Late Thursday in Bird World

How many weekends have I mentioned that southern Manitoba would be having a weather event? Well, this has to be the 3rd or 4th. Keeping track of them might make me miserable. But yes, we will have another 50mm of precipitation starting late Friday evening and into Saturday. Is it possible we will go straight from winter to summer? Spring and fall seem to be getting eliminated.

Well, let us start with the sad and end with something nicer.

Mother Goose got her 5 babies down from the eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa on the second try. The 6th egg was non-viable and the 5th gosling had only hatched the night before. It was not yet 24 hours old as I understand it.

Three of the goslings were with the parents and a volunteer with the Raptor Research Project found the fourth immediately. Mother and Father Goose called and looked for the 5th baby as did boots on the ground. Sadly, it was found deceased. The remaining four are very healthy and let us wish them a good life.

My friend ‘R’ in Pennsylvania sent me a copy of a poster. Thank you, ‘R’. The more we know, the better equipped we are to deal with situations. This is particularly geared to backyard poultry. As all of you are aware, the H5N1 strain of the Avian Flu is taking its toll on waterfowl and raptors that eat bird. Many have ‘free range’ flocks that sell eggs from chickens and ducks that are allowed to roam free. You might know of someone who could benefit from this information from the PA State Department of Agriculture.

Intruders. The birds in the SF Bay area have been having a lot of intruders – many of them lethal. Richmond and Rosie can hardly take a breath without someone, many times another Osprey, coming to their nest where they are incubating three eggs!

Oh, the female eaglet of Thunder and Akecheta has the most beautiful name. Kana’kini. My possibly poor translation is kana – powerful, and kini is beautiful and gorgeous. If that is correct it fits well with this very stunning powerful female eaglet.

Kana’kini certainly has big powerful legs. Get out the worry beads. She is jumping and flapping on the nest! But I want you to look at the small male to the right. Look at that crop! Apparently it is crab that Thunder brought to the nest. Just look at that!

Big Red is another gorgeous powerful female. I cannot explain it but the last time I checked L4 was still working away at hatching. The time of the first pip had to not so accurate???? Even if L4 does not hatch, just look at our Red-tail Hawk Mama gazing lovingly down at one of the Ls.

It was such a relief yesterday for Lori Covert to confirm that both of the fledglings of the Captiva Osprey nest are alive, flying with their parents, and obviously being fed. Little or MiniO is getting food off camera and well, ‘Lena’s boy’ Middle or LittleO loves to eat at the nest.

TH1 is in the Two Harbours nest tonight! Do you always check, too? Those railings that Dr Sharpe and his volunteers brought and fixed continue to keep the wee one end. It will not be long until Dr Sharpe is back up to the nest banding Chase and Cholyn’s only baby.

It looks like Harry and Nancy at the MN-DNR eagle nest are doing some branching demonstrations for the two big eaglets.

Lady Hawk did a great video of Harriet and M15’s E19 and E20 playing down at the pond yesterday. Oh, they are beautiful strong eaglets.

Port Lincoln has been cleaning up the barge with the Osprey’s nest getting it ready for the 2022 season for Mum and Dad. There is also a new sign for all those people who feel entitled to distress the raptors.

So far, so good with all the nests. Be sure to make a note that 5-6 of May (that is next week) is hatch watch for Annie, Alden, and Grinnell at the CalFalcons scrape. Tomorrow I hope to check on some of the European Osprey and eagle nests.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Explore.org, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, and MN-DNR.

Thursday Morning in Bird World

14 April 2022

Dyson sends his love to everyone and he wants you to know that he is doing what he does best – getting seeds off the hard seed cylinders!

Thank you so much for your kind notes. The snow storm did precisely what had been predicted. There was a lull yesterday in the late afternoon and then the snow began with earnest around midnight. The forecast is now at the higher end of the snow accumulation at 80 cm or 2.62 feet. We continue to clear periodically and put down a line of seed that extends across 9 metres or 30 feet of decking and keep the feeders full and check on the hard seed cylinders as they need replacing. It has been a challenge. The sheer number of birds in the garden speaks to the recent arrival of thousands of birds during spring migration. Rain is set to start shortly turning to snow in the afternoon. Could it get worse for our feathered friends? The winds continue to bring some white out conditions. Hopefully the storm will taper off, as predicted, late Friday. Sadly, it brings out the worst in the birds who are hungry and fearful that they will starve to death. It is not unlike the beaking in the streaming cam nests when a weather event or diminished prey delivery sets off the ‘survival’ instinct in the biggest bird. Difficult to watch.

When you think you have absolutely ‘had it’ – you ‘are done’ with the birds and their beaking and bonking, stop and watch this piece of archival film that Charles Puleston shot in one of his Osprey nests on Long Island in the 1950s. It is called ‘My Turn’.

I can promise you that there is nothing more joyful, more tearful, and more satisfying than having a third hatch almost die in front of your eyes and then to have them turn around and become the most clever and dominant bird on the nest! It happens! Those are the nests you never forget.

A few of you have written to me in the last week about your need to pull back from the streaming cams and the chats that go along with some of the nests. The last note came this morning from a reader and I thought it would be a good time to discuss this. Watching the streaming cams can often bring about a sense of utter helplessness and frustration instead of the joy you anticipated. Instead of shutting the birds out of your life, I would like to make a couple of recommendations. The first is to educate yourself about the species you are watching. You do not have to purchase the books, go to your local library and if they do not have a copy see if they can order one in for you to borrow. The second is to arm yourself with emergency call numbers. Last year when a fostered Osprey chick fell off the nest at Patuxent River’s nests, the nature centre was closed. No one was answering the phone. People watched in horror hearing the chick splashing in the water. A number of us began to call leaving messages. One of the staff heard these and took their canoe back out to the park and found the chick – just in time – and literally tossed it back on the nest. This was a perfect outcome. That said frantic phone calls came from Hawaii, Canada, and the US to anyone who would listen. Every streaming cam needs the number of the local wildlife rehabber. Sadly, they do not post them. So it is up to you to find those numbers and have them ready if something happens. You also need to understand that most times help does not come. That is why Patuxent was simply so fantastic.

OK. Back to educating yourself. If you want to understand how the use of DDT caused the large Apex predators such as Eagles and Osprey to become almost extinct, get a copy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Here is an article that speaks to the importance of this book.

Find out who Dennis Puleston was to the environmental movement and how he signalled the decline in Ospreys. Who was Charles Broley to the Bald Eagle community? These are people who fought the good fight to protect and restore the populations of Ospreys and Bald Eagles. You should know who they are. For a specific UK approach, any of the books by Mark Avery who headed the RSBP for 25 years are excellent.

The current threat is often from climate change and for eagles it is heat. Many eagles went into care last summer as did Ospreys particularly in the Pacific Northwest. One of the newest additions that David Hancock (Hancock Wildlife) is adding to the artificial nests for the Eagles in British Columbia, Canada is a shade screen. Ground breaking. How fantastic! Indeed, you might have noted the artificial nest in the Miami Zoo for the WRDC nest. These human-made nests will become more common as trees fail just as artificial platforms are now common for Ospreys.

How many times have you seen individuals belittled and having to apologize for putting human emotions on birds? This especially happens in some chats. I suggest that you read Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals. Good solid research. You won’t apologize again! Jennifer Akerman’s The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way are also very good.

My library is mostly full of books on Ospreys and the smaller raptors, Peregrine Falcons and Red-tail Hawks.

Falcons: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker, Falcon by Helen Macdonald, and H is for Hawk are some good starters. Winter’s Hawk speaks to the persecution of the Red-tail Hawk where I grew up, in Oklahoma. The Kings and their Hawks gives a particular historical perspective. These are a few to get you started.

Ospreys: Alan Poole’s Ospreys is a good solid introduction to the birds. I am particularly fond of David Gessner’s Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond for a good look at the issue of migration, particularly the New England ospreys. It is a good read. Gessner’s other books speak to various environmental issues impacting birds. There are others: Scottish Ospreys by Philip Brown, Lady of the Loch by Helen Armitage amongst others. I will try and bring one up now and then.

If you want to understand migration, A World on the Wing. The Global Odyssey of Migrating Birds is a great start!

If you want a good laugh, Zarankin’s Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder is excellent!!!!

I did a quick check on some of the nests. The third hatch is hanging in there at the UFlorida Gainsville Osprey nest! Good for it. Spunky little thing.

Here is the link to the UF Osprey cam. It is not on YouTube.

https://wec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/ospreycam/

The sun is coming out on Little Middle and Big at the Dale Hollow nest. They will be anxious for some fish to arrive on their nest.

Deb Stecyk did a short video of Big and Little Middle in the storm.

I found a new Peregrine Falcon nest this morning! It is in the UK at the Chichester Cathedral. There are four eggs.

When people get burnt out of watching Bald Eagles and Ospreys – where there is often a lot of beaking – I highly recommend both falcon and hawk nests. They are often overlooked because they are smaller raptors but the way that they take care of their young is reassuring that life is good.

There is also a Kestrel nest in Yorkshire. Eggs soon!

I highly recommend the streaming cam of Big Red and Arthur at the Cornell Campus in Ithaca, New York. Good solid nest. Big Red is 19 and Arthur is 6. Big Red has been raising little hawklets for 17 years – for ten on camera. Only one did not fledge and that was K2 in 2021 due to a beak injury and infection. There is also a good respectful moderated chat for a couple of hours in the morning.

The Queen of the RTHs, Big Red incubating four eggs on the Fernow Light Tower. This is the first time she has laid 4 eggs since the camera was set up in 2012.

Indeed, you will notice a lot of nests of falcons and hawks with four eggs this year. It could be nature’s way of adjusting for the quickly spreading Avian Flu.

Half way around the world, Lesser Spotted Eagles will be nesting in Latvia. The nest of Anna and Andris is now happy as Andris returned from his migration yesterday. Anna came home on the 12th.

And because incubation can be so boring to watch, Cal Falcons has done a really fast day in the life of Annie and the New Guy incubating! So funny and a good way to end this blog.

All of the nests seem to be doing fine. The first egg at Llyn Clywedog was laid at 10:27 this morning UK time. That is the nest of Dylan and Seren. I will be checking on those UK Osprey nests later today.

Thank you so much for joining me and for all of your good wishes, prayers, and warm thoughts for us and the garden birds and animals in the storm. It is much appreciated. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Under the Feeders. 14 April 2022

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: DHEC, UFlorida Osprey Nest, and Cornell Bird Lab and RTH.

Late Sunday in Bird World

Oh, what a day in Bird World it has been! The weather at the nest of Pa Berry and Missy clocked in at 3 degrees F. That is -16 C. As a comparison, it was only -5 in Winnipeg today. Poor Missy. The snow and sleet were coming down, she has a hungry baby – and she is hungry herself – and there is a chick trying to hatch! My heart went out to her. There were a few tiny breaks in the weather for Missy. She jumped up and ate ferociously and then quickly fed her baby. The bad weather is due to continue til at least Monday afternoon. I was almost afraid to check on her but, then I did.

Pa Berry had brought in another fish. He looks pretty dry compared to Missy, ironically. Missy worked hard to get some food into her little one before she had to brood and try to keep that baby warm and dry.

Missy took lemons and made lemonade with it. She ate and so did her baby. It was fast. She could not afford for the wee one to get soaking wet, cold, and die. I was impressed. Whatever will happen at this nest with all the horrible cold and wet weather will not be this Mum’s fault. She was trying as best she could.

There were tornado warnings and 60 mph winds down in Miami-Dade County at the nest of Ron and Rita. That nest held. I caught some of it on a video clip. Rita works really hard trying to get the two babies under her so they will not get wet and chilled.

R1 has been brutally aggressive today to R2. Indeed, Rita had R2 begging for food and twice she did not feed until R1 came up to the front. At the end of the day, R2 was fed three times today. I cannot confirm the amounts or if there was a big crop like R1s. You might have noticed. But R2 did eat.

Harriet was soaked but she took great care of E19 and E20 during the storm. The heavy rain actually hit Fort Myers well before it started in Miami hard.

None of these issues – extreme weather and/or sibling rivalry -are happening down at the Kisatchie National Forest nest of Anna and Louis. Louis is bring ever more fish onto the nest and that little one is just a sweet little roly-poly.

I can count the remains of one Coot and six fish.

You will think I am nuts continually talking about this kiddos cute tail but it is cute. I have never seen such a cute tail on such a young eaglet. It looks like a soft little ball, so sweet.

Both eagles were on the nest at Duke Farms working on the egg cup. There are expectations that an egg will be laid soon. This couple is in line for some of that storm as well.

Mum is on the nest and the snow has started. Last year she spent almost her entire incubation period encased in snow and ice. I ached for her.

The winds are picking up at the Hilton Head Island Trust, the home of Harriet and Mitch and their two eaglets. The gusts are blowing at 31 mph but there is no indication of rain or snow hitting the nest.

Here is the tracking of that storm as it moves NE as of 9:23 pm on CNN. It is out of Florida. Mt Berry Bald Eagles are in the purple area of Georgia near Atlanta. Pittsburg-Hays, Duke Farms, and even Big Red and Arthur are in the area of winter weather advisories. Continue to send your warm thoughts to everyone here and in all the extreme weather systems moving about the planet including those with the tsunami earlier today.

Snow has been falling in Pittsburg.

Snow continues to be heavy in the Ithaca and Finger Lakes area of upstate NY. This is Big Red and Arthur’s nest.

Meanwhile, in the UK, everyone is getting excited. It is only two months until the expected arrival of the Ospreys. The BBC did a short programme on CJ7 and her nest at Poole Harbour in June of 2021. CJ7 found love this past summer and it is hoped that her mate will return and there will be chicks on this nest for the first time in 200 years! Wow. I am showing it again as the anticipation is bubbling over. It is short and it will also get you excited for the arrival of some of the North American returnees as well.

In New Zealand, OGK, the Royal Cam Dad, returned to incubate his egg and let his mate, YRK, go and feed. That egg is due to hatch on the 27th of January give or take a day or two. Lady Hawk caught the return and the cuddles of this sweet couple.

We hold our breath and wait for the storms in the US to pass and wish all of the nests the best in handling the weather.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or video clips: WRDC Bald Eagle Nest, Berry College, KNF Bald Eagle Nest, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Duke Farms, Hilton Head Island Trust, Pix Cams, Cornell Bird Lab, and CNN.

Catching up with Ervie

I have spent so much time watching Daisy, recording the happenings on the nest, and sleeping at odd hours that many of the other nests have been neglected. One of those is the Port Lincoln Osprey nest in Australia. I stopped in today to check on Ervie’s movements by the Sat-Pak and there were some gorgeous images of this juvenile male Osprey by Take 2 Photography, Fran Solly.

Ervie has been all over the place. Many are expecting him to leave the area of the barge. I wonder how far Ervie will go?

These were Ervie’s movements yesterday. Oh, he does love to fly.

Fran Solly went out and took these images of Ervie flying around the coast. Isn’t he just such a handsome bird?! My goodness, Ervie. You are doing Mum and Dad proud.

Male Ospreys tend to return to where they hatched to make their nests. I wonder if all three lads will show up at the same time? And I learned a new word today ‘Dust Up.’ Do you know this word? Remember when Ervie and Bazza were knocking one another about the nest – or off it – that is apparently a ‘Dust Up.’ Love it. Sounds so much better than saying Bazza just knocked Ervie off the edge of the nest! or Vice Versa.

Other Bird News: Gabby and Samson continue to have a sub-adult intruder coming around. No eggs on that nest yet. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Samson on the left and Gabby on the right.

We could be less than 2 weeks away from the first hatch at the Southwest Florida nest of Harriet and M15.

I have seen no weather warnings for Florida – like the disturbances going through the Midwest and the winds up in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York.

Harriet is alerting. There is a predator around. Is it the Great Horned Owl (GHOW)?

Anna is incubating two eggs at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle Nest in Central Louisiana. Louis continues to be so exciting. He is great for bringing in the fish but he is also softening up that nest with tonnes of Spanish Moss.

Connie is incubating two eggs over at Captiva, too. Her new mate is Clive. Hopefully this nest will have some luck. That said, local pelicans are being brought into care for red algae.

All of the Bald Eagle nests outside of the tornado and storm areas in the US are fine. More Ospreys are being spotted on the Iberian Peninsula and in Africa which is a grand sign. Ferris Akel was thrilled to see three Snowy Owls today on his tour. One even flew for him. I should invite him to Manitoba for the winter. One of our birders spotted 25 Snowy Owls in a short drive around the agricultural fields. — And a reminder. The owls in the Central US have been found to be thin and dehydrated. They are blaming this on photographers trying to get images and scaring away their prey. As you know I am a raptor lover – they often do not eat for several days so when you see one hunting or eating – leave it alone, please. Stay way, way back. Invest in a long lens!

It is very quiet morning at Daisy’s nest. A couple of times I have heard the cawing of the Ravens but Daisy has been peaceful, unfluttered would be a good word. There will be a late night catch up on her nesting activities.

This is not a Raptor Time: Watch this Titmouse modify its nest, bring in nesting materials, and hatch and fledge 11 chicks in Japan. Seriously it will put a smile on your face. I wish I could transport Daisy and her eggs into a box like this! Oh, she even wiggles her little bottom like Daisy. Here is the link:

Happy Saturday everyone. Take care. Thank you so much for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, their photos, or their FB Pages where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page, Fran Solly, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Captiva Bald Eagle Cam.

Eating and growing

The two little ones on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources nest are quite a lively pair. First time, four year old Harry has learned to feed and Nancy has relaxed. Harry is good on the nest and food is there. The little ones are rather spunky to say the least!

Bonnie went out hunting and brought a small live garter snake back to the nest. Lily got there first and ate the entire snake – live – all by herself – as Tiger and Bonnie looked on in amazement.

Look closely at how thick Tiger’s legs are. Look down at its talons. These two owlets are really growing! Both of them are flapping their wings and wandering around the nest. Tiger is very sturdy on those sturdy limbs! Both of them are endless pits in terms of wanting food.

Li’l and Big at the Duke Farm nest are growing and growing. There have been tandem feedings and attempts at self-feeding! Doing good. Li’l can hold its own against its big sib.

It really does help to be the only eaglet in the nest with a parental territory that is full of prey. Kisatchie is always being fed and cared for by its mom, Anna. Louis continues to be an expert fisherman and Kisatchie always has a full crop. I don’t believe this eaglet would understand what hunger actually was. And you know what? That is just fine. His feathers will go strong. Eaglets that have had periods – several of hunger – have thinner spots in their feathers.

In constrast, the Redding triplets are always hungry it seems. Two of them are trying to climb out of the nest cup so that they can have some of that juicy fish. It keeps mom and dad very busy!

I will leave you with an image of my heroine, Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk incubating three eggs on a light stand on the Cornell Campus. Big Red always gets my vote for ‘Mom of the Year’. She is quite amazing! Year after year she gets soaked, gets encrusted in snow and ice, and still she raises the strongest happiest eyasses. She is much loved.

This was a short update on how some of the nests are doing. Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe everyone!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I got my screen images: Cornell Bird Lab, the Kisatchie National Forest, , the Pittsburgh Hays Eagle Cam, Friends of Redding Eagles, Farmer Derek, MN DNR Eagle Cam, and Duke Farms.

UPDATE ON THE ACHIEVA OSPREY NEST IN ST PETERSBURG. Tiny Tot was fed this morning at 9:27 after the other two. He had a small crop. It was the first time he ate in 3 full days. Tiny Tot later later had some seizures. It is unclear what damage the lack of food did to his internal organs. A huge catfish came in at 4:22. The two bigger ones ate for a couple of hours. Tiny attempted to get food and was pecked by 2. The dad, Jack, came and took the extra fish away. It is quite sad to see anything suffer so much, begging for food – literally starving to death. It is nothing short of a slow horrible death. The question is why? Is there a lack of fish? Does the father have two families? Other Osprey nests raise three healthy osplets to fledge – even small ones. A good example is Loch Arkaig in 2020.