Bird World. 14 Sept 2021

Everyone loves a new hatch and the two little Osplets at PLO continue to just make me go “awwwwwwwwwww.”

Look at that nice fish Dad has brought in for Mom and the Little Bobs. They are both lined up, mouths open, watching with their eyes which aren’t focusing 100% yet. Oh, so sweet.

There is a pip in the third egg. It was seen about nine or ten hours ago. There is not much progress. Will it be a successful hatch? We wait.

The feedings seem to come often, sometimes an hour apart. That will do much to instil food security to these two – of course, along with those good catches of dad’s.

Around 08:07, viewers might have thought there was bonking going on but it is the lack of clear focus and just seeing a ‘beak’ that they try to aim for. Not intentional. You will know for sure when the pecking is meant to be harmful.

You get a glimpse of the crack in the third egg at 07:15.

The cam operator at Port Lincoln gave everyone a tour of the area. I want to share it with you in case you did not see these beautiful images.

It is a lovely area for an Osprey nest.

This is a great image. It shows you Mum and the nest on the left. You can see how it is raised up. Then look down on the deck. That is Dad’s man-cave. Looks pretty good. He has a nice perch there or there are perches on the ropes that eventually the juveniles might use.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Project has permission for three satellite trackers for this year. This is due to the success of Solly! Yes, you can close your eyes and see me jumping up and down. It is often difficult to demonstrate the merit of using technology but I think the data coming from Solly’s transmitter turned some heads. Now PLO just needs to get the funds to purchase them. With no eggs on Turnby Island, this means that all three of these chicks, if there are to be three, ‘might’ get one.

There have been a few visitors to the Achieva Osprey Nest since Jack and Tiny Little vacated in August. One of those came today – a very hungry young male, I think.

There was a posting on Twitter this morning showing an image of an Osprey eating a fish on the Mt Sentinel tree. It is presumed to be Iris. If so, she is still in Montana and has not come to say goodbye to her nest yet.

I ‘think’ Aran is still in the Glaslyn Valley. I caught sight of an Osprey as the trees were blowing. The Osprey is in the tree behind the pine branch.

Ring-Bill Gulls on the dock. They do not seem to mind the more choppy weather.

The leaves are turning and the landscape is simply stunning.

The Cormorants were very clever. The choppy waves were driving the little fish into the edge of Clear Lake. They waited and were catching their lunch. Very impressive.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is definitely fall in Northern Manitoba and there are few birds about. I was told about a possible sighting of a Blue Heron but I am holding out for some loons! Fingers crossed. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

As the Nest Turns 11 Sept

The female on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge woke up to some rain and by mid-day there was rough weather. The moderator of the PLO chat said they hoped that the chick would choose to stay in the egg!

It is currently 12 degrees C with a wind speed of 42 km/h or 26.09 miles per hour. Blustery. Not good for fishing. Best wrapped up in a cosy blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. Hang in there mum.

Aran is still in the Glaslyn Valley. Doesn’t he look grand on one of his favourite perches looking over ‘his’ territory. As much as others might have their eyes on their natal nest, Aran doesn’t intend to hand it over to either Tegid or Aeron, Monty’s boys, Z1 and Z2, respectively.

Some are worried. My notebook just said that ‘Aran migrates after the middle of September.’ That was accurate but not precise enough.

As it happened, Tiger Mozone on the PLO chat and so I was able to ask him. Immediately – literally – there was a link to ‘Tiger and Chloe B’s Osprey Data’.

https://www.imagicat.com/Glaslynstats2021.html?fbclid=IwAR1uxYgOaHJ85Yo7zbbEpttPlKvHn_N4zWrrL-TLutWheHwn_AQQRZPLr8c

These are the dates that Aran was last seen at the Glaslyn nest from 2015-2020:

  • 2015. 25 September
  • 2016. 16 September
  • 2017. 12 September
  • 2018. 22 September
  • 2019. 16 September
  • 2020. 15 September

The average is September 17th. That is six days from now. There is no need for anyone to be alarmed that Aran is still in the Valley, worrying that he is unable to migrate due to his earlier injury. Aran is ‘being Aran.’

Everyone that watches the Royal Cam Chick at Taiaroa Head, Tiaki, you should be giving a shout out to Ranger Sharyn. She located Tiaki 150 metres from her natal nest and the streaming cam. She carried her back to the general area of the nest – and just in time. LGL flew in and fed her daughter shortly after.

Here is Tiaki seeing her mom and coming quickly for that delicious squid shake. These chicks can really move when food is involved — or running away from ‘the dreaded basket’ when the rangers come round to weigh the chicks.

Victor Hurley, the Peregrine Falcon specialist who uses the streaming cam in Melbourne to study the falcons, is looking for some help. He was on the 367 Collins Street Falcons FB page today asking for individuals to accurately provide the time stamp for the incubation hand over duties. Later, he will be looking for time stamps for prey delivery. If you would like to help, please go to the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers and PM Hurley.

Here is a great example of what he is looking for. Mum is getting off the eggs and Cutie Pie ‘Dad’ is falcon walking on the ledge. They are such a good team.

It is windy in Sydney, too. WBSE 27 and 28 had a tiny bird – looks like another gull chick – around 6:29. 28 held back until almost all of the bird had been eaten by 27. That is a bit unusual for the first feeding in the morning. Normally 28 is right up front ready to go.

Notice that 27 stood for its breakfast! Oh, these two are really developing. Both have been standing more and trying to walk.

Another food item comes to the nest around 10:00. This time Lady splits the meal between both of the chicks.

28 is on the left and 27 on the right. You will notice that while the wing and back feathers are growing in nicely on both, 27’s tail is longer and 27 is noticeably larger.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner reminds readers that at the time of migration the juvenile Ospreys are transformed in appearance from when they were first fledglings. Gone is the white scallop on the feathers, gone is most of the down, the eyes are yellow, the dark feathers are darker, and the birds have ‘slimmed down’ somewhat.

So today an Osprey appeared on the Achieva Nest in St Petersburg. Help me out here. Could we be looking at a slightly older Tiny Tot?

The top two images are of the visitor today. The top one looks more like the face of Tiny Tot with the trademark ‘heart’ on the top of the head.

These are the first images that I grabbed of Tiny Tot out of the hundreds that I have. I wish that I could get both of the birds in the exact position.

Of course, it could be my mind playing tricks. I would dearly love for this to be Tiny Tot.

When I was scrolling for images of Tiny Tot, I cam across this one of Tiny Little. The Two Tinys are the stars of survival for 2021. The most amazing, clever, determined to live little birds who beat the odds. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to have a Darvic ring! Then we would not be guessing who is on that nest.

I will leave all of you with this mystery and a reminder of how inspiring these two little ospreys are to all of us.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: PLO Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Achieva Credit Union St Petersburg, 367 Collins Street Falcons, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

The Sweet and the Bittersweet

Ah, the sweet and the bittersweet. All of my friends from the Achieva Osprey Club who loved Tiny Tot or Tumbles as so many called her, will remember that she was the last fledgling to leave the nest. She was there for precisely four months – worrying us, causing us to lose sleep, cry, hope, cry again, bite our finger nails to the quick and watch the hurricane warnings with great anxiety. And then, of course, the miracle of it all, Tiny Tot became the most fierce and dominant bird to hatch on that nest this year. She will survive anything. No doubt. Tiny Tot stole my heart because of her ferocious desire to live. She had been starved – not being allowed to eat for several 72 hour long sessions by her two older siblings – and she tried every way to get around and get the food. Of those four months, she had no food for 12 full days, scattered more in the first half than the last. In the end, Tiny Tot ‘didn’t take anything from anyone’. She could handle an intruder as well as an adult – and she did, many times protecting the nest alone. Here she is a few days before she left the nest for good. She was gorgeous and she was the first miracle of 2021.

The second miracle I often talk about, too, is Tiny Little on the Foulshaw Moss Nest of White YW and Blue 35. Like Tiny Tot, Tiny Little is the only fledgling left on the nest in Cumbria. Everyone else but dad, White YW, has migrated. She has benefited, like Tiny Tot, from getting well fed, getting her flight skills in order, and not being in a hurry. She was enjoying a nice fish tonight for dinner (nest time). Will it be the last on the nest? Or will we get the pleasure of seeing her tomorrow? There are still plenty of Ospreys hanging on.

Polly Turner caught Tiny Little with her fish in this very short video!

The view this morning from the Glaslyn nest is Aran overlooking the valley. It reminded me of the paintings of the German Romantic painter, Casper David Friedrich. Aran’s healing from his late May-early June injury is something to smile about as well.

Idris and Dysynni were still at home on the Dyfi Nest. Idris brought in quite the catch for his boy, Blue 490. Telyn has not been seen since around noon on Saturday, 21 August.

That fish is just amazing. Idris you are so strong and just a great provider!

And what a beauty Blue 490 turned out to be. A lovely male.

So proud of his fish!

You can’t see them – sadly the camera at the Llyn Clywedog nest of Seren and Dylan and Only Bob, Blue 496. John Williams reports seeing Seren fishing and Only Bob later in the afternoon today, UK time. So they are still with us.

Maya was still at Rutland yelling as loud as she could for Blue 33 to get that breakfast fish on the nest! Ah, so happy to see you Maya. You deserve the time to get in great shape after the kids have headed off on their adventure.

I mention all of these because I really hope that Tiny Little is in no hurry to get on with her life. Selfish me. I want to enjoy her for a few more days.

In Latvia, everyone is elated. One of the storklings of Grafs has found the feeder!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is a success.

No matter where you live, remember this, please. In the future when our birds are at risk with no food or water – an area can be designed for them with a decoy to lure them to the site.

So happy for our friends in Latvia. It has been a long worrisome year.

Discussed on the Latvian Forum today is also a theory that the male, Grafs, lured the storklings off the nest by flying close and then flying away. This was what was suggested by chatter Liz01, a long time watcher and forum poster, “After the first storklet leave the nest on August 23 and didn’t come back, someone landed on the left. He flew away and the Storklets followed his departure with their eyes .. they turned and looked towards the forest on the right. One of the two, the eldest, took courage and flew behind. I already saw it yesterday, but only the departure and wondered how it could be that he chose this route. Now I have the explanation. It could be it was flying with Grafs!”

That is a very interesting and astute theory. I have seen hawks take a small piece of prey to lure their fledglings from one hunting spot to another or Peregrine Falcons that tease the eyases with prey flying in front of them to get them to leave. It is certainly a very credible idea by Liz01. Here is the link to the page where you will find photographs and a short video of what she noticed.

The wind continues in Sydney, Australia. At this point I am not prepared to report on the White Bellied Sea Eagles nest. The amount of prey has dropped to the point that I fear that WBSE 28 will be killed by 27. I do hope that the situation turns around. I am still working on how best to deal with the situation that occurred with Malin in the hope that people will learn and help wildlife. In a few weeks, someone let me know how WBSE 28 fared. Thanks.

Last a very rare sighting of a White-tailed Eagle has occurred in King’s Lynn, UK. If you are an eagle fan, have a read. This is amazing news.

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/rare-white-tailed-eagle-spotted-in-kings-lynn-8270552?fbclid=IwAR2wzMu2VsM9qykrr8KSXX86DC3MvUQZqzcCs00iNhJ7kTeIMFzxdBZMUfc

In Manitoba, we are celebrating the work of our great vets, the rehabbers, and the visiting vets at Wildlife Haven. We also have the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. I will tell you more about that in a couple of days. For now, our grand dame, Princess is 19 years old. She hatched in Minneapolis in 2002 and was translocated to Winnipeg that same year. Two years later she meets up with her first mate. She has had 4! In 15 years, she laid 54 eggs, hatched 46 chicks with 37 fledges. More about her later this week and her rescue. Everyone is happy.

Take care everyone. I am hoping to let you know that Tiny Little is still with us and has not started her migration. Just a few more days, please, Tiny Little. And where are Karl II and family? Updated reports tomorrow. Stay safe. Be kind to one another. Protect our wildlife.

I am grateful to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Latvian Fund for Nature Forum, the Dyfi Osprey Project, LRWT and the Manton Bay Osprey Nest, the Achieva Osprey Nest, and the Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

Tiny Little finds a whole fish, Only Bob does a proper fledge and other tales in Bird World

Whenever there are sad moments in Ospreyland, I find it is always comforting to head down and spend some time with Taiki, the Royal Cam Albatross in New Zealand. Taiki was 170 days old today and she weighed 8 kg. She was at 8.2 kg. Around this stage in their lives the weight of the chicks stabilizes – meaning they will not gain vast amounts of weight as they will be focusing on getting their wings strong for flight. If, however, the chick’s weight drops too much, the rangers will provide supplementary feedings. Taiki is right at that point where they are watching her.

Lady Hawk posted a video of Lime-Green-Lime, the mom, coming in to give Taiki a feeding. If you haven’t seen the adults feed their chicks, please have a look. Taiki will be making food callings and her bill will be clacking at the parent’s. That is to stimulate the feeding. Taiki was taught this when she was just a day old. How precious. LGL does beautiful sky calls.

Tiny Little spent his first night alone in that big Osprey nest at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria. When asked if Tiny Little would be lonesome for his older siblings now that they have fledged, one person on FB said, ‘Not the way they treated him’. Yes, Tiny Little might not have survived but he did! And we are all so happy. Tiny Little was flapping his wings hard wanting to fly but it will be a few days more. Hopefully he won’t get too restless.

Both White YW and Blue 35 have been alarming and flying on and off the nest. This happened around 6:10 am.

Tiny Little did what he had been taught. Stay as still as you can and don’t move – keep your head down!

By 6: 19 the disturbance seemed to be over and Tiny was looking around hoping for a fish delivery.

There are advantages of being on the nest alone. Tiny Tot at Achieva was a pro at finding fish scraps. Look what Tiny Little finds around lunch time! You got it – an entire fish hidden in the nest!!!!

He looks around to check and see if anyone else is around and then he tucks in. He is still eating when Blue 462 lands in the nest two hours later.

Tiny Little is not showing 462 what he is mantling. Meanwhile 462 is pecking around the nest to see if there are any fish scraps left. Smart one Tiny Little!

What an absolutely tranquil scene at the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. The cows are out in the fields and Dysynni was in the nest with his sister, Ystwyth, waiting for a breakfast delivery from dad, Idris.

It is a beautiful day up in Scotland at Loch of the Lowes and both fledglings, LR1 and LR2 are in the nest waiting for breakfast, too.

Those two are just beautiful. Well done Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0. Looks like they decided to pose and look at the camera instead of turning away. Thank you! You are both gorgeous fledglings!

The Rutland Manton Bay nest is growing grass after the Two Bobs fledged. Little birds have been around but seldom do we see any of the Ospreys —–until there is a fish drop and then everyone seems to show up.

Blue 33 shows up with a nice Bream and both 095 and 096 land simultaneously. 095 gets the fish in its talons.

You can see Blue 33 flying off leaving the two kids to sort the fish.

Blue 33 returns less than a minute later. Is he looking for Maya to feed the chicks? He leaves as quickly as he arrives.

Blue 095 is starting to eat the fish. No worries there will be plenty for 096.

Have a look back in time. Here are 095 ad 096 exactly two months ago tucking into a Bream. Just imagine. They are so tiny and now they are preparing themselves to migrate in about six weeks. Gosh they were cute!

It is now around noon in the UK. Only Bob, Blue 496 decided to take a flying spin around the Llyn Clywedog Nest straight to the trees where Dylan goes around 11:47. Yesterday, Only Bob flew to the camera post but today they are counting this as his official fledge! It was a great one, too. Mom, Seren 5F was on the nest with him watching her baby take those next steps.

Seren leaves and Only Bob moves over to the rim of the nest looking at his target. Those trees that he sees dad come out of.

And he’s off. If you look at the right side of the image you will see his two legs flying and heading for the trees! Gosh that must feel fantastic.

A couple of hours later, Seren has a nice fish on that nest trying to lure Only Bob over to have some lunch. It was really interesting watching Seren look at or for Only Bob. At times it sounded like she was talking to him – has slipped trying to land on the rim and is on a lower branch of the tree. Only Bob is 50 days old today.

What a great day in UK Ospreyland. Things are going really well. Aran was seen flying high over at Glaslyn today which is a good sign of an improvement. Hopefully he is not having to contend with intruders. Z2 actually landed on the Glaslyn nest the other day – his nest and chick are at the Pont Cresor nest which many consider to be close to Glaslyn. Sadly, one of the chicks on the Charlo Montana Osprey nest died because of bailing twine. If you don’t know, it is what farmers use to tie up large hay bails. So sad. Montana seems to be having a rather bad year with this twine winding up in the nests.

That is it for me today. Thank you for joining me to check in on all the babes. Take care. Enjoy your Tuesday wherever you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots and to Lady Hawk for her videos: Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, LRWT and the Rutland Manton Bay Osprey Nest, and Carnyx Wild and the Clywedog Osprey Nest.

What is gorgeous in Ospreyland?

This entire day has been ‘weird’. It started with only four hours sleep after checking on Tiny Tot’s nest all night. I have no idea what I was thinking. Tiny wouldn’t have flown from wherever she was just to be bounced about, would she?

And then there was the intruder on the nest. This intruder is just giving me a headache. I think I want Tiny Tot to show up on that nest so bad that I forget that there have been a number of visitors to the nest, several that Tiny Tot fought off valiantly. Still there is some kind of family resemblance.

This bird is still bugging me. It is nearly 4:30 pm. I know that I took a screen shot similar to the top one where you could see the white ‘V’ and the scalloped white of the crest making the heart. Tiny Tot had that. This bird has the thick short legs of Tiny and the sweep of the feathers is long BUT it is not elegant like Tiny Tot. The eyes are not the same. But then who knows what your eyes would look like after a hurricane.

This picture of Tiny was taken on 4 July the day before she ‘seemingly’ left the nest permanently for broader horizons. You will notice the white line above the wing is the same. Each of the birds have some dark on their legs, a little strip like a band but not a band.

And this is Tiny mantling her fish on 4 July.

Sadly, these birds are not banded and we only have images to compare that aren’t always sharp and from the same angle. What do you think?

Now, I think every bird is extraordinarily beautiful, but some more so than others. Today, the Dyfi Osprey Project posted an image taken by the individual who ringed two Ospreys in a nest in the Lake District in Cumbria England. They are females, Blue 460 and Blue 461. I took a deep breath and knew that I had to redefine what ‘gorgeous’ means when looking at an Osprey chick.

These are Monty and Glesni’s grandchildren. Their father is Merin. He hatched at Dyfi in 2015. They have Monty’s piercing orange eyes! Gosh I hope they do not lose them to become yellow. Look at the crest with the peach, the soft little white beards. I will be staring at these two beauties for days.

There are reams of files, both analog and digital, tracking UK Ospreys. And this again shows why it is important to get these birds banded. It is now known that at least four of Monty and Glesni’s chicks have returned to successfully breed. Of course, there could well be others. There is Aeron (Z2) who has been chasing intruders away from his PC nest at Glaslyn, then there is Tegid (Z1), one of my third hatch wonder children, who has a nest in Snowdonia, and Clarach in Aberfoyle, Scotland. Gosh, I would love to get a close look at the chicks of Tegid and Aeron!

Mama and Legacy were both asleep when I checked in at the Fortis Red Deer Osprey Nest.

There are both parents on the nest with Legacy yesterday. She is really growing now that the hot weather is gone.

There has been a lot of bad weather going around Alberta and there are dark clouds still around the Fortis Osprey nest at Canmore today. You can just see the two Bobs if you squint. Everything in the nests seems stabilized after a turbulent period of heat and storms. Warm wishes that it stays this way.

Here is a quick check in of a few of the nests. The Two Bobs at Rutland Manton Bay continue to perfect their flying skills after fledging. The Only Bob in the Clywedog Nest in Wales has been doing some wingersizes and the Two Bobs up at Loch of the Lowes are starting to think they might like to hover and fly. There could be a number of fledges coming up in the nest week. Mrs G has been catching fish and so has Aran. The overzealous two year old, Blue 022 has been bonding some more with CJ7 at the Poole Harbour Nest. If they both return from migration it will be great to see some chicks on that nest – the first chicks in 200 years born in Poole Harbour. Will that be the headline? The eldest fledgling of Big Red and Arthur, K1, the Red tail hawks at Cornell, probably caught her first prey item today – a little vole – witnessed by the Hornings. K3 enjoyed observing! Those two are excellent fliers. Can’t wait to take another tour with Ferris Akel to see how they are doing. Will be sure to let you know.

My friend, ‘R’ knows more about Albatross and Petrels than I will ever know. She is curious about the Goony Albatross that ended up in Bempton Cliffs in the UK. He should be in the South Atlantic. Maybe he thinks he is a yellow headed Short-tailed Albatross of the North Pacific? or a gannet? ‘R’ and I will try and put our heads around this one over the coming week. Here is the story on the BBC:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-57683184

And what is this about the fish being addicted to meth? What happens to the birds that eat the fish? I will be following up on that along with a tribute to Tiny Tot and a story of a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo in a Renaissance painting. Those are coming up this week.

Thank you for joining me today. Have a really enjoyable rest of the day no matter where you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: Fortis Alberta Red Deer, Fortis Alberta Exshaw, and the Achieva Credit Union. I also want to thank the Dyfi Osprey FB Page where I took the screen shot of Merin’s chicks.

A hurricane, two nests, and falcons

Elsa was a category 1 hurricane when she bore down on the Southwest Florida coast last evening. The two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest had their talons anchored, riding out the gusts and the rain. This was the pair of them at 23:08 Tuesday, 6 July.

Whew! No chicks blown off the nest just a good soaking.

As the gusts calmed some in Sarasota, they were picking up at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. It is nearly midnight. What is surprising are the number of cars on the streets and even people walking. The nest perch weaves back and forth. Oh, I am ever so glad that Tiny Tot is not on this nest! Indeed, I can see why the birds might choose to migrate north for the summer to get away from hurricane season.

All of this made all of the aunties and uncles relatively nervous. We can’t do anything but watch which is precisely the problem! And none of us knows what kind of damage the storm will do.

Instead of drinking coffee and eating way too much chocolate, I turned my mind to Peregrine Falcons.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Bill Gracey 26 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Peregrine Falcons. The fastest animal on the planet. Speeds up to 390 kph or 243 mph. They are flying killing machines attacking their prey in the air instead of on land. They are magnificent creatures who appear in art, literature, culture, and sport.

“Peregrine Falcon” by DaveInman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Falcons appear on the shoulders of the terracotta figures, the haniwa, on the Kofun (mound tombs) in Japan from 300-555 CE. These were royal tombs. The haniwa were not placed on the inside of the tomb but, rather, on the top of the mound as if in a ceremonial parade. They served many functions. One of those was utilitarian – they kept the soil from eroding as they would have their bottom portion pushed into the the ground.

Using Google Earth, satellite images show you the distinctive ‘keyhole’ design of these ancient burial sites. Forests now cover the sites but originally, they would have been cleared. These hollow clay figures covered the surface. Were they there to protect the deceased? did they tell about the status of their life on earth? No written records exist but we know that over time simple clay cylinders developed into very elaborate human and animal shapes like the falconer, above.

Falconry was known to be practised by the aristocracy in Japan. Taka is the Japanese word for falcon. Taka means strength and bravery. It is no wonder that the art of falconry, takagari, was adopted by the warrior class, the samurai.

The military class ruled Japan during the Edo era. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1603-1858, local war lords (daimyo) and the Shogun hired painters to depict the falcons on crests, screens, textiles such as boy’s kimono, in hangings as well as in single sheets or albums.

The image below is one of many woodblock prints depicting falcons. This one is Falcons with nestlings in a pine tree at sunrise by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Falconry is still practiced in Japan today. Here is a lovely short video about a woman who desired to take up the sport.

As it happens, I have just finished reading Queen of the Sky. That is probably why falcons are on my mind. In fact, this beautiful little book is sitting next to me. The illustrations are gorgeous.

What a marvellous little book written and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It is the story of Ffion Rees’s rescue of a Peregrine Falcon off the coast of Ramsay Island. It might be easy for someone to think, on the surface, that it is a condensed version of H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. If so, they would be missing the book’s heart. It is about love. “Come and see what is in my kitchen” Ffion urges Jackie. It is a story that weaves the lives of the women and the bird – love, loss, and friendship – together in a book that you will not wish to set down. Morris draws you in – you can smell the sea and the land, you can hear the gulls and you want to escape into the wild that is Ramsay Island. Required with the book are at least half a dozen tissues.

Morris tells us that the Peregrine Falcons hatched on Ramsay’s Islands are believed to be the fastest and most fierce in all of the United Kingdom. The kings of England kept many birds from Ramsay.

As a child do you recall the nursery rhyme about the Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie? Can you conjure that image? Like the one in the old coloured drawing below?

“King William IV sits with knife and fork at the ready before a pie containing blackbirds served to him by Lord Melbourne. Coloured lithograph by H.B. (John Doyle), 1836.” is licensed under CC BY 4.0

But did you know that King Henry II (1133-1189), known as Henry the Falconer, allowed his noblemen to bring their falcons with them whenever there was a feast? And adding to that, did you know that Henry’s chefs made special pies full of live songbirds (they could not have baked them!) and when they were opened the birds flew out as fast as they could while the owners took the hoods off the falcons?

Hoods protect the eyes of the falcon and help to keep it calm. They can very elaborate. This one is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. It dates from the early 17th century and is made of leather which has been incised and gilded. There is silk velvet embroidery with silver thread along with silver breads and a tuft. It is typical of the type of hoods used in Europe at the time. Isn’t it gorgeous?

@Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Can you see it in those cold stone castles with their long wooden tables, pies full of birds flying and thrashing about being chased by stealth fliers? Plucked feathers flying all about and landing in the food?

Falcons raise their eyases in scrape boxes or on the sides of cliffs or in caves. The scrape are shallow and contain gravel. It is believed that the falcons developed this method of raising their chicks to keep away the pests and diseases associated with twig nests.

There are several falcon scrapes that have streaming cams. One of the most famous couples in the United States is Annie and Grinnell who have their scrape box in the Campanile of the University of California at Berkeley. They have just fledged three boys – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek. At this time of year, if you want to watch falcons hatch and fledge, you have to go to the falcon streaming cams in the Southern Hemisphere. Two are the CBD Peregrine Falcons otherwise known as the Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne, Australia and the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The CBD Peregrine Falcon Cam is not up and running yet. I will let you know when it is.

Here is the link to the live streaming cam with Diamond, Xavier, and their nine-month old son, Izzi, who refuses to leave home!

I am very happy to say that the two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest survived their very first hurricane. Here they are at 10 am, Wednesday, 7 July.

Tiny Tot’s nest held up perfectly well, too. No one was on it but one of the adult visitors this morning for a bit. We all assume that the impact of the storm had no harmful effects on our beloved Osprey family in St. Petersburg.

The question of who this bird is has driven me a little nuts. The bird has the white ‘V’ and the rounded white heart shape that Tiny Tot has. It has the black patch on the rear of the head that Tiny has. It has Tiny’s short thick legs. But, this is an adult!

Thank you for joining me today. Many of us are quite tired having stayed up to ride the hurricane out. It is such a relief that it has passed. If today’s blog is a little disconnected – that was the state of my mind last night. It will all pass (we hope). Take care all!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen images: The Bay Sarasota Osprey Cam and the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida.

A quick look at Osprey chicks in care — and is it really goodbye, Tiny?

You may have heard that osprey chicks do not do well if they are taken from the nest and placed into care. But is this true? Last year, anyone watching the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest knew that Little Tapps was not going to survive. Solly was too big and too aggressive and when the middle chick, DEW, began to turn on the little one and keep it from eating it was not ‘if’ but ‘when’ would Tapps die. It was emotionally devastating. How many wanted to toss a cloth cover over the camera and at least try and rescue that baby?

In less than a week, news of two interventions came to my desk and thanks to my friend, “T”, two others last evening. Wonder how many more there were? There was at least one Osprey chick taken into care due to the extreme heat in the British Columbia interior. It had fallen out of its nest and bystanders notified SORCO, the only raptor rehabilitation centre in the area at Oliver. They retrieved the three week old chick immediately hydrating it. The staff said that Ospreys can become stressed when in care but, this one is so young they anticipate that it will adapt.

On 3 July an Osprey nest caught on fire when the transformer next to the nest blew. The parents were able to escape, one chick perished, and the other chick was taken into care. The chick was suffering from severe smoke inhalation and some burns from the fire. That precious little one is on oxygen and pain relief therapy. It was initially given high levels of oxygen using a mask but now it is an oxygen incubator. The chick is resting comfortably at the Raptor Tales Rescue in Wareham, MA. Its condition is ‘guarded’.

Sweet little baby. That had to be extremely scary with all the smoke, fire, and noise.

Many other Osprey chicks have been orphaned and placed in nests with foster parents. It is surprising how often this occurs with no ill effects. We saw this recently in Finland and near St Petersburg when another Osprey nest fell down on 29 April. The parents left and all of the chicks died but one. Baby Foster was placed in a nest where there was only one other baby. The parents accepted the new chick immediately. Baby Foster fledged on 13 June. The events with Baby Foster and his new family were caught on video by one of St Petersburg’s local photographers, Kathleen Finnerty.

It is midnight in St Petersburg, Florida. All eyes are on the nest of Tiny Tot and right now, it is calm but Tiny Tot is not there. She came in during the early morning of 5 July. Was she scared by fireworks?

It has been 100 years since a major storm hit the Tampa area. If you look carefully, you will see that St Petersburg is right at the entrance to Tampa Bay.

Tiny Tot has not been on the nest since 9am on the 5th of July. She has not come for a fish and to my knowledge, Jack has not brought any fish to the nest for her since 4 July when there were at least two fish brought in during the early evening. Jack knows where Tiny is or he would be on the nest checking for her. Did the fireworks scare her on her way? did she get tired of chasing off intruders? or did her instincts kick in and tell her it was time to leave the nest?

Here are some images of Tiny over the last few months. They are in no particular order and I have left all the lines and date stamps for you. I will, one day this week, put together a comprehensive album of this miraculous little one – a third hatch that was tough, that survived, and who will do well. What a privilege it was to watch this clever little one become a big strong juvenile.

Tiny, thank you for staying around as long as you did! Stay safe out there. Enjoy the fishing. Have an extraordinary life. You deserve it.

Thank you for joining me today. Here is the model of the storm that is set to hit the Tampa area today. We will be watching and sending warm thoughts to all the nests in that area. Be safe little ones! The recent revised forecast is for Elsa to be a cat 1 hurricane hitting the Tampa area around 11pm tonight. Prayers for all the birds.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union for the streaming cam where I took my screen shots of Tiny Tot and her family. Many thanks also to Raptor Tales Rescue for the images on their FB page that I used to show osprey chicks in care.

Monday Nest Hopping – to keep my mind off Elsa

There were some lovely letters in my inbox today – articles and quesions – to keep me busy and to try and curtail me from checking on Tropical Storm Elsa every half hour. My friend Wicky – lover of books and hawks as long as they leave her songbirds alone – pointed my noise to an article in The New York Times by Margaret Renkl. Renkl is the author of Late Migrations, a fabulous book that I pick up often to simply read a single entry. Today in “Hawk. Lizard. Mole. Human”, Renkl speaks to the garden that she can see out her windows. She says, “How lucky I am to live in a home with windows. Against all odds – the encroachments of construction companies and lawn services and exterminators – those windows still open onto a world that stubbornly insists on remaining wild”.

Here is the link. I hope that you can open it. Renkl is a wonderful writer always leaving me appreciative of her love of our feathered friends and – others. Thank you, Wicky.

Like Renkl, I am grateful for my windows and astonished at what happens in a tiny bit of paradise inside the heat and concrete of a big and growing city. The birds have returned to the garden after the extreme heat. It is simply glorious seeing them splash around in the baths, having drinks, and sneaking off with some birdseed that looks like trail mix. The Blue Jays love the cashews and the berries and have gone through the large berry-insect-suet cylinder in a few days. There seem to be fewer insects every year. Is it the spraying of the caterpillars who eat the leaves off the trees? the greening of the lawns so that they look like they came out of a magazine, or the opposite where concrete is replacing grass? What are the birds to eat? Thankfully a growing number of people are willing to put the time and effort into helping them survive.

A lovely note came in from Finland, also, telling me about the ten Osprey nests. Thank you Tiny Toefan! I admit to not knowing enough about the Finnish nests but tonight while that storm is churning through the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida I am going to begin my education on these Ospreys. I want to learn more about them so I am just not an occasional observer. Tiny Toefan says that their Ospreys had a bit of a sad year. The attack of the Raven at the Satakunta Nest and the death of Alma spread quickly within the community of Osprey Lovers around the world. Our hearts broke for that dear family. Intruders, lack of food, and weather-related events have wrecked havoc with all the Ospreys this year.

Speaking of intruders, the UK nests are having issues with the returning two year old juveniles. They are all excited and flying about while the adults are trying to take care of their chicks that will soon be fledging. Today there were three intruders at the Glaslyn nest. All hatched at the Dyfi Nest. Z2 (Aeron, 2017) has chicks on the PC nest with 01 at Glaslyn. He quickly moved Hesgyn KA3 (2019) and Dinas KS6 (2018) along before they could do any lasting damage. Here is a video clip of all that action:

There were intruders at Foulshaw Moss Nest also. While watching Tiny Little get ready to stand up, in a quarter of a blink he was flat down like a pancake. For a moment I thought he had broken his leg – but, no – somewhere there were unwanted guests.

Did the adults teach them to do this? or is this 65 million year old instinct at work?

My friend, “R” also wrote today to tell me of another bird in the wrong place. It begs to ask how many instances of birds being where they shouldn’t are there? There is a Stellar’s Eagle in New Brunswick, Canada that should be in Russia and there were definitely birds out of location in Toronto earlier in the season.

The bird in England is a beautiful Black-browned Albatross. It should not be in the Northern Hemisphere! Imagine what a sight it was for those in Britain. I will follow up later on this story with more information. Thank you, “R”.

Here is the article. If it won’t open, try to copy and paste the URL in your browser. What in the world is this bird doing in England!?

https://www.thisisthecoast.co.uk/news/local-news/rare-albatross-sighting-on-yorkshire-coast/?fbclid=IwAR2lu8erfI5wv_J-I0gGdUvcJ2YM35wipWkXornJDTVtlAdiUgMs372NWRQ

In a swing through the Osprey nests, Tiny Tot is not on the Achieva Osprey Nest. She came in during the night and then left. The fireworks for the 4th must have been really disturbing to all the Osprey in that area. I am going to hope that Tiny Tot is down by the water catching fish to hold her until Elsa passes. She might also be looking for a place to hunker down til the storm passes. Again, because she is a fish eater and not an insect or nectar eater, Tiny Tot should be alright. It is the wind and flying debris if it gets bad. Well, it is worrisome. We can all image a hundred scenarios. I continue to run Laura Culley’s advice in my head – “worrying is nothing more than establishing an outcome in your mind before it happens. Don’t do it!” Need to put that mantra on repeat. Culley would tell me that these birds are much smarter than we are.

Electra has a huge fish that she is eating on the Cowlitz PUD Nest. It is good to see her eating well. She needs to regain her strength. On the other hand, it also makes me very sad. It would have been grand if that size of a fish came on that nest when the little tykes were alive. It might have made all the difference.

Give a shout out to the linemen of Fortis Alberta and to the streaming cam watchers who notified them that Legacy was tangled in monofilament line. They got there in time and saved her life. Legacy was so wound up in the line that she could not even lift her head to eat – and this was during the heat wave. She needed that hydration! The linemen responded to the call quickly. They removed the fishing line as well as the two dead chicks from the nest. Today, just look at her. Legacy is chowing down on a nice fish on the Fortis Red Deer Nest. There are still dark clouds but the rain has stopped and the nest seems to be drying out. That said the forecast is calling for rain tomorrow. The temperatures are in the 17 degree C range, a far cry from the extreme 40s C.

The two chicks on the Fortis Exshaw Nest at Canmore, Alberta seem to be doing alright, also. They are both being fed by mom. The skies are the same as those at Red Deer but they are calling for a thunderstorm tonight and rain tomorrow at the nest. Oh, stay dry little ones!

There seems to be a constant stream of intruders on the Hellgate Osprey Nest of Iris. It is prime real estate right next to the river and the fishing continues, despite the heat and low water, to be good for Iris. Louis has come and helped ward off the Dunrovin juveniles looking for a nest but sometimes, Iris has had to fend for herself The indignity of it all!

There are not enough good trees for the Ospreys and the placement of platforms has to be carefully evaluated because of all the territorial issues. It is confusing. On the one hand old timers tell me that Ospreys do not have territories but if you watch, Louis certainly claims this nest and the one at the baseball park as his even if he fishes in the same river as the other Ospreys. As more male chicks survive and return, careful planning will need to be undertaken for nests – if the water in the rivers and the fish stay sufficient to support a growing population of these fish eagles.

The predictions for Elsa are becoming more worrisome. Each change in the model sees it bearing down more heavily along that Southwest coast of Florida including Fort Myers up to St Petersburg. Please send any warm wishes you have that the system pulls more to the West as it heads towards Florida after Cuba.

Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe wherever you are and thank you to everyone who writes to me. I do try and get to answer your letters as quickly as I can and please know that I appreciate them. I learn something new every day from you! And thank you to all of you for simply loving the birds and doing what you can to make their lives better.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Fortis Exshaw, Fortis Alberta, and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.

Late Sunday and early Monday in Bird World

It is raining this morning. The three juvenile Ospreys at the Foulshaw Moss Nest are drenched this morning. Blue 35 left a piece of fish on the nest. Wonder if she is watching for self-feeding action? And will she make certain that Little Tiny Bob is fed?

This amazing and uplifting story of how an entire village intervened when Mama Stork was electrocuted. They fed the chicks and Father Stork three times a day until Father Stork could look after the storklings on his own. Now just look at them! Just puts a smile on your face – it always does when help is allowed! At the Mlade Buky White Stork nest, fledging will occur in 1-2 weeks.

There is also good news coming out of the Fortis Alberta Red Deer Osprey Nest. It was originally feared that all three chicks would perish during the recent extreme heatwave hitting the area, along with a series of thunderstorms and torrential rain. But there is one surviving chick! It just feels like a miracle.

As we know, it can be tricky at this point in a chick’s life. Wet weather can also cause hypothermia. That is what was seen at the Urdaibai Biosphere Park Osprey’s nest that took the lives of the two seemingly healthy chicks. Keep sending warm wishes toward Red Deer for this sweet little one.

And poor Tiny Tot. She returned to the nest after dark, probably from all the loud fireworks! Wonder when the celebrations will shift to fireworks that do not make noise? Seriously, all of the animals suffer, not just the birds. Family pets are susceptible to loud booms. Tiny isn’t on the nest as I write this, been and gone. Tiny, I hope you are eating some fish where we can’t see you.

We continue to watch Elsa. Already the local weather reports for St Petersburg, Florida, are calling for rain most of the beginning of the week. I knew that Tiny Tot had one feeding, but one of my readers, ‘S,’ notes that he actually had two fish fairly close together late in the evening. That is fantastic! Thanks, Jack! Keep it up. The news this morning is that Elsa wants to make landfall in the Tampa Bay Area. A state of emergency has been declared in South Florida, and they are saying that it is the heavy rain that is the problem. Tiny Tot, Harriet, and M15 in Fort Myers, the Captiva Nest are all within the area that this storm seems intent on landing. Send warm, positive energy their way.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tropical-storm-elsa-nears-cuba-worries-florida

Thanks for joining me this morning. This is a concise report. I will be checking on the storm throughout the day and any other news in Bird World. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screenshots: Achieva Osprey, Fortis Alberta, Mlady Burky, and Cumbria Wildlife.

Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, rising water temperatures all impact our beloved birds

Is there anyone who is not aware of extreme heat that is in the Pacific Northwest? or the fact that the rivers and creeks are drying up? and the temperature of the water is getting hotter?

The Montana Osprey Project has just posted the following:

“In order to reduce the stress and disturbance on these fish, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has placed fishing restrictions on many rivers in Montana, including parts of the Clark Fork River, Big Hole River, Gallatin River, Madison River, Beaverhead River, Jefferson River, Ruby River and others. The trout populations in parts of the Clark Fork River (and other rivers) have dropped to fractions of their former sizes. The low water and warming temperatures are suspected to play a big role in these population declines.”

The river temperatures in Montana are at 75 degrees F. The authors of the FB Montana Osprey Project posting state that they will “not immediately kill the trout” but a long exposure could kill up to 50% of the fish. That is why they took such drastic actions. Those warm waters impact all the fish that the Ospreys consume including the grand dame, Iris. The authors say that they will follow up with a report on what they believe declining fish numbers due to heat will have on the Osprey populations.

“Mountain in a town” by Bitterroot is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

There has been much discussion about the impact of weather systems on our birds and all of us are watching Elsa. My inbox has been full of queries – for which I am very grateful. It shows the love and concern we all have for these gorgeous fish hawks (and the other birds).

I wanted to find out what had happened to the birds on the island in the Caribbean where my son lives – Grenada. The year before he moved to Grenada, 2004, there were two hurricanes that hit the island directly, Ivan and Emily. Each struck the island. Ivan was slow and deadly churning over the islands of the Atlantic for twenty-three days. Ivan was enormous sustaining winds of 165 mph or 270 kph. It was the strongest hurricane of the 2004 season and destroyed the growing economy of Grenada. The palm trees lining one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with its pure white sand, Grand Anse, were uprooted. Most houses lost their roofs. An old timer told me that they called the hurricane ‘Ivan Rufus’. People were in their houses and the roofs went spinning off. Centuries old nutmeg trees were destroyed along with much of the bird populations and their source of food. The worst hit were the birds that feed on nectar, fruit, and seeds. Nests in the forest were destroyed and breeding was delayed.

There is a really good article that my son sent me today that is called, “The effects of hurricanes on birds, with special reference to Caribbean Islands” by J.W. Wiley and J. M. Wunderle. It was printed in Bird Conservation International. While the article does deal with the Caribbean, it brings much insight to what could happen along the US Southern Coast.

Elsa is predicted to stay as a Tropical Storm so, as you do read the pages, please keep that in mind. There is nothing pointing to Elsa gaining strength to become a hurricane. Tiny Tot should weather the storm fine. She will be soaked and that nest could be missing some twigs but it should also have been built using hurricane standard methods. Still, all of us will keep watch and send warm wishes that all of the birds and wildlife are not impacted.

I am attaching the article here if any of you are interested. The same information could be applied to areas hit by hurricanes in the US.

At 4:55:17, Jack delivered Tiny Tot a really nice fish! Thank you, dad.

It looks like Mrs G gave up on Aran and went and got her own fish today!

At the Lyn Clywedog Nest, Seren has decided for their great Big Bob to see if he can begin self feeding. That is a really nice fish that Dylan brought in. Like all moms, Seren will give in and help Only Bob but he is giving it a good go before asking for help.

There is an easy way to deal with the rising temperatures, the droughts, and the declining fish stocks for the birds that rely solely on fish stocks for food. The first is for humans to take responsibility for climate change. Then build fish farms for these birds – not for humans, for the birds. When the Ospreys migrate to places in the northern part of South America, such as Columbia, they are often shot for stealing from the farms. So we know that they will get fish out of tanks – so build them if they are needed and put some enthusiasm behind the word ‘Conservation’.

That’s it for a hot Sunday in Canada. I do not know where the birds are that generally hang out in my garden but they are still not arriving and it is nearly 7pm. There is lots of water and food. Hopefully they will come soon.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. Continue to monitor Elsa as she moves towards Florida. Stay safe Tiny Tot!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Lyn Clywedog and Carnyx Wild, Achieva Credit Union, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn. Thank you to my son for finding the academic article on the impact of hurricanes on our birds. So appreciated.

Featured image is Mrs G on the Glaslyn Osprey Nest, 4 July 2021.