Ervie gets the breakfast fish!

The fish arrived on the nest at Port Lincoln at 6:35:01 and immediately Ervie was mantling it.

Needless to say, Ervie really is the boss of this nest and for good reason. He has fabulous survival instincts.

As you know, my interest is in third hatches and how well they do on nest and off. It will be very informative on how well Ervie does when he leaves the area of the nest seeking out his own fishing spots.

Bazza and Falky might wish that Ervie would fly off and not return.

I only commented once but watchers were calling Falky ‘Mellow Yellow’. It is time that Falky was not so laid back. Yesterday, Bazza took the second fish while Falky had the fish tail from Ervie’s earlier breakfast. If I missed Falky getting a fish, I apologize. It would be good if each had one fish per day. They are all well-feathered and Bazza and Falky will fledge when they are good and ready. e

Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to watch Ervie learn how to fish?

At 7:43, Ervie is still eating but his two siblings are hanging close hoping to get some leftovers.

Ah, and Falky got it. Well done, Falky.

If you missed Ervie’s fledge, here it is again. It is quite beautiful on the take off and fly by but the landing was not impressive! Still, I applaud our third hatch lad. Ervie, you are amazing. You are definitely the leader of the pack, so to speak.

If you missed Victor Hurley’s Q & A discussion, it was really really super. I posted that link in my blog, Ervie Flies! early this morning. Very informative and you can start and stop it as you like. If you are interested in falcons or Australian birds of prey – it really is a talk not to miss.

Since the shut down of the 367 Collins Street camera, I hope that many of you are filling that gap with Yurruga in the water tower scrape of Charles Sturt University at Orange. As a former academic, we do not like to comment on others’ research. There were a couple of questions to Victor Hurley about the scrape at Orange and he answered in general terms. Someone asked about the low hatch rate and the eggs. VH said that if the eggs are too large (and he does not know that is the case at Orange) it is hard for the chick to kick them to create a crack all around the egg. He also noted that sometimes eggs get turned when a beak is protruding and the chick cannot right itself if the egg is turned around. Of course, VH said that those are general statements and not specific to Orange. He did comment that Yurruga gets all the food while the four at Collins Street had less bites per chick. He also noted that the Collins Street Four developed quite fast this year and that Yurruga appears to be developing normally. So, she is 8 days younger and the amount of floof she has is normal for this stage.

One of the things that I took away from VH’s discussion was how adaptable Peregrine Falcons are. If there is a drop in numbers of a prey item, they will move to something else. For example, some Alaskan Peregrines have been known to eat trout. The image below was shown as an example.

This year I noted a drop in the amount of pigeon delivered to the scrape at Collins Street. This could, according to VH, be a result of the several lockdowns they have had due to the pandemic. Less people eating their lunch and feeding the pigeons. He did note that the male did bring in Quail and Rail. The falcons normally have a 5 km hunting range but are known to go farther. The are for Collins Street is prey rich. The red dot indicates the site of the nest box.

The falcons do not spend a lot of time on the ledge after the eyases fledge. There is a good reason for this – parasites.

As we learned with Grinnell, the male at the University of California – Berkeley Campanile scrape, birds can become loaded with parasites and they might not be able to protect themselves as well as if they were healthy. Grinnell was taking anti-parasite medication to overcome this. We know he is improving and will be released shortly.

One of the most interesting things to come out of this talk had to do with how the females are attracted to a mate. VH said that there are ‘stunning’ Peregrine males. You and I have seen them. They have an almost orange cere and legs. Dark black, really black, hoods with cream chests and very fine pinstripe chests. Those are the extremely healthy males and the females want healthy. Pale yellow indicates unhealthy. So now when you look at a falcon you can tell healthier vs not so much.

Also falcons divorce. If the female hooks up with a male and he does not share incubation duties or bring in prey, she will move on the next year. The male stays with the nest but it could be in a prey deficit area. At any rate, it was a real good discussion! It is nice to listen to the expert in the area – even talk about rodenticide.

Little Yurruga is doing well. She was working on her breakfast the last I checked.

My daughter went to the Assiniboine River for a walk and discovered about thirty-five ducks still on the river. She sent some photos for us. She noted that there was at least one other group this size down the river.

There are a lot of signs on our park ponds not to feed the ducks and geese or they will not migrate. My daughter ran into a neighbour that says the ducks stay at that part of the river year round and people feed them. They added that parts of the river in that location have been open – not frozen over. I sure hope that is the case this year! There is also an American Bittern hanging around one of the creeks. Maybe they know that this big snow is just to scare us into thinking it is going to be a horrible winter and it will be mild. We wait to see.

The garden birds have found the seed left on the deck and Dyson has, of course, been helping himself. I missed getting him hanging upside down on a suet cylinder. The migrating birds are all gone from this area. Thankfully.

Dyson always knows when the food comes out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The feeders – and there are many different kinds – are all full. It was interesting to me that the sparrows did not mind standing on the snow. According to my daughter, the ducks really like being in the water and not having their paddles on the cold ice.

It is a good day to be inside!

Thank you for joining me today. There could be another fledge at Port Lincoln and we know there will be lots of prey for Yurruga. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross. I also want to thank the 367 Collins Street FB group for posting the link for Victor Hurley’s talk and my daughter for those great duck images.

Sadness and Joy

Everyone has been very saddened by the fact that there will not be four fledges from the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape in Melbourne. Everyone was both shocked and happy when Mum laid that fourth egg. It would have been a historic moment if all four had fledged. It is hard to lose a little one that we have come so close to – watching all of its antics.

Trichomonosis is caused by a parasite. In urban raptors, it is normally by the eating of an infected prey item. The neck and throat can swell and sores or cankers can appear. The birds cannot swallow and it is difficult to eat and breath. That is certainly not something we would wish on any bird. No one will ever know which of the prey deliveries carried this deadly parasite.

As one person said today – putting this loss in perspective – “we are lucky that we did not lose all of the birds.” They are absolutely correct. We have seen how prey items are shared and we now must hope and send warm wishes that none of the other family members succumb to this parasite. You can see in the image below how swollen the neck is of the little male in this image taken last evening. He is the one with the floof on his wings and back still. It is so sad.

Two of the siblings stayed with their little brother in the scrape box last night. The parents had been in earlier. I will disagree with anyone that says the parents and the siblings do not know what is happening with their family member. They do. They are just not afforded the luxury of having several days to mourn. They have to get on with their lives so that they survive.

In her book, The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman addresses (briefly) issues related to death and mourning in Corvids. The Peregrine Lady (Kate St John) who writes about the falcons in Pittsburg in her blog Outside My Window, has often commented that whenever one of the fledglings would die, the Mum falcon would go to her “mourning corner”. While she could not stay there for long because she had survivors to look after, it was a noticeable change in her behaviour when one of her own died and it was the only time she goes to that particular place. Kate St John’s blog is excellent and can be accessed at: birdsoutsidemywindow.org

Here is another article on mourning.

As Jennifer Ackerman states, “The jury is still out on whether birds grieve their own. But more and more scientists seem willing to admit the possibility.”

There is not a lot happening on the other Australian nests today, thankfully. The water is still a little choppy at Port Lincoln. Certainly not like it was yesterday when one of the nearby boats sunk. The three will no doubt be working on their hovering after getting some energy once that breakfast fish has arrived. And, yes, they could fledge anytime but I am counting on another week with these guys.

Yurruga is also waiting for her breakfast. She will be ready to fledge in a week but will she fly then? That is hard to imagine with all the floof still on her body! At that time the parents will continue to provide her with food and train her so that she can live a successful life as a falcon. Once she reaches that stage, they will invite her to leave their territory and find her own space.

Yurruga is adorable. Her name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori and she does certainly brighten up everyone’s day. Notice that she is standing on the rocks in the corner. She slept next to her Mum, Diamond, on Diamond’s rocks last night. Those rocks were put there on purpose so that Diamond would not be able to lay her eggs where they could not be seen by the camera. Yurruga only knows that Mum stands there and we get the benefit of seeing her beautiful face up close. What a darling.

Please do watch this beautiful family. Diamond and Xavier are fabulous parents! Yurruga is very vocal and right at this moment she is screaming for the parents to bring breakfast! I promise that Yurruga will delight you just as her brother Izzi did last year. Here is the link:

It is a very snowy day on the Canadian Prairies. A wonderful day to hunker down and read and drink lots of tea. If you have good weather and are heading out for a walk, enjoy it for me, too. This snow is like walking in a 15 cm or 6 inch Slurpee it is so heavy and wet. The birds are hiding in the wood boxes today, some of them.

Take care everyone. I so wish I had been able to have brought you good news about the little fellow. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Sad news out of Melbourne

I have had the most wonderful notes from so many of you worrying about the little peregrine falcon that hatched at 367 Collins Street. We were all so delighted with the prospect of four fledges and watching the parents work 24/7 to keep them all fed and protected. You have watched, stayed awake and worried wondering what can be done for the baby, if anything.

The researcher for the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Project issued this statement today:

As people will have noticed the remaining nestling (a male) is struggling. I don’t know exactly what is going on. From my experience it is most likely a heavy *Trichomoniasis *infection. This is not uncommon in urban and industrial settings where introduced prey species make up a higher proportion of the diet. It is now too late to intervene and approach the ledge as this is guaranteed to lead to this nestling jumping off of the ledge to a certain gravity induced fate. In fact the disease has probably already progressed too far. To approach it once it is too weak and malnourished to make that jump will also be too late to actually prevent it succumbing to this disease. I have consulted with people whose experience with this species and disease I respect and they have reconfirmed the merits of this approach which has been adopted at 367 Collins Street for some years now. As it becomes increasingly obvious that the disease is progressing I will be recommending Mirvac to then switch off the live feed. Little will be gained by watching its last hours or days. It is worthwhile recalling that there is almost by necessity a relatively high mortality within top order predators in their first one to two years of life. One consequence of this is that the environment does not become over-populated/crowded by predators which will be constantly attacking each other and may also then locally wipe out one or more prey species. With this in mind it is worth recalling that approximately 66% of juvenile Peregrine Falcons die in their first or second year. In Victoria 13% of the mortalities recorded of juvenile Peregrine Falcons are due to *Trichomoniasis *infection. This is based from 146 known mortalities. On another note I would like to firstly thank Leigh for creating this site, inviting me to participate and hosting a really enjoyable and hopefully informative Q&A session again this year. To volunteer moderators and all those who contributed observation data on incubation and the feeding/diet studies you guys rock! You have maintained order in a social media environment prone to dischord. Finally, I thank everybody who has joined this group to create a positive online community working within the rules and watched this wonder of nature play out. Looking forward to a new Mirvac web site and camera format next year. Take care and be kind to others.

Victor Hurley, 12 November 2021

Here are those beautiful peregrine falcons at a happier time:

Take care everyone. I will bring you up to date on the other nests later today. This is a very sad day for Melbourne. We wish the parents and the three other extremely strong fledglings the very, very best.

Fall to winter

The beautiful weather that we had on the Canadian Prairies yesterday was due to dramatically change over night.

Footpath linking Portage Avenue with Assiniboine Park over the Assiniboine River

Our weather will go from nice blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures to snow and then snow mixed with rain. It is currently 0 degrees C and will warm up to a balmy 2 degrees C in the morning when the precipitation begins. My daughter messaged me to tell me there were still some Canada Geese and ducks in the Assiniboine River. It seemed like a good time to get out and go for one last nice walk.

The little Red Squirrel at Assiniboine Park knows that the warmth is not going to last. It was busy pulling off the seeds from a Maple tree and cramming them into holes and in the grooves in the bark of a tree. He was so busy he did not even notice the people standing and watching him.

The geese were looking for any blade of grass to eat they could find.

Some were in the duck pond flapping their wings trying to stir up the plants from the bottom of the pond.

Others were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the warm sunshine.

It gets dark around 17:00 and as I was leaving some of the geese were flying away. Are they heading south for the winter?

I really hope that the geese and ducks got out of the City last night like the ones above taking flight. As promised, we have snow. Mr Blue Jay has come to visit and the sparrows are trying to find seed under the snow.

There are many feeders filled with sunflower chips, suet, black oil sunflower seeds, and then that wonderful ‘trail’ mix which looks better than what I make.

The sparrows in the snow on the deck know there are goodies underneath. Why they are not back at the feeders I cannot tell you. There is room for everyone there.

What a handsome little House Sparrow this fellow is. You can always tell them by their grey caps!

So how do birds cope with winter? This article was published by Daisy Yuhas in 2013 but it is still accurate now. Have a read – it is really interesting:

“Each autumn as many birds begin epic journeys to warmer climates, there are always some species that stay put for the winter. These winter birds have a better chance of maintaining their territory year-round, and they avoid the hazards of migration. But in exchange they have to endure the cold.Like us, birds are warm blooded, which means their bodies maintain a constant temperature, often around 106 degrees Fahrenheit. To make enough heat, and maintain it, they’ve evolved many different strategies–some similar to our own.Sparrows, for example, seek out shelter in dense foliage or cavities to avoid the elements. They also huddle, bunching together to share warmth, and try to minimize their total surface area by tucking in their head and feet and sticking up their feathers. Cardinals, impossible to miss against the snow, and other smaller birds puff up into the shape of a little round beach ball to minimize heat loss.”Big birds, like geese and grouse, do what we do,” says physiologist David Swanson at the University of South Dakota. “They put on insulation.” Their insulation often involves growing an extra set of insulating downy feathers.Birds can also put on fat as both an insulator and energy source: More than 10 percent of winter body weight may be fat in certain species, including chickadees and finches. As a result, some birds spend the vast majority of their daylight hours seeking fatty food sources, making feeder food even more precious for surviving a frosty night.When asked which birds are toughest winter survivors, Swanson points to little ones like chickadees. These small creatures can’t put on too much bulk for aerodynamic reasons. Instead, explains Swanson, they are experts in shivering. This isn’t the familiar tremble that mammals use to generate heat. Birds shiver by activating opposing muscle groups, creating muscle contractions without all of the jiggling typical when humans shiver. This form of shaking is better at retaining the bird’s heat.Another adaptation shared by many species is the ability to keep warm blood circulating near vital organs while allowing extremities to cool down. Take gulls. They can stand on ice with feet at near-freezing temperatures while keeping their body’s core nice and toasty.Keeping warm when the sun is up is one thing, but few winter challenges are more daunting than nightfall, when temperatures drop and birds must rely on every adaptation they have to survive their sleep. Some birds save energy by allowing their internal thermostat to drop. Hummingbirds are a famous example of this, undergoing torpor nightly as their body temperature drops close to outside temperatures. But torpor is not too common in winter birds, because the morning warm up would take too much extra energy. Instead, black-capped chickadees and other species undergo a more moderate version of this, reducing their body temperature as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit from their daytime level in a process called regulated hypothermia.One simple way to help birds when the weather outside is frightful is to hang feeders. To attract a diversity of birds, select different feeder designs and a variety of foods. A tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower or mixed seeds, for example, will attract chickadees and finches. Woodpeckers devour suet feeders. And a safflower or sunflower-filled hopper feeder entices the usual visitors plus larger birds like cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. The birds benefit from the backyard buffet, and you’ll have a front-row seat to numerous species flocking to your plants and feeders.” Some raptor species, lower their body temperatures. More on that another day as we shift from fall to winter.

It is not clear how many birds are on the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The Mum was there overnight with one – the one with some floof still on its back and wings in the scrape box below. There were two. Where is the other one? at the other end? flown off? difficult to tell. The one on the scrape box has just vocalized and headed down the gutter. I suspect it could be breakfast.

It is almost flying along the gutter now.

Fledging will be happening soon down in Port Lincoln and if you want to see how a hungry falcon acts just go over to the scrape in Orange. Yurruga is a week younger than the eyases in Melbourne. It is really foggy in Orange this morning so breakfast could be delayed. That link is:

Look for a lot of wing exercises and hovering from the trio at Port Lincoln. Ervie was doing a fabulous job yesterday.

Oh, I am really going to miss these lads when they fly to find their own way. Last year it was this Osprey nest that almost put me off my interest in third hatch ospreys. Siblicide is horrific. And it is this same nest (along with Achieva and Foulshaw Moss) that gives me hope that things can turn around for the good for the chicks. It has been incredible this season.

It is time for some hot tea. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Collins Street Commotion

This morning at 5:59 one of the eyases at 367 Collins Street started ‘carrying on’. She was quite worked up.

She is calling and running back and forth on the ledge. In fact, she has been doing this and looking up for the past fifteen minutes. She is the last one on the ledge and there is someone on a higher ledge edging her on. You can certainly hear her! Is it a sibling? is it Mum or Dad?

Around 07:59, there was a prey delivery at the other end of the ledge. Our lonely little ‘last one on the ledge’ ran, very hungry. All went quiet! Maybe she got the entire pigeon to herself.

Breakfast has arrived.

Oh, she sure can run when food is involved! Amazing parents.

The last chick on the scrape hatched three days later than the others. This could, of course, be the reason. But it could also be that she is a large female. One year there was a large female left on the nest, the last to fledge. She was Big Red and Arthur’s J1 from 2020. She really did not want to leave the light stand. She didn’t seem to have the confidence to fly but she did once that Little J3, the third hatch, flew. Sadly, J1 flew into a window a week or so later. J2 and J3 survived and left the area for their own territory many weeks later but, I always wondered if J1 had just waited a little longer would it have made a difference? Perhaps not.

Three ringed osplets in nest, Mum on perch, Dad in his man cave. 10 November 2021

Yesterday, the Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge fed the three ringed nestlings for over two hours, from 14:05-16:32. Someone felt sorry for her. I would like to take a different view. Yes, it was a long feeding but she knows that these three wonderful chicks will not be on the nest much longer. Yes, this might appear to be anthropomorphizing but she knows that they are about ready to fly. Just like keeping control of the food so everyone eats, she knows.

There are a lot of people thinking that Ervie is going to be the first to fledge. Here he is winging it right as the sun is coming up on the peninsula.

Mum has just flown off the nest. Ervie is watching her.

She returns with a fish. Mum has control and everyone has eaten. You will notice that Ervie is still up at her beak.

Oh, and Ervie is still getting fed 9 minutes later! What a guy. I really hope he is a good fisher and he remembers all these nice fish that Dad brought to the nest because that is going to be his ‘job’ as a male Osprey. He is the supplier of fish.

There is some very good news coming out of Port Lincoln. The osplets on Thistle Island were ringed, weighed, measured, and named yesterday. Guess what? Two healthy females. The largest came in at 1630 grams – 250 grams or nearly half a pound – large than Ervie on the PLO nest. That female was named Meg and carries a Maroon band. The other female is named Lucy and she has an Orange band. I began to imagine these lads at the PLO nest pairing up with them in a couple of years. Buy some more barges PLO!

There was more excitement on Thistle Island. Two other Osprey nests with chicks were found! Incredible. So happy for the success of the Ospreys in the region. If you want to read more about this or see the images please go to FB and search for Port Lincoln Osprey.

It is a beautiful day on the Canadian prairies. Tomorrow they are promising – 100% rain or snow. The squirrels are busy finding nuts and there are fewer and fewer geese about. It has been so nice for so long that I began to doubt if we were going to have winter. Silly me.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. See you soon.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip.

Should we stay or should we go?

As 8 November was beginning to reveal itself in Melbourne, all four of the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon chicks were at the end of the ledge, near the scrape box where they had slept during the night.

At 06:34, Victor Hurley confirmed the first fledge of the 2021 season.

It was absolutely perfect. The sibling on the ledge did not even notice!

and off.

Interestingly, at 08:41:00 when the camera was turned to the other side in anticipation of catching more fledges, there were three falcons at that end and one at the other.

So, did the bird that fledged return? or did it quickly run down to the other end when the camera was turning?

With the camera now pointing to this gorgeous penthouse view of the falcons, we may never know.

These three entertained themselves, bobbing their heads, eating, and watching Mum and Dad do some aerial manoeuvres.

They ate and found scraps of food.

They love walking along the ledge.

In the image below, notice the difference in size. Yes, there is the camera angle and one in front and another behind. Victor Hurley suggests that there are two males and two females this year.

The one in front is likely the much larger female. The smaller male at the back. I think I will go so far as to add that it was probably a male that fledged first also. That tends to be the norm.

They are, of course, perfectly capable of flying. That one flew from the ledge overlooking the street to the window ledge. No problem.

So will these three stay or will they go?

It is nearing 11:10 in Melbourne and all three are on the ledge of 367 Collins overlooking the river.

It is hard to believe that they were ever small fluff balls like they were on 22 October, 17 days ago.

Oh, they still have their pink bills and legs. It is 8 October. The image below was precisely four weeks ago.

This was 1 October. We were all worried that the little one wouldn’t get enough food. That was a bit silly. 39 days ago.

It has been another fabulous year for the Mum and Dad and their chicks at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Victor Hurley has given us wonderful information on the FB page of the group, sharing all of his knowledge of Peregrine Falcons in the state of Victoria. The camera has been shifted at least twice. Thank you for that! No one wants to miss anything. It has been a great experience. When these three do decide to take the leap of faith and become birds – indeed, the fasting flying bird in the world – we will, indeed, miss them. But oh what a joy they have brought to each of us. We will always be grateful.

And a lesson learned. Falcons need pigeons, so feed them! Don’t put rodenticide up on your roof trying to kill the pigeons. It could be a beautiful falcon that eats that pigeon and dies. Tell your friends and family, too. Let’s make the world safe for these gorgeous birds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I am still a bit zonked from staying up for the banding of the Port Lincoln Ospreys last night. Those chicks were also very healthy with beautiful feathering – just like the Collins Four.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and to Victor Hurley for being so patient with all of us and for his ongoing research on the peregrine falcons.

Checking on the birds

Oh, how they have entertained us. How we waited to see if that fourth egg would hatch. How we watched as Dad was incubating during the earthquake. It has been quite the season with the Melbourne Peregrine falcons. Today, there is another nice article on the 367 Collins Street Falcons today. I have attached it in case you missed it!

We are so lucky that the four of them have decided to come out so that we can see them. Those downy feathers are disappearing quickly and they look like grown up falcons capable of taking on the skies of Melbourne -for awhile – til Mom and Dad boot them out. Certainly Mom and Dad have been doing flying demonstrations trying to lure them into thinking about taking the leap! They are a little over 5 weeks old today. Forty days and onward is approximate for fledging.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/for-melbourne-s-falcons-and-their-fans-a-new-domestic-drama-20211001-p58who.html?fbclid=IwAR1bgeKR4w2H622TETCdcJ0r0bgzLtVEE9BoK_35wrlcuWA4b0BzJ9VC0JI

Over in Orange, or should I say ‘up’ in Orange, Yarruga was one hungry chick waiting for supper that did not arrive. S/he had two feedings yesterday so she is going to be ravenous when breakfast arrives. There is no need to worry, though. She had a nice crop, larger than Diamond’s and Yarruga will not starve. In the world of raptors there are days of plenty and days of naught. Little ones need to learn that, too. Yarruga is 28 days old today. Four weeks.

Diamond was seen putting her entire weight on her right leg in the middle of the night to clean her talons. This is very good news. She has moved over to the ledge to grab some sleep before dawn and Diamond seems to be doing much better. How grand.

The Port Lincoln osplets are sound asleep. Little Bob is 50 days old today – while the two big siblings are 52 days old. We will be keeping an eye on those numbers because last year Solly fledged at 65 days (in the Northern Hemisphere it is 49 days onward). Solly was banded at 47 days and DEW at 46. On Monday, 8 November, these three will be banded, named, measured, and at least one will get a tracker. They are just wonderful – the three of them. I am surely going to miss this nest – perhaps the most civilized brood I have ever seen.

There is sadly some commotion going on at Taiaroa Head. Our beloved OGK may have realized that his mate, YRK, is not returning. He tried to mate – rather vigorously – with BOK who is also waiting for her mate to return. Being the gentleman that he is, OGK, returned to apologize in the Albatross way by doing a sky call with BOK later.

If it happens that YRK, Pippa Atawhai’s mum, does not return, it will not be from old age but from being caught in the lines of the fishing trawlers. I hope that you will think about our beloved Pippa and what a horrible death that would be – and it is entirely preventable! I feel rather gutted because these are all useless deaths that never have to happen. An albatross does not need to be decapitated every 5 minutes! The fixes are really easy. They include setting the lines at night, line weighting, and bird scaring lines. Some organizations are supplying these measures for free to the boats. The deaths are preventable. There needs to be international laws. Every country needs to stand up and demand that the fishing factories take these simple steps or not be able to fish. Write letters, phone your political representative – do it for Pippa. Then check out what the RSPB is doing. They are working alongside the Albatross Task Force to help end bycatch. Check out their website, ask who to contact. And remember – writing e-mails does help. Public pressure helps.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/

The Bald Eagles are really busy working on their nests in the US while the ones who came to Manitoba for their summer breeding are very slowly making their migration. Images of 30 or 40 along the river in my City have been posted locally the last few days but are not available to share beyond the Manitoba Birding and Photography FB page. I still have a few Slate Grey Juncos and today that meant a trip to the seed seller to get some more Husked Millet for them. The day is just starting in Australia and New Zealand so no telling what will happen. I long for YRK to fly in and just land on OGK’s head! That would be a rather dramatic entrance fitting for this very patient male who has been working on a nest for about six weeks now. No doubt Yarruga is going to be screaming for breakfast! I will post the updates on Grinnell tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, thank you for joining me and take care everyone.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Wednesday in Bird World

One of the saddest things is seeing a parent bird look for their fledglings to feed them. That is precisely what WBSE Lady was doing yesterday. She flew around the salt marshes, around the river, and in the area where WBSE 27 (and maybe 28) were looking for them. She had a fish in her talon. With no luck she flew into the forest and left the fish on the natal nest in the old Ironbark Tree. Lady spent the night on that tree.

You can see the fish in the image below.

There is Lady sleeping in the tree on the parent branch. Is she sleeping there hoping that at dawn one of the fledglings will arrive for breakfast like they did before they flew off the nest?

Last year, Lady and Dad would come to the tree with fish trying to lure 25 and 26 back. Once 25 was chased out of the forest by the Currawong there was never another sighting of it. 26 did return to the nest after thrashing about the forest. She was exhausted, and, well, starving. She slept! I do not think that 26 planned to leave the nest the day she did. She flew over to the camera branch. A Magpie helped 26 keep the Currawong away but then, finally, they chased her out of the forest. There was a big storm that night with very strong winds and in the morning 26 was located on a 22nd floor condo balcony about a kilometre away from the nest. 26 was taken into care. There was great hope that she could be ‘repaired’ and become an ambassador bird but that was not to be.

Hopefully 27 will have a much better fate than 26. I hope that they will be able to give it fluids and antibiotics to heal the talons that have been injured. Maybe they will be able to release 27 near to the parent nest but not before it can fly strong. Send your positive wishes its way!

The chicks at the PLO Osprey nest had lots of feedings yesterday – six! They were at 6:39, 7:45, 13:42 (Mum brought it in), 15:01, 19:10, and 20:30. Wow.

I love the image below because of the crest on the chick on the right. Just gorgeous.

Here comes dad! Tiny Little is on the far left looking towards dad.

I do not think the chicks were expecting another meal but here comes the fish at 20:30.

Needless to say, these osplets are really well fed. All that fish is turning into feathers and the bulking up! Within the next 7-10 days they will be banded, measured, and fitted with satellite navigation systems. I understand there are three devices and since there are no other osprey chicks on the other nest (the eggs taken by the crows), then all three should have its very own little backpack.

Yesterday in Melbourne Mum had a terrible time trying to convince the four eyases that it was for their own good that they stayed in the shade of the scrape box. It will be 27 degrees today and no doubt she will be trying to corral them again into the shade. She tried hard to spread her wings to cover them from the glaring rays of the sun but with four it is really difficult.

They are very obedient. One cam running and you can see it pushing under Mum’s wing on the right to get to the shade.

It wasn’t long before the shade covered the entire scrape box area and Mum was not needed. I have often wondered if this is the reason she chose to lay her eggs at that end. Last year it was so hot – trying to keep cool herself as well as the trio was difficult. They were all panting trying to regulate their heat.

In the scrape box in Orange, little Yarruga cast a pellet at 5:55:30. Oh, this chick will be hungry and ready for more food. Wonder if the Starling’s leg was in that cast?? So what does this mean? A pellet is the indigestible material from the crop or proventriculus. Birds of prey or raptors regurgitate this material. Then they will begin to collect more as they eat. The casting of the pellet also cleans out the crop (the proventriculus or granular stomach).

It looks like the chicks are choking when they cast the pellet. It must scare them til they get used to this happening.

Yarruga feels so much better! Now if breakfast would only arrive!!!

It is early morning in Australia and Thursday is just starting for our bird families. I cannot think of anything more grand than having WBSE 28 land on the nest and let Lady feed it! That is really wishful thinking on my part. WBSE 27 will be eating well and by now should be really well hydrated. Warm wishes for a full recovery and return to the wild!

I have been alerted that the satellite tracking for Karl II’s family has not been updated since the 24th. I will be checking on that. It seems highly unlikely that all three of the birds have perished. I simply cannot imagine it. Udu was on Crete, Pikne was in Egypt, and Karl II had not transmitted since the 21st. Pikne’s battery % was quite low. If the GPS works on satellite transmission and it is overcast then the battery cannot function. As well, the birds can get in areas where transmitter signals cannot be picked up. I am so hoping that this is all one big malfunction! I will keep you posted.

It is pitching rain today on the Canadian prairies where I live and it is really, really welcome. The birds are still coming and going from the feeders despite the heavy drops. I noticed when I was picking up all the birdseed, peanuts, and corn cobs that the pet store version of a birdseed story had something interesting. It was a lovely metal holder filled with natural alpaca wool. The idea is that there are no toxins and the birds would pull out small skeins to help with their nest building in the spring. What a lovely idea as a gift for a birder friend! Bags of seed and suet blocks/cylinders would be welcome, too. Gosh. I cannot believe people are starting to get ready for the holidays. Ahhhh…by then Little Bob will have fledged and we will be watching him or her with the satellite tracking.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Sea Eagle @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Season of the Osprey

One task I take very seriously is alerting readers to the importance of banding and monitoring the birds, reporting sightings, and examining ways to stop human induced injury or death to our lovely feathered creatures. A few days ago I reported the tragic death of Blue 2AA, a Rutland 2015 hatch, who had killed when it landed on a high voltage wire in Spain where he had wintered for the past six years. Here is a well-written article from Rutland that covers many of my concerns with special regard to Duracell, 2AA:

https://www.lrwt.org.uk/blog/abi-mustard/osprey-threats-and-sightings?fbclid=IwAR1orkmPXp58chrj5RANcoqoGuM09ucy8dWhE-NTBmCUsg_Cl2mXtQE-B3A

For those of you waiting word about this fabulous documentary, Season of the Osprey, here is the news for viewers in the US:

This is just two days away!!!!!! Please watch and make sure you check your local stations for any change to the time. I also understand that a DVD will be sold at a later date. That is great for folks like me that don’t have cable television. Thank you PBS!

Spotters in Africa and the Iberian Peninsula continue to report Osprey sightings. There are now more than 600 in Senegal alone. I know that each of you will be thrilled to hear that Loch of the Lowes couple Laddie and NC0’s 2021 female fledgling, LR2, has been repeatedly spotted in Spain. She is at the Veta la Palma Espacio Natural Donana, La Puebla del Rio.

This is one of the largest nature reserves in all of Europe. She could not have picked a safer and more appropriate spot for her very first winter. Here are the map images and here is a link to the website so you can see all of the birds and wildlife at this ecological site. I am also posting this in case some of you want to travel at some time to see the birds – all kinds – this time of year – but do not wish to go all the way to Africa.

It is always good news when the first year fledges find a safe place with abundant resources. It is even better when we know about it and can celebrate with them. As you know only about a third of the fledglings succeed so big smiles all around. Laddie and NC0 would be thrilled! Another Rutland bird, Blue 081, a male fledgling of Maya and Blue 33 spent his first year, 2020, and has been seen this year, at Veta la Palma, Cota Donara, Spain. I continue to wait with great hope for news of Blue 463, Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Nest.

It is early morning in Australia. Mirvac has changed the zoom on the camera for the 367 Collins Four but you might find that the eyases are still out of view. I understand that it will not be changed again. You can hear the little ones running around on the metal.

Diamond and Yarruga are awaiting a breakfast delivery.

The trio at Port Lincoln Osprey Barge are still snoozing.

There has been no further word about WBSE 28. WBSE 27 has been seen by several people and photographed near to the Discovery Centre across the river from Lady and Dad’s roost. They will surely know where 27 is and be providing food for it. The eagles first get their flying and landing skills down before fishing and hunting (normally). The parents help them by providing them with food. I sure hope that Lady and Dad also know where 28 is! Ranger Judy reported she has done a walk through the forest adding she did not hear or see anything but that it is a large area.

That is it for today. It is a cool sunny day on the Canadian prairies and it is time to clean up bird seed. The goose flight images were not good last night because of where people had to stand due to pandemic restrictions. I hope to go out to the other nature centre before the end of the month to see if I can catch some of the thousands of Canada Geese making their way south.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Saturday Cuteness in Bird World

I thought that it was going to be hectic for Mum and Dad to keep the Collins Street Four supplied with pigeons. I never thought about the parents chasing them all over the gutter to make sure that each one gets fed! I don’t think any of us ever have to worry about the dedication and focus of these Peregrine Falcon adults. This feeding was quite extraordinary!

Did little Yurruga spend the night sleeping in the corner of the scrape box while Diamond tried to incubate her unviable eggs?

The feeding of Yurruga at Orange is so different than that of the Collins Street Four. However, looking ahead one week we should anticipate that Yurruga will be excited and nipping at the prey as the Melbourne falcons.

Yurruga makes some of the cutest faces and gestures.

There was a peanut size fish delivery at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge earlier but the three osplets and Mum are still waiting for Dad to bring in something substantial.

Dad brought the tiniest fish to the nest this morning in the Sydney Olympic Forest. He waited for about half an hour but no eaglet appeared. The Pied Currawongs were a menace to Lady, too, and eventually they ran him off the nest.

I remember Lady and Dad coming to the nest last year trying to lure 26 back so they could feed her. I wonder if one of the eaglets is still in the forest? There have been no reports since 15:30 on the day 28 fludged and 27 had its forced fledge.

OGK continues to wait for the arrival of YRK at the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Colony in New Zealand. Send every speck of positive energy his way. I so hope she flies in this week!

Here on the Canadian Prairies the weather has turned quite coolish. The number of birds in my garden have dwindled. Today there were only six Slate-grey Juncos and the House Sparrows. Grey Squirrel loved it because he had more than enough seed to fill him and four others to the brim! Tomorrow I will be at the nature centre to watch the thousands of Canada Geese land at dusk. It is eerie – the garden being quiet. I cannot imagine a world without the sound of the birds.

Thank you for joining me. Do take care. Stay safe and be happy.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagle @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.