticks’!

Notice that Jackie’s beak is clean when she leaves. It will have the marks of eating bloody prey when she returns.

You can get a good look at Shadow’s hallux (right foot) in the image below.

Here comes Daddy!

Jackie is back with a slightly bloody beak. She must have had a nice Coot lunch.

As evening arrived, the snow flakes began to fall on the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear.

Zoe is 124 days old. Dad delivered 1 fish for his girl on the 20th (Australian time/day). She is anxiously awaiting more deliveries today. The camera showed a view of the old barge ? with an Osprey on it. I could not see a tracker but it does not mean it wasn’t Zoe. It was 07:09. She has been flying more and PLO are wondering if she is following Mum and Dad to fish.

Osprey is almost in the centre. Head turned to the right, back towards us.

In Florida, Jack and Diane have done an amazing job transforming that Achieva Osprey nest. My goodness, it doesn’t look like the same place. Let us all continue to hope that the bark brought in will help with that hole that the Crows and squirrels made last year that cost this couple their clutch.

Adjustments being made at Captiva Osprey platform. MO and FO returned to the nest after. I am not thinking eggs in the immediate future. No soft materials in that nest and no defined egg cup.

But, of course, they will go ahead and lay the eggs tomorrow just to show me that there is an egg cup hiding there in the centre and we can’t see it!

Sadly, the reign of terror at the Bald Eagle nest in Webster, Texas continues. The little one is only safe from the beaking when it is under Mum. It has found a way to hide but, clearly this situation is painful. It is unclear ‘why’ the eldest sibling, at such a young age, has launched into such brutal attacks when there is plenty of food on the nest. Bobbleheads cannot focus and often have beaking sessions when they are young but, it is rare to see such frenzied attacks. It reminds me of DH14 towards DH16 last year at the Dale Hollow nest last year. So very sad. I hope the behaviour stops before the wee one dies.

Let’s leave on a good note. The ‘new guy’ at The Campanile has finally brought a prey gift to Annie!!!!!!!!!! Yipppppeeeeee.

There are major and wonderful gains at Captiva with CE9. There is fish and both eagles at KNF-E3 ate well. Jackie and Shadow are fine. Gabby and V3 are fine. Diane and Jack seem to be thinking of eggs and Diane’s leg is good…and I forgot to check at Berry College! Egg 1 is 36 days old and egg 2 is 33 days old. We are still a little shy of pip watch and it seems nothing has happened. Saturday maybe!

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, their posts, their videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘F and M’, ‘A’, The Guardian, Window to Wildlife, KNF-E3, Ron and Ruth Aguillard, KNF-E1, Superbeaks, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, Carol Shores Rifkin and the NEFL and SWFL Eaglecam Watercress Club, FOBBV, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Achieva Credit Union, SK Hideaway and Cal Falcons.

Bobbleheads, pips…Sunday Morning in Bird World

Good Morning Everyone!

Oh, Saturday looked promising for a nice walk in the forest. No! It was only -12 C but the winds were gusting more than 16 kph which means wind burn. I ‘decided’ reluctantly that it would be a good morning to clean house while listening to Ferris Akel’s tour. At the same time, I was very much aware of the European Starlings – all 40 of them – that had descended on the garden. Out went two new cylinders -a plain butter bark one and a seed cylinder. The images are poor because of the light. The Starlings came not just to eat but to ‘sun’ themselves on the tips of the lilac branches rotating their bodies to get warm. Brilliant.

These Starlings are nothing short of gorgeous. They live in harmony with the many sparrows that show up at the feeders. It is the squirrels that cause most of the havoc claiming the entire 10 metres of lilac bushes as their own.

All four of the squirrels were out and about – Dyson and two summer babies and Little Red. The images of them could not be lightened any more. It is unfortunate as this little summer offspring of Dyson is so cute. My offering is one meagre image. This little male was finding peanuts in the snow and eating them. So sweet.


My top story is a shout out to the wildlife rehabbers and the vets in Prince Edward Island for undertaking only the second spinal cord compression injury and the eagle surviving! When I was a professor, one of the things I valued was curiosity above almost everything else. ‘What if I did this?’ ‘How can we improve that?’ ‘Could something like this work?’ Questions that often result in our wildlife having a second chance at life. I wish more vets and rehabbers were as curious as some who make milestones in our understanding of raptor injuries and the potential with groundbreaking surgeries. Congratulations to everyone.

More good news. Another six of the Bald Eagles who suffered in Minnesota from phenobarbital poisoning (and some with high lead levels) were recently released. The staff at the wildlife rehab centre had to physically remove the poisoned/euthanized pets from the stomach of these beautiful birds before they could be treated. There were thirteen in total. One had Avian Flu along with the poisoning and died. Another two died leaving ten that were nursed back to health.

‘A’ has reminded me that pip watch will begin in one week at the Royal Albatross Colony on Taiaroa Head. The Royal Cam parents are GLY and L. What is so fascinating to me is how the NZ DOC recognises the impacts on Climate change and is trying to do something about it! ‘A’ included this quote from Ranger Sharyn Broni when she wrote, “

Virtually all the eggs will be hatched in the incubators as the increasingly hot summers make the risk of fly strike too great. We see the effects of climate change on these large birds quite markedly. During the 1950s for example, this type of work would have been unnecessary. By the 1990s conditions were more frequently hot enough to cause fly strike at some nests some of the time. It was during the 1990s that methods to repel flies and also to keep toroa cooler on the nest began. By 2018 fly strike is almost a certainty if the egg is left at the nest to hatch.

The dummy egg holds the parents on the nest while the egg hatches in the incubator over several days. The nest will be sprayed with AIL (Avian Insect Liquidator) to clear out any flies that may be living in the nest. The newly hatched chick has AIL applied to it prior to it being returned to the nest.

It is a whole lot better cleaning out kitchen cupboards and little ‘kitten’ things all over the house while listening to Ferris Akel’s Saturday Morning Bird tour of the Montezeuma/Ithaca area of the Finger Lakes area of upstate NY. I can stop and look if I hear something of interest or just listen. Ferris is a great advocate for being outside and for birdwatching as a way to let the stress of the world go! I will keep reminding all of us this winter as it is far too easy to stay inside on bad weather days. And sometimes advisable to do so!

There were Snowy Owls, swans of various species, gulls of various types including a Black-backed gull, Canada geese, Red-tail Hawks (a young adult with a red tail and light eyes), Northern Mockingbird, and Bald Eagles on the morning’s tour.

The images were chosen for very specific reasons.

Snowy Owls like ‘snowy, northern climates’. There are always a few around a small airport that Ferris frequents. They are commonly seen in the fields of the province where I live, and one, as you know, is in Southern California this winter!!!!!

A juvenile Tundra Swan with the grey head. Strangely, we have one still living in Winnipeg in an area that has some open water. It should not be here. Will it survive? So far our temperatures have not been constant -32 to -38 C. So, I am hopeful. Our climate is changing so it will be interesting if more stay in the future.

It is Bald Eagle hatch season in the US and while we all get giddy over little pink tootsies, it is good to know how the little eaglets change in their appearance until they become the iconic bird with it sure white head. The image below – look closely, has the yellow smile I spoke about yesterday in the eaglets on the Superbeaks nest. Its eyes are still dark but not as dark as the month olds at Superbeaks. They will continue to lighten. The cere, mandible, and beak are all espresso brown. The head is brown and the body has scattered white and brown striations on the chest. The eagle at the top fits nicely into being a year and a half old according to Avian Reports picture chart on eagle development (below this image). If it were a year old it would have prominent white streaks in its head.

The two eagles below are an adult pair. The beak and the head are definitive means of attributing age. Look at the chart often. It will not take you long to single out the age. But, always remember, eagles can get ‘stains’ on their feathers, especially the tail feathers and sometimes the head. So then look at the beak!

This is a gorgeous Red-tail Hawk. We know that it is at least a year old because it has its red tail. But the eyes remain light so it is not a full adult yet. What a beautiful hawk. My goodness you would think that it was a copy of a young Big Red with its extraordinary apron.

Those eyes are part way between a juvenile (blue/green) and an adult (dark chocolate).

Ferris spotted Big Red when he entered the Cornell Campus. For some reason, the sighting was very emotional. Big Red will be 20 years old this year. What she has gone through to survive that long is beyond imagination. As far as we know, she has only ever had one chick not fledge and that was K2 who had to be taken into care because of a beak/jaw infection/deformity and who had to be euthanised. She is the most famous Red-tail Hawk in the world and rightly so. She will be laying eggs in mid-March.

Ferris caught up with Big Red on one of the light stands as the light was really going late in the day. You can see the wind is really blowing. She is holding on tight to the bars of the stand. Every sighting of her is a joy. It is 1 degree C and the wind is blowing at 14 kph on the ground so it is really windy on the top of the tower. Evan the tower is moving a lot.

Ferris also found L4, the 2022 fledgling of Big Red and Arthur. It was the first year that Big Red had four eggs and had four fledglings. No one believed a 19 year old hawk could do that – Big Red is changing everything we know about Red-tail Hawks in the wild.

In this side view, you can clearly see that the eyes are still light. Not yet a year old.

L4 looking up as some Canada Geese fly overhead.

Little E22 is already such a cutie. Harriet and M15 are a dynamic duo. The DNA running through those two eagles gives us very strong eaglets right out of the broken egg shell. E22 is standing up pretty good…only a few hours after hatching.

Want some fish, E22?

By late afternoon, it was apparent that 21 and 22 had several feedings. There was fish juice all over them. Any bearing came accidentally from 22 whose eyes are not yet focusing. Harriet and M15 must be the most patient feeders!

At 1757, they both had juice and matted feathers everywhere especially 22. The following image gives you a terrific look at that egg tooth and how it extends so much below the mandible. Imagine the eagle on its back hammering away.

Harriet and M15 are great partners. It was only a matter of time before 21 bonked 22. So Harriet, who had been feeding the pair alone, called in M15 to help. Lady Hawk caught the tandem feeding in the following video.

At Anna and Louis’s KNF E-1 nest there have been plenty of opportunities Saturday morning to see the eggs but, no obvious pip. Eggs are 39 days old and 34 days. Average hatch time in Louisiana is 35-39 days so folks are sitting on the edge of their seats to see if this young couple will have a hatch (or two) this year.

Both Anna and Louis have been incubating and rolling the eggs. Louis is a great provider and Anna has proven to be a really good eagle Mum. I was so hopeful they would have two chicks this year as the food resources are there but, it might well be that they, again, have only one. One is fine!

Oh goodness. There is a pip seen after 1300 Saturday. Jumping up and down! Tomorrow there will be a wee one for Anna and Louis. (could be later in the day on Sunday depending on its progress)

At 1652, you can really see the progress that little eaglet is making. Well done!

It is raining in Louisiana this morning. Louis covered the eggs with nesting material not giving us any hint as to how the hatching is going!

At the E3, nest of Alex and Andria, the two eaglets are growing like bad weeds in the garden plot.

Look at the bottom of E3-01!!!!!!! Well fed eaglets, both of them.

Eggs are being rolled at Metro Aviation. It is unclear if there is a pip. I saw a black spot but I think it is nesting material. Will these eggs hatch? The first egg is 42 days old today. The second egg is 39 days. Remember the average is 35-39 for Louisiana Bald Eagle eggs. It is possible that neither egg is viable. But we wait and hope for this couple.

At Berry College, Pa Berry was on the nest. We have some time before pip watch for these two Georgia Bald Eagles. Egg 1 is 26 days old today and egg 2 is 23 days old.

All is well at Superbeaks! Both are on the nest and I haven’t had to scream yet today about the lack of chair rails…but, oh, I wish these eagles would strengthen the sides of this nest.

Rolling eggs at Captiva. Next week is pip watch for Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. That is a very clear camera image!!

At the Captiva Osprey nest, Andy and Lena are now replaced by FO and MO. They need to bring more nesting material and everyone would love to see some fish gifts. There is still time! Rumours have it that the pair mated on the nest for the first time on Saturday. I did not see it and I screamed at the rewind on the camera! I can neither confirm nor deny.

Elain continues to keep us up to date with her daily video summaries from Orange. Indigo made only one appearance on the 7th of January! Much more quiet, yes.

Geemeff posted an article on Twitter that is really informative about tracking devices and how they are so useful to our understanding of the movements, behaviour, and challenges our wildlife face. It is a really good read!

So where does a disappearing elusive Australian Painted-Snipe go if no one has hardly ever seen one? Just look at how lovely it is in the image above. I love that white eye line.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/08/vanishing-bird-the-mystery-of-the-near-mythical-australian-painted-snipe?CMP=share_btn_link

Keeping closer to home and keeping in mind that lovely book, Slow Birding (I think it is the favourite of 2022), I want to remind all of us that we can do things at home now or next year to enrich the lives of the visitors to our own gardens.

  • Provide shelter. No, it doesn’t need to be some elaborate structure. It could mean leaving some of those tall perennials in place to provide a place away from the wind or rain. If like me you have had to cut trees down (yes, sadly), place the limbs and branches around the garden preferably stacking them. Great shelter. In addition, the rotting wood will provide great feasts for birds that feed on insect life. I have several different 60 cm tree trunks that are now about 20 years old. The birds peck away at them in the spring and summer as they are slowing breaking down into a kind of mulch.
  • Looking at the seed and garden catalogues and wishing. Consider – and you must consider your own planting zone – climbers for shelter in the fall and winter but also plants that are bird, bee, and butterfly friendly in your area. I am looking for quick growing berry bushes and a couple of trees with berries right now to plant in the spring. The birds will all thank you.
  • If you have the space, the finances, and the physical ability, why not set up a couple of bird feeders? Feeding the birds really gives them a boost and a better chance at winter survival. Also consider seeds with shells and no shells. All of my garden birds love the Black Oil Sunflower Seeds but the empty shells make a huge mess. You can purchase already hulled seeds. (I rake mind and push them to the back of the mini-forest where they break down and help the soil). If you do put up feeders or bird feeding tables, you have to be able to clean them. Feeding birds is also about responsibility to them so they do not get disease. “The National Wildlife Health Center recommends cleaning bird baths and feeders with a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach. (If there is visible debris, scrub it off before soaking in the bleach solution.) Dry out the feeder before hanging it back up”.
  • Want to give the birds some treats? These ideas I originally found on the RSPB website. You can blend birdseed with unsalted nuts, raisins, and lard and press it into moulds or over pinecones and hang outside. Do you have some old hard cheese that could be grated? (no Blue apparently). Birds love it. My Starlings are loving pieces of apple and pear as well as raisins, sultanas, and currants. It is a good way to use up some bruised fruit. I put chunks into a tray feeder.

It is always my pleasure to bring you some of the recent news about our feathered friends. I did not cover Zoe today but rest assured, the girl is eating! Dad brought her a fish yesterday and it is believed Mum added one to that as well. Most days she has 3 fish delivered by Daddy and Mummy Door Dash. Oh, they must be wishing she would move out of the house?? But, they will dutifully continue to feed their girl. No fear. They are dedicated. It is nearing noon in Australia as I write this and Zoe is 112 days old and she is yelling at Mum who is on the ropes for a fish. Time to become independent dear girl. Or are we set to break other records? She is exploring the area but is she exploring places where she could catch fish? And Ervie! Oh, I wish someone would submit some images of Ervie. Missing that beautiful boy.

Oh, thank you so much for being with me today. It is wonderful to know that there is such a supportive community ‘out there’ for our feathered friends. Please take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their tweets, announcements, articles, posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘A’ and NZ DOC, Ferris Akel Tours, Avian Reports, SWFL Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Lady Haw, and SWEagle Cam and D Pritchett, KNF 1, KNF 3, Metro Aviation, Berry College Eagle Cam, Superbeaks, Window to Wildlife, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Geemeff, The Guardian, and Port Lincoln Ospreys and Friends of Osprey.

Pepe brings in an evening snack, more visitors to Gabby’s nest…it is Sunday in Bird World

18 December 2022

Good Morning Everyone from a very snowy Manitoba! It has been a long time since we have seen so much snow dumped on the Canadian Prairies at one time. It is beautiful and a good way to slow down.

The Starlings showed up at their usual time for some of the suet.

The House Sparrows were here – mostly on the ground eating seed that Dyson & Company had dumped on the ground. You see the squirrels have found a way to empty one of the feeders entirely by shining on it!

Dyson is in her favourite spot. I always know where to find her. The other three – her babies from the summer – are doing well. She has taken good care of them.

It is a different story in the house. Lewis and Missey want to help with everything including the new images of Aran that have arrived from Glaslyn or the squirrel cards from DaniConnorWild.

Are they so innocent?

One or the other loves to get in this little basket. When they first arrived, both of them could fit in it. No longer! I am now calling them cats instead of kittens!

Lewis pretending he is an angel. I will not take my eyes off him or these candles while they are on. It is way too easy for a cat to burn their fur or start a fire. In fact, after sitting nervously for a few minutes, I have decided to only use candles if they are covered by a glass globe.

With the help of ‘J’, the memorial listing of the birds that we have lost is getting filled in much better. I have now returned to it with her help – while at the same time preparing a summary of Port Lincoln’s season for Claudio and the incredible International Osprey Data Bank he has created for me to track the Ospreys on the streaming cams. By the end of the first week in January, there will be a separate page with the Memorial Wall for 2021-22. If you have any additions (or corrections), please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Let us all hope that 2023’s listing is much shorter.

I don’t always get to sit and watch Ferris Akel’s Saturday Tour but, it is often playing in the background. Whenever he is talking about an interesting bird – instead of just searching for them – I jump up. Today, there was a Belted Kingfisher. Isn’t it lovely? I have never seen one and they look like such unique characters with that long pointed beak and that ‘bed head’. Love the colour palette of the plumage, too. Lovely birds.

Several Bald Eagles were out in the fields near Montezuma. Ferris has a way of spotting them and I have no idea how he does it.

One of the most exciting moments for me was a Northern Harrier hunting in the fields and catching some prey!

It is hard to see but they have a face like an owl with plumage that captures the sounds. They fly low to the surface of the land to catch their prey unlike other hawks that might hover or sit on poles and wait.

I cannot imagine, for a single moment, not wanting to allow them to have a bird or a vole for their dinner. Beautiful creatures.

There were also Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. You could see areas with some open water while others were covered with ice or were slushy.

A Horned Lark had found some food and was eating it on the side of the highway. Silly one!

There were Snow Geese and Canada Geese, too.

They had been feeding on the fields of corn that had been harvested and then all of a sudden, they flew away. Ferris was happy. Last year at this very site someone shot a Snow Goose while he was broadcasting.

Ferris spotted Arthur and a juvenile Red-tail Hawk on the grounds of Cornell University. I would like to think that the juvie that was hunting is L4 who has decided to stay in its parents territory. Certainly Arthur and Big Red are not running it off!

Arthur is all poofed up. It is 0 degrees C and they are due for some more snow. Notice the very deep brown/black eyes of the adult Red-tail. Arthur does not have the majestic apron of Big Red on his chest so it is easy to tell them apart. Such a little cutie, Arthur is. Big Red was seen recently by Karel Sedlacek so I am not worried that Ferris did not see her. It is hard to imagine but in three months time we will be watching for Big Red to lay her eggs. She will be 20 years old this spring! Wow.

This is the juvenile that I believe to be L4. If you look carefully you can see the light celadon of the juvie’s eyes.

Ferris Akel is a wealth of knowledge who gives his time and shares the birds around the area of Ithaca with us almost every Saturday of the year. He has been doing this for more than ten years now. He is humble but, I learn something every time I stop to listen to his programme. You can subscribe to his channel on YouTube and there is a chat moderated by a fellow Canadian, Dolphin. I often lurk – but, everyone is grand and they will welcome you to chat if you say ‘hi’.

As night began to fall, Pepe flew into the Superbeaks nest with a huge prey for Muhlady and the eaglets. I am trying to figure out what it is – a Black duck with red? Anyone know what this might be? Is it a Red-legged Black Duck?

Muhlady certainly seemed pleased and what a nice time to bring the prey. A snack for everyone before bed and some breakfast in the morning. Lovely. This is my first time watching this nest – in fact, it is a new nest on streaming cams. One never knows what to expect but this eagle family seems to have a good source of prey and they are very smart – having their eaglets before it gets too hot! Can’t wait til we can see those wee ones a little more. You certainly can hear them if you tune in.

I had a giggle today. Lady Hawk called Gabby’s nest ‘As the Nest Turns’, too. And it certainly is a revolving door. Today there was a 4 year old and a juvenile less than 2 years which led me to want to think it was Legacy!

Legacy, I don’t know if this is you but, if it is, you are still as gorgeous as ever. It is those piercing eyes…I have looked several times at images of Legacy and it sure could be her. I sure wish someone would band these eaglets! And here is my reasoning. For the past several days, we have been receiving images of Siren 5F who is the mate of Dylan at Llyn Clywedog. She is perched in her regular roost in The Gambia where she winters. Easily recognisable. No guesses. That is how banding can help – amongst other things.

That 4 year old eagle sure has Samson’s legs!

A short video of V4 flying into the nest with V5. Someone mentioned Gabby abandoning this nest. The Bald Eagles are attached to the nest. I cannot see a reason for her to leave it unless she were ‘run out’ of the territory by a bonded couple intent on taking over the territory and the nest.

One of the resident Ospreys at the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey is Bailey. She was the companion of Smedley who sadly died last year. Yes, Ospreys do well in care!!!!!

Wow. Look at this image from the scrape at Charles Sturt University in Orange today. The expression on Diamond and Indigo’s faces are amazing.

At the same time, Indigo can be just a darling.

Elain’s highlights of the day at the Orange scrape. Always welcome, Elain. You do a wonderful compilation! Thank you.

Ron is quite the catch. I sure hope some deserving female flies into his nest! He is doing a super job of working on it. Someone today wished that Ron and Gabby could get together. That would be one super couple.

Jackie and Shadow working on their nest. They were caught mating on the other camera today!

As we wait for eggs to be laid or hatch, for Gabby to get a new mate or not, there is not a lot going on in Bird World and for that, I am truly grateful.

Good news has come to us from the rehabilitation centre that has cared for WBSE27 and who is now training WBSE30. We know that 27 is flying free. We have seen her tracking. They did a marvellous job teaching her to fly and to hunt and they are now doing the same for 30. Let us hope that she, too, will be equipped with a tracker so that we can follow her movements.

The top image is 27 leaping off a perch while she was being trained before she was released. The bottom image is 30 being trained now. Warm wishes for her life to be as successful as her older sister’s.

30 is on the perch on the right.

I have not been able to find a recent update on WBSE 29. Lady and Dad have, however, visited the nest tree the other evening. So nice to see them!

And a quick check on Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. I caught Dad delivering either a small fish or a piece of a fish to Zoe at 1402. She spots him coming. My goodness, Zoe, you are loud! They could hear you across the lagoon.

So, with the lull, let us turn back to our Red List of Vulnerable Birds published in the UK.

No. 20 The Red List: The Smew

Smew” by hmclin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The author, Ben Watt, calls this darling black and white diving duck, the ‘Karl Lagerfeld’ of the divers. Watt uses such terms as ‘vivid white crest, jet black shades, white tux, …moving elegantly’. What a grand description. Quite fitting.

The top image is of a male Smew. The bottom is of the female adult. Just look at that magnificent rusty head on the female. Quite striking and gorgeous.

Smew – male” by Len Blumin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Zoo Smew” by hmclin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

There are fossils of Smew going back 1.5 million years ago and yet this gorgeous little waterfowl is at risk of going extinct in our life time. Watt is on a crusade to save this bird that inhabited the wetlands near to his home. In 1956, there were 144 recorded wintering at the Brent Reservoir (Welsh Harp). It was a record! Today, there are 10. I did not keystroke that wrong – ten. So what is the problem? Climate change caused by humans. Milder winters, the increase of water sports and the pollution of waters. Watt says, ‘These days, the two inflowing rivers at the Welsh Harp are badly oxygen-depleted, and high in urban run-off, contaminated with silt, phosphates and micro plastics. Feeding grounds are suffering and the numbers of regular species are on the decline.’

We could of course say this for most of our waterfowl. Indeed, ‘A’ and I have been wondering about the silt flowing into the water at Port Lincoln due to flooding slightly north. Luckily, for the Smew, they can stay year round in various bodies of water near Amsterdam where they number close to 200 at a single count.

Last today, ‘J’ has been helping me with the memorial wall asks that we keep Victoria Cockatoo in our thoughts and prayers. Victoria is a 50 year old Cockatoo that had a very hard life before she was taken in by a kind owner, April. As a result of the treatment she received earlier in life, Victoria is battling significant health problems and is in hospice.  Yesterday she was eating April’s breakfast so there is some hope on improvement. Here is that link:

https://www.facebook.com/ParrotPlayhouse

Please also keep Alden, Samson, and Rita in your positive thoughts as well.

From somewhere in Australia, a tree full of Rainbow Lorikeets that used to come and wish our lovely little Black Pacific Duck Daisy nesting on the big WBSE tree ‘good morning’.

Thank you so much for being with me today. It is lovely to have you here with us. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: OpenVerse, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, FOBBV, Raptor Recovery Australia and Judy Harrington and Sea Eagle Cam, WRDC, NEFL-AEF, Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey, Superbeaks, and Ferris Akel’s Live Tours.

Ervie, Indigo…and more news in Bird World on Sunday

13 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

Saturday was one of those quiet stay-at-home days. It gave me a chance to think of the ways that those of us who live in wintery climates cope with the weather. As it is, the sow is dancing down right now. The European Starlings are eating suet and Butter Bark and Mr Crow cawed so much that I gave him high protein kitten kibble. Oops. The Starlings have found the kibble!

Inside the house, the candle holders have been cleaned and given new candles. An apple crisp is in the oven. So, instead of starting out birds today, we will begin with something simple to make your house cosy on a crisp day. Put 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon in a 2 litre (qt) pot. Leave the peel on – that is where the lovely oils are. Add a few bay leaves, 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks, a good tablespoon of cloves, and cover the whole with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer. You can add water as needed. I used to add tea bags to the brew. It is a lovely spiced tea but needs some straining. The other thing you can do is to take the peels of your oranges and lemons and use them. I always have bags in the freezer! It is part of a strategy to have zero waste.

Making News:

Our darling Ernie. Poster child of handsome beginning to do some moulting.

For the very first time successful fledges at Maine’s Hog Island Boathouse Osprey platform. Dory and Skiff are making the news! Congratulations to this Osprey couple who successfully fledged three osplets from the Hog Island Osprey platform this year. What an amazing family this was to watch.

Oh, so very grateful to Cilla Kinross for finding Indigo and showing us how this handsome lad is doing after fledging. Isn’t he a stunner?

Tweed Valley fledged three ospreys this year. Two of them have perished. The other, Glen, found himself on a couple of container ships before finally making it to Spain! Here is the latest on this youngster.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-63584969?fbclid=IwAR1vsE2ErGcB71e711Z9k01Xt4GWUC4PDPCn03KH3yCzRLdl3MECQnPSDz8

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ sent me some grand news. It is amazing what we can do when we get together to help benefit the environment and wildlife. A community joined together and raised 2.2 Million GPB to purchase a tract of land to enlarge a nature reserve. Just think – this could be a way of halting development in areas that are needed by the wildlife. Is there land where you live that is adjacent to a nature reserve that could benefit from such an endeavour? Keep this positive action in mind if ever you get a chance to work with your community.

File:The Ewes Water Valley – geograph.org.uk – 1538379.jpg” by James T M Towill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

You can read about this successful project here:

https://www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/langholm-moor-ps22-million-raised-to-complete-community-buyout-3793764

Australian Nests:

All eyes are on Port Lincoln. Ian Falkenberg was up at midnight finishing up the permit forms – that myriad of red tape that Port Lincoln has to do in order to ring the osplets on the nests. Fran and Bazza said that he was up again at 0600 getting ready. So, today, Big, whether you like it or not you will be weighed, measured, hopefully a sample of your blood is taken for DNA, and you will be given a sat pak. Big, we all know that you are one big cranky girl that won’t let any bird get in your way. You are now the only hope of Port Lincoln for 2022 – you carry a heavy responsibility. Please do not ever land on a hydro pole no matter how much you might want to.

Ian Falkenberg has made the call to postpone putting the tracker and ringing until later today or tomorrow. This cannot be done in wet weather. In addition, it really is now or never. In the UK, birds are not banded after 45 days because of the great fear of scaring them off the platforms and fledging early.

Mum and her ‘Big’ Girl crying out to Dad.

Dad brought a fish in around 0815. Big kind of rushed Mum once she had the fish. Mum got the catch anchored to her talon and flew around the nest arriving on the other side where she had control of the fish. It was headless so Dad has his share, too. Mum and Big had a nice chunk.

A small headless fish arrived around 1515.

The rain began. Mum and Dad had been perched together. Mum flew over to the nest to Big and Dad joined them at 19:44.

It appears that three of the Melbourne Four have now fledged. One remains at night and some of the others show up on the ledge for prey deliveries.

At Orange, Rubus is shedding many of the dandelions and is watching for Xavier and Diamond to deliver prey. They do not disappoint. Here was yesterdays recap from the moderators: RECAP 10 41 15 D w/ prey, Rubus takes; 11 25 12 X w/prey, D arrives/feeds: 13:31:22 X w/juv star, feeds, X takes: 16:30:10 X w/prey, feeds 18 53 31 Xw/prey, Rubus takes, D arrives , tug o war, D feeds.

There was a tug o war and lots of excitement. Just look at how much of the baby fluff is now gone.

Other Bird News:

One of the things that changes for me – during the winter – is that I do not travel on the roads as much nor do I go to the nature centre 5 days a week for a walk. Saturdays become very quiet and one of the joys is having Ferris Akel in the background doing his live stream around Wildlife Drive, Montezuma, Sapsucker Woods, and Ithaca, New York. We have a few ducks still in the City and a few geese were flying overhead this evening. Someone even has a Baltimore Oriole in their garden today – with the snow! I am, however, having duck withdrawal and Ferris does seem to find them this time of year! I really recommend Ferris Akel’s tours on Saturdays beginning about noon Eastern time. Ferris is humble always saying he doesn’t know this or that but, he does. I have learned so much for him. In fact his tour is often on in the background to whatever else I am doing. You can also check out some of the archived tours of Ferris by going to YouTube and entering Ferris Akel Live.

‘A’ said that she had learned to embrace ‘brown’ never realising that there are so many shades and hues. Fantastic! That brings me great joy. Most of the female birds are considered dull compared to the flamboyant colours of some of the male species. Here is a female Ruddy Duck. Just look at all those wonderful browns and tans, there is a touch of caramel and espresso, and that lovely sort of grey-brown.

All of the birds are at a great distance from where Ferris is streaming. The images are then quite soft. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy the few that I am including.

Just a slightly different angle.

A female Shoveler. You can never mistake a Shoveler for a Mallard. Just look at that bill. It is massive in comparison to the size of the head.

There were American Coots and I know that none of us will ever make the mistake of saying a Coot is a duck. It isn’t.

Oh, how I love Sandhill Cranes. They glean the farmer’s fields just after the seed crops have been harvested. There are many in Southern Manitoba in October doing this exact same thing. Gorgeous.

I don’t blame the Canada Geese getting out of Canada. Gosh, golly, it looks like much more fun in the pond at Sapsucker Woods than it is walking around in the snow in Canada and not finding any food.

What shocked me is precisely how much smaller the geese are when compared to the swans.

Just look at that. It makes the Canada Geese look like miniature ducks. Seriously. And I have always thought of them as large.

There was a juvenile Bald Eagle lurking about at Sapsucker Woods also.

Looking for some lunch?

No 6 The Red List: The Hawfinch

Ah, this is another one to pull out those shades and hues of brown. With its head the colour of rust or Corten Steel, its black bib and black eye surround, and heavy beak, this beautiful little bird, the Hawfinch, has a jaw and beak so strong that it can exert pressure of more than 50 kilograms on a seed! The strong triangular beak is black in the winter changing to a blue-black in the summer. Notice the rusty head in comparison to the grey-brown back and that intensive brick-brown eye. Both males and females are similar in appearance.

Hawfinch bill

Hawfinches like to live in woodland where they will feed off various hard seeds. Some, if you are lucky, can be found around gardens eating cherries. The male builds the nest out of dry twigs and grasses lining it with lichen. The female will take over in roughly a fortnight.

Today there are less than 1000 breeding pairs of Hawfinch in the UK. There are a number of causes. Nest predation by Jays and Grey Squirrels is one of these. In Wales, the culprit has been trichomonosis. Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite attacks the upper digestive tract, mainly the crop and esophagus making it difficult for the bird to eat. It can also impact the liver, lungs, and air sacs. The fourth hatch at Melbourne last year died of trichomonosis as did the Mum at the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland this past summer.

That’s it for today. I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend. It looks like it could be dry at Port Lincoln so maybe, at the age of 57 days, Big will be ringed and get that sat pak. We wait to see.

Thank you for being with me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which make up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Audubon, Cilla Kinross and the Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon FB, BBC, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Ferris Akel Tours.