Ervie, you melted our hearts

As a pigeon cleans the nest and a Cormorant dries itself on the perch of the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Ervie, we are all missing you! You hatched on 16 September at 00:51. You are five months and three days and you have been away from the barge for 48 hours. Are you gone for good? We all wondered until you surprised us returning to the nest at 12:42 and you stayed until 13:30. How wonderful. When you left a couple of days ago, we all worried that we would not see you again. What a real treat, Ervie. Thank you. You are looking really well.

You did your fish calling right before you flew off. Did you see Dad? Will you return later today?

Here the pigeon is looking for scraps and the Cormorant has returned to the perch after you left.

You hatched on 16 September were 51 hours younger than Bazza, the oldest sibling in the nest. As late as 27 September, when you were 9 days old, Bazza was trying to take over dominance in the nest. Yes, he pecked at your head and tried to stand tall to intimidate you but, you never gave in, Ervie. Never.

None of us will ever be able to be precise about what it was that made your melt our hearts but, you did – in spades. Is it the cheering for the under dog? You never felt like an under dog to me, Ervie. You were spirited, you knew what you wanted. You learned early to get where Mum could see you and close to her beak in the sweet spot in order to get the fish. You were a survivor. You never cowered in submission to Bazza or Falky. OK. Maybe one or two times when you were very little, close to hatch, but by the 27th of September, you had the drive and the determination to get what you wanted.

There you are with that fish bladder. All of you were curious about it.

Look how much you have changed in just a few days. In the image above you are still sporting you soft grey down and in the one below, four days later, almost full reptilian.

Look how tiny you are in thee middle of Falky and Bazza.

Ervie, you loved your fish!

All lined up like children in a choir behaving. That was the tone of this wonderful nest at Port Lincoln. No one could believe it. The early angst was gone and each of you just lined up and ate your fish. Dad made sure there was plenty on hand even when it was storm and the winds were blowing at 37 kph. Mum made sure each was fed. You could not have chosen a better family in which to hatch than this one at this time and place.

You are 20 days old Ervie, looking and wanting that fish standing behind the others. Adorable.

You wiggle around and come to the side and you will get fed.

There you are, already sporting a big crop, up at Mum’s beak wanting more fish!

You are 34 days old in the following image. you are the one closest to Mum’s beak. Look at the beautiful juvenile feathering that each of you is getting.

It is 27 October and you are the one getting the fish bites in the image below. Look at how well you are standing. All of you are growing up.

Your eyes never move away from the fish that Mum is feeding. There you are n the back ready to grab a bite!

There you are with your sat-pak, Ervie. You were all banded and given official names. They even put some nice fish on the nest so all of you could eat. There was enough for Mum and Dad, too.

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

Your bling is beautiful and we hope that sat-pak does work for 7 or more years so we know how you are doing.

It seemed that all of you grew up after you were banded. You were feeding yourselves and hovering and then fledging. Once everyone got their bling it was so much easier to identify who was right up at Mum’s beak – as she often chose to feed her boys even though they could easily feed themselves. That is you, Ervie, getting fed with your beak almost touching Mum’s head!

When Mum was not there and Dad delivered a fish, Ervie, you were often the one to get that fish first and mantle it.

On 14 November, you fledged, Ervie.

First to get the fish again.

Falky really wanted the fish Ervie had. Ervie, you were fast as lightning to get those fish deliveries – not always, but often and normally the first one of the day.

As all of you got older and more independent, the dust ups began. There was never any love lost between you and Bazza.

No one will ever forget the dog fight that you had with Falky!

Or your first puffer catch. Did you actually develop a taste for the Puffer, Ervie? You would bring in another one to the nest a few days before you departed.

You are four months old on 16 January and what a handsome fellow you are. You are now the king of the nest.

Super handsome Ervie.

You could hear your loud cry for fish across the cove. We will all miss it. Wonder if anyone tried to make a ring tone for their phone?

Oh, Ervie. You brought such joy to our lives. Every day we waited to see what you would be up to from the moment that you hatched. Thank you for staying with us for five months and for returning today to the barge. We never know when you fly off if you will return.

This is your latest tracking. Port Lincoln confirms that you are enjoying the Boston Bay area and the fishing is good by the National Park. We will look forward to more adventures.

If you do not return, Ervie, each of us wishes you the best life. Fly high. Live well and safe. Never be hungry. Come back to see us! And if for some reason you decide to use the barge as ‘home base’, I am sure no one will mind! At least not until Mum and Dad decide to take over the nest in the late summer.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam and FB pages where I took these screen captures and video clips. Thank you for letting us share in the lives of this beautiful Osprey family.

So you asked about Ervie…

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

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

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

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

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

It is a kerfuffle. Everyone wants that fish.

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

They scramble.

Ervie, facing towards us, has the fish!

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

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

Falky decides to take it to the ropes.

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

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

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

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

Ervie, ‘the main man’

I cannot possibly tell you what joy – sheer joy – the Port Lincoln Osprey nest has brought to me this year. There is a huge lesson in that statement. The biggest one is: Do not let something that happened on a bird nest in a previous breeding season deter you from returning to that nest. There are so many different factors that impact a season from the time the eggs are laid to the chicks fledging.

These factors can be as simple as the weather – and we all know that weather is not simple. Chicks can die on a nest from cold damp or extreme heat. They can also thrive, of course. A parent might be injured or die. This year Aran, the male at the Glaslyn Nest in Wales, was injured in a territorial battle and could not provide fish for his family. At the same time, the Glaslyn Valley was hit by a bitter wet storm that lasted days on end. The three chicks of Aran and Mrs G perished. Aran and Mrs G survived through the generous donations of fish on a feeding table. Some eggs are thin and break easily due to lingering DDT in the area even after it has been banned for 50 years. Food supplies can shift. Predators. The list is long including the gender of the siblings on the nest and the number of days between hatches.

I disliked Solly so much last year after Tapps died of starvation that – well, it was hard for me to return to the Port Lincoln nest. The history of the nest told me that the likelihood for another siblicide event was acute. Many of you felt the same. My need to witness and try to understand the survival of third hatches, ultimately, compelled me to return to the PLO barge.

What then are the adjectives to describe the 2021-22 Osprey breeding season at the Port Lincoln barge? Beautiful. Serene. Delightful. Joyous. Come on, you can help me! It certainly was enlightening and instructive. It will also be unforgettable for all the right reasons.

It is possible to do a full scale analysis of weather, wind, fish deliveries, etc. Port Lincoln keeps all of the information on a myriad of events on the nest and everything could be fed into a computer. A really quick glance of fish deliveries tells me that this year is pretty comparable to last year. Certainly Mum and Dad didn’t change their behaviour. Is it possible then that it comes down to the time between hatches and the gender of the nestlings? Does it have anything to do with how the third hatch presents itself to the oldest? I don’t yet know the answer to those questions but, I am hoping to have more insights after another decade for collecting data. For now, I just want to celebrate the achievement of this nest. Three fledges! A first for them. Well done.

Let’s go back in time – almost four months ago. This video clip is a feeding from 16 September.

This feeding is 6 November, not quite two months later.

This year, on the Port Lincoln Barge, Ervie is the ‘main man’. Hatched 51 hours after Bazza, the oldest, Ervie did not have the challenges that many third hatches have. He was not that smaller than Bazza after several days of eating. We still worried because Bazza was picking on Ervie. Ervie, however, didn’t take it. He refused to be submissive or lose his place at Mum’s beak. Indeed, he insisted that he was the first fed!!!!!! Talk about an attitude. I openly admit to adoring this bird for his spunk, his confidence, and determination. Yes, I really do believe that there are some birds that are more confident than others – just like humans.

When it came time to measure, band, and put a satellite pack on the back of one of the three, everyone believed that it would go to a male bird so that the data could be compared to that provided by Solly’s tracking. Did they think there were three males on the nest? I wonder. Someone must have decided then that if all three were male, the biggest would get the tracker. That morning Ervie weighed the most. Ervie, who came from third to be the dominant bird on the nest, got the sat-pak. It really was an inspired choice.

A few days ago we worried because Ervie spent the night and the next day on the nest with his head held down. Granted it was very windy and having noticed the others doing this, that behaviour was not worrisome. But Ervie – all night and day on the nest??!! I have now joked about there being a kind of rota chart for nest time.

For a couple of days after Ervie spent all that time on the nest we didn’t really see him much. He flew in around 13:00 yesterday and, typically, with his arrival, chaos ensued. Ervie enjoyed the last fish of the day before spending the night sleeping on the nest.

When Ervie woke up in the morning, Dad delivered the breakfast fish – and because Ervie was on the nest, he got it. It was 07:02. Falky would have liked it but he stayed on the ropes.

Ervie also got the 09:36:52 fish delivery from Dad. This time Falky was again on the ropes but this time, Falky flew to the nest to try and get the fish. He failed. This means that Ervie had the last three fish deliveries!

At 11:00 both Ervie and Falky are on the nest. Falky finds a fish tail left from Ervie. He grabs it and flies over to the ropes to have a snack.

At 11:12:56 Falky flies over to the nest to join Ervie. Falky probably wants to see if Ervie left any more tasty tidbits.

The arrival of Falky on the nest does not sit right with Ervie and there is a dust up.

Ervie decides he has had enough and leaves. After all, he has had 3 of the last 3 fish deliveries.

Falky gets the 12:45 fish delivery from Dad.

Falky is on the left and he has relieved Dad of the fish. Dad is on the right. You can see that the fledglings are as large as their parents.

Two hours later, Falky remains on the nest. I wonder if this is his reservation day??? We wait to see.

Will Falky occupy the nest and get the next three or four deliveries? Will he spend the night on the nest? We have to wait and see.

I hope that each of you really learned a lot from this Osprey nest and that all of you will tell a friend to watch with you next year.

The Fosters do a great job with The Port Lincoln Osprey Project. They have successfully advocated for satellite trackers for the birds and we have learned much from Solly’s travels. Now we have the opportunity to learn from Ervie. The Fosters also advocate for safety measures for the birds including covers for the hydro poles. Hopefully they will post how that is going on their FB page. I am very grateful to them for this streaming cam and for their FB page. That is where I took today’s screen captures and video clips.

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

It’s three for Ron and Rita and other news from Bird World

Ron and Rita welcomed R3 early this morning. It appears that R3 hatched around 07:58. Notice also how Rita puts her beak at the tip of R1’s beak when it is wanting to peck R2. Very interesting.

Here is a very short video of R3 hatching.

R3 is officially fully hatched at 10:32:01.

Rita is now showing us anything as R1 and R2 look outside the nest cup.

That nest cup is very small. Fingers crossed for this little one to catch up and the older siblings to be kind. There is lots of food and experienced parents.

Congratulations Rita! (and Ron)

I have yet to see Daisy the Duck return to the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest since her and her mate came to check it again on New Year’s Day. The Ring-tailed Possum still has its own nest amidst the twigs that have been added to this enormous structure over the years. It was running up and down around the tree last night.

It is hard to see it but if you look at the left side of the ‘V’ branch, it is running down to the bottom of the V and on the nest image, it is running up the other side.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Lads must have a pact. Each one of them gets to spend an entire day on the nest! First it was Bazza, then Falky came the other day, and now it is Ervie’s turn again! Ervie flew in with a piece of fish yesterday and it is believed that he must have caught it himself. However, later, he also received a fish from Dad, the last fish of the day. They have also been diving off the barge – Falky is very good at this and it is wonderful to see them figure out how to fish. We most often do not get this opportunity.

There is Ervie protecting his fish on the nest from any siblings that think they will fly in and grab it.

Falky and Bazza are leaving Ervie alone to enjoy his dinner.

And perhaps by prior arrangement or reservation, Ervie gets to sleep on the nest alone. So when we see that one of them is staying by themselves all day on the nest, we will not worry about them. It looks like they are taking reservations for occupancy! What characters these three boys are.

There are so many things that humans use for one thing that wind up harming anyone that comes near them. Today, let’s look at ‘sticky paper’. Strands of sticky paper used to be common where I live to catch mosquitoes and flies. In France they are still used to catch birds! What horror and today there are used to catch mice and rats. Any bird or animal that gets near this gooey paper will be harmed. This was posted by CROW. The last sentence is not there but they suggest calling your local wildlife rehabber. Do not try to do anything yourself.

The wee ones at Hilton Head are still small and fuzzy but E19 and E20 are growing fast. Today, they are out of the nest cup and sleeping with their head on the sides of the nest. This is a major change for these two. Their pin feathers are also coming in and we can see their little tails starting to grow as their wings get bigger and bigger.

Another possum was just brought on deck for dinner along with the remains of yesterday’s two fish.

Eating and growing make for one very tired E19.

An earlier feeding of fish.

All is well at Harriet and M15’s. The beaking has really slowed down. Let’s hope it stays that way!

We are on egg watch at Big Bear for Jackie and Shadow.

Here is the link to the camera of this favourite Bald Eagle couple. We wish them the best of luck as they struggle to have nestlings up in northern California. It is perhaps the lingering DDT in the area that continually causes the shells of their eggs to be thin or the eggs to be unviable. But, let’s start 2022 off with all your warm wishes. I hope this is their year – they are so dedicated to one another.

Pip watch for those followers of Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest this weekend. Hoping that this year is better for Mum Connie and her new partner, Clive. Connie lost both of her chicks to rodenticide secondary poisoning last year. They were Hope and Peace. It was tragic. And, of course, rodenticide, like sticky paper, needs to be banned. Raptors and Cats are the answer to getting rid of rodents.

Here is the link to the Captiva Bald Eagle Cam:

I am trying to find streaming cams for raptors in Japan. In my quest to find a raptor cam in Japan for one of your fellow readers, I have found squirrel cams, monkey cams, cams for traffic and temples, cooking, etc. But I have yet to find a mention of a raptor cam. I will continue my quest but if any of you know of one, please let me know so we can all enjoy. Thank you so much!

The squirrels are adorable!

And the most incredible monkeys and deer but no raptors! This is Awaji Island.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is so reassuring to know that there are so many people, from all of the world, that love the raptors – and all the birds and animals. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Friends of Big Bear, Captiva Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, CROW FB page, Awaji Island Monkey Center, and Yatsugatake Today.

Ervie gave us a fright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The branch incident happens at 07:33.

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

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

Sweet sleeping babies!

So sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Year’s Day in Bird World, late edition

New Year’s Day started off wonderfully with the uniting of Annie and Grinnell. Cal Falcons posted a note that the interloper that had injured Grinnell and sent him into rehabilitation on 29 October has not been seen in the past two weeks. It appears that our little Grinnell watched, got stronger, and got rid of him! That is a good thing. Grinnell is far too experienced a mate and knows how to take good care of the eyases – that is invaluable to Annie. I only wish Daisy had a mate half so invested in the eggs and nestlings!

10,600 people have watched Annie and Grinnell ring in the New Year together! Look closely at the image. Notice just how much bigger Annie is than Grinnell. That is reverse sex-size dimorphism – in raptors, the female is normally 30% larger than the male.

These little falcons like to live on the highest buildings so they can have a great view if anyone larger than them should want to arrive at their scrape box. Thousands of years ago they lived on the highest cliffs (some still do in certain geographical regions) but, like other birds they have adapted as humans take over their space. They have adapted to our skyscrapers like this perfect building on the University of California at Berkeley, The Campanile.

Oh, what a beautiful sight first thing in the morning. So happy. This is just such a relief.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles were up on the branch together to sing the morning duet. They had a rough night of it. They were chased and harassed by the Pied Currawong first. The Curra are the birds that injured WBSE 27 – gathering in a group to fly and hit its head. The Curra are also the birds that chase the eagle fledglings out of the forest before they have learned from Lady and Dad how to fish and survive. I really do not like them and their numbers have grown in the forest over the past few years. They are more than a nuisance. They can be deadly.

As soon as the Curra were in bed, it was not long until BooBook Owl and its mate started their silent attacks. They spent five full hours harassing the WBSE. They are also dangerous. One injured Lady’s eye last year and she could have been blinded.

Here is a video of the attacks with the eagles falling off the branch.

To my knowledge, the WBSE do not eat the hatchlings of either the Curra or the Owls. These little birds just want the big Apex raptors out of the forest and they will do everything they can to accomplish this.

The pair sang The Duet and promptly left the forest. I wonder if there is another nest location for them? The old nest of Dad’s collapsed but there could be other suitable sites.

I made this video clip a few months ago in mid-September. I love the beauty of Lady and Dad singing their song to wake up the forest. Scroll your mouse or tracker over the left hand corner and then click on the arrow to play.

I have never liked this nest because of the Currawongs and now Boo and his family are older and bolder. It is not good for the eaglets who hatch or for Daisy. My eyes in that area tell me that the Ravens have also been coming to the nest to check for eggs every couple of days. So sad. If Daisy does return, I have no hope for her eggs hatching. I just do not want her to get injured if a large number of Ravens would come at the same time.

This morning on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge Bazza was on the nest when the fish arrived at 08:09. Falky flew over from his perch hoping to get it but Bazza was the clear winner and kicked Falky off the nest! You will remember that yesterday Bazza flew in and took the fish right when Dad brought it in. Bazza is going to be called Bold Bazza for sure. He is getting street smart for sure – all good survival skills.

Here comes Dad with the fish. Bazza can see him and he is prey calling louder and louder.

Bazza is starting to mantle the fish (on the left side of the nest). Mantling is when a raptor spreads their wings over the food item so that others cannot get to it. It is almost like hiding it. Falky is on the right edge of the nest. Ervie is up on the perch and Mum is on the ropes.

What interested me was not Bazza getting the fish or Falky trying to take it but, Ervie’s behaviour. Ervie did not move off the perch. He did not care. He was not hungry. This tells me that Ervie had already been out fishing for his morning breakfast. He will continue to get more and more independent.

E19 was being a bit of a stinker today. His attacks on E20 were frequent and sometimes brutal.

So what do Harriet and M15 do when this happens? Well, often, they will ‘sit’ on the chicks but, at other times, they will do a tandem feeding. That is precisely what happened today. M15 stepped in to help Harriet with the cantankerous two.

Just lovely. Both eating at once. They will learn, over time, that everyone gets fed. No one goes hungry in Harriet and M15’s house.

Ferris Akel held his tour today. Viewers were treated to the sightings of five Snowy Owls at the Finger Lakes Airport.

Snowy Owls are moving south from their home in the Arctic to find food. They mostly eat rabbits, grouse, mice, weasels and small waterfowl and marine birds. Open fields, golf courses, or small airports like this one are perfect for them to find food.

Not far away were what seemed like a thousand Sandhill Cranes. Some were feeding in the fields, some were in the marsh, and some were flying from the fields to the marsh. There seemed to be Sandhill Cranes everywhere!

The adults have grey bodies with a distinctive crimson red cap. Their long legs and necks immediately tell us that these are ‘wading’ birds. They stand 90-122 cm tall or 36-48 inches. They have long pointed beaks for finding food in the muddy waters of wetlands. They also have a ‘bustle’ or tufted tail. You can see those tufts on the cranes in the image below.

The Sandhill Cranes migrate during the winter leaving their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic and Northern Canada in large groups. They will gather in the thousands in staging areas.

With their long beaks they probe in the waters feeding on plant tubers, roots, seeds, and small invertebrates. In the image below you can see how their long legs and neck really assist them in finding food.

Oh, these cranes are so gorgeous. Sandhill cranes have been the subject of Japanese art for centuries. They are a traditional symbol of immortality because it is believed that the cranes live for a thousand years.

The panel below is called Cranes in a Winter Landscape. This is clearly a good wish for longevity.

The screen below is part of a series of two six-panelled screens done in the 1700s. Typically the backgrounds would have been painted gold. Both the old twisted pine and the crane signal immortality or wishes for a long life. These would have typically folded and divided rooms.

Thank you so much for joining me. Stay warm, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: SWFlorida Bald Eagle cam and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, UC-Berkeley Falcon Cam, and Ferris Akel.

Thursday in Bird World

It is still super cold on the Canadian Prairies. You don’t even have to look at the temperature on the phone when you hear a super loud crunch when you walk on the snow. It is so dry, the snow, that you cannot even pack it into a snowball or a snowwo/man. The European Starlings were waiting for the first food drop, all lined up on the tips of the Lilac Bush branches. Surprisingly, the Sparrows beat them out. Four sparrows to one Starling. They will all eat but, most of the time, the Sparrows get shut out. The other day Little Woodpecker was here. He just stays away from all of them. Which reminds me – I need to go and fix his suet!

Looking back on the history of the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, I realize that we probably have another month with the three lads. Last year DEW was last seen on 17:01 25 January. He was never sighted again after that time. Solly departed and flew West on 2 February. We know from her tracker that Solly thrived until that tragic day this fall when, after catching a fish, she landed on a power pole and died. I know that Port Lincoln has lobbied hard to get those poles covered and I understand that the power company is cooperating. For those who wrote letters to the Minister, thank you. Public pressure can help.

Ervie had advanced from flying to the fishing ramps to hanging around the commercial shipping yards over at the Marina!

That is Ervie on his perch. You can see that is crop is full.

Ervie and Falky on the nest hoping to get a fish from Dad.

The nest of White-tail Eagle, Milda, at Durbe has been covered with snow. Still, nest visits have taken place. Just look at the forest and the view. So beautiful. This nest will not become active until spring when I will be reporting daily on the happenings. Looking the White-tail Eagles raising chicks and the return of the Black storks.

Kindness’s nest is all covered in snow up at Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska.

If you are wondering what Kindness might be doing, please have a look at this 2 minute video. It is a bit dated in the sound but the information is correct to the present time. The images of the eagles flying and eating are gorgeous. The video ends abruptly. I would have loved to hear about the two clans but, another time! There are so many Eagles in Alaska. They sometimes take over small trucks delivering fish to the canneries.

The Roe Deer feeder is in Latvia. Yesterday, for the first time, they caught a female deer cow and her calf coming to eat. You can see them arriving on the right to try and get some food. The males are the ones with the antlers and from my reading it can be dangerous. The mother and her baby will wait after being escorted by the leader of the bucks and return.

You can see the little one eating here. There is a hierarchy in all of the groups. This is, of course, why our birds try so hard to be dominant and why Ervie, once he established himself, expected to get the first fish of the morning. E19 and E20 are going through this process currently.

Andy and Lena were both alert and alerting at the Captiva Osprey Nest this morning.

Of course their eyes are so good. All I could hear were people below. I wonder if that is the issue? They sure have a beautiful site for a nest! Hopefully it will be a successful season for this lovely pair who continue to try and continually have the Crows steal their eggs.

You can watch Andy and Lena here:

Harriet and M15 are being kept busy by E19 and 20. You can hear the little ones chirping away to Mum and Dad.

The pair got started on all the beaking as soon as Harriet got up to feed them. Oh, my.

There are over 4000 people watching these two at any one time and a myriad of videos coming up on YouTube. You won’t be able to miss them!

Everything is just fine in Bird World. The eggs at Taiaroa Head have been candled and OGK and YRK’s egg is developing normally. We are a month away from hatch. Gabby and Samson are taking turns up at NEFlorida and you will see me getting pretty excited in a couple of weeks. Thankfully, Daisy has not yet returned to the WBSE nest that I am aware. The latest news was awhile ago on WBSE27 who is currently in rehabilitation. The two chicks at Hilton Head are doing great. My copy of The Season of the Osprey arrived in the post this morning. That is on the agenda for today. It is far too cold to be outside for very long.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay warm, stay safe and take care until I see you again.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens, Roe Deer Feeder in Latvia, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett Family, Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Osprey Cam, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Late Monday in Bird World

It has been a wonderful day in Bird World. It is a good time to reflect on how much joy the birds bring into our lives, how much they teach us as we observe them and, as always, what else we can do to enrich their lives like they have ours. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been like. First was the feeding of the songbirds in our garden and then there was the arrival of Sharpie’s mate. All of that was followed by watching Red-tailed Hawks in New York City and in Ithaca on the streaming cams. Years later the pandemic hits. Two years ago we had barely returned from a trip to Quebec City to celebrate my retirement and the first discussions of a deadly virus were swirling about. It was not long until we learned about the cases in PRC and, of course, all of that is now history. The first hawks that I watched in New York City are no longer with us (secondary rodenticide poisoning) but Big Red is still going strong up in Ithaca. She gave so many a reason to get up in the morning and, at the same time, reasons for us staying up all night as well – worrying. The birds taught – and continue to teach – me many things including empathy and patience.

Today, the Hilton Head Eagles, Harriet and Mitch, had their second hatch. The nest was discovered in October and the Hilton Head Trust held a contest for names for the couple while also setting up a streaming cam. Harriet is named after Harriet Tubman, nurse and spy for the Union army, and Mitch is for Civil War General, Ormsby Mitchel. Tubman actually led 700 slaves to their freedom, 100 of them to Mitchelville, a community established by the General for formerly enslaved persons. Thus, the names have a connection to one another and also to the community where the nest is located.

They are just adorable – littl eaglets with their soft grey natal down and spiky hair. Look how strong they are in the image below. It is so reassuring when they hatch and are strong and ready to go! Have a look:

I have been watching M15 and Harriet and the hatch of E19 most of the day. If you missed it, I updated my earlier blog identifying M15 as the adult on the nest when E19 hatched. That hatch was at 12:43:04. Harriet saw her baby for the first time at 14:46. The couple have each had turns feeding their first hatch of the 2021-22 season.

Look how wide E19 is opening its mouth. Harriet is pleased.

M15 stands guard over his nest with mate Harriet, E19, and yet-to-hatch eaglet, E20.

All of these eaglets will spend 75-85 days in the nest, depending on where they hatched. Here are the three standard divisions of the eaglet’s development. The first stage, 35-40 days, is called ‘structural growth.’ This is when the eaglets rapidly gain weight. They seem to be eating all the time. They are building bones and muscles as well as their tissue, toes, claws, etc. The second stage is related to the eaglet’s future ability to fly. The eaglets are born with natal down. Next is thermal down, then their juvenile feathers come in, and over the course from fledge to the time they are five years old, they will go through stages of feather development resulting, finally, in an adult with a beautiful white head, gorgeous brown body and yellow legs and feet. The thermal down will begin coming in around day 10. Juvenile flight feathers begin growing between 24-27 days. You will notice the eaglets doing wingercizes which help them develop the muscles in their wings. Right now these eaglets do not have much control over their heads and beaks. They will, as their neurological coordination increases, begin to stand on their feet instead of scooting around on their tarsi. They will learn to tear food, holding the prey down with their feet and pulling with their beak. Instead of being clumsy unfocused bobble-heads, they will turn into beautifully focused chocolate feathered raptors.

Within the last hour, another GHOW strike has happened at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest. These attacks are occurring much more frequently. Several nests including one Osprey one at Hog Island employed lights and clothed dolls to thwart the GHOW attacks. Thank you for that information, ‘L’. Maybe it is time to consider lights for Harriet and M15.

The Kakapo Recovery posted the cartoon of their infamous bachelors about two weeks ago.

Well, the staff no longer have to wait for breeding season to begin on Whenua Hou Island. The Kakapo kicked it up into high gear starting on 24 December. Oh, let there be many baby Kakapo!

Over at Port Lincoln everyone is eating well. Bazza found a fish before day break on the floor of the barge, then Bazza received another fish. Did I say I think Bazza will never leave home? Ervie has been over on the ropes eating a fish that it appears he caught and when he couldn’t eat another bite, Falky took over. Wow. Sibling sharing. How nice!

Ervie is at the top and Falky is eating the rest of the fish Ervie caught on the ropes near the bottom of the image.

Diamond slept on the Cilla Rocks last night. It is comforting to see her sitting on the ledge of the scrape at first light.

As I approach the end of the day, the sun is waking up on the deserts of Africa. The little birds are flitting about the bore hole in Namibia getting drinks. What a beautiful view. So peaceful. So warm compared to the cold snowy weather of Manitoba!

Good Night everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida and D Pritchett Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Nambia Cam, and Kakapo Recovery FB Page.

Thursday Happenings in Bird World

It has been a very difficult time for all of us since the Ravens destroyed Daisy’s nest. Things had gone so smoothly that most of us began to believe that those eggs would hatch. Sadly, it was not to be. I so wished that the male Pacific Black ducks had the instinct to go to the nest and relieve their mates! Daisy was quite distraught, understandably. A friend that is around the Discovery Centre has offered to take a photo for me of Daisy paddling around the canal after the holidays. There are not that many ducks there so she is confident she will recognize her again this year. Before I move on to other bird news, I am reminded that Daisy rushed to the big WBSE nest to lay an egg. She did not prepare the nest and it is possible that she had a nest elsewhere and something destroyed those eggs and, as a last resort, she came to the WBSE nest. There might well not be a safe place for our Daisy and that could account for so few ducks in the water there. If a duck hatches a normal clutch, it is normally 47 days before the pair mate again and this will only happen twice a year. If the eggs are broken, it can be as few as 10 days, a reliable source tells me. I hope that we do not see Daisy again – as much as I would like to see her and know she is safe! The WBSE are often at the nest in January and it would be wonderful if later Daisy was seen with little ones in the canal. We wait.

I needed ‘something lighter’ and that turned out to be the boys at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. It seems that Bazza picked off the first two fish deliveries. At some time Ervie got mad at him and kicked him off the nest. Falky continues to perfect his diving skills hoping to catch that elusive fish one day. They are so lucky that they have parents that continue to provide these big strapping lads with food!

Here is Falky diving off the ropes and coming out of the water in sequence:

No fish but, Falky tried! If you look at the time stamps you will see how quick that dive was. This family is just doing great. That is a wonderful thing! Falky is really trying.

Ervie’s satellite tracker indicates that he has been visiting the local boat ramps. The owner of PLO is wondering if Ervie has discovered places where he can get fed! Here is Ervie’s latest tracking:

Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page posted some great shots of Ervie and Falky. They were taken by Bazz Hockaday. I hope they don’t mind my sharing them with you. You can see how stunningly handsome and – well, these are just great Osprey fledges. A success story this year that gives us a lot of hope. I understand that Falky followed Ervie to the beach. Bazza stayed on the nest and cleaned up on all the fish. I am certain that Bazza will never leave home!

Ervie
Falky
Falky
Ervie

Port Lincoln also posted a picture of the barge from the other side. It really helps us visualize where the nest is.

This is dad delivering a fish dinner to the nest. What an amazing shot! Thank you Port Lincoln!

The hatching and fledging of the three males at this beautiful barge with its Osprey nest made history for this mated pair. For years they have had issues relating to siblicide and they have never fledged three. Everyone was cautiously optimistic and it happened. It is one of those great moments of 2021 that no one will forget!

I urge you to check in on this nest and also the Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page. You don’t have to be a member of anything to find out what the lads are doing. And this is such a happy site – we need it, we truly do.

There are lots of mothers incubating eggs. Two of my favourites are Harriet and Gabby.

Harriet and M15 have been taking turns at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest. It has not been easy for the male, M15. He has continual strikes by the Great Horned Owl whose nest is 900 metres away. M15 had an injury the other day. The GHOW also strike Harriet on the nest and will do the same to the hatchlings. Sad.

Samson and Gabby have been taking turns incubating their two eggs in the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. They have had a sub-adult intruder but nothing like the issues with the owls that Harriet and M15 have endured. As nests and trees become more precious – with growing numbers of eagles and owls – these fights for territory could come more often and many times the owls usurp the eagles from the nest. I continually remind everyone that they might be cute – the owls – but they are a formidable Apex predator.

Gabby – you can always tell the ‘shag look’.
Samson with his slick backed head.

Hatch watch for Harriet! Bobble heads coming real soon. I can’t wait.

I want to leave each of you with something that is just full of joy! Perhaps you have discovered this wonderful girl that loves squirrels. If you haven’t, then you are in for a real treat. Please enjoy -.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for all the letters and comments about Daisy. It was a very difficult time for the community of people from all over the world that loved her. I hope that we get a picture soon of her paddling away and that if she should lay more eggs, we don’t see them but they hatch and we get news of Daisy on the canal being a Mum. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for the streaming cams and their FB pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, and NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF. I also want to thank Bazz Hockaday for those amazing images of Ervie and Falky.

The Daisy Chronicles Day 17, continued

Despite the presence of the Sea Eagles, Lady and Dad, at the River Roost on the Parramatta River, Daisy has been blissful since she returned from her morning foraging trip at 07:11:00

The Sea Eagles have not come to the nest. The wind is beginning to really pick up. I have not seen any predators on the nest. That said, the sound is off on the main camera and the Ravens could have been in the branches above like they have been lately or simply flying by. The strong winds might keep them at home!

It is currently 30 degrees in the forest and the winds are blowing at 19 km/h with gusts up to 39 km/h. It is hot and humid for Daisy with the confirmation of thunderstorms (90% chance) from 15:00-18:00. Hopefully Daisy will wait til the rain and winds have calmed before going out for her evening foraging. I am not concerned about her. She has been through many storms but, rather, for the priceless down covering those eggs.

It is nearing 11:30 on the old Ironbark Nest. The wind is rocking the tree but Daisy does not seem bothered. I have no noted any predators around and it is unclear if the Sea Eagles are still at the River Roost. The sound is still off line.

Other Nest News. A video has been posted of the thunderstorm that hit Orange last evening. Lightning, hail, thunder, and high winds. Diamond is in the scrape. You can see she is frightened. This morning Xavier arrived on the ledge of the scrape box and there was much relief he was alright. You can imagine that was this type of storm that also hit Daisy in Sydney.

Need an Osprey fix? Lena can see Andy in the distance and she is fish crying. Here is that video:

Samson is so happy that him and Gabby have their first egg as of yesterday. Just look at those two!

Over at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, Ervie picked up the first delivery of the morning -despite the choppy water and winds – from dad at 06:30:41.

Falky got the 07:39:44 fish.

Last time I checked Bazza was alone on the nest wishing for a fish.

Thank you so much for joining me. There is not much to report about Daisy which is, after all, a good thing. Hopefully the weather will not be as bad for her as it was for the Peregrine falcons, Xavier and Diamond, at Orange. I will monitor her throughout the rest of the day. Take care everyone. Stay safe! Look to the birds for joy!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey, the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.