Remembering Lindsay…and more. It’s Friday in Bird World

26 August 2022

Amidst the joy of Peregrine Falcon eggs in Australia at both Orange and Melbourne, the loss of dear Lindsay, the eldest of the two siblings hatched at The Campanile on the grounds of the University of California-Berkeley, remains heavy – a real heartbreaker. From the news it is apparent that Lindsay died several weeks ago; her body just being found today. She was last seen on the Campanile on 5 August precisely three months after she hatched on 5 May. A life cut way too short.

Lindsay was one of a two-part miracle. Lindsay’s Mum, Annie lost her mate Grinnell when he was killed after chasing an intruder away from The Campanile. There was worry that there would be no chicks this season. Alden arrived in 5 or 6 hours hours (already a friend of Annie and Grinnell’s) and offered to help Annie incubate the eggs and take care of the chicks. We rejoiced at the love the two siblings had for one another, when they played, and when they chased moths. They grew strong and they flew. It is with such deep sadness that we say goodbye to Lindsay today. Fly high, Sweet Girl. Soar to new heights you never imagined.

Here is the full announcement from Cal Falcons. It appears that Lindsay’s death, from the evidence found from her body, was killed by another raptor.

It is heartbreaking. Lindsay had such potential and, of course, it is very possible that she was the last chick our beloved Grinnell fathered. She brought us such joy! I would like to share a few images of this remarkable falcon moving back in time from the last sighting of her on The Campanile on 5 August to the day she hatched.

Lindsay and Grinnell, Jr adopted many of the quirks of Alden including loafing. Annie has perfected it!

Annie and Grinnell, Jr playing together at The Campanile. The two siblings seemed to really enjoy playing with one another, something that I have not seen for a long, long time. It was refreshing.

Lindsay on the roof of the library on 18 June after fledging. Just look at this exceptionally beautiful juvenile. Stunning.

Do you remember banding day 27 May (on the right)? Lindsay was frightened but quiet. Alden would not stop being loud! Lindsay was still sit ting with a not so scared look on her face in early June.

Lindsay was also sitting in that same pose on 22 May.

Hatch day for Lindsay, 5 May. Grinnell wants to come and help. Annie is not sharing – yet – but she will and each of us will rejoice watching this wonderful family.

‘H’ just sent this press release on Lindsay. Thank you, ‘H’. Just made it before I hit send! Grateful.


From the Mailbox:

‘M’ writes: What do you think about this from Dyfi project? I am not sure I would pass off some of that behaviour as just “playing”, at least not based on how the smaller chick reacts. Wondered about your view, based on your study of third hatches.”

For transparency, I posted the information from Dyfi in one of my blogs. Emyr Evans has a long history with the Dyfi Nest in Wales. I have great respect for him but, in this instance, I choose to disagree.

In the UK Osplet deaths are generally attributed to either very poor weather in the early days after hatching or lack of prey, starvation not siblicide. There is little history of siblicide; there are so few breeding pairs and chicks compared to North America. This year, however, we did see it at the Loch of the Lowes Nest. It was rather horrific treatment of the third hatch that was killed by the eldest during a period of low prey delivery.

As you are aware, my research is on siblicide and, in particular, the success of any third hatch osplets vs the other two siblings. Because I track the juveniles long term this is limited to those that are ‘ringed’ and/or ringed with SAT tracking. My findings also rely on the good fortune of someone seeing the juveniles in the future and providing that information to various data bases! In my experience, the aggression shown by older siblings ranges from mild displays of dominance to more serious concerns that seem to taper off around the age of 26-28 days. Serious aggression often ends in the death of the smaller weaker sibling. There is much research to support the fact that it is not always about food. Sometimes it is just dominance.

‘M’ this, in my opinion, is not play. It is establishing the dominant bird on the nest. The dominant bird will eat first and if there is little food it will be the only chick that eats. Had food been scarce the treatment might have escalated but, thankfully, it didn’t. Gender may play significant roles also with the females requiring more food to grow 1/3 larger and feather a larger body. Thus, the females, especially if they are the first hatch, tend to be more aggressive.

Multiple times this year we have seen the third hatch killed by the eldest sibling and sometimes in conjunction with the middle one. As mentioned, this happened at the Loch of the Lowes this year when food was scarce. It also happened at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest amongst others. It also happens on eagle nests and other species. However, there appears to be a higher rate of siblicide among North American Ospreys than those in the UK. It is likely that these numbers reflect the higher population of Ospreys in North America. In addition, the lochs are full of fish and there are restrictions on many of them to prevent human intrusion during the breeding season.

Loch of the Lowes

In the News:

We are going to start with some fantastic news. When I lived in the UK, I studied in Leicester but lived in Lincolnshire and Belvoir (pronounced Beaver) Castle was a regular haunt for me – so close to where I resided. For the first time in 200 years, we have Ospreys breeding on top of Belvoir Castle! Oh, my goodness. I am delighted. Here is the BBC News report.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-62675910?fbclid=IwAR2oh_nwcQ04Sgqp9W2VubAHNIWEVdklHCduT0KiCfsp1lu7y_-92-kc-hI

There is more news coming in about the sad state of the White-tail Eagles on Mull Island — known internationally for the birds and their nests.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/mull-white-tailed-eagle-chick-dead-from-bird-flu/?fbclid=IwAR1dQ2AI_bU07KxyTS0T6CeKgHBU0FFA5bnjUFrTF1LOCudnRC2vPFJhjhU

Bird Flu is also killing Black Vultures. Deaths from migration, Avian Flu, human disturbance and killings, fires, habitat loss, lack of food…how many of our raptor friends will be left?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/24/bird-flu-has-killed-700-wild-black-vultures-says-georgia-sanctuary

There is a lovely documentary on YouTube on the return of the Black Storks to Germany in the 1980s. The cinematography is excellent as is the narration. So much to learn – 53 minutes. Find a nice quiet time to watch!

Nest News:

The 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam in Melbourne is up and running. So far there are 2 eggs!

Here is the link to the camera:

As you will be aware, the first egg of the season for Xavier and Diamond at their scrape in Orange was laid at 0713:48.

Diamond resting in the scrape after her labour and the delivery of the first precious egg for these two.

Diamond incubating the egg. How beautiful.

Xavier comes to the scrape to relieve Diamond. A short bonding ritual takes place before Diamond flies off.

Xavier scraping and trying to turn the egg as he settles down.

Xavier carefully rolls the egg.

Everything is alright with the world. Oh, what a joy to finally see the first egg for Diamond and Xavier. Let us all hope that their year is as successful as it was in 2020 with the hatch of the ever adorable Izzi.

Here is the link to one of three cameras for Xavier and Diamond:

I am so used to the Ospreys in the UK and the Dads bringing in a fish right before or when the sun is rising in the morning. That first fish delivery for SE29 and 30 at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest did not come until 12:31 today. Thankfully the chicks were civil and it was not huge but was a good size.

Images from early morning to feeding.

Early morning preening of those itchy feathers.

Beautiful Lady listening and waiting for Dad to bring food to the nest.

SE29 and 30 watching Mum aerate the nest. Just look at how carefully they are looking at her every move. This will imprint in their mind’s and they will know to aerate their own nests.

Finally, a fish has arrived!

Things appear to be going good at the Port Lincoln barge except for Mum making cries for fish. On occasion Dad has flown in eaten more than his fair share while Mum is fish calling. He then delivers the remainder to her. Come on Dad! Dad is taking his turns incubating.

Oh, it seems so long until 19th of September – may the time pass quickly! There is nothing cuter than nestlings a couple of days old.

Checking on Kaia’s transmission. She remains in Belarus. On the 25th of August she flew 123 km. She is now near the village of Liaskavicy. It is in an area that is part of the wetlands of the Pripjat River. There is a national park and the area is considered to be quite safe for Kaia.

Karl II is looking a little tired. Thanks to Urmas the supply of fish continues so that he can feed the four Black Stork fledglings. Soon they will fly and hopefully Karl II will have some days to recover and gain some weight before he leaves. Of course, when they do depart we shall all be worried for them. I wonder if by some means Karl II and the children will meet with Kaia and decide another route to their winter home???

It appears that all of the White Storks from the nest in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic have left for their migration. It is raining heavily and both of the nests of Bukacek and Betty appear so lonely. Safe travels dear family.

Suzanne Arnold Horning has caught L2 on the Cornell Campus! So happy she is here with us. In the history of the nest, it seems that the 28th of August is the last day to see fledglings in the past. Enjoy these moments then with our first fledge of the year. Gosh, she is beautiful. We know that she is catching her own food – she was the second of the fledglings to do so more than a month ago. So all is well with L2.

It is Friday. A friend sent this to me to cheer me up because of Lindsay. I did giggle…love those sour worms. Thank you ‘S’.

Thank you so much for joining me today. If you have any questions, you can send them through the comments page or through e-mail. My address is maryannsteggles@icloud.com Have a fabulous Friday! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, and posts that form my screen captures: Cal Falcons, Berkeley News, Dyfi Osprey Project, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB, The Guardian, BBC, 367 Collins Street Falcons and Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydeny Olympic Park, Looduskalender, Eagle Club of Estonia, Mlade Buky, and Suzanne Arnold Horning.

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.

Star Fledges at Redding and brief news in Bird World

19 June 2022

We have been watching and waiting and Star fledged today at the Redding nest at 17:12. It was off camera. Congratulations to Liberty and Guardian, to Star, and to everyone who loves these beautiful eagles.

The camera found her. She will learn about which branches to land and take off. There were two prey deliveries after – Liberty and Guardian want Star and Sentry to come to the nest for food until they get their full flying credentials.

Another fledgling from today, L4, is trying to figure out how to land and take off! It looks very difficult.

Peregrine Falcons and Hawks eat pigeons. They love them! If you know of buildings that are putting out poison on their roofs because of the pigeons, speak to them. That rodenticide kills more than the pigeons. But there is now another threat to the falcons and the hawks – and that is pigeon nets. Stop with trying to get rid of the pigeons! Let the raptors do it!

This Peregrine Falcon at Leeds University was lucky!

https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2022-06-13/university-pledges-to-remove-pigeon-nets-after-bird-rescue-goes-viral?fbclid=IwAR05H94OudOx9OkDWH3nVWtA0geQh3EjYzG9UYtmaaJzZY9RRSBuBz09J9o

At 15:19:47 Dad brought in a sucker to the ND-LEEF nest. 15 got it first. Little Bit watched and waited and at 15:45:53 did his now-famous ‘Snatch and Grab’ and stole the tail and a whole lot of fish on it! Way to go Little Bit 17. After working on that Raccoon earlier, that fish must have tasted really good!

Little Bit has moved in for the steal. You can see how much of that nice fish is left.

He goes for it!

Still eating. How could anyone not admire Little Bit 17? He has sure fought hard to live on this nest and now we are all anticipating a good fledge from this third hatch. Way to go Little Bit.

There is no good news coming out of the Loch of the Lowes. No fish deliveries. My own personal opinion is that something is wrong with Laddie – he is injured in some way and cannot fish ———–or there are otherwise no fish in that loch for him to catch! Blue NC0 has left the nest twice and returned wet but talons empty. If you hear anything about what is happening at this nest, please let me know.

There is a kestrel nest in Germany. The wee ones are so cute. They are also so hot. It is part of the heat wave that is hitting western Europe. 37 degrees C. The parents are Nanny and Ricky. It is unclear how the heat is going to impact this lovely family.

There were originally 9 eggs and there are five eyases. Here is a video of a feeding and below is the link to the camera.

You could hear him coming! Grinnell Jr returned to The Campanile after fledging. These visits will become less frequent and I know from hearing from many of you that you are having Lindsay and Grinnell Jr withdrawal. Cal Falcons will continue to post videos when the fledglings are in camera range. There is also the Instagram account of moon_rabbit_rising

Here is Junior’s visit today.

There are going to be two Peregrine Falcon nests to watch in Australia. One has a 24/7 feed from 3 cameras at Charles Sturt University at Orange. The other are the CBD (Central Business District) couple at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Both are worth watching at the same time. One is rural and one is as urban as you can get! Melbourne will come on line when there are eggs. Here is the link to Diamond and Xavier’s scrape in Orange. They are precious and you can often see prey deliveries from Xavier to Diamond in the scrape and ritual bonding there. There are two other cameras. Check them out on YouTube. One looks out to the exterior view from the back and the other is of the entire water tower where the scrape is located.

This is a very short posting. Was very very happy to see Little Bit had a good feed today – lots of raccoon and sucker. Just wonderful. The hot weather in Germany and in Europe might impact a lot of the nests in a very negative way – let us hope not but it could happen. And send every positive wish you can to the Loch of the Lowes nest. We have lost one chick to siblicide due to poor food deliveries. I just feel Laddie is injured. Will someone help Blue NC0 and the chicks? Ospreys are rarer than Golden Eagles in the UK. Let’s hope!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ND-LEEF, Friends of Redding Eagles, Cornell RTH, and Windsbach Kestrels.

Victor Hurley answers your questions

If you missed the Q & A with Dr Victor Hurley, the researcher for the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Project, was live last week but if you missed it, here it is on YouTube. It is only audio- great presentation. There are some very good questions and answers that apply to the general population of peregrines.

My interest is in a small part of this discussion whereby corporations would be bound by a simple change in the wording of the law to protect the birds. Listen carefully. Check out your local situation if you can. See if you can help amend laws so that our lovely birds are protected.

There are some lovely books on Peregrine Falcons. Several in paperback. I highly recommend these:

  • The Peregrine by JA Baker
  • Falcon by Helen MacDonald
  • On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by A Tennant
  • Peregrine Falcon by Patrick Stirling-Aird
  • The Peregrine’s Journey. A Story of Migration by Madeline Dunphy.

There are many others. Some better than others. The top three are my favourites.

For those of you that might have missed it, our darling Osprey, Ervie – the Little Bob who became the Big Bob – continues to be the ‘biggest’ and the leader. Ervie fledged yesterday at 13:17:38. Here it is:

What an amazing bird you are, Ervie.

I am outside for the rest of the day trying to make the garden inhabitable for the birds. The woodboxes have more than 45 cm of snow on top of them and so does the deck and the lawn. I will be checking on our bird families much later.

I hope that your Sunday is a good one. I do urge you to listen to Victor Hurley. It is a great discussion. You can turn it on and cook your dinner or have your tea and listen. Take care everyone! Thank you so much for being here.

Grinnell update!

The plumage on a Peregrine Falcon is incredibly cute. Those beautiful slate grey heads, the horizontal striped pantaloons, the white chest, the gorgeous yellow legs and talons and cere.

One of the cutest is the little 8 year old lad below, Grinnell. Grinnell was, until the 29th of October, the resident male along with his mate, Annie, at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley in San Francisco. On that day, Grinnell had an altercation with two falcon interlopers. He was found grounded on a garbage can about a mile and a half from The Campanile. Was he driving the interlopers out? was he fleeing? We will never know. Fortunately, he was found and taken into care at the Lindsay Wildlife Centre. There he had surgery on his wing and received antibiotics, anti-parasites, and anti-inflammatory drugs. He was doing well enough when he arrived at the clinic that he could feed himself. Apparently he quite loved the quail!

As you can see from the FB posting below, Grinnell is doing well.

Decisions will be made as to where he will be released by a couple of agencies. It is not known if Grinnell will return and fight for his territory and Annie, his mate of 6 years. Only time will tell. The good news is that Grinnell is recovering from his injuries.

Meanwhile, Annie has been getting friendly with the intruder. Oh, I wish it would go away! Annie does not know where Grinnell is and she has been scraping in the box, etc indicating that she is receptive to the new male. Falcon experts have stated that Annie will not enter into the battle if the two males rival for the territory – prime real estate! She will want to protect herself so that she will be healthy during breeding season.

Keep sending positive thoughts Grinnell’s way.

I know that some have been worried about the falcon left on the ledge at 367 Collins Street. At 11:12, Dad brought a huge prey item onto the ledge. You can see the eyas beginning to mantle, very excited. The bird was not prepped and Dad worked on it but the chick was not eating. I am not a vet but it appears that something is causing the chick to not be able to open its beak wide enough to eat. The chick appears not to be preening despite the floof (this normally causes them to itch and preen constantly) and I am concerned that there is ‘something’ not right.

I am not that familiar with the birds in Australia but it looks like it could be a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo or a Gull.

I feel really sorry. The Dad is working hard to feed and get the little one to eat and well, it appears that it can’t. It is only a guess as to what is wrong with the chick. Will anyone do anything to get it into care, I do not know. Every country and even every state is different in their laws and attitudes. All we can do is hope that the wee bird will improve on its own.

The weather in Port Lincoln is dire. One of the boats near the barge has gone under the water in the rough waves. No one was on board. It is a cold front moving through the area. It is 13 degees C with 32 kph winds. It is not a good day for fishing with the choppy water but the osplets have been doing some hovering. I hope they don’t get blown off the nest prematurely! So far they are all safe and secure!

I wish I had better news about the little falcon on Collins Street. Send lots of love and positive wishes for there to be a turn around or — for a miracle and someone approve it going into care.

Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project. I would also like to thank the individuals who have shared the FB posting about Grinnell.

Seeing Double?

If you are starting to wonder what is going on with the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, you are not alone! Early this morning there was only one falcon (I believe a female) left on the ledge of the building to fledge. She was pretty frantic early in the morning looking up and acting like there was a bird – maybe on the next ledge. She ran back and forth excited stopping to look. Then an adult brought in prey, she ran down to the other end of the ledge away from the camera to eat.

She was quite excited seeing the other bird.

Something really interesting happens after 11am. It has started to rain and the eyas on the ledge is quite dry. She is not agitated like she was a few hours earlier leading me now to believe that it was an adult with prey trying to lure her off the ledge as opposed to a sibling. Without another camera, we will never know for certain.

What we do know is that around 11:00, the lone eyas on the ledge began to look around. It is raining in Melbourne. You can see it on the ledge of the building and in the distance.

It is fairly dry – this ledge is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Something has her curiosity.

Ah, maybe it is just time to see if there is any leftover prey in the gutter.

After exploring, she gets very close to where the camera is and acts like she is going to run to the other end.

She does a pivot and runs back.

She finds an old piece of bone with some feathers in the scrape box and begins playing with it.

Then she stops and just looks out over the horizon very calmly.

Our girl cannot believe her eyes. Look at who is running down the ledge – a sibling!

People wondered if she might be lonely. It would certainly be different going from four to being the only one left and seeing the others flying about.

She turns her head really funny to see the sibling in the scrape.

Within a couple of minutes they are both sitting on the ledge, trying to stay dry. Whether or not they are enjoying one another’s company is anyones guess.

Yes, you are seeing double. People always wonder whether or not the falcons will fly back to the location of the scrape box. You now have an answer: yes, they will.

With hawks, the fledglings might continue to come back to the nest to be fed, sometimes they sleep on the nest or perch, and in other years, they never come back to the nest preferring to roost in trees or buildings. So, the answer is it varies from year to year and nest to nest. It sure is nice to see another one though, isn’t it? It just confirms that at least two of them are safe and sound. One fledgling, one nestling.

Maybe this returnee will encourage the nestling to fledge – after it stops raining. Falcons know that it is much easier flying with dry feathers than wet ones!

For those of you that might have been wondering what is going on, I thought I should let you know that there are two on the ledge. It could become more. Funny. The one that fledged has more fluffy down still stuck to its juvenile feathers. There is a tiny little mohawk on the crown.

Take care all. See you soon. Thank you so much for joining me and thanks again to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip.

Collins Street Commotion

This morning at 5:59 one of the eyases at 367 Collins Street started ‘carrying on’. She was quite worked up.

She is calling and running back and forth on the ledge. In fact, she has been doing this and looking up for the past fifteen minutes. She is the last one on the ledge and there is someone on a higher ledge edging her on. You can certainly hear her! Is it a sibling? is it Mum or Dad?

Around 07:59, there was a prey delivery at the other end of the ledge. Our lonely little ‘last one on the ledge’ ran, very hungry. All went quiet! Maybe she got the entire pigeon to herself.

Breakfast has arrived.

Oh, she sure can run when food is involved! Amazing parents.

The last chick on the scrape hatched three days later than the others. This could, of course, be the reason. But it could also be that she is a large female. One year there was a large female left on the nest, the last to fledge. She was Big Red and Arthur’s J1 from 2020. She really did not want to leave the light stand. She didn’t seem to have the confidence to fly but she did once that Little J3, the third hatch, flew. Sadly, J1 flew into a window a week or so later. J2 and J3 survived and left the area for their own territory many weeks later but, I always wondered if J1 had just waited a little longer would it have made a difference? Perhaps not.

Three ringed osplets in nest, Mum on perch, Dad in his man cave. 10 November 2021

Yesterday, the Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge fed the three ringed nestlings for over two hours, from 14:05-16:32. Someone felt sorry for her. I would like to take a different view. Yes, it was a long feeding but she knows that these three wonderful chicks will not be on the nest much longer. Yes, this might appear to be anthropomorphizing but she knows that they are about ready to fly. Just like keeping control of the food so everyone eats, she knows.

There are a lot of people thinking that Ervie is going to be the first to fledge. Here he is winging it right as the sun is coming up on the peninsula.

Mum has just flown off the nest. Ervie is watching her.

She returns with a fish. Mum has control and everyone has eaten. You will notice that Ervie is still up at her beak.

Oh, and Ervie is still getting fed 9 minutes later! What a guy. I really hope he is a good fisher and he remembers all these nice fish that Dad brought to the nest because that is going to be his ‘job’ as a male Osprey. He is the supplier of fish.

There is some very good news coming out of Port Lincoln. The osplets on Thistle Island were ringed, weighed, measured, and named yesterday. Guess what? Two healthy females. The largest came in at 1630 grams – 250 grams or nearly half a pound – large than Ervie on the PLO nest. That female was named Meg and carries a Maroon band. The other female is named Lucy and she has an Orange band. I began to imagine these lads at the PLO nest pairing up with them in a couple of years. Buy some more barges PLO!

There was more excitement on Thistle Island. Two other Osprey nests with chicks were found! Incredible. So happy for the success of the Ospreys in the region. If you want to read more about this or see the images please go to FB and search for Port Lincoln Osprey.

It is a beautiful day on the Canadian prairies. Tomorrow they are promising – 100% rain or snow. The squirrels are busy finding nuts and there are fewer and fewer geese about. It has been so nice for so long that I began to doubt if we were going to have winter. Silly me.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. See you soon.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip.

Updates on Diamond and Grinnell

Diamond slept in the scrape box last night. She continues to limp and her wing feather was drooping a bit this morning when she was feeding Yarruga. That said, the fact that she fed Yarruga instead of having Xavier undertake it seems, in my untrained eyes, to indicate that she is feeling a wee bit better.

It is a bit foggy in Orange. Diamond and Yarruga are waiting for Xavier to deliver breakfast.

Here comes Xavier! Yarruga is 28 days old. She knows when the parents make certain sounds that a prey delivery is coming. Look, she is calling with Diamond.

Xavier has arrived.

Sweet Xavier. Diamond is pulling the breakfast over. Yarruga doesn’t think she is going fast enough and wants to help! Diamond did not stumble nearly as much as she did yesterday. That is so good to see.

Bye Dad. In the image below you can see that the right wing is a bit droopy.

However, in the image below, taken 5 seconds later, the wing tips are crossing as they should. This is very good.

Breakfast is over. Both need to clean their beaks.

Ah, Yarruga has found some scraps on the gravel. It will not be long until she is wanting to self-feed all the time. She is really growing fast.

Is there another word for cute? Maybe it is Yarruga.

At this stage she reminds me of a Christmas ornament I have that is a fluffy sheep.

The Mercury News reported on Grinnell:

//www.mercurynews.com/2021/11/03/uc-berkeleys-beloved-peregrine-falcon-injured-in-turf-war/

The Daily California is reporting on Grinnell as well.

Grinnell who is 8 years old and has been the mate with Annie for 5 years on University of California at Berkley’s Campanile had to undergo minor surgery and is being treated with antibiotics. One of the spokespeople said, ““Raptors heal relatively quickly … so Grinnell might be fit enough to start working on moving and flights so that he can be released,” Schofield said. “He will need to put on some extra weight to make sure he can fly strong enough to be released.”  The clinic at Walnut Creek will release Grinnell back on the UC-Berkeley Campus but not at the Campanile as the intruders are there.

I have quoted ‘intruders’ as indicated in the news bulletin. This morning UC Cal Falcon cam is only stating one male falcon and that it went into the scrape and is wanting to court Annie.

UC Cal Falcons will hold a Q & A session giving updates on Grinnell’s condition and the territory issue on Friday at 2pm. If you are interested, you can set a reminder on the link below.

I will be reporting on the announcement as soon as the session is over if you cannot attend on line.

Send good positive energy out to these two amazing birds. Swift recovery and back home with Annie, Grinnell.

It is sunny and just a lovely cool day on the Canadian Prairies. All of the Slate Eyed Juncos are gone from the garden but 3. Junior got to enjoy the corn cob this morning without Dysons’s interference, and there are still some Canada Geese on the golf course nearby. Most of the migrating birds have now left despite the fact that it will be 10 degrees C on Friday.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me.

Thank you to Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

How is Diamond?

Diamond is the female at the Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon scrape box on the University’s water tower. Her mate is Xavier and their only chick this season is Yarruga. Yarruga is 27 days old today. Its name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori.

Several days ago Diamond injured herself, probably in a hunting incident. Her right wing was a bit droopy and she continues to have difficulty putting all of her weight on her right foot. Her mate, Xavier, has often taken over the feeding duties of Yarruga because feeding requires putting pressure on the feet to hold the prey and pull up to get the bites off for the chick.

Yarruga was particularly hungry this afternoon. Diamond was on the ledge of the scrape watching over her baby, trying to get some sleep, and also attempting to keep the weight off the right leg.

Instead of writing how Diamond is doing, I thought it was just best to take a few video clips so you can see for yourself. They do say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Here is the first one. Diamond has been resting on the ledge of the scrape. She has kept her right leg slightly elevated and has been able to sleep some. Yarruga is hungry and, since this is the big growth spurt for Yarruga, she sees a parent and thinks it is dinner time. Poor Diamond. Yarruga is prey begging.

Xavier brings in the Starling that was left over from an earlier feeding. The falcons have a place where they stash food. It is a great idea. They never waste a single bit of the prey they kill for food. (We could all take a lesson from them!). Diamond wants to feed Yarruga. The following two clips are from later in the feeding.

The feeding went on for some time. This is the last bit of where Diamond finishes feeding Yarruga and then flies off with the rest of the Starling. Despite the fact that she doesn’t like Starling (prefers pigeons and parrots), it would not be easy for her to hunt now while she is healing so she will happily eat the Starling leftovers.

It still appears that Diamond is in a lot of pain. She is really limping but her wing appears to be better. It must be difficult because she wants to take care of her baby. I think that is why I actually believe she is improving. She could have flown out and let Xavier feed Yarruga but she chose to do it herself. It is going to take some time for her to heal and we need to continue to send her our best and most positive wishes.

A quick glance at other nest news:

The 367 Collins Street ‘Four’ decided to run along the gutter and let us have some really good glimpses of how they are growing and changing today. Remember when you look at them that they are precisely one week older than Yarruga. It is hard to imagine that they were mostly covered with white down a week ago! Here they are wanting to fly – and way too soon, they will.

The down is really coming off. They are so curious about the world outside of the scrape. Mum and Dad have been doing aerial demonstrations for them. This is something that the adults do to try and entice the eyases to fledge.

The Port Lincoln Osplets will be banded, named, and at least one will get a sat-pak on Monday 8 November, Australian time. Remember! It is possible that we will only get to see the event on tape. It is exciting. I cannot wait to see if Little Bob is a female with those thick stubby legs!

Just look at the size of Dad’s wing. Together they would be wider than the nest! He is bringing in the second fish of the day. Now when Mum begins calling the chicks join in. It is really sweet.

Mum is so quick to pull that fish off Dad’s talons. I often wonder if the males ever get injured when this happens.

Today, Little Bob is more interested in watching Dad go down to his man cave on the deck of the barge than being first in line to eat. That is almost shocking.

The trio are pancaked. They have eaten so much. Mum brought another fish in at 13:50 – their third of the day. On average, the osplets have 7 feedings a day so far. Fantastic parents. Can’t say enough good things about how well they have worked together this season.

There has been no new updates on WBSE 27 since 1 November, Australian time. When I hear anything, I will let you know.

Thank you for joining me and checking in to see how Diamond is progressing. We just have to be patient – and that is hard when we see her in pain. Take care everyone. See you soon.

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

The Falcon

We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

If you have not read Henry Beston’s book, The Outermost House. A Year of life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod, you might want to check and see if your local library has a copy. Or, like me, you might want to check out the many on line used book shops unless, of course, you happen to live close to one. It is also very reasonably priced new at $17.99

Beston is entranced by his surroundings. His intent was to spend only a fortnight in the cabin on the windblown dunes but, as he became more and more enthralled with the seaside, the migrating birds, the blowing sand and the waves that surrounded him day in and day out, he could not leave. Beston spent a year living on the shore. He listened, observed, and began to understand the natural world. Beston would sit and write, often looking out a west window, observing the Terns and the Hawks. His descriptions of their lives is nothing short of vivid. You can almost reach out and hear the splash of the waves as a storm approaches or feel the warmth of the sun on a summer’s day or hear the birds.

As an art historian (at least in another life), I appreciate Beston spending some time reflecting on how the ancient Egyptians depicted the birds and animals in their art. He said, “The longer I live here and the more I see of birds and animals, the greater my admiration becomes for those artists who worked in Egypt so many long thousand years ago, drawing, painting, carving in the stifling quiet of the royal tombs.” Beston believed that the Egyptians were the only ones who were able to portray their true psyche. “A hawk of stone carved in hardest granite on a temple wall will have the soul of all hawks in his eyes. Moreover, there is nothing human about these Egyptian creatures. They are self-contained and aloof as becomes folk of a first and intenser world.”

Indeed, the Egyptians covered the inner chambers of their burial tombs with images of hawks, carved statues out of stone, painted their portraits on papyrus, and cast small amulets.

“Horus” by swanksalot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Horus – Temple of Seti I” by Riley and Amos is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Sheet gold collar depicting a falcon representing the god Horus found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb New Kingdom 18th Dynasty Egypt 1332-1323 BCE” by mharrsch is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis. Osiris is the God of the Dead as well as the God of Resurrection. His partner, the goddess, Isis , helps the dead through the afterlife. Together with their son, Horus, who is depicted with a falcon head wearing a crown with a cobra, they are to Egyptians, the holy family.

The name Horus means ‘the one who is above’ or ‘the one who is distant’. The eye of Horus, the Wedjat, is depicted in many works of art. It is said that the god’s right eye held the sun while his left eye held the moon. They represented power and healing and appear on many works of art and amulets as protective devices.

“The Eye of Horus, the Great Hypostyle Hall, the Temple of Hathor, Dendara, Egypt.” by ER’s Eyes – Our planet is beautiful. is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Eye of Horus, seen in the centre of the tomb painting above, became a powerful amulet in Old Egypt. The notion that Horus can protect a person continues today. Talismans of all types appear at the stalls in the old markets throughout Cairo and even on running shoes worn by teenagers.

Horus is a falcon. All one has to do is look at the profile of the peregrine falcons to see the similarity between the Egyptian representations of Horus. Peregrine Falcons are Apex Predators. That means that there are very few animals that will harm them – they are at the top of the food chain, so to speak. They are capable of flying at 390 kmh making them the fastest bird or animal on the planet. The falcons would have been known, of course, to the ancient Egyptians. There are written records of the falcons as early as 10,000 BCE in the Middle East.

There are many books on falcons. One that I particularly like was released in 1967. It is The Peregrine by J.A. Baker. There is a recent reprint with an excellent introduction by Robert MacFarlane, British nature writer and critic. If you are into falcons, I highly recommend it.

I have been thinking a lot about falcons. Yesterday when Diamond did not return to the scrape box at Orange for nearly ten hours, Xavier just stepped in and took care of their eyas. Just watching Yarruga or the 367 Collins Street Four in Melbourne gives me pause to contemplate Beston’s quote at the beginning of this blog. I can also ‘hear’ the falconer, Laura Culley, answering someone who asked if Big Red, the Red-tailed Hawk at Cornell, would know that one of her fledglings had died. Laura fired back, “And why wouldn’t she?!” One of the ways that we can move forward to find a balance between humans and the natural world is for us humans to stop thinking that we are superior. Beston is right – we aren’t. For so many people that I know, the birds continue to be the messengers of the gods giving us signals and warnings – if only we could recognize them.

Xavier did a top notch job of taking care of little Yarruga. This morning he brought in a Starling for Diamond to feed the little one. Diamond’s right wing was still a little droopy then.

Diamond gave the chick part of the bird and left with the remainder. A little later Xavier flew into the scrape box with a nice plump pigeon. He stuffed Yarruga til the wee one could hold no more.

Xavier is getting the hang of feeding Yarruga but he gets anxious the more Yarruga begs for food (or screams for it) as he finishes plucking the prey. So today, once again, Xavier fed Yarruga lots of feathers and, also, one of the legs of the pigeon. It had to have been larger than the one the other day. Yarruga struggled for awhile. Then bit the leg into two parts and Xavier then continued to feed her pigeon.

Yarruga’s crop was getting bigger and bigger. Xavier is doing a fantastic job feeding his chick. Do you remember all those days Xavier wanted to feed the newly hatched Yarruga and Diamond wouldn’t let him? Oh, he is making up for that desire to care for his baby now.

At the end, he is still wanting to make sure that Yarruga is no longer hungry. Diamond would be proud.

Diamond rested herself in one of her spots – possibly a nearby tree or on top of the water tower. Her shoulder or wing might just be bruised or sore. However, by the early afternoon, her wing was looking better and was back in place. You can see that in the image below.

The 367 Collins Street Four are losing down and losing down. They now look like Peregrine Falcons instead of fluffy little samurai warriors running up and down the gutter.

Here they were a few days ago:

Here they are today:

They have really changed. Just look at the one in the background standing on the ledge outside the scrape. What beautiful juvenile plumage.

All of the falcons seem to be just fine – including Diamond. She just needed to rest. With only one chick in the scrape and not four, Diamond can let Xavier be more active in both hunting and feeding. Having one is certainly less stress. It is, however, such a relief to have Diamond and her wing back to normal.

The following is an update on WBSE 27:

Thank you so much for joining me. Falcons are wonderful birds. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: the 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross. I would also like to than the Sea Eagle Cam FB Page for the update on WBSE 27 which I have cut and pasted here.

Please note: The blog for Monday, 1 November may not appear until late evening. I hope the weather is not too bad so that I can get out and catch up on the ducks and geese and there is, apparently, an influx of Robins in our City.