Early Monday in Bird World

18 April 2022

The sun is shining bright, the sky is blue with some clouds, and the Dark-eyed Juncos and European Starlings arrived in the garden three or four hours ago! There is not supposed to be more snow for another five or six days – thankfully.

Mr Woodpecker came for some of the suet a few hours later. Normally he goes to the suet cylinder with the wooden flap that helps him sit better but today he decided he wanted the peanut suet.

I love the rustic garden we have created that allows us to interact with wildlife in an urban setting rather than setting boundaries to keep the birds, the squirrels, the rabbits, and sometimes a raccoon separate and apart. We seem to have all found a way to coexist which certainly brings a lot of joy.

I received a note from a friend of forty years this morning. They live in a beautiful flat in New Zealand near a place where they can observe ducks and swans but, with the sale of the family cottage, they are now longing for a home with a large garden. Whether it is a large or small space, each of us can bring joy to our lives by helping our feathered or furred friends. In fact, it is often so much easier to manage a small space with a single feeder. Everything helps! Yesterday a huge flock of robins came to our neighbours. She didn’t have seed of any kind but she had dried cranberries, frozen blueberries, and some apples she chopped up. The Robins were very grateful.

The day started off really well for Little Bit at the UFlorida Osprey nest in Gainesville. Mum called and Dad brought another fish to her at 09:34.

Little Bit – in the middle – stretches its neck really far and gets some amazing bites of fish. This little one is not bothered at all when it comes to putting its head in front of Big sibling. Did I actually think at one time this wee baby would not survive? He is so feisty and what a great Mum he has. She tries each beak when she has flakes of fish. Not one of the chicks is ever left out. Slow and methodical. I am so impressed by her.

Big Bob (left) has its dark oily head today and has been seen doing a lot of preening as its new darker-grey wooly down comes in. Little Bit (middle) still looks rather soft and young. It is healthy – look at that fat little bottom. Middle Bob (top right) is in between the other two siblings. Tomorrow Middle Bob will look much more like Big Bob. The dinosaur phase is upon us.

Yesterday, at the Captiva osprey nest, the last fish was delivered around noon. Was recreational boat traffic the cause of no deliveries later in the day? I always wonder especially on a holiday weekend.

The first fish today came in and Middle grabbed it. I think Lena was planning on dividing it up but she didn’t get a chance. [Chat uses the term ‘Little’ when I say Middle]. I hope Andy brings in another fish soon for Lena and Little [Mini].

Idris brought in a super fish for Telyn at the Dyfi nest and then incubated the eggs for her so she could have a good feed.

Idris is one of my favourites.

Aran and Mrs G have both been on the alert this morning at the Glaslyn nest. No eggs so far – that’s a good thing.

Aran looking around from the rim of the nest.

Mrs G. looking at the intruder above the nest.

Both on the look out from the perch. There are still floaters around looking for a mate and a nest. They often cause a bit of chaos.

Yesterday, Blue NC0 laid her third and, hopefully, last egg of the 2022 season. If all three hatch, Laddie LM12 is going to be one busy male at the Loch of the Lowes. Last year the couple fledged two chicks.

Here is a short video clip of the third egg being laid.

Maya and Blue 33 (11) will have the first Osprey chicks to hatch on the streaming cams in the UK. I will alert you as we approach pip.

All three eaglets at the West End had a nice early breakfast. Thunder told them to stay away from the edge!

There were some gorgeous views from the Two Harbours nest at sunrise.

Chase wanted some time with the eaglet so he brought in a big stick and coaxed Cholyn off the nest. Sounds just like Shadow at the Big Bear Valley nest! You can see that stick to the side of Chase.

The Pittsburgh Hayes eagle nest would sure like some of that warm California Sun today. Everyone looks miserable. I can only imagine what that stock of fish smells like.

Unbelievable. Only Bob at the National Arboretum nest is no longer a fluffy little white teddy bear. Just look at that eaglet with that big crop. There is still some white natal down on its head.

The image below is the eaglet on 6 April. Twelve days ago! The saying is: An eaglet grows from three inches to 3 feet in 3 months. That is incredible.

Mother Goose has her eggs in the old abandoned Bald Eagle nest at Decorah North in Iowa. She seems to be doing fine. No disturbances and unlike dear sweet Diasy, Mother Goose has help.

The camera operator searched and found the Bald Eagles working on their new nest this morning. It is really windy!!!!!!!!

Harry and Nancy were both on the Minnesota DNR nest as snow was falling this morning. Everyone was having a big feast. Each parent was eating and feeding an eaglet. Beautiful.

Liberty and Guardian were both on the Redding Bald Eagle nest this morning too. It looks, from the size of all of these eaglets, that we are really going to be busy when they all start fledging at once!

Would you like an opportunity to name the two Redding eaglets? Here is where you go to fill in the form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSepb87S7zrcMZI6PXzhLCeFD6t21xj5sjw7mEV9n2aT_34CWg/viewform

Names already used include the following: Liberty, Patriot, Spirit, Guardian, Conehead, Freedom, Hope, Peace, Shasta, Justice, Stormy, Windy, Lassen, Pi, Paddy, Poppy, Birdie, Bogey, Solo, River, Sky, Hope, Honor, Glory & Rebel.

The whole family was on the nest this morning at Big Bear after Shadow brought in a really super fish.

What a peaceful image. Spirit looking out on Big Bear Lake while Jackie finishes up some fish. Spirit has such a huge crop! Glad there was some fish left for Jackie.

While the ‘New Guy’ is incubating, Annie chases an unwanted male from The Campanile. Oh, and we so wished Annie would have some peace and quiet.

We are waiting for the announcement of the name for ‘The New Guy’.

Jan brought some moss to soften the nest that he shares with his mate, Janika. Their artificial nest is in Jogeva County in Estonia. It was built in 2021. Black Storks are very rare in Estonia and everything is done to encourage them to nest successfully. If you look carefully you can see that there are two eggs already in the nest.

Big Red and Arthur have been taking turns incubating the four eggs. In fact, this year, Arthur has become a bit bolder in his attempts to get Big Red off the nest so that he can care for the eggs, too. We will be on pip watch at the end of the week. I won’t be able to sleep!!!!!!

In past years we have seen Big Red encrusted in snow, blow off by high winds, and drenched by torrential rains. With four eyases it will be imperative that they get under the adult until they are able to regulate their own temperature if bad weather hits the Cornell campus.

Big Red is certainly a good name for the Queen of Red-tail Hawks. She has the most gorgeous deep red plumage whereas Arthur is lighter.

You can really tell the difference in the couple’s colouring by looking at BR above and then Arthur below.

It has been a wonderful day, so far, at the nests. That is a great way to begin the week. Thank you so much for being with us today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey Cam, Captiva Osprey Cam and Window for Wildlife, Dyfi Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Scottish Wildlife Trust, LRWT, Explore.org, Pix Cams, NADE-AEF, MN-DNR, Redding Eagles, FOBBV, Cal Falcons, Eagle Club of Estonia, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH.

Jackie and Shadow – jubilant parents

04 March 2022

I haven’t been so captivated by a Bald Eagle nest – ever. 8600 souls must feel the same. We are watching every move of Jackie and Shadow at their Big Bear Lake nest in the San Bernardino Forest and are unable to take our eyes off their nest.

Yesterday on the 3rd of the third month chick #1 hatched at 16:14. It really is an affirmation of the positive. This morning watching these two Bald Eagles who have worked so hard to be parents for 2020 and 2021 and now, in 2022 are successful – it is a relief. But, wait. It is more than a relief. This single event has lifted my soul higher than I thought possible in a world weary of the SARS-Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, and now a war raging in eastern Europe.

As I watched Jackie and Shadow, friends of mine in Berlin messaged me to tell me that people were lining the arrival platforms at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof to welcome the refugees from the Ukraine, mostly women and children. This has apparently been going on for several days now with Berliners supplying clothes, meals, and places to stay for those fleeing the war.

Jackie and Shadow give me hope for the future while the Berliners reaffirm my faith in humanity.

There is our beautiful eagle parents. They have one fledgling from 2019, Simba, ZR1. He was last seen in August of that same year. It has been, therefore, awhile since each looked into the eyes of their little one, fed it, and brooded it.

Jackie has fed the chick two times this morning.

Another feeding came at 11:39:38. That makes three feedings so far for the little one. I am extremely impressed with how strong this little nestling is. It is easily holding its head up waiting to see what Jackie and Shadow are going to do.

It is 11:38. Shadow has popped in with a fish and to check on the family and see if he could have a turn. So far, Jackie has refused him 5 times. She is being very protective. It is cold and the little one can only be out for a blink. Big Red is the same with her chicks and she has fledged everyone that hatched but one!

What a little sweetie sitting there waiting. You can see that fresh fish Shadow delivered. There is another one somewhere under the straw.

Jackie is so gentle. She offers the wee one the tiniest bits of fish and juice.

Bingo! This morning Jackie has fed her baby fish at 08:04, 09:28, and now at 11:39.

It is seriously hard to take your eyes off of this loving family. It is simply the best!

Shadow has brought in 2 fish and at 13:01 a delicacy, a Coot. Will he entice Jackie to let him have a turn at feeding or brooding with this special gift? Shadows seems to think so.

Our proud Papa is really wanting some time with the little one. Shadow is now taking to moving sticks on the nest. Typical.

It has been a beautiful morning with Jackie and Shadow. Jackie has gotten up from brooding and incubating to eat the Coot that Shadow has brought. She has to be famished and in a real need for a break. Meanwhile Shadow has pulled out one of the fish. Chick 1 is looking at Mum. I wondering who will wind up with the feeding?

It looks like Jackie decided that the baby needed some of the Coot. She is right. One of the forestry rangers at the Kisatchie Bald Eagle nest of Anna and Louis reaffirmed one day that raptors need to eat a varied diet just like humans.

Awwwwwww. Shadow finally gets permission to brood his chick! It is sealed with a kiss.

Jackie is going to take a much needed break. This nest has food and the baby is strong and healthy. Relief. Wonderment. Happiness. What are all the words?

It had not been my intent to ignore all of the other nests but, that is precisely what has happened. This is the most up to date news on the nest of Shadow and Jackie at Big Bear Valley.

The Q & A session with Cal Falcons Lynne and Sean was very informative. They are a delightful couple, well versed in anything falcon and in particular, Annie and Grinnell. The hour long discussion is archived and you can find it here:

Thank you so much for joining me. It is a beautiful day in Big Bear Valley. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Friends of Big Bear Valley for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

It’s a Pip!

Oh, it was fantastic to see our granddaughter and her partner. It has been so long! We had Jackie and Shadow on all the evening thinking that bells and horns would sound – or something – if there was a pip.

Friends of Big Bear have posted on their FB page that Jackie and Shadow have a pip!

It is possible that you already know this and are one of 5240 persons watching with tears in their eyes. This fabulous couple certainly brings the emotion out in all of us. Let this be their year to triumph.

From pip to hatch can be 24 hours. Send them all your love and best wishes. This beautiful Bald Eagle couple certainly deserve it!

Tuesday in Bird World

All of the eaglets are doing well. It is a great Tuesday. It is seriously a great Tuesday with the hatch of 27 and the sighting of JJ7 in Senegal.

NE27 is only a little over 13 hours old and it is right up there with big sib having some fish. 27 looks almost as big as 26. Hopefully they will both hold their own and be nice to one another. Samson is not letting the pantry even think about getting low on stock! Gosh, I adore this Bald Eagle couple – Samson and Gabby.

These two are going to keep Gabby and Samson on their toes! That is 27 with its beak wide open calling for food despite the fact that it could live on the yolk of the egg for some hours, up to 24.

Pa Berry brought in a rabbit for the Tuesday nest feast at Berry College. B15 seemed to really enjoy it! It was caught on video and is impossible for me to replicate the joy in Missy at the rabbit’s arrival. Notice how B15 pancakes it as Pa lands.

Bless-Her-Heart Anna did the Mumbrella for more than 7 hours straight last night and early this morning so her baby would stay warm and dry in the torrential downpours in the Kisatchie Forest.

Anna and the nest were soaking.

When the rains stopped and things began to dry out, Anna started digging up the nest to aerate it. Her little eaglet isn’t so little anymore and was sitting up straight with its big clown feet today enjoying some fish. According to the rangers, the eagles have not eaten the turtle yet.

To be named shortly eaglet was doing a lot of preening with those itchy feathers coming in. This is the cutest little one. Anna certainly makes sure it is never hungry. The eagles have been bringing in pine to help with the insect problems and all that fish. The eaglet is 13 days old today.

Ervie woke up to thick fog this morning. By the time it had cleared, Ervie had flown off in search of fish.

Got a good look in the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. No second egg yet but soon. What we can see is that the eagles have found some soft material to line that egg cup. It is not just sticks and twigs. Thanks cam operator!

Something very interesting is happening at the WRDC nest of Rita and Ron. R2 has discovered self-feeding and s/he is not giving up trying to eat that fish. I think this is absolutely brilliant. R2 is the one that often doesn’t get fed until R1 is stuffed. This is a solution. Feed yourself. This is definitely the sign of a survivor.

A little earlier both eaglets had nice crops which you can see in the image below. Just hold on and take a deep breath. They love getting to the edge and looking over.

At the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15, both parents were feeding and both E19 and E20 had huge crops.

Indeed, it appears that someone has put a beach ball in their crops! What you are looking at is that wonderful thermal down that will remain under the feathers to help the eagles regulate their temperature. If you look carefully you can see the feathers coming in on the wing tips of the one closest to the bottom of the screen.

For the fans of Honour and Liberty at Redding, nestorations are underway!

And if the Redding Bald Eagle nest is not on your list, here is the link:

And last but never least, we are coming up to egg watch for Jack and Diane at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. They fledged three chicks last year….one of a handful of nests world wide on streaming cam to do so. It is a dreary rainy day and at least one adult, looks like Jack, has come and gone.

Look at that gorgeous bark!

Here is the link to the streaming cam.

Life is good. Everyone is happy. All have eaten. What more could we want?

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 captures: Achieva Credit Union, Port Lincoln Osprey, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Friends of Big Bear, WRDC, and Redding California Eagles.

While we were watching Samson and Gabby…..

Jackie laid her first egg of the season at Big Bear, California. No fan fare. Ate some prey. Just in the nest, laid the egg. Wow.

Jackie you made that look easy!!!!!!!

Mark your calendars. Pip watch will begin 27 February.

Last year the couple laid two clutches. Neither were successful. These are two real sweet hearts who have a loyal fan base. Let’s send them all of the positive energy we can for fledges this year!

At 15:19:56, Jackie was eating a prey delivery from Shadow.

It looked like an easy labour.

The egg appears from underneath all the feathers at 15:44. It could, however been laid a little earlier.

Talk about fans. There are 2365 people watching Jackie right now. We all hope that this will be a great year for this wonderful California Bald Eagle couple. Congratulations Shadow and Jackie!

Thank you for stopping by. So excited. There are hatches going on at Royal Cam Albatross and NEFlorida and now an egg for this couple. This is a great Saturday! Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Friends of Big Bear for the streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Late Tuesday and Early Wednesday in Bird World

Late Tuesday afternoon I was watching the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest of Anna and Louis. It was such a calming and funny experience. Ten fish were on the nest. Ten. Not tinny weeny fish but substantial fish or portions of. When Louis is brooding the baby, he will get up and start to eat some of the fish. Two things happen. First, the eaglet seems to recognize that Dad is not such a great feeder and ignores him eating.

Then, secondly, Anna sees or hears Louis in the pantry and immediately comes to the nest with a request for him to leave the food.

At this point, she begins eating the fish – and the little one gets itself over to where she is so s/he can have some of that fish, too. How smart. Six days old and already recognizes the best feeder of the parents.

This little one is so strong. It held itself up high and steady for long periods of time. Incredible.

Anna helps to strengthen the chick’s neck by making it stretch to get the food.

It was hilarious and just what I needed at the end of the day. This little eaglet will go on to have more feedings before it gets dark. Anna wants the baby to sleep well so it can grow – and be quiet. This baby is quite loud when it is hungry – which is rare.

One of the individuals on the KNF chat stated that the KNF nest was their top nest to watch and that they had stopped viewing another nest because of the violence of the older eaglet to the younger. I know at least two Bald Eagle nests that the person could have been referring to – and even I had wondered if I wouldn’t take a break from both of them for at least a week to let things settle.

It is very difficult watching streaming cams. Very difficult. The birds bring us much joy and enrich our lives. They teach us so much. We want them to play fair and survive. We grieve when one dies and we yell at the screen when the eaglets hurt one another especially when there is food to spare. So along with the joy comes a lot of anxiety and grieving.

One of the nests has to be SWFlorida’s. I held my breath and checked on E19 and E20 as the sun was beginning to set in Fort Myers. Both of them had crops. Yes, E19s is bigger but the fact that E20 will go to sleep full means a lot. In order to have a crop of any kind, E20 had to do the old snatch and grab. And then Mum ran out of food.

This morning, Wednesday, I also checked in on the SWFlorida nest. A nice sized sturgeon had been delivered. Big enough to feed both eaglets well but, E19 was determined that it was going to eat most of it. It was only after 19 was full that 20 was able to begin doing the snatch and grab, again.

E19 continues to be miserable.

In the past I have praised Harriet and M15 – especially M15 – for stepping in to help so that both eaglets get fed to the brim. That doesn’t seem to be happening yet. I am disappointed.

One of the ‘oddest’ issues is that by the time E20 gets its turn, the amount of prey on the nest has significantly diminished or, in one instance, was all gone but a tail.

I did not check the WRDC nest. I will but, not until the end of the week. I want to give the sibling rivalry some time to settle. There are plenty of nests and lots of activity to keep me out of trouble.

As it happens Berry College was one nest that I was shy about watching or recommending. Today, Berry College posted the cutest video of B15 on FB and its reaction to a big stick on the nest. They sped up the frame rate so everything is happening fast – like slapstick comedy. I hope you enjoy this. It does show you that B15 is a real character and secondly, that it is a good thing that other egg didn’t hatch!

This morning it was 8 degrees F or -13 C. Very cold at Berry College. B15 was quivering its wings while Pa Berry fed it a breakfast of squirrel and hidden fish!

Pa Berry does a good job feeding his baby.

B15 is doing very well. Less than a week ago it fit into the size of that egg!

The Bald Eagle couple at Big Bear, Jackie and Shadow, have a loyal fan base. Last year they lost both of their clutches. Everyone is hoping that this year this popular couple will be successful. They have certainly been doing nest renovations making way for eggs!

Jackie and Shadow have a beautiful view of Big Bear Lake. Sadly, as I often mention, the area still contains the residual effects of the DDT that was sprayed on Big Bear Lake to rid it of mosquitoes more than 50 years ago. This could be, in part, the cause of the thin egg shells.

It is egg watch for Jackie and Shadow.

As I mentioned earlier, Louis and Anna have the sweetest little eaglet. Louis is a fantastic provider. There are reports of cold icy weather heading towards Louisiana. I hope that it veers away from this nest!

Samson and Gabby also have a gorgeous place for a nest.

What a beautiful egg cup.

Samson rolls the eggs giving Gabby a chance for some food and a break.

Gabby is on deck this morning (Wednesday) and tomorrow, Thursday the 20th is the beginning of pip watch for Samson and Gabby at the American Eagle Foundation! Yes. I am so excited along with all of their loyal fans.

Ervie only got a couple of small fish yesterday. He was on and off the nest so that chatters are now giving him the nickname of ‘Boomerang’. He spent the night on the perch after being spooked by a boat that got too close to the barge at 21:08:23. This is at least the third incident this breeding season. Just the other day two youngsters on paddle boards appeared right by the barge. It really does unsettle the birds.

I am delighted that Daisy the Duck is still not laying eggs on the WBSE nest. Each day that she isn’t there is a day to celebrate albeit we do miss seeing her.

I know that each of us wish that this was ‘our’ Daisy after her eggs hatched on that big nest. Talk about adorable. These ducklings follow their Mum perfectly til they get to the stream!

I hope that put a smile on your face. And, Daisy, I hope that in about a month this might be you! We all do.

It is -25 C on the Canadian Prairies and we had more snow last night. Everything is beautiful and white and typically, on very cold days, the sky is blue and the sun is bright. The Blue Jay family has been absent now for over a month. I hope they decided to leave town for warmer climates. Ah, but where to go? It was colder in Georgia yesterday than it was in Winnipeg! Dyson was out doing what he does best —-eating! I caught him on the large suet cylinder yesterday afternoon. What Dyson doesn’t know is that I removed the cage from around the big suet so that he could eat all he wanted. Don’t tell him or he will think I am an old ‘softie’. Notice how thick Dyson’s fur has gotten since the fall.

The European Starlings were everywhere. The numbers typically range between 27 or 28 up to 56 to 58 at a time. They do tend to intimidate the smaller birds from coming to the feeders until they are full. This has meant watching and keeping food topped up until around 16:00 when everyone leaves.

In the middle of the all the chaos caused by the Starlings is the Chickadee who visits several times a day. Slipping in and out when there are not so many other birds around.

Little Red is around but he has only let me photograph his tail at one of the feeders – cheeky little thing. The other two Grey Squirrels come and go as well along with Sharpie who sweeps through a couple of times a day checking to see if he can grab a snack. They seem to be braving the bitter winter weather and the snow with more grace than I seem to have. It certainly feels like spring is a long way away.

Dyson knows precisely where I fill the feeders. When he finishes there will be nothing left but the shells from the Black-Oil Seeds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. From me and all the garden friends, take care, see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Friends of Big Bear.

Christmas Day in Bird World

It is a gorgeous Christmas morning over Big Bear Lake in San Bernadino County, California. This is the home of Bald Eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow. What a beautiful view as the sun rises to wake up the forest and the animals that live around the lake.

A little later the camera operator gives us a treat by panning around the area where Jackie and Shadow live.

Jackie and Shadow have been delivering some nice (some large) twigs to the nest. This wonderful couple live in the hope of hatching eaglets and we send them positive energy as we hope with them.

Harriet and M15 might be wishing for a little bit of the cooler northern Californian weather in Fort Myers. The couple began ‘listening’ to their eggs last evening. It is pip watch!

About four days before hatching, the eaglets will grow their egg tooth. Imagine it as a sharp spike facing outward towards the shell on the tip of the beak. The little ones will chip away at the shell. They will take their first breath and continue picking away until they have broken through and hatched. This whole process can take up to four days.

Last year Harriet and M15, fledged E17 and E18 – the twins that won all of our hearts from their first bobblehead days, to going into care for conjunctivitis, to their return. Beautiful fledglings. Best friends.

I am so glad that Samson and Gabby did not lay their eggs at the same time as Harriet and M15. This way we will get to enjoy having two nests of bobble heads independent of one another! Last year, Gabby and Samson had one hatch, Legacy. S/he turned out to be a beautiful and formidable juvenile.

Gabby is on incubation duties.

Anna and Louis are also incubating two eggs and have a wait similar to that of Samson and Gabby. Their nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. This is the couple’s second breeding attempt. Last year they fledged Kisatchie, the first eaglet hatched and fledged on this nest in central Louisiana since 2013. Wow. Cody and Steve have installed sound at the nest this year.

It was fun watching Anna and Louis last year figure out what to do as new parents. Louis is a fabulous provider. When he is not loading the nest down with fish, he is aiming to give Anna the softest Spanish Moss he can find for the egg cup! Just look at it.

Clive and Connie are incubating two eggs over at Captiva. They have had some terrible weather there lately and this image is from yesterday. The camera appears to be down this morning.

Clive is a new mate for Connie. Last year, Connie and Joe hatched two eaglets, Peace and Hope, who died on the nest from rodenticide poisoning.

One of the ospreys over wintering at Urdaibai in the Basque Country of Spain waking up to Christmas morning.

While many of the Ospreys are opting to stay on the Iberian Peninsula instead of making the long journey down to The Gambia or Senegal, there are still celebrations as the December count along the Senegal coast was 1100 birds this year. Jean-Marie Dupart did an amazing job going out and counting all of the beautiful fish eagles. Thank you!

German Osprey along the coast of Senegal.

Closer to home, Jack and Diane have been working on their nest. Some really nice strips of bark have been brought in. Last year, the pair fledged three for the first time: Sibling 1, Sibling 2, and the miracle bird who survived against all the odds and became dominant, Tiny Tot Tumbles.

Cilla Kinross is celebrating the third camera at Charles Sturt Falcon Project. There is a ledge and box camera and now one that shows the falcons flying around the outside of the water tower. Congratulations, Cilla.

Here is the link if you wish to check out the new tower cam:

Big Red and Arthur have been spotted out hunting so all is well with the Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus. Hope to have images I can post for you shortly.

The countdown is on for all the hawk and osprey fans…three months til Big Red is incubating eggs and three months til the first arrivals of the Western Ospreys back in the UK. Oh, and the beautiful storks of Latvia and Estonia. May they all stay safe until then.

Wishing all of the birds who bring us such joy, extra prey items, good weather, and safe flying.

Thank you for joining me today. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope that you have a peaceful, joyful day, with something a little special. For those birds not with us today, we thank them for the happiness they gave to us – and as one of my readers ‘B’ so eloquently said, ‘and all they taught us.’ So true. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Friends of Big Bear, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, KNF Eagle Cam, Captiva Eagle Cam, Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and the Achieva Osprey Cam.

Note: Port Lincoln Osprey Cam is down or we would all get a look at those lads!

It’s 3 for Big Red and 4 for Dahlgren

The Guardian ran a story, ‘All my eaglets: pandemic audience spellbound by saga of nesting bald eagles’ in its Wildlife section this morning. While the story focused on the growing number of people watching bird streaming cams during the pandemic, it chose to use the example of two nests. The sadness of Jackie and Shadow at the Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in the San Bernadino Valley and the joy of Liberty and Guardian and their three chicks at the Redding Bald Eagle nest. Richard Luscombe really caught the moment – the joy celebration, the sadness and loss. Jackie (9 year old female) and Shadow (7 year old male) are two of the most popular Bald Eagles on streaming cams and yet, their story encapsulates great sadness. For two years they have tried to raise a chick. This year in their second clutch there was a hatch. Heartbreak came when that chick died trying to break out of the shell. Jackie and Shadow continue to care for the second egg which watchers know will never hatch. Last year they sat on two eggs for sixty days before giving up. In contrast, Guardian (7 year old male) and Liberty (22 year old female) are raising triplets and Liberty has, in her lifetime, successfully fledged 22 and outlived two mates. Like human families and stories, every bird nest is different.

Over the past year, I have received (or seen) letters, comments, and testimonies about the birds. It is clear that the ‘bird’ families streaming into our living rooms have become ‘intimate’ friends whose daily lives we share – their joys and their challenges. One woman wrote to tell me that she knows ‘her bird family’ better than her own human family! She is not alone. From the infertile eggs to the cheeping of the hatching chick, people have watched the birds and their loneliness and pain have been diminished. Many of you have written to me to tell me how the birds have saved your lives, including several with stage 4 cancer and partners who have died from COVID. Caring for the birds has lessened the impact of the isolation and has given us something to focus on besides ourselves. ‘A distraction from our lives’ a woman from The Netherlands said.

When the pandemic ends, I hope that all of you will continue to watch the lives of your favourite bird families unfold. And I would encourage you to talk to your children and your grandchildren or the neighbour’s children so they will become interested in wildlife. They need all of us to help them have better lives.

Jackie and Shadow continue to incubate an egg that will never hatch. Many wonder if there is not DDT still present in the soil or something causing this lovely and entering couple so many issues trying to have a little one. Clearly the thinness of the eggs that have broken could indicate that. 1 April 2021.
The triplets at the Redding nest being fed. There is plenty of food and all are lined up nicely.

I received a very touching letter from a woman from New Mexico who commented on the tragic events unfolding at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. She was reminded of a news story where a family went into a cafe for a meal -the parents, a young girl, and boy. The parents fed the young girl and themselves. The boy watched the others eat while he was offered nothing. The boy appeared to be bruised as if he had been physically harmed to the wait staff. The waitress wrote on her hand ‘Do you need help?’ to the child who, eventually, shook their head yes. The waitress phoned the authorities and the children were taken into care immediately. The boy had been abused and food had been withheld for a long time. The woman from New Mexico said, ‘Humans do it, too’. As sad and angry as I am at the Ospreys in St Petersburg, for them it is a matter of having at least one healthy fledgling. The biology books stress the survival of the fittest! Someone who has filmed birds said to me and I have reiterated it many times, ‘If they cannot survive on the nest being fed, they cannot survive in the wild – it is brutal out there’. This morning a huge fish came in but the middle Osprey made sure Tiny Tot did not get anything to eat. Tiny was too weak to fight. I had hoped that his suffering would be taken away in the night.

UPDATE: Tiny Tot was fed at 9:27 this morning. His crop was about a third full. The saga continues.

After my tirade on birds laying too many eggs to care for if they all hatched – and hence, having the situation of the St Petersburg nest – Jack and Harriet of the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in Machodoc Creek in King George County, Virginia laid a fourth egg! You might not immediately recognize the osprey nest that I am talking about but if I said to you that Jack is the one that brings in the most toys to the nest, often covering it while Harriet has to keep busy finding space for them, I think you might know the nest that I am talking about. There was a toy shark or dolphin the other day. As it happens, the first egg is either lost in the nest or broke – there are three eggs being incubated despite four being laid. Last year the couple successfully fledged three and all of us join in hoping that happens this year! Unless there is a problem in the river, this couple has their nest in a prime location for fish!

And to add to the jokes that go along with April Fool’s Day, Big Red and Arthur not only woke up to snow this morning but also to their third egg.

Big Red is eighteen years old. She was ringed at Brooktondale New York, about eight miles from Ithaca. She has known this weather all her life and can deal with it. Her and her mate, Arthur, do not migrate but stay in Ithaca all year long. They have a prey rich territory and both work like a well oiled machine. Unless there is some strange surprise, I expect we will see three eyases fledging in June.

All is well over at the Great Horned Owl Nest on the farm in Kansas. Both Tiger, the eldest, and Lily, the youngest, are growing. To the delight of viewers, Bonnie brought in a very large rabbit to the nest in the Cottonwood Tree. Everyone wondered how she managed. Great Horned Owls can actually carry prey three times their weight – an advantage over Bald Eagles who can carry only 66% of their weight. Besides rabbit, the owlets have had a diverse menu. One food item that might not have been expected in such quantities has been snake. Farmer Derek probably had no idea he had so many snakes on his property! Using March 7 as a date for hatching, we should be watching for Tiger to fledge around 42-56 days which would be 18 April to 24 April. Tiger’s extremely soft feathers – they look like mohair to me – mean that he will be a formidable predator being able to fly without being heard. With his short rounded wings he will also be able to make tight corners and quick turns around the trees in the woods.

And down in Orange Australia at the Charles Sturt University, Peregrine Falcon couple, Xavier and Diamond, are in the scrape box having a conversation and bonding. The conversation might be about their cute little Izzi who fledged three times from this box. The first time Izzi was napping on the ledge and fell out. He was returned by the researcher, Cilla Kinross. The second time he did fledge but then flew into a window and was taken into care and returned to the scrape box. The third time he fledged properly. While most of the falcons would have left the scrape box to find their own territory by January, Izzi appears determined to live out the rest of his life chasing Xavier and Diamond and sleeping with Diamond in the scrape box. It is an unfolding soap opera that is delightful.

Izzi is adorable.

I will leave you with that adorable face. Peregrine falcons are the cutest. Thank you for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the birds.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my scaps: Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Bald Eagles, Friends of Redding Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab, and the Dahlgren Osprey Cam.

Rain and blowing winds

It’s raining outside. The sky is a heavy grey and the flame willow’s bark is a bright reddish-orange in this light. It is gorgeous. But where are the robins who should be pulling worms from the soil around the flame tree? They are no where to be seen. And the Dark eyed Juncos have not arrived en masse either. We wait.

The branches turn green in the summer but in the winter the Flame Willow is a bright red-orange.
“American Robin” by nicolebeaulac is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is no life in the dreary damp garden except for two BlueJays flitting about. In half an hour it will fill up just when the feeders are being replenished. Sometimes I think the sparrows have an alarm clock set – they are that punctual.

The last couple of days there has been a sadness hanging over the Bald Eagle community. Indeed, it hangs heavy today just like the grey drizzly skies that surround me. Jackie and Shadow on the Big Bear Bald Eagle nest in Big Bear, California lost their first clutch this year. Their nest is about 44 metres or 145 feet up in a Jeffrey pine tree with a view of Big Bear Lake. It is incredibly beautiful. Jackie is thought to be nine years old and Shadow is around seven; neither are banded and both so want to be parents. A Raven ate their first egg and the second broke. They tried again. Sadly, the first chick died during hatch as thousands of people watched anxiously along with Jackie and Shadow on 18 March. They could hear its chirping and must have been so excited. The second egg is now 38 days old. The normal for BE hatch is 35. Last year they incubated their eggs for sixty days and when they finally stopped the ravens came – the eggs were empty.

So we hope and wait. I really hope – beyond hope – for this nest to be successful this year.

And, of course, there are the on going issues related to the Great Horned Owls and Harriet and M15 on the Pritchett Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. The GHOW nest is 274 metres or .1 of a mile away from the eagle’s nest. This has caused nothing but undue problems for the eagles this year. Last night’s attack was one of the worst. The GHOW knocked Harriet off the branch and into the nest but a then off the nes! You can hear the cries.

Lady Hawk’s video shows this from several angles. You can watch the first and get the idea.

Eagle and Great Horn Owl populations have recovered since the time of DDT. Now, there are several issues both related to human activity – the loss of habitat -meaning space – and also the lack of trees adequate for nests that impact the lives of both. There is more and more competition for resources.

E17 and E18 are both self-feeding and they really are the best of buddies. Twins born within hours of one another. E18 might be the Queen of Mantling but both still love to be fed by their parents. They are so big. One of the best ways of telling which is which is if you can see the tip of the tails. The one with a white band, on the left, is E18.

For those who worry about aggressive behaviours, it is now easy to forget that many were horrified at the bopping E17 gave 18. E17 even had to go into time out at CROW clinic! It all evened out. E18 grew and became not so intimidated. That is a good thing. They will hopefully both thrive in the wild. As Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) reminded many on one of her videos yesterday, if the birds cannot survive in the nest being fed by parents they will never be able to survive in the wild. As it stands, less than half the bald eagles that fledge live to see their first birthday.

Look close. The white band is on the eaglet on the left. That is E18 with E17 on the right.

I continue to tell people that GHOWs are fierce competitors and they are dangerous. There is nothing cuddly about them! Speaking about Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles, the two owlets of Bonnie and Clyde are really growing. The oldest is always ready to try and hork down the mouse that Clyde delivers. In this early morning shot, you can see Clyde, Bonnie, and one of the eaglets. Everyone is doing fine on that nest. Only time will tell if the owls become permanent occupants of what was a Bald Eagle nest.

The daughters of Farmer Derek named the owlets Tiger (the eldest) and Lily (the youngest). In the image below Clyde is on the left, Bonnie is in the back and if you squint you can see one of the owlets, probably Tiger, in the nest. Sweet names. I wonder if they knew that GHOWs are sometimes called ‘Tiger’ owls?

21 March 2021. Clyde, Harriet, and one of the owlets.

The young father, Harry, is incubating the two eggs on the Bald Eagle nest at the Minnesota DNR. You can tell it is Harry and not Nancy because of the dark patch at the end of his beak. Remember – this young father has not fully changed to his adult colouring – he is only four years old! That tree is really twisting and the wind is howling and blowing. Those eagles have had all kinds of weather to contend with, too. But now we should be thinking about a pip! Their second egg was laid at 2:54 pm on 20 February with the first on the 18th. That means that egg 1 is 31 days old. If the rule of 32 days for a hatch applies this young father should be getting excited. I hope that the weather smartens up for them and they have a successful hatch!

Very young father incubates eggs at MNDNR awaiting first pip. 21 March 2021.

The rain and the wind that is keeping the Minnesota nest soaked and twisting left the Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville soaked as well. Gabby did a great job of keeping Legacy covered up and Samson even brought in provisions during the windy storm.

One of the things you will no longer see on the NE Florida eagle nest is ‘eggie’. Samson came in on the 17th of March and while Legacy was self-feeding, he aerated the nest. As he was punching holes in the base of the nest cup, Samson kept checking that Legacy was busy eating. Then he buried ‘Eggie’ in one of the holes and covered it with Spanish Moss. There seem to be no adverse effects. Some of us thought we would have to strap a backpack on Legacy so she could take Eggie and pinecone with her when she fledges. It’s hard to believe that it was not so long ago when Legacy had Avian Pox. She survived it well. In the image below Gabby has brought in a fish for Legacy. Legacy mantles and feeds herself. ‘Look, I am all grown up, Mom!’ They are all growing way too fast.

21 March 2021. Legacy is self feeding.

And the rest of Bird World seems to be in a holding pattern today. The trio at the Achieva Osprey nest have been fed. They all had good full crops last night and there was not so much commotion this morning when the first fish was brought in at 7:59.

21 March 2021 From left to right: 2, Brutus, Tiny Tot

The people on chat have named the eldest Brutus because of the way that it treats the other two. And, Brutus, was particularly nasty to both Tiny Tot and 2 last evening. Still, they got food and that was really what mattered. Brutus has not been able to stifle their will to survive. You can see all three of them standing up to be fed this morning. I did do a wee bit of a giggle. For many, Brutus is a male name and is associated with male aggression since the time when Marcus Junius Brutus was one of Julius Cesar’s assassins. In this instance, it is, however, highly likely that Brutus is a big female. Watching the Port Lincoln Osprey cam showed me that like GHOWs, you do not mess with a big female Osprey when she is upset. Best to just stay away.

Big and Li’l are doing fine on the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest. Both of them had a nice crop this morning. There was even a tandem feeding with Mom and Dad.

21 March 2021. Both parents feeding at Duke Farms eagle nest.

Someone remarked at how big Li’l is getting – that is what happens when you get enough food, you grow!

And last but never least – the ‘Brutus’ of the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Solly, is thriving. She is 183 days old today and she has mustered the strength and the courage to cross the entire bay at Streaky Bay. Well done, Solly!

Thanks for coming to check all the characters in Bird World today. The birds bring us so much joy – and sadness, sometimes. And, yes, uneasiness when we worry about them. Most of us sleep better when we know they have had a good meal. So today, let us send warm wishes for Jackie and Shadow – maybe a miracle will happen. It is too bad we can’t slip an orphaned baby eaglet in their nest for them. I am sure they would adore it.And let’s begin to get excited for the young father up in Minnesota. I hope it is a nice warm day tomorrow for their hatch.

And thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey and their Satellite Tracker, the streaming cams from Duke Farms, Achieva Osprey, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Farmer Derek, the Minnesota DNR, and Big Bear Eagle cam.

Spring is in the air…at Ithaca

The calendar says that spring arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. It happened at 6:37 am on 20 March in Winnipeg just about the time the first song birds arrived at the feeders. At that moment the Sun moved from being south of the equator to heading north with our half of the globe tilted a little closer to the sun. It is warmer and the birds are arriving from their winter holidays. Soon my garden will be full of Dark-eyed Juncos and Grackles making nests. And, finally, by the beginning of May, the central heating can be turned off, hopefully!

The arrival of spring also means that my eyes are focused on a particular Red Tail Hawk nest in Ithaca, New York. The nest is on one of the Fernow light towers and it is home to Big Red, eighteen years old this spring, and her lively mate, Arthur, who will be five. This will be the third season that this bonded pair have raised chicks together.

The couple have been working on that nest continuously for the past three weeks and both were there doing inspections first thing this morning.

That nest could not be more ready! And Big Red spent more time than she has recently sitting on that nest cup. Could this be the day that the first egg will be laid? We held our breath.

And after approving the nest bowl, Big Red stood up. Isn’t she gorgeous? Her plumage is a deep coppery red right now – Arthur is lighter and, of course, Big Red is bigger – and she is the boss! Arthur might like to think that it is ‘his’ nest but, Big Red runs the show.

She stood and stared off into space and flew to another light stand with Arthur and had a confab. Then she returned to the nest.

Did she whisper sweet nothings to Arthur? did she tell him today was the day? or did she suggest that more bark strips were needed?

And, at the end of the day, Big Red is not on the nest. Will she return? We wait.

Big Red and Arthur do not migrate. There is enough prey in their territory on the Cornell campus to sustain them over the snow and cold of northern New York. This also allows them to keep an eye on their nest so no one takes it. Arthur had to remind a group of European Starlings this year that the nest was occupied -. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want to have a nest that close to Big Red. While the hawks don’t particularly care for starlings they will eat them in a pinch. Better find a nest on the other side of the campus!

If you missed the highlights of the 2020 year, here is the video compilation. There is never – and I do mean never – a dull moment. 2020 was the year of the Js and 2021 is the year of the Ks. And I say this without hesitating – little J3 is my favourite.

Updates from other nests:

Last evening everyone was excited. The microphone on the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear picked up peeps from the chick hatching. Sadly, the chick died trying to get out of shell. Let us all hope that their second egg is viable and hatches safely. This has been a really bad year for these two. The raven ate one of the eggs from their first clutch and the second egg broke. This is now their second try. Fingers crossed.

All of the other birds are doing well today. Everyone has eaten at least once if not more.

I will leave you with an image of Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest in Central Louisiana. Kisatchie is the first little eaglet born on this big Bald Eagle nest in the forest since 2013. She is also the first baby of Anna and Louis. These are fantastic parents. What a contented baby with its mom -Kisatchie and Anna.

Have a fantastic day. Thanks for joining me.

Thank you to Cornell Bird Labs and the KNF Eagle Cam for their streaming. This is where I get my scaps.