Friday in Bird World

Just about the time I begin to think, and then say, that it looks like the parents at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge are slowing down with fish deliveries, they bring two nice sized fish to Ervie. There was a huge chunk at 07:34 and another nice fish arrived at 15:20. Ervie didn’t actually start eating it until 16:25. Ervie was the only lad about. Bazza was last seen on Sunday the 9th and Falky was last seen on the ropes with Mum and Dad at 19:40 on the 12th. Will Ervie stay or go?

Ervie is still full from the morning fish when the afternoon delivery arrives.

Ervie is still eating at 17:34! My goodness those were nice fish brought to the nest. Ervie finished off his fish and flew off the left side of the nest.

Will that be our last sighting of Ervie on the nest? No one slept on the barge last night. We wait.

Missy has been feeding the little one on the Berry College Eagle Nest. It appears to be doing fine. Everyone is watching for the second egg. Sadly that broken shell has really attached itself to that egg.

I believe this is Missy’s first eaglet to survive. She is figuring feedings out!

B15 is getting stronger. You can see the issue with the second egg clearly here. I cannot tell if the extra piece of shell is over the narrow or wide part of the egg. The eaglets pip on the wider end. Pip watch coming for that second egg.

The nest is empty this morning at Big Bear, California but everyone is on egg watch for Shadow and Jackie.

Anna let Louis brood the chick this morning! Last year she waited a long time and Lous is delighted to be involved with his chick. Both Anna and Louis have been on the KNF nest this morning and the eaglet is eating well. Lots of nice fish for everyone on that nest!

There seem to be two words used for Harriet and M15’s E19 and E20. They are ‘nice’ and ‘cute’. Look at the feathers coming on E19 and E20 and then look at Anna’s baby above. They change so quickly!

This is a great little film about the Kakapo. Since it is breeding season and we are looking at eggs, it seems like a good time to refresh what we know about this very endangered non-flying parrot and how they are cared for. The update on the numbers is that there are now 202 Kakapo down from 208 the beginning of last year.

Daisy the Duck has not returned to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest to lay eggs since she visited with her mate on 1 January. That was two-weeks ago. Fingers crossed she has found another spot and is successful. One of the women who visits the centre was to send us images of Daisy paddling but nothing so far. Maybe Daisy is away from the area of water around the Discovery Centre and the Duck Pond.

Great Horned Owls have been mating on the Savannah Osprey Nest and the GHOWs have been mating on the nest that was stolen from a young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas last year. The couple who became known as Bonnie and Clyde raised two of the cutest little owlets on this nest. When the eggs are laid, I will definitely let you know.

For the most part the Owls and the Eagles live cooperatively but I really don’t like the owls when they try to knock the eagles off or hurt their eyes and heads as at the WBSE Nest by the small BooBook Owls and at SWFlorida when it is a GHOW hitting M15 and knocking him off the branch into the nest, sometimes.

One thing I did not know is that there are no Great Horned Owls near the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade County. The Coot delivered yesterday, the second one to arrive as prey on the nest, is gone! They seem to love the taste of that waterfowl. My eagle expert tells me that the WRDC are thinking about putting up more nests like this one for the eagles. Fantastic. It seems to be a really good design and they can work out any kinks watching this nest.

R1 ate well and now Dad is making sure that R2 is full to the brim. Ron, you are a great Dad! You can see R1 passed out in a food coma and Ron has even moved across the nest to feed the youngest sibling. Fantastic.

Today is Day 40 for the eggs at Captiva Bald Eagle Nest on Sanibel, Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Clive. There is some chatter that the eggs might not be fertile. Let’s wait and see.

I haven’t seen any of Ervie’s tracking uploaded since 26 December. I will be checking on the PLO nest during the rest of the day to see if anyone returns to the barge at Port Lincoln. That wing of his could be our last sighting of the Erv until people along the coast send in images of him. There appears to be a huge interest ‘and caring’ for the Osprey in the region. That really helps!

Take care everyone. Have a great end to your week. Thank you for joining me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagles, Friends of Big Bear, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Forest, Captiva Bald Eagles, Farmer Derek Owl Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest.

There is never a dull moment at Port Lincoln

How many times have I said that watching the Port Lincoln Osprey lads are better than anything streaming on the telly? From hatch to today, they have not disappointed.

To recap. Bazza, the eldest, has not been seen since 9 January – 2 days ago. It could mean many things. Bazza could be off camera on the nest barge. He could be over on the old barge with Mum. He could be somewhere near to the nest barge OR Bazza could have left to find his own territory. It is interesting to note that Mum has not been seen since yesterday morning and Bazza could be with her. I did often call him ‘Mama’s Boy’. Yesterday, Falky, the middle hatch, caught what I believe is the only fish by a juvenile on camera at the nest. That was just fabulous. He was brilliant. As one of the watchers noted ‘JL’, to celebrate Falky flew a victory lap around the barge! I suspect Falky was so proud of that fish he caught he wanted everyone to see including Mum and Dad!

Ervie was ‘prime time Erv’ today. He might have been on the nest for several days and not moving too much but, there is nothing wrong with his flying and his attitude. Twice this morning Ervie engaged with Falky in what can only be described as ‘aerial dog fights’ just like you might have seen in movies or airshows about World War II. It was Ace Pilot Ervie at his best.

There are two main events with an intermission.

As you can see I cut out some of the time in between. In those minutes, you could see the shadows of the two going over the barge but, you could not see them. When they landed, before Ervie took after Falky again, they had both arrived wet so somewhere the pair of them went into the water. Good gracious. Is this really boys playing? or is this dominant Ervie deciding he wants the nest and barge all to himself?

That attitude of the third hatch wanting to take over the nest completely as the dominant bird has been seen elsewhere. Tiny Tot Tumbles at the Achieva Nest returned and even fought off adult interlopers. I clearly think that Ervie would do the same if that same instance happened.

I wonder. Will Ervie return to this barge and want it for his nest in a few years time? Only time will tell. So glad that he has a tracker on.

Ervie is not behaving like Falky is on the barge. When he sees someone he fish calls but he doesn’t appear to be willing to give up that nest to go out fishing independently – yet – since his return from his long flight a few days ago.

Here is the link to the Port Lincoln streaming cam.

I was going to bring you a report on the lack of streaming cams for raptors in Japan today but this will be delayed by a few days. I have not had time, sadly, today, to put all the strings together.

I have also not seen any news of any pips although Anna at the Kisatchie National Forest Nest looks like she is expecting something. She has been rolling the eggs and try as we might it is difficult. There is a mark on the egg but I think it is vegetation and not a pip. Perhaps later this evening.

The first egg at Berry College Eagle nest of Pa Berry and Missey is 35 days old today.

Gabby and Samson have been listening to the egg and rolling. They are getting really close to a pip watch.

R2 and R3 continue to do really well over at the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade country. Rita removed the Coot that had been on the nest and had a big meal herself. You can ‘sort of’ see the nice crop she has. The kids are well fed, no worries!

It is a wrap for today. We will wait together for those pips at Captiva, KNF, Berry College, and NEFlorida Bald Eagle nests!!!!!! Waiting is hard.

Thank you for joining me. I am delighted to have you here with me. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and my video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, and the WRDC Eagle Cam.

Oh, Falky!

Anyone watching the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge has felt that all three of the lads have been out fishing elsewhere. To date, as far as I know, none of the brothers – Bazza, Falky, or Ervie – have caught their own fish on camera.

Bazza has not been seen on camera today. Ervie picked up the 06:28 fish and the 10:41 fish. Falky flew over and tried to take that one from Ervie but he failed.

Falky takes off from the ropes when Dad delivers the fish to Ervie on the nest.

You can see Falky on the upper left above the nest.

Dad had better get out of the way. Falky is hungry!

Ervie secures the fish by moving it over to the rim of the nest in his beak.

At 11:30:00 Falky is watching the water closely. Have a look at what happens!

Oh, Falky was hungry and he was really enjoying that fish he caught.

I have never seen a juvenile fledgling catch their fish, not this young. This is a rare glimpse into their lives as they adjust to becoming independent. Each of them might have caught a fish off camera but this was quite incredible today.

I am hoping that Falky and Ervie will set up a fishing competition! At this very moment, Falky is on the perch looking for another fish.

That was just marvellous. Earlier in the morning a dolphin jumped close to the barge.

Another fish was delivered at 14:15:46. Here comes Dad with it to the nest. Falky sees it. Ervie wants it.

Here comes Falky!

Too late. Ervie gets it!

It has simply been a super morning on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in Australia. There is more news in Bird World but it can all wait til tomorrow. This is to be relished. It is rare to see a juvenile catch a fish. Enjoy it – and it alone.

Thank you for joining me. Take care. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and my video clips.

So you asked about Ervie…

Ervie. It is quite easy to tell, from the time the three boys hatched, that Ervie the third born, was my favourite. I will not deny it. I look for third hatches that become the dominant bird on the nest and Ervie is certainly that.

So a question came in – did Ervie’s reservation on the nest yesterday include a later fish and a breakfish?

Last night, Ervie got a huge fish delivered to the nest. It was one of the largest I have seen there. The time was about 20:09. Ervie has been eating for about 20 minutes. If you look very carefully – sorry the sun is setting and it is difficult to see – you will see how big that fish is. Falky and Bazza on the ropes as Ervie munches his way into full Osprey heaven.

And, yes, Ervie did get the breakfish this morning. Mum delivered it around 07:08.

In the image below Ervie is on the nest and Falky is his usual spot on the corner ropes fish calling. They can see Mum flying in with the fish.

It is a kerfuffle. Everyone wants that fish.

Mum gets out of there. All three are after the fish. Bazza is hovering over Ervie and Falky.

They scramble.

Ervie, facing towards us, has the fish!

As you can see everyone wanted that fish. Falky flew in from the ropes and Bazza flew in from being off camera. If you ever wonder where Bazza is, he is usually on the barge somewhere just not on camera.

Dad delivered a fish that Falky got at 07:23:25. Falky is down in Dad’s man cave working on that fish.

Falky decides to take it to the ropes.

So Ervie and Falky have eaten. I wonder if Bazza is being fed elsewhere??? is he also fishing? Mum used to favour him and there is no reason to believe that they only deliver to the nest.

So, yes, Ervie got his full reservations worth. Now if the rota is working correctly, Falky will be on the nest tonight. We wait.

Thank you for joining me and thank you for sending me your questions and comments. Take care everyone!

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

Saturday in Bird World

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you will know that I am tracking the Port Lincoln Osprey lads in terms of ‘who is on the nest’. Ervie and Falky have been alternating. Ervie spent the afternoon and evening and slept on the nest. He is on there right now.

Ervie is fish calling to Dad.

Bazza has been shut out and yesterday he attacked Ervie when Ervie was on the nest. If you missed it, here is that dust up.

We are on hatch watch this weekend for three Bald Eagle nests. That is Captiva, Kistachie National Forest, and Berry College. The eggs for both Captiva and KNF were laid on 4 Dec and 7 December. One of the KNF eggs was broken. Eggs at Berry College were laid on 5 Dec and 8 December. You might remember that it was the female at Berry College, Missey, that survived that horrific hail and wind storm. I hope those eggs are alright. This is a new female for Pa Berry – their second season together. If you were a fan of Ma Berry, she was seen having a spa day at the end of January 2021. Yes, birds do get divorces.

This is the Kisatchie National Forest nest of Anna and Louis. Anna is incubating now.

Here is the link to the KNF Bald Eagle Nest.

This is the Berry College Bald Eagle Nest.

Here is the link to the Berry College streaming cam:

https://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

This is the link to the Captiva Nest. This is Connie and Clive. I hope that they have a very successful year. This is probably the most narrow Bald Eagle Nest in the world!

R1 and R2 at the WRDC nest are doing just fine. Rita did some clearing of the nest yesterday and some new grasses were brought in. The nest looked amazing but after several hours, little eaglets wandering around and food can cause it to look messy again. Rita used the grass to go to the edges and sticks are still being brought in to this new human made nest for the sides.

Little eaglets full to the brim. The weather is good. It is 24 degrees. They do not need Rita to brood them in that temperature.

Ferris Akel is streaming live as I type. I love to lurk because he finds some amazing birds on his Saturday tours of the Finger Lakes area of Upper New York State. So far today there have been lots of hawks – Northern Harriers and Red Tails. The Harriers are really difficult to photograph.

The Ducks below are American Black Ducks, females. They might look like Mallards but their bill is tinged more green than the orange of the Mallard and their feathers are darker. They are virtually the same size and shape of a Mallard.

This is a female Hooded Meganser looking for food – going in and out of the water flapping her wings.

There you can get a good look. This looks to me like a first year female. Mergansers like to live in forested swamps but today they are in the wetlands. They nest in tree cavities and will also use nest boxes, unlike our favourite little duck, Daisy! They winter in the estuaries and creeks in the eastern United States and along the Mississippi Flyway.

Ferris found a Red-tail hawk hoping to find some lunch. Many of the Red-tail Hawks around the area of Ithaca do not migrate but remain in the region because the winters are not too harsh and there is plenty of prey. Indeed, the one thing that does determine over winter areas is the availability of food.

There continue to be lots of Canada Geese in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

Today, there were also some swans.

Swans feed by submerging their heads into the vegetation below the surface of the water.

These are young Tundra Swans with an adult. The Tundra Swans are smaller than the Trumpeter.

Aren’t they beautiful? We have so many waterfowl in Canada but it was not until Daisy the Duck in Australia that I really began to appreciate the ones around me.

There were also Mallards and Redheads mixed in with the Tundra Swans who are searching for vegetation to eat.

Just look at all of the Redheads!

The GHOWs are becoming a real problem for the health of the Bald Eagles. There was another owl strike at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest of Harriet and M15. Lady Hawk has it on video. Additionally, there are GHOWs attempting to take over the Minnesota DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy, the Savannah Osprey Nest, and, as we know, a GHOW named Bonnie and Clyde took over the nest of a young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas last year and raised two owlets to fledge.

I am beginning to not like GHOWs at all!

The temperatures on the Canadian Prairies warmed up and we got more snow! It can stop now. The birds have already been fed and it looks like a great day to stay in and read and watch for those pips.

Over the past month I have become very fond of DanniConnorWild. She is a young wildlife photographer who has taken up residence in Northern Sweden. She is living her dream. That is fantastic! She is very keen on squirrels. Indeed, the squirrels in this video are eating spruce cones. I have never seen this. She is earning a living through her videos and photographs so there are ads but, just don’t mind those. I am posting her video from the end of the year that includes squirrels, Reindeer, and beautiful Northern Lights in case you want to have a look.

Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Ferris Akel Tours, Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Bald Eagle Cam, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Cam.

Brotherly Love?

There is never a dull moment at the Port Lincoln Osprey.

Falky had nest reservations along with his breakfish from Dad which arrived some time around 06:55. Ervie tries to steal that first fish in the morning to “break the fast” but Falky is not having it. Part of the reservation agreement appears to come with breakfish. After a few minutes, Falky decides it is safer eating his fish over on the corner ropes.

Meanwhile, Ervie is on the nest and Bazza is on the perch and well, let us just say that Bazza is in a bad mood. In fact, it is interesting that neither Falky or Ervie have any particular love for Bazza. They both continually kick him off the nest – and unfed at least on camera. Bazza decides to mix it up a bit with Ervie around 06:54. Bazza wants on the nest – indeed, it was almost his sole domain for a long time.

Bazza flies off the porch to knock Ervie off the nest.

They fly off battling. Ervie is coming back around.

They engage again!

They go around the nest. Look at Falky just taking it all in. He is glad he is eating a fish!

Ervie is intent on getting Bazza as far away as he can.

Those are just a few of the screen captures. The pair will fly around the nest and will be battling still. It is best to see it in video:

As nestlings, these three were amazing. They lined up like members of a choir for Mum, Ervie at the beak, and ate without conflict. There was hardly anything that prompted concern. Bazza, the first hatch, tried to push Ervie around a few times but, Ervie simply wouldn’t stand for it and ignored any untoward advances by Bazza. And then, Bazza stopped. They all ate well and even seemed to cooperate with their wingersizing on the nest. Now that they are independent juvenile males instead of nestlings, wanting to have a fish delivery instead of fishing (that is hard work and requires upmost physical condition), the competition is huge. I am so glad that it is now and not when they were little. They have to learn how to live in the real world away from the parents and keeping their territory and their food is all part of that. Needless to say, Bazza was run off today by Ervie. Yesterday, Falky chased him away.

Ervie is on the nest.

Does Ervie have reservations for today? We wait.

I don’t think either Falky or Ervie told Bazza about the new on line reservation system as he has been locked out for a few rotations. Don’t you love them?

Thanks for joining me. These lads are serious but, they are also fun. They are growing up. Take care everyone!

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey for their streaming cam where I took these screen shots and video clips.

Ervie gave us a fright

Ervie kept quite a few people worrying yesterday. We all know Ervie. He is off flying around finding his own fish (we think) and sitting over on the perch, right? Well, his behaviour changed a bit and it had some of us wondering what was ‘wrong’. Ervie stayed on the same spot on the nest for over 12 hours. Seriously. We watched to make sure his feet or talons were not tangled in fishing line. They weren’t. And then he flew off the nest only to return to the same spot! ERVIE!!!!!!!!! Ervie was pulling a Bazza waiting on the nest to get a fish. Meanwhile the water was a bit choppy and the winds were blowing at 21 kph but gusting much higher.

Indeed, Ervie was still on the spot on the nest at 16:29 when he flew off for a second time. Ervie should have stayed a little longer!

Bazza does a quick fly over at 16:57:26.

Bazza returns to the nest to wait for a fish delivery.

Bazza intercepts the fish at 17:15:09. No one else is around.

Bazza protecting his fish dinner. Notice the waves and the white caps. The water is very rough. Dad is a great fisher!

I still do not know if Ervie managed to get a fish from Dad yesterday. The water is far too choppy for the juveniles to have much luck, if any, fishing. It is supposed to be windy today, too, at Port Lincoln.

M15 has been stepping in and feeding E20 when 19 is sleeping. It is really sweet. M15 also brought in a tree branch this morning just about knocking the babies out as he put it in place.

The branch incident happens at 07:33.

This is E20 sitting up. How did I know that? Two clues. First look at the size of the feet. The baby standing has smaller feet than the one sleeping. The one asleep also has a ‘dirty’ spot on its bad. That is E19.

You can see this a little more clearly. E20 is standing up.

Sweet sleeping babies!

So sweet.

Our great parents – M15 on the right and Harriet on the left.

So far there is no Daisy on the nest and the Sea Eagles have not returned since they were harassed so much.

Can you find Ruggedy the Kakapo? Hiding in plain sight. The rangers took a break and are now back at work checking transmitters and doing health checks on our favourite non-flying parrot!

I want to leave you with one of the most interesting radio interviews that I have heard. It is especially dear to me because the young woman being interviewed is from Oklahoma. She got her falconer’s license in 14 and went on to study in Mongolia. You can listen to this while you do other things or you can start and stop. You will be so inspired. She talks at length on what it was like living in Mongolia and being trained as an Eagle falconer. It is on Bird Calls Radio.

It is warming up on the Canadian Prairies. It is -15. Feels almost like summer!!!!!

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, SWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Kakapo Recovery, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

New Year’s Eve in Bird World

The Audubon Society has posted a list of five rules when photographing Bald Eagles. I think that they apply to every bird. Be respectful. Prey is often scarce and if you see a raptor hunting food don’t disturb it, please. Their life could depend on it!

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/winter-2017/five-rules-photographing-bald-eagle-nests?fbclid=IwAR0rgIDuOUG1oXKaHil_H4B_mFz6TF6JzcL-1fuIpMJG8Hgw4Smxbh_02BE

The other day I called E19 and E20 little stinkers. What a pair! One of them was even beaking an adult this morning! E20 holds its own – it just makes everyone a little anxious. They are strong and healthy. The images are a little fuzzy as I tried to crop them so you could see the little ones better.

Here they are going at it first thing while Mum tries to get over to feed them breakfast. Both had huge crops and at the second feeding weren’t interested in eating just dusting it up.

This cheeky eaglet facing Mum was beaking at her feathers!

Even with all the action, they are both adorable with their spiky tops.

Harriet has just finished feeding the pair some nice fresh fish.

Harriet is so experienced. It is often one bite for you and then a bite for your sibling.

Here is a video showing Dad, M15 giving E19 and E20 the last meal of the day yesterday!

It was a gorgeous morning at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby and Samson.

Gabby is having a break looking over their territory in the morning mist.

Samson always enjoys getting some time with the eggs. Oh, so handsome.

Anna and Louis seem to have perfected transitioning incubation duties while protecting that one precious egg of theirs.

It is a beautiful nest full of pinecones for this little eaglet to use to learn how to grip with its talons.

It is already New Year’s Day in Australia and the Port Lincoln Lads were up early trying to get the first fish from Dad. It was 06:23 and Falky was on the nest!

Dad didn’t even eat the head!

Well done, Falky.

Diamond does not seem to have spent the night in the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University but she did arrive early. There was a lot of eee-chupping. It sounded like she was calling Xavier to come and join her. Xavier might have been off hunting for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning.

You are so beautiful, Diamond.

Everyone in Bird World seems to be doing just fine today. Big Red and Arthur have been spotted hunting together over by the power plant. It is comforting that all are doing well. We hope that all of the 2021 fledges fly safe, stay healthy, and have lots of prey items.

Thank you so much for joining me. Wishing you all a healthy and happy start to 2022. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest and D Pritchett Family, KNF Bald Eagle Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and NE Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF.

Wednesday in Bird World

Let’s start off with what is on everyone’s mind: Has there been a confirmed sighting of Yurruga? Yesterday, Dr Cilla Kinross was inspired by a very quick prey drop at the scrape. Diamond flew into the trees. Cilla was in the trees looking half an hour later – she only saw Diamond. Diamond returned to the scrape with quite a large crop also. Some believed they had heard Yurruga calling but, Cilla is unable to confirm that. So the answer is – we simply do not know. Yurruga has not been seen since last Thursday when he was on a building during a storm. We can only wait.

My goodness that little one was such a cutie.

October 20. Yurruga and Diamond

Diamond was really beautiful this morning as the soft glow of the sun worked its way through the fog.

Both parents, Xavier and Diamond, have been inside the scrape – scraping. They also had some bonding moments this morning at sunrise.

My heart aches for them.

The second question of the day is what is going on with Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon of the Campanile, mate to Annie, that was injured by a male intruder that is trying to cosy up with Annie? Here is the latest news.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation rangers on Taiaroa Head are shutting down the streaming cam so that they can move it to the site of the Royal Albatross family for 2021-22. There are lots of guesses as to who the couple might be. The announcement is due tomorrow.

One of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Samson and Gabby, at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville have been putting the finishing touches on their nest. They are perfecting the Spanish moss lining the nest cup. Now all we need are some eggs!

Gabby doing some final inspections this morning.

The three lads at the Port Lincoln all had fish yesterday. Falky had more than Ervie or Bazza. Falky has become a master at slipping the fish out of Dad or Mum’s talons. A magician.

There is a lovely shot of the PLO Mum. She has done an extraordinary job raising these three boys to fledge this year (with Dad’s good help). Yesterday she even spent some time feeding Bazza. He is definitely a Mum’s boy!

Bazza can be a bit naughty. I know that the banders were certain that there were three males. Someone looking at Bazza’s legs and that beautiful necklace in the image below might mistake him for a lovely female.

Bazza and Falky sleep with their heads tucked under their wings – adult style – standing on the nest. Ervie is sleeping over on the perch or the ropes. They are all doing well. I continue to pinch myself. This Osprey nest really turned itself around this year to fledge all three hatchlings.

There are many articles coming out in international newspapers and academic journals on the effect of warming oceans on the seabirds including the beloved Osprey. I picked one of those for you as some are frustrating. They allow me to embed the article but then want you to subscribe to read it! That is a major irritant to me – like Subarus are to Ferris Akel!

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-threatens-survival-of-albatross-60906

It is a grey damp day, 3 degrees C. The snow is melting. There are lots of birds at the feeders. A large European Starling is sharing the peanut and bark butter feeder with some cute little House Sparrows.

The tiny suet balls called Bark Butter by our supplier are a really big hit since winter has set in. Junior has been around to get the corn while Dyson was busy elsewhere. Nice to see all of them.

One of my former students posted this today on FB. It is a perfect little giggle for all of us!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and NE Florida Eagle and the AEF for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

Black-Shouldered Kite

I want to thank ‘L’ for asking if I would share parts of that amazing book Australian Birds of Prey by Penny Olsen. I am so happy to do this! We can all learn together.

There are 24 species of raptors at the time the book was written in Australia, 1995. I know that many of you are familiar with the Eastern Osprey and the Peregrine Falcon so I want to start with some gorgeous raptors that you might not know. My plan is to introduce 1 or, at the most, 2 species a week. Our first is the Black-shouldered Kite. The scientific name is Elanus axillaris. Just look at that lovely bird. She is simply gorgeous.

“Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)” by patrickkavanagh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Black-Shouldered Kite is easily identified by the black patch on their wing. There is also a small black underwing patch. This is a small to medium bird with a gorgeous white head, body, and tail. The shoulders are black as is the beak. The back and upper wings are mostly a very pale grey. The eyes are a captivating red! The cere is a brilliant yellow as are the legs and talon.

The female is 36 cm and the male 35 cm in length. The female weighs approximately 300 grams with the male weighing 260 grams when fully grown. As you can see, the female is slightly larger than the male which is known as Reverse Sex Dimorphism.

“Black Shouldered Kite” by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Black-shouldered Kite has two front toes and two in the back (as opposed to three forward and one back). The wingspan is 80-100 cm.

In terms of its habitat, the Black Shouldered Kite prefers open grasslands, woodlands, and croplands in lower altitude areas that are within the tropical or temperate climate zones. At the time the book was written the population numbers were climbing.

The birds prefer rodents as their first choice of prey while their second is insects. The Black Shouldered Kite tends to breed when prey numbers are higher. They raise one clutch per year normally between May-November. Clutch sizes vary between 2 and 5 with the majority being 3 or 4 eggs. In a poor year with little or no food, it is expected that Black Shoulder Kites would have a much smaller clutch or lay no eggs at all. Eggs are on average 4.2 cm. This can be compared to an Osprey whose eggs are, on average 6.1 cm long. Eggs are incubated for 31 days with chicks fledging at 5 weeks. The chicks will have their adult plumage in one year, after their first moult.

The image below is a juvenile. Notice the rusty brown wash on its head and shoulder. What a beauty. Even though this chick is waiting for food, at 5 weeks it is fully capable and does hunt mice.

“Black-shouldered Kite: Waiting for lunch” by birdsaspoetry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As we know, raptors adapt and below the kite is eating a lizard.

“Predator with prey! (Black-shouldered kite)” by Tarique Sani is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Oh, what a beautiful bird! I hope that you have enjoyed learning about one of the raptors that live in Australia (and other parts of Asia). Like every species of bird, the protection of their habitat (and keeping it from fragmenting into small patches) is important to the continuing health of the Black Shoulder Kite. Other threats are egg collectors (yes, they still exist), pesticides, rodenticides, and electrocution on power lines.

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

Credit for Featured Image: “Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)” by Lip Kee is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0