Looking back at WBSE 26

6th of November 2022

Sometimes there are very special birds that elevate our spirits higher than we thought could be imagined. This was the case with WBSE 26.

I received so much mail from individuals with terminal illnesses – some in hospital – and from others with physical challenges. Each spoke to the inspiration they received from this single little Sea Eaglet.

Today I was telling one of our readers about WBSE 26 and I wondered how many others do not know the story of 26. So, I decided to post an old blog in the anticipation that it will bring joy. Like Bowland Beth, those of us who know the story, know the ending and it still brings tears. 26 was a very, very special eaglet.

Worry for Middle at Port Lincoln as fish are few…and other bird world news

1 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that your beginning of the week has been a good one. We are on the third bad weather day at Port Lincoln and Middle has had little food. It is a very somber day. We wait to see if the weather changes and then to see if Big will allow Middle to eat. Things are not looking good. I wish I had great news for you this morning but ever so sadly, I do not.

Some of you are coming in late to the Alphabet-Name Game. It is for fun but, I have also discovered that it is a really good way to remember our feathered friends. Someone wrote that SE26 needed to be remembered and, well, the tap started running. That sea eaglet was such an inspiration to so many. I am so utterly deflated that she is not with us! — But, back to the fun part. Take a digital or physical piece of paper and put down all the letters of the alphabet. See what names of the streaming cam birds you come up with for each one. E is for Ervie. A is for ______________. Who can come up with a name for U? Anyone watching those Finnish Osprey nests? Send me your list by e-mail before midnight the 2nd of November. I will then set about collating them hopefully with some pictures! I hope to have the list complete over the weekend. Thank you to those that have already sent in their names. I saw so many that I knew and had forgotten! And do not feel bad if you come up with a lot for one letter and none for others, just send them in to me and join the challenge! That e-mail is: maryasteggles@maryannsteggles.com

In the Mailbox and Comments:

‘F’ comments: ‘The Port Lincoln nest is the hardest I’ve seen since I started seeing ospreys at the beginning of the year, very hard, the only thing missing is for the mother to be sick.’

You are so right, ‘F’. Yesterday I thought we had lost Mum and my heart just sank watching Dad try to feed the two osplets, Big and Middle, and failing miserably. It is very difficult to watch a nest that does not have enough fish. As I continue to mention, I have huge concerns over the commercial tuna fishing fleets that are based in Port Lincoln. Are they taking all the fish? I hope to find out more about this later.

NOTE: There was only 1 fish yesterday, 1 November, in Port Lincoln. Big attacked Middle many times. Mum is currently sleeping on top of Middle. I am concerned now that Middle will not survive unless there is a massive amount of fish brought to the nest. There will be no intervention. Port Lincoln would not have permission unless as Ian Falkenberg and others have said they deem the bird to be ‘near fledge’. There have been ospreys taken into care who have done well at Audubon’s Centre for Birds of Prey at Mailand, Florida such as Smedley who lived to be 28 and Bailey. I am attempting to find other factual information on Ospreys in care. If you know of any, please let me know.

Smedley and Bailey at the Audubon Birds of Prey Centre in Maitland, Florida. Smedley passed away in the past year at the age of 28. Bailey is still alive at the Centre and I understand there is another osprey in care…perhaps more. I must check with our friend ‘L’ that works with these amazing raptors to find out precisely how many ospreys have gone through the centre. Some have stayed as ambassadors while others are returned to the wild.

Making News:

Just more research findings supporting birds and nature are good for our health and might, in the future, be prescribed by doctors! Have a read and smile.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/bird-birdsong-encounters-improve-mental-health-study

There is a new article on birds and pollution by the British Trust for Ornithology. Have a read when you get a chance. We can all learn something new every day!

https://www.bto.org/understanding-birds/articles/birds-and-pollution-%E2%80%94-masterclass

Australian Nests:

One of the older siblings of the Melbourne Four looks up perhaps seeing the parents flying about. Next to her in the gutter is the wee 4th hatch, a little boy.

Victor Hurley, the head researcher for the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Research Group, has posted what he believes are the genders of the Melbourne Four on FP. Here is that announcement:

Oh, goodness. Ervie’s tracker has been off line for a few days and last night the camera went down on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge just when we were all getting more than concerned for Middle. Ervie has been seen roosting on a tree near the water so he is fine. He had flown away early probably hoping to find some fish.

The waves are really, really choppy at Port Lincoln. Rain and gales have hit the nest and the number of fish deliveries has been dwindling since the start of the stormy weather. There was only one fish delivered on Tuesday.

This is one gorgeous osprey looking at us with their crest up high.

They are hard to differentiate between unless they are standing up and you can compare size and then see both head’s. Middle is missing feathers from the nape and so is this bird with this gorgeous crest. Is this Middle? or is it Big fooling me?

‘A’ tells me that there is even snow predicted for Port Lincoln. I simply cannot believe this is happening. This nest is ‘fragile’.

Everything is fine at the scrape box on the water tower in Orange. Indigo is really flapping those wings and Little Rubus watches and then he does some precious little flaps, too. He copies everything that Indigo does – my goodness what an utter joy it is to watch these two grow up together.

Indigo works her wings all during the day. Little Rubus often watches closely and if you look, he will give a little flap to his wings.

Xavier brings in a European Starling for breakfast. Indigo gets frightened and moves back toward the wall and then scurries to the Cilla Stones.

Just look at that beautiful Dad, our loving Xavier.

Xavier decides to take the prey and prepare it elsewhere. By this time Indigo is curious and hungry and comes down from the stones. Will that Starling return?

Yes, it does. Xavier returns in about 50 minutes and Diamond flies in to take the prey and feed Indigo and Rubus. Oh, dear. Look at that is left on the stones!!! The Starling Head. Indigo is going to be scared out of her wits when she sees it.

Just look at those beautiful tail feathers now revealed. If you look at Rubus, he is now losing the soft down from around his eyes and on his wing tips.

Every time Indigo really gets to flapping more down flies through the scrape.

The eyases had a Starling feeding but the head was left. Diamond comes in to take it and Rubus rushes over to take it. Poor Indigo. Rubus is going to put it right near the wall where she is sleeping. Will she be frightened when she wakes up and there is that beak and eyes staring at her? Rubus has never been frightened and Indigo is so easily scared. It would be a trick a younger sibling would pay on its older one!

Rubus grabs the head.

He carries it over and places it next to Indigo!

Diamond returns in a few minutes and retrieves the head and feeds it to Rubus. I don’t think Indigo even moved. Rubus is an endless pit when it comes to prey. Where does he put it? Definitely not in his skinny long legs.

Indigo and Rubus had a European Starling and a Large Honeyeater (Noisy Miner) for their morning meals. Rain is forecast for Orange, too. You can see some dark clouds looming in the distance.

The Melbourne Four continue to be fed and to find out when you have to listen and watch them scurry down the gutter towards the adult with the prey. Their legs are certainly getting stronger and the oldest is starting to look like a juvenile falcon!

Just checking on some of the Bald Eagle nests in the US as the couples continue to do nestorations or rebuilding.

Jackie and Shadow’s nest at Big Bear in California.

Gabby and Samson’s nest near St Petersburg, Florida.

Ron and Rita’s nest in the Miami Zoo.

Bella and Smitty have been bringing in nesting materials to the NCTC nest.

Lady and Dad were bonding at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest.

My thoughts go out to the Port Lincoln nest this morning as we wait to see if Middle will survive. I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that it feels like our heart has been pulled out of us. The turn in the weather and the amount of fish at Port Lincoln has put our beautiful Middle’s life in jeopardy.

The other two scrapes we have been watching are doing just fine. Much of the fluff is now off three of the falcons at 367 Collins Street. There is plenty of food available at both scrapes.

Take care everyone. Thank you for being with me. See you soon.

It is freezing in Port Lincoln tonight. Turned really, really cold. Mum is working hard at keeping Middle warm. Beautiful Mum.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took the screen captures: ‘A’ and ‘H’, Audubon’s Birds of Prey, The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Victor Hurley and 367 Falcon Watchers, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, WRDC, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Anything you can do, I can do it, too! and an update on SE29 and other tales in Bird World

28 October 2022

It has simply been an extraordinary day on the Canadian Prairies. Here it is 2113 and the temperature is +10 C. Earlier it was 13 C. There were individuals walking around with their summer flip flops! Fall is such a harbinger of the cold, cold winter that well, it is nice to have a break. I am starting the news for tomorrow because it is happening right now in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to get out early and find some Snowy Owls in the fields north of where I live. Perhaps a Northern Harrier or two and might there be a duck?

Snowy Owls arrive in Manitoba when the temperature begins to drop. You can see Snowy Owls on the utility poles, hay bales, and in the fields of Southern Manitoba. They rarely venture to the center or the north of our province. They blend in perfectly – their beautiful white plumage with its dark flecking – with the snow covering the land. Their eyes are a bright yellow as are their legs. They feed on grouse, lemmings, rabbits, and weasels in the winter. Any that remain here in the summer live off of voles and mice in the fields. We always think of owls as hunting from dusk to dawn but, the Snowy Owls hunt during the daytime. They range in size from 50-70 cm with reverse sex size dimorphism (the female is noticeably larger than the male).

This beautiful image is “Snowy owl (female)” by Marie Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Making News:

Update on the status of SE29. Oh, my goodness, a broken leg above the talon. Sweet baby. So glad 29 is in good care!

Missing Annie and Alden? They were bonding in the scrape box yesterday!! ‘H’ caught it!

Progress is being made on the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle’s nest that collapsed. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Parents working very hard to get it ready for the upcoming breeding season.

Australian Nest News:

Friday on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge has simply been ‘interesting’. The day arrived with a small fish and deep breaths as I wondered whether Big would attack Middle. Or would Middle decide to give Big a peck again? ‘H’ calls what Middle got last night as ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – it certainly was! But, today both have been civil. That said, something else is happening.

If one of the chicks does something, the other immediately does the same thing. Now seriously bear with me. This meant that both of them stuck their little bottoms in the air and did a PS in the window of 1030 and 1031. I kid did you not.

Big was sleeping and Middle was looking out over the water with a really nice crop.

Middle begins flapping his wings.

Then Big stands up and flaps her wings.

Middle raises up its fat little bottom with its head bent down low and gets ready. At the same time Big begins to lower her head and raise her bottom.

Middle goes first. Just look at that incredible ps. This chick has been eating well…if we did not know it we could ascertain that from the volume and the velocity of this incredible perfectly white ps. (There are some sticks there as well, check above or below so that you can tell what is ps. Middle has strong legs and a fat bottom and is growing like an incredibly bad weed.

Nine seconds separate the ps of each osplet.

Then Big decides to do some wing flapping.

Then Middle! The one good thing about their method is that it allows room for both to flap on the nest. I sure wonder what Mum thinks when she watches these two.

Then they both quiet down.

Dad arrives with another fish. It is 1232.

Gosh, I couldn’t see the size of that fish but Mum was still feeding the osplets at 1300. Big appears to have gotten the largest share. In the image above you can already see the crop that is large and — it will continue to grow!

At 1301 Middle had to stop eating and have another ps. Then he went back to the table probably hoping to get some more good bites which he did get. Now will he get that important fish tail?

Then – all of a sudden – the two osplets look up and there is Dad landing with another fish. Can you believe this?

Dad lands with a very small fish. A good practice fish for self-feeding. Mum ignores him and continues to feed Middle. She also gives some bites to Big who seems to always be able to find room for more.

At 1315 Dad takes his unwanted little fish and I presume goes over on the ropes to have his own lunch.

Dad returns empty taloned. He is looking closely at the fish that Mum is still feeding Middle and Big. Mum has been feeding the two and herself for over an hour. That was a BIG fish!

Incredible. At 1350 Mum is just finishing up that fish. Happy to see her eating well today, too.

Middle and Big had another meal at 1945. Wow. Dad is having some excellent fishing days.

Rubus and Indigo are adorable. Indigo ran off the Cilla Stones this afternoon to join Rubus in the corner. Oh, these eyases are so cute! That cuteness comes in part from their behaviour – their facial expressions, their interaction with one another and with Xavier and Diamond and their environment inside the scrape.

Rubus has been playing with the feathers. Is he looking for food scraps?

Indigo is over on the Cilla Stones watching her little brother as he intently stares at a feather.

Wow. That was a bit of a leap. Has Indigo been secretly going to gymnastics classes? I wonder how many points she would get for that landing?

Indigo is so curious as to what Rubus is doing and finding in those stones in his corner of the scrape.

Ah, two little sweeties! ‘A’ tells me that Cilla is certain that Indigo is a female as she is already as large as Xavier and still growing but, will not declare gender of Rubus for a bit. Four days younger and he is growing and growing. I have always called Rubus a ‘he’ and said ‘little brother’ but, in fact, Rubus could be a little sister for Indigo.

‘A’ notes that Indigo is losing all of her cotton fluff and will be looking much more like a falcon as Rubus continues to copy everything she does and remains a ball of cotton. From the time stamps that ‘A’ sent me, these two had a few good meals yesterday. Looks like there were five – that is appearing to be the daily average for the scrape at Orange.

The Melbourne Four seem to have relocated – for part of the afternoon – to the other end of the ledge.

The eyases are running up and down and then resting. All is well. No need to panic! ‘H’ caught them doing their famous gutter stomp heading to the other end for prey!

The weather report from ‘A’ for the eastern coast of Australia is rain and more rain. Storms put out power and pumps were working over time. This could inpact hunting for the Melbourne adults. We wait to see.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care of yourself. See you soon! (Please be advised if the weather is grand, I could well be out birding until late Friday. There might not be a late evening newsletter going out after this one. If that is the case, I will see you Saturday morning!).

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ for her video clips of Cal Falcons and the Melbourne Four, ‘A’ for her over view of the nests, the Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Middle’s enormous crop…and then Big’s fury…plus more news in Bird World for early Thursday

27 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope this finds everyone well with a smile on their face!

Going for a walk, no matter how short or how long, can be invigorating for one’s mind and for our bodies. I remember when my mother broke her hip. Her surgeon, at that time, was the surgeon for the OU Football Team. I have forgotten his name but, I will never forget the day he looked into my mother’s eyes and told her if she didn’t get up out of that hospital bed, she was going to lose her ability to walk. It had been 2 days since the surgery and I laughed when he told me he was ‘nothing but a glorified carpenter’. What a character and an amazing surgeon. My Mum took it to heart and got herself up and within the month was walking 2 miles. Oh, she did well. The weather was lousy and her and her best friend, Dorothy, would go to the mall and window shop as they got their exercise. It was a good lesson for me, too!

It was a frigid early afternoon yesterday. It was 1 degree and the wind was blowing over the pond and bringing a chill even through the wool coat. I reminded myself that it will soon be parka weather. The state of the Wood Ducks needed checking. There was only one lonely male that I could find. He came swimming towards me thinking I had food. What a tragedy. Several of the ducks at that particular park pond had ‘Angel Wing’ this year. It is doubtful that they will survive. I left before he wasted his energy coming all the way to the shore. What a beautiful sight he was!

Did I tell you that I have the greatest fondness for ducks?

It is rather miraculous. When I look at a male Wood Duck, the patterns in the plumage remind me of weavers in India. Those women have the patterns emblazoned in their minds but, for these precious ducks, the pattern is laid out as the feather emerges from the follicle and grows. Feathers grow out of a quill or shaft. In young birds, we call these ‘blood feathers’ because they actually contain blood until the feather is completely finished growing.

A single follicle can produce, like a weaving, multiple colours and patterns. If I think about it for a long time my mind just becomes boggled. Just look at the multiple colours that go into this handsome duck. Did you know that the male Wood Duck plays no part in raising the young? Absolutely none just like poor Daisy, the Pacific Black Duck that laid her eggs on the Sea Eagle’s nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Daisy had absolutely no help – not even security. So if the male doesn’t bring food for the female or provide security or help with the little ones, what does he do? Well, guess what? He just has to look extremely handsome! The female picks him for his beautiful plumage – they want a male that stands out from all the others.

On the other hand, the female needs not to stand out in a crowd but, blend in with her environment. She needs to have good camouflage in order to not call attention to predators.

I really adore female Wood Ducks. It is because they are quiet and shy, often hovering in the background wanting seed tossed on the ground and concrete by visitors but not daring to do so. They are often chased by the geese and by the Mallards.

The females have a tiny crest compared to the males and instead of a red eye ring and eye they have a yellow eye ring in a gorgeous white teardrop shaped eye patch. No flamboyant colours for them. Grey leading into a dabbled brown breast with some lovely blue on the wing to match their bill.

Oh, to me she is the most beautiful delicate little thing. I missed seeing the females. This image was taken on 10 October. I will check again in the next couple of days as the weather warms to see if any were just lurking on the island where I could not see them.

In the mailbox:

‘L’ sent me a great article from BirdLife on a recent study on how to make overhead power lines safe so that birds do not collide with them. It is a good read.

https://www.birdlife.org/news/2022/10/24/new-study-how-to-stop-birds-from-getting-electrocuted-by-and-colliding-with-power-lines-across-the-eu/

Nest News:

Besides the sight of a few ducks putting a big grin on my face, it was absolutely the state of the Port Lincoln Osprey nest that has had me grinning from ear to ear. I continue to say that it is horrific to lose a chick, heart breaking every time and they are not forgotten. Never.

Middle is doing so well. He is really showing his stuff – sitting right by Big, doing the snatch and grab, not being fearful to eat the last bite offered. Confidence. Middle was doing really well for the past several days and most of Thursday in Australia and then…he wasn’t. Middle now has a bald spot on his head!

Another fish arrived on the nest and while it wasn’t as big as some of the early morning ones, it was large and everyone got a good feed. I almost think Mum caught it as she appeared slightly damp when she returned to the nest. I cannot be 100% sure, however.

Middle is on the left side of Mum and Big is on the right when she begins feeding. We can just see cute Middle peaking out from under Mum’s wing.

Middle standing getting ready to stretch his wings. You can see the dark thermal down that will be under their juvenile feathers on Big who is leaning over.

In the image below you can really see Big’s tail feathers coming in and her thick

In between rain and wind, Middle and Big continued to eat and eat and eat. It is difficult to even imagine where they put all that fish. In both of the subsequent feedings that I watched – and that was even before mid-afternoon, Middle got the lion’s share of the fish. There were no quarrels, no disputes, just Middle full of confidence eating away. It just put a smile on my face from one side to the other. Here are a selection of images from those later feedings.

Middle got the lion’s share of this feeding as well. By 1321 he is full and has moved away looking back at Mum with such a precious delicate face. Big is now having a turn.

The rain and the wind begin and Middle gets under Mum as best he can.

The storm passed and Mum flew off the nest. Look what is over on the rim of the nest? The rest of the fish that Mum was feeding Middle and Big when the rain and the wind started. Middle sees it. This time next week Middle would go over and grab that fish and start eating it but, he isn’t going to do that today.

Mum returns to feed her babies. Middle has found some room for some more fish. I honestly do not know where these two are putting the fish – they have almost been eating non-stop all morning.

At the end of that feeding, Middle, standing in profile, his showing off his enormous crop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been a really good day so far for Middle and it isn’t even the middle of the afternoon.

Was Middle just feeling his oats when he decided to peck Big at 18:10? (I want to send a thanks to ‘H’ here. I was up with my coffee and had not rewound the end of the days footage. So thankful for her warning). As ‘H’ said, ‘It is a reminder not to mess with Big.’ It was a frenzied attack. Both had eaten well. Middle more than Big. I hope Middle has learned to leave his Big sister alone. Enjoy the peace and quiet and don’t push it or she will attack if provoked and Middle could be the big loser. As it stands, if you see feathers missing, Big did it but Middle provoked the attack. Gracious.

Big, satisfied that Middle, was submissive and would never do that again stopped the ferocious attack at 18:13:52 – a little over two and a half minutes from when it started.

The Melbourne Four are the most energetic and expressive eyases. They run up and down the gutter until their batteries are all worn down and their tummies are full and then they stop. All in a big puddle, altogether keeping one another warm on a drizzly day.

One of the highlights of the feedings today was when Dad brought in a freshly killed pigeon and began plucking it right in front of the four ravenous eyases. Now I say pigeon because once upon a time someone told me that the only reasons there are pigeons is for the falcons and hawks to have something to eat! The feathers were white and some of you might have a more clear idea if it was a pigeon or a gull or something more exotic. Then when the prey was plucked and all the kids were ready for some real bites instead of feathers — Dad flew off with the pigeon. What?! He did bring it back and was ready to fill those crops and then Mum showed up. She pulled a Diamond taking the prey away from Dad who had almost lost it to the oldest eyases. Mum then proceeded to fill their tanks.

Then Dad leaves taking the pigeon with him and leaving only feathers.

A few minutes later he returns with the prey.

Then Mum arrives to take over! Diamond-style.

Dad is off!

Everyone is hungry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

‘H’ clocked 7 feedings of various links at the 367 scrape on Thursday.

At Orange, Rubus and Indigo have been eating and eating, too. I love when Little Rubus gets full and turns his back to the adult who is feeding. When did he start this behaviour?

I could watch the expressions on Rubus’s face all day. He is quite the character.

Once Indigo finishes eating she goes over to cuddle with her little brother in the corner. A little cotton candy pile.

Beautiful Diamond looks over lovingly at her two eyases. What a real treat it has been seeing Diamond and Xavier with two – the very quiet grown up Indigo and the feisty little Rubus. Such treasures.

How many times a day do we need to thank these bird families for bringing such joy to us?

Migration News:

Bonus crossed the Dardanelle Strait and flew to the Greek island of Lesvos.

Bonus is feeding near this creek. It looks like a lovely place to be.

Little Waba was in Israel. He flew into Jordan and decided to return to Israel.

This is where Waba is feeding. There were reports of 85 Black Storks at this site. Hopefully Little Waba is there among others, safe and getting full and strong. There is still more flying to do!

There has been no transmissions from either Karl II who was last heard from in Egypt and Kaia whose last transmission was from Chad. Please send them your most positive best wishes, please.

Please send all kinds of positive wishes to Middle so that he will just leave Big alone from now on. No need to bother Big. Everything was going just fine. Middle has to remember that Big is the boss even if he gets to eat first. That is only because she is letting him.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. 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 and to Looduskalender for their maps and news of Karl II and his family. 

Breakfast arrives at Port Lincoln Osprey barge

25 October 2022

I am still nervous about Port Lincoln despite the fact that everything has been going well. Today. as I was going through old screen shots, there were so many of Little. It is always a reminder that the challenges our feathered friends face – whether they are song birds, sea birds, or big Apex Raptors – are serious. All it takes is a late fish arrival to set off a series of events that often leads in the death of the smallest and most vulnerable.

So, it is reassuring to see that everyone on the Port Lincoln nest had a good feed. Dad came in with a large whole very much alive fish at 08:46:17. At one point, Big ‘sort of’ raised her neck high. It was enough to leave Middle at the far side waiting…waiting for the time when Big was full enough to go up for fish but, not so long that nothing was left. Middle watched, listened, and moved over. Middle and Mum are really going to enjoy the last half of that fish! Thanks, Dad.

Just look at that nice fish! Mum had full control of it. She wrestled it around with her strong talons and jaw so that there was no chance it would get away.

Big is ducking over. That fish gave it a bit of a flap when Mum was hauling it in. (Facing the screen – Big is on the right of Mum and Middle is on the left).

Middle is just waiting while Big eats.

Mum has been feeding the two osplets for nearly an hour taking some nice bites for herself. Big now has her second wind and has decided she is up for seconds. Not surprising. Big does love her fish.

That nice fish will keep Mum and the two osplets for quite some time. They should not be thinking about another fish until tea time!

I knew that you would be as anxious to hear how the feeding went at Port Lincoln as I am. It is all good. We can each rest a little easier today knowing that Middle has had a good feed and that there was no beaking.

Big horked the tail down at 09:43:30.

The feeding took 57 minutes – what a fish! Everyone is full.

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

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

Mum saves the fish…and other tales from Bird World

25 October 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone!

I hope that your day is starting off wonderfully well.

For those living in Melbourne, oh, enjoy those 24 degrees C temperatures for me, too. My forecast is for it to snow in the next hour! And for it to be -1 C tomorrow. Now…I don’t know about your meteorologists but, ours are sometimes not correct and I am really hoping that they will be wrong. Not for me but for all the birds that remain in our City. There are even reports of the first Snowy Owls arriving in the southern part of our province. Cold weather is really and truly on its way. I have never seen all the Snowys on the fields in our province. Looking forward to finally seeing one this year.

There was no snow when I woke up but it is 1 degree and grey. The Blue Jays are gathering peanuts in the shell and the Lilacs are full of little sparrows singing away eating their Black Oil Seed and millet. Just a few seconds ago six Canada Geese flew over.

Thankfully I had the camera ready because I was wanting to try and catch Little Red. He was too quick!

My attempts to lure the European Starlings down from roosting in the far trees did not work. There were, however, some wrens and sparrows that promptly went over to eat the Meal Worms and the Bark Butter. The squirrels were also busy today and Little Red continues to go in and out of the big box that holds the wood. That is where I put his new house – if he would move into it. I am afraid to go and check but it is possible that he is entering from the back hole to the house. Fingers crossed. It would be a great place for him.

There are a few Dark-Eyed Juncos still around looking for Millet.

Dad brought in one of the nicest fish I have seen to the Port Lincoln nest. Mum had been doing her talon dance and Middle had joined in prey calling. When Dad arrived, the fish, like all fish being slimy, slipped…oh, it looked like Mum was going to lose it down the side of the nest. But…she didn’t. She managed to get that very much alive fighting fish up on that nest and then she decided to fly off with it. I do not know what Mum did to that fish in the few seconds she was off the nest but it sure wasn’t wiggling and jerking when she got back. How many times have we witnessed these big fish, alive and fighting, being brought to nests only to hold our breath as they flipped and flopped over the ospreys??? Manton Bay comes to mind for this past season in the UK. My goodness I thought those two babies were going to die. How the one survived I will never know but, she did.

It is not the first time I have seen this happen and I am certain that you have, at one time or another, if you have watched Osprey nests, seen a fish go overboard. It is heart breaking. I cannot say for certain but many say that it takes about 15 dives to get a catch. That is a lot of energy expended to go over the side. And, as we all know too well, a fish can sometimes mean life or death to one of the chicks.

Mum fought that fish pulling and pulling so it would not go overboard.

The other thing that I find interesting in these situations is that the male does not help. It is as if once the fish is delivered he is done..gone. At any rate, three cheers for Mum. She did an amazing job wrestling that fish.

Middle is very clever. Mum is getting the fish situated and Big is already to eat. Middle does not waste any seconds getting to the table but he doesn’t just rush in either. He can see how long that fish is and slowly moves into place.

Middle is going to get a truly good feed.

It is hard to tell but, Middle has a very large piece of fish he is getting ready to hook.

Just have a look at our dear Middle. That crop could pop!

Notice also how heavy the wings are now. The ospreys will let them droop. I also like to point out the dark down on the chest. The ospreys will have a thermal down underneath their feathers that will help them regulate their temperature.

All is quiet. Two very full ospreys. As I write this, the time is just past 1500 in Port Lincoln. I have not seen another fish come to the nest yet but there will be at least 1 more if not 2 today.

It is so nice to have these three nests progressing along nicely without too much worry of anything untoward happening. Oh, yes, I always say that the fortunes of a nest can turn in an instant – and they can. Thankfully we have no worries about predators, like Eagles, owls, or goshawks, diving down to snatch the chicks out of the nest! Those are constant worries at some nests such as those in Finland and now, of course, at some in the US like Cowlitz PUD where all three ospreys were taken by a Bald Eagle.

Oh, how precious. Indigo walked over to give her little brother a cuddle.

Xavier arrived with the afternoon tea. For a moment I thought that he might get to feed Indigo and Rubus but, no…Diamond arrived. It looked like a Starling but then as Diamond plucked it looked less so. The fact that it took longer to remove the feathers with Rubus getting anxious and walking away to Cilla’s stones indicated that it must have been something larger. Oh, my goodness. When Diamond started feeding the two were jumping and stretching for joy! It was a great feeding.

Notice that Little Rubus is at the kind of cotton ball stage too…the fluffy white down just hanging on as the juvenile feathers grow underneath. Indigo is doing a lot of preening and if you catch a glimpse of her tail, it is really growing nicely. They are changing almost right before our eyes. It is now Wednesday in Orange and by the weekend we should see some dramatic differences in the plumage of both.

It sure looks like a Starling!

Diamond arrives and takes the prey. Xavier has a last look. Oh, he loves being a Dad and what a wonderful one he is!

Some of you more familiar with the prey available around Orange can probably identify this tea time treat. It looks like a Starling to me but please correct me if it is something larger.

Poor Indigo. Both ‘J’ and I noticed that she let Little Rubus be right up in front. I do wonder about the fright she had with that one Starling head having a lasting impression or lasting fright.

Rubus gets impatient waiting for the plucking to end and walks over and gets on Cilla’s stones. Do you know why the stones are placed where they are? It is so Diamond will have to lay her eggs so the camera can see them, not hidden in the corner.

Rubus has a ferocious appetite! Not to worry. Indigo did get some food!

Notice how Indigo is changing. You can see those beautiful tail feathers and we are now getting a reveal of her back as the soft down comes away from her eyes. She is going to be just a stunner.

Oh, and thankfully, someone caught the morning feed at 367 Collins Street on video! (I am not able to use my video app on this machine…I hope to be able to make video clips for you soon but, for now, we will rely on others!)

Around 1345 at the scrape of the Melbourne Four in the CBD of Melbourne, the parents are on alert. One is calling from the ledge and they seem to be spending time on the ledge protecting the eyases.

Even if there was an intruder about, the Melbourne Four managed another four feedings lasting over ten minutes. They were at 0641 for 17 minutes, 1126 for 11 minutes, 1629 for 12 minutes, and a really big feed at 1855 lasting for 18 minutes. Thank you ‘H’ for all those times.

Other News in Bird World:

One of our favourite Ospreys, Richmond from the San Francisco Whirley Crane nest in the Richmond Shipping Yards, has had to protect his territory from Ravens today.

This is the latest news on SE30 who was found in a residential neighbourhood. I sound like a broken record. It is incredibly sad that the eaglets are rushed out of the forest so they cannot get their flying strong and be taught how to hunt for prey by their parents. This scenario is repeated annually. Thankfully, all those wonderful people around the Discovery Centre who love these eagles from here and beyond keep an eye on them. It is also reassuring that the right protocols are in place to rescue the eaglets and get them into care. Let us hope that SE29 and SE30 are both kept in care until they are flying strong and know how to hunt! Thank you Judy Harrington!

There is also some progress being made at the North Dame Bald Eagle nest in St Patrick’s Park, South Bend, Indiana. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Good luck Mum and Dad. They have a huge job ahead of them!

How much is a Bald Eagle’s life worth? Sadly, not much. A Devon, Ohio man shot and killed a Bald Eagle. WKBN27 First News is reporting that a federal judge gave the man a one year’s probation, a fine of $4000 and another $1200 to USFWS.

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

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Norte Dame Eagles FB, Eagle Cam, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon.

Late Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

I hope that each of you has had a fabulous weekend!

In my earlier blog today, I did not catch the ‘auto correct’ of Samson when I posted that him and Gabby were working on their nest. It is, of course, Samson not Damon!!!! Goodness.

The Sparrows thought it was warm enough for a bath today. And it is. It is a beautiful 14 degrees C – for me the absolute perfect temperature. It could stay like this forever and I would never get tired of it. They had such a good time! For well over an hour, one group after another spent time in the bird bath. They were so excited! I really do love sparrows…and I hope that those that think they will go extinct are wrong! And those that refuse to feed them because they are ‘not special’ will think again. They are so varied that I have a 8 cm thick book on them and still have trouble sometimes with Clay Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows — and I shouldn’t!

During the last month I have seen hundreds of Crows fly over my house around 1700. I did not know what they were doing until ‘N’ posted a YouTube video on Crows flying to join one another at a communal roost. It happens an hour before sunset. Thanks, ‘N’.

But, why did Crows get the moniker ‘Murder of Crows’? Apparently the use of the name goes back to 15th century English literature but, the Crow expert at Cornell University said the term is incorrect. ‘Scientists would call it a flock’. Indeed, Crows are often connected with death because they are black and because they eat carrion (dead animals) like Vultures, Condors, and Eagles. So remember, the next time you see a large group of Crows it is a flock!

As you will know, from reading my blog, I love ‘my’ Crows. Mr Crow has been around the garden for a number of years but, this year, he was joined by three fledglings that grew and grew and grew. (I always say Mr Crow…it could well be Mrs Crow!). This summer they started alerting me to when the wandering well-fed domestic cats were in the garden. They were so loud that their caws could not be ignored. For several days it seemed that they were wanting more food. They must have think I am truly daft. It wasn’t food – it was the cats. I am so grateful to them for protecting the other garden animals. In fact, most of the garden animals live in harmony. There is enough space and lots of food. It is the cats that cause the unhappiness.

But back to the Crows. ‘H’ wrote to me that Crows are signs of bad luck or death in Australia. In North American Indigenous traditions, the Crow and the Raven are good signs. They are signs of protection and often are viewed as messengers of wealth. In Manitoba, the Crow is part of the Creation Story of many of the local tribes just as it is with those in northwestern California. There are ceremonies that use the symbol, the power, and the prayers of the Crow to invoke protections – and these are very sacred, only used and known by those who deal with the Spirits. For the Inuit who live in the far north of Canada, the crow and the raven are often considered the same. You will find the creation stories of the Inuit and the Haida from British Columbia, using the Raven or the Crow, to tell their myths. The myth ‘The Crow Brings Daylight’ describes the moment when the people who lived in total darkness first saw the light that was brought by the Crow.

https://prezi.com/r9jz3ih7karv/crow-brings-daylight/

I hope that the Crow will bring you much luck and will guard and protect you.

All of the nests have had breakfast in Australia early. No one has had to wait for food to arrive despite the ominous clouds that you can see out the window of Xavier and Diamond’s scrape or the rain drops collecting on the camera at Port Lincoln.

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond to feed Indigo and Rubus. That was at 063320. Indigo and Rubus watch everything their parents do intently – each is a learning opportunity. The chicks will learn how to pluck and feed through observation. They will watch their parents fly from the scrape and, after they fledge, Xavier will teach them how to hunt. (With hawks and raptors it is often the role of the Dad to teach the fledglings to hunt.) Still, I have seen many, if not most, of the females do this as well. The exception would be the female Ospreys that leave the nests in the UK prior to the chicks fledging.

Notice that Little Rubus is in the corner with Indigo. Everything Indigo does, Rubus copies.

Indigo was so frightened by the Starling head last week. And here is another Starling head dangling! Do falcons have nightmares?

Just about the same time in Melbourne, at 0634, a plump freshly caught pigeon landed on the ledge at 367 Collins Street.

This morning you could really hear the stomping on that metal gutter! The eyases ate and began running up and down getting their legs strong. They are also flapping those little wings. Soon the white dandelions will be covering everything as the down flies off revealing the gorgeous juvenile falcon plumage.

It did not take long for the Melbourne Four to ‘decorate’ the far end of the gutter. Did you know that when falcons are looking for a good territory/scrape box/cliff, they will check to see how much guano is spread all over. The more ‘ps’ the better – it means that the area is rich in prey. An ideal location to have a nest!

Flapping and flapping. The others are almost all the way down to the other end of the gutter. The little one, however, chose to stay in the scrape. Cute wings!

Thankfully, Dad was out fishing early at Port Lincoln (as I am told he always is) and he hauled in a flat Zebra fish at 065757. The feeding was absolutely civil. In fact, it looks like Middle got the largest portion of that early fish.

It is difficult to describe how thrilled I am that Big has settled down and that life on the Port Lincoln Osprey platform is civil. It helps everyone. Middle can now eat without too much fear of reprisal. Still, he should be a wee cautious just in case Big wakes up on the wrong side of the fish one morning.

The nests have had their first meal for Monday in Australia. All is well.

There is no further news on Sea Eaglets 29 or 30 – both are in care. Dad and Lady have been working on their nest. They must wonder where their fledglings have gone. I wonder if they will leave for Lady’s favourite spa location, Goat Island, soon?

Thank you so very much for joining me. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Pinterest, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross,. 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Forest, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Port Lincoln’s Middle Bob is getting some confidence…and other tales in Bird World

22 October 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone,

I hope that you are already having a wonderful weekend by the time you read this update on our feathered friends. Things are really beginning to look up at Port Lincoln. I am cautiously optimistic that Big is moving out of her aggressive stage.

My friend “S’ and I were talking about books – holding books, feeling the paper, turning the pages – a few weeks ago. She is encouraging her graduate students at university to read real books, to go to the library, to feel the pages. Of course, she was talking to a ‘member of the choir’, so to speak, when we had our chat. I love books, good quality books with beautiful images. Today, it wasn’t a book that arrived in the post but Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Living Bird magazine that arrived. The cover featured a beautiful goshawk. Inside was a treasure trove of information for every species lover. There was a lot of information on migration, loss of biodiversity and what this means alongside reports on projects aimed at mitigating loss. The core of every article is how each of us can help mitigate the issues- sparking action to bend the curve.

As researchers and citizen scientists discovered with the great bird counts, the number of songbirds increased dramatically when ordinary people, just like you and me, began putting out bird feeders. Today, one of the most pressing issues is biodiversity. It is the word of the moment. One of the articles in this edition of Living Bird, ‘The Most Distinct Birds are at Greatest Risk of Going Extinct’ goes straight to the heart of the loss of entire species. On that list of Red Species, to my surprise, was the House Sparrow and the European Starling. The lead researcher, Emma Hughes from the University of Sheffield, said that birds with unusually long or short beaks, long or short legs were more likely to go extinct than others. Climate change and habitat loss is at the heart of the loss of these others such as the Red-headed Vulture, Giant Ibis, Seychelles Scops-Owl, the White-headed Duck, the Bee Hummingbird to name only a few on her list. They are going extinct because of their weirdness and the particular ecosystems that support them are being lost. For Hughes, the only way to stop the extinction is to increase efforts at biodiversity (21). This is precisely what they are trying to do with two species that depend on one another for survival – the White-barked Pine and the Clark’s Nutcracker. As the author of the article in Living Bird states, ‘Some pairings are so iconic that one is not complete without the other: Macaroni and cheese, Abbott and Costello. Peanut Butter and Jelly. In the northern Rockies and Sierra Nevadas, that duo is the white bark pine and Clark’s Nutcracker.’ (28)

To read the latest addition of Living Bird magazine, go to this URL: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/living-bird-latest-issue

There is a lovely video of the work being done on the Clark’s Nutcracker in this latest edition. Be sure to check it out.

I used the term ‘Red List’. Do you know what this means? It is the full name is the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. It just so happens that there are two wonderful and exquisitely produced books on these threatened birds. They are Red Sixty Seven and the most recent edition, Into the Red, by Kit Jewitt. Both editions are collaborations between authors and artists whose goals are to call attention to at-risk-birds as well as to raise funds to support conservation work to halt their extinction. The books were published by the British Trust for Ornithology. Go to bto.org for more information, to view some pages and read about the artists, and to purchase. The purchase will go directly to helping. I urge against buying through on line book sellers as the prices on their sites are way too high or they say not in stock.

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It is nearly 2300 on the Canadian prairies. There are no stars out tonight but there is one brave little Osprey in Port Lincoln, Australia who needs a round of applause. That ospreys name is Middle.

At 111232 a whole large live fish landed on the nest. Middle is being overly cautious not trying to grab any bites. Letting Big get those precious first bites and get her crop a little full. Meanwhile, Middle is pecking away at the tail of the fish. This is very interesting. You have probably seen, as I have, siblings eating from the tail while the breaking sibling is fed up at Mum’s beak. It is a good strategy once Middle figures out how to unzip that tail. By 112218 Middle is up by Big and is doing the snatch and grab. Sometimes Middle pulls back – he is very cautious. Mum gets to eat some fish. In fact, she is feeding the ospreys a little slower than usual. Big moves away from the fish feeding a couple of times. The first is at 112506. Big has been eating for 13 minutes and is getting full. Mum begins to feed Middle. At 112951 Big moves away. Middle remains cautious and then, at 114139, Middle pecks Big before he moves up to begin getting fish. So to summarize, even thought Middle is afraid and displays this as we watch, he is hungry and he is getting braver in order to get fed. Eating is essential to his survival. Middle is doing well. He will end the feeding with a nice crop.

I also noticed that Big is not as grumpy as yesterday despite there being 5 hours between fish deliveries. Perhaps she is slowing down, hitting that plateau. That would really bring peace to this nest.

By the time the 1637 Zebra fish arrives on the barge, Middle is feeling much better, more confident, and Big is being nicer. That feeding went well and even at 1817 when Mum and the two ospreys saw Dad and were feverishly calling for another fish, Middle (and Big) had enormous crops from the day’s takings. I have spent much time watching this nest as opposed to the two falcon scrapes because the fate of Middle was not quite clear. I will have said it twice today, at least, but, it appears that Port Lincoln has turned a corner.

Look carefully at the bottom image. That is Middle, full to the brim. Just sit and smile. Cry. Life appears to be good at Port Lincoln. Still, send all your best and warmest wishes to this family for continued supplies of fish.

It is getting more difficult to tell the female Peregrine Falcons from the males. You must look closely. Diamond just about fooled me yesterday. They lose weight. All of the females lose approximately 30% of their body mass during incubation and raising their chicks. Diamond now has the look of a male with his tight little striped pants.

The same is true for Melbourne where the camera is now positioned so we can see the happenings at the far end. Mum seems to be enjoying it. She has a nice perch above the chicks so that she can watch them but not have any one or all of the Melbourne Four rumbling around underneath her all night. Like human parents, she can get some sleep now!!!!! Thank you to ‘H’ who watched and clocked the feedings at 367 Collins Street yesterday. Much appreciated. There were 5 of them. At 0650 a large unprepared prey arrived on the ledge. The erases were fed for 22 minutes. Leftovers came at 1153 and that was an extremely short feeding of 4 minutes. At 1358 D arrives with a big prey item and feeds the eyases and then Mum arrives and takes over. That lasted 16 minutes. The final two feedings at 1657 and 1836, were large prey items fed for 24 and 18 minutes, respectively. Four active growing eyases can eat a large unprepared bird in such a short time!

This is just a short catch up. Everything is absolutely fine at the two scrapes in Australia – at the 367 Collins Street location and at Orange. I am cautiously delighted about the happenings at Port Lincoln and extremely proud of Middle Bob who is getting ever so clever. Middle Bob is a ‘survivor’.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that you are all well. I am back to normal. it was the flu shot that caused me to feel like I had been hit by a big truck. It is cloudy this morning but it appears to be a reasonable day to go and check on ducks. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Stuart Falcon scrape, and ‘H’ and ‘A’ and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

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.

Late Sunday in Bird World

16 October 2022

Once upon a time, someone asked me why I write a bird blog. What was in it for me? I smiled. First, I have met hundreds of the most caring people I could ever hope to meet. You. Your passion for and love of our feathered friends is infectious. Secondly, I cannot help myself. I love all birds and want to do whatever I can to help improve their living conditions and educate humans on what we can do to enrich their lives now that we have taken away their habitat, put toxins in the water where they get their fish, caused changes in climate. All of you know these things – which is also what makes you very special to me. You get it. One day I looked into the eyes of a female Sharp-shinned Hawk and ‘something’ transformed me. I will never be able to fully explain the connection with that raptor, at that moment, but it was intense. Not fear. It was as if the entire world stopped for those minutes. I have also learned something very special – nature and birds enrich our lives. They calm us when we are stressed out by daily living. Spending time with them is much better than paying a therapist!

In the Mailbox:

From ‘R’: “How do you deal with watching so many osprey chicks be killed by their sibling”?

‘R’, that is a great question and many have asked me something similar this morning. The real answer is that I don’t get over them. Each time one dies a piece of me goes off into the ether with them. I never forget them and their struggles and, I shed more tears than anyone knows for days after. At the same time, I rejoice – I mean jumping up and down cheering – when a third hatch that has been terrorized survives. It is my belief that they are clever, problem-solving, and will eat anything including the dry skin off a bone to survive. What I want to find out is if that translates into returning at two years to breed. Years of data still to come. As for Little Bob at Port Lincoln, my heart still aches and tears still flow. We watch them grow, we love them, we cheer them on to eat…it is difficult to see them come to harm.

I was touched by the many letters expressing the joy that Little Bob had brought to your lives and the sadness that nothing could be done to help him. Let us continue to support intervention. As one reader reminded me, ‘B’Dr Sharpe acted quickly to get permissions to help the eaglets in the Channel Islands clinging on the edge of a cliff for their life. Perhaps the authorities that give the permission for interventions in South Australia will come to understand that the tide of change in public opinion has already happened. We want nature protected and cared for! As humans we realize that many of the challenges faced by our raptors is because of us. Let us support having fish at the ready or by removing chicks to feed them and return them to the nests. Fix their eyes like CROW did for those little eaglets of Harriet and M15 (E17 and E18) or the removal of monofilament line at Captiva. Whatever it takes – much of their suffering is because of our bad habits – let’s fix things for them by being active in their lives in a positive way.

Making News: Videos and Posts:

Harriet and M15 have doubled the size of their nest. My goodness what a hard-working pair of Bald Eagles getting on with the job of replacing their home after Hurricane Ian destroyed it. Industrious. That is the word my mother would have used for these two! Well done, Harriet and M15!

Fishing gear – in the oceans, in the lakes, along the rivers and streams. It is absolutely dangerous for our water birds and other animals that live in the oceans. Individuals who partake in recreational fishing should take a course on how their equipment can harm wildlife. Commercial fishing vessels have to be held accountable in a manner that will harm their profits if they do not comply. They should also be required to load their hooks at night so as to lessen the chance for decapitating an Albatross. It is such a simple fix.

New study reveals ‘staggering’ scale of lost fishing gear drifting in Earth’s oceans | Fish | The Guardian

Nest News:

I really want to start with some good news and it is about Ervie and Dad. According to Fran Solly, Take2 Photography, Dad fishes at a place called Murray Point which is about 2-3 kilometres from the nest. It just so happens that is where Ervie fishes, too! They have plotted it on his tracker. So Dad and Ervie are fishing together. Just makes me smile.

Breakfast is being served in the three nests in Australia or, at least, I hope it is. Let’s check in and see what is happening.

At 367 Collins Street, that beautiful glow of the city just waking up had Mum flying off the nest at 06:16.

Off she goes!

Mum returned at 0639. She looked around. Was she expecting Dad to show up and feed the eyases? Then she began feeding them that fresh pigeon. One of the great things about falcon and hawk nests is the way the chicks are fed. Everyone gets food. Lessons are taught – Mum holds the prey higher or stands further back getting them to stretch those necks and get them strong. It was a great feeding.

Aren’t they adorable?

In Orange, Xavier came to the scrape at 06:20:59 with an unplucked Starling. Diamond was less than impressed. Xavier quickly took the bird to pluck it.

Xavier did not return with the Starling – well, not yet and it is 07:14. Rubus is really hungry. He is prey calling very, very loud.

Xavier returned to the scrape at 07:17:10 and got to feed his two babies a Rainbow Lorikeet. Oh, my goodness, Rubus was full. Talk about dancing talons (a phrase ‘A’ uses for the Mum at Port Lincoln when she sees Dad coming with a fish). Rubus was excited. Both chicks ate well. Xavier was determined to do a good job. He sure had them stretching their necks.

Xavier is very good at feeding Rubus and Indigo.

Loo, at that big bite Rubus is going to hork. Incredible. And Xavier in his cute little pajamas. Gosh, these male falcons are adorable.

When Rubus is full, he turns his back on the parent.

Xavier thinks otherwise….please eat some more, Rubus.

It is half an hour earlier at Port Lincoln and all were sleeping as the falcon scrapes prepared to begin their day.

The wind at Port Lincoln is making the water really choppy with some white caps on high waves. Apparently Murray Point is a sheltered area where Dad can find fish. He leaves early in the morning according to the local observers.

It is nearly 0800 at Port Lincoln and there is still no fish. The waves seem to be getting higher with more white caps. It could be a difficult day – easy to catch but hard to fly against that strong wind back to the nest. I have yet to see any beaking between Big and Middle. That is a good thing.

We will all wish for fish – enough for Mum, too.

Migration:

Checking on Karl II and his family, the Black Storks whose nest is in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The Mum, Kaia, is in a dry part of Chad. She has flown the furthest.

Karl II is in Israel.

Bonus remains in Bulgaria near the River Bazau.

Waba is also in Bulgaria, east of Plowdiw.

Everyone in the family is fine. The transmissions have been good so far the last couple of days.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, their streaming cams which form my screen captures: Looduskalender Forum, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, SWFlorida Eagles and video by Marti Lord, and The Guardian.