Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Bird World 9 September 2021

WBSE 27 and 28, the two little sea eaglets in the old Ironbark Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park, had an early morning breakfast of bird.

Ah, just guess who was the first one up at the breakfast table? If you said, 28 you are absolutely right.

The little bird filled up their empty tummies but it wasn’t big enough -like a grand fish -to fill their crops, too. After breakfast the pair did some wing flapping, standing, and attempts at walking. They still need their wing tips to help with their balance.

Look at the tail that is growing on WBSE27! 27 is the one flapping its wings below.

Well, the Australian Magpie was not giving the White-bellied Sea Eagles a break today. For a couple of hours after feeding the eaglets, Lady defended the nest ducking and honking as the Magpie swooped down trying to hit her.

In the image below, Lady is honking at the Magpie.

Here is a good image of the bird as it goes to land on a branch of the nest tree. This bird is cheeky – they must taste terrible or Lady could have that Magpie for lunch! I would not blame her.

In this image you can see the Magpie caught in flight right above Lady’s head.

Here the Magpie is flying around Lady. It is right over her head.

Dad came to help Lady. All of the big raptors – at the top of the food chain – attract all the small birds and owls. It is surprising how much physical damage these small feathered creatures can do. Last year, BooBook Owl injured Lady’s eye. They can, of course, knock the eaglets out of the nest.

Tiaki looks out to the world that awaits her. Her name means protector of the land and the seas. I hope that they also protect her.

As Albies fly around her in the strong winds, Tiaki raises her wings. She will be off on her big adventure soon.

The chicks are all hovering in the strong winds. In a blink they will be gone. I think I put down 12 September on the guessing game but it could just be any time. Quarry Chick fledged 3 days ago.

Tiaki received her GPS tracker today. Ranger Sharyn Bronte said, “A wider study of the entire Northern Royal Albatross is being conducted this year. And in a first for a Royalcam chick Tiaki as received a tracker. Trackers have deployed on northern royals on the Chathams where 99% of the world population of this species breeds.We are extremely lucky to have 20g devices are available to track LGK, LGL and Tiaki. Although LGL’s device failed it has provided valuable data. Devices are extremely light compared to the weight of the bird and attached to back feathers. These feathers molt within a year and the device will fall off. The device is solar powered and will remotely send data until molting.”

If you read my column regularly, you will know that I am a big supporter of GPS trackers. I also support Darvic bands. Much new information on the migrations, winter and summer breeding grounds – and yes, deaths, are revealed amongst other things. Studying birds or watching them in their nests is never for the faint of heart. Their lives are full of challenges, most placed on them by humans.

Last year, a lovely Polish woman wrote to me to tell me she didn’t know how I could be so calm when ‘bad things’ happened to the birds. Those were not her exact words but that is what she meant. I was not the least bit offended. The truth is I feel for each and every one of them. That caring is inside a bigger box that is now labelled ‘ avian activist’. I want to help stop those things that cause the birds injury or death when it can be avoided. Rodenticides, sticky paper traps, lead shot, lead bullets, lead in fishing equipment, fishing line, fishing nets, windows, garbage dumped on the roads, habitat loss, wild fires caused by arson, electrocution, bread fed to the birds —— and simple neglect or oversight. Like having emergency contact numbers for the streaming cams where there is no 24/7 chat with knowledgable moderators.

I am working on a way to remember Malin, the Osprey nestling at the Collins Marsh Nature Centre, whose life was needlessly cut short. The Malin Code. Osprey streaming cams that follow The Malin Code would have either 24/7 moderators who can access emergency help immediately or emergency numbers at the top of the historical information on the nests. Individuals who are in charge of parks or areas with nests would be trained to recognize the physical signs (11 of them) from food begging to alerting and the 8 vocalizations. It is the least requirement. The other is that they pay attention to what is happening on the nest. They need to know the difference between a juvenile and an adult. Etc. Whew. Yes, I get worked up. If you can think of anything else that these organizations should be doing, let me know. Don’t be shy! At the end of the year, the streaming cam that best implemented The Malin Code would get a donation, big enough to motivate them to do what is right for the birds.

OK. On to what is happening in some of the scrape boxes:

Diamond and Xavier spent some time in the scrape box together today. There was a bit of a conversation between Diamond and Xavier. I need to learn to speak falcon.

There is a real soft spot in my heart for the little male Peregrine Falcon in Melbourne. Maybe it is the ledge where he comes scurrying in to take his turn incubating the eggs or when he brings prey to the eyases.

He is the cutest thing and makes the biggest messes plucking pigeons right in the nest with the eyases. But, last year, I noticed that those three girls really knew what to do with a feathered bird. They were not shy. By the time they fledged, they were professional pigeon pluckers. Can you say that fast 10x?

What a cutie! Our stealth raptor.

Have you ever wondered about the black faces of the Peregrine Falcons? Did you know that the size and intensity of the black varies by region? Have a read.

Cody and the lads down in Kisatchie National Forest have done a great job with the camera for the Bald Eagle Nest of Anna and Louis. Cody says that the sound is going to be fantastic.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sunset over Lake Kincaid? Such a lovely spot for a Bald Eagle nest —- and, of course, there is the lake that is stocked with some really nice fish. Couldn’t get much better. Everyone is just waiting for the Eagles to return.

Speaking of Bald Eagles returning, both Samson and Gabby are at home in Jacksonville and Harriet and M15 are in Fort Myers. All that reminds me I have to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

I want to leave you with an image of Tiny Little. She is one of the fledgling Ospreys in my long time study of third hatch survivors. She has a Darvic ring-Blue 463. Here she is as a wee one.

Blue 35 is feeding Tiny Little by herself. Look at ‘big nasty sister’ in the middle. It really is thanks to excellent parenting that Tiny survived – and became the dominant bird. Gosh, I wish she had a tracker. Is she at Poole Harbour? has she made it to Brittany? will she go to The Gambia? or Senegal? or Southern Spain? My ‘wish list’ includes getting someone to look for her if I can’t be there myself during the winter of 2022.

That’s it for me tonight. Tomorrow I am off in search of a Green Heron. Take care everyone. Stay safe. Be kind. Remember: Life is for living.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: 367 Collins Street Falcons, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, The Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle Cam, The Falcon Cam Project Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ Doc Royal Albatross Cam and FB Page and The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Thursday in Bird World, 2 September

It is pretty quiet at the nests these days – that lull if you like between the Ospreys leaving for their migrations in Europe and the US, the Bald Eagles slowly returning to their breeding areas, and the falcons and Ospreys incubating eggs in Australia. The biggest news in Bird World is that Diamond laid her second egg at 20:55 September 2nd.

Xavier taking a turn incubating and rolling the eggs for a bit this morning. Gosh, those are big eggs!

The Osprey was officially adopted in 1994 as the is the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s ten provinces. Nova Scotia is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Fundy, the Northhumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Maine. It is one of Canada’s Atlantic or Maritime Provinces. At its widest, 128 km, it is easy to reach any body of water easily. It is said that Nova Scotia has more Ospreys than the United Kingdom in its entirety. Many live on McNab’s Island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour.

@Wikimedia Commons

The lighthouse was built in 1809. In 1852, Dr. Abraham Gesner was given control of the lighthouse. In December, Gester used a fuel that he had just discovered – kerosene – to operate the light.

“McNabs Island” by KellyMercer is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Maugher Beach Lighthouse (McNabs Island, Nova Scotia) – (Adventure of the Seas – August 1st, 2018)” by cseeman is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Wharf at McNabs Island” by wdrwilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
[[File:Osprey Bird.jpg|Osprey_Bird]]
[[File:Osprey on Sandy Hook (70318).jpg|Osprey_on_Sandy_Hook_(70318)]

Ironically, there were hardly any Ospreys in Nova Scotia two decades ago. The use of DDT had weakened the eggs to the point that the birds were virtually going extinct. Since 1979, the Osprey Management Program, operated jointly between Nova Scotia Power and the environmentalists at the Department of Lands and Forestry to relocate nests that are on top of live utility poles to safer unused poles nearby. Each year they partner with the Museum of Natural History to live stream an osprey nest. The Osprey are in Nova Scotia from April to September. At the end of the summer, when the juveniles are old enough, they leave for their winter grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

The first little video is from 2014. Seven years ago, when streaming cams were not so HD. Here is a typical Osprey family of five in Nova Scotia on top of one of the partnership nests.

Here is another short video of 2020 showing the improvement in cameras. It shows the hatch of the second chick at this nest on 9 June.

Speaking of Osprey, Sharon Leigh Miles took this image today of an Osprey at Mt Sentinel in Missoula, Montana. It is Iris’s favourite tree and it is presumed to be Iris, the grand dame of North American Ospreys. Hopefully she will visit her nest before she leaves. She is the oldest Osprey in the world.

In other news, White YW, the male at the Foulshaw Moss Nest, dad of our one and only Tiny Little, Blue 463, is still in Cumbria. He was photographed there today. White YW hatched at Bassenthwaite in 2008. Gosh, he is a great dad. One of the unsung heroes. Chris Wood has received word that the estuaries that the UK Ospreys travel to for their winter season are filling up with water. Wonderful! Yesterday, I saw Cormorants here in Manitoba and today a couple seem to have taken over Maya and Blue 33’s nest at Rutland (at least for part of the day). The two little sea eagles are getting along fine. Food remains plentiful and they are growing, flapping, and learning to walk. Those clown feet are really growing. Just look, with food, 28’s feet are getting huge. Wow.

I am attaching the progress map of the Ospreys and Black Storks:

Pikne, in orange, is really travelling well. She has gone straight south almost beating Karl II in royal blue. You can follow them, too. Here is the link:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. Stay well. Look for egg number 3 on 4 September down in Orange.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange, The Montana Osprey Project FB Page, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and BirdMap.

Wednesday Happenings in Bird World

Gosh, it was just a gorgeous ‘fall’ day. No, it isn’t officially fall but the leaves appear to be changing and there is a ‘nip’ in the air. The birds are flying south and others are arriving home from their summer forays. One of those returning to her breeding area and nest is Gabrielle, Gabby for short, the mate of Samson at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. It was right around 14:48.

She looks good. Oh, Samson is going to be so excited!!!!!!!!!

Samson you are such a cutie. As my friend ‘T’ said when she heard the good news, ‘Love is in the air.’ She is absolutely right.

It was a gorgeous day to go and find some pelicans and I was hoping for a cormorant or two. The waters of the Red River near St. Andrews did not disappoint.

Pelicans are the longest native bird in North America measuring in at 2 metres or 6.56 feet. The California Condor is the only bird in North America with a longer wingspan. The pelican’s wings measure 2.7 metres or 9 feet from tip to tip. In other words, these are large birds!

This is a small hydroelectric dam. These American white Pelicans often work together to get the fish ’rounded up’. Here they wait for them to come over the dam. There were six fishing together.

The pelicans dip and scoop for fish. They are able to hold as much as 12 litres of water which goes out the sides of their mouths before they can eat the fish. They spent a lot of time bobbing up and down.

Manitoba is the summer home of the largest number of American White Pelicans. They spend their winters in California or areas around the Gulf of Mexico. In late April to early June, they return to their summer breeding grounds here in Canada.

With the changing climate, it is believed that the American White Pelican will gain areas in Canada while losing them in the US.

Some were fishing while others slept and preened.

There were a few Double-Crested Cormorants with the pelicans today.

I just loved the silhouette of their wings against the water.

Manitoba is also home to a huge number of Double-Crested Cormorants in the summer. Did you know that Cormorants lack the ability to waterproof their feathers? Because of this they can dive deep because they are less buoyant but it also means that they can become water-logged and have a struggle reaching shore.

There were lots of gulls flying above the water. This lonely Ring-Billed Gull caught my eye. In the city they are constants around the garbage dumps. I did not know that they eat the eggs of other birds as well as little goslings, carrion, insets, rodents, etc. They are real scavengers.

Look carefully and you will see the black ring near the tip of its bill. That is what gives this gull its name.

This is the mystery duck. It was all alone. There have been several discussions as to whether it is a female Ruddy Duck, a female Northern Pintail, or a female American Wigeon. Or is it an anomaly? A Black Duck? If you have any idea, I would love to hear from you! I know that it is not a Mallard, not a Wood Duck, and not a member of the Merganser family but it is alluding all of the Manitoba and Canadian bird books. Maybe you are a juvenile. Someone really does need to do a more comprehensive book of Manitoba birds with excellent images.

The sun, fresh air, and climbing up and down gravel banks to the water has sure made me tired. If you have trouble sleeping, I highly recommend it as a remedy. One of my birding friends wrote just now to say that they had seen ‘my Ospreys’ today – so if it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I am heading north to check it out. They will be migrating soon!

There is little news in Bird World. Diamond has yet to lay another egg. The two little sea eaglets are eating well and behaving themselves. The majority of the Ospreys in the UK have begun migration. Aran was still at the Glaslyn nest this morning. The Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia seem to be making their way without hiccups now to their winter homes. It is just a nice calm Wednesday save for the arrival of Gabby back at The Hamlet. That caused great cheers.

Take care everyone. Thanks so much for joining me.

Thank you to the NW Florida Bald Eagle cam and the AEF streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Tracking…birds and hurricanes

Hurricane Ida has made landfall on the sixteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that wrecked havoc and caused so much destruction to Louisiana. Throughout the day I have been checking on the Kisatchie National Forest, the home of Bald Eagles, Anna and Louis. The Bald Eagles are likely north of the storm area as they do not spend the hot summer, as far as is known, at Lake Kincaid (although they could).

The winds were getting stronger and the waves more choppy as the morning broke into the afternoon. That camera quit working at 15:39:19. You just get a circle. The KNF is in parishes that are northwest of New Orleans. They include Grant, Natchitoches, Winn, Rapides, and Vernon.

Isn’t that just the most beautiful area to raise a Bald Eagle family?

Cody and Steve did a great job running the camera, answering all of the chatters questions, and even held a contest to name the eaglet. Please send them warm wishes to stay safe.

At 18:00, Hurricane Ida just went through Mathews, Louisiana.

There are several other maps that I am also watching today. One of those is just fantastic. If you want to follow the Black Storks on their migration, you need to know this link.

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

The ‘Birdmap’ has several Ospreys along with the Black Storks who have satellite trackers. They are first sorted into species and then by name of the bird. Click on the name of the bird and you can see where the birds are located. It is magnificent.

I clicked on Karl II’s name. Then I clicked on the player at the bottom and I could see the precise route that Karl II has taken since he left the nest in the Karula National Forest. He is heading to the Black Sea. I wonder if Karl has a favourite spot there?

I owe Karl a big apology, too. I know that Pikne and Udu are ‘his’ storklings and brain keeps telling my fingers to type Grafs. Big apology, Karl!

Oh, how I wish Tiny Little had a tracker. It would be so much fun (well, if everything went well) to watch her journey rather than hoping by mere chance that someone would see her blue Darvic Ring and record the number. Perhaps it would be too much to ask them to take a photo, too?

There is not a lot of news in Bird World. Maya was photographed at Rutland Water today so she has not left for her migration. The Collins Street Falcons have started the hard incubation now that the 4th egg has been laid.

This is mom. She always has a bit of grumpy face and she takes up most of the scrape box.

This is cute little dad. He is much smaller as you can see – he doesn’t take up so much room in that scrape box. If in doubt, he has really neat bright yellow “goggles” around his eyes.

I know that it is hard to see what is going on and you are afraid that you will miss all of the action. There is another scrape box at the other end of the ledge with a camera and these parents have a tendency to move the chicks about. There is nothing funnier than seeing 3 large juvenile females chase after poor little dad with his pigeon. This year it will be 4! I hope the pigeon population in Melbourne is robust!

Diamond is keeping everyone guessing. The latest that she has ever laid an egg is the 31st of August and that is tomorrow, Australia time! At this point I am not even going to guess. Diamond has been fooling me for days on end.

When in Australia, I have to remind myself to check on Solly. She is 344 days old – my goodness, almost a year since she hatched on the PLO barge. Look at this map of her travels. She is so confident now that she is taking the short cut back to Eba Anchorage from the coast near Streaky Bay instead of going the land route. Well done, Solly! So proud of you.

The nest of Mom and Dad looks so much more together than it did after Solly and DEW fledged last year! Oh, I hope that there is lots of food and all three of those eggs hatch and fledge. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I have to admit that I did not feel so kind towards Solly last year but, in the end, I was glad to see two strong birds fly off that old boat. The satellite tracker put on Solly opened up everyone’s eyes to how far the Eastern Ospreys travel from their natal nest. I do hope they will do this again this year. At the same time, I would like to see trackers on all the birds from this nest. Everyone wants to also know where DEW is. If it is the cost, do some crowd funding up front – there will be people from around the world willing to chip in and help with the costs.

‘S’ sent me some images of the Osprey juveniles in Alberta this morning. My goodness did I ever feel guilty. I checked in on them for the first time yesterday in ever so long – and that was because I had heard of an unmonitored nest fledging two from the interior of British Columbia this morning.

There were three eggs that hatched at the Red Deer Osprey nest in June. Two of the three died on 3 July during the wretched heat and then rainy/stormy weather.

This beautiful juvenile fledged sometime the first two weeks of August when the cameras were down. This is a strong bird, a real survivor. It has been given the name, Little Braveheart, by her fans.

The two juveniles at the Fortis Exshaw nest up at Canmore are doing really well, too. Both fledged and they are waiting, just like the juvenile in Red Deer, for the call to fly south. That is such an incredibly beautiful spot to have an Osprey platform with the Canadian Rockies in the background.

Thank you so much for joining me. Do check the Birdmap and see how it works. Satellite trackers are wonderful tools. And please send your warm wishes and positive thoughts to those in the path of Hurricane Ida. Take care and stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Fortis Alberta Red Deer, Fortis Alberta Exshaw, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

The Biggest Adventure of their Lives

Chris Wood from Rutland described what he believes is Maya and Blue 33 (11)’s 2021 fledglings leaving home and starting their own journey. It was so poignant that I thought I would include it in its entirety here today.

No one home. Manton Bay, Rutland Water, UK

For those of you who do not know, Blue 33 (11) and Maya are the resident couple on Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Osprey Nest. They are normally the first to arrive back from migration and often within a half hour of one another. Imagine – 4000 miles and landing that close. Do they spend the winter together? No one seems to know. They are a Super Osprey couple, hatching and fledging 19 chicks as of today. This year the couple had 2 fledglings but they have had nests of four and it has not been a problem for either of them.

A video from a month ago. Maya is not ringed. The two fledglings are. In the image for the video, Blue 33 (11) is on the front left. Maya is looking at the fish and one of the chicks, now a fledgling, is in the back. Blue 33 always made sure that there was a fish on the nest first thing in the morning – right at dawn! Which is why his behaviour Yesterday was so unusual.

Chris Wood says:

“Yesterday at Manton Bay an extra shift proved to be quite eventful very early on. 095 had been very active early on in the morning, we get there for 6am, ok I was late yesterday, 6.45. She was flying around the bay, diving from the camera perch and from the air, skimming across the water as if to wash her feet and as usual plenty of food begging. But 33 wasn’t present, in fact we didn’t see him until midday, had he planned this? Around 9.10am, ten minutes into the extra shift 095 suddenly took to the air and started to fly across the bay, she started circling, round and round, gaining height slowly and gradually she passed over Waderscrape hide continuing on over the trees to the rear of the hide until we could see her no more, was she gone? Only 3 minutes later, 096, who had been sat on the far left perch all the time suddenly took flight and headed very purposely across the bay. He too headed towards the hide circling to the right and headed on past over the trees, he was gone. Had he seen his sister in the distance circling higher and higher heading away, south from the bay. Was he following, had they both left or was it just coincidence. Had 33 stayed away yesterday morning to encourage the youngsters to leave? All in all it was a spectacular sight if they had left, one tinged with sadness another with how fantastic to see two young Ospreys make it to migration and start the biggest adventure of their short lives, another great success for the Manton bay pair of Maya and 33(11).” Another person watching this, added, “Just before 095 left she also flew across to 096 on his perch – chipping at him – and Maya took to the air for the first time that morning as they left and circled upwards as if watching events.”

095 as she begins migration.
096 as he begins his migration 3 minutes after his big sister.

Oh, I wish those two had satellite transmitters.

Blue 33 is already doing some bonding with Maya before she leaves now that the kids are gone.

There has been no one home on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of Tiny Little at the times when the kiddos would normally have been there screaming for food.

Does this mean that they caught that same wind that draws our juveniles to start their own independent lives?

Someone who is home is Kindness, the fledgling Bald Eagle at the Glacier Bay Park in Juneau, Alaska. Kindness fledged on 21 August. Since then she has been enjoying short trips around her beautiful natal tree. So far she has slept on the nest but soon she will move to roosting on a branch.

Where Kindness is standing is called the ‘Bouncy Branch’. Oh, she looks so tiny next to those huge Pine Siskin Trees!

Kindness bounces and flies.

Liberty and Freedom always lure her back with a meal! And it works – Kindness has learned that if you leave food someone else will eat it. She is normally back on the nest within 3-5 minutes of a delivery.

This is precisely how fledging should go. Remember that and if you watched E17 and E18, Harriet and M15’s two fledglings from 2020 – that is a perfect example of a normal raptor fledge, the fledglings flying and playing with parents providing food.

When I last checked, the female peregrine falcon on the Collins Street nest was sure bulking up like she was going to lay that second egg today. Let me check!

Mom needed a break. Still only one egg at 4am 24 August. Sometime on the 24th for sure.

Another Australian bird, the Galah. Here is a very short video of an exchange between this fabulous pink and grey bird and some kangaroos. Try cutting and pasting. So cute! We need cute today. It is from the Kangaroo Sanctuary at Alice Springs.

https://fb.watch/7zJYVKBHM5/

Today there were some visitors to the garden in addition to the hundreds of various sparrows. The rain is coming down and it seems that they prefer the cylinder suet – fantastic. Even with domes the bird seed seems to still get wet. What a mess. Rain doesn’t stop the birds and squirrels from being hungry! The light was terrible and my laptop didn’t want to recognize the new card in the camera so I am attaching these even tho they are not the best images.

The image below is ‘Little Red” who has a life-lease for the garden shed penthouse.

Merlin identifies the bird image below as a Juvenile Male Ruby-throated hummingbird. If this is the case, the hummers are moving south on their way to winter vacations.

One of the resident Blue Jays who would love Little Red to get off the suet — or for me to go out and hang a new cylinder up in another place. He looks like he is doing a little moulting.

There is no word on Malin. Again, ‘no news is good news’. I am practicing patience or at least pretending that I am trying! We are all anxious for Malin and the youngsters of Grafs and Jan. Yesterday Grafs was in once and Jan twice. Better than nothing! And those storklings are starting to fledge. That feels like a miracle. I hope that they find the feeders.

I hope to have news soon on Malin. I am guessing that there are difficulties with the identification of the two birds – maybe neither is Malin. We wait.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone, see you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or found photographs: The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Alaska, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Chris Wood and the Rutland Osprey Project FB Page, and the Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac.

When is a fledge a normal fledge? or a forced one? Can you tell the difference?

What is the difference between a fledge? a normal run of the mill fledge? and a ‘Forced Fledge’? And how do we as individuals react to one or the other?

So first off, let’s begin with Kindness, the Bald Eagle juvenile who branched a couple of days ago. Kindness flew off the nest this morning at 10:01 am.

No one was there, Kindness flew off on her own. She was 86 days old setting a new record for the nest.

Here is the video, enjoy:

Later, Mama Liberty lured Kindness back to the nest with food! It was 12:30 pm. That is the way it is normally done. It is the same with Ospreys as it is with Bald Eagles and other raptors.

I wanted to get the opinion of an expert on Ospreys about Malin’s fledge. There has been a lot of disagreement over whether or not Malin just flew off normally like Kindness or if his flight was a ‘Forced Fledge’. So I went to a UK expert – someone that I trust that has decades of experience. I sent them the long footage of Mom alerting and then Malin flying off.

The longer version has the adult alerting for about ten minutes longer. This is the shorter version and you can still see mom, Marsha, alerting but imagine it ten minutes longer.

The expert asked me what the question was and I answered: Does it appear that the nestling fledged normally? or was it frightened by an intruder and flew?

The following questions and answers were exchanged:

  • Expert: Was that its first fledge? Answer: Yes
  • Expert: How long did it stay away? Answer: It Never Returned. Gone 2 days.
  • Answer from expert: Forced Fledge
  • Expert: Anyone looking for it? Answer: Person in charge said it was normal and Ospreys do not return to their nest after fledging.

The expert said that the average number of days that an Osprey fledgling spends on the nest after fledging is 36.

Here are two examples. The first is a normal fledge. The second is a forced fledged (different from Malin’s but close enough) but, the chicks returned to the nest.

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-evans/2013/08/25/clarach-and-cerist-fledge

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-evans/2015/07/21/three-fledge-one-morning

It is important to know the difference so that you are educated on what is and is not a normal fledge. As someone watching streaming cams then you will understand and respond appropriately. You will not be upset when it is a normal fledge and the bird returns and does more flying continuing to return and be fed by the parents. But you will also recognize an emergency, like Malin. In that instance, the minute he was forced off the nest there should have been a search party spread out on the property. They would need one expert to deal with Malin if found but ordinary people who care for birds could have spread out and looked in every direction from the nest for up to 300 metres. Do not get me wrong. People did look but it was at least 2 to 2.5 hours after the fact and it was getting dark. As I understand it, no one looked Friday. One person, a wildlife rehabber, returned to search today.

The reason that it is important to look immediately when it is an accidental or forced fledge like Malin’s is that the birds are vulnerable to predators. They will normally land on the ground. Additionally, they could require immediate veterinary assistance. This is the other reason that there should always be an emergency number easily found on a streaming cam or wildlife centre that will be answered! I am talking about a 24/7 emergency number. Alternatively, a moderator on a chat with a list of emergency helpers works fine as well. But you need to reach the boots that can get on the ground!

So educate yourself so you know what is what in the world of fledging. It could save the life of a precious bird.

Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations to Liberty and Freedom for the successful fledgling of Kindness and to all the folks at Glacier Gardens. Thank you for the boots on the ground looking for Malin. I have been told two chicks were found – one dead and one alive. I will let you know as soon as I hear the identification.

Thank you to the Glacier Gardens Park and the Collins Marsh Nature Centre for their streaming cam where I take my screen shots and videos.

What is better than a Peregrine Falcon Kiss?

Lots of people keep track of hurricanes and tropical storms. Most watch because they or their loved ones, or both, live in the line of the storm. Bird watchers also track weather systems. There are currently two systems that might impact our beloved Big Red and family as well as the birds that are migrating over Hawk Mountain, PA.

Henri is going to give some heavy rain and wind. Ithaca is west of the darkest green band but could get some rain.

Tropical Disturbance Fred will also give some heavy rain in the same area. There were flash flood warnings for Ithaca last night. It is 1:03 am Thursday morning in Ithaca and there are rain drops dripping off the metal supports of the light stand that Big Red and Arthur’s nest is on. The rain does not look heavy at the moment. There is also a peculiar corn plant growing out of the centre of the nest!

Heavy rain will impact the hawks ability to hunt. They would have felt the pressure system coming and hopefully caught more food yesterday.

This isn’t the beginning of the season. Hurricane season runs until 30 November.

Baby Kindness (I wonder if she would mind if I call her that?) is not worried about hurricanes. Today, she is 83 days old. Kindness branched yesterday and all she has on her mind is ___________________. If you said flying you are 100% correct. She has really been putting on a show for the people watching the live stream today.

Oh, she really gets some nice air under those wings going back and forth from the branch to the nest.

Wow. Look at those wings. Magnificent.

Kindness has spent a lot of time considering what is below that branch she is sitting on. Sometimes she gets the branch to bouncing a bit and that seems to unnerve her slightly and she flies back to the nest.

For several days, I have been talking about the migration of Ospreys in Wisconsin, like Malin, or those living in the United Kingdom or in Northeastern Europe. The Bald Eagles in Alaska do not migrate south of Alaska unless there is no food. In 1972, the State Legislature established a long stretch of the In Chilkat River as critical bald eagle habitat. The goal was to protect the birds, some 4000 of them, that move from the interior to the Chilikat River Valley where they feed on the Chum Salmon run during the late fall and winter. The juveniles normally eat spawned and dead salmon or the carcasses left behind by bears.

The Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is located in the Tongass National Forest just fifteen minutes away from Juneau. This is where Liberty and Freedom have their nest and where Kindness will fledge. There are meadows, forests, and glaciers. What a spectacular place to be a Bald Eagle!

“Tongass National Forest” by markcbrennan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
“Tongass National Forest” by markcbrennan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the features of the park is the Mendenhall Glacier.

“Mendenhall Glacier – Tongass National Forest” by jcsullivan24 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Liberty, Freedom, and Kindness are not far from the Chilikat River Valley and the Alaska Chilikat Bald Eagle Reserve.

In the spring, many of the Bald Eagles will head to areas rich with Herring and Eulachon. These include the Stikine River, Copper River Delta, Silka Sound and Kenai Bend. You can see some of those on the map below. The Copper River flows from Prince William Sound while Silka Sound is closer to Juneau on the far right bottom.

Kindness is fortunate to live in such a beautiful state with what we all hope are abundant resources for her and all the wildlife forever.

There are so many worries in the world. The birds bring so much joy to each of us filled with nail-biting anxiety and that bittersweet moment when our friends fledge to begin their lives off the nest.

Malin is beginning to feel the wind beneath his wings. For so long I did not believe that Malin’s feathers would develop and he would fly – but here he is preparing just for that. Joy.

Like other birds, Malin is doing much more wing strengthening flapping as fledge approaches. The energy from the fish he is eating gives rise to lots of exercising after a feed.

For tonight though, Malin is sleeping like a duckling dreaming of fish.

While Kindness and Malin are dreaming of fish and flying, Xavier and Diamond are constantly pair bonding while preparing for their 2021 eggs and hatches. After doing their courtship dance in the scrape box today, they sealed the deal with a kiss – peregrine falcon style.

Can you think of a better way to end this newsletter? I can’t!

Want to catch the adventures of Xavier and Diamond, here is the link:

Well, what could be better than a Peregrine Falcon kiss? Three Black storklings eating the fish that Urmas brought them. That is actually cause for a big celebration!

When the storklings woke up at dawn and found the fish gift from Urmas, they began to eat.

The feeding of the storklings is a success! Congratulations.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Have a wonderful Thursday. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project Charles Sturt University, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, Google Maps, Cornell Bird Labs Red Tail Hawk Streaming Cam, and the National Hurricane Centre.

Feedings and fires…Storks fall from the sky over Athens

Today is a gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. The rains helped to contain or put out many of the wild fires in our province and this morning, for a second day, we woke up to blue skies and white clouds! All of the plants are a vibrant green and the birds continue to sing. There was not enough to fill the dry creeks but the downpours we did get are a reminder of how much all life depends on water. The nestlings and fledglings would add ‘food’ to that list!

There is a constant worry that some of the late hatches are seeing dwindling food deliveries and that the parents might leave for their migration with young still on the nest. My friend, ‘S’ is concerned, as are many others, for the nestlings on two Black Stork nests – one in Latvia and the other in Estonia. Some others worry about the little osprey on the Collins Marsh Nature Centre nest that we have been calling ‘Malin’. (The official contest is underway for the official name).

Malin self-feeds from small Bullhead. 11 August 2021

Malin was receiving 5 feedings on occasion. Those were good days. The chick has not been fed well by the standards of other nests. This past Sunday, 8 August, Malin had no food. Yesterday, 10 August, he had two feedings. Today, there have already been 2 – one at 9:35 and the other around 11:42. Always these are small whole fish or pieces of fish. I have not seen a whopper on this nest.

Malin is hungry and several of us are trying to ascertain if the fish are ‘fished out’ or if the Dad has another nest – it really is unclear. A report by the Wisconsin DNR on the number of Bald Eagle and Osprey nests in the state indicate a drop of Ospreys in area 3, where the Collins Marsh nest is located, by -25.2%. While every other area saw an increase in Ospreys, Collins Marsh was only one of two that showed a decline. Does all of this reflect a growth in Bald Eagle Nests in the area? If you would like to read the report from 2019 (I have not found one for 2020), I am attaching a copy. A big shout out to ‘S’ who found this and sent it to me. Thank you.

The feedings for the nestlings of Grafs and Grafiene at the Sigulda Nest show a similar up and down pattern to that at Collins Marsh. However, there has not been a day without food to my knowledge at Sigulda.

‘S’ reports that on 9 August, the storklings had four feedings – which is considered low – but yesterday, they had only two. Today, there have been 2 deliveries by the female, Grafiene, and one by the male, Grafs. Grafiene is also like the female at the Collins Marsh nest, Marsha, who leaves for periods up to 24 hours at a time. The behaviour of these two females is very curious.

It is hoped that there is time for both the Black Storklings and the Osprey to fledge. ‘S’ advises that the minimum is ten days for the storklings. The Ospreys tend to migrate at the end of August or beginning of September in Wisconsin.

Malin is not ready to fledge. It is very worrisome for many reasons. I look at the development and growth of the Osprey fledglings in the UK and then compare this with Malin. Those in the UK have fully developed feathering and have really perfected their flying skills. They are self-feed with ease. Most have been fledged for a month. Will Malin have a month to further develop his body and skills? Will the storklings? The nest that is on the branch of the pine tree in the forest near Sigulda is so very narrow and has collapsed in the past. Will the hopping and flapping cause the little ones to fall?

The storklings are so excited when a parent arrives with fish that it does make you wonder if the could make the branch nest collapse. Grafiene covered the nest with little fish around 17:20. There was lots of food for each of the nestlings.

The storklings were eating and eating and had large crops. I wonder if a parent will bring another delivery before night?

I am including the link to the Black Stork Nest in Sigulda County, Latvia. If you wish to find the chat room or forum (with lots of information) please check the information under the streaming cam.

In Alaska, Kindness is not short of food. She has gone some days with few deliveries and other days, Dad not only leaves her food for self-feeding but today, he fed his baby girl. Dad just can’t help himself. He has an enormous soft spot for Kindness. The image below of Dad feeding Kindness is right after he had delivered prey 20 minutes earlier! Oh, Kindness, how lucky you are.

Did you know that Bald Eagles have a polarizing lens that helps them see fish in muddy waters? (Just like those who fish often wear Polarizing sunglasses.) That said Bald Eagles normally only feed in the top 15 cm or 6 inches. Their bare legs are designed to only go into the water 15 cm or 6 inches. Like the Ospreys and Sea Eagles, if they had feathered legs, they would get water logged.

You can watch Kindness here. The moderator on the camera chat is reminding everyone today that Kindness is 76 days old today. She is already flapping and jumping. The average act for fledge on this nest – not the whole of Alaska – is 89 days. (The whole of Alaska is 80 days). If she behaves like the other eaglets on this nest, you should be able to watch her until mid-September. Here is the link to that camera:

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Lady is feeding 27 and 28. Those little ones continue to look like white fluff balls but if you look carefully, their necks and wings are getting longer and there is a hint of ‘dark plumage’ underneath that natal down. The WBSE nest had a fright a few days ago. Dad showed up on the nest with a laceration on his leg and a cut near his throat that was bleeding. That seems to have subsided and Dad is busy catching fish for the family. (I am wondering about the small amount of salt water in the Parramatta River and its healing effects on Dad’s foot.)

27 and 28 do bonk but not much anymore. Some of the time it is instigated by the ‘little one’! They really are a good match for one another and unlike past years, viewers are remarking that they are really enjoying seeing the nest this year.

The egg tooth is disappearing as their beaks grow longer.

If you wish to watch then, here is the link to the cam:

There is some troubling news coming out in Bird World. ‘S’ informs me that the storks crossing over Greece where the wildfires are raging are being injured in large numbers as they migrate to Africa on the eastern routing. Various news agencies are reporting that people in Athens have been picking up dead storks off their lawns. This is more than sad. Here is a short news report by Reuters. I hope you can open it.

Here is a news article on the plight of these poor birds.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/9/disoriented-by-wildfires-migrating-storks-die-crossing-greece

A second is the number of raptors going into care. In the United States, there is an all out assault on plant life. Various levels of government are asking for and receiving permission to undertake ‘aquatic treatments’ using either Tribune or Harpoon. These are chemical herbicides and they poison birds!!!! At the moment, A Place Called Hope, has raptors in its care because of these treatments.

In Jacksonville, crews have been up doing maintenance on the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam. The presence of humans on ‘his’ nest brought Samson out from the trees and onto the nest yesterday. Wow. What a wonderful treat. Samson remains in the area and does not migrate while Gabby leaves early to travel north to cooler weather. Ironically – and sadly – this year it has been as hot in Ithaca, New York as it has been in Florida.

All three of the fledglings at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest were present yesterday. Poor White YW. Tiny Little Bob almost ripped his leg off trying to get at a fish delivery. Tiny Little! To steady himself, White YW had to put his talon on Tiny Little’s head. Gracious. It ended OK – no bird was injured.

For some reason all of the fledglings have been coming to the nest for fish. One will get the fish from dad, one will stalk that sibling, then they will get it and then White YW will arrive with another fish and confuse the entire situation. It is really quite hilarious. The fledglings are as big (or bigger) than Dad! You can watch them here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

Oh, wow. Tiny Little just snagged a fish from sibling 462. Fantastic.

Tiny Little is a ‘scrapper’ just like Tiny Tot. They both learned ‘street smarts’ to survive. Well done, Tiny Little! It was not that long ago that Tiny Little was shy. Her aggression will help keep her alive in the future.

News Flash. The female companion of Bucacek on the Mlade Buky White Stork nest in Czechoslovakia has been named Marketa.

Everyone reading my newsletter loves birds and animals or you wouldn’t be here. I was sent a delightful story – a view of rewilding through the eyes of a deer. Since we have so many deer in our city that have been displaced for ever more condominiums and roads, it really struck home to me. Perhaps you would enjoy reading it, too. Here is the link to ‘Rewilding is a Two Way Street. A letter from your neighborhood deer’.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/essay-wildlife-rewilding-is-a-two-way-street/print_view

Whew. That was a long newsletter. Sorry. Thank you so much for joining me. Send warm wishes to all the birds – for food and for the storks to survive as they travel from northern Europe to Africa. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Reserve, Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Latvian Fund for Nature, WBSE Sea Eagle Nest, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Sadness on Channel Islands Bald Eagle nest and other news from Bird World

There is sad news coming out of the Channel Islands Bald Eagle community. The male eagle, A64, Spirit, devoted mate to Cruz, was found floating in the ocean near Fraser Point on 21 July. The report stated that there appeared to be no traumatic injuries. Spirit’s mate, Cruz, has been seen at their nest. Condolences to all.

Deb Stecyk made a great video of this wonderful couple in 2018. Here it is:

The gusts have really been whipping the Fortis Alberta Exshaw Nest around this afternoon. For awhile it looked like the two chicks might get blown off. Mum was food calling and looking in the sky and you sure had a lot of sympathy for dad trying to fish and feed his family this afternoon. The weather station reports that the winds are blowing at 21 km/h. The gusts appear to be more than that. Hang on everyone!

Of course, you can’t even tell there is a breeze in a still photo!

The chicks are doing well on this nest. There seem to be no worries.

The wind was not blowing at the Fortis Alberta Red Deer Osprey Nest. Just look at how big and pretty Only Bob is getting! It really does help to be an only chick.

As the day heats up, Mum is making sure that this little one is good and shaded from the pounding heat of the sun.

The Only surviving Bob at the Collins Marsh Nest had a nice crop this morning. It is really, really hot on the top of that old wildfire tower. Both Mum and chick are really panting.

It was really nice to see a nice big crop on this little one today especially with the heat.

Tiny Little had breakfast and had an evening meal. Mom flew in to help but looks like Tiny Little did a pretty good job cleaning up. Our little one decided to sleep duckling style on the nest tonight. I like to think that all those lines are golden rays shining down and protecting this wee babe.

Other news coming out of Welsh Osprey nests is from Llyn Clywedog, the nest of Dylan and Seren. Only Bob, Blue 496, today flew from the nest with a good sized fish attached to its talons to eat it elsewhere. It is not clear if this is a first for Only Bob but it sure could be. Well done! Another milestone.

This is so fantastic. Dylan and Seren can be very proud of their 2021 fledgling Blue 396. He is doing so well in all aspects – flying, self-feeding, and now flying with a fish in talon. All good prep for migration.

As you probably know, the mothers leave before the fledglings and dad. They normally take off for Africa (or Spain or Portugal) two weeks before everyone else. Seren has been photographed in The Gambia. Dad will stay behind and feed the fledglings. When they take off and are all on their way it is only then that the male will leave. Everyone knows what a treacherous undertaking migration is. This year only 80% of the Ospreys expected to return did so in the UK (according to Tiger Mozone’s data). That is low. Normally it is 90%. We will begin to look for their return the third week in March. Normally Blue 33 and Maya are one of the first couples to get back to their nests. I can’t wait. There is something adorable about these little fuzzy bobble heads turning into reptiles and then getting their juvenile plumage that warms your soul.

My last report comes from Dr Ericke Green at the Montana Osprey Project. Him and his team have now visited 200 Osprey nests along the Clark Fork River. They note that the water in places is less than half the normal amount. The heat has persisted for more than a month, the water is hot, and the fish are dying. This is bad news for the Ospreys. Green noted that the chicks that they ringed were in good shape, regardless. He said that when they were on the Flathead Indian Reserve north of Missoula they found some nice healthy chicks living in nests lined with Bison hair! The nest is close to the Bison Wildlife Refuge. Wouldn’t that be soft and cosy?

Do any of you know what has happened in the Barlinecka Forest’s Osprey Nest in Poland? I have written to the Polish Committee for the Protection of Eagles that ran the camera. It has gone off line. There were two chicks on the nest – chick 1 hatched on 25 May and chick 4 hatched 31 May. Eggs 2 and 3 did not hatch. That is a massive difference in age! If you know anything about the status of these birds please let me know. I haven’t had a response yet from Poland. I will share it if I hear.

I want to thank all of you for joining me today. It is always a pleasure to have you with me. It was helpful to hear Dr Green say that this year’s osprey chicks in Montana have done well despite the drought that is encompassing so much of that area and ours in Canada. Take care everyone. Tomorrow loads of images of Big Red and the Ks.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: CarnyX Wild and the Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Fortis Albert Exshaw Osprey Nest, and the Fortis Alberta Red Deer Osprey Nest. I also want to thank the Montana Ospreys at Hellgate FB Page where I grabbed the image of the Osprey chicks in the nest lined with Bison hair. They hold the copyright.