You can always count on Arthur

Big Red, the grand dame of the Red Tail Hawks, whose nest is on the Fernow Light Stand on the Cornell Campus at Ithaca, New York lost her long time mate, Ezra, in March 2017. She had many suitors who were put through the rigours to find out if they were good providers and devoted so that their chicks would grow and thrive. Big Red chose Arthur. All of the humans thought that Big Red had ‘lost her mind’ in selecting such a young male to be her companion.

Big Red hatched somewhere near Brooktondale, New York, in 2003. She received her leg band on 7 October 2003 in Brooktondale. I have yet to find out the name of the bander. In 2017, Big Red was fourteen years old. Arthur, who had been born in an adjacent territory and who was known by some as ‘Wink’, was born in 2016. When he arrived checking on the Fernow Nest, he was only a year old and did not have his red tail feathers. He caught Big Red’s attention and by the fall they had totally bonded and were fixing up the nest for the coming breeding season in 2018. Big Red could not have chosen a better mate!

In the image below, Arthur has delivered prey to the nest so that Big Red can go and eat and he can take over the incubation duties of their three eggs. This was last evening.

13 April 2021

While Ezra was known as the squirrelinator, Arthur is known for capturing more chipmunks. Hence, he is often called the chippyinator. However, Arthur is like a jet plane when it comes to hunting. Rumour has it that he has flown onto someone’s porch to get a squirrel! So maybe Arthur is both squirrelinator and chippyinator!

In the image below, Arthur is delivering a Robin to Big Red as she incubates the eggs in one of Ithaca’s snowstorms. It was the day she laid her third egg of the 2021 season.

1 April 2021

The images below are from last year. The Js have hatched. How can you tell? Look at all the prey around the nest. Arthur will bring in so much that Big Red can line the nest bowl with fur! I am serious. No one on this nest is going hungry.

6 May 2020

Arthur has found a nest of goslings and thought Big Red might like one for dinner.

6 May 2020

Unlike other raptors, hawks will only eat road kill if there is a food shortage. On occasion, Arthur has brought in live prey to the nest. Some believe this is a teaching lesson for the nestlings.

Of course, people that watch hawk nests have a strange habit of trying to identify prey or making up names such as ‘Dunkin’ Chipmunks’ or ‘Chocolate Chippie Cookies with a Squirrel Glaze’. All kidding aside, researchers watch what prey is brought into the nest and the amounts. A typical Red-Tail hawk diet consists of 68% mammal, 17.5% other birds, 7% reptiles/amphibians/snakes and 3.2% invertebrates. Those amounts come from research by Johnsgard in 1990 but those observing the Cornell nest say that they still apply, for the most part. In 2020 with the pandemic, there was a proliferation of chipmunks. It is believed that the lack of cars killing chipmunks on the road helped with this along with just not having people around.

In April of 2018, Ferris Akel caught Arthur eating a skunk:

The same researchers have tested prey for its caloric/protein/fat/cholestrol components. Did you know that 3.6 ounces of raw pigeon has 294 calories compared to the same amount of squirrel which has only 120 calories?

From the prey delivery reports, it was established that nearly .7 more prey was delivered in 2020 compared to 2016, 2018 and 2019. That is an enormous difference. None of it was wasted, everything was eaten. The factor that changed – the pandemic. Arthur was able to freely hunt all over the campus. There were hardly any people or cars to contend with. The more food the healthier the chicks are. Even feather growth can indicate when a bird was hungry. Also, the longer the eyasses stay on the nest the better their survival rates in the wild.

Big Red laid three eggs for the 2021 season. The first was on 26 March followed by 29 March and 1 April. Red-tail hawks generally incubate their eggs for 28-35 days. Big Red’s incubation periods have ranged from 38 to 41 days. Still, by the 28th of April all eyes will be on that nest! The Ks are coming. Yippeee.

Why do I mention all of this? There is no doubt that Arthur is a devoted mate. When it is time to fix up the nest, work on the nest bowl, incubate the eggs, provide prey for Big Red and then for her and the eyasses, Arthur is right there! You know the other ones that I wish were like Arthur if you read my blog. I will leave it at that. Can you hear me growling at them?

You can watch the life streaming of this nest here:

In other news, the three chicks on the Achieva Osprey nest are waiting for food. Yesterday Diane, the female, delivered many fish and Tiny Tot finally got a good feed very late in the day. As I write this it is 3pm and no food has come to the nest. The mother is not calling for food and the male touched down for only a few minutes around noon. There is something wrong at this nest today. It is extremely hot there, over 30 near the nest. Hopefully if it is the heat food will come in. Tiny was well fed but he needs to eat less more often still. The fish also provides the hydration. I wish the wildlife laws allowed for the care in these situations.

Louis is still waiting for Aila to arrive at the Loch Arkaig nest and Iris continues to bring in twigs and branches for her nest at Hellsgate. One of the members of the FB group had a really good take on Iris. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she will not be able to raise chicks if Louis repeats his behaviour, we should be happy that she can enjoy her summer vacation without the burden of care for little ones and the toll it takes on one’s body. What a positive way of looking at this. Maybe I should be thanking you Louis for just being Louis. Iris has fledged at least 30-40 chicks or more – she does deserve a break to stay healthy.

You can watch Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey Nest cam:

And you can watch Louis wait for the arrival of Aila here:

Thank you so much for joining me today. I wish the news was better on the Achieva Nest. We can hope that it is only the heat. Still the little one needs to eat more often. Take care and keep watching the nests!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Woodland Trust and People Play Lottery, Cornell Bird Lab – Hellsgate Osprey and Red-Tail Hawk, Ferris Akel, and Achieva Credit Union.

Eagle Tales and an update on Tiny Tot

It seems like it was almost yesterday when the female Bald Eagle at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey was encased in snow.

And then, there were two! The first eaglet hatched on 26 of February while the second one made its way out of that hard shell on 3 March. They were nicknamed ‘Li’l’ and ‘Big’ by the chatters on the Duke Farm streaming cam. And many worried that ‘Li’l’ was not getting enough to eat.

4 March 2021

Here they are precisely two weeks later. Look who is in front!

18 March 2021 A feeding after the rain.

And here they are today with juvenile plumage. Very beautiful and healthy eaglets! When they are banded, one or both of them will be fitted with a satellite transmitter. Rumours say it is EagleTrax brand.

“20180220-Duke Farm color” by Gary 光原 Liu is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Duke Farms is not new to banding or tracking and I really applaud them for this. On 1 May 2019 they banded the younger male E/88 and fitted him out with a satellite tracker. They wanted to know where the juveniles went after they fledged. This is a question many have been begging to find out about the eyasses of Big Red and Arthur, the Red-Tail Hawks whose nest is on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Where do they go? do they survive? The eaglet was named ‘Duke’. Duke went on line on 17 September 2019. He made several trips to Pennsylvania, several back into New Jersey and settled in Maryland on the Susquehanna River in the Upper Chesapeake Valley. He returned to New Jersey in early November 2020. On 24 November 2020 he was photographed eating a deer carcass with an immature female in a field. On 19 January 2021 he was actually at the Millstone River in New Jersey, close to his natal nest.

“Millstone River – Ricoh FF-9 1:3.5 f=35mm Compact 35mm Film P&S (1988) & Fuji 400 ISO Film” by Logos: The Art of Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you want to see images of ‘Duke’ please go to this site:

http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/blog/category/duke-farms-eagle-cam/

Achieva Osprey Update: There has been a lot of fish delivered to this Osprey nest in Dunedin, Florida today. I have actually lost count. At least 5 or 6 and Jack just came in with a big hunk of fish and left because Diane still had fish she was feeding, The issue is: Tiny had only a few bites all day. It is an extremely sad situation. Tiny had a few bites today while the others ate and ate. There was a delivery at 4:53:28 and this one hot on the heels at 6:56:30. Tiny has managed to get between the mother’s legs and is getting some bites – some were nice size. It is 7:30. But Diane moves away and takes the fish and the two big ones are now resting on the nest and eating! Tiny gets some food around 8pm but Diane is feeding one of the big ones at the same time.

The light is going away. Tiny has managed to grab some bites. This was a really big fish. There should have been lots for him. You can see the tail to the left of Diane’s feet.

Diane has moved the fish again and is feeding Tiny and one of the big ones. The big one leaves and Diane is getting some food too. Tiny gets some bites. It is unclear how much of the fish is left or how much Tiny will get. The fish was moved again and Tiny started eating again around 8:19. It looks in the poor light that he might have a crop. Oh, my. How grand.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope the weather is nice where you are. The snow is still coming down on the Canadian prairies.

Thank you to the streaming cams at Duke Farms and the Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Florida.

Cuteness Overload in Bird World

It is Tuesday in New Zealand but on the Canadian prairies it is Monday and it is snowing! There is snow swirling all around and the birds would like nothing better than to come into the house! Poor things.

Today is the day that the NZ Department of Conservation rangers at Taiaroa Head weigh all of the Royal Albatross chicks. Every Tuesday they do this. If any of the chicks are underweight, the rangers will give them a supplemental feeding. Sometimes the winds are not conducive to returning while at other times these largest of NZ sea birds have to travel far to find food. Sadly, some of them also perish in the process. If there is only one parent feeding it is often hard to keep up with the demands of a growing albatross chick. That is when I sing the praises of the NZ DOC – they will do anything to keep the adults and the chicks in a good healthy state.

The Royal Cam chick is a female and she was hatched 80 days ago. Her nest is at a place called ‘The Flat Top’ on Taiaroa Head, a peninsula near Dunedin, New Zealand. It is the only breeding colony near human habitation for these albatross. Because raising a chick causes such stress on their bodies, the albatross breed biennially. Indeed, while it might sound like they have two years to recuperate, it will take almost an entire year to raise their chick. The 2021 Royal Cam chick will fledge and begin her five to six years at sea in September. Her parents will return to Taiaroa Head to feed her until she goes on her own journey. The parents will then go to sea only returning the following November when they will breed again. This means that the parents will not see one another for approximately fourteen to fifteen months returning to a specific spot on the planet to breed. It is a real joy and a relief when both return safely. The chick will remain at sea, never touching land, for five to six years before she returns to Taiaroa Head to begin choosing her own mate.

In the past week, the Royal Cam chick has ‘lucked out’. She had two family visits – her parents arrived yesterday around 15:00 and they had flown in together on Saturday to feed her together. It is hard to comprehend how extraordinary these family reunions are until you sit and stare at the ocean where the two go foraging for food for both themselves and the chick. It is vast.

Two months ago, Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the female and Lime-Green-Black (LGK) were fitted with small backpack satellite transmitters. These transmitters are intended to study their foraging habits. LGL has travelled 11.737 kilometres going to and from the sea in order to feed her chick. This is the graph of those travels:

What a happy family reunion! The nickname for the little chick has been a Maori word for cloud, Kapua. I think you can see why in the image below! Look at all that gorgeous white feathery down.

LGL and LGK both visit and feed their chick. 12 April 2021

Kapua has learned how to beg for food. In fact, she is often impatient during these family visits for good feedings. Sometimes her parents like to stop and visit with one another! Of course, Kapua wants all the attention on her.

The albatross chick has to clack on the parent’s bill to stimulate the regurgitation of food. Here you can see how the parent also has to lean down and the way the chick and parent hold their bills so the precious squid oil will go into the chick and not on the ground!

While her parents are away, Kapua spends time in her nest. She watches the boats go past, makes little play nests around her but never strays, at this age, far from her natal nest in case her parents return with food.

Isn’t she the epitome of cuteness?

When things get too stressful on the other nests, I always return to the Royal Albatross and my faith in the New Zealand government for keeping Kapua safe and healthy.

Yesterday was a milestone for one of the most beautiful Bald eaglets anywhere, Legacy. She is the daughter of Samson and Gabrielle at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville, Florida. Legacy has been jumping up and down working her wings and legs to get them strong on the spongy Spanish moss nest. Yesterday, though, Legacy made another milestone. She branched at 3:59. Legacy will continue now to go up on the branches of her natal tree until the point where she will fly from the nest to a branch before she takes her first real flight from the nest which is known as fledging. There she is. Legacy was a little nervous and she made her way down to the nest bowl carefully. Soon, though, she will be jumping up and down to that branch having a lot of fun! She loves the wind beneath her wings.

Legacy is a big strong eaglet. 11 April 2021

Sweet little babies staying warm and dry under Nancy at the MN DNR nest. Looks like they have rain instead of the snow we are experiencing north of them. The little ones are not able to regulate their temperature yet so they need to stay warm and dry!

Little ones staying warm near Nancy, MN DNR Nest. 12 April 2021

Izzi, the peregrine falcon has not left his natal scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yesterday he caught an adult Starling all by himself and was quite loud in announcing it to the world. This image catches his trade mark screeching on entering the scrape box:

The two owlets raised in the Bald Eagle Nest near Newton, Kansas are growing and growing. There are still many who consider them to be ‘cute’! Yesterday their mother, Bonnie, tested them. She left a duck and parts of a rabbit in the nest. She stood on a branch watching to see if they would begin feeding themselves. They didn’t but they will be self-feeding soon!

Bonnie is feeding Tiger and Lily duck and rabbit. 11 April 2021

And it is so sweet. Louis is on the nest at Loch Arkaig early to add a few sticks. He stayed on the perch branch for a long time waiting for Aila to return.

In 2017, Louis was given the nickname ‘Lonesome Louis’ because he paced back and forth on the nest when his mate of ten years did not return. The pair had failed to breed in 2016 and people were hopeful that 2017 would be different. Louis waited for three weeks and then a new female appeared. It was Aila meaning ‘bringer of light’ in Finnish. The pair raised one chick in 2017 and he was called Lachlan meaning from the lakes. Sadly, a Pine Marten raided their nest and ate the eggs in 2018. In 2019, the couple had two chicks fledge – Mallie and Rannoch and in 2020, there was the famous trio – Dottie, Vera, and Captain. Everyone is hoping for a quick return of Aila so that Louis is not ‘lonesome’ again!

Louis looks for Aila. 12 April 2021.

There are two other updates without images. Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey nest has been doing nestorations and feeding herself. Her mate, Louis, who also has another nest with Star at the Baseball park has visited twice – each time mating with Iris. The last time was 18:16 on 11 April when he made a quick visit. Louis brings Iris nothing – and yes, he is a bird but I continue to say how sad this is for the oldest female Osprey in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if she was treated like the royalty she is? And the other is the state of the Achieva Osprey Nest in Dunedin, Florida. Jack the father has not been seen for awhile and everyone is beginning to wonder if he did not die or get severely injured. The thunderstorms have been very severe. Yesterday, there were two fish in the morning and Tiny Tot did get fed from both. He has not eaten now for more than 26 hours. Diane brought a small fish this morning that partially fed 1 and 2 and she has gone out and caught another smaller fish. Right now the two older osplets are eating. There may not be enough for Tiny. She will have to go out again if she is to eat and feed Tiny. There have been rumours about a hawk in the area. So, once again, we are at a tragic point this season on this nest. Just when Tiny Tot was getting full for a couple of days and getting his stamina and health back, then the storms come. Diane cannot protect her osplets and fish at the same time. She has not eaten either and I hope that whatever threats are around the nest are gone and that Diane catches one of her whooper catfish so that everyone can be full.

UPDATE 2PM CDT: Jack has arrived at the nest with a fish at 2:41:31 EDT. Diane was still feeding 1 and 2 on the fish she brought in – her second of the day. Maybe Tiny Tot will get some food. Glad Jack is OK.

Thank you for joining me today – our wintery weather will be here for three days if the predictions are correct. Not a great time for my walks!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ DOC, Farmer Derek, the NEFLorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Woodland Trust and People Post Lottery, Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and the MN DNR.

Fantastic Osprey News

First up, Louis has landed on the Loch Arkaig Nest – no joke. He touched down at 18:14pm on 11 April to begin the 2021 season at Loch Arkaig. No more worries about the intruder bird (we hope) that was making itself comfortable. Let us all hope that Alia is right behind. What a relief! There were cheers around the world, literally. And tears of great joy rolling down hundreds of eyes.

Over at the Loch of the Lowes, Blue NC0 now called Nessie – has laid her and Laddie’s first egg for the 2021 season. And this is a huge relief just like the arrival of Louis. How grand. It will be wonderful to see little ones on this nest. Note: Laddie and NC0 raised one chick in the 2020 season.

At the Foulshaw Moss Nest, Blue 35, who arrived back on 26 March, has laid her first egg in the snow! Her mate is White YW. Their nest is in a bog in Cumbria. Fantastic! The nest bowl is very deep. We might get a glimpse of the egg during an incubation exchange but, for now, it is nice and cosy in this wintery weather.

And the very first sighting of Blue 222 born on Kielder Nest 1A in 2018 was on 8 April in Aberdeenshire! I mean how wonderful is this. The migration is difficult, especially for just fledged ospreys. To have one survive and to see it catching a huge fish is marvellous. The image was taken by Rob MacDonald and posted on the Loch Arkaig FB page. I hope he does not mind my using you to tell you of this wondrous event. Imagine from the fall of 2018 to now – not knowing anything about the survival of this bird and here she is! Splendid.

There she is with a gorgeous fish she has caught – big enough she has to use both talons. Her name is Binkey after Binkey Burn, a tributary of the Cranecleugh Burn that flows into the Kielder.

Over at the Glaslyn, Aran comes in and gives Mrs G a break to eat. Mrs G has been eating for more than an hour! We also get a glimpse of the egg in the exchange of incubation duties!

Aran on incubation duty while Mrs G enjoys her fish. 11 April 2021.
Mrs G enjoying her fish. 11 April 2021.
A great look at Mrs G’s first egg of the 2021 season. 11 April 2021.

I wish the news of the weather down in Dunedin, Florida were better. The Achieva Osprey nest is soaked to its core.

I am happy to report that two fish did arrive on the nest during breaks in the weather. Tiny Tot ate from 7:27:45-7:48 and then again from 10:32:03 to 10:44:44. Tiny Tot had dropped the crop that he went to sleep with on the 10th of April. It is unclear if he had any of the fish that was delivered right before the skies opened to rain last night. He has not had a crop from the amount of food he has eaten but he has eaten and that is a good thing!

There is Tiny with his juvenile plumage coming in being fed by Diane.

It is nearly 3:30pm nest time in Florida. The water is still dripping off the birds but it looks like there is a lull in the weather. There is rain but no thunderstorms. From the weather report that heavy rain and thunderstorms will begin in about half an hour and continue past 7pm. Let us hope that Jack can sneak in a fish. It is 19 degrees going up to 23 Celsius. The weather for Monday thru Wednesday is better. Hoping to get Tiny Tot some more crops then before the storms start again next weekend.

3:30 pm 11 April 2021. Diane keeping the babies dry as best she can.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope that the good news will rub off on Tiny Tot’s nest with the arrival of a big fish during a break. Have a good rest of the weekend everyone. Take care.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams or their FB postings: Woodland Trust Loch Arkaig, Post Code Lottery, Friends of Loch Arkaig FB Page, Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Wildlife Trust, and Friends of Loch of the Lowes and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Wow…the weather! And three great bird dads.

At 5:24:46 pm Diane, the mother of the three osplets on the Achieva Osprey Nest almost got blow off!

There are several thunderstorms coming and going with the winds gusting very high to the wee hours of the morning. The little ones were well fed before noon.

Just so you can see precisely where this Osprey nest is on the western coast of Florida, here is a map:

I hope that your screen will enlarge this image so you can see it better. If not, I want you to look on the left hand side of the state about halfway up to the panhandle. You will see an inlet. That is Tampa Bay. Now continue up the coast. Find Clearwater. The Osprey nest is actually in Dunedin, Florida which is slightly north of Clearwater. [Note: The toxic dump that made the news last week is around Sarasota, south of Tampa Bay.]

Ospreys are, of course, not afraid of water but Tiny does not have all of his grown up feathers yet. The older siblings will want to snuggle too but I hope that Tiny got right in under Diane. Thank goodness it is not cold.

Around 6:09:59 there was a break in the water. Diane and the babies are soaked but, bless his heart. Jack arrives with what looks like a Gar – long needle like fish. It isn’t big and it won’t feed everyone but, gold stars for bringing that in. The seas had to be very rough.

The weather indicates several more hours of thunderstorms. Maybe Jack can get out and get another one before dark. It’s raining now but there is to be another thunderstorm in 45 minutes, a break and then another storm at 8pm (if the weather is correct). Sunday looks like another stormy day. Then two good days. Hopefully the weather will not disturb the feeding schedule too much on this nest. Things have been going really well for Tiny Tot.

You can barely see Tiny Tot’s back behind the chick on the left. It doesn’t look like anything will be left. We all hope for another fish to come in. A glimpse at Tiny Tot shows that he does still have a crop from the huge feed this morning. Still, it is much better if he eats because of the bad weather in the area. With the rough seas who knows when Jack will be able to bring another fish in – or what size it will be.

You can see that crop on Tiny Tot better here after that Gar disappeared. Tiny didn’t get any food but he is still full from the morning. One of the nicer things that is also happening on this nest is that Tiny Tot is being accepted more as being part of the family. When he was ‘starving’ (is there any other way to put it?) and many felt that Tiny Tot would not make it, he was ‘apart’ from the family. Sleeping alone, etc. It is good to see them together.

There is another fish delivery at 8:01:48. The light on the nest is going and it is hard to tell who specifically delivered it as Jack and Diane landed on the nest at the same time. It is also hard to see how big it is. Hopefully there will be something for Tiny Tot. He appears to have been trying to cast a pellet all day. That can sometimes interfere with any interest in food. But, let us hope the little guy is up to eating if there is fish for him. Tomorrow looks like thunderstorms again in the area.

Tiny is up to take advantage of the feeding if there is fish left. You can just catch Tiny’s head at the far right of Diane.

So hard to tell. No IR on this camera so the light can cause great difficulties in trying to tell who is who. One thing that did happen is that 1 and 2 have been at one another. #1 was always dominant but #2 is trying to take top position. #1 is not going to give it up easy. As long as the two of them battle, that is fine. They are nearly the same size. Tiny Tot is too small. It needs to eat and the older ones battling could work in its favour. The thunderstorms have started again and Diane has stopped feeding.

It is worth having a look at a different problem. Let’s head over to Loch of the Lowes. If you follow my blog, you will remember that the male, Laddie LM12, inadvertently gave a female intruder who was sitting on the nest cup a nice size fish. Laddie intended it for NC0. Why would he think another female would be in her place on the nest, right? Well, there was one. NC0 flew in madder than a hatter and kicked Laddie from the nest. To make up for his indiscretion, Laddie has been bringing in nice sized fish for NC0 to make up.

Look at that nice big fish! Laddie wants to keep NC0 happy.

Awwww. Blue 33 (11) is giving Maya a break from incubating their three eggs. What a hair cut! He is such a sweetie. Loves to cuddle with Maya and is just one of those super dads.

Thank you Jack, Laddie, and Blue 33 (11) for taking such good care of your mates – regardless of the weather.

And thank you for checking in again. Send positive wishes to the Achieva Osprey nest because this is not the end of the bad weather for them, it is just the beginning.

Thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Achieva Osprey, Scottish Wildlife and Friends of Loch of the Lowes for their streaming cam. That is where I get my screen shots.

Happy Saturday in Bird World

It might be hot and windy but Jack has delivered one big fish and another piece onto the Achieva Osprey nest this morning. Thank you, Jack! All is well on that nest! Tiny Tot still had his crop from yesterdays big feed when a big fish arrived at 7:16:50. Despite the fact that he was right there when that whopper landed, Diane pulled the fish around to feed the bigger ones first. She knows what she is doing. Feeding them first kept peace on the nest and she knew there would be enough left for her and Tiny.

Tiny Tot remained in his position when the fish arrived while the older sibs ate their breakfast. Without calling attention to himself, he pivots so that he can eat when they are finished. Very smart.

Tiny Tot is a survivor. He is clever and he keeps his eye on everything that is going on in the nest. Today, there have been no attacks on him. Did the arrival of all that fish yesterday help calm the food competition on the nest?

Tiny eats! At 9:20:03 Tiny Tot looks like he has swallowed a beach ball! Look at that crop. I just think this is the silliest pose I have ever seen in a bird. Tiny is preening his tail.

In the image below you can also get an idea of how much bigger the older sibling is than Tiny. Look at the difference in their wings. Tiny is getting his juvenile feathering on his back and wings. For sure, a total of about 7 full days without food (if you add it all up) stunted his growth. Let’s hope that these good feedings help him get bigger quicker.

Jack is working on more gold stars today. Everyone is looking up as the second food item arrives at 11:10:22. It is hard to tell but it looks like a piece of fish not a whole fish. Once again our little trooper is jolly on the spot.

This time Diane did not move the fish. She kept it by Tiny Tot and started feeding him immediately. The older ones were watching the traffic together.

At some point the older siblings came over to get a few bites. There was no bonking. Tiny had eaten a lot and he quietly turned to the rim of the nest. When they left, he turned back to mom to eat some more. Diane also ate some very good bites but before she finished the last bit, she stretched her neck to Tiny who, at first, refused any more food. In the end, he did eat a little more at 11:46:44 after mom insisting. Here he is full, Diane tidying up the tail, and a very happy nest on a hot, very windy day in St Pete’s.

In other Osprey news, Mrs G has laid her first egg of the 2021 season! Mrs G is the oldest Osprey in the United Kingdom and is the mate of the unringed male known as Aran at the Glaslyn nest in Wales. Congratulations!

And poor Dylan. The weather in the United Kingdom has been strange. It snowed on the Clywedog nest in Wales on the afternoon of 10 April. Here is that beautiful Dylan posing for us.

The mystery at the Loch Arkaig nest continues. Everyone believed that Louis had arrived the other day but it looks like it was a male intruder who is still hanging around the nest. As far as anyone knows, Louis and Aila have not returned. (I erroneously reported Louis had arrived as did everyone else!) The weather and the winds continue to be an issue and this very popular Osprey couple could be waiting it out. Meanwhile, the nice looking male looks like he owns the place.

I really wish Louis and Aila had trackers so we knew they are alright and just progressing slowly. In the satellite image below, we can see Rutland 4K (13) making his way through France on his return trip from Africa. In this 250 kilometre or 155 mile section, Rutland 4K (13) reached heights of 650 metres or 2132 feet above sea level.

These advanced backpack transmitters are amazing. They can tell you where the raptor went for their migration and if they are near to any dangerous issues such as Avian Pox along the coast of Senegal in 2021. They tell us their travel speed, the height, where they are enroute during migration. Researchers can then match this data with wind thermals. We are learning so much!

This is the most recent tracking data on Solly, the female osprey from the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. Solly is 203 days old today and she spent the night up at Eba Anchorage. Ever since she left her natal nest on the barge at Port Lincoln, Solly has been traveling north but she has continually returned, if she went much beyond Perlubie, to either Streaky Bay or Eba Anchorage. Solly has already provided the researchers in Australia with a dirth of material. We know where she spends the night, where she goes to fish, how she responds to crowds on a beach and how far away from her natal nest she went – which changed our understanding of the distance juveniles travel when they leave home.

Switching over to the United States again, it is a beautiful sunny day in Ithaca, New York and our favourite male Red-tail Hawk has been on incubation duty. In fact it is 23 degrees C and no snow in sight! Arthur, you really are a cutie. Look at that gorgeous red tail. Big Red seems to be trusting you more with nest duties.

The little eaglets born on the Minnesota DNR nest are growing. The eldest stretches its neck and watches Nancy, the female, eat the fish tail. Look at that little crop. This nest is doing really well. Everyone has learned how to feed or eat and the supply of food seems just right.

It is a good day just to pop in and check on those Great Horn Owlets, Tiger and Lily. Here is Tiger this morning standing next to Bonnie. How is that for growth? The time passed so quickly from the day the pair of owls decided to take over this Bald Eagle nest for their owlets. That was 1 February. The owlets were born on 7 and 9 March and are now 33 and 31 days old. We will see them climbing all over the nest and upon the branches soon. In a little over two weeks, around 47 days old, the owlets should be trying to fly. That should be around 24-26th of April. They will stay around the nest, improving their flying and hunting skills before dispersing to their own territory.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that your Saturday is as beautiful as it is here on the Canadian prairie – gorgeous blue sky and no wind. Looking forward to 14 Celsius about the time for my walk. Take care everyone. Enjoy your weekend.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Farmer Derek, the MN DNR, Cornell Bird Lab Red-Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca, Achieva Osprey, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Woodland Trust, Lyn Clywedog and Cyfoeth Natural Resources

As Friday comes to an end and Saturday begins, Bird World is good

I spent Friday watching five fish being delivered to the St Petersburg Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest. Yes, you read that correct – there were five fish deliveries! I have already reported on the four and Tiny Tot’s strategies to getting fed mega fish. Well, before we check on a few other nests, let’s look at this last feeding.

The fifth fish arrives at 5:32:35. Now, Tiny Tot just finished eating from the fourth fish at 4:23. At that minute, Diane could not force him to take another bite. He pancaked. Tiny Tot finally felt what it is like to be so full you simply cannot stand to think about taking one more bite of fish. For Tiny, this is such a fantastic place to be.

I don’t think anyone was expecting the fifth fish to arrive when it did. Indeed, the older siblings were busy watching the traffic. Diane offers Tiny the first bites but he is still too full. It looks like sibling #1 wants some bites. Mom moves the fish away from Tiny. The older sibling stops and you can almost hear Tiny saying, ‘Did someone say fish?’ Tiny decides that, yes, he can hold some more fish! Why not? My favourite image is of the two older siblings looking down and realizing that Tiny Tot is still eating. You could almost hear them say, ‘Didn’t know the kid could eat so much! We better get in there before he eats the entire fish!’

At 5:48:28 one of the big sibs is ready to eat. Tiny Tot does not care. He couldn’t eat another bite. Tiny Tot moves away the fullest he has been in a single day – probably all his life! Wow.

What a happy Osprey nest. This is the way it should be. Full, happy, growing and healthy babies. Jack comes in to check and see if there are any leftovers at 6:53:58. Jack and Diane might have been used to bringing fish back and forth and it lasting. The last two seasons there has only been one chick each year. This year it is triple.

I got a giggle. My daughter said it looked like Diane was having a chat with Jack telling him how nice and quiet it is when all the kiddos are full and sleeping. Maybe Jack will get the hint – we need lots more fish every day just like today.

I note that the temperature is quite warm in St Petersburg today. Still, Jack pulled off some nice fish – five of them. He ate well, Diane got to eat – finally and the kids are full. Glorious. Jack you get the bouquet for the day! Your fishing skills were fantastic today. Keep up the good work.

Worrying about whether Tiny Tot was going to eat or not has really stopped me from checking on some of the other birds that we love. And, some of them are really getting close to the fledge. What is fledging? At around 77-84 days, or 11 or 12 weeks, eaglets will take their first flight. This does not mean that they will be leaving the nest forever! No, no. They will remain near the nest where they were born for a month, 6 weeks, or for some, 2 entire months. During this time they hone their flying, landing, and hunting skills. Their parents will continue to provide them with food.

Leading up to fledging, the eaglets will jump, flap their wings and look like they are on a trampoline both jumping and flapping. Then they will branch. Branching is when they will leave the nest bowl and land on one of the branches of the natal tree.

Look at beautiful Legacy (N24). Isn’t she a stunner? Her parents are Samson and Gabrielle. Her grandparents were Romeo and Juliet. She was born in the same nest that her father, Samson, was born. She overcame Avian Pox and look at those deep ebony eyes.

Legacy hatched on 8 February. She is now 60 days old. She has been preening and there is some of her baby down stuck to her beak.

You can still see a few bits of soft white down coming out where she has been preening.

Legacy is a blur she jumps up and down! Oh, she must love the wind under those wings of hers.

You can watch Legacy as she prepares for branching and her first flight.

And I can’t check on Legacy up in Jacksonville without going across the state to check in on E17 and E18. These are the twins of Harriet and M15 at the Fort Myers Bald Eagle Nest on the Pritchett farm. They were born on 23 January 2021. That makes them 75 days old today and right at the beginning of fledge watch.

Both of them have been branching.

E17 and E18 have done everything together. There are many who assume that when one flies, the other will follow. If you haven’t checked in on the SWFLorida Eagle cam, here is the link. It is really exciting to see these juveniles take their first flight.

There have been some interesting developments in Latvia on the nest of Milda. Milda is the mate of Raimis. They are White-tailed Eagles, a critically endangered species in Latvia. Milda laid three eggs but Raimis has been missing since 27 March. Milda remained devoted to her eggs and stayed on the nest with no food. Since her mate disappeared there have been at least three intruders around the nest, at least two males and a female. Because she has no mate to feed her, Milda stayed on the eggs as long as she could without starving herself. She left on day 8 to find food. Since then she has left several times to hunt and eat leaving the eggs exposed to very cool temperatures. It is now believed that they are no longer viable. In a strange twist today, Milda got up to leave and one of the strangers, they are calling him Mr C, tried to come on the nest and incubate the eggs! Milda caught him and chased him off.

Milda sees the other eagle on the branch.
Milda needs to take a break and flies off her eggs.
The eggs are uncovered on the nest.
The male stranger flies down to the nest from the branch and goes to incubate the eggs.

In the bottom image you can see the male White-Tailed Eagle that had been on the branch come down and move to incubate the eggs. Milda caught him just as he was about to brood and chased him away.

It is very sad that her eggs are not going to be viable. But Milda’s health is a first priority. She will be able to lay more eggs in the future and who knows – maybe this mysterious male will turn out to be an ideal mate!

The two little Black Kite eyasses that were born on 3 March and 5 March are really growing and their plumage is changing so much. Their nest is in a tall tree in a cemetery in Taiwan. The pair survived a fire in the cemetery that almost destroyed them and their nest. As a result they were named Pudding and Brulee for being alive when the fire was cool enough for them to be checked. On 2 April, they were banded. Pudding is Orange K2 and Brulee is Orange K3.

Black kites fledge, on average, from 42 to 56 days. They are a medium sized raptor. Like the Bald Eagles, Legacy and E17 and E18, they will stay with their parents from two weeks to eight weeks after fledging to hone their flying and hunting skills. Orange K2 is 36 days old today and Orange K3 is 34 days old. We will be on fledge watch at this nest in one week. You can watch the Black Kites of Taiwan here:

It has been a rather exciting day and it continues to be harder and harder to keep up with all of the bird nests. Branching, fledging, arrivals of Ospreys in the UK, incubations – it is happening everywhere! There are not enough hours in the day. But Friday was simply special – Tiny Tot’s strategies for getting to the right spot in order to eat played out well with the delivery of all those fish.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you jumped up and down doing the happy dance for Tiny Tot. And Jack, you are amazing.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Black Kite Cam of Taiwan, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, NEFlorida and AEF, Achieva Credit Union Ospreys, and the Latvian White-Tailed Eagles.

Tiny Tot’s Triumph, continued

I hope that everyone could hear the cheers as Tiny worked out strategy and really got fed this morning, 9 April 2021. He did not get much from fish 1 but got in place and did well with fish 2 and 3. There is a minute by minute description in my earlier blog today, Tiny Tot is Triumphant.

The 4th fish of the day came in at 3:18:19. It was a huge fish. Jack you are getting quite a few gold stars today. And the temperature is now 26 and the winds are blowing twice as much as they were in the morning.

Tiny Tot is in the wrong place right now. He needs to figure out where mom is going to be and make his way around there. Tiny Tot still has a crop from the morning. He is watching and he begins to move to the rim of the nest. There he goes. Instead of moving in front of the older sib, he is going to go behind Jack.

There he goes. He knows where the fish is and where the big siblings are. Remember, he is getting his strategy down but he is also protecting himself. He has eaten well today. No need to make a senseless move and let #2 hurt your head and neck. Just keep moving around the back.

Can you see where Tiny is now? Look right behind mom. You can see his wing. He is still not eating. Now watch as he continues to position himself without drawing attention to his movements.

OK. Tiny Tot is making his move to get around to the left side of mom near the food – or between her legs! It is a place where he can get fed but Diane is between him and the older siblings. My goodness, Tiny is getting so clever.

Tiny changes his mind because Diane shifts and moves the fish. He is going to try between her legs to grab some fish. Sibling 2 is up by the rim of the nest deciding to pass up the fish. Sibling 1 is still eating. Tiny is watching from under mom.

Then he makes his move. He knows that 2 is not interested and will not bother him. So he is going to have a go to see if mom will give him some bites.

And guess what? His strategy paid off. He cries and Diane begins to feed him fish. Tiny even manages to grab some bites that were intended for the older sibling! Well done, Tiny! Mom continues to feed Tiny with a few bites going to the older sibling. By 3:29:15 Tiny is getting a private feeding.

By 4:20:44 Diane is saying to Tiny: are you sure you won’t have just one more bite? Tiny Tot is full from the tip of its talon to the end of its beak. But, he pauses and then takes just a few more bites.

It is now 5:33 pm on the nest. There could be another delivery or two. I am going to take a break though. It has been a fantastic day for Tiny Tot. He is honing his strategies for getting food and he was, the last I saw him, full to the brim! Thanks Jack for getting out there and fishing. Your family really needs you right now. And thanks Diane for hearing Tiny and feeding him! It was good to see Mom get some good fish, too.

Thank you for joining me today. It has been all about Tiny Tot. I just wish you could see the smile on my face!

Thank you to the Achieva Osprey Streaming Cam in St Petersburg, Florida where I get my screen shots.

Tiny Tot is Triumphant

I was almost afraid to go and look at the Achieva Osprey cam this morning. In fact, I held back for some time. Yesterday, Tiny Tot (I am talking about #3 known by various names such as Tumbles, Lionheart, Tater Tot) only had food in the morning feeding yesterday. He had dropped his crop and was hungry when the last fish came in at 7:05:20pm on the 8th. While there are some who wish that Tiny Tot would run and plow his way through his two older siblings to eat, Tiny Tot is not going to do that. He tried it once – maybe ten days ago – . First of all, charging uses up precious energy. Secondly, it gets him on the radar of the older two who could kill him. Tiny is clever. It might look like his head is way down and he doesn’t know what is going on but, he does. He bides his time. Sometimes it doesn’t work for him and the fish is all gone, like it was at 8:14:55 when he finally got up to mom. So, Tiny went to bed hungry and so did Diane.

Today it is Friday the 9th of April and it was 24 degrees Celsius or 75.2 Farenheit in St. Petersburg, Florida. Winds are blowing at 13 kph or 8 mph. Will this be a good day for fish?

Fish 1: Tiny Tot hangs by Diane, the mother, in the morning. The image below is at 8:20 am. Everyone is waiting for Jack to bring breakfast.

The first fish of the morning arrives at 8:32:22. Tiny Tot is right by mom when the fish comes in and he mantles it. Clearly it is not big enough to feed 2 never mind 4.

If you look carefully you will see that Tiny Tot has mantled the fish that is in front of Diane. One of the big siblings is getting ready to peck at him.

The two older siblings move in to eat. Tiny stays in position on the rim up by Diane’s head while the others eat. Tiny is in the submissive posture protecting his head and neck. But, unlike other days, he doesn’t walk all around the nest. He stays put.

Tiny stays on the rim of the nest by mom and Diane gives Tiny a few small bites at the end (8:41 and again at 8:42:22). Tiny does a kind of mantling posture which annoys #2 because he cannot get to Tiny’s head to pull and peck at him. We all have to remember, to continue to remind ourselves, that Tiny Tot needs to save its energy for growing, not fighting. Tiny Tot is not big enough but his older siblings are and seriously, it is still possible for them to inflict physical injury or death. Tiny Tot is smart. He is protecting himself from harm in the picture below.

Tiny did not hardly get anything. Instead #1 ate some leaving #2 to eat almost the entire fish. Tiny Tot is begging for food.

And then a miracle happens!

Tiny is alert. Him and mom know that there is another fish incoming. Tiny Tot positions himself right by mom. There is actually a bit of confusion. The two big sibs are sleeping and not used to another fish coming in. When Jack lands on the nest they don’t seem to realize there has been a fish exchange. But Tiny Tot knows!

Fish 2 arrives at 9:36:50. It actually looks like a big piece of catfish. Tiny Tot got the first bite of that fish at 9:37:41.

Then at 9:41 #1 comes sniffing about wanting some more fish. you can see #1 looking over in the image above as Tiny Tot is being fed. #1 gets some more fish and then Tiny Tot is eating again at 9:50. By then #2 (an endless pit for food) starts sniffing about. #2 is trying to harass and peck Tiny at 9:53:44 but Tiny manages to grab a couple more bites before #2 starts eating. At 10:04:19 the big sibs move out of the way. Tiny is on the other side of Diane and she is pulling out every last piece of fish she can for the little one.

Tiny Tot starts eating and continues to eat until 10:09:29. Tiny Tot has a very nice crop!

You can call it what you want – luck or a miracle. In the case of Tiny Tot they are the same. A third fish came in at 11:43:38. Tiny tot is close to mom. Everyone is looking up thinking or do they see an intruder? Chaos ensues in this very unexpected delivery, too. But Tiny Tot is right by mom and she has the fish in her talons before the big ones realize!

Tiny Tot gets some food before the big ones are asking themselves what in the heck is going on.

#2 goes after Tiny. Tiny continues to get another few bites. Tiny stays out of the way until 12:01:52 and then begins to move his way back to eat. Notice in the image below Tiny has his wings out like mantling and his head away. But he does not move across the nest, he stays put. When the two big ones leave at 12:03:56, Tiny turns around and will eat until 12:09:33.

Tiny is slowly moving back to eat. He is calculating so as not to get injured.

In the image below you can see how Tiny is eating and the two older sibs are behind him. He has his wings out and they are helping Tiny protect himself as well as be able to continue to eat. The older two are unable to move up.

At 12:40 you can see Tiny Tot’s crop. Note: He has dropped his crop once during the morning feedings. Tiny Tot is the one on the far right looking at mom. In fact, Tiny Tot spends much time watching and listening, paying attention so that he can position himself. Today he was more forceful in staying close to mom and it worked well for him. Thank goodness there were three fish brought in very close together!

Tiny is growing but so are the siblings who get and require much more food. So far, today has been a very good day for him. You can see that the white stripe (on his back) is being replaced by juvenile plumage. Note: Tiny Tot is in the middle in the image below. It looks like his tail is growing too.

Tiny Tot had a very good morning. It is now nearly 3pm nest time and everyone is waiting for a fourth fish to come in. Hopefully at least two more will arrive and Tiny will get some of them but for now, let us applaud Tiny Tot’s triumphal morning!

Thank you for joining me. I am elated. My great fear was Tiny Tot would get nothing to eat today. Oh, please let the fish keep coming in abundance.

Thank you to Achieva Credit union for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots.

Name the Chick Contest

The New Zealand Department of Conservation have opened up the contest for the naming of the Royal cam chick of 2021. You can enter, too. Here is the poster and the URL for additional information:

This year’s Royal Cam chick is a female. She is the daughter of Lime-Green-Lime (LGL) and Lime-Green-Black (LGK). The parents are named after the coloured ring bands on their legs. Only the Royal Cam chicks get an official Maori name. In fact, in 2019, LGL and LGK were the parents of Karere who was the royal cam chick that year.

This year’s chick hatched on 24 January 2021. The eggs are removed from the nest near hatch and placed in an incubator. A dummy egg is put under the parent at the time. This is to ensure that no fly strike kills the newborn. When the chick is returned, the dummy egg is removed, the nest is sprayed with a substance that will not harm the birds, and the chick is placed under the parent. The rangers at Taiaroa Head do many checks on the health and safety of both the parents and the chick daily.

The royal cam chick just hatched in the incubator. 24 January 2021. @Ranger Julia NZ DOC

She is the sweetest, soft as a cloud gorgeous indigo eyed sea bird!

The Royal Cam chick and her beautiful indigo eyes. 9 April 2021

Here she is getting a feeding from LGK, her dad, today:

The royal cam chick is tapping at her father’s bill to stimulate feeding. 9 April 2021

From the time this beautiful fluff ball was born, she was taught to tap the parent’s bill in order to stimulate them to regurgitate the oily squid food for the little one. When the chick is very small the parents will take turns staying with it and feeding it little bits many times per day. As the chick gets older, the meals are larger but farther a part. After about six weeks, the chick is in the pre-guard stage where the parent leaves it alone for awhile. Then both parents are out foraging for food. This chick is now left alone and the parents only return to feed her.

LGK is leaning down so he can feed his royal cam chick. 9 April 2021

This year’s royal cam chick’s parents, LGL and LGK, are fitted with satellite transmitters that show where they are fishing. The red is for LGL, the mother and the blue is for LGK, the father. The piece of land jutting out about a third of the way up from the bottom is Taiaroa Head. You can see the point where the land and take off. That is their chick!

The NZ DOC rangers on Taiaroa Head weigh the chicks every Tuesday. In the event that a parent has been away for an extended period, the staff will give the chicks a supplemental feeding should it be required.

You can watch the Royal Cam chick here:

Watching the comings and goings at the Royal Albatross nest is the total opposite of watching the Achieva Osprey nest. If the Albatross chicks get too hot, there is a sprinkler system to help cool them off. The rangers often switch out the eggs should one couple lose their chick and another parent not return. Everything is done for the welfare of the these sea birds. There are no worries about whether or not the little one will get enough to eat! It is recognized that human impact on the climate, specifically, and the planet overall (over fishing, not taking care and albatross caught as bycatch) has made these things necessary. There is no debate, no paper work that takes days – the rangers are ready to go should anything be required.

Thank you for joining me today. Look up the guidelines for the name the chick contest and then check out Maori names and their meanings. There are lots of great prizes and it is a lot of fun. As we get near to World Albatross Day in June there will also be contests for children – and cake contests we can all enter!

Thank you to the NZ Department of Conservation and the Cornell Bird Lab for their streaming cam and Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg. That is where I get my screen shots. Thank you also for caring about your wildlife NZ. It warms my heart.

ACHIEVA OSPREY UPDATE: Tiny had 2 feedings today, 8 April before 10:30 am. Another fish came in at 7:08:20. It was medium sized. Tiny kept his head down til he knew the bigger 2 had eaten. He went over to mom but there was no fish left for him or her. Both are very hungry. The mother brought in two of the three fish today.

In the image below you can see that Tiny is up by mom, Diane, but nothing left for either one of them. Hoping for more and bigger fish tomorrow. Sad situation. I would really like to understand the ‘why’. I just looked at the Venice Golf and Country Club Osprey nest with its three and each one is great. What is happening on this nest? and why?

Tiny has finally been able to get up to mom but there is not a scrap of food left for him or her. 8 April 2021.