Without words…Middle dies at Port Lincoln

2 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

When I went to sleep last night, I knew that I would wake up and Middle would no longer be with us. What an absolutely tragedy. He was so dehydrated that he was no able to lift his little head and eat despite the fact that fish after fish came on the nest….and the one time he did, Big attacked him. I apologize for this newsletter being highly disjointed. I do get upset when one dies, it digs at my heart for the days leading up to the death and then after. Somehow Middle is hurting the most. He was 43 days old, fully feathered, and his death did not need to happen.

Middle when he was still alive. Cold and needing comfort.

At this moment in time, I cannot tell you how rare it is in % for two osplets to die of siblicide on the same nest. Yes, siblicide. Textbook siblicide again just as with Little Bob. Port Lincoln is the only osprey nest that I have ever encountered where a double siblicide has now been recorded in three years: 2022, 2016, and 2015.

In 2017, the eldest threw the youngest (only 2 hatched) off the nest at 65 days. Stevie went into rehab and died a few months later. It might well be this single incident 5 years ago that makes the Friends of Osprey believe that Ospreys do not do well in care. I say now – for the future – take a bold step Port Lincoln. Get permission to remove the chicks when it is not too late. Get them to a rehabber that cares – someone like Dr Madis in your area, there must be someone in the whole of Australia! – and let’s try this again! Don’t wait for them to be thrown out of the nest or get so weak they can’t raise their head.

Claudio Eduardo and I are developing the International Data Base for Ospreys. It is to find out this % on streaming cams. No one has ever tracked predation and siblicide internationally. Sadly, Port Lincoln is our first entry for the year.

Despite the anticipation of what seemed the inevitable, I was having a really hard time anticipating the death of Middle so, as usual, I began my blog for today quite early yesterday. Dear Middle wanted to be warm and wanted some fish. And darling you, you got spunky and we just knew you would make it — against the odds of this nest – with a big aggressive female as first hatch. I am so very, very sad that you didn’t.

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Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. There were some changes in my house yesterday. Two small rescue kittens, 11 weeks old, have come to stay. One is a soft long hair tabby female and the other is a grey tabby with white runners in front, tall boots in the back, a white bib and tummy and he is Lewis – after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver from the UK. The reason is simple – Lewis runs around the house so fast from the front of the L to the conservatory barely stopping and heading back the other direction. I fell in love with him for his energy and love of toys. The yet-to-be-named female is sweet but, like the female raptors, she let Lewis know immediately that she is one week older and is ‘the boss’. He agreed and went on playing. They are getting along splendidly.

It was a real delight to watch Lewis sitting under the table peering out of the windows at the birds. I was ever so hopeful that they would enjoy watching them…they will never be outside to bother them. Did you know that, on average, outdoor cats live to be 5-6 years old while indoor cats live to be 17-20? Less vet bills, fewer infections. It is a no brainer — and the birds live. Not killed by an overfed pet to be left lifeless on the grass. Nope. Lewis and his sister can only dream!

It is very, very dark on the Canadian Prairies as the time nears 2100. The temperature is 11 degrees C. Warm for this time of year with clear skies and lots of stars. The temperature will rise overnight until it is an unthinkable 18 degrees C tomorrow. For those used to F, that is 64.4 degrees. In Port Lincoln, it is 14 degrees C at noon; it is 13 degrees in Melbourne. Similar. But for Port Lincoln this is freezing.

There are rumours making the circuit that Middle had a ‘ps’ (poop shoot) at Port Lincoln this morning. If that is the case, then Middle has had some fish. Osplets that have not eaten much in 3 days are dehydrated, no ‘ps’. I find that somewhat promising. And then I don’t. It is extremely cold and windy for Port Lincoln.

Fish arrived. Lots of fish. Big ate and ate. Middle got none.

It is now after 1400 on the nest. Middle has had scant food for more than 3 days. He appears to be slowly drifting away. His energy is gone. He is totally dehydrated. It is a horrible way to die. With winds gusting to sometimes 50 mph, I feel that there is no hope for this little fighter. It is a tragedy. I did not ever think that I would see this when things were looking up last week.

It is 2300 in Winnipeg. I know that Middle will not be here when I wake in the morning. We weep for all the Littles and sometimes a Middle…the people in the area that live and work in Port Lincoln, that care and love these Ospreys needs to have a serious look at the depletion of the fish in that region. More on that shortly.

I cannot even express how sad this is.

In his book, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier, David Cobham says, ‘These young lives are full of hazards: they need to be able to contend with prolonged periods of bad weather; they run the risk of being shot; in the excitement of chasing prey they may collide with vehicles or overhead wires; ground predators sometimes catch them unawares at their roost sites; and inter-guild predation by buzzards and goshawks may also be responsible for culling weak and unwary juveniles.’ (90) We could change the language slightly for our Ospreys but, right now, the entire family at Port Lincoln is having to contend with a 3 or 4 day period of prolonged stormy and cold weather.

I am almost finished reading Bowland Beth. Cobham is a gifted writer. I know the ending of the story. Most that pick up the book already do but, we are draw into the life of this exceptional raptor that was cut short by the Red Grouse hunts. It is a riveting and moving book and a must read if you want to understand why it is so important to ban the annual shooting hunts on the big estates and why the burning of the heather should be banned, at the same time. It is also about the short live of a very exceptional raptor and that was enough to get me reading. Cobham draws you into the day to day life of this bird trying to survive.

Did you know that the origins of ringing birds is traced to the Reverend Gilbert White? I didn’t. He would tie a cotton ring around the leg of a swallow to see if it would return to the same nest the following year. The metal and coloured rings that we are familiar with today are credited to Harry Witherby and Landsborough Thomas of the British Trust for Ornithology in 1937.

When Bowland Beth was ringed, this was how she was described, ‘Bowland Beth was one of those birds that you come across now and then that are absolutely perfect – her plumage, a rich, glossy chocolate brown, the most wonderful eyes, yellow irises, and vivid chrome-yellow legs with formidable black talons. She’s what I call a ‘super’ hen harrier.’ (74-75) Oh, had she lived!

There are no issues with either the scrape at Orange or at 367 Collins Street. Regular meals, the eyases developing right on schedule as if they read the textbook! Rubus – I almost called the new kitten Rubus because it is so energetic – is being his usual self. Or is it a her? It will be interesting to see what Cilla says. Rubus has certainly had a spurt in growing but its legs seem long and thin to me for a female. But, I am not a falcon expert. Let’s see what Cilla has to say.

Following Diamond’s instructions, Xavier brought a Starling in for Rubus and Indigo. He left it on the scrape despite the prey begging from Rubus. These two will need to learn how to self-feed if they are to survive in the wild.

Rubus is very curious and picks on the feathers and the head under the watchful eye of Dad. Indigo is not dazed or interested.

Xavier leaves. Indigo has joined Rubus staring at the prey wondering what they are supposed to do with it.

In this image you can get a really good look at the difference four days makes in growth. Examine the length of the tail feathers and the amount of down left on the back and wings of each eyas. Rubus still looks like he has been playing in the cotton candy machine.

Rubus goes back and works on the head of the Starling.

Then Diamond arrives to feed these two…look at Rubus almost push Mum over trying to get a bite of food.

Rubus is very aggressive. S/he is very hungry!

What a bunch of characters. Just look at their eyes!

Speaking of adorable…here is a video of selfies from the Orange scrape from yesterday. Rubus and Indigo can put a smile on our face and take away the utter sadness that we feel for Middle and his plight.

There are falcons on the 367 Collins Street nest! Just look at them and look at that mess – poop shots everywhere, feathers all over the place, the messier the healthier. Seriously.

Sharon Pollock put together a good video highlighting the new female – the Mum of the extraordinary Melbourne Four of 2022.

Back in the world of Bald Eagles working on their nests and we find the female at nest E-3 at the Kistachie National Forest not liking the wires that Cody put up for the camera and the sound. Let’s hope she doesn’t decide to do serious damage! The white wire is the sound.

At the Bald Eagle nest on the campus of Berry College in Georgia, Missy and Pa Berry are getting their nest in order. They fledged B15 last year and what a fabulous fledgling he was!

The GHOWs are starting early at the Southwest Florida nest of Harriet and M15. They are already knocking Harriet off the attic branch and her and M15 haven’t even finished rebuilding the nest.

Making News:

This is a great read. One of the things that I want to point out is the thank you at the bottom to all those who voted. 50,000 Euros were at stake and that prize has gone to a place that can really use it to help protect the albatross. Next time you see a chance to vote, look over the possible recipients and make your mark. It can truly make a huge difference.

Dr Sharpe and all the researchers at the Institute for Wildlife Studies have developed a mobile hospital to take on the needs of the raptors. Now, isn’t this a great idea. Something like this might work well in places like South Australia where there are no such services for Ospreys! And if they could get an Urmas and Dr Madis on staff – willing to take on an extraordinary project to try and give birds a chance that are normally written off as not doing well in care — well, everyone would be a winner. I am still sending loud cheers to the team in Estonia who advanced knowledge in the care and rehabilitation of Black Storklings. Bonus is living proof that their theories on how to care for the storklets worked!

https://www.iws.org/mobile-wildlife-research-hospital

Someone asked me once – oh, more than once – how I can deal with siblicide. It tears a piece of your heart out every time. Today is particularly difficult. Keep Middle in your thoughts. May he fly far, never to be hungry, never to be hurt, never to be cold – again.

In the memory of Little and Middle and all the other osplets that died on this nest because of siblicide and the few who did live to fledge, It has to be asked, based on the historical evidence at this Osprey nest in South Australia, WHY is siblicide so prevalent? Is it the lack of fish in the area? the erratic fish deliveries? Are we witnessing in Australia the need to raise fish for our Osprey families because we are depleting the oceans? is climate change impacting the number of fish?

Someone needs to be asking these questions. As I was once told, Australia and New Zealand are on the front line for climate change. Australia do something bold. Show the world that you care for your wildlife. Be proactive like New Zealand is at Taiaroa Head. Feed the chicks! Feed them. Put fish on the nest at Port Lincoln. Stand up and make the argument to the Ministry of the Environment and Water. Raise the fish and place them on the nest openly and with permission. Pull an Urmas and Dr Madis – get so proactive that the world will not stop talking about your kindness and care for your wildlife.

I will be taking a day off in memory of both Little and Middle Bob. I will be back with you on the 4th of November.

Thank you for being with me today. We will collectively grieve for that beautiful second hatch at Port Lincoln who had such potential… a life that we will never witness now. Take care everyone. Be gentle on yourself.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Albatross Lovers and BirdLife Australia, IWS, KNF, SWFL and the Pritchett Family, and Berry College Eagles.

Update on SE30 and other news in Bird World

18 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The sky is a beautiful royal blue, not a cloud in sight and it is -7 on the Canadian prairies. On Thursday, we will warm up by 21 degrees C to a balmy +14. I cannot wait! I can hear the Crows but, I cannot see them. The Blue Jays are already finding corn and the Dark-eyed Juncos are still in Canada. Meanwhile, despite the break in the weather which will be wonderful for checking duck numbers in the city, it is time to get all the winter closed organized, put up the garden hose, and store the summer deck furniture.

Making News:

The birders on the ground, the bogs, near the Discovery Centre really need a great pat on the back. Thanks to them we have been able to keep up with SE 30 since s/he fledged. It is fantastic. Just look at this beautiful juvenile. SE 30 looks to be doing very well, indeed. Here is the latest announcement:

I really hope that SE30 is getting their own prey and we do not see them hungry in a couple of weeks on the sidewalk. Send this wonderful fledgling all the good wishes that you can!

Floods in the State of Victoria, Australia are causing havoc for wildlife.

Native wildlife flee flood waters across northern Victoria – video | Environment | The Guardian

From the Bookshelf:

I realized that I should create a link to a book list for everyone who is searching for books on different species. I promise to do that over the winter. The latest questions have been about books on Ospreys – questions about general knowledge books and others more specific. ‘H’ gave me a poke and reminded me about one on migration that she had just read. So here goes a few good books on Ospreys to get you started.

I have two books by Alan Poole on Ospreys. They are excellent reference books. The first is Ospreys. A Natural and Unnatural History published by the University of Cambridge in 1989. There are no beautiful colour photos – it is all black and white. The second is Ospreys. The Revival of a Global Raptor published in 2019 by John Hopkins University Press. The second book is much more up to date in terms and has made use of technological advances in studying raptors to bring our understanding up to date on their lives.

One of favourite books on Ospreys is by Roy Dennis who has spent the last 60 years re-introducing raptors to England (and various sites in Europe such as Spain). His book, A Life of Ospreys, of 2009, is very good.

The book that ‘H’ wants me to mention to you is Belle’s Journey. An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard. As ‘H’ points out it is not just for children and the reviews say it is loved by those from 9 to 90. The book follows a fledgling osprey with a satellite tracker to her winter home so it is about migration and its challenges. Extremely well written and easy to understand.

A book by David Gessner, Soaring with Fidel, is written on the back of Belle’s Journey and offers us even more insight into the migration of the Ospreys from the NE US who winter in Brazil and Columbia. It was this book that has prompted me to want to take that journey to Cuba to sit on top of a mountain with thousands of Ospreys flying overhead. Gessner is a charismatic writer and it is not boring science which one can easily get tired of reading. Like Bierregaard, Gessner weaves the science in like a parent sneaking cough syrup to a child and they didn’t know it.

Gessner wrote a second book, Return of the Osprey. A Season of Flight and Wonder. Equally well-written but this one focuses on the breeding season, not migration.

I know that many of you are fans of the Chesapeake Bay nest. Inside An Osprey’s Nest. A Photographic Journey through Nesting Season takes you up close and personal with a newly mated pair of Ospreys. Their eggs fail. Will they accept foster chicks? It is a moving narrative with incredible pictures.

If you can get your hands on a copy, The Scottish Ospreys from extinction to survival by Philip Brown is excellent. It was published in 1979 and, like the first Poole edition, has mostly black and white illustrations. It is an excellent historical account of the demise of the Osprey in the UK and the reintroduction efforts that have been underway by individuals such as Roy Dennis.

Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey by Helen Armitage tells the story of Lady who lived to have 20 breeding seasons in Scotland. It gives special insights into the challenges of the birds, banding, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it but, it is a book about a special Osprey in a special area of Scotland. If you are looking for general knowledge, get the second book by Poole first.

There are many others some written to celebrate a notable male bird such as Monty or the history of Rutland Water and its Ospreys. I will include that in the long list for everyone.

Nest News:

The Melbourne Four are really keeping the two first time parents busy. All of them are capable of getting up and down out of the gutter and today, when I checked, there were only three near the scrape. I did, literally, hold my breath til that little head appeared. ‘A’ loves the sound of the eyases ‘stomping’ down that metal piece of the ledge because it means that they can now get into the shade. ‘A’ might be happy but the parents appeared particularly bewildered at times today.

Poor Dad got down in the gutter with them. Just think. These two didn’t have one eyas to deal with in their first season as parents. Oh, no. They got four…lively, healthy, fat little bottomed chicks. It is perfect.

The parents must have decided that they need to bring in more pigeons. The kids had pigeon at 0646. When next I checked, Mum had come in with a pigeon and was feeding them at 1014. They had just settled down and Dad comes in with ‘something’. The time was 1031. I hope someone identifies this prey. It was big. It is so odd watching the falcons attach the prey to one taloned foot and hobble down to the scrape. It was not clear if the eyases would get up to eat but, they did. They are literally just ‘eating machines’ right now growing bigger and bigger every day.

At Orange, a Starling showed up at 0624. It was the parrot that came in at 0941 that caused the most excitement. We are going to start calling Rubus ‘Rubber Neck’. My goodness Xavier makes Rubus work for his dinner. He jumps and stretches and squeals. Meanwhile, Indigo just sits there occasionally raising her neck and sometimes taking food out of Rubus’s beak. She is unphased by his antics. What a live wire Rubus is. ‘Full of vinegar’ my grandmother would say rolling her eyes thinking of all the mischief he will be getting into.

At Port Lincoln, the day was rather calm. A large fish came in early – at 0748. It was followed by a much smaller fish at 0954.

At Port Lincoln, Dad brought in a total of six fish for the day. That is a lot of fish! Just look that the crop on Big.

Middle also has a crop. Yippee. I hope that Mum was able to get enough fish for herself. It is so hard to determine that when she is so busy feeding these two growing osplets.

Rubus and Indigo ate well. The Melbourne Four could have had more prey but, the osplets were stuffed. In all it was a good day in Australia yesterday. The Melbourne Four can now easily move up and down the gutter to the scrape so they can get into the shaded area if Mum is not about.

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and/or streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Amazon, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Is PLO’s Little Bob too frightened to eat? and other news in Bird World

12 October 2022

The beaking by Big Bob began a couple of weeks ago. At the time, that behaviour took place away from the feeding line. For the past two days, Big Bob has been on a tear. It was caused by the insecurity and instability of a single fish delivery one day that did not arrive on the nest until 1500. It has been exacerbated by either late fish deliveries or fish coming on the nest only in the morning. The last feeding there was 20 hours separating the last feeding with the first. It makes the eldest become aware that there might not be enough food for everyone. The result is rampant beaking during feedings resulting in Little Bob being shut out, for the most part, and being afraid to eat. Little Bob is 21 days old today. There is no doubt about it – Big Bob is huge and Little Bob is small. Of course, Middle Bob has had the wrath of Big but it did eat at the last feeding when Little was too afraid and Middle Bob did get fish during the night when Mum got up to eat.

So what will play out on the nest today? There is plenty of fish. It is the notion, if you like, that there isn’t that fuels Big Bob’s ravage attacks. In most instances, nests calm down by the 28th day. Can Little Bob survive that long?

Heavy rains are supposed to be headed for Port Lincoln. Mum has been feeding the leftover fish on and off overnight. She even tried to feed Little Bob but, he did not eat. Middle Bob did. At the first feeding of the morning, Big Bob is up at the eating table.

At 06:54:53 Mum moved to another fish and Little Bob got a bite. Then he got a peck. We need Big and Middle to go into a food coma.

At 07:10, Little Bob gets to eat. It is the end of the fish but Mum is pulling out every morsel she can find for her wee babe. I hope she feeds him the tail and the skin. Tears. What is needed is another big fish to land on this nest now.

Mum is getting gold stars this morning. She is pulling out every piece of fish flesh she can get out of that tail for Little Bob. She is still finding food for him at 07:17. I know that I am not the only one cheering Mum on — all of the chatters watching the streaming cam are joyful.

Hopefully, Little Bob will get his confidence back and be that feisty little one we saw a week ago. It takes time. But here he is, side-by-side with a big sibling eating away. Fantastic. It is just the best.

But wait, Mum keeps going. At 07:20 she begins to tear the skin into small pieces and feed them to Little Bob. This Mum is amazing!

Mum is not finished. She has gotten every bit of this fish and she begins to break up the tail for Little Bob and feed him it at 07:25:41. Did I say I can’t stop the tears from flowing? I haven’t seen a Mum work so hard to feed one of her chicks in years. Not since Achieva in 2020. Incredible.

Xavier brought in a duckling – which Diamond loves – at 06:39:04. It seems that both Indigo and Rubus love duckling, too.

It is pitching down rain in Melbourne. Mum is doing the best she can to keep those big eyases dry. Dad came in to look after the babies so Mum had a break and then she returned to feed the Melbourne 4.

Life is good. Everyone has eaten! It is a good start to the morning.

Thank you so much for being with me. It has turned cold in Winnipeg and the temperature has dropped to 4 degrees C with rain. It feels like it could snow! I shouldn’t say that. Take care everyone. If you can rewind and watch that wonderful feeding for Little Bob. It starts at 07:10. Let us also all hope that he gets another good meal today. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys. 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

When did the 4th eyas show up at Collins Street? and other news in Bird World

3 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is overcast on the Canadian prairies. No rain forecast for here but it will be raining in Australia this week. In fact, heavy rains have already started at Port Lincoln. Let us all hope that it does not hamper any fishing or hunting of prey for our four raptor families.

I did not anticipate sending out a notice this early but the sighting of the 4th eyas at Collins Street – finally – was a wonderful surprise. I knew that you would want to know especially since I predicted early yesterday that there would be only 3. Mistake.

Making News:

The soaking wet bird that landed on the Mispillion Harbour nest yesterday was, indeed, a Peregrine Falcon. The green and black banding indicated that it was an ‘Eastern’ falcon. Thanks, ‘H’.

As many of you know, CROW, the wildlife rehabilitation centre that services the Sanibel/Captiva and Fort Myers areas, was located on the barrier islands that took a direct hit by Hurricane Ian. Here is an announcement from them and a view of their buildings, still standing, thankfully. They were also able to evacuate all their patients before the hurricane hit. Amazing. Please keep all of them in your thoughts.

Judy Harrington has released the most recent sat tracking for White-bellied Sea Eagle SE27 (2021). She is doing magnificently. There is also a report of her comings and goings from previous months. How wonderful it is to see one of Lady and Dad’s chicks thriving in the wild!

You will note that the Conservation Centre brings up the fact that there is so little known about the post-fledge life of the sea eagles because there are no bands and no trackers. SE27 has a tracker because she was in care twice – and I am so glad that she does. She is alive and well and finding her own areas for food.

Nest News:

It just doesn’t get much better than 367 Collins Street. Yesterday, I ‘thought’ I saw 4 eyases but, never got a good image of the four of them so did not report it but, yes, there are four. At 18:57 ‘A’ reports a clear view of the four and there they are – 3 facing forward for the feed and the wee one backwards! Meanwhile, Dad has stepped up to the plate in terms of staying with the eyases and bringing in more and more prey. Indeed, while Mum was feeding the eyases at 18:44, Dad returns with another nice plump pigeon at 18:56.

They are doing well despite the first-time parent ‘funnies’. Mum really did think that the eldest would love to have the entire pigeon leg to itself!

This one is going to win our hearts like Xavier and Alden. He is doing very well keeping the pantry stocked and having extras. All are eating well. The four eyases will keep them very busy!

Mum is doing the best to keep the kids at Port Lincoln full to the brim. There was another feeding after the long afternoon one at 17:22. Everyone was bursting at the seams. Fingers crossed that the heavy rains will not hamper Dad’s fishing abilities. In fact, looking back at my notes from years prior, Dad often has better fishing when it is raining.

Xavier and Diamond have a big healthy eyas. Just look at it. Wee things crop was so full that it could not hold its head up yesterday. With four at Melbourne and a single, much loved, well fed and spoiled eyas at Orange, watchers have the best of both worlds.

SE29 spent the night sleeping on the nest with SE30 after all the excitement of fledging yesterday. Did the parents presence at the nest tree prevent the Curras from harassing the eaglets?

That is a look at all of the Australian nests at the end of the day on 3 October. I wonder what will be in store for us today when the sun rises?

Thank you for being with me for this quick check of the news and what happened at the nests last evening in Australia. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts or their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: CROW FB, Sea Eagles FB, 367 Collins Street by M, ‘A’ for some great time stamps, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Port Lincoln Osplets – another dust up this morning!

2 October 2022

Thank you to everyone for their notes and concerns about what is happening at Port Lincoln.

Yesterday there was a prolonged period of beaking between Big Bob and Middle Bob that lasted in excess of six minutes. Little Bob literally was in the middle of the fight and sometimes because an object of abuse but, only a few times.

Big Bob woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. S/he has been beaking Middle all over the nest when Mum was not present. Big has also had Little Bob between her legs beaking him. It is not a nice situation.

It all seems to have stated, as often happens, on day 8 so the strife has been going on for a week. It is not clear how it will end. The beaking became worse after a single fish delivery at 1500 in the afternoon caused Big and Middle to immediately switch into rivalry mode for dominance. The osplet that dominates the nest gets to eat more than the others, etc. Big and Middle, at times, seem to be evenly matched. Little is too small and just needs to try and get out of the way. This morning, however, Big had Little between its legs pecking at Little’s head.

Mum came in and sat on the three of them. It is often the only way to stop it and Ospreys and Eagles are notorious for not interfering.

Let us hope that lots of fish arrives and that the rest of the day is civil. Little is very vulnerable right now.

Oh, I wish we could brag about what a lovely bunch of osplets there are this year – like last with the three boys, Bazza, Falky, and Ervie. I think we have at least one large female this year, if not two.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Ospreys for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Thank you for being with me. Let us all send the most positive energy we can muster to this nest.

Ervie, fledges and more – early Tuesday in Bird World

9 August 2022

First a correction! Shame on me for saying we know where Telyn winters. It is not Telyn but, the beautiful Seren from Llyn Clywedog that spends her winters in The Gambia. I knew that and wrote Telyn. Thanks, ‘C’ for alerting me. Much appreciated!

One other clarification that ‘CE’ caught that needs explaining. Osprey fledglings are the raptors that do not require their parents to teach them to hunt or fish. Others do. You will have seen the eagles and hawks showing their fledglings how to hunt prey! I bet Ervie did chase Dad around in his efforts to find some good fishing spots, though!

Ervie, dear Ervie. Port Lincoln posted images after I had sent out my blog last evening so our dear Ervie is up first. Thanks to ‘B’ for alerting me to these.

As so many of you are aware, Port Lincoln Ospreys is working hard to introduce our fish eagles to Southern Australia. They are getting attention from government agencies and, of course, the population is growing to love these birds – many because of our dear Ervie. Here are the latest postings from Port Lincoln and the beautiful pictures of Ervie out fishing with Dad by Fran Solly. There are more on the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page. Head over and have a look. This is the place to continue checking on Ervie and his antics with Dad — or alone.

It is always good to see you, Ervie.

Is there room for you, Ervie??????!!!!!!

Remember when we worried that Ervie would only be able to catch puffers? Well, he has certainly adjusted to fishing without that other talon (I have not seen it fully grown in on the pictures but I would love to be corrected!). That is a beautiful fish. Well done, Ervie.

At the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Forest of Karl II and Kaia, Bonus, the adopted storklet of Jan and Janika, Bonus, fledged first today. He was followed by Volks who hears Bonus in the forest and flies off to the left.

Both returned to the nest. Ilks is looking at his reflection in the camera. Will you fly next? So funny when they find themselves. After fledging the Black Storks will stay at least a week around the nest being fed. If the food is plentiful they may stay longer before venturing out to find food for themselves and beginning migration.

As ‘B’ says, it is hard to beat the WBSE for cuteness. SE30 is a bit of a corker. When it was 2 days old, 30 beaked at 29. Not a good thing to do. We have all worried about 30 but unless there is an unexpected ‘something’, they should both be fine. SE30 gives as good as it gets and they both fool around with one another and then seem to stop before it gets too rough.

Chubby little bottoms. Their soft down on the head is giving way to pin feathers and the feathers are coming in nicely along the wings. They will begin to do a lot more preening as things get itchy. You can see their black talons and those big clown feet getting started. So cute.

Of the streaming cams in Australia, we now have the WBSE eaglets and the first egg at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge for Mum and Dad as of yesterday. We are awaiting the beginning of the season for Peregrine falcons Xavier and Diamond and the Melbourne CBD – 367 Collins Street. Xavier and Diamond are amping up the bonding in the scrape! Eggs before the end of the month?

The only chick on the Landscape Arboretum platform at the University of Minnesota fell off yesterday. It has not fledged. Here is the video of that incident. This could have turned out badly – and would have if not for the quick actions at finding the chick and getting it back on the nest. Thanks to all involved!

Boris and Titi (yet to fly) on the Janakkalan nest in Finland. 9 August 2022. Handsome!

All of the White Storklings of Betty and Bukacek have fledged. They seem to spend their time finding the parents and following them back to the nest for good feedings.

Look carefully. Bukacek is flying into the nest from the left (right above the grassy area at 930 on the nest).

All of the storklings came to the nest quickly so as not to miss a meal.

All of the UK chicks have fledged. This year the three at Foulshaw Moss did not get the best attention from me – in terms of publicizing the nest activities here on the blog. Last year I followed every move because of the third hatch – Blue 463 who survived and did extremely well. Waiting for her return next year! The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust have put out a very nice blog with an overview of the nest activities including some links to videos.

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/blog/alasdair-mckee/there-were-three-nest-and-littlest-fledged?fbclid=IwAR3EmfM6q7y1XNIqdvENXGlh8x4VhZve9AwmrsA4vAFcs_XRrvXubF76BhM

There appears to have been a fledge this morning at the Fortis Exshaw Osprey platform near Canmore Alberta. Thanks ‘H’ for the tip off! They seem to all be relatively equal – perhaps the others will fly today. You can see Mum looking on over the nest at her three beautiful chicks from the perch.

The fledge was a quick take off, fly around the nest and return landing on the right side.

I am counting a fledge as a flight off the nest and a return. In my mind, the chicks jumping up or getting to the many perches is equivalent to branching for Eagles, not a full blown official fledge. The real question is how far away is the perch? It is too difficult to tell. Mum certainly looks small and if it is a distance, then it might be counted as a fledge. If that is the case, then there were two fledges at Canmore this morning so far.

Big Red, Arthur, and L2 have all been accounted for by Suzanne Arnold Horning this week. Excellent news. Still no recent updates on L3 or L4.

L2 in the top picture screaming for a prey item and Big Red and Arthur calmly relaxing in the second.

Everyone remains curious as to how Victor got so much zinc in his system that he almost died. The Institute for Wildlife Studies has indicated that there are fishing lures coated with zinc. Thanks ‘B’. Here is the posting on the chat at the IWS. The question still remains: how much zinc does a fledgling eagle have to ingest to almost kill it? I do not know the answer to that question but I hope to find out.

The posting of the images of Little Bit 17 prompted a lot of mail. Everyone is thrilled and so very reassured that it is our little tenacious eagle. So grateful to the boots on the ground for chasing after this family and sharing their photos and videos with us on the Notre Dame Eagles FB.

‘CE’ had a very interesting analogy that seems quite fitting given the sponsors of the camera and the university that they are associated with – Notre-Dame. CE noted that the image of Little Bit looks like a Franciscan Friar with his friar’s crown. He said, “In the 5th century, the tonsure was introduced as a distinctive sign. In the East, the Pauli tonsure was used (all hair was cut), in the West, the Petri tonsure (only the top of the head was shaved). This was also called Corona Christi (Crown of Christ). Since the 16th century, the tonsure of regular clerics has been reduced to a small circle.” Friar Little Bit. It sounds nice.

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is lovely to have you with us and the birds. I will continue to monitor the nests during the day. Tomorrow I am heading north for two days to count and enter the GPS for the Bald Eagle nests in and around Hecla Island. That information will be sent to David Hancock whose foundation monitors bald eagle nests in Canada. I hope to get some good images of the adults and juveniles before they leave for their winter homes. There will not be a newsletter tomorrow morning but I will try my best to get some images out to you tomorrow evening. Please take dare. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

I want to thank everyone who wrote in and sent me news. I still have some of your images to post! Much appreciated. I want to also thank the following for their streaming cams and/or posts or their photographs that I used for my screen captures: Fran Solly and the Port Lincoln Ospreys, Suzanne Arnold Horning, the Notre-Dame Eagles FB, the Eagle Club of Estonia and Looduskalender, Mlade Buky White Storks, Fortis Exshaw, the Finnish Osprey Foundation, the IWS, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, Landscape Arboretum Ospreys, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

Updates on Victor, Ervie and more in Bird World

10 July 2022

I want to start by putting a smile on everyone’s face. Ervie. The photo was taken yesterday around the North Shore where you will see that Ervie has caught a really nice sized fish – not a puffer! Thank you ‘B’ – I have been so preoccupied with Victor and a couple of osprey nests that I missed checking on Ervie since they posted his last tracking. — Good things happen to talons. They grow!

That is a beautiful fish and good form, Ervie! Does everyone realize that Ervie could be the best thing that happened to Port Lincoln tourism? Maybe, as a male, he will just hang around til he can take over the barge from Dad. Why not? There is lots of fish and he will not bother Mum and Dad – house rules.

Update on Victor, Sunday morning: Victor was active around 0619. He was doing some wing flapping and some hopping. He stood for a short while. He appeared to sleep better during the night.

This is the latest posting from Dr Sharpe about 42 minutes ago- 9am PST.

These are the images from this morning.

Andor and Mama Cruz are bringing in bedding for Victor. He was more alert. I understand that Dr Sharpe has approved a banner with a link for donations. If you have been wanting to donate, this is a great chance to support the wonderful work that Dr Sharpe does for these eagles on the Channel Islands. as ‘B’ and I were discussing, the only person we know that would work so hard to save this eaglet is Dr Sharpe. — I will also add that donations are tax deductible and you can give $100 and have it spread out over 12 months at $8.96 a month. You will get a beautiful thank you and a gift. Mine was an embroidered T-shirt and a super digital image of the nestlings of Thunder and Akecheta.

The information below on Victor comes from late Saturday.

Some close up images of Victor’s left leg and talons and a reminder of the many challenges and obstacles that need to be cleared away before Dr Sharpe can get the fledgling help.

Lillibet stayed with her brother – these two have always been close. They remind me of E17/18 and E19/20. It would be comforting for Victor to have his sister beside him. It has been a hard day to watch Victor. He has clearly appeared to be in pain. Hoping that Andor or Mama Cruz will feed him tomorrow.

Dr Sharpe is not the only person that is having trouble getting volunteers. Around the world it is the same – fewer and fewer people are stepping up to assist in the rescue of our wildlife. The high rise in the cost for everything has placed many who have helped in a situation where they cannot – fuel is one of those issues. I do not know a wildlife rehabilitation centre that is not overwhelmed in the middle of the summer. Every one relies on donations. It has been mentioned twice that Victor will need a place to go to get the care and treatment he requires. Will there be someone answer Dr Sharpe’s call for help if he gets permission to retrieve the eaglet. Will someone provide a boat? Is there a motel that will allow Victor in its rooms? Each leg of the rescue of eaglets in the Channel Islands has its many challenges and its costs.

I am actually starting Sunday’s blog Saturday night. It has been a roller coaster day in Bird World. The Osprey expert who is my go to -if I do not know the answer about an issue or who fills me in on the back story to everything happening in Osprey Land -sent me a letter. It said: “Isn’t it amazing how people are in denial about what is happening to juvenile ospreys?” It was ‘just the other day’ that ‘A’ wrote and said she will never look at an adult raptor the same – she now appreciates the struggle that they went through to live beyond their first year never mind to 8 or 10 years! As everyone reading my blog knows, ‘that list’ grows but, at the same time, I told my friend that there is a silent army out there working for the betterment of our birds and I meant all of you! Thank you for what you do for the birds – the smallest gesture can have the most impact.

Case in point. Just look at the Osprey nest below. The original one kept being destroyed in high winds. It was decided to consult some experts on design in order to shore up the nest and make it safer for the Ospreys on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. There is information in the posting below the image – but everyone there deserves a huge shout out. Well done.

Iris is, of course, a miracle. At the age of 28 or 29 she is as fit as they come. She is an excellent fisher and she continues to work on her nest in Missoula, Montana. and what a nest that is! Iris is an example that we should all follow – she eats well, has lots of exercise, and keeps herself busy. Iris is truly amazing and we are so glad that she is spending so much time this summer on this ever growing penthouse of hers because we get to watch. Beautiful wings, fabulous legs. By every measure she is a real senior but she looks like a fit youngster.

Mr President and Lotus teach Takoda life lessons since he is an ‘only’. They are doing a great job showing him how easy it is to steal his fish!

The four storklets are waiting for either Kaia or Karl II (or both) to bring some nice fish for breakfast. Frogs would be OK, too.

Bonus is squatted down on the left, facing right. He is fully transitioned into the family. The intervention appears to have been very successful – a rare Black Storklets life is saved by two people taking a chance on an idea – Urmas and Dr Madis V.

The climate is changing and it is having an impact on our feathered friends around the world. Warming seas, a shortage of fish, high day time temperatures. You name it. It is harming the bird’s ability to thrive. They are not birds but those cute little penguins that visit the Royal Cam chick on occasion are not the only New Zealand wildlife that could be having trouble.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/14/search-for-clues-as-bodies-of-hundreds-of-little-blue-penguins-wash-ashore-in-new-zealand

‘H’ has reported that all three have fledged from the Carthage Tennessee Osprey nest. Congratulations everyone! That is fantastic news. ‘H’ also reports that there is really good hovering going on at the Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest. The kids are 52 days old and they were doing some super hovering as well as being nice to one another and trying self-feeding. Thanks, ‘H’. Like Ervie these two got forgotten with Victor’s injury.

All eyes are on that egg in the Chesapeake Conservancy nest of Tom and Audrey. The first hatch is doing fab…

So far it looks like at least 2 fish have come to the Osoyoos Osprey nest this morning. 07:28 and 08:11.

Dory and Skiff’s trio are doing fine as well. Lots of fish come to this nest. I would like to give one of them to Osoyoos sometimes. The chicks at both Osoyoos and Hog Island are getting feathers coming out of those shafts. Lovely.

That is a hop skip and a jump through the nests. Great news on Ervie. Always makes my heart stop – that Osprey! Thank you Dr Sharpe for all you do – this man needs to be given an award with a huge prize for all he does. Everyone else seems to be holding and doing good.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and or F/B or web sites where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey FB, Institute for Wildlife Studies, Explore.org and The Institute for Wildlife Studies, Bald Eagles Live Nest and News, Sunshine Coast Council, Montana Osprey Project, NADC-AEF, Eagle Club of Estonia, Mispillion Harbour Ospreys, Chesapeake Bay Conservancy, Osoyoos Ospreys, and Audubon Explore.

Ervie has a dust up with Mum!

26 May 2022

We all love Ervie. He melted our hearts the second he hatched. For a long time, until the day he was banded, I called him Tiny Little Bob.

  • Big Bob hatched on 13 September at 22:03
  • Middle Bob hatched on 14 September at 02:30
  • Little Bob hatched on 16 September at 00:51

In the first two images, Ervie is four days old.

In this sequence of images, Ervie is 11 days old. The lads are in the Reptilian Phase. From left to right – Ervie, Falky, and Bazza.

Bazza was trying to assert his dominance on the nest and was not very kind to either Ervie or Falky. Bazza was known on the chat as ‘Big Bad Bazza’.

After Bazza had beaked and frightened Falky, he started on Ervie. Just look at the difference in size in their wings despite there being only 51 hours between them in age.

Ervie was always clever. He got out of Bazza’s way and Bazza went back to beak Falky. Ervie watches and listens to what is happening. It was rare for Ervie to khow tow to Bazza.

Twenty-two seconds later they are lined up being civil to one another and eating their fish. Ervie has already learned to be right up front near the beak.

Here is Ervie at 28 days old (14 October) still right up by Mum’s beak. By now Ervie is standing up to Bazza. Ervie is the first to eat and the last to leave the table most days. Even with a full crop Ervie enjoyed as much fish as he could get.

Just look at how our boy has changed in the image below. It is 30 October. Ervie is now 44 days old. The three will be ringed on the 8th of November and Tiny Little Bob will officially become our ‘Ervie’. All three will be pronounced to be males.

Ervie is the closest to the top of the frame intently watching Mum break off bites of fish.

Just adorable.

Ervie is doing ‘kissy-kissy’ with Falky. I looked at Ervie’s short stout legs and was certain that he was a female. Not according to the banders.

It was only after they fledged that the lads started being lads -fighting for fish and generally not wanting to share the nest. Ervie with his wings out wants part of the fish that Dad has delivered. It is his favourite – the portion back by the tail and Ervie is intent on getting it.

Ervie just walks through Bazza. It will be one of many ‘dust ups’ that he has with the older sibling.

On this particular occasion, Bazza is pushed off the nest and Ervie winds up hanging by his talons upside down!

Today, if we count Ervie’s hatch day, he is 253 days old. Until yesterday, Ervie has always known the ‘barge’ as his home. In some ways you could say the nest was probably a little like a security blanket. It was familiar. He would, on occasion, go down and chat with Dad in his den. No one but his brothers ever tried to force Ervie off the nest. It must have been a shock when he came to eat his Puffer on the nest yesterday (the 26th of May) and Mum ushered him off the nest.

‘A’ captured the action on the nest yesterday, thankfully. Thank you ‘A’ for sharing these with me so we can all see what happened.

Ervie has landed on the nest with his puffer. Mum is flying down to give Ervie the ‘boot’. Dad is over on the right side perch.

I have seen parents evict their juveniles from the nest – it has happened at the SWFlorida nest with E15 and with Diamond and Xavier when Mum had to give Izzy the cold shoulder. They certainly were not as ‘into your face’ as the event between Ervie and Mum.

Indeed, Ervie is, as I said, probably shocked at the reaction. One day he is welcome and the next not. He has 252 days of being welcomed to the nest – and there is nothing in Ervie’s own experience that would prepare him for his removal.

Ervie did take off with his puffer. I do wonder if the old barge is still around or if there is a close place where Ervie feels comfortable eating his fish.

Tonight there was another ‘dust up’ between Ervie and Mum. This time Ervie was hesitant to give ground. If you look carefully, you can see Ervie fly off with Mum on the nest. She will eventually go back and join Dad. It is interesting to me that it has been the female – Diamond at the Charles Sturt scrape and now Mum here on the PLO barge – to do the evicting.

Here is the video of the latest interaction between Mum and Ervie.

No doubt there will be some more attempts by Ervie to land on the nest and more evictions by Mum. We want both of them to be safe. I wish Ervie had his own private barge!!!!!

Thank you for joining me as we catch up with Ervie over the past couple of days. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip. We are so every grateful for this opportunity to watch the lives of Ospreys in the wild. It has been a fantastic season.

Breakfast with Ervie, Middle, and Little 17

21 May 2022

I cannot think of a better way to start a Saturday than having breakfast with Ervie, Middle Bob, and Little 17! What a positive way to kick off the weekend.

‘A’ sent me a note that Ervie was on the nest at Port Lincoln. Thank you, ‘A’! I would have missed him! Much appreciated. How grand to have the time to rewind and see our special Osprey fledgling. ‘A’ said she hoped that Mum and Dad would not kick Ervie off too soon. I am hoping that they will allow him to stop by for a visit continually as long as it does not disturb the next breeding season for them. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

There was something very satisfying seeing Ervie on the barge. He arrived at 16:17 wet from catching his fish, shaking off the water droplets on arrival. In the footage below, look carefully. It is not a puffer! I cannot tell you what kind of fish it is but it is a nice size normal looking fish — which means that even with his tiny talon, Ervie can now catch a much bigger fish. He certainly looks healthy.

I was thinking the other evening that perhaps that tiny talon saved Ervie’s life. It is not clear to me what the first year survival rate is for Eastern Ospreys – ones that do not have to migrate like those at Port Lincoln. By staying in a familiar area and learning how to fish -starting with those puffers- Ervie appears to have a better than average chance at long term survival.

Here is a video clip of Ervie eating some of his precious fish while being bombarded by sea gulls.

Sometimes you just feel ‘lucky’ and I decided to check on Middle at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest. Yesterday Middle had delighted in having an ever so tiny fish and Mum and Dad have been dropping off fish so that the two can get proficient in self-feeding for their life after fledging.

It is 09:02. Mum has a fish and she is eating some bites. Middle, despite having a bit of a crop, is anxious for some more fish and is tugging at the new delivery. Big is there but doesn’t seem bothered.

Middle is getting a lot of bites! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Big is on the left facing the opposite direction and Middle is on the right. It is difficult to catch the action. Middle is very quick doing his snatch and grabs. Middle is definitely aware of Big’s presence. He would get a lot more fish if Mum would feed a little faster!

Big does turn around and get interested in the food. Notice how Big is watching Middle do his snatch and grab. She is not liking this and after a few minutes, she pecks at Middle and he moves over to the rim of the nest. Big eats for a few minutes and then moves away with Middle going in to eat the last of the fish.

It was a real positive morning so far and could it also be that something good was happening on the ND-LEEF nest? To my shock and to everyone else on the chat, the female actually fed Little 17 some food this morning. It was like she remembered that she had three chicks and not just two. Will 17 get more food today – let us all hope so!

There is, of course, so much happening in Bird World but for now — this is quite enough. Smiling.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care. See you later with a check on more of the nests in Bird World.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and ND-LEEF.

Thank you, Dad!

The camera has been offline at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. It was difficult not knowing what was going on with Ervie!

When the cam came on, I could hear Ervie fish calling. Oh, he is loud! In a few minutes Ervie was mantling the nest.

Here comes Dad with a headless fish. It is a perfect sharing. Dad catches the fish, eats the head, and gives the rest to his son on the nest.

Ervie was hungry!

He is mantling that fish really well.

Ervie has that fish firmly under his talons. It is not going anywhere – head or not!

Dad pauses for a moment on the edge of the nest. Thanks Dad!

Ervie really enjoyed his breakfast.

Ervie was cleaning his beak at 10:57. Ironically, he had left a little fish. It is on the nest just below his tail. Looks like half of the actual fish tail with some meat on it.

Ervie flew off the nest and the clean up crew were grateful for the morsels of fish. There is a pigeon at the middle of the nest on the right side. It blends in with the wood.

Ervie was definitely hungry. With all of the outages it is hard to know when he last had a fish dinner.

After he finished eating and cleaning his beak, Ervie looked off in the distance.

Then Ervie began to fish cry again! He almost started mantling.

Ervie raised his wings and flew off the nest at 11:09, Monday the 14th of February. Did he land on the shed near Dad? Did he go somewhere else?

Port Lincoln Posted the tracker for Ervie and a beautiful photo. It was taken by Keith Daniels. Ervie was on his front fence in the Lincoln Cove Marina.

Isn’t he gorgeous sitting there looking in? What would you give to have an Osprey sit on your front fence? and what if it was Ervie!!!!!!!! How grand.

Before I close, I went to check on Little Bit at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest. It had a really nice crop before bed! Yippeeeeeeee.

So all is right with the world.

Thank you so much for joining me. It was just wonderful to see these two fed. It is very reassuring that everything is just fine. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Cam and Port Lincoln Osprey FB and Keith Daniels for the photo of Ervie on his fence and the NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF Bald Eagle Cam where I took my screen captures.