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.

Ups and Downs in Bird World

The Scottish Osprey nests were almost blown off their platforms on Sunday. Laddie (LM12) had no more brought a fish to the nest for NC0 than the wind began to stir. You can see the choppy waves beginning on the Loch of the Lowes. Thank goodness there were no eggs in the nest! At the beginning of the migration season, Laddie arrived early in hopes that NC0 would return to his nest and be his mate. He worked daily making sure that everything was perfect for her arrival.

In the image below, NC0 has accepted Laddie’s gift of a fish. In the background you might not be able to tell the branches are blowing but you can begin to see that the water is getting choppy. Look at their fine nest and hold that image in your mind.

Now look at the image below. This is the same nest that Laddie and NC0 were standing on. There are huge waves on the loch. The trees are twisting and the winds simply picked up the part of the nest facing away from the loch and dumped it over the egg cup.

The running joke is that the situation is so dire it would make an Osprey sea sick.

Blue NC0 stands on the nest the morning after the winds, Monday 5 April. Laddie must have been disappointed after all his hard work. They are so close to needing the nest for NC0 to lay her eggs.

NC0 got busy cleaning up undaunted by the task!

Wow. NC0 worked hard and got everything back in order. And Laddie who was MIA most of the rebuilding rewarded her with a nice fish after!

Louis is expected on the Loch Arkaig Nest on 5 April to be followed by his mate, Aila. The snow and blowing winds could cause a delayed return. We will keep an eye out! Some snow remains on the nest.

In contrast Mrs G and Aran at the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Nest in Wales had a partially sunny day with no strong winds. And it wasn’t pitching down rain.

The new parent, Harry, on the Minnesota DNR Nest, stared at his eaglets for quite a long time today. Was he admiring them? was he wondering why they weren’t moving? did he think they were dead? Well, they weren’t dead. Just food comas!

The drama at the Durbes White Tailed Eagle Nest in Latvia continues. Milda and her mate, Raimis, had been together for six years when Raimis disappeared on 27 March. It is not known if he is severely injured and cannot return or if he is dead. It is a long time for him to be away from the nest. Milda is incubating three eggs and has been protecting it from a male intruder. She has gone without food to keep her precious eggs warm. The touching story of this female eagle protecting her eggs and not leaving the nest to hunt so she can eat has captured the attention of people in Latvia and around the world. She was the feature of a recent Latvian Panorama television programme. 4 April marks what would be her eighth day without food. Today, however, Milda left with the male intruder. It is not known but is assumed that she ate while she was away from the nest. She returned with a large crop. The unringed male could form a bond with Milda and feed her while she incubates her eggs. As we have learned from the nest of Spilve, a Golden Eagle, a single parent cannot forage, incubate, feed, and protect little ones alone. The next few days should clarify the situation at the nest in Kurzeme, Durbe County, in western Latvia. This is a short video of Milda flying in with the male intruder who has been named Mr. X.

Milda had her own bad weather with high winds and snow with clearing up in the late afternoon. Milda left the nest for a few minutes when the snow cleared. There is some indication that there is some fighting going on on the ground. Is it dogs? or is it Milda’s new potential mate and another male?

Some of you might be wondering what is happening at some of the other Bald Eagle nests. It is hard to keep up this time of year with Ospreys landing in the UK, eggs hatching all over the US, eggs being laid, birds coming and going and migration still on going in Manitoba. I will try and bring news of a few nests over the next few days that I have been following just to keep you up to speed.

One of those nests is The Trio over near Fulton, Illinois on the Mississippi River. There was a streaming cam on their old nest but the high winds last year destroyed it and they rebuilt. All images are from birders on the ground with their cameras. One of those is Dennis Becht. He caught this image today. If you squint you will see the head of a wee eaglet sticking up between the adults.

Solly, the Port Lincoln female Osprey, is 198 days old today. She spent Easter Sunday at Eba Anchorage and today she is back at her favourite haunts in Streaky Bay. It is wonderful to ‘see’ the satellite tracking on Solly and to know that she is well. Birders on the ground saw her with a salmon on Easter Sunday eating on a post. How grand.

Tiny Tot’s crop has gone up and then down and back up again. He had two feedings today at the Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. Jack brought in a very large fish yesterday that came and went 3 times and today, a large fish arrived at 8:02. The two older ate and Tiny Tot had a private feeding from around 8:36-9:07. He was eating again around 10:27 with the others. The regular delivery of large fish and the energy that Tiny has derived from eating plus his being clever are helping this little one to start growing and get its confidence back. Tiny hangs back and let the others eat – it protects his head and neck from bonking. But he also keeps a sharp eye on what is going on and when he senses it is nearly his time to eat, he moves up carefully without causing attention. He is extremely clever and we are all hoping that the good feedings continue. His growth is a little slowed because of so many days without food. No doubt the very large fish that have come in are working to his advantage. There is always food left for him and Diane. Gold stars for Jack.

Tiny had dropped his crop (moving food from the holding area to the stomach) this morning. There had been some concern by chatters yesterday that he might not be able to do this after he was so dehydrated from not eating for three days but, luckily that was not the case. He ate for approximately 43 minutes and then ate again. Tiny is full! And the nest is peaceful.

I wonder if Jack has found a new place to fish? The fish brought in the last two days have been much larger than some of the deliveries a few days ago.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I don’t know about the rest of you but if Tiny has a full crop in the morning my day is much brighter! Stay safe. Wish for good weather for all the birds and large fish on the Achieva Osprey nest!

Thank you to all the streaming cams where I get my screen shots: the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, The LTV Juras erglis Durbe, the MN DNR, the FB Page and Dennis Becht for the Trio, The Woodland Trust and People Play Lottery, Scottish Wildlife and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Port Lincoln Osprey FB page, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.