Early Friday in Bird World

11 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

The sky is gradually turning blue and there are 57 European Starlings in the trees and 49 Old World Sparrows. Two Blue Jays have also already been to the feeders. There is so much snow. It was blowing and coming down hard around midnight and in certain places in the garden it is more than a foot deep. Winter has set in.

In the Mailbox:

Oh, I get the most marvelous mail but today ‘A’ reminded me of a very poignant moment last year. The 4th eyas at 367 Collins was dying. The entire family – including the siblings that had fledged – returned to the ledge to spend the night and keep the wee one warm as it passed. So, yes, the Collins Street falcons can fly back up to that ledge! Thanks, ‘A’. I remember that moment well. It is one of the finest examples of caring and grieving in Bird World. Do you remember?

I also received a fantastic letter from ‘K’ that reminds us of just how one single invention from an Ornithologist at Cornell saved the Peregrine Falcon population after its demise because of DDT. Do any of you know what that invention was? Think about it! I will bring it in to tomorrow’s newsletter.

Australian Nests:

Friday has been a very eventful day in the Australian nests and it kicked off with Indigo’s fledge at 0700:34. My goodness what a beautiful flight and it appears that Diamond and Xavier kept a good eye on Indigo and may have just delivered a nice piece of prey to her in the trees – prey that Rubus thought might have been coming to him!

Off she goes. Rubus did not notice – too busy eating his breakfast.

An adult almost immediately comes into the scrape and feeds Rubus. This is a great strategy. Rubus is no where near fledging. Keep him full, keep him in the scrape. No premature fledging.

Oh, Rubus is clearly starting to look like a little falcon. Look at those eyes. Rubus stayed facing the camera when Xavier came in with the prey. Having no screaming Rubus, Xavier immediately departs with food and flies down into the trees where Indigo is.

Sleeping standing up. Notice the beautiful barring coming on Rubus’s chest.

​Moderators RECAP: 06:42:35 X w/prey, Indigo takes; 07:00:33 Indigo fledges; 07:00:38 D follows Indigo; 07:01:33 D feeds leftovers; 07:25:43 juv star, X feeds; 09 26 07 D feeds scrap; 10:10:51 D w/prey, feeds…12:44:00 D with prey, Rubus takes; 15:54:13 X with prey, Rubus takes; 18:48:54 D with prey, Rubus takes.

There is a storm forecast for Orange on Sunday. Let us all keep positive thoughts flowing to Indigo. It will be day 3 after fledge.

When the excitement of the fledge at Orange had settled a wee bit, it was time for Melbourne and, much to the delight of everyone, a gentleman who has a view of the ledge from his bathroom actually filmed one of the eyases fledging this morning! Brilliant. It was quickly removed from the FB page but, the more than 500 viewers who saw it knew that there were no only 3 or, perhaps, 2 left on the ledge of 367 Collins Street. Two could be seen clearly. IF one was in the gutter, flat, loafing, then maybe three were left but, it is probably save to say that two have fledged in Melbourne.

For all the fledges may you always be safe, maybe your crop always be full, and may you feel the wind beneath your wings for decades.

At Port Lincoln it is a question of ‘where is the fish’. The water around the barge is a little choppy. A fish came on the nest at 0835 and Mum, thankfully, ate her fill. She gave some bites to Big. Dad has not been up to his usual standards in terms of delivery numbers. Did the storm stir up the sediment and is the visibility poor for fishing? is it the choppy water? is Dad not feeling well. I noticed the other day when they did a close up of Dad’s talons that he had a lesion on one of them. All of know that he was unwell when eggs were being incubated. Let us hope that this is just passing and that all will be back to normal at Port Lincoln. This family has faced enough challenges this season. Big is not scheduled to fledge for at least another 8-10 days at least.

Ah, a fish has come in. Mum caught it and is eating her good share before taking it over to Big who is fish calling on the nest. Hold your horses Big – the order is: territory protected, parents fed, offspring fed.

And, if you are wondering, yes, this is Mum. She has gone out and caught the fish. Dad left earlier and has not returned. She is sure going to eat her share before she hands it off to Big. Just do a drop and dash – Big needs to self feed! Gosh. It has been 15 minutes. Wonder if Mum will eat the entire fish?

At 1509 Mum flew to the nest with the fish to feed Big. So far she has kept control of the fish and is feeding. Maybe she will eat some more herself.

Gosh, that fish is tough to get the flesh off. Mum is really working at it giving Big a few bites and some that she could eat on her own.

Mum is feeding slowly and she is eating fish, too. At 1546 Dad flies in with a headless fish to the nest. Mum is in the background eating fish as fast as she can. Big and her will have enough fish for today. Let us hope that Dad had a good portion, too. It is so nice to see Dad. He was gone for awhile. I hope he was out fishing with Ervie in those choppy waters.

Mum in the back eating the rest of her fish as fast as she can. Dad’s is not big. He could have just eaten it but, he doesn’t. He leaves his small offering for Big and Mum. Thanks, Dad! I do hope you ate. Big has a crop and is fine.

Port Lincoln has said there will be no banding on Saturday. So, perhaps, the banding will take place on Sunday or Monday.

Mum went over to cover her only surviving osplet when the rain started. What an amazing parent she is! Little Dad is down in the shed. Let us hope that these two are alright. Everyone was so worried about Dad yesterday. He was away for so long.

Right now it is pitching down rain at Port Lincoln. The forecast I am seeing so a high chance of rain all morning at Port Lincoln.

Number 4. The Red List: The Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting – Sardinia – Italy_S4E1978” by fveronesi1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In some countries, birds are of least concern while, in others, they are vulnerable and, in the case of the Cirl Bunting, on the Red List in the UK. It is of LC in the United States.

This lovely little bird is a relative of the Yellowhammer. Just pause for a moment and look at the image above. How would you describe it? First, it is difficult to understand the size of the bird without any reference. Normally they are approximately 15 cm or 6 inches in length. During the breeding season, the males have a distinctive black chin. Below is a drawing of a male and female. In this you can get a better feel for how the male should look with its two yellow eye lines, black chin and crown, yellow line at the neck with a grey-olive collar and yellow underbelly. The female is much more striated with a vertically barred chest and a touch of the same olive-grey at the top of the wing. They are lovely little birds.

Cirl Bunting” by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

So why are the Cirl Buntings under threat of extinction? Farming practices is the main issue. The bird was once common all across the southern half of the United Kingdom. In the 20th century their population numbers began to spiral downwards when farming practices switched from spring sown cereal crops to autumn sown. Habitat intrusion and the use of pesticides also impacted the population numbers.

The RSPB worked with farmers in south Devon to switch back to traditional farming practices. The result was an increase in the numbers of Cirl Bunting along the cost. What had once been only 118 pairs in 1989 became 1000 pairs in 2016. This is fantastic news and all it meant was a return to the traditional sowing practices of farmers, the growth of shrubs and hedges, etc. Here is an excellent article from a farming on line journal that speaks to the challenges and what can be done for the Cirl Bunting to save it. Think rewilding!

There is still cause for concern. Farmers across the rest of the UK and elsewhere need to heed the use of pesticides and they need to pay particular attention to how their cycle impacts wildlife. The decline could lead to extinction just as quickly as the population numbers climbed over the past 30 years.

Other Nests:

I am so grateful to ‘B’ for alerting me to Indigo’s fledge but he also sent me a note telling me that Samson and Gabby were in their nest as Tropical Storm Nicole plummeted the area near Jacksonville. Well done you two. Riding out the storm together like Harriet and M15.

Jackie and Shadow are another power couple. They have really worked on this nest and they sure didn’t want a storm to take it away!

B’ wrote me first thing to say that both Gabby and Samson are fine and so is SWFlorida. Nicole has now passed through them. Fantastic.

Samson and Gabby

Sunrise over Samson and Gabby’s nest near Jacksonville, Florida.

Everything looks intact at the NEFlorida Nest. Maybe we need to get the Eagles to be our designers. These nests are amazingly strong.

Harriet and M15 have both been seen at SWFlorida and this looks like Harriet aerating that nest getting it ready for those precious eggs.

As Nicole moves out of Florida, there is sunshine on the nest of Harriet and M15. It is so good to see that they are fine and so are Samson and Gabby. The camera is still offline at Big Bear. It could have been damaged during the storm but, let’s all hope that it wasn’t.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. It is time for me to do some shoveling and fill the feeders! The Starlings are waiting for their Butter Bark. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up the screen captures in my post: Farm Life, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, NEFL-AEF, and SWFL and D Pritchett Family.

Bursting crops and branching…tales from Bird World

4 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Gosh, I cannot believe it is November. Today marks the beginning of the cooler weather for the Canadian Prairies. It is -5 and the Crows and the Blue Jays have been telling me all morning that we need to bring out the heated bird bath! The problem with the heated baths is that you must, in my climate, put small boards across the surface so they can drink and not bathe. It is too cold. Well, actually it is easy to put the boards across the top, it is the Crows that whack them out of alignment causing the entire exercise to be futile.

I can see no more double digit days ahead – maybe not until May! The Snowy Owls continue to arrive in the province while the number of Canada Geese, Mallards, Wood Ducks, and Dark-eyed Juncos is dropping dramatically. I do not blame them! I need to go out and have a last check at three local ponds and do the duck and geese count but, I have been having so much fun watching Missey and Lewis play that I just have not done it.

In the garden, the Blue Jays are here and so are the Crows. The Black Capped Chickadee stays all winter as does the Downy Woodpeckers. There are about 40 or 50 Old World House Sparrows that remain also. The numbers feeding drops substantially but, there is always a huge push for food from those migrating and that happened on Tuesday.

I am so glad that you have enjoyed the photos of the kittens. To all who realized what a wonderful distraction they are for the sadness at Port Lincoln, it is true. Lewis and Missey have really helped ease that tragedy. There is nothing more wonderful than your own animal or bird friend at home. The energy of Lewis and Missey is unmatched in my mind as my last cat, a lovely Red Aby rescue, was 14 and much slowed down when she passed away in July 2021. It took awhile to get ready for other fur ball companions. There is not a place that these two haven’t explored. I will include more pictures tomorrow!!!!!!!!!! But for now, ‘H’ cheered me up with this compilation of the two Lewises. So cute.

Australian Nests:

This image of Big at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge pretty much sums up this nest for this season. Look at Big’s crop. I would also like to see that size on Mum!

Big is massive.

Dad brought an enormous fish to the barge early yesterday morning. He had a good fill, so good that Mum was screaming at him to get that fish over to her and Big.

She is not too happy thinking Dad is going to eat that entire fish! He wouldn’t but…what we have to still consider is that during the stormy cold weather – our dear Middle got little to eat. At the same time, Mum had only the head of a fish more than Middle and some bites she could ‘steal’ while feeding Big. She was absolutely famished and still is hungry. You know I always say how much these adults lose in terms of body mass raising their chicks, it can be tremendous. I am hopeful that Mum will step back and, while feeding Big, take some care for herself.

The fish was estimated to actually weigh more than Dad. He had some trouble dragging it on to the ropes. It was just the kind of fish this family needed to start the day. Good work, Dad!

Mum and Big ate for an hour and a half.

There was some fish left for Mum, too, at the end which she ate by herself. Big was full – can you believe it? And moved away from the beak.

Last evening Mum went down and spent some time with Dad in the shed. Remember these two are grieving the loss of two chicks. Mum has fed Dad and now she has slipped down so they can spend some time together. I actually do not recall Mum being down in the shed very often. This has been a difficult season after the triumph of last year with the three males.

The attention at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne is not how much prey is brought to the nest but when the eldest eyas or two will fly. They are sure getting ready! Here are a mixture of images from today.

Dad missed the ledge – thanks, ‘H’.

Most of you will be familiar with the term ‘branching’ when it comes to eaglets. The flight from the nest to the branch. Well, there are no branches for either the Collins Street or Orange flacons but, ‘H’ caught the eldest having flow up to the other ledge at Collins Street – branching Melbourne style!

Rubus seems to have taken over the entire Orange scrape. From that tiny wee eyas that had to really jump to try and get any prey in its early days to now when it intimidates Xavier and seems to be eating everything, Rubus is a force to be reckoned with. Indigo, meanwhile, is becoming the most beautiful falcon, just like her mother Diamond.

Indigo reminds me of Izzi in this picture!

Rubus has been self feeding and plucking. He made quick work of a Starling head the other day. I wonder what he will do with this piece of prey?

I still say he but that does not mean Rubus is a ‘he’. Indeed, Rubus is eating so much and growing so big that we might be looking at another female. I don’t think Cilla has declared yet – if you know and I missed that, let me know please.

In Taiaroa Head, the first egg of the Royal Albatross breeding season has been laid and everyone of the NZ DOC rangers is looking forward to an exciting season! If you want to watch a mostly ‘unstressful’ nest, the Albatross is your seabird of choice. Why? The NZ DOC rangers take such good care of their birds. Eggs are removed right before hatch so that fly strike will not happen, eggs are shifted around between parents if a foster family is needed, and — there is normally no starvation as the chicks are weighed and topped up if their parents cannot supply enough food or if one or both are lost.

I will not say that the nests do not have their sadness. They do. We waited and waited for the return of OGK this year – he was last seen in mid-May-. He was young! Albatross can live to be quite old. Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, from Midway Atoll, will be 71 or 72 this year.

The NZ DOC has posted a video of what to expect:

On the Bookshelf:

I am not certain that this isn’t a book that all ages would enjoy. It was intended for children – to introduce them and convince them that birds are stunningly extraordinary. The topics cover every aspect of a birds’ life from their ancestry, to their behaviours, how we can help protect them and how to make your garden more bird friendly. The images are gorgeous and, the message is clear – protect the birds they are amazing! It is by David Lindo. Published in the UK, price varies but roughly $22 CDN for the hard cover. Highly recommended as a fantastic holiday or birthday gift.

The Name Game:

I want to thank everyone who took the time and sent in some of the names of their favourite streaming cam birds. It was quite fun.

Finally this morning, the ‘Name Game’. Thank you to absolutely everyone who sent in names. There were many duplicates and quite a few that I did not know. The letters in brackets are meant to help you figure out the nest but some, like (BS) stand for Black Stork. The Welsh names are either the Glaslyn or Dyfi nest. There were 3 names that tied for being submitted the most – 27 times each: Ervie, Izzi, and Xavier!

A: Annie and Alden (UC-B), Aila (LA), Andor (FP), Akecheta (WE); Andy (Captiva), Arthur (Cornell), Aran (Glaslyn), Aeron (Pont Cresor), Axel, Abby (EC), Alex and Andria (KNF), Audrey (CC)

B: Bazza (PLO), Big Red (Cornell), Blaze (EC), Bonus (BS), Blue33 (Rutland), Betty and Bukachek (Mlady Buky), Bella (NCTC), Brooks (SF), Baron Blue and Baroness Barefoot (WTE), Boone (JC), Bailey (HI), Barb (BPF), Bonnie (GHOW), Boris (Finnish nest)

C: Chase and Cholyn (2H); Captain JJ7 (LA), Carson and Cade (UC-B, 2020), Connie and Clive (Captiva), Ceulan, Clarach, Cerist, CJ7 (PH), Cookie (BBV), Charlie and Charlotte (Charlo Montana), Claire (USS), Clyde (GHOW)

D: Diamond (Orange); Dorcha (LA), Doddie (LA), DEW (PLO 2020); Daisy Duck (WBSE 2021), Dylan (LC), Dinas, Delyth, Della (MH), Dory (Boathouse), Diane (Achieva), Decorah North Mom and Dad, DM2, Duke and Daisy (Barnegat L)

E: Ervie! (PLO), Einion, Eitha, Eerie (BS), E9 and all the Es (SWFL)

F: Falky (PLO), Fauci (UC-B 2021), Freedom (RE, GG, Hanover), Franklin (Dollywood)

G: Grinnell and Grinnell Jr (UC-B), Gabriella/Gabby (NEFL), Glesni, Gwynant, Guardian (RE), Glory (NADC), Grislis, Glory (Dunrovin)

H: Harriet (all the Harriets but especially SWFL), Helyg, Hesgyn, Hope (GG), Harry (MN-DNR), Honor (NADC), Helju (GE), Hal (Dunrovin), Honor (Dunrovin)

I: Izzi (Orange), Indigo (Orange), Idris (Dyfi), Iris (Hellgate), Iniko (CC), Independence (Dollywood), Irvin (USS)

J: Jackie (BBV), Jasper (NEFL), Joe (Captiva), Juliet (NEFL), Jan and Jannika (BS), Jack (Achieva), Jack (Dahlgren), Junior (GI), Jolene (JC)

K: Kaknu (UC-B), Kana’kini (WE), Kindness (GG), Kaia and Karl II (BS), Kincaid (KNF), Kisatchie (KNF), Klints, Kalju (GE), Kingpin (CC)

L: Louis (LA), Lady (WBSE), Lotus (NADC), Lena (Captiva); Little Bit ND17 (ND), Legacy (NE FL), Lindsay (UC-B); Lancer (2H), Lillibet (FP), Lawrencium/Larry (UC-B), Love (GG), Liberty, Louis (KNF), LGK and LGL (RA, Taiki’s parents), Louis (HG), Lily (GHOW), Lady (LOTL), Laddie LM12 (LOTL), all of Big Red and Arthur’s Ls

M: M15 (SWFL), Mama Cruz (FP), Mr. President (NADC), Monty (Dyfi), Merin, Menai, Mrs G (Glaslyn), Martin (Captiva), Mitch (HH), Maya (Rutland), Mahala (GI), Missy (BC), Molate (SF), Malin (CM), Ma Berry (BC), Mom Decorah, Milda (WTE)

N: Nancy (MN-DNR), Nora (Dyfi)

O: OGK (RA)

P: Pedran, Padarn, Peace (GG), Pa Berry (BC), Pikne (BS), Pa Decorah, Phoebe (HI)

Q: QT

R: Rosie and Richmond (SF), Rocket (NEFL), Rick, Rubus (Orange), Rocket (NEFL), Ron and Rita (WRDC), Romeo (NEFL), Rachel (HI), Redwood Queen (CC)

S: Shadow (BBV), Samson (NEFL), Solly (PLO), Simba (BBV), SE26 for the brave eaglet she was (WBSE), Spirit (BBV), Seren (LC), Star and Sentry (RE), Skiff (HI), Sloop (HI), Schooner (HI), Slapjack (HI), Sarafina (Loch Arkaig), Star (WE), Smitty (NCTC), Spilvie, Superman (WE), Swoop (Dunrovin), Salli (Finland)

T: Thunder (WE), Takoda (NADC); dear Taps (PLO), Taiki (RA), Telyn (Dyfi), Tuul (BS), Titi (FN), The First Lady (NADC), Tom (CC), Tiny Tot Tumbles (Achieva), Tiger (GHOW)

U: UV (KF), Udu (Black Stork)

V: Victor (FP), Vera (Loch Arkaig), Voldis (WTE)

W: Wek Wek (UC-B), Willow (Loch Arkaig), Warren (MH), Waba, Wilfred and Wilma

X: Xavier

Y: Yurruga (Orange), Ystwyth, YRK (RA)

Z: Z1 aka Tegid (AO4, Wales, one of Monty’s boys), Z2 aka Aeron (PC, one of Monty’s boys)

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their videos, streaming cams, and posts that make up my screen captures: ‘H’, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and the NZ DOC.

Early Thursday in Bird World

3 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Thank you for your very kind messages. I am phenomenally lucky to have such empathetic people in my life. The collective mourning of Middle is a way of healing our hearts and our minds. For many it will be some time when we can look at Big and not think of Little or Middle. The circumstances this year were very challenging to this Osprey family and it was not only the osplets that suffered from lack of fish but also, Mum and Dad. It was worrying watching Mum not have fish to eat. The water has calmed today and an enormous fish arrived early. Big and Mum ate for more than an hour and a half. The seas are calm and the weather is better.

You will, of course, notice that I say ‘she’ and I have always referred to Big as a female. Some wonder if it makes a difference on a nest if the first hatch is a big female. So, let me try to explain. If the entire clutch is female – and there were several Osprey nests in the UK this year with just females – Manton Bay at Rutland and Dyfi in Wales – there are no problems. If the clutch is all male such as that at Port Lincoln last year, the lads are angels. Put a big female at the head of a mixed clutch on a nest with problematic fish deliveries and well, you have trouble. The key phrase is ‘problematic fish deliveries.’ It can be as simple as only one fish arriving on a particular day mid-afternoon and immediately, the eldest female, who requires 50% more food (all females require more food to feather than the males) is alert that there might not be enough fish available to feed the entire family. In some instances, there are no problems with mixed clutches because the fish land on the nest, the feeding is extremely democratic, and well, life is good. If there is a problem, the first place to look is gender/birth order and a period of few fish being delivered. Because so few nests band and take DNA tests, it is impossible to say with 100% accuracy that the culprit is a large female first hatch but, overall, it appears that is the case.

It is very true. New kittens are a distraction. These two came on a day when I needed that, a wee break from the ospreys. (I highly recommend taking mental health time from the nests – it is very beneficial). These two are rescues. They were found as newborns along with their siblings and Mum. They went into foster care before they could be adopted. They are not related but, knock on wood, they are getting along splendidly.

This is Lewis. Named after Lewis Hamilton the race car driver because he zips around everywhere too fast.

This is Missey. She is a week older than Lewis, a really tiny fluffy girl. All that fur makes her look bigger than she is and she fooled Lewis right away, establishing her right to dominance. Lewis did not care! He just wants his food and his toys and some loving attention! Lewis enjoys seeing all the birds and squirrels in the garden and Missey could care less. She likes her cat tree and she has taken over the hidey-hole in it.

In the Mailbox:

Many wrote to ask if they were seeing things. ” Were there really fish left after Middle’s body was retrieved?”

The answer is ‘yes’. There is a standard practice by banders to leave fish on the nest after they remove the chicks from the nest and return them. Additionally, there were fish placed on the Port Lincoln barge nest just around 0906. You could see two hands. It is apparent that Port Lincoln applied for and was given permission to supplement the fish for the nest. Sadly, those fish came late. Hopefully permission can be given to PLO for eventualities, a blanket permission if this situation presents itself in the future.

The Australian Nest and Scrapes:

367 Collins Street. The Melbourne Four. Look at that eyas below. There are only a couple of dandelions on the head and wing, reminders of its fluffy youth. What a beautiful falcon. It is the 4th of November in Melbourne. If the scrape at Charles Sturt University in Orange goes on fledge watch around the 12th, this means that we are entering fledge watch at the Melbourne scrape for the eldest tomorrow. I must check that!

‘H’ reports that there were at least two prey drops on camera and one off yesterday. The eyases have also been chewing on all the leftovers in the scrape.

And if you are wondering, no one cleans up the area. The wind and the rain between the end of this season and the beginning of next seem to do a good job. Falcons also like to know that wherever they raise their eyases is a good prey area so if they see a scrape like this one, well, they will know in an instant. That said, you will notice, that when the eyases are quite tiny the Mum will keep the scrape pristine for a bit. It helps to detract predators if there are any.

Wow. Look at those wings!

Seriously adorable.

Mum deserves to be proud. Look at her four ‘babies’. They are nearly ready to fly off the ledge and start learning how to hunt their own prey. Soon – if they have not already started – Mum and Dad will do flying lessons, some with and some without prey, to lure the eyases into fledging. There is still some time to go. They need their fluff gone!

Do you remember when we worried so much about this particular scrape? I have almost forgotten Mum leaving these wee ones in the middle of the day in the Melbourne heat before they could stomp down to the other end. They survived. Mum and Dad did well – first time parents.

Rubus and Indigo are precious. Fledge watch will start for Indigo on the 12th of November. I simply hope that Rubus doesn’t do what he always does and copy her immediately. He will not be ready.

The only prey so far at Orange is the early delivery of that large prey item. It is now 1439. As the chicks get older, the number of feedings drops considerably because the eyases can eat more and more at one sitting. I bet they would love a parent to fly in with a nice fat pigeon right about now.

One of the most tender moments on any nest is when one of the adults feeds the other. In this case, this morning Mum fed Dad at Port Lincoln. He brought in a huge fish and Mum and Big had been eating for an hour and a half. What a wonderful way to thank your mate. And it was more than one bite!

We need to pause and imagine just how hungry Mum was. I need to remind myself of this. How many times did we see her feed almost every bite of fish to the osplets? or just to Big without having more than a handful of bites herself. She must stay healthy and the same goes for Dad. I often say it is like flying in the plane, ‘Put the oxygen mask over the adult before the child.’ Mum did not always do that and there were plenty of times that Dad came to the nest and there was no leftover fish.

Both of these parents are mourning the loss of their chick. They don’t have the liberty to take a mental health day like I did, they must be there and carry on, making sure Big fledges.

The arrival of the big fish on the nest this morning.

It was a lot of fish and would keep Big until tomorrow if another does not come on the nest today.

Port Lincoln has expressed some concern that other chicks were lost on unmonitored nests during this period of bad weather where the males were unable to bring in enough fish.

Let us all hope collectively that permissions to assist with fish come in a timely manner or a blanket permission.

Migration News:

Bonus has found a good place to rest and feed now that he has left Greece. He is currently in Konya Province in Turkey just north of Lake Seydisehir.

Waba is feeding along the Nile River in Egypt.

Making News Elsewhere:

I am finishing reading Bowland Beth, the story of an extraordinary Hen Harrier who died way too young. A second book, The Hen Harrier’s Year by Ian Carter and Dan Powell (newly released) arrived today. I am very interested in the topic of the Hen Harrier because they are becoming more rare than they already are because of persecution by grouse hunting community and the games keepers. In the Foreword to the book, Roger Riddington states, ‘In recent years the Hen Harrier has become the de facto flagship species for the birding community in its stance against raptor persecution.’ While the Hen Harriers are, in particular, being shot with their populations on the knife edge, it is also other raptors that we should be concerned with as well – such as the White-tailed Eagle.

A recent report talks about the ghastly people who are these games keepers and how sadistic they are. It is good that the Scottish government has taken a stance and the prison terms will be such that they might deter the practice. The real way is to outlaw hunts. Fox, Red Grouse, you name it…outlaw them.

Convicted Millden Estate gamekeeper Rhys Davies had ‘formed a close bond’ with another animal-fighting sadist – Raptor Persecution UK

Something to feast your eyes on – patterns created by our feathered friends in flight.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2022/oct/29/xavier-bou-ornithographies-birds-patterns-flight-in-pictures

What if there are no birds to create the images the artist depicted above? What if the climate is heating faster and faster and warming the seas quicker? There are many sobering questions for humans who have caused the destruction of our planet and the myriad of challenges for our beloved birds (and all wildlife). The warnings of our planet heating faster than anticipated are beginning to make headlines in certain papers.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/02/europes-climate-warming-at-twice-rate-of-global-average-says-report

There is also news coming in regarding SE29 from the Sea Eagle Cam. There is no news on SE30.

November 2 : news from the vet caring for SE29 : today SE29 has moved into a slightly larger room that can be monitored with CCTV -doing as well as can be expected , everything is stable at this point.

Harriet and M15 on the branches after working hard on rebuilding their nest destroyed by Hurricane Ian. If they don’t put a smile on your face, I honestly do not know what will!

The first Bald Eagle egg of the year has been laid in Florida. That honour goes to the nest of Superbeaks, Muhlady and Pepe. The first egg of the Royal Albatross season has been laid at Taiaroa Head. Those parents are GK (Green Black) and BKW (Blue Black White).

Remember to send some of the names you came up with for the Alphabet Game by midnight tonight! E-mail is: maryasteggles@outlook.com

Thank you so much for being with me this morning and being the caring community that you are. Please take care as we all collectively heal. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos and/or their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, The Guardian, and those great people at the Looduskalender Forum.

Without words…Middle dies at Port Lincoln

2 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

When I went to sleep last night, I knew that I would wake up and Middle would no longer be with us. What an absolutely tragedy. He was so dehydrated that he was no able to lift his little head and eat despite the fact that fish after fish came on the nest….and the one time he did, Big attacked him. I apologize for this newsletter being highly disjointed. I do get upset when one dies, it digs at my heart for the days leading up to the death and then after. Somehow Middle is hurting the most. He was 43 days old, fully feathered, and his death did not need to happen.

Middle when he was still alive. Cold and needing comfort.

At this moment in time, I cannot tell you how rare it is in % for two osplets to die of siblicide on the same nest. Yes, siblicide. Textbook siblicide again just as with Little Bob. Port Lincoln is the only osprey nest that I have ever encountered where a double siblicide has now been recorded in three years: 2022, 2016, and 2015.

In 2017, the eldest threw the youngest (only 2 hatched) off the nest at 65 days. Stevie went into rehab and died a few months later. It might well be this single incident 5 years ago that makes the Friends of Osprey believe that Ospreys do not do well in care. I say now – for the future – take a bold step Port Lincoln. Get permission to remove the chicks when it is not too late. Get them to a rehabber that cares – someone like Dr Madis in your area, there must be someone in the whole of Australia! – and let’s try this again! Don’t wait for them to be thrown out of the nest or get so weak they can’t raise their head.

Claudio Eduardo and I are developing the International Data Base for Ospreys. It is to find out this % on streaming cams. No one has ever tracked predation and siblicide internationally. Sadly, Port Lincoln is our first entry for the year.

Despite the anticipation of what seemed the inevitable, I was having a really hard time anticipating the death of Middle so, as usual, I began my blog for today quite early yesterday. Dear Middle wanted to be warm and wanted some fish. And darling you, you got spunky and we just knew you would make it — against the odds of this nest – with a big aggressive female as first hatch. I am so very, very sad that you didn’t.

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Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. There were some changes in my house yesterday. Two small rescue kittens, 11 weeks old, have come to stay. One is a soft long hair tabby female and the other is a grey tabby with white runners in front, tall boots in the back, a white bib and tummy and he is Lewis – after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver from the UK. The reason is simple – Lewis runs around the house so fast from the front of the L to the conservatory barely stopping and heading back the other direction. I fell in love with him for his energy and love of toys. The yet-to-be-named female is sweet but, like the female raptors, she let Lewis know immediately that she is one week older and is ‘the boss’. He agreed and went on playing. They are getting along splendidly.

It was a real delight to watch Lewis sitting under the table peering out of the windows at the birds. I was ever so hopeful that they would enjoy watching them…they will never be outside to bother them. Did you know that, on average, outdoor cats live to be 5-6 years old while indoor cats live to be 17-20? Less vet bills, fewer infections. It is a no brainer — and the birds live. Not killed by an overfed pet to be left lifeless on the grass. Nope. Lewis and his sister can only dream!

It is very, very dark on the Canadian Prairies as the time nears 2100. The temperature is 11 degrees C. Warm for this time of year with clear skies and lots of stars. The temperature will rise overnight until it is an unthinkable 18 degrees C tomorrow. For those used to F, that is 64.4 degrees. In Port Lincoln, it is 14 degrees C at noon; it is 13 degrees in Melbourne. Similar. But for Port Lincoln this is freezing.

There are rumours making the circuit that Middle had a ‘ps’ (poop shoot) at Port Lincoln this morning. If that is the case, then Middle has had some fish. Osplets that have not eaten much in 3 days are dehydrated, no ‘ps’. I find that somewhat promising. And then I don’t. It is extremely cold and windy for Port Lincoln.

Fish arrived. Lots of fish. Big ate and ate. Middle got none.

It is now after 1400 on the nest. Middle has had scant food for more than 3 days. He appears to be slowly drifting away. His energy is gone. He is totally dehydrated. It is a horrible way to die. With winds gusting to sometimes 50 mph, I feel that there is no hope for this little fighter. It is a tragedy. I did not ever think that I would see this when things were looking up last week.

It is 2300 in Winnipeg. I know that Middle will not be here when I wake in the morning. We weep for all the Littles and sometimes a Middle…the people in the area that live and work in Port Lincoln, that care and love these Ospreys needs to have a serious look at the depletion of the fish in that region. More on that shortly.

I cannot even express how sad this is.

In his book, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier, David Cobham says, ‘These young lives are full of hazards: they need to be able to contend with prolonged periods of bad weather; they run the risk of being shot; in the excitement of chasing prey they may collide with vehicles or overhead wires; ground predators sometimes catch them unawares at their roost sites; and inter-guild predation by buzzards and goshawks may also be responsible for culling weak and unwary juveniles.’ (90) We could change the language slightly for our Ospreys but, right now, the entire family at Port Lincoln is having to contend with a 3 or 4 day period of prolonged stormy and cold weather.

I am almost finished reading Bowland Beth. Cobham is a gifted writer. I know the ending of the story. Most that pick up the book already do but, we are draw into the life of this exceptional raptor that was cut short by the Red Grouse hunts. It is a riveting and moving book and a must read if you want to understand why it is so important to ban the annual shooting hunts on the big estates and why the burning of the heather should be banned, at the same time. It is also about the short live of a very exceptional raptor and that was enough to get me reading. Cobham draws you into the day to day life of this bird trying to survive.

Did you know that the origins of ringing birds is traced to the Reverend Gilbert White? I didn’t. He would tie a cotton ring around the leg of a swallow to see if it would return to the same nest the following year. The metal and coloured rings that we are familiar with today are credited to Harry Witherby and Landsborough Thomas of the British Trust for Ornithology in 1937.

When Bowland Beth was ringed, this was how she was described, ‘Bowland Beth was one of those birds that you come across now and then that are absolutely perfect – her plumage, a rich, glossy chocolate brown, the most wonderful eyes, yellow irises, and vivid chrome-yellow legs with formidable black talons. She’s what I call a ‘super’ hen harrier.’ (74-75) Oh, had she lived!

There are no issues with either the scrape at Orange or at 367 Collins Street. Regular meals, the eyases developing right on schedule as if they read the textbook! Rubus – I almost called the new kitten Rubus because it is so energetic – is being his usual self. Or is it a her? It will be interesting to see what Cilla says. Rubus has certainly had a spurt in growing but its legs seem long and thin to me for a female. But, I am not a falcon expert. Let’s see what Cilla has to say.

Following Diamond’s instructions, Xavier brought a Starling in for Rubus and Indigo. He left it on the scrape despite the prey begging from Rubus. These two will need to learn how to self-feed if they are to survive in the wild.

Rubus is very curious and picks on the feathers and the head under the watchful eye of Dad. Indigo is not dazed or interested.

Xavier leaves. Indigo has joined Rubus staring at the prey wondering what they are supposed to do with it.

In this image you can get a really good look at the difference four days makes in growth. Examine the length of the tail feathers and the amount of down left on the back and wings of each eyas. Rubus still looks like he has been playing in the cotton candy machine.

Rubus goes back and works on the head of the Starling.

Then Diamond arrives to feed these two…look at Rubus almost push Mum over trying to get a bite of food.

Rubus is very aggressive. S/he is very hungry!

What a bunch of characters. Just look at their eyes!

Speaking of adorable…here is a video of selfies from the Orange scrape from yesterday. Rubus and Indigo can put a smile on our face and take away the utter sadness that we feel for Middle and his plight.

There are falcons on the 367 Collins Street nest! Just look at them and look at that mess – poop shots everywhere, feathers all over the place, the messier the healthier. Seriously.

Sharon Pollock put together a good video highlighting the new female – the Mum of the extraordinary Melbourne Four of 2022.

Back in the world of Bald Eagles working on their nests and we find the female at nest E-3 at the Kistachie National Forest not liking the wires that Cody put up for the camera and the sound. Let’s hope she doesn’t decide to do serious damage! The white wire is the sound.

At the Bald Eagle nest on the campus of Berry College in Georgia, Missy and Pa Berry are getting their nest in order. They fledged B15 last year and what a fabulous fledgling he was!

The GHOWs are starting early at the Southwest Florida nest of Harriet and M15. They are already knocking Harriet off the attic branch and her and M15 haven’t even finished rebuilding the nest.

Making News:

This is a great read. One of the things that I want to point out is the thank you at the bottom to all those who voted. 50,000 Euros were at stake and that prize has gone to a place that can really use it to help protect the albatross. Next time you see a chance to vote, look over the possible recipients and make your mark. It can truly make a huge difference.

Dr Sharpe and all the researchers at the Institute for Wildlife Studies have developed a mobile hospital to take on the needs of the raptors. Now, isn’t this a great idea. Something like this might work well in places like South Australia where there are no such services for Ospreys! And if they could get an Urmas and Dr Madis on staff – willing to take on an extraordinary project to try and give birds a chance that are normally written off as not doing well in care — well, everyone would be a winner. I am still sending loud cheers to the team in Estonia who advanced knowledge in the care and rehabilitation of Black Storklings. Bonus is living proof that their theories on how to care for the storklets worked!

https://www.iws.org/mobile-wildlife-research-hospital

Someone asked me once – oh, more than once – how I can deal with siblicide. It tears a piece of your heart out every time. Today is particularly difficult. Keep Middle in your thoughts. May he fly far, never to be hungry, never to be hurt, never to be cold – again.

In the memory of Little and Middle and all the other osplets that died on this nest because of siblicide and the few who did live to fledge, It has to be asked, based on the historical evidence at this Osprey nest in South Australia, WHY is siblicide so prevalent? Is it the lack of fish in the area? the erratic fish deliveries? Are we witnessing in Australia the need to raise fish for our Osprey families because we are depleting the oceans? is climate change impacting the number of fish?

Someone needs to be asking these questions. As I was once told, Australia and New Zealand are on the front line for climate change. Australia do something bold. Show the world that you care for your wildlife. Be proactive like New Zealand is at Taiaroa Head. Feed the chicks! Feed them. Put fish on the nest at Port Lincoln. Stand up and make the argument to the Ministry of the Environment and Water. Raise the fish and place them on the nest openly and with permission. Pull an Urmas and Dr Madis – get so proactive that the world will not stop talking about your kindness and care for your wildlife.

I will be taking a day off in memory of both Little and Middle Bob. I will be back with you on the 4th of November.

Thank you for being with me today. We will collectively grieve for that beautiful second hatch at Port Lincoln who had such potential… a life that we will never witness now. Take care everyone. Be gentle on yourself.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Albatross Lovers and BirdLife Australia, IWS, KNF, SWFL and the Pritchett Family, and Berry College Eagles.

Early Monday in Bird World

31 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that each of you had a joyful weekend and your start to the week is showing promise.

Most Canadians are obsessed with the weather. We are also slightly superstitious. OK. Many of us are highly skeptical if it is too nice late into the fall. We fear that we will pay for it by having 5 months of -35 C with lots of deep snow. So everyone that was out today – again – in their shirt sleeves and runners with no socks hopes that there won’t be ‘a winter retaliation.’ It is seriously hard to believe. Families were having picnics! Some brought their lawn chairs to sit by the edge of the pond and take in the sun’s rays. One of the biggest delights was the fact that almost everyone said ‘hello’ to one another. Being outside really does make us happier!

The number of waterfowl is dwindling at all the city parks, however. Less than the people! Duck and geese counts today at our St Vital Park were 350+ Canada Geese, 7 Mallards, 5 Wood Ducks and 3 Ring-billed Gulls.

My photos are not the greatest. The light was ‘odd’ but, I did notice how clear the water is today compared to earlier in the year. I also noticed that the parks personnel (or a fairy) has cleared the island, the water, and the shore of human litter. It is nice!

The male Wood Duck blends in so nicely with the colour of the pond and the leaves.

So many were flapping their wings today in the water. It is impossible to see the face but I love the light going through the primaries of the wing.

Oh, these sweet little female Wood Ducks. They are so tiny and so adorable.

Notice how the plumage of the female Mallard is such good camouflage in the fall when all of those hunters are trying to lure them to the marshes and wetlands to shoot them. Oh, goodness. I have an immediate knee jerk reaction just thinking about it.

Every year Canada Geese replace all of their worn out feathers at once – this means that when they are molting they cannot fly at all. It also accounts for all of the feathers around the park in the summer. It is quite odd seeing them without any tail feathers. Canada Geese are not the only ones to do a complete moult. Townsend Warblers, after the breeding season is over but before the southern migration also replace all of their feathers.

Audubon has a short and to the point article on the basics of feather replacement if you are curious:

https://www.audubon.org/news/understanding-basics-bird-molts#:~:text=Townsend’s%20Warblers%2C%20for%20instance%2C%20go,wrap%20up%20the%20process%20there.

The water is low. The torrential spring rains flooded the island ruining all of the nests and the eggs. Many had second clutches but a large number of the ducks and geese moved northward away from the pond. You can see on the bottom of the totem pole how high those waters rose.

There were some late hatched Mallards. I could see 2 small ones today and I do not know what happened to the others. I did find my images from a few weeks ago of the two female Mallards with ‘Angel Wing’. They can swim and feed but they will never be free to fly. It was simply pure sadness that could have been avoided. The two were taken to the wildlife rehabilitation centre. They had to be euthanized. The cause is nutrient deficiency from feeding ducks bread.

Please feel free to use my picture of this beautiful creature whose life was cut short because she preferred eating bread instead of the pond plants. Ducks do not know bread is not healthy. It is junk food and it tastes good to them just like candy and chips taste good to humans.

Most people want to be good to the ducks and geese. They have no intention of harming them – they are feeding them to be kind. ‘Killing with Kindness’ – should be the next campaign slogan at the park ponds.

There were so many people walking yesterday at the pond. It was fantastic to see – young and old. There are many trails of varying lengths, some through the forest and others around the pond or the cricket pitch.

The Guardian had an interesting article on walking. Please read it. So many people I know think that unless they walk that magical 10,000 steps a day there is no benefit to them. This article points out that the use of that number was not medically driven but was part of a marketing campaign. Recent research has shown that 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is very beneficial. So forget all the fancy gadgets that you think you might need and just get moving! And if you can walk in an area where there are trees – and even better animals and birds – any stress that is sitting on your shoulders dissipates. The author of the article agrees:

“But as the contemporary American philosopher, Arnold Berleant, argues, it is when we’re actually moving through a landscape, rather than treating it simply as scenery, that we most fully connect with a place and ignite all our senses. Berleant uses the term “aesthetic engagement”, but it needn’t be quite so lofty: A walk along the river might count, or perhaps time spent practising shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), really attending to the details of the trees, the leaves, the smells and the sounds.’

Nature does cure our ills. It can be a profound sea change to our lives. Sit in the sand and listen to the ocean and the gulls. Close your eyes in a soccer field and absorb the honks of the geese flying overhead. It is very healing. And I want all of you (and myself) to live long and well with our feathered friends. If everyone understood how powerful walking in a forest and listening to birds can be in terms of changing our lives for the good, would we be so quick to cut down the trees with nests of the Bald Eagles, bulldoze another 64 acres of good agricultural or forest for houses that are big enough for 10 families but hold only a single couple?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/oct/30/walk-nature-good-for-mind-body-soul

Well, I know that I am on my soapbox and ‘preaching to the choir’ because anyone reading my blog loves all of the birds – from the tiniest hummingbird to the largest raptor and all in between. We know they make us happy and heal our souls. We just need to spread the word!

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In the Mailbox:

Responses to the Alphabet Fun Game – make a list of the Alphabet and put the name of a bird from a streaming cam by as many letters as you can – are starting to come in. Thank you! I hope it was great fun! Remember to get yours in by midnight 2 November Central Time. Email is: maryasteggles@outlook.com

Making News:

Amur Falcons are being protected in three Indian States! Nets, catapults, guns, and air guns used to harm the beautiful raptors are being banned and confiscated. This is much welcome news.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/indian-officials-ban-guns-airguns-and-catapults-to-safeguard-amur-falcons

The fast decline of many species is alarming. Sharon Dunne posted this in the Albatross group and I know that many of you will find this article both interesting and disturbing. The number of birds disappearing is frightening.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/cDTxh7HCCtKM6jM7pTnrl9/revealing-the-plight-of-the-antipodean-wandering-albatross?fbclid=IwAR1iQDVnQFSD8B-BG5YyIWu5L26l5T_0wghPUUQ63RFw4rITywDY61CXrzU

Eurasian Jays are showing how intelligent they are! Birds do not go for instant gratification showing higher intelligence. Many of us can attest to the intelligence levels of birds making decisions every day as we watch them meet the challenges that humans have given them. That said, this is a good read. As I write this my own Blue Jays are on the roof of the conservatory telling me the peanuts are all gone! They do not get peanuts at the weekend so Mondays are always a flurry.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

Do not forget to check nests during the off season. The Osprey nest at Mispillion Harbour in Delaware continues to amaze ‘H’ with its visitors. Bald Eagles have eaten fish on it, an immature Hen Harrier came to visit, a soaked Peregrine Falcon found the nest in a story, and today, a Turkey Vulture visited and cleaned up all the scraps. How grand. I love Turkey Vultures, and Condors, and Adjutant Storks. They are the vacuum cleaners of the natural world.

https://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoM

Australian Nests:

As I write this, there have been three feedings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. They occurred at 0634, 0717, and 0815. Big got the vast majority of the fish but, Middle did eat. Mum has had little and she flew off the nest around 0834. It is now past noon and she has not returned. Dad delivered a large flat fish to the nest at 11;44:45. Dad flew off and then returned at 120438. I thought he was going to fly off with the fish but the osplets were prey calling so loud that he stopped and tried to feed them. He could not. He has left the fish on the nest with Big and Middle to their own devices. It is quite clear that these two cannot self-feed. Yes, they can hork down a fish tail but they are not capable of feeding themselves. They have nibbled at the open edge that Dad created.

I have to admit that I have a bit of a lump in my throat. I hope that Mum is catching a fish for herself and is eating it. She has had little to eat for a couple of days. At the same time my mind goes back to the two osplets on the Finnish nest whose Mum died of Trichomoniasis (a parasite that causes lesions and impacts the bird’s ability to eat, swallow, etc. The 4th hatch at Melbourne scrape died of this last year). I am not saying this Mum has that deadly disease (if not treated) – far from it. I am just saying that it reminds me of that nest with the two osplets. One could self feed but Boris could not and had a difficult time. They both survived to fledge – their dad dropping off fish at the nest and both of them – to various degrees – successfully. But…these two cannot feed themselves, yet. So what has happened to Mum?

 Dad has dropped off the fish but there is no one to feed Big or Middle. They both sniff around the fish.

Dad returns and watches his two chicks struggle. Middle is at his feet calling to be fed.

Dad decided to try and feed the two. He is not successful and leaves. — Many Osprey males feed their chicks. Some will also feed in tandem with the females when there is fear that a smaller chick will not get enough. Many of you will remember how Louis and Aila at the Loch Arkaig nests shared feeding duties in 2020 when there were three chicks with little Captain, JJ7, getting a private feeding. When this happens, everyone wins. The third hatch usually gets strong enough and time passes and it survives.

Dad returned and took the fish off the nest. This is interesting. The weather has turned really nasty. Did he take the fish off so that predators would not be attracted to the nest? or does he think they are not hungry? will he break the fish into pieces and return them? or is he as hungry as Mum and will eat the fish?

The weather has turned bad. Both Big and Middle are trying to find comfort together in the nest.

Oh, my gosh. Just about the time my heart has dropped to my little toe, Mum returns. She has the tail piece of the fish and it is 125445. Dad is there. I bet he is so happy to see her arrive! The kids are ravenous and, in particular, Middle. Let us hope he gets a good portion of this fish.

Middle got bites by doing his famous snatch and grab. This makes Big very upset if Big perceives that Middle is getting more fish than her.

Middle got a couple of bites at the beginning but he is clearly afraid of Big. It isn’t a huge piece of fish but, I am sure hoping that Middle gets some.

The key is – when Mum is feeding Big if she feeds slow he will get full sooner and there will be plenty left for Middle. You may have witnessed this happening at other nests. When she feeds Middle she has to feed him fast so he can get as much fish as possible within a short time.

Middle went to snatch and grab a bite and Big furiously attacked him. This is not good. Middle needs some food.

Middle waited – not long – til Big got situated and moved up. Mum made sure that he got some bites of fish. Not a huge amount like Big got but, Middle did get some fish. Regardless, he needs more, much more compared to Big.

Mum flew into the nest with the tail end of a fish. It should be presumed that she ate the front portion or part of it before returning to the nest. She, too, as noted many times, needs to eat. Hopefully when this bad weather system passes, more big fish will arrive. That is what this nest needs.

Big with her big crop and Middle flapping. I bet he will want off this nest as fast as his wings will carry him. Oh, I wish we could hire Ervie to teach his little brother to fish!!!!!!!!!!!! Ervie and Middle could trade stories about Big and Bazza. Maybe they could even invite Dad and sit down at the shed together leaving Mum and Big upstairs. Just imagine.

I continue to be very curious about the amount of fish that the tuna fishing fleets take out of these waters that are not tuna. What impact has this local commercial fishing had on the Ospreys?

I woke up very concerned as to whether or not Middle had any more fish at Port Lincoln. He really has not had enough to keep a sparrow alive and it is concerned. There is no way to check how he did. Perhaps some of you in Australia will know for the later time in the day as the live stream at Port Lincoln is down. It is to rain again and the winds are blowing at 31 kph.

Both of the Peregrine Falcon scraps have had at least one or more meals by the time I am writing this (1900 on the Canadian Prairies).

Indigo and Rubus are eating well. According to ‘A’ and the moderator, this is a recap so far of today’s feedings: RECAP: 4:20:36 D w/prey, eats, feeds 4:57:42; 6:42:14 X w/noisy miner, leaves with chicks; 8:36:12 D w/stubble quail/ feeds; 8:51:25 D takes NM; 9:41:51 X w/rosella, he feeds.

It is often some of the expressions that occur during these feedings that are so hilarious. Rubus just stretches and jumps to get his bites. Please note, I continue to say he/his because I really believe Rubus is a male. There are times when Indigo, who is so large and already declared a female, gets the Diamond look of seriousness in her eyes. Rubus never has that. He has long thin legs like he is trying out for a basketball team or long distance running. They are quite the characters.

Indigo, however, also gets frightened! We saw it with the Starling Head and again today when Rubus was trying to eat ‘Eggie’. My goodness. Here are some of the images from today at the scrape in Orange, enjoy.

Indigo stands and looks out the window of the scrape at the world beyond, just like Diamond.

Indigo protests loudly when Diamond shows up without breakfast!

Prey is left to see what Indigo and Rubus would do with it. It is a Noisy Miner.

That beautiful plumage is coming. You can see the peach on the feathers from various angles.

Indigo was really trying to get some more bits and bites out of Mum. But…look at that tail!

Look at Rubus’s eye. ‘What is up with you, sis?’

The stormy weather has reached Orange. There was lots of lightning and Diamond spent the night inside the scrape with Indigo and Rubus.

The Melbourne Four are eating fine. They are also losing most of that white soft down off their feathers. While we may not see the parents, one of them would normally be close by keeping an eye – perhaps up on another higher ledge. The amount of ‘ps’ and feathers tells it all!

Freshly plucked whole pigeon and consumed in a few minutes.

That is not an adult. That is one of the older eyases – I think the eldest. There is hardly any down left.

The Melbourne Four are fine.

Migration News:

In migration news, there is no word from Karl II or Kaia. They had both reached Africa. There is scant service where they winter and it is hoped that they are both enjoying themselves, feeding and replenishing their weight lost in migration. Bonus was last on the Island of Levbos. He appeared to be flying in the wrong direction but has righted himself and is back in Greece heading South. Little Waba is doing well and is in Egypt – ahead of Bonus.

Send your best wishes to all our nests including the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Hang in there Middle. The weather will be better after Tuesday. Hoping for big fish to fall from the sky!

Thank you for being with me. Please take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Guardian, BBC Four and Sharon Dunne, HM, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Middle is peckish, a look at stunning L4, and other tales in Bird World

30 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The weather on the Canadian Prairies continues to be balmy. It is 10 degrees C as I write to you and it is just past 2030 Saturday evening. The one thing I enjoy so much about living in Canada is that we will never let a good weather day at the end of October pass us by. Visitors at the wetlands today were in their shirt sleeves — short ones! Everyone had come to try and spot the Tundra Swans. There were 13 of them on the water yesterday including the family that I had seen in September.

It promised to be a good day as the sound of Canada geese honking filled the sky. On the way to Oak Hammock, I passed more than one field of corn being harvested. This is a huge bonus for the geese and ducks landing here now on their way south. Lots of food and the weather is supposed to be warm and dry for several more days. The geese will have those fields cleaned up in short order.

I have mentioned Oak Hammock Marsh before but, for those that are new, here is a short description. It is a huge area of wetlands northwest of Winnipeg measuring 36 sq kilometres or 13.89 square miles. The area is owned jointly by Ducks Unlimited and the Province of Manitoba. The landscape changes from season to season and month to month. There are many educational programmes, tours, canoes, and an interpretative centre. It is one of two large nature centres near the city where I live. The other is Fort Whyte Alive. The main difference between the two is the fact that Ducks Unlimited – while restoring wetlands to protect and grow the number of waterfowl – are also proud promoters of duck hunting. That is difficult for me. At the same time, I am grateful that there are expanses of land for waterfowl instead of housing divisions or paved parking lots.

The main building has a little shop, a display of miniature ducks that have won the annual contests, lots of computers set to eBird, and walls of displays – historical finds on the land when they were building, a class room, and cases full of beautifully carved ducks. I forgot my phone or I would have images of these for you – the lens on my camera simply cannot focus that close.

We had so much water in the spring. It rained and rained and rained every day. Torrential rains. This area of the flat prairie flooded in many parts. It made for soggy earth where bull rushes grew. They grew so tall. The Red-winged Blackbirds were eating the seeds the last time I was here. Today, there was no a single one. They are on their way south!

This female Downy Woodpecker was looking for bugs and insects and flitted around the path going in and out of the shrubs. She seemed to care less if I was there with her so focused was she on finding food.

Such a gorgeous Greater Yellowlegs.

There were two American Coots towards the end of one of the trails in ‘Coot Pond’. It was also there that I found the Snowy Owl I had gone to see – one seen flying over the marsh this morning. Sadly, it was dead.

Overhead two raptors were enjoying soaring in the thermals. There are Northern Harriers that I have seen at the wetlands but, there was always only one. These two look as if they were having fun and their silhouette looks like the immature Bald Eagles in both of my books with raptor silhouettes. I just wonder if one of these might be responsible for the demise of the Snowy Owl.

I saw six Great Yellowlegs today. They were all very busy poking around at the edge of the pond looking for food.

The Tundra Swans alluded me today. That is perfectly fine. It was a joy to see them in September!

On my way home I stopped at a park that I frequent occasionally checking for Wood Ducks. I was not disappointed today. A cute little girl, about three or four years old, was feeding the ducks cracked corn – a perfect food for them! This had brought the 20 or so ducks up to a single area. Many looked as if they had already eaten lots of corn and were back in the water swimming. And the light was so strange – the water looked metallic. Everything had a reflection and this cute little female Wood Duck seems to be looking at hers. I wonder if she knows how gorgeous she is.

This Mallard couple sat so still and their plumage was so vibrant and perfect that they appeared to be decoys. And then they moved!

The golden glow of the sun as it was getting lower in the sky caught this precious female Mallard. She looks like she has been eating very well and it is time for the last of the sun’s rays to warm her.

The forecast is for it to be 18 degrees C on Wednesday. I am going to check e-Bird and see if there are any hotspots with shorebirds and ducks still in southern Manitoba!

I know that many of you have pets, perhaps more than one. One of the wonderful things about them is how happy they are to see you when you get home. Well, when I pulled up and parked the car, I could hear a sound. I didn’t recognize it at first but, then, I saw her. There was Dyson running down the branch of the tree to greet me. She said all of her hellos and beat me – she was already waiting on the deck for peanuts – by the time I sat my camera down. Now how did she know that there was an enormous sack of fresh nuts just purchased for her???

And does she know how happy I am to see her?

___________________________________________________________________

Making News:

Suzanne Arnold Horning was out and about today and she has photos of Big Red, Arthur, and L4 on the campus today. Oh, L4 looks so grown up. Remember that little one clamoring over its siblings to be right up and front at feeding time? and L4 being the first one to catch their own prey? Beautiful juvenile. I am so glad that L4 is staying in the territory. Wish this juvie had a band!

Look at those beautiful Juvenile eyes. Looks like L4 is over around the field by Highway 366.

Beautiful Big Red. Our fabulous Mama who will be 20 years old in the spring of 2023. Incredible.

This is another image of Big Red today from Ferris Akel’s tour. Isn’t she a stunner? And she has her dinner!

L4 will get her ‘red tail’ when she turns one. It is really a mark of honour for so few survive. Gradually, L4’s eyes will get darker and darker and one day she will look like her gorgeous Mum.

The Illegal trade in Song birds coming out of Indonesia. Oh, however so disgustingly sad. There are moves around the world to stop the illegal trade in birds and many places are banning the sale of parrots and other exotics to try and stop this practice. What is happening where you live?

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2022/oct/28/caged-indonesias-songbird-trade-in-pictures

We all know about Taiaroa Head where the NZ DOC take such good care of the Royal Albatross colony. Nearby is Dunedin’s Eco Sanctuary. Check out this birdwatching trip in New Zealand.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2022/oct/31/a-birdwatching-trip-back-in-time-what-pre-mammal-new-zealand-wouldve-been-like

There was a big fire across from the nest of Harriet and M15!

Nest News:

The weather is truly miserable at Port Lincoln. It was pitching down rain and there was concern that Dad would not be able to bring any fish to the nest but, Dad is extremely dependable. If there are fish – even small ones – he will bring them to Mum, Big, and Middle. It was between small and small medium size. Middle got the first good bites and that is a good thing because at 085754 Middle got up to walk away and then turned as if he might want another bite. At 085757, Big takes exception and gives Middle a brief reminder that she is eating – and eat she did – all the rest of it! It is certainly true that things appear to be civil but, when Middle eats his fair share before Big or Big thinks Middle is going to eat all the fish, she doesn’t put up with it. There was a ‘look’ from Big at Middle at 091225 that said it all.

Oh, the family was soaked.

Breakfast arrived at 08:49. Middle will get the greatest share of the fish for the first six minutes of the feeding. Indeed, Middle will have a small crop. Middle is on the left and Big is on the right. You can see that the fish is not huge but it is not tiny either. Dad is extremely reliable.

All is forgiven as the pair try to get some warmth as the rain continues.

The rain stopped by the winds are blowing at 31 mph. It could be very difficult for Dad or Mum to bring any fish to the nest in these winds. Send this nest your best wishes, as always.

Middle is hungry. Big has gotten the lion’s share of the fish for yesterday and that was not much, just the two deliveries due to the stormy weather. So Middle was peckish and pecked – yes, he pecked Big – twice. Here are some images of the last encounter. BTW Big does retaliate but, it is not as viscious as previous times.

What precipitated the event was the sighting of a parent and the hope of some fish. The two followed and did a wee bit of fish calling. Middle puffed up real big before pecking Big —-oh, please let there be lots of fish on Monday in Australia!

At 367 Collins Street, the falcons did survive the fireworks but, at the same time, it was so apparent that Mum was frightened out of her wits. She returned to her perch above the scrape before dusk. Very grateful all is well.

It is impossible to know when the Melbourne Four are being fed unless you see them being fed at the end of the ledge above or hear them squeeeeeeing which they are doing now at 1400! I am not worried about them. These parents have done a smashing job feeding these four and learning how to care for them. ‘A’ tells me it is blistering hot in Melbourne today and the eyases know to stay in the shade. So they are eating and they are sleeping in the shade and isn’t that wonderful — all is well.

Oh, goodness they are loud! Rewind to 1404 to hear them. It is a wonderful sound. You can just picture them jumping a bit with their beaks wide open snatching that precious prey.

At 1411 one of the eyases is heard running down the gutter. Then they mantle once they get to the scrape box. They have a piece of prey and they are going to self-feed. How exciting! This wee one keeps looking back to see if anyone is coming to try and take its treasure.

All finished and the fluffy eyas is running down the gutter back to the feeding wanting more!

The Melbourne Four had their usual four feedings yesterday despite the fact that we cannot always see them. Great parenting! Glad things are now quiet.

‘A’ reports that she saw that dreadful synthetic spider web decorating a property in Melbourne for the first time yesterday. This needs to be banned before it becomes ‘the thing’ to do. It is dreadful for all the small birds and other animals including pets that can get tangled up in it.

No more had Alison said this and there is an article in The Guardian urging Australians not to adopt the spiderwebs as they continue to follow the Americans trend of Halloween.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/30/is-australias-growing-love-of-halloween-endangering-our-wildlife

All is well at the scrape in Orange of Diamond and Xavier. We are so lucky that there are several cameras covering all the angles including the outside of the water tower at Orange. It gives the viewer real insight as to what is happening everywhere.

There were two feedings in the morning. At 0648 Diamond arrives with a pigeon and feeds Rubus and Indigo. Then at 1027, Xavier arrives with an Eastern Rosella Xavier will begin the feeding and Diamond will take over. She loves her Rosella, too. Just look at Indigo and Rubus. Look at their size. Gone are the days when Rubus was so tiny he could not get to the beak for food. Now it is watch out or Rubus will get it all. I do wonder if Rubus – who is four days younger and that is a huge amount of time in a falcon’s early life – is not a female.

Rubus is really getting all of the first part of the feeding. What an aggressive youngster. Reminds me of Izzi.

Rubus also gets full and goes over to the Cilla Stones making it easy for Indigo to finally get some breakfast.

But then…Rubus decides he would like some more prey. Poor Indigo. Just look at that adorable face. How could anyone ever get mad at that?

Rubus is still like a fluffy cotton ball with sparkling decoration around the edges.

Just close your eyes for a second and remember little Rubus trying to jump up and get prey and now look. Snatching it right out of the parent’s beak!

Diamond slept on the edge of the scrape box for part of the night departing sometime after 0100 to go up to the top of the tower.

The nest with prey delivery problems is Port Lincoln and that is because of the weather. The forecast is for rain and wind on Monday and Tuesday.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Take care everyone…and remember to work on your Bird Names Alphabet. I cannot wait to see all of the names you come up with! See you soon.

Thank you to The Guardian, Suzanne Arnold Horning for her photographs of Big Red’s family including the phenomenal beauty, L4, Ferris Akel’s Tours, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Godwits, owls, fireworks, and Aussie raptors…early Saturday in Bird World

29 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It was so nice to hear from so many of you. I am glad you enjoyed seeing some of the feathered friends at my local zoo. I have not been there for years and it was simply a delight to see how zoo management has changed. One of the big features is our Polar Bear Conservation Project. Children love them. The place was packed – that made me happy but, I wish more people would sit and watch the birds and not be so attracted to what they are told is exotic – aka, ‘the tiger’.

Making News:

Alaska to Tasmania in one 13,000 km epic journey?! It seems a Godwit has set a new record!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/godwit-migration-alaska-tasmania-record-1.6632658?fbclid=IwAR2Sq0cOfXqg3aJDFCdwk02a4ZkWRKpMZ9_tHLeMxImoeezDPpPXmrKjc5s

A wee owl being attacked by seagulls 100 miles out to see in Scotland was saved! This is a make you feel good read.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-63425826?fbclid=IwAR0vCiStXvVZWRNQl8sHjNA4faCQIeJ2Uob9VjW7gXlChlEWS95wSej_ZZU

Please don’t put all your leaves into bags. If you must, rake them and put them in a pile, Lovely Greens made this great poster to remind us that it is better for the birds if you just leave the leaves! Look at all the wonderous creates that will thank you.

The Kakapo Recovery Group – those great people that monitor, care for, assess, and generally make sure that as many of these critically endangered non-flying parrots live – have opened up adoptions for the next year. I can say as someone who waited too long – if you are intending to make a donation to the Kakapo by adopting one of the birds, do it now! Don’t wait. My Kakapo lives in one of my huge plants, often hiding, just like the real ones.

If you are looking to help out other wildlife groups or nature centres, many are busy making money selling their annual calendars now. Check out the individual websites.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

The takings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest would not win any awards today. It is now 2100 on the Canadian Prairies on Friday night and it is 12:17 in Port Lincoln. There have been two deliveries: 061847 and 093829. Both were small! And I do mean small. The first appeared to be a chunk of fish and the second was simply a teaser. Let us hope something bigger comes on the nest soon. Still, it has been pleasant and that is fantastic.

Another fish, a little larger, came in at 131223. Big got the lion’s share of this fish. Middle is hungry and was doing a bit of snatch and grab but at 1315, Middle pulled away as if he was afraid Big would attack. Big continued to eat and at 1324, Big took the tail and ate it. This nest needs 2 big fish to come on it. Middle will be fine but both Middle and Mum need to eat, too.

Middle pulls away. He has had some bites but Big had domineered the feeding.

Middle watches Big eat the fish tail.

I don’t know if anything could get cuter than the antics of Rubus and Indigo. Particularly when prey is delivered. The pair of them seem to go after Xavier much more than Diamond – jumping, and pulling, and trying to take the prey out of Dad’s beak. I wonder if Xavier and Diamond have noticed that it is double the work taking care of these two than it was when they had only Yurruga last year or Izzi in 2020? Mind you those two were a little like energetic Rubus!

This scrape is the real winner in terms of prey deliveries. They had six deliveries yesterday of which 5 were Starlings. Today, there have been three deliveries already – a Starling at 060733, a parrot at 063831, and a Noisy Friar at 091333.

Here is a video of the earlier feeding:

It is getting much more difficult to tell when the Melbourne Four have been fed. They had a whole pigeon early and if you rewind you will not see any feedings. Still it is 1300 and, based on past performance, we know that the adults would have been in with prey. The sun is shining and so far there is no rain falling.

There is some serious concern over the Mum at 367 Collins Street. She was abruptly woken last evening and flew off the perch at 213426 and has not returned. It sounded to me like it was people partying in the CBD. Were there fireworks set off? Was it the Spring Carnival Fireworks? If that is truly the case, this is a very good reason not to have fireworks! It definitely disturbs the wildlife! I hope that Mum is perched somewhere safe. If you live in Melbourne and know what was happening around this time in the CBD, please send me a comment. Thank you!

‘H’ caught it all on video. Thank you ‘H’ for alerting me to this happening and creating this video for us. It is much appreciated. There are falcon sounds coming from the ledge above a few minutes later.

Continuing with the loud noises that happen when there are big gatherings, dozens of people were treated for cardiac arrest in Halloween celebrations last night. Perhaps it is time for civic leaders to recognize the harm to all by loud surprising noises bouncing off of tall buildings in urban spaces.

All of the Bald Eagles in the US are building their nests or renovating their old nests. Sometimes hearing that Xavier brought in another Starling can be like fingernails on a chalkboard. So ‘A’ and I have come up with something that we hope is fun and helps oil everyone’s brain! ‘A’ began making a list of the names of streaming cam birds that correspond to the alphabet. Then she sent it to me. Oh, it was fun trying to remember all the names and clear up the few missing bits. So, we both thought you might enjoy it, too. So, get a sheet of digital or real paper, get out your pen or your keyboard and put down all the letters of the alphabet. Then start adding the names of the birds next to them. Let’s give ourselves until Midnight Wednesday 2 November -CDT. I will give you a count down so you remember. I will post the results as soon as I can collate all of them. You can send them to me via e-mail: maryasteggles@outlook.com

To get you started. Can you think of a female Peregrine Falcon living at The Campanile whose name starts with an A. It is ____________________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for being here with me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and/or their streaming cams where my screen captures came from: ‘H’ for her alert and video of 367 Collins, ‘A’ for her fun game idea, Lovely Gardens, CBC Canada, BBC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Kakapo Recovery, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Birds at the Zoo…and breakfast with the Australian nests

28 October 2022

Hello Everyone!

So happy to have you here with me. I set out ‘in my mind’ last evening that I would get up early and head out to find Snowy Owls sitting on large round hay bales near Oak Hammock Marsh. I got a text from a friend – ‘no’ owls seen. So, determined to see a Snowy Owl today, I did something entirely different! I went to the zoo.

How long has it been since you have been to a zoo? With all the criticism against keeping animals in small cages, our Assiniboine Park Zoo set out to try and make the enclosures for the animals considerably larger. At the same time they addressed issues of ‘boredom’ and the environments that the animals would live in if they were out in the wild. It was a much more pleasant place to visit because of those major changes.

One of the zoo volunteers saw me looking at the map and asked me what I wanted to see. The answer was Snowy Owls and Birds. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn’t say ‘tiger’ or ‘cougar’. As it happened we were very close to the Snow Owls and it was feeding time. Fluffy yellow chicks raised specifically for the purpose were being dished out. For several seconds, it seemed that a woman standing near to me was going to pass out she was so overcome by seeing the owls eat the chicks. I stood in wonderment trying to figure out if she thought that they ate lettuce – our zoo purchases an inordinate amount of Romaine lettuce – or fruit. It is a good thing that she was away from the cougar or the Stellar’s Eagle compounds at that specific moment.

The real character of the entire four hours was the Toucan. He made eye contact immediately. What an incredibly beautiful bird he is.

This is the Toco Toucan. They are the largest of the species at 62 cm long with a bill/beak that is 17 cm long. Their lifespan is approximately 20 years. The Toco Toucan is native to South American rainforests where its numbers are decreasing due to deforestation.

I wish we could have had a conversation. This chap was a real cutie pie.

These little Sun Conures were tiny in comparison to the Toco Toucan. No wonder they have the ‘sun’ as part of their name. Oh, those faces ranging from yellow to orange to red are the colours we painted the sun as children. They are native to northeastern South America. They are approximately 30 cm in length but these certainly did not look that big unless you count that long olive green tail in the measurement! These little cuties were using their bill and their feet to dig around the edge of their enclosure. They have a stubby quite muscular tongue that helps them move their food around in their mouth.

This beautiful Golden Eagle was finishing up its breakfast and not the least bit interested in anyone looking at it. What a beauty. It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, about the same size as a Bald Eagle. Unlike a Bald Eagle whose legs and talons are bare, the Golden Eagle has feathers on its legs. In Canada, they are ‘at risk’. Their meals consist of small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels.

The Stellar’s Sea Eagle is the largest of the sea eagles. With its striking bright yellow beak and legs and its espresso brown/black and white plumage, it is easy to recognize this raptor. It has a wedge-tail and fine pointed wings. They are rare. In the northern areas they will stand on the ice and fish and love the salmon in the north. It is thought that they almost exclusively breed in the north of Russia. You may recall that there is a Stellar’s Sea Eagle that has come to Newfoundland, Canada travelling south to parts of New England. I believe it is back in Newfoundland.

There were so many little Red Squirrels. This one is eating a ‘helicopter’, the seed of the Maple Tree.

Little Red stuffed these Maple Tree seeds in every part of the old shed. There were boxes full. Never knew if he used them for insulation to stay warm as well as eating. There is a large box full of them in his new home if he ever moves in!

It was great fun. Lovely to see families out with small children running about. Next time you are looking for a place to go – think the zoo!

A very small fish landed on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge at 061847. Middle got some of the tail but Big got most of it at 062652.

Breakfast arrived at 0618 on the ledge of 367 Collins Street for the Melbourne Four. Another plucking lesson, too!

This big one has run off with a nice piece and is self-feeding.

After eating it was running to get those legs strong, finding scraps of prey, and flapping those wings. What a brilliant place for these eyases to get exercise! I wonder how being able to run and flap freely – running a great distance – might give these falcons an edge in terms of physical strength that would help them survive? Just a thought!

This is the Recap for the morning feedings at Orange. Goodness Xavier has been busy hunting!

BirdieCam​ RECAP: 6:07:33 starling, X leaves, 6:20:58 D feeds; 6:38:31 X w/RRP?, he feeds; 09.13.33 X w/Noisy Friarbird, D feeds

Everyone has had breakfast, some more than others. Wish for fish – a big one for Port Lincoln.

Take care all. This is just a quick check and all are doing well at the 3 nests we are watching in Australia.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Did Middle learn his lesson? and other news in Bird World

27 October 2022

Good afternoon Everyone!

Oh, the forecast for the Canadian Prairies was spot on. We went from -1 to 13 degrees C right now. The sky is blue with only a whisp of a cloud but, there is some wind. It was a lovely, lovely day. It should be this way tomorrow and for the weekend and maybe even into early next week. I went out to a small market in the country hoping to see some of the Snowy Owls that are returning but, alas, none. The most activity is in my garden where the Crows are alerting the rest of their family that the buffet is open – peanuts, cheesy dogs, cheese, and eggs. Here they come!

In the Mailbox:

‘H’ sent a question to the mailbox and I bet a lot of other people are wondering about the use of the term ‘predation’. ‘H’s question was: If a Crow steals an Osprey egg, is that the same as saying that the egg was predated by the Crow?

The answer is a simple yes. The egg was not allowed to develop into the Osprey, ended any hope of life. I found an article on Crow’s predating Cormorant eggs using the term ‘predation’. It is helpful to see how others apply the term.

Breakfast in the Australia Nests:

The oddest thing happened at the Orange scrape this morning. Xavier landed on the ledge of the scrape with a freshly caught Starling. Diamond and Xavier appeared to have a chat. Indigo ran over and wanted to take the breakfast prey item and then quickly ran to the Cilla Stones but returned. Both eyases indicated that they were hungry but, nothing happened. Xavier flew off with the Starling and has yet to return!

I suspect Diamond asked Xavier to take the Starling and prepare it. Oh, if we could only speak falcon. How frustrating that we can’t!

Diamond left and returned. It is 0728 and the Starling has not been returned to the scrape yet.

Ah, Xavier returns with ‘a’ Starling, unplucked at 0830. Rubus and Indigo also get a plucking demonstration but they are starving and Rubus, especially, is jumping and biting at Dad’s beak.

Xavier was doing a pretty good job considering he is being run over by his very large ‘babies’. Can we really call them babies now. Just look at how big Rubus is getting…my goodness. Indigo really has to work for her prey bites now.

Then Diamond shows up. Mum stands at the ledge and watches what is going on before her eyes. Xavier continues to feed Indigo and Rubus. He is doing a pretty good job.

Then Diamond decides it is time to take over and feed the kids.

She gets the prey and little Rubus, for some reason, runs over to the other side of the scrape.

Oh, but don’t worry. Rubus can’t be somewhere if food is elsewhere. He quickly gets back over and starts leaping for bites!

Both Indigo and Rubus have finished their meal. Indigo has stretched and now, for some reason, each has decided to go into a different corner. This won’t last long. They love to have a cuddle puddle.

Just look at Indigo’s wing feathers as she stretches.

I wonder how long they will stay like this?

Not long is the answer! Indigo goes over to join little Rubus. Well, OK. ‘Little’ Rubus is not going to apply for long. Aren’t they just sweeties?

At the scrape on 367 Collins Street in Melbourne, Mum slept on her perch above the four eyases. She flew off early.

An adult returned with a freshly caught pigeon (I could recognize it this time easily, thank goodness) and began plucking and plucking and plucking. The Melbourne Four will be very capable of plucking their own prey with all of these lessons. This was followed by a pretty good feeding. It looked like all that was left of the carcass was the backbone holding the wings when the parent flew off. One eyas appeared not to want to eat. I wonder if it is getting ready to cast a pellet? Eyases are often not hungry when this process is happening and many are very frightened when their body begins to regurgitate a hard clump of bones and hair!

Middle doesn’t look the worse for wear after the dust up with Big last evening. I wonder if Middle learned anything from pecking Big when everything was otherwise going quite well?

The breakfast fish that arrived was small, a bit of a teaser but, if both of the osplets behave each will get some fish. Dad landed with it at 070928.

Big got the lion’s share of the fish. Middle waited and was a wee bit nervous. Middle did wind up getting the fish tail which he turned away (Big was eyeing it) and horked.

Middle did wind up with a nice little crop. And the meal was civil. Hopefully Middle will just eat and leave Big alone today.

Everyone has eaten. That is a great start to the day in Australia. No one is traumatized. Everyone will sleep or pick at the leftovers on the nest until the next meal arrives.

Thank you so much for being with me for this early report on the breakfast offerings in the Australian nests. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross. Thanks ‘L’ for the report on electrocutions and how to cease those unnecessary deaths and ‘H’ for the great question on predation.

Middle’s enormous crop…and then Big’s fury…plus more news in Bird World for early Thursday

27 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope this finds everyone well with a smile on their face!

Going for a walk, no matter how short or how long, can be invigorating for one’s mind and for our bodies. I remember when my mother broke her hip. Her surgeon, at that time, was the surgeon for the OU Football Team. I have forgotten his name but, I will never forget the day he looked into my mother’s eyes and told her if she didn’t get up out of that hospital bed, she was going to lose her ability to walk. It had been 2 days since the surgery and I laughed when he told me he was ‘nothing but a glorified carpenter’. What a character and an amazing surgeon. My Mum took it to heart and got herself up and within the month was walking 2 miles. Oh, she did well. The weather was lousy and her and her best friend, Dorothy, would go to the mall and window shop as they got their exercise. It was a good lesson for me, too!

It was a frigid early afternoon yesterday. It was 1 degree and the wind was blowing over the pond and bringing a chill even through the wool coat. I reminded myself that it will soon be parka weather. The state of the Wood Ducks needed checking. There was only one lonely male that I could find. He came swimming towards me thinking I had food. What a tragedy. Several of the ducks at that particular park pond had ‘Angel Wing’ this year. It is doubtful that they will survive. I left before he wasted his energy coming all the way to the shore. What a beautiful sight he was!

Did I tell you that I have the greatest fondness for ducks?

It is rather miraculous. When I look at a male Wood Duck, the patterns in the plumage remind me of weavers in India. Those women have the patterns emblazoned in their minds but, for these precious ducks, the pattern is laid out as the feather emerges from the follicle and grows. Feathers grow out of a quill or shaft. In young birds, we call these ‘blood feathers’ because they actually contain blood until the feather is completely finished growing.

A single follicle can produce, like a weaving, multiple colours and patterns. If I think about it for a long time my mind just becomes boggled. Just look at the multiple colours that go into this handsome duck. Did you know that the male Wood Duck plays no part in raising the young? Absolutely none just like poor Daisy, the Pacific Black Duck that laid her eggs on the Sea Eagle’s nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Daisy had absolutely no help – not even security. So if the male doesn’t bring food for the female or provide security or help with the little ones, what does he do? Well, guess what? He just has to look extremely handsome! The female picks him for his beautiful plumage – they want a male that stands out from all the others.

On the other hand, the female needs not to stand out in a crowd but, blend in with her environment. She needs to have good camouflage in order to not call attention to predators.

I really adore female Wood Ducks. It is because they are quiet and shy, often hovering in the background wanting seed tossed on the ground and concrete by visitors but not daring to do so. They are often chased by the geese and by the Mallards.

The females have a tiny crest compared to the males and instead of a red eye ring and eye they have a yellow eye ring in a gorgeous white teardrop shaped eye patch. No flamboyant colours for them. Grey leading into a dabbled brown breast with some lovely blue on the wing to match their bill.

Oh, to me she is the most beautiful delicate little thing. I missed seeing the females. This image was taken on 10 October. I will check again in the next couple of days as the weather warms to see if any were just lurking on the island where I could not see them.

In the mailbox:

‘L’ sent me a great article from BirdLife on a recent study on how to make overhead power lines safe so that birds do not collide with them. It is a good read.

https://www.birdlife.org/news/2022/10/24/new-study-how-to-stop-birds-from-getting-electrocuted-by-and-colliding-with-power-lines-across-the-eu/

Nest News:

Besides the sight of a few ducks putting a big grin on my face, it was absolutely the state of the Port Lincoln Osprey nest that has had me grinning from ear to ear. I continue to say that it is horrific to lose a chick, heart breaking every time and they are not forgotten. Never.

Middle is doing so well. He is really showing his stuff – sitting right by Big, doing the snatch and grab, not being fearful to eat the last bite offered. Confidence. Middle was doing really well for the past several days and most of Thursday in Australia and then…he wasn’t. Middle now has a bald spot on his head!

Another fish arrived on the nest and while it wasn’t as big as some of the early morning ones, it was large and everyone got a good feed. I almost think Mum caught it as she appeared slightly damp when she returned to the nest. I cannot be 100% sure, however.

Middle is on the left side of Mum and Big is on the right when she begins feeding. We can just see cute Middle peaking out from under Mum’s wing.

Middle standing getting ready to stretch his wings. You can see the dark thermal down that will be under their juvenile feathers on Big who is leaning over.

In the image below you can really see Big’s tail feathers coming in and her thick

In between rain and wind, Middle and Big continued to eat and eat and eat. It is difficult to even imagine where they put all that fish. In both of the subsequent feedings that I watched – and that was even before mid-afternoon, Middle got the lion’s share of the fish. There were no quarrels, no disputes, just Middle full of confidence eating away. It just put a smile on my face from one side to the other. Here are a selection of images from those later feedings.

Middle got the lion’s share of this feeding as well. By 1321 he is full and has moved away looking back at Mum with such a precious delicate face. Big is now having a turn.

The rain and the wind begin and Middle gets under Mum as best he can.

The storm passed and Mum flew off the nest. Look what is over on the rim of the nest? The rest of the fish that Mum was feeding Middle and Big when the rain and the wind started. Middle sees it. This time next week Middle would go over and grab that fish and start eating it but, he isn’t going to do that today.

Mum returns to feed her babies. Middle has found some room for some more fish. I honestly do not know where these two are putting the fish – they have almost been eating non-stop all morning.

At the end of that feeding, Middle, standing in profile, his showing off his enormous crop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been a really good day so far for Middle and it isn’t even the middle of the afternoon.

Was Middle just feeling his oats when he decided to peck Big at 18:10? (I want to send a thanks to ‘H’ here. I was up with my coffee and had not rewound the end of the days footage. So thankful for her warning). As ‘H’ said, ‘It is a reminder not to mess with Big.’ It was a frenzied attack. Both had eaten well. Middle more than Big. I hope Middle has learned to leave his Big sister alone. Enjoy the peace and quiet and don’t push it or she will attack if provoked and Middle could be the big loser. As it stands, if you see feathers missing, Big did it but Middle provoked the attack. Gracious.

Big, satisfied that Middle, was submissive and would never do that again stopped the ferocious attack at 18:13:52 – a little over two and a half minutes from when it started.

The Melbourne Four are the most energetic and expressive eyases. They run up and down the gutter until their batteries are all worn down and their tummies are full and then they stop. All in a big puddle, altogether keeping one another warm on a drizzly day.

One of the highlights of the feedings today was when Dad brought in a freshly killed pigeon and began plucking it right in front of the four ravenous eyases. Now I say pigeon because once upon a time someone told me that the only reasons there are pigeons is for the falcons and hawks to have something to eat! The feathers were white and some of you might have a more clear idea if it was a pigeon or a gull or something more exotic. Then when the prey was plucked and all the kids were ready for some real bites instead of feathers — Dad flew off with the pigeon. What?! He did bring it back and was ready to fill those crops and then Mum showed up. She pulled a Diamond taking the prey away from Dad who had almost lost it to the oldest eyases. Mum then proceeded to fill their tanks.

Then Dad leaves taking the pigeon with him and leaving only feathers.

A few minutes later he returns with the prey.

Then Mum arrives to take over! Diamond-style.

Dad is off!

Everyone is hungry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

‘H’ clocked 7 feedings of various links at the 367 scrape on Thursday.

At Orange, Rubus and Indigo have been eating and eating, too. I love when Little Rubus gets full and turns his back to the adult who is feeding. When did he start this behaviour?

I could watch the expressions on Rubus’s face all day. He is quite the character.

Once Indigo finishes eating she goes over to cuddle with her little brother in the corner. A little cotton candy pile.

Beautiful Diamond looks over lovingly at her two eyases. What a real treat it has been seeing Diamond and Xavier with two – the very quiet grown up Indigo and the feisty little Rubus. Such treasures.

How many times a day do we need to thank these bird families for bringing such joy to us?

Migration News:

Bonus crossed the Dardanelle Strait and flew to the Greek island of Lesvos.

Bonus is feeding near this creek. It looks like a lovely place to be.

Little Waba was in Israel. He flew into Jordan and decided to return to Israel.

This is where Waba is feeding. There were reports of 85 Black Storks at this site. Hopefully Little Waba is there among others, safe and getting full and strong. There is still more flying to do!

There has been no transmissions from either Karl II who was last heard from in Egypt and Kaia whose last transmission was from Chad. Please send them your most positive best wishes, please.

Please send all kinds of positive wishes to Middle so that he will just leave Big alone from now on. No need to bother Big. Everything was going just fine. Middle has to remember that Big is the boss even if he gets to eat first. That is only because she is letting him.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross and to Looduskalender for their maps and news of Karl II and his family.