Saturday Cuteness in Bird World

I thought that it was going to be hectic for Mum and Dad to keep the Collins Street Four supplied with pigeons. I never thought about the parents chasing them all over the gutter to make sure that each one gets fed! I don’t think any of us ever have to worry about the dedication and focus of these Peregrine Falcon adults. This feeding was quite extraordinary!

Did little Yurruga spend the night sleeping in the corner of the scrape box while Diamond tried to incubate her unviable eggs?

The feeding of Yurruga at Orange is so different than that of the Collins Street Four. However, looking ahead one week we should anticipate that Yurruga will be excited and nipping at the prey as the Melbourne falcons.

Yurruga makes some of the cutest faces and gestures.

There was a peanut size fish delivery at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge earlier but the three osplets and Mum are still waiting for Dad to bring in something substantial.

Dad brought the tiniest fish to the nest this morning in the Sydney Olympic Forest. He waited for about half an hour but no eaglet appeared. The Pied Currawongs were a menace to Lady, too, and eventually they ran him off the nest.

I remember Lady and Dad coming to the nest last year trying to lure 26 back so they could feed her. I wonder if one of the eaglets is still in the forest? There have been no reports since 15:30 on the day 28 fludged and 27 had its forced fledge.

OGK continues to wait for the arrival of YRK at the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Colony in New Zealand. Send every speck of positive energy his way. I so hope she flies in this week!

Here on the Canadian Prairies the weather has turned quite coolish. The number of birds in my garden have dwindled. Today there were only six Slate-grey Juncos and the House Sparrows. Grey Squirrel loved it because he had more than enough seed to fill him and four others to the brim! Tomorrow I will be at the nature centre to watch the thousands of Canada Geese land at dusk. It is eerie – the garden being quiet. I cannot imagine a world without the sound of the birds.

Thank you for joining me. Do take care. Stay safe and be happy.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagle @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Less can be more

Hopefully today’s ramblings will make a point on how to help our birds. Bear with me. I love to tell stories and revisit memorable moments.

More than a decade and a half ago, I was in Beijing teaching some special workshops at the International School and also giving lectures on the history of Chinese ceramics. Yes, you read that correctly. A Canadian was in China talking about Chinese pottery! I had been there several times before and always enjoyed myself and treasured the friendships that I made. This particular visit I was staying in a hutong that had been converted into a small guest house. Hutongs are the traditional courtyard houses, many torn down now. During breakfast I met a very interesting lady whose name was Fanny Farkles. She had retired from owing a restaurant, catering, and cooking school in New York City. I asked her, being terribly curious, what she was going to purchase and take with her as a reminder of her time in Beijing. What she told me has stuck with me. She said, ‘I spent the first 50 years of my life acquiring stuff and I will spend the last 50 getting rid of it’. Instead of ‘something’ she was going for an experience – a 17 course Ming-Dynasty meal fit for the emperor.

It wasn’t until later that I fully grasped the wisdom of what Farkles was saying but when I did, it hit me hard and, like all great insights, you wish you could turn back the clock and start again sometimes. Stuff. This coming year I will be spending much time finding new homes for ‘the stuff’. Thankfully, my resolution for 2021 was not to buy any new books. I almost made it had it not been for Chris Packham’s Back to Nature or Emyr Evans, Monty. Almost any book can be purchased used from a myriad of international sellers but not those two when I checked.

Speaking of Emyr Evans’s book on Monty, the DFYI on line shop is now open. If you are interested, here is the link to their on line shop:*

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/

A signed copy is 15 GBP. If you live in the UK, the postage is a very low flat rate. The round the world flat rate is 11.99 GBP. If you are a fan of the Dyfi’s Monty, the super star of the male Osprey world (by some), it is a great book or gift. It is also a fundraiser for the Dyfi Osprey Project.

One other year a young woman asked women around the world not to buy any new clothes. To wear one thing and switch it up with what was in the closet. It was the year of my black sheath dress. The money saved was given to young women in India to purchase school uniforms because we all know that education is important but you cannot go to school without a uniform in India. It was a brilliant idea.

An article in the environmental section of The Guardian today talks about ‘stuff’ and how to save the environment by not buying. Several months ago, an economist suggested that if everyone in the world cut their spending of non-essential goods by 15% it would have a major impact on climate change. If it is good for the environment then it is good for the birds. Have a read.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/20/we-need-to-stop-buying-stuff-and-i-know-just-the-people-to-persuade-us

A quick check on those adorable feathered creatures that inspire us to leave the world a better place reveals that Middle Bob and Little Bob on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge had a tug o war over the fish tail this morning. I think Middle Bob won but, that’s OK. Little Bob won when he pulled with Mum!

Despite their amazing growth and those awesome curved juvenile feathers, you can still tell Little Bob from the circle on top of its head. You can also count on Little Bob being as near to where Mum is handing out the food as anyone. They line up and he is there, right at the beak with gleeful anticipation in his eyes.

Mum is happy to oblige!

The feeding is over and Little and Middle are tugging for the tail. The osplet behind Mum is Big Bob. It looks like a circle on its head but it isn’t. It has lines radiating out when you can see the full design.

Middle Bob is eating the tail and Little Bob is checking to see if Mum finds any more food on the nest. Oh, he loves leftovers, too. First up to the table and normally the last to leave. Sounds like Little Bob is a female to me. They need about 25% more food than the males.

Yurruga is currently sleeping off that entire Starling that Xavier fed it for breakfast. It is a wonder the baby didn’t pop but, like a good falcon, when Xavier suggested it eat more and made that chumping sound, Yurruga ate. It is learning to eat when food is available. You don’t always have the luxury of a stash in the corner of a scrape box in the real falcon world.

At least one of the Collins Street Four looks like it wants to try out for one of the local rugby teams. My goodness these chicks are enormous. Look at those feathers coming in. One day we will wake up and they are going to look like their Dad and Mum – it will happen in a blink I am afraid.

No other news from the little sea eaglets that flew off the nest yesterday. Keep them in your positive thoughts.

Thank you for joining me today. Everything at the nests is just fine. What a lovely relief. You take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

* I might mention books or other things in my blog. I do not make any money if you purchase the items and never will. My purpose is to simply bring news of the birds as they add so much joy to our lives and to alert you to ways that you can help make the world a better place for those birds.

“We need to protect all species while they are common so that they do not become rare.”  

Rosalie Edge urged everyone, in the quote above, to appreciate all of the birds (and other species) that are part of our daily lives. Edge knew that what is once common can go extinct quickly if we do not begin conserving the species when it is abundant. That is precisely why she purchased Hawk Mountain and why the continuing migration counts matter. If you count then you can plot a decline or a rise. If you don’t count, you never know. I will add that if you do not put a sat-pak on an Osprey chick in Port Lincoln, you will not know how far the fledglings travel from the natal nest. Solly’s tracking information confirmed that they venture much farther than ever imagined! Tiaki is more than half way to Chile today. She is making excellent progress. It is also comforting to see those GPS monitors moving on all the migratory birds including the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia. We learn, we appreciate, we treasure what we have in front of us and take care of it.

This is the article I was reading from the online Audubon Magazine. It is a Canadian who has gone to look for Snow Geese and, instead, gets fields of Canada Geese.

http://www.audubon.org/news/an-ode-common-birds-and-cherishing-what-weve-got?ms=digital-eng-social-facebook-x-20211000-nas_eng&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=20211000_nas_eng&fbclid=IwAR1IgW1HN7CnFVTuog07daZxKTAyrr_n5CSuRACCHXMVyz2B1H-QhzxFDzE

It is a good read. I love my sparrows and the regulars to the garden and rejoice in the seasonal visitors but it is the sparrows, the 3 Blue Jays, the 1 Black Capped Chickadee, and Mr and Mrs Woodpecker that are my regulars. And, then, of course, there is Mr Crow and the Squirrels. They keep me busy and happy when all the other exotics are gone to their winter homes. So have a read, it is short and really has a couple of good ‘hitting home’ messages.

If you did not see, boots on the ground in the Sydney Olympic Park around the Parramatta River report that WBSE 27 and 28 have been seen and heard them. This is excellent news. I hope that someone will get some good photos of these two. Wouldn’t it be grand if they did survive against the odds? Oh, I hope so.

This is one of the best video clips I have seen of the Collins Four. Dad, that little cutie, arrives with the pigeon meal. Two of the eyases are out of the scrape and into the gutter. The largest one – has to be a really big female – is ready to eat. Notice how she stands up erect and walks with her feet! Getting out of the scrape box, for the other two, is a little easier than getting back. Dad just seems to get smaller every day! Enjoy.

Yurruga is just waking up with a big yawn in the scrape box on the water tower of Charles Sturt University in Orange.

Xavier brings a completely unprepped bird into the scrape box for Yurruga. This might make a mess and the little one might be urging Xavier to hurry and finish but that chick is watching and it will be learning how to do this plucking itself.

Yurruga has a really loud screaming voice when it wants food. My goodness they can probably hear the little one clear across the campus.

The screaming for breakfast has stopped. Yurruga will be very full if it eats all of that Starling!

Yurruga ate all of the Starling except for the head and is stuffed!

Oh, wait! Xavier wants the chick to eat all of the bird. So here goes all of that Starling!

Xavier, that was an excellent feeding!

The trio at Port Lincoln are still sleeping. No doubt Dad will have a fish on the nest soon.

It looks like everyone is doing very well, indeed. That is fantastic. If you have been waiting for the Dyfi on line Shop to open in Wales, it is now functional. Emyr Evans’s book on Monty is for sale.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

My name is Yurruga

I haven’t checked to see if Cilla Kinross posted the total numbers for the names that people voted on. This morning I woke up in Canada to discover that the little one of Diamond and Xavier is to be called Yurruga. I am so glad. It means ‘sunny’. And we hope that this little one brings lots of light and happiness to all!

Here is a video that was posted of one of the feedings. You can hear how loud Yurruga is. She will rival Izzi (or he). Just adorable. Started to get pin feathers and is rather itchy. Notice how Yurruga tries to grab the pigeon when it comes in and watch her stand on her legs being fed. This is one strong and healthy chick.

If you noticed the Collins Street streaming cam was down, it is now back up. This seems to be happening more and more with cameras going off line in Australia (and elsewhere). I wonder if the weather plays a part????

This is an image from the late feeding yesterday for the Port Lincoln Ospreys. Just look at them! The size of them. Now look at Mum. Incredible growth.

The following was posted on the Eagle Cam FB page. The 3:30 pm update is very promising. Mobile means they are flying. I was quite worried that 28 would have issues because of their first notice of it being on a low branch. Send positive energy to these two. I hope that they find the area of the river where their parents fish and the parents can feed them there til they are stronger fliers. Oh, it would be so wonderful. Beautiful birds. The situation with the Currawongs every year is just tragic. Hopefully these two will beat the odds!

If you are just reading this WBSE 28 fell off the nest trying to land on a branch by 27 yesterday at 07:22. WBSE 28 flew to the cam tree at 8:33:56 after being harrassed by Pied Currawong. This posting is good news. I hope that some of the locals will get some images of them with their parents near the water.

Take care everyone. This was meant to be a very quick notice telling you of Xavier and Diamond’s chick – whose name is Yurruga. I wonder how many will call it Sunny?

Thanks for joining in!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Izzi’s very noisy sibling

Tomorrow I am going for the annual tour at our local wildlife rehab facility, Wildlife Haven. Every year they do this as a fund raiser but it is a good way to get a really good look at the varied and in-depth work that these people do. There doesn’t seem to be an animal or bird too difficult to try and help mend. I do not know if they will allow photographs but, I will try and take some to show to you.

This video was posted. It is the little ‘waiting to get a name’ eyas in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Prey items come one after another. The chick already has a fine crop but will be fed more. But, turn the volume up and listen to this little one. Last year’s only chick, Izzi, was know to be such a character and part of it was his very loud voice. Everyone is beginning to wonder if this chick will be even louder than Izzi!

Have a look. It is such a cute clip.

One of the things that you can see are the chick’s ears. Look closely. It is also scooting around, and there are some pin feathers coming. This chick is, of course, doing very well under the excellent care of Xavier and Diamond.

Clearly as Dr Hurley notes, an Only chick gets all the food!

For those fans of Anna and Louis whose Bald Eagle nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana, both eagles were working on the nest this evening around 18:54.

Wrestling with sticks seem to be what all the Bald Eagle couples are doing now – as well as trying to keep any would be intruders out of their territory.

It wouldn’t be right not to go and check on those gorgeous osplets at Port Lincoln before I sign off. They are just simply so beautiful in their full juvenile plumage. Here is the trio looking out probably seeing the parent flying in with their lunch.

That lunch arrived a few seconds later.

Everyone lined up and as I write this, they are still eating.

This is a reminder that Xavier and Diamond’s chick needs a name! This is the information as Cilla Kinross posted it under the information for the streaming cam:

VOTE FOR NAME FOR THIS CHICK You have until Friday 5 pm 22nd October to vote. You can only vote once. Note that multiple votes will be deleted. All names are in the Wiradjuri (local indigenous) language and relate to weather terms: cloud etc. Here is the link: https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

Cilla Kinross, Charles Sturt University

I want to note that Cilla would like everyone to cut and paste the link into their own browser. So the time for voting is closing quickly. Why not join in?!

I will not be posting my newsletter until tomorrow late afternoon or evening depending on the tour at the wild life facility. Fingers crossed I can get you some good inside views of what goes on when animals come in needing attention.

Thank you for joining me. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Wow! Just look at the PLO Chicks

I am sorry to be so late in sending off my newsletter today. It was not intended and if you have worried, I apologize. The day wasn’t meant to be so busy but it simply turned out that way with a last minute trip to get 200 lbs of bird seed tacked on to the end.

Just look at these beauties. Overnight the three osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge turned into juvenile beauties. Those are serious feathers! Just look, all pushed out from their quills, perfect layering with that gorgeous white line and tip of the juvenile. Each one also seems to have grown a perfectly white beard over night. Their eyes are also that dark amber colour that will, when they are adults, turn to yellow.

Gosh. I can hardly take my eyes off of them. They are stunningly beautiful. If I could look like a bird it would seriously be a juvenile Osprey.

Mum was looking out over the water hoping that Dad was off fishing – and he was. He landed on the nest at 7:46 with a breakfish for everyone.

Little Bob, the closest to Mum’s beak and the front, is 34 days old today while the two older siblings are 36 days old. There is a ways to fledge – thank goodness, but, for now, we can enjoy how grown up they all are and how wonderful this Eastern Osprey nest has been this year. It has brought nothing but tears of joy! It goes to show how having chicks that hatch close together and plenty of food deliveries are a great combination to success.

Dr Victor Hurley heads up the research on the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. He has been doing this for many years. He wrote a very good article about what the differences are for the two falcon nests in Australia with streaming cams – 367 Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne and Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross. The 367 Collins Street scrape box had 4 hatches this year while the Orange scrape box of Diamond and Xavier had one. So what is the difference to the falcons? is it better to have one or four? Dr Hurley believes for the falcons it is better to have four eyases and be run off your feet feeding them because the chance of one of them surviving to adult hood is greater than a scrape having only one chick. He believes, however, that it is beneficial to the chicks to be the ‘only One’ instead of one of four in terms of food resources. Still, others believe that the stress on the parents to feed four instead of one is immense but, we are looking at it from the chick’s perspective. Anyone watching the scrape boxes just know these growing chicks just want food!

While Dr Hurley did not address other issues, I wonder if being part of a larger hatch group helps in terms of understanding how to live in the real world where there will be pressure from others. Maybe it doesn’t matter? Last year, the male from the Collins Street scrape used to come into the nest and pluck a freshly caught pigeon. It was a terrific mess but those three girls could sure pluck a bird – and do it fast before they fledged – a skill essential to survival. Catch, pluck, eat, and go! I beg to be corrected but it seemed that Izzi had some difficulty with plucking even after an age when he should have had his own territory. So I wonder if they learn quicker and faster as part of a group??? and having plucking imprinted on them so many times?

The little eyas at Orange is 13 days old today while the Collins Street Four are starting their third week. Each is right on track in terms of development. Indeed, the little Orange eyas has been scooting around on its tarsus for a couple of days now and is very strong and healthy. – slightly ahead of the curve The plumage is changing radically on the Collins kids and they are standing and walking.

Kate St John did a wonderful blog on the developmental stages of the peregrine falcons. I want to share that with you.

Dad is trying out larger pieces of pigeon on the four. The prey came in one after another the other day. They are losing the soft down around their eyes and getting the juvenile feathers and they are also getting their wing feathers.

I am afraid that I got a little carried away with the images of Xavier and Diamond’s eyas. Not only is it loud – soon to rival Izzi – but it can also make the cutest faces.

They are all doing well. Last I checked the Bald Eagles in the United States are all still working on their nests. There is some intrigue at the Captiva Nest and the speculation as to who the male will be this season. Joe is gone and it appears Martin has been ousted also. Meanwhile, Harriet and M15 along with Samson and Gabby are steady as you go! To my knowledge there has not been a fledge at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic forest but this could happen any time. And – for the lovers of Jack and Diane – it seems that the couple might be back on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg together. They have a lot of nestorations to do!

Thank you for joining me for this quick catch up. I will be shaking my head and smiling at just how beautiful three juvenile ospreys look in the PLO nest. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Tuesday in Bird World

It is a grey and windy day. As the weather channel promised, our summer heat wave in October seems to have come to an end (for the moment) with the arrival of single digit temperatures. The recent rains have caused the ground and old tree stumps to come alive and the sparrows and thrashers are thumping the ground having a good old time. It reminds me – continues to remind me – why we should not be raking our leaves or mowing the grass. Gently rake them into a corner if you have to. The birds really will thank you!

It is also nearing Halloween and all around me I can see the windows and doors decorated – many have elaborate displays outside.

I believe Halloween was the favourite holiday of my children – you got to dress up, get candy, and have parties at School. I recall pulling the two oldest in a sled one year as the snowflakes fell faster and faster. We did not need to go more than a block. Their pillowcases were full because they were the only ones out on such an incredible wintery night. The grandchildren enjoyed decorating the trees and, sadly, I remember using some of that web material with little black plastic spiders. That was a long time ago when I did not know better – but I do now. As a reminder to everyone, please be careful if you decorate. It will be a tragedy if animals get caught and have to be euthanized just for a bit of fun.

Oh, gosh, golly. Xavier and Diamond’s little chick just took its first steps!

Meanwhile, the Collins Street Four – which are a week older – are now standing up. They are also getting curious about the outside world and one nearly gave several streaming cam viewers a heart attack when it walked up to the edge of the ledge.

The Collins Four having some fun. Look at the size of the wings!

In case you are wondering why the scrape box is so messy this year, it is because the wind does not blow through it like it did at the other end. On a positive note, the chicks have been supplied with some shade and neither them or Mum have been as hot and panting as much as last year.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest, the osplets had, at least, five fish yesterday – probably a couple more. I could not rewind the camera prior to 16:00 and all had big crops at that time. One of the most interesting interactions was between Little Bob and Mum. They had a tug-o-war with the fish tail. Mum won!!! It was very cute. that fish tail was from the 18:02:17 fish Dad brought in.

The osplets are doing really well walking around in that twig lined nest, too. They are covered more and more with feathers each day. Those feathers seem to be pushing out of those quills right before our eyes.

Dad brought in a bedtime fish for the family at 19:39:16. It is difficult to tell one from the other but there is Little Bob in its usual spot, right up by Mum’s beak.

Where is Solly, the first hatch of the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge in 2020? She seems to have decided to take a quick trip to Streaky Bay before heading back to her special tree in Eba Anchorage. It is such a relief to see the movements of the birds – to know they are safe, living their lives well.

If you were following some of the Montana Ospreys, a map of their locations has been released on the Montana Osprey FB page this morning. It shows that all of the Ospreys arrived in Mexico or Central America. Such good news. Their satellite trackers are working splendidly.

Both of the little sea eagles, WBSE 27 and 28, were still on the nest early this morning. That doesn’t mean that they will be there in a couple of hours.

I am a huge fan of Gabby and Samson’s at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. The morning was just starting. The couple spent the night on the branches and as the sun came up, Gabby could be seen working on the nest.

At various times during the day, Samson, Gabby, or both, can be seen preparing their nest for the new breeding season. Here is a link to the streaming cams (there are several but this one looks directly into the nest), so you can check on them.

Tiaki, the 2021 Royal Albatross Cam Chick, is making really good time on her way to Chile. She was well beyond the International Date Line this morning. So, with that news, everyone in Bird World is doing well today. Smile. It is all good!

The sun is out and the Slate-grey Juncos are on the deck and the sparrows are having a drink out of the bowls. I wonder what other garden critters will show up? No Halloween candy for them! But they are getting extra dry corn cobs.

Thank you for joining me. Take care each and every one of you. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Sea Eagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and the Montana Osprey Project and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB Pages for the sat-pak maps showing the location of the migrating Montana Ospreys and Solly.

Catching up with WBSE 27 and 28

The WBSE are both in the 11th week after hatching. With the average of 75-80 days after hatch for fledgling, WBSE 27 and 28 are ready. Their feathers have developed, they have grown, and you can see them getting excited with all the wing flapping and catching air enabling them to rise above the nest.

What are they watching so intently from the nest? Is it a Pied Currawong?

Of course, the Pied Currawong are right there. The Pied Currawong is closely related to the Butcherbirds or the Magpies in Austrlia. They are a medium sized passerine. They have a large black beak with yellow eyes.

Here is a short video of the calls/songs the Pied Currawong make:

The Currawong become more of a menace around fledging time. Their attacks increase in number and they could injure the chicks, knock them off the branches, or chase them out of the forest before they can imprint the route back to the nest in their mind’s GPS system.

Lady was on the nest honking and flapping her wings at the Currawong so the eaglets could finish their lunch. At other times, the eaglets have to learn to defend themselves or hunker down really low in the nest. Because the WBSE are at the top of the ‘food chain’, they will always be followed and attacked by the smaller birds. What do the smaller birds want? They want the WBSE to pack up and leave!

Lady is honking really loud, warning the intruder to leave.

Lady was in the nest much earlier feeding both of her eaglets. Many of you have probably noticed that despite the fact that the nestlings are fully capable of self-feeding, she seems to enjoy feeding them.

The eaglets know to stay alert for intruders while flapping their wings and jumping to stretch their legs.

They honk at the Currawong just like the adults.

The Pied Currawong are very brave. Indeed, their attacks on the almost-fledglings is relentless. Ironically, I don’t believe the WBSE eat Currawong. Sometimes I think that they should rethink that!

Both of the nestlings have branched. They are standing on the parent branch looking around. Soon they will fledge.

It has been a wonderful season for Lady and Dad at their nest. Both of their eggs hatched and both of the nestlings thrived under their care. Both are healthy and fit and we hope that they both fledge successfully, returning to the nest or other areas so Lady and Dad can continue to feed them while they learn to fly better.

We wish them a long and successful life. It has been a remarkable year.

Lady and Dad are ‘honking’ their duet in June. It is a really special way to end another good day!

Thank you for joining me this evening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took these screen and video captures.

Gorgeous day for birding

It is a gorgeous day today. 24 degrees C. We still, for at least today, have summer weather. This meant seeing new and old friends today at the park. There were at least 12 male Wood Ducks, as many females, a host of female and a few male Mallards, and, of course, Canada Geese.

This adult male Wood Duck with its distinctive red eye and green helmet thought that I might have some seed for him to eat. He did not seem to want to take ‘sorry’ as a proper answer.

The duck below is all wet from diving around in the park stream.

Their plumage is absolutely outrageously gorgeous.

There were a few adult female Wood Ducks but not nearly as many as the males at Kildonan Park today. Because there are issues with identification between the juveniles and those in eclipse, I have come upon a bit of a foolproof method for me. The duck below is an adult female Wood Duck. She lacks the red iris and eye ring of the adult male; she does have a yellow eye ring and a distinctive white eye patch. Her bill is dark. I do not want the iridescent green on the top of the head to fool me. This bird is lacking in the 2 pale lines from the throat extending around the neck and onto the cheek. To see those, look at the images of the adult male.

There were a number of Mallards, both male and female.

All of the animals were having a wonderful morning around the duck pond. There were many who brought specialty bird seed just for them. Others, like this little Red Squirrel, were finding acorns and seeds in the grass.

As I was sorting through these images to show to you, there were several knocks on the front door. Several times I went out and no one was there. There are times that sounds carry but, then the knocking got louder and louder. This time I caught the visitor! My house is covered with cedar shakes. It looks more like a cottage in a forest but there is someone who loves those cedar shakes. When I opened the door he flew to the apple tree.

Unfortunately the automatic focus set its mind on the leaves and not on the woodpecker! And she was not certain that he wanted his picture taken or not.

I say ‘she’ because that gorgeous read crest would extended all the way down to the bak if this were the male. But, it is not, it is a female.

You can see that its body is mostly covered in black feathers with a flaming red crest. There is a white throat and its beak is a long dagger shape sadly hidden by the leaves. This particular Pileated Woodpecker lives around my garden year round (and the neighbour hood). She will make her nest in the cavity of a dead or dying tree lining it with wood chips. When she is knocking on my cedar shakes she is looking for ants, wood-boring beetles, and insect larvae. She also likes berries and nuts and I have seen her on the large suet cylinder as well as the telephone pole drilling away. The woodpeckers particularly like the bug and nut suet if you are trying to attract them.

I am particularly concerned for both this Pileated Woodpecker and the male and female Downy that live around my garden. My city has sprayed orange dots on two of the 119 year old Maple Trees in front of my house on the boulevard. If they are to cut them down, is one or both the home and nest of the woodpeckers?

The Grey Slated Juncos are still here today along with a few White Throated Sparrows and Song Sparrows.

It is easy to tell the White-throated Sparrow because of that distinctive white patch under the beak forming the throat – hence, the name. There are also two black bands and three white on the crown along with two very distinctive yellow patches above the eye. The White-throated Sparrows come to Manitoba to breed during the summer. By the end of the month, all of them will be gone to their winter homes.

The Song Sparrow comes to Manitoba also for summer breeding. Soon they will also be away on their journey south. For now, a few are in the garden scratching around the grass and leaves for insects and bug larvae. They are beautiful with that plumage of rust and grey with streaks of white.

It has been a lovely day. I have it on good authority that all of the nestling falcons are fine as are the osplets at Port Lincoln. Yesterday, they once again had 7 feedings! Speaking of feedings, the list of what Mum and Dad have brought in for the Collins Four is anything other than 99% pigeon. This year they have averaged 7.4 prey items per day with 3 being the lowest number of deliveries and 11 being the highest. They have had pigeon, New Holland Honeyeater, Rainbow Lorikeets, Quail, Silver-eyed Gulls, Sparrows, Spotted Pardalotes, Starlings, Wattlebirds, and a White plumed honeyeater. This is quite the surprise. Normally the urban falcons exist primarily on pigeon. I wonder if the people in Melbourne are no longer feeding the pigeons so that the falcons have to look to other species? In Orange, the diet is varied with lots of parrots and Starlings.

A late delivery yesterday was a green parrot. I do not specifically recognize the ‘type’ but will try to find out.

The only streaming cam I have not checked on today is the one for the White-bellied Sea Eagles. Indeed, WBSE 27 was jumping all over the tree and it or both might have fledged. I will alert you if this is the case.

Thank you for joining me. I hope you enjoyed the ducks! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac where I took my screen shot of the delivery of the green parrot.