We want fish! and more news in Bird World

24 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Our thoughts go out to all that are being lashed about by tropical storm systems and hurricanes.

It is a quiet drizzly grey Saturday morning in the garden. Little Red has been eating at the solid suet cylinder and the Blue Jays are pecking away at the cob of corn left for them. The sparrows have not really been around much. I hope to have some photos of Little Red cleaned up for tomorrow. But, so far, the gang is all here – Junior and the 3 fledgling Blue Jays and the 3 fledgling Crows plus Little Red, Dyson, and Scraggles. Dyson’s two from the summer come and go as well. There has been no sightings of Little Hedwig and the neighbours and I are beginning to fear the worst about those cats. Fingers crossed we see a bunny shortly.

The temperatures are dropping at night. All of the Grape tomatoes have been picked and will turn green in the lovely Birch basket. All of the plants to come inside are here but one which means a trip to the garden centre today for soil. Even so, we have not had a hard frost in the garden and this is absolutely remarkable considering it is now the 24th of September.

In the Mailbox:

The other day I was asked if non-parental male peregrine falcons could harm the eyases in the scrape. I told a story of an Osprey that had kicked the eggs out of the nest when he suspected they belonged to another male. Today, a cartoon that Chloe Baker did of Odin and EJ showed up on FB.

It was Loch Garten, 2013, and here is the video of that egg being kicked out of the nest. Odin waited til EJ went for a break! (not HD) I wish some of these great old videos could be cleaned up. They are fantastic. Of course, Odin was not the only male. Some of us waited to see if Aran would go after Mrs G’s eggs this season but, he didn’t. Presumably they were his and not the Pont Cresor Aeron Z2.

This also happened at Dunrovin a couple of years ago – much clearer image.

And here is another a couple of years ago. There are many examples. We do not know what will happen if the young male totally ousts the old male at Melbourne. Indeed, we do not even know if that will happen this year. My fingers are crossed that he goes and sits and waits til this breeding season is over! But, we also have to prepare ourselves for the worst. It is much better when the males get rid of the eggs.

Making News:

Some additional images were released of Victor taking his flight to freedom. He sure must have been so excited to be back in the wild. Victor is a magnificent eagle! Thanks to Paul K for cleaning these up!

Nest News:

It is all about life lessons at the Sydney Sea Eagles nest. The parents are deliberately branching, demonstrating how to ward off the Currawong, and then how to eat a fish. It is really a privilege to be able to watch the daily lives of these amazing raptors.

Xavier looking at the eggs. Hatch watch is 1-3 October! Xavier is one of the most devoted male Peregrine Falcons that I know. This is an incredible nest to watch and there are several cameras and a chat.

Xavier has been doing some of that enfluffing in the scrape.

I wonder how many of you are counting the number of fish flakes that Little Bob is getting at Port Lincoln. Big Bob is bigger and will need more and Mum is smartly feeding it several nice helpings before moving on to Middle and Little Bob. Dad, for his part, brought in a whomping size fish that will last the day.

Oh, Little Bob you are going to have to push and figure out how to get to the front with Big Bob in the front line!

Little Bob got himself in the right position for the next feeding at 10:50. Big Bob has a super crop and Middle is laying down. Little is going to get some really nice bites.

The camera operator gave us some fabulous close ups of the three after the 1415 feeding so we could see that each had a nice crop. Little Bob is holding its own. You can really see the egg tooth of each of the osplets – that hard piece of white beak used like a pick axe to get out of the shell. Enjoy this soft fluffy down. We will not realize it but time passes quickly and soon they will be in their reptilian phase.

Incubation continues at the 367 Collins Street scrape box. It is now the 25th in Melbourne and we are on hatch watch for the 27th.

For everyone who cannot wait for the Bald Eagle nests to be full of little eaglets, the first on streaming cam mating of the year occurred at the Northwest Florida nest of Samson and Gabby!

Migration News:

Do you know about EuroBirdPortal.org? It tracks all of the European Ospreys movements during the migration period.

I will be checking on Karl II and his family for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Little Bob is doing well. He isn’t our Ervie – no one could ever be Ervie but, I hope he holds his own against Big Bob and thrives. Mum and Dad are doing a great job. I fear that when Dad is late with fish it is either the wind or the gulls. Let’s blow those gulls away! Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that form my screen captures: Chloe Baker, Loch Garden RSPB, Dunrovin, Castnet, Bald Eagles 101 and the Ojai Raptor Centre, The Wonderful World FB, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcons, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, EuroBirdPortal, and NWFL-AEF.

Monday in Bird World

On the Canadian Prairies, it is 8 November and it is 11 degrees C. There are some birds still around the southern part of our province including a large number of Great Horned Owls (GHOW) and Barred Owls (BADO). Several hours from where I live there are some hawks and Bald Eagles still making their way south. In celebration of such a gorgeous day with the promise of snow and plummeting temperatures on Wednesday, we decided to make one last check at Oak Hammock Marsh.

It was simply grand. You could see for miles.

The walk was great. It was sooooo quiet, a wonderful change from the noise of the city. If you were intent on counting tonnes of birds and seeing lots of species, then it was a bust! There were about 60 Canada Geese scattered about and a couple of Mallards, a male and a female.

They were all feeding on the tender marsh grasses below the surface.

Even the geese were quiet, no honking, nothing. Just working hard on those plants.

The two Mallards were quite interesting. They were sort of breaking down the grasses as they moved through forcing them under the water with their paddles and then eating them.

Beautiful little female Mallard.

The ducks were not bothered by the geese – everyone seemed intent on eating and enjoying the warm sunshine. The farmers in the area have finished harvesting their crops and the fields are bare. In several hours only six or seven Canada Geese flew into the wetlands.

It might have been quiet in rural Manitoba but there was a lot of things happening elsewhere. First up, for all of you that watch the Royal Albatross, OGK’s mate since 2006 has been YRK. OGK was first in on the peninsula excited to see her and build a nest but…she didn’t arrive. Time passed and she didn’t arrive. Today, 9 November YRK landed on Taiaroa Head. If people could have rung bells they would have. Instead many of us sat and shed tears. The fear is always there. OGK and YRK were the parents of very popular Royal Cam chick, Atawhai (aka Pippa) in 2020. This year will be their 8th breeding attempt.

In other Royal Albatross news, the new couple – Red and BOK (Blue-Orange-Black) have really been entertaining us. They are so sweet. Well, today, Red got some new bling. As one of a mated pair, he is now WYL (Whit-Yellow- Lime).

The image below shows the Ranger giving Red his new bling and identity. BOK is walking off the nest. She will return once everything is over.

Could this new couple with their first attempt at breeding turn out to be the Royal Family of the year? We wait.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Mum decided it was time to go to the spa. She flew off the barge and went over and had a lovely bath in the warm Australian waters of the cove yesterday. It is well deserved. Her and her mate have raised three healthy boys this year.

Isn’t Mum just beautiful?

It is hard to keep up with the 367 Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. I ‘believe’ that there are two (probably female) still on the ledge.

Yes, still there. There is a lot of noise and it could well be the parents trying to lure these two off with prey.

There are theories about gender and fledging times in falcons and hawks. Because the females are substantially larger, it takes longer for their bodies to feather. Therefore, they generally fledge after the males. I do not know how accurate it is but I hear this often.

In Orange, Diamond’s foot is doing much better. At 8:11 Xavier, the male Peregrine Falcon of the scrape on the water tower of Charles Stuart University, delivers a Starling to Yurruga. Xavier does not wait. He drops the breakfast prey and gets out. I don’t blame him. It could definitely save his talons.

Notice how big Yurruga is compared to Xavier. Think Yurruga is a female like her mum, Diamond?

Yurruga is a very good plucker!

Cilla Kinross just posted a video clip of Yurruga. It is really short. Have a peek. I do not think those eggs are going to last much longer.

Everything is as it is expected at Port Lincoln. Dad flew in with a really nice fish but instead of letting the chicks do a grab, Mum got over quickly, mantled the breakfast, and proceeded to take control of the feeding.

It should, by now, not surprise anyone to the identity of the chick right up at Mum’s beak. Now the chick can be identified quite quickly – it’s Ervie! aka Little Bob.

The rule of thumb is that the males return to make their own nests near their natal nest. I hope there are three or four more barges available.

One last nest. NEFlorida with Samson and Gabby. They are both very busy working on that nest. They have been bringing in a lot of big twigs. Here is Gabby moving some of those around.

Cute little Samson looks like he is standing very still in his tight black jeans waiting for orders. What a sweetie.

Samson is a very good listener and Gabby is giving precise instructions. Looks like they are already thinking they need high rails this year.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we check in on some of ‘my’ favourites. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

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.

Breakfast at 367 Collins Street!

It is 5 degrees C or 41 F on a grey Saturday on the Canadian Prairies. The Slate-Grey Juncos have departed and only a few brave souls are in the lilacs around the feeders. Even the squirrels and Mr Blue Jay seem to still be hunkered down and it is already mid-afternoon.

It is, however, morning in Australia. I have to hand it to the parents of the Collins Street Four, they are really working this year to keep these energetic and healthy eyases fed. Here is a two minute video clip of the first feeding of the day. Watch it all. You will notice that the chick on the far left really gets the first bites and this might cause you to worry that it would eat all the food but as the two minutes progress everyone is getting bites and that is how it is – they will all be fed. Another pigeon will come in shortly to top this one off!

For those Rutland Water fans reading this, sad news has come this morning. Blue 2AA known as Duracell has been killed. Duracell has been wintering in Portugal for the past five years and today, he landed on an unprotected hydro pole and was killed instantly. The authorities responded swiftly to cover the lines but, it is just devastating that an Osprey who has lived for six years navigating migration and poles should come to such a sad end – one that could be entirely avoided if every country had laws that required bird protections on hydro poles. I know that many of you are concerned and steps are being taken but, it generally takes a death of a beloved bird to bring about action. How about prevention?!

Speaking of preventions. I promised that I would do a full scale review of Chris Packham’s and Megan McCubbin’s book, Back to Nature. How to love life-and save it. I will do that but for now, if you live in the UK, I highly recommend this book. It is paperback and very inexpensive. It will give you great insights into what is really happening in the United Kingdom and why some things do not change. For those fans of Roy Dennis, Packham doesn’t hold back any punches when it comes to to why the estates want to keep their grouse hunting and how the tax payer is their major subsidy. Why would taxpayers subsidize hunting I ask. Packham gets to the point and if you are a UK taxpayer, you need to understand the environmental issues at hand and the stakeholders.

If you visit or live in the UK, I invite you to look up Knepp Wildland Estate. It is 3500 acres south of Horsham, West Sussex. It is the vision of Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree and is the only place you can hear turtle doves. Go to their website and read about what they have done to return the land back to the wild and if you haven’t read it, Isabella Tree’s book, Wilding will give you inspiration. Burrell and Tree have been influenced by the Dutch ecologist, Frans Vera.

https://knepp.co.uk/home

Here is the link to their page that talks about their vision. It is a good read.

https://knepp.co.uk/the-inspiration

I am a huge fan of their short videos showing the wildlife. Here is one of a White Stork but there is a host once you get to their website. I just know that you will enjoy them.

Here is another of the wild pigs and Robins.

And here is Isabella Tree talking about Rewilding – and how it can help save the environment, the wildlife, and us.

On my trip to Scotland next year to see the Ospreys I hope to find a way to get to Knepp as well as to Poole Harbour to see the Ospreys gather before migrating.

Everyone in the nests is fine today. It is just such a relief that all is going well. The individuals that run the cameras in Melbourne have said that they will not move the camera and have asked that this information be passed on. They have also asked that viewers not panic if they do not see all of the chicks. They would be out of sight but perfectly safe with Mum and Dad keeping watch over them. So I am passing it on. I know that we would really appreciate that other camera if the eyases decide to spend the majority of their time at that end. But, for now, let us be grateful to be able to watch this amazing family struggle with those four growing falcons!

Thank you for joining me today. Take care, be safe. Smile. See you soon.

Thank you to the Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clip.

Thursday Late in Bird World

It might still be drizzly and cold on the Canadian Prairies but the rain has stopped on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest – Thankfully! The kids had a last feed at 19:44:28 yesterday. Today, two fish were delivered before 08:30.

Dad is eating his share before the delivery to the nest.

The second fish that arrived, in the image below, is a flat fish. The previous one was a round. You can check the difference quickly. There are Leather Backs and Mullets in Australia. But, sadly, while my father and sons and grandson could tell you the names of most fish, I can’t.

Little Bob is the only one left eating.

Little Bob is usually first to the table and the last to leave. That may be the only way that we recognize him in the future.

Even Little Bob finally got full down to the tip of his talons and Mum was able to enjoy some of that nice fish. Beautiful.

Yesterday, Xavier delivered a food item to the scrape box at Orange. Diamond was not home! He looked at his little one and went over and fed it some of the bird. What a sweet moment.

There have been several feedings already this morning. Diamond and Xavier’s Only Bob can see them – its eyes are wide open.

Peeking out!

Remember that very tired little one that could not hold its head still so you could count to 3? Look today! Those eggies will turn out to be props and toys to play with for this little one other than competition in the nest.

It looks like the Collins Street Four were treated to having a pigeon plucked in the scrape box. Here is the before. The scrape isn’t all that tidy but…

Did Mom make this mess? Or was it Dad?

That is the little one that look so hawk like with that bulging crop. Cute. Everything that they see they imprint. By plucking the pigeon in the nest they will quickly learn the method.

Everything is alright in Bird World and there is still most of a day to come.

This is a quick check on everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!

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

Saturday in Bird World

There is still time for you to put in your count for the October Big Bird e-Bird Count. You have until midnight as far as I know. In one hour we had 37 Dark-eyed Juncos, 3 Blue Jays, 3 Harris’s Sparrows, 1 American Robin, and a host of House Sparrows. There were also 3 grey squirrels and 1 red and then Little Woodpecker came when the new suet cylinder went up. I wonder if they sit and watch? or how good their noses are.

Everyone of them seems to know the minute the feeders are full and once the suet cylinder is finished when a new one is put in place. It is much cooler than it was a few days ago and the sky has been a light grey all day. I wonder how long the Dark-eyed Juncos will be with us?

There is, as far as I know, only one hatch at the Peregrine Falcon scrape box in Orange. The little one has been fed several times already. It gets full with 3 or 4 nice bites of prey.

And then it will pass out quickly in a food coma! It is quite frightening the first time you see this happen, especially with a newly hatched chick.

Yesterday I made a video clip of one of the feedings at the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon Scrape.

The Collins Street Kids are really growing. The two larger ones now jump a bit to get up to Mum’s beak for the prey.

There was a beautiful golden glow on Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge this morning. Viewers got a treat. The cam operator showed the Calypso Star I taking clients out for shark cage diving. You might know it but it was that business that allowed the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and streaming cam to come into existence. Thank you Calypso Star!

It is 8:23 just now and the kiddos are still waiting for breakfast. They will certainly not starve! Never. Last night when they went to sleep their crops were bursting.

Once of those funny crop shots when they lean back to preen. Look how big that is. Each of them was the same.

Here’s Little Bob! Look at that crop and then look at his feet!!!!!! I love Clown Feet Time.

I am learning just to keep quiet on bird chats. A couple of days ago, a dear woman, who has been quite ill and is recovering, was more than put down because she suggested that birds have emotions. There is a lot of research on this subject. For the next week or so, I will post some academic/scientific papers on this topic. Some will be shorter and some longer. The one today concerns two particular emotions: fear and frustration. It is titled, “Avian Emotions: Comparative Perspectives on Fear and Frustration.” It was published in Frontiers of Psychology in December 2018.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6344452/

I grew up in Oklahoma (home of the Five Civilized Tribes before it became a state) where there are strong beliefs about animals and birds. They serve as messengers of the Spirits of the Indigenous people. Some offer warnings – others are there to help. Here is an interesting article birds as symbols.

We are looking for a hatch for Xavier and Diamond today. It might not happen. If it doesn’t, it is just fine. Those who watched their scrape last year certainly came to love their only hatch, Izzi. He was quite remarkable.

Thank you for stopping in today. Remember to turn in your bird count if you haven’t already. Take care. See you soon!

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

Is it a hatch or two for Diamond and Xavier?

The Guardian is hosting its 2021 Australian Bird of the Year competition and the Peregrine Falcon has made it to the final 20. The voting started out with 50 birds with 5 eliminated each day. The falcons are down to the wire! Here is the link to cast your vote for your favourite bird but Xavier and Diamond really hope that you will vote for the Peregrine Falcon!

Oh, Mom, Dad, and the four eyases on Collins Street in Melbourne really hope that you will also vote for the Peregrine Falcon! No pressure. LOL.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/sep/27/australian-bird-of-the-year-2021-vote-now-for-your-favourite

It is not even dawn in Orange, Australia. Diamond has been restless all night. Is there a hatch? a pip? Most bets were for a hatch on 7 October and that is today!

Xavier always arrives around 06:00. Today it was 05:56. He approached Diamond cautiously. She is not going to budge. Something is happening! Diamond is sure not giving away any hints. Xavier is making sounds like a squeaky door. I wish I could speak falcon. Must be an eyas under there breaking out of its shell. Yippee..confirmation to come later.

Remember, you can watch the action here:

WBSE 27 and 28 are awake as dawn approaches. Both have been joining in the morning duet with their parents. Just precious. Both are healthy. WBSE 27 will be 10 weeks old on Thursday and WBSE 28 will be 10 weeks old on Saturday.

In the 10th week, the sea eaglets are fully feathered. There could be some downy feathers still developing under their wings. All of the feathers should be out of the blood quill and hard pinned now. The two will do much more wing flapping. Watch for them to stand more on one leg. The eaglets can self-feed but Lady does love to feed them, too. Flapping up to the branches is called branching and this can occur at any time as can fledging, the first flight.

I hope that the Pied Currawongs do not chase them out of the forest. They need to imprint the way back to the nest so they can get their flying better. Fingers crossed.

There appears to be a problem with the streaming cam of the Port Lincoln Ospreys. I can tell you that three fish had been delivered to the nest before I went to bed last night. The first was at 9:00:06, the second at 12:02, and the third was at 14:09:33. Everyone was really full with that last feeding. Based on the past history of fish deliveries that would have been at least two more fish deliveries if not three before the day was over. The nest is doing really well.

All three had big crops like these two. The third osplet has passed out behind the two still looking hopefully at mom to see if there is anything left.

Wonder what those brown things are in the nest?? What has Dad brought in?

Remember to vote for your favourite bird and also mark on your calendar 9 October for the Big Bird Count. I will remind you again how to participate the day prior.

Thank you for joining me. We are definitely in for a hatch or two or three today at Orange. Xavier is waiting anxiously! Take care. Stay safe!

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

Incredible

The weather in Port Lincoln, Australia deteriorated further with winds blowing at 47 kph around noon with even stronger gusts. The humidity is 74% and it is 14 degrees C.

The little ospreys were fed at 7:00:33 and again with the same fish returned at 8:09:50.

Dad delivered a whopper of a fish at 11:20:11 for the third feeding. Just look at the size of that nice fish. Little Bob is staring. It looks like his eyes are going to pop out! I bet he is already calculating where to get in the feeding line. Right now it looks like Big Bob is eating first. That is Middle Bob kinda’ slumped over. He still has a crop from the earlier feeding and he looks like he would rather sleep than eat.

That is an amazing fish. Thanks, Dad.

Nothing has changed in those three seconds. Little Bob is still staring and Big Bob is still eating.

Well, you can see from the image below, taken 29 minutes later, that not only did Little Bob figure out where to sit at the table but he has already been fed enough to make a nice sized crop. Middle Bob seems to have woken up and is ready to eat, too. Of all the chicks, Middle Bob seems to be terribly laid back for a raptor.

Thirty-eight minutes later and the only one remaining at the table is – yes, you guessed it – Little Bob. This kid can sure pack away the food. And he doesn’t seem to stop when he is full but keeps on going if there is fish to be eaten.

Speaking of fish. Look! There is hardly any fish left. What a feeding.

It had to be difficult trying to feed the chicks in such wind gusts. Can you believe it? Little Bob is still at the table, still eating.

Little Bob has one of those nice big crops that looks as if it would feel rock solid if you touched it. Of course, Little and Big are still waiting to see if there is any fish left. Middle Bob is out! Meanwhile, Mom has also gotten to eat some good pieces. She needed fish. That huge fish fed the entire family very well.

Little Bob is certainly doing well and can hold its own on this nest as long as Dad keeps getting the food in. He is certainly growing.

Everyone is full. Mom is holding those babies down tight on that nest – as tight as she can. The trouble is trying to get them all under! Look at that tail and those big feet. These osplets are doing well.

Let’s keep their hatch dates in mind. Big Bob on 13 September 22:03, Middle Bob on 14 September 02:30, and Little Bob 16 September 00:51. Little Bob is 51 hours younger than Big Bob. Today, Big Bob is three weeks old.

As you can see the chicks are getting their feathers. The rusty-gold-coppery ones (I often call them peach) are coming in nicely on the head and neck. You can see in the image above, the feathers starting on the wings and the little tails. Those feathers are often called ‘blood feathers’. Feathers need blood to grow. The blood quills will disintegrate once the feathers push through that quill. The flight feathers on the wings and tail will be the last to appear. The chicks are already doing some preening and, indeed, will spend a substantial amount of their time cleaning those feathers. Some researchers say as much as 70% of their time is spent working on their feathers. Right now we are in a rapid growth period where the size of the chicks is continually doubling with the feathers growing and the muscles in the legs and the wings developing. They seem to change their appearnance almost before our eyes. Most times it is hard to differentiate one from another.

The Collins kids are doing well, too. Here is a good look at all four of them from this morning:

This is an image from their last feeding about a half hour ago. No worries here either. Eyes are all open, everyone keeps their head up nice and high for food, and Dad is really cutting down on the number of pigeons in the area.

It is early afternoon for these Australian bird families. It is late on the Canadian prairies. I always sleep better when I know that all of the ‘babies’ have eaten. Take care everyone. Continue all those powerful positive thoughts you have been sending to Port Lincoln during this period of bad weather. It is obviously working!!!! 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.

Checking in with the Australian Birds

Yesterday I waited until the trio at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest had their morning feast before I headed off to read and sleep. There was a smile on my face. The chicks had a huge fish to share with mum at 8:57:45. They looked like they were going to pop those crops! I did one last check and goodness gracious, one of them was having some extra bites at 10:20:16. I hope Mum got some good fish! Where in the world are these osplets putting all this food?

Here is an image of that breakfast fish. It is a nice one and all of the chicks ate well and behaved themselves.

Nice crops.

It’s clown feet time! Just look at how full Little Bob is – and the size of those feet.

Mum offering a chick some more bites. Just in case they might still be hungry. What a great Mum she is!

Dad made another delivery at 13:32:17. The chicks still have some crop left from the morning ‘whale’ of a fish.

Bigger crops. These three should sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

There is another small fish delivery at 17:00:36.

That little fish was gone very quickly.

And another fish was delivered at 18:18:57.

No one went to bed hungry.

It has been raining in Orange and Melbourne. There is no indication that there is a pip in any of the eggs at the 367 Collins Street scrape. That said it is really hard to see because the couple chose to use the scrape at the far end of the ledge away from the camera.

You can see the rain gathering in the gutter area. Stay dry falcons!

It is supposed to rain for the next couple of days. Maybe the eyases will wait. What lousy weather to hatch if you do not have any protection from the rain like the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond in Orange. It is about 8 days for hatch there.

Xavier arrived with a full crop and soaking wet to see if Diamond wanted him to take a turn incubating. While Diamond made up her mind, Xavier caught a little sleep. Oh, what a sweetie. Look at his crop – wow.

But look at how dry it is for these two. I wonder if anyone in Melbourne would consider putting some kind of a cover over those two scrapes for next year? Can’t do it now as it would stress out and disturb the birds but, maybe next.

Lady Hawk recorded WBSE 27 and 28 doing the morning duet with their parents. Oh, I remember when WBSE 26 sang with its parents. That was such a delight. Now we have these two joining in the family tradition. As you can see they are both doing fabulous.

There nest is quite dry. Sleeping duckling style!

That is the morning check in with our Australian nests and scrapes. Let’s hope that the forecast for rain in Melbourne is wrong! Otherwise, every bird is doing great. No worries here.

Thank you for joining me. It is another blue sky sunny day on the Canadian Prairies. We are blessed. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

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

Waiting for diamond to lay her first egg, 2021

Diamond laid her first egg of the 2020 season at 04:16:09 on 27 August! She looked uncomfortable during the day with her rear all puffed up. How grand! Here is the video of that magical moment last year. If you have never seen a bird lay an egg, have a good look. They go into labour just like human females. The egg inside is very soft. You have probably noticed that the female birds do not immediately begin incubating the egg once they have laid it. This is so the air can harden the shell. In fact, Diamond is not going to start serious hard incubation til all of the eggs are laid. This is so the eyases will be born closer together, be a similar size, and not have the issues that eagles and ospreys have with the tiny third hatch.

There are now two Peregrine Falcon nests in Australia on streaming cam. If you miss Annie and Grinnell then please check out either of these. This is the link to Diamond and Xavier’s camera. There is a chat and excellent moderators. There is also a FB page.

We continue to wait for the 2021 egg!

The other Peregrine Falcon nest is on Collins Street in Melbourne and that happy couple are already incubating three eggs. Last year they raised triplet girls. I just love this couple.

And before everyone gets nervous, don’t. There is more of a ledge in front of this scrape box than in Diamond and Xavier’s.

Falcons are amazing to watch raise their clutches. You do not get the sibling rivalry like you do in WBSE, Eagles, or Ospreys. That again is because the eggs are not hard incubated until all of them are laid. So sit back, relax and watch the fun!

Here is the link to their camera. There is no chat.

Tiny ‘Not so Little’ is still around! She was eating a nice fish after 20:00 last night. Some are beginning to wonder if she will be too heavy to fly for migration! LOL. She certainly will be well prepared. Tiny Not so Little is a very clever girl. Let those others go first. Let dad work and stay a little later, too.

Tiny Little, there are so many people who admire you and cannot wait for you to return in 2023. Meanwhile I keep thinking that you might be like the Sharp-shinned Hawk that frequents my garden in the winter. He is an anomaly. Are you?

Migration is really in full swing here in Manitoba. There will be a number of celebrations beginning in a week as the various species make their way south to get away from the harsh winters of northern Canada. I headed off to one of the biggest environmental projects in our City – Fort Whyte. More about that later. Surely there would be ducks and geese and other species. Well, not so many. A very cranky male Canada goose did not like me within 13 metres or about 40 feet of his two juveniles and the female. He kept a good close eye on what I was doing.

It was early afternoon and the geese were obviously very thirsty. Their goal before the male noticed me was to get to the pond and have a big drink.

Some of them did this sort of gargling motion!

This beautiful little female mallard didn’t seem to mind my presence across the boardwalk. She watched me for awhile and then began preening.

And if you ever wondered, mallards are dabbling ducks. Much of the time this afternoon they were busy searching for food.

Often nature centres have special events surrounding migration. Our first is on 2 September but the one that I really look forward to is later in September or early October. It is the Goose Flight dinners at this very nature reserve I visited today. Enjoy a great meal with local ‘everything’ and then enjoy the thousands of Canada geese that fly in at dusk. It is unforgettable.

We are now putting out extra suet cylinders and topping up the feeders during the day plus all the water bowls. Just like Tiny Little needs a nice layer of fat reserves, all of the migrating birds need to eat well to help them be successful.

Brush up on the difference between the terms environmentalism and conservation. We are going to play a game in my blog on Saturday!

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cilla Kinross and The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.

The featured image is Xavier in the scrape box.