Early Thursday in Bird World

19 May 2022

It is another coolish day. They continue to mention snow coming! But how pleasant was it to wake up to three Baltimore Orioles already in the garden. My dial for being irritated at some birds preventing others from eating goes from mildly irked to outrage. The male Baltimore Orioles prevent the females from having the oranges or jelly! So I took the tiniest little bowls and put grape jelly in them. There are six. Surely the males can’t be at each one of them if they are eating jelly! Aaaargh.

Do we think those pesky eyases of Annie, Grinnell, and Alden told Mum what they did when Dad Alden was trying to feed them? As ‘B’ said – it is very apparent that this is Alden’s first adventure with chicks! Alden you are adorable and you are determined to figure this out and be a great Dad! Annie is giving the chicks their breakfast and later, Alden is in to give Annie a break so she can eat, too. He is doing a great job brooding and shading the chicks.

Seeing Ervie at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge is such a treat and now he has been there several days in a row! It is definitely taking a long time for that talon to grow in. It is growing and that is wonderful. Has Ervie lived on Puffer Fish all this time? He sure seems quick to catch them! And is Dad still bringing him a fish once in awhile? I collected a few more images of one of our favourite Osprey fledglings to share with you. We never know when it will be the last time to see him.

Ervie had at least two fish. It is not clear if the earliest was a puffer or was a fish brought by Dad. I think it was Dad.

A shot I shared last evening showing that talon growing in ever so slowly.

Ervie should have perfected his fishing skills by the time that talon is in. My gosh. Will it be in by Christmas? It certainly has a long way to go and I wonder if he wears it down using it??

Ervie looks really healthy and strong despite the talon issue. I wonder how many Puffers he has caught and eaten? Ervie is also very handsome! Sadly his injury has probably allowed us to see him all the time – or maybe Ervie is also, in addition, a home body. Wonder what Mum and Dad will do when breeding season is very close?

Richmond and Rosie now have their full cohort of chicks. SF Ospreys made a video of that second hatch. You can see that first little cutie, too. Two Bobs.

The first chick hatched for Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0 at Loch of the Lowes. No more than it was getting out of the last of the shell, Blue NC0 had to fight off an intruder. It has been terrible for them this year. Fingers crossed that their presence does not do any harm to the chicks!

There is a fish ready and waiting!

It certainly is prime Osprey real estate. No one is allowed on the loch from April to September during breeding season. Nothing to disturb the Ospreys! Can you imagine how nice this would be elsewhere? Why do humans with motorized recreational vehicles have precedence? Why not canoes or kayaks?

Speaking of water, the river level around the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest is dropping and this might help with fish deliveries to the nest. Little 17 will be in need of food today for sure. Both parents have touched at the nest but I have seen no deliveries. (0730 and 0830)

It has been very hot at the Llyn Clywedog Nest. Seren Blue 5F hasn’t had a fish either. Dylan is a great provider so hopefully as it gets cooler in the evening something will come to the nest. Seren should be hearing chicks as we are on pip watch for these two. The wet and cold weather really hampered the breeding season of the Welsh Ospreys last year. Seren laid three eggs but only one hatched. Still, they raised the Biggest Bob ever in Welsh Osprey history in 2021. Everyone thought the chick was a huge female – not so. An enormous male!!!!!!! Blue 496 weighed 1400 grams.

Seren is an incredible Mum. She spent a couple of years at the Pont Cresor nest in a polygamous relationship with Aran. After two seasons of unsuccessful breeding, she flew the coop and found Dylan at Llyn Clywedog. Dylan has been here since 2016. The couple have been a mated pair since 2020. Seren spends her winters in The Gambia. Chris Woods has tracke her there to the same tree every year!

The image by Chris Wood made the rounds of some of the FB groups so I do hope that it is alright to include it here. We are all very grateful for his efforts in tracking down the Ospreys at the Tanji Quarry in The Gambia during the winter months!

Chris reported this year that they are taking lots of sand from the Tanji Quarry and he is wishing that they would stop for the sake of the birds.

The American Eagle Foundation has put together a slide show of this seasons activities at the Northeast Florida nest of Samson, Gabby, Jasper, and Rocket.

I am very happy to report that the Kestrel chicks – the smallest three – that Robert Fuller took out of the nest and raised til they were strong enough to go back with the others have been returned to Father Kestrel who is now in charge of six growing nestlings! Fantastic. A good intervention on the part of a human when the female disappeared. Father Kestrel has accomplished being both security, prey provider, and feeder!

Dad delivered a fish to the UFlorida-Gainesville nest at 11:42. Middle was right on the ball and mantled and grabbed that fish and started self feeding! Mum is going to fly in and feed the chicks but this is the second time today that Middle has been working on self-feeding. So proud of this little one. It is no longer as intimidated by Big as it was.

Our Middle is doing fabulous. So proud of him. He is now big enough that Big really cannot intimidate him like he could even a week ago.

All five of the eyases at the Manchester New Hampshire scrape are doing great.

The five at the Belgian scrape in Oundenaare Tower are sleeping on a feather bed and loosing their baby down. All are flapping and it is getting a little crowded inside that box.

The Anacapa eyases are also doing great. I love that they live in the cliffs in a natural setting. Everyone is working on self-feeding.

The only problem nest that I can see is the ND-LEEF one. I have not, however, checked all of the nests this morning. It is time to go out and work on that penthouse for Little Red! Before the snow arrives.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care everyone, see you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Explore.org, Cal Falcons, Port Lincoln Ospreys, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust, ND-LEEF, CarnyxWildd, Chris Wood, Robert Fuller, AEF, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Peregrine Networks, and Oundenaare Tower Falcons.

Saturday in Bird World

Good Afternoon Everyone. It looks pretty quiet out in Bird World this morning.

The two eaglets of Rita and Ron’s, R1 and R2, continue to sleep and eat without any observable ill effects from the rat dinner that they had yesterday. Fingers crossed. They are such beautiful and healthy little ones, curious about the world beyond the nest. Hopefully we can all go ‘whew’ after this fright is over – let’s celebrate on Monday.

They are very mobile, scooting around on the nest, balancing themselves with their wings.

This is Ron feeding the little ones. He isn’t as good as Rita but he tries.

There is an active pip watch at the Bald Eagle nest of Pa Berry and Missy in Georgia. B15 is doing well. Right now it also looks like Mt Berry could be in line for some of that winter weather making its way across parts of the United States. I really hope they get little or nothing. It isn’t nice to have a hatch when the snow and ice are coming down.

Pa Berry was on the nest with Missy on alert this morning.

B15 seems to have a good appetite.

Chatters are working on names for the little eaglet at the Kistachie National Forest (KNF) Bald Eagle Nest. The deadline for submissions is 30 January. Late this morning Louis flew in with a Coot to add to the 4 or 5 fish already on the nest.

The area is experiencing high winds today and are under a high wind advisory. It is also very cool in the forest at 8 degrees C.

This little one is the cutest little roly-poly I have seen in a long time. Anna has the feeding down and the baby is happy to have those nice bites of fish!

It is hard to imagine that E19 and E20 were this small a few weeks ago! Now they are at the big clown feet stage and their feathering is coming in nicely. I wonder if Harriet left this fish to see if anyone would try and nibble?

While other parts of the US are being hit with tsunami warnings, record levels of snow and ice, Florida is having a heat warning and should be getting some rain from that system.

Here is a lovely little video of E19 and E20 having their fish breakfast!

Finally, the pip watch for Gabby and Samson will be coming at the end of the week! I am so excited.

There have been intruders and both Gabby and Samson have been watching and listening carefully this afternoon.

How gorgeous!

An alert.

Time for some territorial defense.

All is well. Whew.

This nest is an active site for intruders. Gabby and Samson have to always be vigilant.

The two little eaglets are getting their feathers at the Hilton Head Island Trust Bald Eagle nest in South Carolina. There is no roll back. All I can say is that they appear to be eating well, growing at the right pace, and Mitch seems to have food on the nest for Harriet to feed the wee ones.

If you are in the line of the storms, tsunamis, and heat warning areas of the US or elsewhere, please take care. I will continue to monitor the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita with the hope that the rat did not get sluggy because of rodenticide poisoning. Ervie is on the barge and I will also check in with him and everyone else at the PLO later today. Thank you so much for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Berry College Bald Eagles, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida and the AEF, WRDC, and Hilton Head Island Trust.

Bald Eagle Season is approaching

As Bald Eagle season quickly approaches, I am reminded that everyone has a few favourite eagle nests. Some like to cheer Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear while others like Harriet and M15 at the Southwest Florida nest or Samson and Gabby at the Northeast Florida nest. Others love Mr and Mrs North at the Decorah Eagles, the Pittsburg-Hayes or the new couple, Anna and Louis, who had the first eagle fledge from a nest in Kisatchie National Forest since 2013, last year. I could list so many because there are so many streaming cams on Bald Eagle nests in the United States. It is their National Bird and there is a lot of patriotism surrounding some of the nests! Some individuals do not like to watch birds eating birds and mammals but, did you know that the diet of the Alaskan Bald Eagles is almost exclusively salmon? the same will apply to many of the Bald Eagles out in British Columbia. Bald Eagles eat what is in front of them; they are opportunists. So the diet will vary regionally. Sadly, they also eat carrion, dead animals, many of which are on the highways and the eagles get hurt or killed flying down to get the food or the remains left from hunters full of lead shot.

I caught up with a few of the Bald Eagle couples recently. Anna and Louis have returned to the nest they used in the Kisatchie National Forest. Cody and Steve have really worked on the camera situation and there is now sound, too. You have a broken screen showing the landscape and then another view looking directly down into the nest. Cody and Steve are part of the forestry staff. They also ‘man’ the chat. I am terribly grateful for their active involvement in the nest. They have worked hard to make it a fabulous viewing and learning experience for all of us. It was a real joy to watch the first time parents figure out how to parent a growing eaglet last year!

Samson and Gabby have been working on their nest for quite some time. It is comforting to wake up in the mornings and see them roosting on the branch together.

I use that word ‘comforting’ because at any moment something could happen to one or both of the adults. That is certainly the history of Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, who raised their young in this nest. So for both of them to show up every morning and every evening is simply – well, it takes a lot of weight off the mind. Of course, the same applies to all birds on all nests.

Here is a very short slide show that someone posted showing various stages of Legacy’s development last year. Legacy was such a sweetheart. Samson and Gabby did not hold back on the teaching. They had to be parents and siblings, too, so that Legacy would learn how to live in the world beyond the nest.

You may also remember all of the worries over Legacy’s survival when she got Avian Pox. It was a mild case and she not only survived but, also thrived. Legacy became a gorgeous strong fledgling.

Harriet and M15 are getting ready for another season. Harriet has been bringing in monstrous size sticks (someone referred to them as logs) to the nest in Fort Myers. I am so excited.

E17 and E18 were riots last year. I originally thought 17 was going to kill 18. You might recall they were sent to CROW for their eye infection and 17 had ‘time out’. I think the two of them in care for those five days melted everyone’s hearts. Harriet and M15 are old hands at raising chicks and when the pair got into too much bonking, both parents stepped in and fed one or the other. By the time the pair fledged, they were inseparable, best buddies.

Lady Hawk catches one of their first ‘rock’em sock’ems’.

Here they are as fledglings battling over a prey drop. There was not a dry eye in the house when these two finally flew away to find their own territory.

Harriet and M15 have been at the nest since September working on it for another year. What a beautiful couple!

If you have been watching the territorial battles going on at the Captiva Nest on Santibel Island in Florida, word has come that the former male adult, Joe, has reclaimed his nest. I cannot confirm this as none of the eagles have leg bands. That is what someone posted on the Bald Eagle 101 FB page.

I will have lots more Bald Eagle news in the days to come. There are also other birds beginning to get their nests ready for breeding season. Jack and Diane have been at the Captiva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida and the Royal Albatross are arriving at Taiaroa Head, NZ. There are now 80 adults there. One of the founders of the colony was Grandma and this is a lovely video on the importance of her to the present and future of the colony.

https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/grandma-1990/credits?fbclid=IwAR2AwcNqLyVQ_lqyb2wxAYmfoU0Ohzg3aXVHWLF3AvrHpl2D4TFZJkhxfgA

A quick check on the Australian falcon nests show that all are doing fine. The Collins Street Four run up and down the gutter. As a result their legs are getting really strong. Diamond continues to get Yurruga to stretch for food so that she will strengthen her neck. At the 12:23:40 fish drop on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, Little Bob didn’t think he wanted any food at first. Then he changed his mind and went barreling in between Middle and Big so he could get to Mum’s beak. Neither of them blinked. This nest is so civil! Ringing will take place sometime during the first week of November and one or all three will be fitted with a GPS satellite tracker. (I was told all three awhile ago).

For those who want to see the Season of the Osprey, this is a reminder that it is showing in the US tomorrow. Please check your local stations for the correct time in your region.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Have a great day wherever you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida and the AEF, SWFlorida and the Pritchett family, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Nest hopping and Legacy update

I got caught off guard this afternoon with Legacy not returning to her nest. The very last official sighting of her at 10:30 pm EDT was at 9:53:51 when she flew from the natal tree.

Prior to that she had an early morning conversation with that fabulous mother of hers, Gabby.

Most of us believed that Legacy would be at the natal tree longer. After all, E17 and E18 hatched on 23 January 2021 before Legacy did on 8 February. Both E17 and E18 fledged but, continue to be seen at their natal tree – flying in and out and playing in the pond together. There was never a thought that she would – well, we just weren’t prepared to not see her again. Let us hope that everyone wakes up tomorrow morning and squeals because she is sitting in the middle of the natal nest eating a fish! That would be a perfect start to the day.

There was a ‘possible’ sighting of Legacy doing a fly by caught on the tree camera but it cannot be confirmed. The time was 8:41:16.

At 11:09:45 Samson brings a fish lunch to the nest for Legacy. You can see him flying in from a distance. Others thought they heard the parents calling Legacy a few hours earlier.

To be clear, the eagle parents do not physically take their young out and give them instructions on how to hunt and fish – like Big Red and Arthur, the Red-tail Hawks at Cornell, do with their fledglings. But the juvenile eagles ‘watch’ their parents unless they are completely out of the territory. Fledglings often find other groups of juveniles and search for carrion going up and down the coast and pond, like a scavenger. They have to learn how to use their talons and beaks and all of that takes time. That said, while they are honing their skills, the parents will supplement the prey of their fledglings – if they are in the territory, if they come to where they deliver the prey, etc. Clearly Samson is trying to get Legacy to the nest to give her food if she needs it.

If any of you watched the White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE), they also used food to try and lure WBSE 26 back to the nest. She had fledged but because of her injured leg (early after hatch), she had a difficult time. She often got herself into some ‘pickles’ landing on weak branches or being harassed by smaller birds. When 26 did return to the nest, the parents provided food for her until she was chased from the territory by the Pied Currawongs and wound up on the balcony of a 22nd floor condo the following day after a storm.

The images below were captured between 5pm and 7pm on 28 April. They are of Harriet and M15’s magnificent twins, E17 and E18 who are always together.

28 February 2021
28 February 2021. E17 and E18 waiting for a food drop.

They were up in the branches of the tree around 9:30 am on the 28th of April surveying the landscape.

And here they are being fed only thirteen days old. Their dark thermal down is just starting to grow.

8 February 2021. SWFlorida Eagle Cam with E17 and E18.

Time passes so quickly! And our friends in Bird World grow up, fledge, leave the nest, and we hope live happy lives with lots of of prey and successful clutches. The sad reality is that only about 1 in 3 are alive at the end of their second year and, if they are not banded, we will never know how their destiny unfolded.

I want to spend a little more time with E17 and E18 before they leave the parental territory for good – and I will continue to check in just in case Legacy returns for one last glimpse of that amazing eagle.

The trio at the Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eagle nest are growing by leaps and bounds. They are already fond of looking over the edge of their nest at that big world beyond.

Talk about growing fast – those two on the Osprey nest on Skidaway Island seem to change daily. The aggression of the eldest seems to have slowed (or maybe I have just tuned in at a different time). Here they are having their supper. Look at the plumage. My goodness. They were just fuzzy little ones a couple of days ago.

Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk on the Cornell Campus nest, is restless. She is up and down continually looking at her eggs. Is there a pip? Maybe when the cam operator comes back on in the morning there will be a close up of those three eggs and we can see if anything is happening. Oh, my! It is eggciting.

Big Red woke up to rain on the morning of the 29th. It is a soggy day for hatch if it comes!

Big Red has an amazing mate in Arthur. Arthur has helped rebuild their nest after the Js, he has incubated the eggs, delivered take away, and will be ready to take on stealth hunting so their eyasses grow strong. I wish I could say the same for Louis at the Hellgate Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana.

Louis arrived, as usual, empty handed for a lunch time ‘quickie’. Indeed, he brought in a fish for Iris two days ago. It felt wonderful. Louis has been rather attentive since a banded Osprey landed on Iris’s nest yesterday. He has been coming around more, mating more.

Iris’s nest is in Louis’s territory along with his nest with Starr. Would this banded bird try to displace Louis? It is an interesting thought. So far Iris has laid no eggs. Oh, it could be a blessing.

The saga of ‘Louis and How the Nest Turns’ continues.

Louis arrived at 12:26:12. He flew off at 12:27:22.

Checking in at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest, Annie and the trio are fast asleep. There was a very minor earthquake in the San Francisco area this morning and Annie woke up from her nap the minute she noticed. This evening, as you can see, everything is fine. Eyasses are growing leaps and bounds!

The Decorah North Bald Eagles are the pride of Iowa. Their nest is in an idyllic setting. There should be lots of prey and not a lot of glass for these little ones to strike when they fledge. Peaceful.

Spring is just arriving and the animals are waking up from hibernation. This means that there is a lot of prey for these growing youngsters of Mr North and Mrs DNF (Decorah North Female) welcomed their first hatch, DN13, on 25 March. DN 14 hatched on 27 March.

Sometimes silly ‘crop’ poses are just too hard to resist!

The eaglets are just over a month old. This great close up, below, shows how their plumage is changing.

It is a frosty morning in Estonia. Eve looks tired and the sun is just rising. This is the oldest known breeding area for the White-tailed Eagle in Estonia. It is in the Matsalu National Park. In this nest alone, from 1996 to 2020, 29 eaglets have fledged. Isn’t that amazing?

I worry when I don’t see food on a nest especially if the little one is more than a day old and is hungry. I worry when the weather is frosty like it is here in the early morning. Will the sun warm up the earth and send the critters out from their burrows so that Eerik can catch them for Eve and the baby?

It is not long til Eerik arrives on the nest. I am hoping that he will be giving Eve a break but it sure would have been nice if he had come in with prey. Eerik is also acting like there is an intruder around. Fingers crossed.

It is time for me to call it a night. In a few hours the sun will be rising on the UK’s raptor nests. It is time to check in on them. Tomorrow also could be a big news day. There could be a hatch at the Red tail Hawk nest in Ithaca and all eyes are on Big Sur and the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix. The condors are critically endangered and every healthy birth and fledge is something to really celebrate.

I am also happy to report that I do not go to bed worrying whether Tiny Tot will have some flakes of fish to eat or will be starving. Tiny Tot is really growing and the mood on the Achieva Osprey nest is quite positive. It seems that Tiny Tot got some fish from every delivery on the 29th. He had quite the crop.

Tiny Tot standing tall. 28 April 2021

Tiny Tot is still eating at 8:26. Oh, that little one sure loves its fish. And the great feedings of the last several days are really showing in terms of feather and muscle development. Even though sibling 1 fledged today, it will be awhile for Tiny Tot. His tail needs to get longer as do his wing feathers. He is beginning to raise and flap them. Lookin’ good little one. Oh, the worry you gave to all of us. Must have aged us ten years!

Thank you for checking in on Bird World. There is always something going on. Let us hope that it all stays positive.

Thank you to the following for the streaming cams. It is from those cameras that I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Pittsburg Hays Eagle Cam, UC Falcon Cam, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey Project.

Open Wide!

The grey skies and the cold to the bone weather on the Canadian prairies just added to the sadness at the Latvian White-tailed eagle nest. Parallel with the events of the two chicks dying from hypothermia came a wonderful letter from the LDF answering many questions I had about Milda and the nest. I will write up that information in a couple of days.

Milda was starving. She is a devoted mother but she had no food for her or her chicks and Mr C appears to be an on again, off again mate. It is unclear if there were intruders in the area. Mr C is on the branch watching the nest while Milda eats a nice big piece of fish – this fish arrived 24 hours after the nest ran out of food when Mr C removed the few remains of the Crow Milda had been feeding to the chicks. Sadly, she is now incubating the unviable egg.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest in the Campanile must have been removed. The three little marshmallows are getting some pin feathers. It is hard to believe! They are consuming vast amounts of pigeon and transforming it into the fastest raptor on the planet. Here Annie is saying, ‘Open Wide!’

Annie and Grinnell are such devoted parents. Look at those little ones all tucked under mom right after their feeding.

Sometimes ‘open wide’ does not necessarily relate to food and a feeding. In the case of N24, our beautiful Legacy, it meant open your wings and fly. Legacy fledged this morning at 9:01! All of the aunties and uncles and grannies will be crying tears of joy and sadness. Legacy is a magnificent fledgling Bald Eagle now. She overcame Avian Pox and is the pride of Samson and Gabby and her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet. Look at the gorgeous profile of that head! And that deep, deep espresso plumage. Stunning.

There she goes at 9:01:54.

Lady Hawk put a video together from the three separate cameras. You can watch this historic event in this eagle’s life here:

In the case of Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, we can talk about opening wings and mouths. Tiny Tot loves to open his wings like a Lamborghini. Wonder if the car designers looked at the birds for inspiration? Certainly those that built the bullet train in Japan did – they used four different birds to help them get the fastest train on the planet (at the time).

Tiny Tot had a crop all morning. There were three fish deliveries before 11am! Jack has really been working to keep this pantry full. There were deliveries at 6:50:30, 9:35:05, and this is the third delivery at 10:59:18:

Tiny is really growing with all the food he has been eating. Sometimes you have to look really close to figure out which chick he is now. His ‘whiskers’ are settling down and he is getting the white plumage on his chest. There he is in the middle. You can see his nice crop.

Tiny had a good feed last night and had lots of fish from 2 out of the 3 deliveries before 11 am on 26 April. The trio are waiting for delivery 4!

Tiny Tot ate lots from fish 1, none from fish 2, and plenty from fish 3. In the image below he is being fed from fish 1. Sibling 1 had some bites and sibling 2 had a couple but, as is typical first thing in the morning, the older sibs are not as interested in eating then as they are later in the day. Tiny will eat anytime! Open wide, Tiny Tot!

Here is Tiny running to get up to the fish!

Tiny does not get anything from the second delivery but he does in the third and has a very nice crop.

Tiny is really full when the fourth fish arrives but he goes up and gets some nice pieces anyway – not a lot but remember, he is full.

Tiny Tot opens his wings wide!

Tiny Tot has eaten well today and no doubt, since it is only 3:30, there will be more fish to come. Jack, you are amazing. Diane has had some fish and everyone is doing great!

And speaking of opening wide, all eyes are on the California Condor nest in Big Sur where the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix is between pip and hatch.

The burnt tree in the centre is where the nest is located. The Dolan Fire ravaged this area from August to the end of December in 2020. Iniko survived the fire – he was the 2020 chick of Redwood Queen and Kingpin. Iniko is at the Los Angeles Zoo and is set to be released with a group of captive bred birds later this year.

Sadly, Redwood Queen’s mate, Kingpin, did not survive the fire. She bonded with Phoenix and this is their egg in the same nest that Iniko hatched.

Redwood Queen has just returned from having a short break. There is a stream close to the nest and she might have gone for a cool drink. It is fine to leave the egg for a short amount of time.

Thank you to each of you for joining me today. I know that we all wish that the situation at the Lavian White-tailed Eagle nest were different. I will be writing a history of the nest and looking into the weather in the area. Normally the birds time their hatches to when the animals will be coming out of winter hibernation so there is lots of food. I am curious if the cold weather has caused issues with getting prey for Milda and Mr C.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Latvian Wildlife Fund, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Kakapo and more

Everyone is talking about the Kakapo today because two of the 208 died. These events are always full of sadness.

Have you heard of Kakapo?

They live in New Zealand and they are parrots that cannot fly. Wings are only for balance and support. Some people think they look like an owl. In fact, they are nocturnal and only move around at night. Their plumage is a beautiful moss green with some yellow and black. Their feathers are very soft because they do not need them for flight. Their bill, legs, and feet are grey. Using those grey feet they run all over the ground and climb trees. They blend in perfectly to the forests of the small islands where they now live. These islands are designated nature reserves and only authorized personnel can go on them.

Before humans arrived on the shores of new Zealand, the forests were full of these amazing creatures. Many of the early settlers kept them as pets saying that they were as friendly as dogs. They are still friendly towards humans today. In the 1990s, only fifty existed. The predators of the adults were cats and stoats while rats were known to eat the eggs and the chicks. The New Zealand Department of Conservation undertook an amazing intervention in order to try and save the Kakapo. They literally gathered up the fifty that were alive and moved them to islands where there were no predators. In June there were 210. Sadly, today there are now 206. Every Kakapo has a radio transmitter whose battery needs to be changed at least once a year. They are carefully monitored and health checks are undertaken on a regular basis. Birds may receive supplemental feeds and eggs and chicks can be rescued and raised by hand. Because there are so few, the genetic diversity is extremely low and there is also a very low fertility rate. The Kakapo are managed on three islands and there is now managed mating using artificial insemination to help manage genetic loss. They are currently sequencing the genomes of all living kakapo to aid in their conservation. The females start breeding around five years but the males are not able to fertilize the eggs until they are about ten years old. They are said to only breed when the fruit of the Rimu trees bloom which is every 2-4 years. The males get off pretty easy. The females have to incubate the 1-4 eggs, feed themselves and their chicks, and also protect their nest and young. That is the reason that so many fell victim to cats and stoats in the past. They are strict vegetarians. Kakapo generally live to be ninety years old if they do not come to harm by predators or viruses.

They are so very cute. They love to hide from the Rangers when they come to change their transmitters but they also love their almond treats after!

If you would like to learn more about the Kakapo, this is a seven minute video that is quite good:

And if you are a teacher or you know someone who is and who might like to show their students this amazing non-flying parrot – that is so utterly sweet – head over to this site sponsored by the NZ Government:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-education/resources/kakapo-recovery/

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It’s time for updates:

That Great Horned Owl on the Bald Eagle nest near Kansas City is still there. The Bald Eagles have not evicted her. Poor thing. That snow is really packed around her. The flakes stopped coming down and while it has warmed up, it is still a frigid -4 F. Our owl (I was tempted to say little but they really are not little) is trying to sleep and keep those eggs warm. Her mate, Clyde (gosh that was my dad’s name- who would name their little son Clyde???????) is very good at bringing her prey during the night. Last mouse deposit was right before dawn broke this morning.

Bonnie took a break – less than two minutes off those eggs. Gosh she was fast! That got me to wondering how quickly that -5 temperature would impact those eggs.

It doesn’t look like any of the snow fell in over the eggs. I wondered if the warmth of Bonnie’s body would have made a bit of a crust??? Just a silly thought but, maybe.

The Bald Eagle sitting on the nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey at Duke Farms is getting some relief. The snow has stopped falling and is actually melting there. We can finally see the nest. Let’s hope she catches a break and doesn’t get hit by the system moving through on Wednesday. This poor mother has had snow for twice as long as anyone else with eggs underneath them. She should get some kind of endurance prize!

And there is some really good news on the nest of Gaby and Samson over at NEFL. Little E24 was having problems with its right eye. This morning it was completely closed again but later in the day it opened up. I could not see any discharge. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it just got a poke from some of that nest material. And give a hand to Samson who brought in five big fish. I wonder if he is expecting bad weather to set in?

Oh, just look. There is the little one’s tiny little foot close by its mom. How precious.

Samson can be my weatherman any day. He brought in such a big pile of fish earlier. Now you can hardly make out his silhouette as the rain pelts down at the nest near St. Augustine, Florida. There are also thunderstorms in the area but no tornadoes. Smart dad. That little one will be under its mother staying dry while she continues to incubate an egg that will never hatch.

It has been a beautiful day out at Big Bear. That snow and chilly winds are gone! How nice for Jackie and Shadow.

I am also very happy to report that there was so much food on the SWFL Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 that the bopping of 17 towards 18 was next to nothing today. In fact, I hope they are growing out of that behaviour. There is lots and lots of food. Indeed, hold on. Harriet even brought in some road kill today in the form of a grey tabby cat. So again, if you ever find yourself near someone who is saying eagles only eat fish, well they sure don’t on Harriet and M15’s nest. They are great opportunistic eagles. At the same time it is extremely worrying when the hawks, falcons and eagles land on the streets and highways to get the carrion and get hit themselves. It is also, of course, tragic when someone’s pet gets hit by a car.

And last, let’s check up on Solly to see what she is up to. To date Solly has re-written a lot of aspects of Osprey behaviour in Australia. That is fabulous news and supports putting satellite transmitters on birds for additional research and learning. Of course, the streaming cameras that I watch, like you, are invaluable as are the BOGs (Birders on the Ground).

Solly is 149 days old and she is still enjoying Eba Anchorage and flying over to Kiffin Island to find her dinner. Look at that seabird go!

And speaking of Ospreys, one of the Scottish Kieldner Ospreys Blue Y6, White EB’s youngest daughter, that hatched in 2016 was seen at Tanji Marsh Bird Reserve in The Gambia by bird guide, Fansu Bojang. This is just excellent news. You might recall that Avian Flu went through the Pelican population in Senegal and there was some worry for the UK Ospreys. This is just wonderful news! Last year was Blue Y6’s first year to raise chicks. She had two with her mate at a nest in Perthshire. Let’s hope she does it again this year.

There is lots of good news all around in the bird world. Even the Kakapo Recovery said that they are grateful for the growth in the numbers and with that also comes higher numbers of those dying.

The Ospreys will be making their way back to their nests across the UK and Europe soon. We wish them all safe travels. The hawks and falcons will be finding twigs for their nests and in a few weeks we will begin to welcome another group of baby eagles.

I am keeping a particularly close eye on that nest of Big Red and Arthur.

Stay safe and stay warm! Thank you for joining me today. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the Kakapo Recovery, the AEF for the streaming cams at Big Bear and NEFL, the SWFL streaming cam and the D. Pritchett family, Derek the Farmer’s streaming cam, Port Lincoln Osprey for the tracking information on Solly, Duke Farms streaming cam, and Kielder Ospreys.

24 hours full of birth and death emotion

First, before you get anxious, Daisy the Duck managed through the high temperature of Sydney yesterday. She left the nest at 15:11:10 to forage and returned twenty minutes before sun down at 19:45. It is currently day 14 of her brooding and it is 5:43 Monday the 25th of January in Sydney. All is well in the nest. The sea eagles did not make an appearance in the evening and Daisy did not go out foraging before dawn this morning. It is due to be another hot day on the nest.

Daisy just before dawn, 25 January 2021.

I have said often that the lives of our feathered friends hang on a thread. Anything can happen at any time. Sadly, much of the time the root cause has something to do with humans and our lack of respect for the environment. Rat poison – rodenticide – contains chemicals that cause the mice and rats to bleed internally. But before they did their movements slow down. Raptors (falcons, hawks, eagles) often catch the dying animals. While it is not always lethal for the larger birds such as adult Bald Eagles, it is for the smaller hawks and falcons and their babies. Toxins in the water flushed out from industrial plants is another or the heating of the oceans causes toxic red algae. Window strike breaks their necks. Tossing any food waste onto the highways causes the birds to come and not watching, they get hit by vehicles. The mesh bags that hold oranges and other fruits along with not cutting the ties on face masks tangles up the birds as does the mesh that people and farms use to cover the trees and bushes in their orchards. And of course the glue strips that catch the birds and cause them such devastating pain trying to free their little legs. I could go on. The list would be endless. The most prominent way is through the loss of habitat.

In a short period of time, in the world of our beautiful birds, there has been intense pain and great happiness.

At Captiva Island, there was such joy when Peace and Hope were each born, within six hours of one another, on 14 December 2020.

Hope and Peace being fed fish on Christmas Day by their dad, Joe.

Fishing line was discovered in the nest with a hook on it. The American Eagle Federation got permission from the US Wildlife Service to have it removed. On or about the same day, the parents brought a rat into the nest to feed the eaglets. No one knows precisely what happened but it was observed that Peace no longer wanted to eat and was becoming dehydrated. Peace passed away. Hope continued to thrive until a couple of days ago when people started noticing that ‘something was wrong’. They didn’t know what. Many noticed tremors in her leg. Others watched as it appeared she could not cough up a pellet. (Raptors cannot process all of the food that they eat. What they can’t is formed into a pellet that is coughed up). Some saw blood on her wing and leg. She coughed and choked all day, January 23. Many think her heart gave out last night. Connie, her mother, flew to the nest as she was taking her last breaths. One of the saddest things is that prior to Hope and Peace, Joe and Connie had fledged nineteen juvenile Bald Eagles in the twelve years they have been together. In fact, people exclaimed how physically strong these two were. Hope crawled out of the nest and up to the end where the parents bring in food when she was only two days old. They were both growing and getting strong. Peace died on 13 January. A few days, Joe took her body from the nest. Many are hoping that a necroscopy can be done on Hope to determine the cause of her death.

January 20, 2021. Hope with Connie on the nest overlooking their territory.

In the image above, three days ago, you can see how Hope was getting her beautiful dark brown juvenile feathers.

Apologies. Hope is moving. 23 January 2021.

In the morning fog, the same day of her death, Hope stands talls and is jumping up and down on the nest flapping her wings.

Today, Connie is standing over the body of her daughter, Hope, shading it. From all available evidence, birds grieve just like humans when they lose a child.

Connie with the body of Hope.

There is frustration and anger and the debates continue as to whether or not intervention in the lives of these majestic birds should take place. Some argue that we are fortunate to be able to view their lives but that we should not intervene to help them unless it is clearly something a human has caused. Others state the opposite. While we are now privileged to watch the comings and goings of the birds, it is our duty to protect them so that they thrive. Unfortunately, nothing will bring back to the vibrant eaglets, Peace and Hope.

January 23 was also the day that Harriet and M15’s two eaglets hatched at Fort Myers, Florida.

E17 and E18 hatched just an hour and a half apart. What were two wet limp bodies have turned into fuzzy little bonking babies this morning!

E17 and E 18

Notice the white at the top end of their beak. That is the ‘egg tooth’. The egg tooth is a small white protuberance that helps the birds chip away at the shell so that they can hatch. By hitting on the shell, the egg tooth makes the first pip! The egg tooth disappears in a few weeks.

Bonking of bobbing into one another after hatch is a rather normal experience. The little birds cannot focus their eyes well, their heads are bigger and awkward til they get some strength in their necks, and because they know that food comes from their beak and the parent’s, you will often see them bonking back and forth. This should end after a few days but in some nests it persists as a means of establishing dominance. In some cases it can lead to siblicide, the killing of the other sibling.

And on 23 January in New Zealand, the Royal Cam Albatross chick belonging to LGL, Lime Green Lime, and LGK, Lime Green Black, hatched. New Zealand gives the albatross born at Tairoa coloured bands for identification. This couple were chosen to be the stars of the camera this year. The baby Albatross will receive a Maori name right before it fledges and we should know in a couple of weeks if it is a male or a female.

DOC Ranger Julia and LGK as he sees his baby for the first time.

I can always be found praising the New Zealand Department of Conservation. They protect their birds. Once the rangers noticed the ‘pip’ of the Royal Albatross egg of LGK and LGL, it was removed and a dummy egg was placed under the parent to continue incubating. The ‘real egg’ was placed in an incubator. The reason for this is fly strike, the infestation of fly larvae during the period that the chick is trying to hatch. This can lead to their death. Royal Albatross are a highly endangered species because of climate change and long haul fishing. The New Zealand government is taking a very proactive role in trying to keep their birds healthy and also in promoting the use of varies methods to protect bycatch, whether it is our gentle albatrosses or sea turtles.

This is a great video to introduce you to the topic of bycatch and how important it is to get international agreements in place to protect the ocean’s animals.

There is much you can do to help birds from cutting the lines to your masks and putting them in the trash, to educating people on feeding birds at feeders and ponds, to lobbying international agencies demanding the end to bycatch. If you go back through my posts you will find several dedicated to ways that you can help birds no matter what your financial status.

Daisy on her nest just after dawn breaks, 24 January 2021.

I will have a full report on Daisy’s day in about nine hours. The weather will be hot again in the Sydney Olympic Park and we hope that means that no sea eagles will come to see if they can catch Daisy!

Thank you for joining in the daily life of our favourite little Black Pacific Duck, Daisy.

And thank you to Pritchett for the camera views of Harriet and M15, Captiva Eagle Cam and the AEF for the camera views of Joe and Connie, to Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ Department of Conservation for their camera views of LGL and LGK, and to Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the camera views of Daisy.