Happenings in Bird World

Holly Parsons, the administrator for the Orange Peregrine Falcon FB group, has posted the following from Cilla Kinross regarding Yurruga:

I took some images of beautiful Diamond throughout the day.

We would expect the parents to visibly be supplying prey to Yurruga. Many of you will have seen the adults at 367 Collins Street bringing in prey. You might recall how the Dad tried so hard to feed the little male when he was too sick and could not eat or swallow anything. Just pause and remember the healthy chicks at that nest and the noise they made even prior to fledging when food was around. Then remember Yurruga and how he behaved when prey came to the scrape. The falcons are loud in their food begging just like the four lads at Port Lincoln. The little ones simply cannot go without eating and while they are learning to fly they are also being taught how to hunt. It is unclear how instinctive hunting is. For example, the adult Ospreys do not teach their fledglings how to fish. They simply are hardwired to do it. Peregrine Falcon parents spend much time passing prey around, dropping it for the wee one to catch, etc. Certainly Yurruga had at least a days training because he was seen flying around with the parents prior to the big storm. There would be several prey drops during a day. No one has anything confirmed after last Thursday in Australia, 9 days ago now. I know that each of us wants this outcome to be different and I would like nothing better than for someone a mile away to phone Cilla and tell her that Yurruga is on their roof or in their garden. The long sessions in the scrape together may be Xavier and Diamond bonding in grief. There is also the additional issue of the absence of the eggs. Diamond has spent an inordinate amount of time scraping where the eggs were. My heart really goes out to her.

Sad news is also coming out of California. The California Condor chick #1075 died at the Los Angeles Zoo on 12 November. He had sustained injuries from adult male condor #247 during a territorial dispute. I know that many of you watched that streaming cam. Their lives are so very very fragile and to have a death of a promising chick due to fights is extremely difficult to process. There seems to be a lot of territorial disputes. You might remember that California Condor #1031 Iniko who survived the Dolan Fire was actually injured when an adult male came to the nest tree. —— Which reminds me! Iniko will be released back into the community of condors where he hatched on Saturday along with two others. This is great news coming on the heels of grief.

We really need some good news in Bird World. Iniko’s release is, of course, one of those. I really hope it is OK to cut and paste this amazing story from that Valerie Webber posted on the Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB page. It is a marvellous tale of German Osprey Black 1FO seen in Portugal in Dec 2005/Jan 2006 and again in September 2021. So the question that is being asked is where has this bird been? It is more than 16 years old and this is truly remarkable – 3 sightings only in all those years. He really is a very handsome bird.

More good news come in the form of a Pacific Black Duck named Daisy who has now laid her first egg in the Sydney White-bellied Sea Eagle nest. An earlier blog today gave more images and some details. So nice to have her back! I am so excited about Daisy’s return that I can’t sleep! You can catch her on the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam. She laid her first egg today. She must have rushed to get to the nest OR she had made a nest elsewhere and predators came. We might not know. She will begin lining the nest with the down from her breast. That down will not only make it soft for her and the eggs but also will help cover the eggs when she has to go forage. She will also mix the down with leaves on the nest and cover the nest with those leaves. I hope there are lots of them!

Every one of the lads on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest has had a fish today. Port Lincoln also says that the three have been seen at the shore going for a bit of a swim or a bath. Fantastic.

The three are over on the perches and ropes near Mum. What a beautiful image. I wish that Dad was there, too. The fledglings are gradually spending more time on the perches and ropes and flying around. They are growing up and shortly might be off on their own. I need to check and find out when Solly permanently left the barge. That might give us some clue.

I know that many of you are familiar with the Welsh Ospreys, Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Nest. You might also know that one of Monty and Glesni’s sons, Aeron Z2, and his mate Blue 14 have their nest close by at Pont Croesor. Glaslyn has announced that the new hide is finished and visitors will be able to observe the nest of Z2 and Blue 14. That is great news.

That is it for me. I am sufficiently exhausted from the excitement of Daisy that I might be able to sleep. This is my Friday newsletter. I will bring updates later tomorrow (Friday the 3rd) evening.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB, Orange Peregrine Falcon FB, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sydney Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross.

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.

Reflecting on Melbourne’s sadness

I would have moved on to a different topic but several of my readers have written to me sad and frustrated that nothing was done to treat the ill peregrine falcon nestling in Melbourne. Others are very concerned that if the little male’s corpse is not removed, other, larger birds of prey might consume it and get ill. Each raises some interesting moral and ethical issues as well as practical and legal ones.

As in all cases, it is good for readers to know where the writer stands on matters so to be clear – I encourage banding of birds and the use of sat-paks for tracking information in research. I do not believe we have too many birds and I take the position of Rosalie Edge that we must know the numbers we have to be able to determine if they are dwindling. I promote safe fishing practices to protect all seabirds. I also believe that humans have had a catastrophic impact on our planet and that the fine line of when to intervene or not is blurred. I believe that animals and birds have a positive impact on human life. I know, from all the letters I receive from each of you daily, that the streaming cams of the birds has added a level of joy to your lives that many did not think possible. Many have written to me who were dying of cancer saying that the streaming cams of the birds took their mind off themselves. How wonderful. As a former university faculty member with numerous research projects, I know that permissions, specific protocols, and agreements are made and it is not always easy to tweak these. In other words, some researchers hands are simply bound and they can do nothing even if they wanted.

There is a treatment protocol for Trichomoniasis in peregrine falcons. (There is also treatments for song birds and I thank ‘L’ for reminding me of this). I am posting the first page of an article in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. The abstract at the top gives a very good synopsis of the paper. (I have yet to find a free PDF so I can post the article in its entirety).

It is unclear how practical it would be to treat wild birds such as the male on the ledge. Indeed, there could be legal issues for the researchers that do not allow for any intervention. That is something that has to be realized.

This brings me to the second concern of my readers – the corpse of the young male left on the scrape box. Peregrine Falcons are very particular about what they eat. I am not concerned about the other chicks and I do not know what other birds in the area might venture up to that high of a level for carrion. In a rural area where there could be vultures, I would be very concerned. And in my own urban area, I note that gulls will eat anything. So, yes, I am also concerned and hope that the body is removed and disposed of properly.

This was an unusual year watching this pair of Peregrine Falcons raise their chicks. At the onset, I stated that the majority of the prey items would be pigeons. As you will have noticed, there have been a variety of birds including what appears to be one of the released Peace Doves in yesterday’s Remembrance Day celebrations yesterday. So was this caused by there not being as many pigeons as normal? And is this because there has been bouts of Trichomoniasis within the species in Melbourne that has killed off numbers of the birds?

Where is the male falcon that fledged? We have seen the two large sibling sisters with their little brother. Is it possible that that little male also ingested enough of the diseased bird to be impacted?

There could be answers for the question around the disease killing off large populations of Melbourne’s pigeons. I will try and find out. I doubt if we will ever know the answer to the question about the other male unless it is found and identified and a post-mortem conducted. I truly hope that I am wrong and it just doesn’t want to fly that high yet!

I really want to thank all of you that reached out over the past week and those today. You show a genuine concern for the wildlife and birds which is refreshing and hopeful. I will, most likely, put this little one to rest now. Your letters are always welcome. Your concerns are never trivial. Thank you for caring!

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.

Seeing Double?

If you are starting to wonder what is going on with the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, you are not alone! Early this morning there was only one falcon (I believe a female) left on the ledge of the building to fledge. She was pretty frantic early in the morning looking up and acting like there was a bird – maybe on the next ledge. She ran back and forth excited stopping to look. Then an adult brought in prey, she ran down to the other end of the ledge away from the camera to eat.

She was quite excited seeing the other bird.

Something really interesting happens after 11am. It has started to rain and the eyas on the ledge is quite dry. She is not agitated like she was a few hours earlier leading me now to believe that it was an adult with prey trying to lure her off the ledge as opposed to a sibling. Without another camera, we will never know for certain.

What we do know is that around 11:00, the lone eyas on the ledge began to look around. It is raining in Melbourne. You can see it on the ledge of the building and in the distance.

It is fairly dry – this ledge is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Something has her curiosity.

Ah, maybe it is just time to see if there is any leftover prey in the gutter.

After exploring, she gets very close to where the camera is and acts like she is going to run to the other end.

She does a pivot and runs back.

She finds an old piece of bone with some feathers in the scrape box and begins playing with it.

Then she stops and just looks out over the horizon very calmly.

Our girl cannot believe her eyes. Look at who is running down the ledge – a sibling!

People wondered if she might be lonely. It would certainly be different going from four to being the only one left and seeing the others flying about.

She turns her head really funny to see the sibling in the scrape.

Within a couple of minutes they are both sitting on the ledge, trying to stay dry. Whether or not they are enjoying one another’s company is anyones guess.

Yes, you are seeing double. People always wonder whether or not the falcons will fly back to the location of the scrape box. You now have an answer: yes, they will.

With hawks, the fledglings might continue to come back to the nest to be fed, sometimes they sleep on the nest or perch, and in other years, they never come back to the nest preferring to roost in trees or buildings. So, the answer is it varies from year to year and nest to nest. It sure is nice to see another one though, isn’t it? It just confirms that at least two of them are safe and sound. One fledgling, one nestling.

Maybe this returnee will encourage the nestling to fledge – after it stops raining. Falcons know that it is much easier flying with dry feathers than wet ones!

For those of you that might have been wondering what is going on, I thought I should let you know that there are two on the ledge. It could become more. Funny. The one that fledged has more fluffy down still stuck to its juvenile feathers. There is a tiny little mohawk on the crown.

Take care all. See you soon. Thank you so much for joining me and thanks again to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip.

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.

Port Lincoln Osplets have names

Oh, there was such excitement yesterday. The Port Lincoln chicks were banded and, in addition, there were rumours that 3 or 4 of the Melbourne eyases had fledged. Let’s put that rumour to bed. Mum is sleeping on the weather protector above the four. So everyone is still home. That is fantastic. Maybe they will all fledge from this end so we can see!!! Ironically, Victor Hurley said they would turn the camera around to face the other direction after his Q & A session so there was a better chance to see them fledge. With two ends and one camera, it is very difficult to predict which end will prove to be ‘the one’.

Port Lincoln wanted to band a male chick because they wanted to compare his dispersal to that of the female, Solly, who fledged last year from the PL nest and has a tracker. Solly has taught osprey researchers much including the distances that female osprey will disperse. In Solly’s case, she traveled 311 km to Eba Anchorage. There were rumours that osplet 2, Middle Bob, was to get the tracker because it was thought he was the only male. In the end, Port Lincoln had three males to choose from and they went with the one who weighed the most – Little Bob – who turns out to be the ‘biggest’ Bob.

Here are the names and weights:

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

The chicks behaved as expected. When the boat came close they pancaked so much you could not see them above the nest. Each was removed and put in a small sack. There was no stress at all. A gift of fish was put in the nest. The parents returned within minutes of the chicks being put back in the nest. It was a beautiful process and so much will be learned through the monitoring of Ervie’s travels including dispersal and threats. I will not deny that I am a huge supporter of banding and tracking. It is the only way to learn where the birds go, where they breed, what dangers there are in the environment, what happens to them, etc.

I admit to being very tired this morning. I could not stay awake long enough to find out the names last night or, should I say I stopped waiting at 2 am in Canada. It was so nice to run to the computer and see all the information this morning.

Many wondered how they could donate to keep the cam running at Port Lincoln. It is complicated and it is my understanding that they cannot accept donations. That said, if you or someone you know is going to the area why not take one of Calypso Star’s nature tours? Go out to see the sea lions or get in a cage and watch sharks. That would be a great way to thank them.

Update on WBSE 27 on 5 November (in case you missed it): “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it to exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

It is another gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. 13 degrees C. The sun is bright and I can see the squirrels already hoping that their breakfast will be taken out to the deck. They are a little early.

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 and the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Friday in Bird World

There is an update on WBSE 27 but, first, some background for those that do not know what happened. White-Bellied Sea Eaglet 27 had a forced fledge. The Pied Currawong were attacking 27 who was alone in the nest after WBSE 28’s fludge. 27 flew to the camera tree and then was, more or less, escorted out of the forest by the Currawong. A few days later, 27 was spotted. It was on some pavement. When it flew up, the Currawong began to attack its head. 27 fell to the ground. Thankfully help was at hand! WBSE 27 was taken into care and checked. Luckily there was nothing broken. The latest news is promising. I do really hope they will keep 27 til it is a very strong flyer. Maybe we will also find out if 27 is a male or a female.

This is the latest update this morning from Judy Harrington: “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

Oh, it is so good to hear that 27 is improving.

Photo taken by Cathy Cook.

There is a lot of discussion and concern for Grinnell, the mate of Annie, at the Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley in San Francisco. An undergraduate student wrote a great article on the falcon family for The Bay News. I was excited when I read it because it mentions Holly Parsons, who runs the FB group for Xavier and Diamond on the Charles Sturt Campus, and the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery Project in the city where I live and the City’s 19 year old female falcon, Princess. The article is really informative. What a good writer this undergraduate is. Have a read:

I was hoping to have an image of the Spotted Eagle Owlet in Joburg back in the nest but it isn’t there.

In fact, the Mum has just noticed that one of the babies is out of the nest box. You can see its fluffy head under the Mum’s left leg. Poor little thing. It must be scared and hungry. I understood that someone was to place it back in the nest box. Hopefully this will happen soon.

Xavier flew in with a Starling to the Peregrine Falcon scrape on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange. Yurruga had been waiting and watching!

Yurruga spends a lot of time looking at the world outside the scrape. She is 28 days old today.

Here comes Xavier with a freshly caught Starling. Yurruga is so excited!

Dad can hardly get the bird into the scrape.

Yurruga is tugging and pulling.

Xavier looks like he really wants Diamond to fly in and feed Yurruga.

Yurruga reaches up and bites Dad’s beak. Look at how big ‘she’ is! Notice also that the down is coming off from around Yurruga’s eyes. She will look like she is wearing goggles tomorrow. Yurruga is right on track in the transitioning from the down to her juvenile feathers.

Xavier cannot prepare the Starling with Yurruga wanting to eat ‘now’.

He opens up the bird and feeds Yurruga some of the nice meat.

Then he flies out of the scrape with the remainder of the bird. He will either put it in storage for later or eat it himself or give it to Diamond. Clearly Yurruga is very healthy and doing quite well. It is nice to see Xavier feeding the little one. Maybe Diamond needs to rest her leg. No doubt Yurruga will have a couple more feedings today. Fingers crossed. She needs all the lunch she can hold.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Dad brought in a fish tail. Little Bob got it and Big Bob tried to take it. No real tussle and it looked like Little Bob was able to keep it. Just look at the strong mantling (putting wings over prey to protect it from being stolen). These three are going to be a handful to band on Monday!

Despite the mantling, the chicks definitely were remaining civil. This was not a real tussle for food.

Good practice for the future. Dad is so cute. He acts like he isn’t paying attention but he is. These parents are watching everything the three of them do. Everything is about being able to survive in the real world. They have done an amazing job.

Friday has started out pretty good. I hope it continues that way. Diamond is healing but still a bruise on her foot. 27 is improving and so is Grinnell. Yarruga is growing like a bad weed and soon will be bigger than Xavier. There are still four falcons at 367 Collins Street and it is hoped that someone will put the owl back in the box – again.

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone and have a great day.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, EcoSolutions JoBurg Owl Cam, and the Sea Eagles FB Page for the image of 27.

How is Diamond?

Diamond is the female at the Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon scrape box on the University’s water tower. Her mate is Xavier and their only chick this season is Yarruga. Yarruga is 27 days old today. Its name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori.

Several days ago Diamond injured herself, probably in a hunting incident. Her right wing was a bit droopy and she continues to have difficulty putting all of her weight on her right foot. Her mate, Xavier, has often taken over the feeding duties of Yarruga because feeding requires putting pressure on the feet to hold the prey and pull up to get the bites off for the chick.

Yarruga was particularly hungry this afternoon. Diamond was on the ledge of the scrape watching over her baby, trying to get some sleep, and also attempting to keep the weight off the right leg.

Instead of writing how Diamond is doing, I thought it was just best to take a few video clips so you can see for yourself. They do say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Here is the first one. Diamond has been resting on the ledge of the scrape. She has kept her right leg slightly elevated and has been able to sleep some. Yarruga is hungry and, since this is the big growth spurt for Yarruga, she sees a parent and thinks it is dinner time. Poor Diamond. Yarruga is prey begging.

Xavier brings in the Starling that was left over from an earlier feeding. The falcons have a place where they stash food. It is a great idea. They never waste a single bit of the prey they kill for food. (We could all take a lesson from them!). Diamond wants to feed Yarruga. The following two clips are from later in the feeding.

The feeding went on for some time. This is the last bit of where Diamond finishes feeding Yarruga and then flies off with the rest of the Starling. Despite the fact that she doesn’t like Starling (prefers pigeons and parrots), it would not be easy for her to hunt now while she is healing so she will happily eat the Starling leftovers.

It still appears that Diamond is in a lot of pain. She is really limping but her wing appears to be better. It must be difficult because she wants to take care of her baby. I think that is why I actually believe she is improving. She could have flown out and let Xavier feed Yarruga but she chose to do it herself. It is going to take some time for her to heal and we need to continue to send her our best and most positive wishes.

A quick glance at other nest news:

The 367 Collins Street ‘Four’ decided to run along the gutter and let us have some really good glimpses of how they are growing and changing today. Remember when you look at them that they are precisely one week older than Yarruga. It is hard to imagine that they were mostly covered with white down a week ago! Here they are wanting to fly – and way too soon, they will.

The down is really coming off. They are so curious about the world outside of the scrape. Mum and Dad have been doing aerial demonstrations for them. This is something that the adults do to try and entice the eyases to fledge.

The Port Lincoln Osplets will be banded, named, and at least one will get a sat-pak on Monday 8 November, Australian time. Remember! It is possible that we will only get to see the event on tape. It is exciting. I cannot wait to see if Little Bob is a female with those thick stubby legs!

Just look at the size of Dad’s wing. Together they would be wider than the nest! He is bringing in the second fish of the day. Now when Mum begins calling the chicks join in. It is really sweet.

Mum is so quick to pull that fish off Dad’s talons. I often wonder if the males ever get injured when this happens.

Today, Little Bob is more interested in watching Dad go down to his man cave on the deck of the barge than being first in line to eat. That is almost shocking.

The trio are pancaked. They have eaten so much. Mum brought another fish in at 13:50 – their third of the day. On average, the osplets have 7 feedings a day so far. Fantastic parents. Can’t say enough good things about how well they have worked together this season.

There has been no new updates on WBSE 27 since 1 November, Australian time. When I hear anything, I will let you know.

Thank you for joining me and checking in to see how Diamond is progressing. We just have to be patient – and that is hard when we see her in pain. Take care everyone. See you soon.

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