Someone has a sense of humour over at the Dyfi Osprey Project. Have a look at their season highlights (oh, I had forgotten what a horrid spring these birds had!). There are some great images in this video compilation.
There was a really short feed at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest before the sun came up.
The golden rays of the morning are falling on mom has she has those three little osplets under her keeping warm. It is 11 degrees C – coolish and the winds are blowing at 23 km/h. Brisk. I hope Dad has a good day fishing. The forecast is for rain on Saturday and Sunday.
Glaslyn has officially announced that Aran is now on his migration. He has not been seen since Tuesday.
Closer to home. The Great Blue Heron wins the award for patience. He stood positively still and because of that, he was very successful in his fishing today in a river south of Winnipeg. I wish I could find the words to describe how quiet it was on the river and what a privilege it was to see this really beautiful bird catch its dinner.
This Great Blue has been keeping the juvenile Green Heron company but if the latter was around, he is still alluding me.
There was not a sign of a Wood Duck or a Cormorant but the Mallards and the Canada Geese were the usual suspects at the urban pond today.
For some reason today, the grass seemed greener to the geese on the other side of a major paved thoroughfare. We ushered them back but not without a lot of hissing and honking. The grass was definitely not greener and the cars were not being respectful. If you see geese, please slow down.
How many of you are Big Red and Arthur fans? The Red-tail Hawk couple at Cornell University? If so, the folks at the Cornell Bird Lab have put together a compilation video like the one for the Dyfi Osprey Nest. Here it is:
It is that time of year. First, I remind everyone to please not rake your yard. There are insects growing there. Just leave the leaves. Someone’s ears will thank you for not using the blower as well. And, finally, this is the time of year that the eagles, the condors, and many other bird species show up in the wildlife clinics because of lead. Please tell everyone you know that fishes and hunts to use lead free kit. Thanks!
The Bald Eagle is not, of course, the symbol of Canada but many breed here during the summer and we want all of the birds safe.
I hope that each and everyone of you have a wonderful weekend. Maybe the weather is sunny and dry – go for a walk, say hi to your favourite birds. Check out the little ones at the PLO nest or WBSE 27 and 28 at the Sea Eagles nest in Sydney. Hatch watch for the falcons is still a ways away.
Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Cam where I took my screen shots.
It is 9 September in Australia. My computer tells me that it is 17:34 on the Canadian Prairies on the 8th of September. In three hours, around 20:00. CDT, the NZ DOC rangers will fit Tiaki with the tracker. She is 228 days old and could fledge any time.
Here is the link so that you can watch. Both LGL and LGK were fitted with trackers. LGK’s is still working providing valuable information on where the adults forage for food for their chicks.
In other nest news, it has been confirmed that Z2 (Aeron) and his family have now all departed for migration. Aeron’s nest is the Pont Cresor in Glaslyn. At the same time, Aran is still at the Glaslyn nest. Many worry about his late spring wing injury but, he most often doesn’t leave until mid-September.
Wales issued a statement that due to the cold spring weather and misfortunes, their six nests produced only six chicks to fledge.
9 October is one of Cornell’s big bird submission dates. This year they are even calling it October Big Day. They want everyone to do a bird count around the world. Mark it on your calendar. I will give you more details closer to the day.
eBird submissions are very helpful. Some recent discoveries, sadly, include bird and plane collision information.
A photo of an adult Osprey yesterday leads everyone in Missoula to think that Iris is still in Montana. The image was taken from the Owl Pole Camera.
Let’s chick on where the Black Storks are today.
Pikne is in Moldova.
Udu is in Southwest Poland.
Udu’s area is full of lakes!
There was no data update for Karl II.
Julge, the only surviving chick of Jan and Janika, has made its way through Germany and looks like he is flying into France. This stork picked the Western Route! Julge is the purple line going into Belgium. It is nice to know he is safe.
The last time that Big Red and Arthur’s K1 and K3 were spotted was 3 September. If they are truly gone and starting their own lives, we wish them and those that are migrating good winds, food, and safe landings.
My original computer issue was fixed but now it seems that some of the keys are sticking. It isn’t fun to keyboard. I will leave you with a couple of images of ducks and geese from my excursion to the park today. It was quiet. Everyone was off tracking down a Green Heron that had flown into town!
Thank you so much for joining me today. Don’t forget to drop in and see Tiaki get her tracker! My hope is that it is equipped with a 7 year battery. Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Montana Osprey Project, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and BirdMap.
In my last post, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest was screaming at White YW (aka dad) for a fish. He could have flown to Wales and he would have still heard her.
What is that about the squeaky wheel always gets the oil first? Perhaps screaming daughters do, too. It is the last fish of the evening probably and Tiny Little is eating it. Blue 462, the other female on the nest, would like Tiny Little to share. Somehow I don’t think so ——- it was, after all, Blue 462 who was such a meanie to Tiny Little when she hatched. Birds have good memories.
These are the areas adjacent to Iris’s nest in Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. It is very beautiful. We always see the nest in the parking lot but just on the other side are trees, grass, and water.
Iris is the oldest living Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate in Missoula, Montana. After her mate Stanley died, she bonded with Louis. They had one chick survive, Lele, in 2018. Louis has another nest at the baseball park with Starr. They fledged two chicks this summer. When Stanley died, Louis also took over the territory that includes the two nests. Every year Iris returns, goes through the rituals of breeding, lays her eggs, and everything falls apart. People get upset. They think very little of Louis. I am of a divided mind. Right now I prefer Iris taking care of herself, eating well, and bulking up for migration than running around with a nest full of juvenile fledglings. She has done her bit for the DNA of the species. But that is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs, for sure. But the one solid thing that binds all of us together is our love for this most amazing of Ospreys.
Iris tends to spend more time at her nest before she leaves on migration. Last year she departed on 8 September. Everyone gets a little teary eyed right about now because there is no promise that Iris will return but, we live in hope that this strongest of female Ospreys graces the screens next spring. Along with that hope is that the rains come and there is plenty of food for all.
There have been a number of intruders, both male and female, this summer. Do they want to usurp Louis? take Iris for a mate? Certainly when Dunrovin’s Congo came on the scene everyone was hopeful! or are they just curious and checking out what nests are available? Perhaps all of those things. Today, Louis flew to the nest alarming and Iris flew in and joined him – showing off her big crop!
Erick Greene and his team in Montana are considering many ways in which to commemorate Iris. Stay tuned or check out the Montana Osprey FB page. If you wanted to order an Iris pen and forgot, if you will send me a note I will send you the details. They are gorgeous and made from those sticks she brought to the nest.
In the image below, Rosie, the female adult on the San Francisco Bay Osprey cam at the Richmond Yards, is bringing Poppy, one of two female hatches, a beautiful trout. Poppy is 110 days old today.
The average age for Richmond and Rosie’s female chicks to stop feeding at the nest is 105 days. The longest a female stayed was in 2018 and that was Kiskasit who was 124 days old. Lupine was last seen on Monday. She was 103 days old. Sage, the only male, was last seen on 28 July at the age of 86 days. The average for the males to stop feeding on this nest is 93 days so Sage left a little early. There is no reason to believe that Sage and Lupine have begun any type of migration. Richmond stays in the SF Bay area year round. Mom Rosie will migrate and the female adults normally leave before the fledglings. And whose to say they will migrate! If there is plenty of food and the weather is fine – well, it certainly agrees with Richmond – may be they will stay!
And, of course, just thinking about fledglings returning to the nest to be fed until they are 90-100 days old just makes me think about Malin. Susan, the wildlife rehabber that is over the area where Collins Marsh is located, was to get in touch me later today. She wrote me a long note yesterday and she is also firm in her knowledge that Malin was a forced fledge. As we have learned, normal fledges do not require our attention. The chicks return to the nest, take short flights, and are fed by the parents. Malin was not ready despite his age. He had suffered a lack of food. His forced fledge meant that he was in jeopardy and boots on the ground were needed immediately. This did not happen. As noted earlier, she found two chicks – one dead, one alive. I am hoping that ‘no news is good news’.
Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus and she found the two Ks. No sightings of Big Red and Arthur but, guess what? Getting to see K1 and K3 on the 22nd of August is a bonus. Here they are hunting. That is K1 on the top. She looks so much like Big Red and has turned out to be such a fantastic hunter. Suzanne said they were not food calling – just being quiet and hunting. These two seem so much more independent this year.
Ah, the little cutie, K3 looking down and hoping to find a chippie.
What a nice treat to get to see the Ks. And, of course, theirs could be a migration dilemma. Big Red and Arthur stay in the area year round. Perhaps with the changes in weather so will the Ks. If someone could put the average date that birds leave for migration this year against last and create a global directory (surely someone does this already), tracking of changes related to climate could be measured. We have seen Poppy stay longer as are many others and now perhaps the Ks.
Thank you for joining me today. I will let you know as soon as I hear about Malin – it is heartwarming to hear from so many around the world who came to love that little nestling. If you are in line with any of the storms hitting the coast of the US, going over Hawaii, or elsewhere, take care of yourselves. Stay safe.
UPDATE: Aug 23 at 17:35:35 No2 (7182) fledged at the Estonian nest of Jan and Janika. Slept as an adult off nest.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips: Montana Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon. I would also like to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning who allows me to download her images to share with you.
Lots of people keep track of hurricanes and tropical storms. Most watch because they or their loved ones, or both, live in the line of the storm. Bird watchers also track weather systems. There are currently two systems that might impact our beloved Big Red and family as well as the birds that are migrating over Hawk Mountain, PA.
Henri is going to give some heavy rain and wind. Ithaca is west of the darkest green band but could get some rain.
Tropical Disturbance Fred will also give some heavy rain in the same area. There were flash flood warnings for Ithaca last night. It is 1:03 am Thursday morning in Ithaca and there are rain drops dripping off the metal supports of the light stand that Big Red and Arthur’s nest is on. The rain does not look heavy at the moment. There is also a peculiar corn plant growing out of the centre of the nest!
Heavy rain will impact the hawks ability to hunt. They would have felt the pressure system coming and hopefully caught more food yesterday.
This isn’t the beginning of the season. Hurricane season runs until 30 November.
Baby Kindness (I wonder if she would mind if I call her that?) is not worried about hurricanes. Today, she is 83 days old. Kindness branched yesterday and all she has on her mind is ___________________. If you said flying you are 100% correct. She has really been putting on a show for the people watching the live stream today.
Oh, she really gets some nice air under those wings going back and forth from the branch to the nest.
Wow. Look at those wings. Magnificent.
Kindness has spent a lot of time considering what is below that branch she is sitting on. Sometimes she gets the branch to bouncing a bit and that seems to unnerve her slightly and she flies back to the nest.
For several days, I have been talking about the migration of Ospreys in Wisconsin, like Malin, or those living in the United Kingdom or in Northeastern Europe. The Bald Eagles in Alaska do not migrate south of Alaska unless there is no food. In 1972, the State Legislature established a long stretch of the In Chilkat River as critical bald eagle habitat. The goal was to protect the birds, some 4000 of them, that move from the interior to the Chilikat River Valley where they feed on the Chum Salmon run during the late fall and winter. The juveniles normally eat spawned and dead salmon or the carcasses left behind by bears.
The Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is located in the Tongass National Forest just fifteen minutes away from Juneau. This is where Liberty and Freedom have their nest and where Kindness will fledge. There are meadows, forests, and glaciers. What a spectacular place to be a Bald Eagle!
One of the features of the park is the Mendenhall Glacier.
Liberty, Freedom, and Kindness are not far from the Chilikat River Valley and the Alaska Chilikat Bald Eagle Reserve.
In the spring, many of the Bald Eagles will head to areas rich with Herring and Eulachon. These include the Stikine River, Copper River Delta, Silka Sound and Kenai Bend. You can see some of those on the map below. The Copper River flows from Prince William Sound while Silka Sound is closer to Juneau on the far right bottom.
Kindness is fortunate to live in such a beautiful state with what we all hope are abundant resources for her and all the wildlife forever.
There are so many worries in the world. The birds bring so much joy to each of us filled with nail-biting anxiety and that bittersweet moment when our friends fledge to begin their lives off the nest.
Malin is beginning to feel the wind beneath his wings. For so long I did not believe that Malin’s feathers would develop and he would fly – but here he is preparing just for that. Joy.
Like other birds, Malin is doing much more wing strengthening flapping as fledge approaches. The energy from the fish he is eating gives rise to lots of exercising after a feed.
For tonight though, Malin is sleeping like a duckling dreaming of fish.
While Kindness and Malin are dreaming of fish and flying, Xavier and Diamond are constantly pair bonding while preparing for their 2021 eggs and hatches. After doing their courtship dance in the scrape box today, they sealed the deal with a kiss – peregrine falcon style.
Can you think of a better way to end this newsletter? I can’t!
Want to catch the adventures of Xavier and Diamond, here is the link:
Well, what could be better than a Peregrine Falcon kiss? Three Black storklings eating the fish that Urmas brought them. That is actually cause for a big celebration!
When the storklings woke up at dawn and found the fish gift from Urmas, they began to eat.
The feeding of the storklings is a success! Congratulations.
Thank you for joining me this morning. Have a wonderful Thursday. Take care all.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project Charles Sturt University, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, Google Maps, Cornell Bird Labs Red Tail Hawk Streaming Cam, and the National Hurricane Centre.
It was a rare treat to check on the Black Storks and find that Karl II was at the nest feeding the three fledglings. It was around 18:00I had been missing this. The ritual of the feeding and the eating is entrancing. This nest is in the Karula National Park in Estonia. As in Latvia, the Black Stork is very rare and much loved. Karl II and Kaia raised three healthy hatchlings this season. Congratulations!
In my last newsletter, everyone was waiting for the second egg at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest to arrive. If you missed it, it was around 3:27 am nest time on 6 August.
Last year’s PLO fledgling, Solly, is 320 days today. Wow. It is about time to get out the party hats and celebrate her one year hatch day. This just gives you hope. Today, Solly is going in and out and in and out at Eba Anchorage. She apparently has a favourite dead tree in the area that she likes to roost in.
Oh, it seems nestlings are just like human children. Let mom or dad get out of sight and they start picking on one another. This was the case with 27 and 28 at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia. If this is all these two get up to – let them have a little fun. They are so close in size that neither has an advantage. Have a peek.
Dad and Mom are continuing to bring in fish about 5 fish a day to the Collins Marsh Nest. This is a big improvement over a few weeks ago. Malin’s tail now reveals three rows of dark bands and the beautiful scalloped juvenile feathers.
Oh, Malin is becoming such a gorgeous bird. The stepped up deliveries and the drop in heat seem to be suiting this Osprey family in Wisconsin, USA.
Such a little sweetie. Malin really loves this part of the nest. You can catch her sleeping there during the day (like in the image above) or at night. All tucked in with Mom watching over her. If we could only slip a little pillow under that wee head.
Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus this evening and found K3. Oh, this is such a cute Red-Tail Hawk fledgling! She did not find the other three and commented that K3 must have missed the memo on where to meet tonight. He was apparently flying around food calling!
I didn’t think another Red-tail Hawk fledgling could ever win my heart like J3 did but look at that sweet face on K3. I am melting.
K3 is over on one of the light towers. What a gorgeous image of this third hatch against that clear blue sky. He has really grown into an amazing fledgling. These two, K1 and K3, are simply great fliers and K1 has turned into a fantastic hunter just like her parents, Big Red and Arthur.
Louis and Dorcha at Loch Arkaig (nest not on camera) have their first fledge this morning. Voting has ended to name their chicks. Hopefully we will know tomorrow! What fun. That Loch Arkaig nest was so empty this year without Aila. Hopefully another couple will claim it for the 2022 season or maybe Louis and Dorcha will move from the nest off camera to the one where we can watch their every move.
Between now and the beginning of the third week in August, the females of the UK nests will begin their migration to as far away as Spain/Portugal or West Africa. The males will remain as long as there are chicks calling for food. This is normally 2-3 weeks.
This is what fish calling sounds like thanks to one of the fledglings up at the Loch of the Lowes. This chick could be heard all the way to Glasgow! They are so loud. You can easily imagine that the male will know if there is a chick on the nest who is hungry.
Things seem to be going really well on the nests today. That is always worth a big smile!
Thank you so much for joining me. I will be back late Friday evening with a nest update. Take care everyone. Stay safe.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my video clips and screen shots: Eagle Club of Estonia, Collins Marsh Osprey Cam, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB Page, and Suzanne Arnold Horning for letting me share the beautiful images of K3.
The featured image is K3 on the light stand taken by Suzanne Arnold Horning.
All you have to do is watch a songbird catching insects for her wee nestlings, coming and going all day, to clearly see the great effort this is on behalf of the adult. As the nestlings grow ever larger, those same parents have tremendous pressure to increase the amount of food and the number of deliveries. Just finding food has been a serious challenge for all the birds this year whether they are in Montana, Florida, or Latvia. The tremendous heat waves, droughts, and urban development have impacted hunting areas as well as the quantity of fish or prey available.
I recorded an evening food delivery to Grafs and Grafiene’s storklings in Latvia. This is about a minute long. I could have recorded them for much longer but I can only upload so many MBs. It is absolutely fascinating. The parent arrives, regurgitates the fish, and quickly gets out of the way! Those three are so excited– and hungry!
There have been some concerns over the availability of food. Latvia has experienced, like other countries, excessive summer heat. ‘S’ tells me that they have also been experiencing land amelioration that has caused drainage issues in the surrounding area. If you have ever watched Ferris Akel’s Live Tours of birding areas in upstate New York, you will be aware of how the drainage of land impacts the birds. One day the water and food are there and two or three days later – gone! Poof. The summer heat has exacerbated these issues. Still, this trio of Black Stork nestlings seem to be developing quite well.
If you missed it, Karl II and Kaia’s nestlings were ringed on 9 July at the nest in the Karula National Park in southern Estonia. They also had Kotkaklubi transmitters put on their legs so the researchers can follow them as they migrate. They are Pikne 716P, Tuul 716 T and Udu is 716U. Tuul is the youngest and is seen here in this short video clip flapping and jumping. That nest seems so small!
All that flapping was leading up to something — Udu 716U fledged at 6:19 and then another fledged 716T, Tuul. This leaves Pikne, 716 P to fly. The fledgling Udu has flown and returned to the nest and flown again. It is so wonderful to see them in the early morning enjoying the little bit of wind under their wings. Always exciting and bittersweet.
I promised you an update on Big Red, Arthur, and the Ks. Everyone is doing well. K1 and K3 are very strong fliers and have really extended their range within the territory of their parents on the Cornell University campus. K1 is a very successful hunter. It is unclear to me whether or not K3 has caught his own food yet but, if he hasn’t, he will soon. Big Red and Arthur seem to take turns watching the fledglings progress from a distance.
Here is K3 on top of Roberts Hall.
K1 has been hunting. Wonder what she has in those talons?
A small bird.
K1 finished her snack and is ready to find some more prey!
I love this image. You can clearly see the ‘eyebrows’ that keep the glare out of the hawk’s eyes. Then there is that amazing red streaked belly band – enough to rival that of her mother, Big Red. K1 is such a gorgeous hawk. In this image she is completely focused on the task at hand – finding another prey item.
There is proud papa, Arthur, watching his kids closely but not interffering with their learning.
K1 seemed to be all over the campus hunting. I am not so familiar with the buildings but doesn’t she look gorgeous on this one with the red clay roof tiles? Just a beauty.
The Ks are doing well. We are moving into August. They should be hunting in the fields by highway 366 shortly, if they are not already. The days will pass quickly. The pair will begin soaring and then it won’t be long til Big Red and Arthur will be empty nesters.
Thank you so much for joining me. I hope to get some images of our local water fowl to share with you tomorrow. Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots and video clips: The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thanks go to Suzanne Arnold Horning again for sharing her great images of the Red tail haws with us.
We were so concerned about the big storm that went through Wisconsin and the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest that nothing else mattered in the wee hours of the night the other day. In our mind’s eye, we could see that wee chick flying off that 120 ft retired fire watchtower.
Well, over in New Jersey, the mother on the Barnegat Light Osprey Nest did get blow off! The Conserve Wildlife Foundation wrote:
“On the evening of July 29, 2021 a line of severe storms moved across New Jersey. Many of these storms held the potential to produce damaging winds, hail and possible tornados. One such storm went straight for Barnegat Light, where our osprey cam is located. Watch as the wind shifts from east to west and the adult female was blown from the nest. Luckily she and her nestlings all survived unharmed, but there are many osprey who were right in the path of what looked to be a tornado, which hit High Bar Bar — just to the north of the osprey cam nest. Hopefully that the damage is not too severe to both people and ospreys.”
Here is that video of Daisy, the mother on the perch, and her two chicks on the nest.
The male, Duke, went missing in the storm. He showed up around 4pm today delivering a fish on that nest. Yippee.
Daisy and the chicks are sleeping well tonight. The family is back together again!
Fledge is over but the chicks are still actively coming to the nest for fish drops. Here is the link to that camera.
I will add a note. There were originally three chicks on this nest. The vast age and size difference meant that the third hatch became a victim of siblicide.
The Montana Osprey Project is having a fundraiser and it is really neat. Dr Ericke Green collects the twigs that fall off Iris’s nest at Hellgate, Montana. I know that almost everyone knows who ‘Iris’ is but, in case you do not, she is the oldest Osprey in the world. She has her nest in Missoula, Montana. She has spent the days since arrival and until recently adding twigs. Well, some of the twigs she adds fall off. Those that Dr Green picks up are sent to Richard and Sharon Leigh Miles in South Carolina who turn those twigs that Iris touched into pens. They cost $45 and that includes postage. I understand they sell out quickly if you are interested please go to the Montana Osprey Project FB Page. Scroll through their threads and you will find the information.
I was so excited to find this fundraiser. Can’t wait til my pen arrives!
WBSE 28 is working steady to get out of that shell! This was the progress around 10 am Saturday nest time. This sweet babe should be joining its ‘snowman’ looking sibling 27 late Saturday in the Sydney Olympic Ironbark Nest.
My first introduction to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle was last year. I am a ‘hawk and falcon’ person – smaller raptors – more than the eagles. I came across the WBSE streaming cam purely by accident. I have learned a lot about eagle behaviour over the past year.
This cute little bundle of fur is destined to be one of the largest eagles in the world. Look at its cute little wings. One of the worst things about eagle nests is the sibling rivalry – although I can say that this also happens on Osprey nests and to a much lesser extend the smaller raptors. Last year the sibling rivalry only lasted a few days. It seemed that WBSE 25 sensed that ’26’ was injured and I have said many times helped the little sibling. That said, one of the old timers told me that the second egg is the ‘insurance’ egg – there only if the first chick does not survive. When I heard that I shook my head. There can be siblicide on this nest. It is the only White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest with a live stream that I am aware of.
I am including the link to the camera. If you are concerned about what appears to siblicide happening on this nest, this year, I urge you to stop watching especially if you have younger children. I will provide simple updates on the nest without graphic content. Hopefully there will be plenty of fish brought in at all the right times so that nothing triggers food insecurity behaviour. That said, siblicide has occurred on nests where food is plentiful.
Here is the link to Cam 4 for the Sydney Sea Eagles:
Ferris made it to the Cornell Campus tonight. He was able to spot Arthur fairly quickly but the Ks and Big Red were in hiding. He will probably return to the campus tomorrow on his regular Saturday tour. I know he will be stopping to see about the Roseate Spoonbill. Like all of us, it is a joy to see a bird outside of its territory but it is also a worry and as Ferris said, he would like this bird to get back to where it belongs.
Here is Arthur on the ‘throne’:
The chick on the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest in Wisconsin was left alone as dark was coming. It had been fed reasonably well today with fish caught by Mom and brought in and at least one delivery by Dad.
I went back and checked again and Mom was on the nest with the babe. Whew!
The last check in for today is at the Loch of the Lowes where NC0, the female, landed a whopper and brought it to the nest. That fish was so large it would feed both fledglings and mom. There might have been some leftover for Laddie! NC0 is really turning into a super mom. She doesn’t sit around and wait for Laddie. Once the chicks were old enough, she joined in the fishing for the family!
It’s late Friday evening on the Canadian Prairies. My blog on Saturday will be in the late afternoon or early evening. I want to do a lot of nest checks.
Thank you so much for joining me. It is nice to hear from you – always – and it is so wonderful to know that there are so many people who care for our birds. Take care. Stay safe.
Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Barnegat Osprey Light Cam and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Collins Marsh Nature Centre Osprey Cam, the Ferris Akel Live Stream and the Sea Eagle, Birdlife Australia, and Discovery Centre Sydney for the WBSE captures.
Oh, so many of us are having Empty Nest Syndrome. It is that time of year. You go and check to see if there are any Osprey fledglings on the nest – and no. Poof. Gone. It suddenly sets in that those precious little fluff balls have grown up. They have fledged and are gaining their flying skills for migration. Osprey breeding season is almost over. There are a chicks few trailing behind – Collins Marsh and Chesapeake Bay to name a couple in North America. There are still chicks on the nest in Manitoba but there are no streaming cameras. The Port Lincoln couple on the barge are only ‘thinking’ about eggs. Those will come mid-August most likely. So what does one do?
One of the first things is to treasure the moments we got to spend with these bird families. It is a privilege to see them living their daily lives. There is a saying in Japanese – Ichigo ichie. It was coined by the great tea master, Sen-no Rikyu. His meaning focused on the sharing of the tea ceremony and the realization that you can repeat the ritual but you can never re-create that moment with the same person ever again. You must live it to the fullest with the deepest respect. In terms of our birds, I would like to think that we must treasure every moment that we can share with them and give them our attention. It truly is a once in a life time encounter. Tiny Little will never again receive a huge fish and fend off its sibling with that same sibling later getting a little tiddler from dad. Those were two precious moments that will never again be repeated. Indeed, I wonder if we will ever see Tiny Little again before her migration. That nest has been awfully empty today.
Some of us began to focus on the few nests that do have chicks. My attention has been on the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest in Wisconsin. It is easy to notice the very odd behaviour of the bonded pair at the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest. It truly is strange. The female disappears for 21 hours! That was when ‘S’ and I began to find other strange tidbits about this nest. The female returns on Sunday morning and Dad spends the day bringing in several fish deliveries. Then on Monday the male brings in the first fish and we don’t see him anymore. It is the female catching the fish and bringing them to the nest. So is there a pattern here? or are we just losing our minds? The female brought in two fish today in the afternoon. One was cream coloured with gold scales but the last one was pink inside and out with gold scales. Any help on IDing these would be much appreciated.
In the image below, it looks like a salmon-red colour. Needless to say the chick went to bed quite full. Every time it started chirping mum was offering fish. She has been very devoted since she returned.
A couple of hours earlier Mum brought in this fish. I could not readily identify it either. Regardless of the species, the chick is delighted with the arrival! The faces this chick makes are incredible. Very animated.
This is the approach to the nature centre that is near the Collins Marsh Reservoir and the Mud River in Wisconsin. Look at the left and you will see the ‘retired’ fire tower which is now home to the Osprey nest on the very top of the glass enclosed space that appears above the ‘red’ in the image. Snowy Owls inhabit the nest in the winter. The tower is 33.5 metres or 110 feet tall. The staff of the Osprey centre access the camera within the glass enclosed area. At one time it was thought that there was a portal from the glassed area to the nesting platform but it turns out that is not correct. There is no ‘easy’ access to the Osprey nest. Getting to the nest physically to do a wellness check on the chick, right now, would mean finding a person with particular skills and then being certain that it was safe for them.
You can see that the nest is slightly off centre and is situated on a sort of cone hat with the camera on the pole at the corner.
Looking at this got me to thinking about access. It is quite true that there are raptor nests that can never be accessed. Eagles and Ospreys love to make their nests in extremely high places away from us! That said I have known or witnessed ‘tree climbers’ in Germany whose skill set is such that no tree defies them unless the tree itself is unsafe. This is an interesting situation at Collins Marsh. The Wisconsin DNR Biologist and the Wildlife Rehabilitator continue to monitor the chick in terms of feather growth, etc. That is great news. The question then arises: if the chick displays in another week or ten days problematic feather growth, what can be done? With the access so difficult, it would seem nothing. So let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed that nothing is wrong with the feathers! It would, however, seem prudent to explore the possibility of a portal access to the nest once the Ospreys have migrated and before the Snowy Owls take over. I hope that it is never needed but, if it were, it would be a win-win for everyone. All of that said, it would require the services of a structural engineer to figure out the best way to do this. Maybe there is someone who is qualified and loves the raptors that might, at least, consider if this was possible and do it as a donation of time to the centre. That would be grand.
Tuesday morning at Collins Marsh Osprey Nest: The day began with rain and then wind.
Mum left later and returned with a small fish/ a twiddler.
Mum leaves the nest three times after this. Very different behaviour than Monday. Dad does come to the nest and delivers a piece of fish. The chick winds up with a bit of a crop.
At the moment, the chick is on the nest alone. It is windy and the temperature is currently 24 degrees C going up to a scorching 30 degrees.
Mum returns and the chick joins her in fish calling to Dad. Oh, I hope the fish arrives and mum stays to shade the baby today.
The Cornell University Red tail hawks are still putting smiles on everyone’s faces. Suzanne Horning was out yesterday evening checking on them. I remain ever so grateful that she lets me share her images with you.
K3 and those beautiful celadon eyes just strikes right at my heart. This little one has, according to the boots on the ground, turned into a magnificent flyer.
K3 sees Arthur and immediately starts calling for food. You will notice that when the chicks do not see an adult they generally do not food call but when they do see someone who might bring ‘a food delivery’ you can hear them crying several blocks away!
K1 had a nice spot on top of one of the light stands. These stands have been, in past years, great places for the chicks to eat their prey. They are nice and flat on top.
If you cannot see their tails it takes a few moments to sit and figure out which K you are looking at. In this instance, the belly band has more red than the chick in the image above.
This is such a beautiful close up of K1. Look carefully at that beak – that very sharp point for tearing the food – and then look at how clean it is. You will see the chicks cleaning their beaks on all manner of things – sticks, tree bark, grass. At the same time they are also sharpening them. Like their feathers they need this ‘tool’ of theirs clean and sharp.
Here is a great little article that goes into more depth on the reason you see birds rubbing their beaks. It is short and very informative!
Big Red is doing a kind of hawk walk while she is looking for prey. She is our gorgeous matriarch and every second seeing her reminds us how precious she is.
The Hornings did see Arthur but I don’t have an image for him. Both adults are moulting now and look a little scruffy.
Some of you have been asking about Arnold. Well, look at that picture of Arnold with his mate, Amelia. His wounds have healed enough that he now has a waterproof bootie and can spend some outdoor time with Amelia. If Arnold continues to improve – and why wouldn’t he with Amelia there cheering him on? – he could be released in a couple of weeks. That is wonderful!
A few nest checks for the UK Ospreys and wow, lucky was with me.
There is one very loud food crying fledgling on the Loch of the Lowes nest. Looks like it is LR2. He wants his breakfast ‘now’!
Telyn is on the perch of the Dyfi Nest in Wales and Ystywth is eating her breakfast. How lucky she is. LR2 is so unhappy. I wonder if his big sister, LR1, took the first fish?
One of the reasons for the big smile on my face is that when I checked the Glaslyn Nest of Aran and Mrs G someone was on the perch! And it is Mrs G. The timing could not have been better.
There she sits – the oldest Osprey in all of the United Kingdom – looking out over the territory that she shares with Aran.
Perhaps if I took one more peek at the Foulshaw Moss nest someone might be there having breakfast. Let’s see!
Well, not only is there no one on the nest but there is not an Osprey to be seen on the parent’s tree in the distance. I wonder if White YW and Blue 35 have taken everyone to the reservoir to try some fishing?
It is now 17:00 on the Foulshaw Moss nest and there are two fledglings hunkered down because of an intruder. “Hello, Tiny Little!”
Ah, maybe there isn’t much of an intruder. Wonder what Blue 464 is hiding? It is a big fish! No wonder Tiny Little is there. I will try and check back later to see if he gets some of it. The fish looks large enough for both as long as 464 doesn’t fly away with it. You can see its tail extending out to the left of the log. Hopefully 462 won’t come around!
Oh, Tiny Little is wanting that fish! She is up to her old tricks. It is a huge fish. Blue 464 will get tired of working at the mouth and walk away if Tiny Little can be patient.
Tiny Little has stepped back. She caused Blue 464 to move the fish a bit and she might be remembering that he did fly away with part of a fish the other day. Just wait, Tiny Little. There will be fish left!
But life throws birds wrenches and today, Blue 464 flew away with that huge fish! Tiny Little is yelling at White YW to go and get another one. Poor Tiny Little!
This is a good overview of what is going on at the nests today. So happy to catch Tiny Little. These moments are very precious.
Thank you so much for joining me today. It is so nice to be with fellow bird lovers. Just a reminder. If you live in a place where it is hot please, if you can, leave out bowls of water for the birds. Old ceramic serving bowls work great. The clay does not get as hot as metal containers. If you leave water for the hummers, make your own. It is 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. You can heat it and allow it to cool before putting in the container. Do not use the red commercial hummer food. It actually kills the birds! How sad is that? A company allowed to make a product that actually kills the thing it is supposed to help! OK. It happens with humans, too. Terrible.
Thank you to Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to use her images of Big Red and her family in my blog. Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen captures: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Carnyx Wild and Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest, and Collins Marsh Nature Centre. A big shout out to the Cape Wildlife Centre who is caring for Arnold. You are fantastic!
If you hear the name Ferris Akel, you might recognize the individual that gives a regular Saturday afternoon virtual birding tour of the area around Montezuma National Park, Wildlife Drive, Sapsucker Lake, and the Cornell Campus at Ithaca. Ferris also surprises us with ‘pop up’ tours of the Cornell Campus at other times so that he can see what is going on with Big Red and her family and share it with us. Tonight, we got a special tour and were able to see all four members of the Big Red family.
For those of you unaware, Big Red is a Red-tail Hawk. Red tail hawks are easily identified by their bright orange-red tail feathers once they are adults. The females are larger by approximately 30% than the males. This is called reverse sex size diamorphism. Red tail hawks have amazing eye sight. They will scan for food while they are soaring or are know to sit quietly on a perch for long periods of time watching for their prey. They will immediately fly to get it. Unlike the Peregrine Falcons who take their prey in the air, Red tail hawks normally fly down and get their prey on the ground. They do not normally eat carrion (dead animals) unless they are really starving. Their wing span is 1.2-1.5 metres for both males and females or 3.9 feet to 4.9 feet.
Big Red is a huge celebrity within the birding community. Big Red is now 18+ years old. She was banded near Ithaca, at Brooktondale, on 20 October 2003. Her current mate, Arthur, hatched in a territory next to the Cornell Campus in 2016. He has been Big Red’s mate since her mate, Ezra, died in March 2017. Arthur was first spotted visiting the nest in April of 2017. Big Red and Arthur were an ‘item’ by the fall. Their nest is on one of the light boxes across Tower Road from the Fernow Building. This year they hatched three chicks, the Ks. Two of the three fledged – this is the only time that Big Red did not have all of her chicks that hatched fledge. K2 sustained an injury to her right cheek and beak in the nest and had to be euthanized. She would never have been able to live in the wild nor would she have been able to have any quality of life in captivity. The two surviving chicks, K1 and K3, have already proven themselves to be excellent flyers and it looks like K1 has already had some successful hunts.
Big Red was named after the territory she dominates, the Cornell Campus. She is also a large Red-tail Hawk with a lot of the beautiful rusty brown colour and bring orange-red tail feathers. In the image below she is beginning to become ‘Big Blond’ as she is moulting.
She is the matriarch. It is estimated that she has probably hatched chicks for fifteen years. Ezra was probably her first mate. If she hatched three chicks per year, that means that she has fledged 44. That is an incredible record! Sadly none of the chicks were banded so there is no knowledge of their whereabouts or status. A small number are known to have died after fledging. One was injured and is an ambassador bird for Cornell, E3.
Big Red is noted for her very dark plumage and that amazing red feathered apron.
Ferris first spotted one of the Ks on a light tower.
Big Red was spotted on the Water Cooling Plant.
You can see that her feathers look a little ruffled, untidy. This is the moulting.
Those piercing dark eyes just make you melt.
Can you spot the hawk? Seriously I believe that Ferris Akel has ‘hawk eyes’!
Oh, look it is Arthur! He is Big Red’s mate and is one of the most amazing hunters I have ever seen. He is also moulting!
This is K1 looking out. She is a really good flier and is also believed to have already made a couple of ‘prey kills’. Yesterday she had a little chipmunk and was doing a war cry when K3 came around hoping to get some of it. Normally if the bird is war crying they are the ones that caught the prey and will not share! Even if it is their cute little brother.
At first Ferris and the gang were not sure but once we saw the stripes on the tail, we knew it was K1. K3 has a muddy tail almost verging on red – a first for all of Big Red’s chicks.
K1 is gorgeous and very dark. These images are soft not because Ferris could not focus but because of the heat shimmer off the buildings.
And here is cutie pie, K3. All those little third hatches just soften my heart.
Oh, you wanted your sister to share her chippie and she told you to go and catch your own! Poor little thing.
And that was a wrap. Ferris persisted in finding all of the Ks and trying to get some good images of them despite the heat shimmer and the fact that it was getting dark.
Good night Big Red, good night Arthur, good night K1 and K3.
Big Red and Arthur are moving the Ks around the buildings on the Cornell Campus. They can now be found around the Water cooling buildings, Bartels, and across the ravine. It will not be long til they have them out by the buildings with the cows and the open fields. It is part of their training – enlarging their territory bit by bit. How do they do thus? Food is a great motivator and the adults will carry prey to different areas of the campus and the Ks will follow! It is that easy.
If you see the hawks coughing and shaking their heads and necks and something gets ‘thrown’ out of their mouth, this is called a ‘cast’. It is the bits and bobs of the prey that cannot be digested that is sort of compressed into a small pellet. The raptors cannot digest this and so they throw it up. This is properly called ‘casting a pellet’. This is with the exception of the owls that have a gizzard for digesting these parts of the prey.
It is now getting towards the last week of July. The Ks will be with us for a bit longer. I remember last year. Once J2 and J3 had been catching their own prey around the barns they began soaring. It was not long after that that J3 went poof and was gone with the winds to be followed by J2 the following day.
The last bit of news this morning is that Tiny Little and siblings were fed by White YW (dad) this morning. 462 was first followed by Tiny Little.
It is now around tea time, late afternoon, and Tiny Little has been like a ducking food crying in the nest for a bit.
Thanks so much for joining me. It was a great evening with Big Red and the Ks. They are progressing so well towards their own independence. Sadly, they do not get bands and we will not know where they go or what they do. Lucky for us Tiny Little is Blue 463! Take care all.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Ferris Akel’s Livestream and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.
It has been a very strange day. We had a tiny bit of rain during the middle of the night on Monday with lots of thunder and lightning. It was not enough rain to help anything. South of where I live in a town called Morris, Manitoba, the river is practically bone dry. Dead fish is all you see and dirt. Old timers are starting to talk about the days of the Dust Bowl. I think about all the birds that depend on the water and the fish. A follower wrote to me and asked me if I knew anything about the ospreys at a nest in Wisconsin – the Collin Marsh Osprey Nest. It is not a nest that I follow but I did check. Just as ‘S’ had noted, the only chick on the nest looks a bit thin. As it turns out there were originally three relatively healthy chicks. Now there is only one. They are not sure what killed two of them. I am hoping that the Neustadter Nature Centre will be doing a post-mortem. It could well be the heat. A bander in Wisconsin said that they had found many dead chicks in the nests. That is very very sad. In England, many of the nature areas that were closed during the pandemic were taken over by the wildlife only to open and have humans scare birds off their nests and chase animals out of the area along with purposefully setting fires. What in the world is wrong with humans? Sorry. It just seems that you go two steps forward and three backward sometimes. Very frustrating.
As you know, I really admire Ferris Akel. He has a regular tour of the Montezuma Park area, Wildlife Drive, Sapsucker Lake, and the Cornell Campus every Saturday. Ferris has someone editing his videos and they are simply excellent. Today, he posted the Red Tail Hawk highlights from his tour on 16 July. It’s OK to say, ‘Oh, my, aren’t they cute!” Have a look:
The Royal Cam princess, Taiki, on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand was weighted today. Las week she weighed 8.2 kg. Today, her mum, Lime-Green-Lime came in to feed Taiki right before weighing. Taiki is 177 days old and today she weighted 8.8 kg or 19.4 lbs. No worries about any supplemental feeds! Taiki’s mother has been in to feed her every day for the past six days. That means that she is foraging very close to Taiaroa Head which is in the very south of New Zealand near Dunedin.
Every year the New Zealand Department of Conservation bands the chicks born on Taiaroa Head. This year the bands will be white. Last year they were green. The banding is very important. It allows the rangers and all other interested parties to identify the birds when they return as juveniles, when they select mates, and when they return to breed. That banding will take place between 11-4pm NZST.
Many of you will have heard the term ‘translocation’ in relationship to the Ospreys in the United Kingdom and many of the projects of Roy Dennis and his Wildlife Foundation. There is news of a different translocation project, an extremely complicated one. To save the Black-footed Albatross on Midway because of rising sea waters, eggs are being transported 6000 km from Midway to Guadalupe Island in Mexico. The researchers say it was their only option. The waters are rising fast and soon Midway will flood.
They hope that the Laysan Albatross foster parents will accept the chicks and eggs and that those chicks will fledge and return to Mexico to breed – not Midway Atoll. So far 93% of the hand-reared albatross, in other projects, have fledged. Let us hope that this project has such a high success rate! Here is an article on this incredible project:
Of course, rising waters and seas heating up and fish dying are not the only threats to the albatross. Another is the level of plastic garbage in our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 if humans do not curtail their use of and dumping of plastic, there will be more of it in the oceans than there is water.
Black-footed Albatross is exclusive to the North Pacific Ocean living and breeding at the Midway Atoll which is part of the state of Hawaii. Some nest off of Japan. They breed around the age of five years. Like other albatross, they forage off of what they can find on the surface of the ocean such as squid, fish, and crustaceans. They have been known to eat refuse and carrion. When they intake the water, you can see in the image above, that they also ingest plastic floating in the ocean. It is not, of course, just the plastic that you can see but the chemicals that keep the plastics soft that are appearing in the eggs of the birds. Those chemicals are known as phthalates. These are found in the yolk of the eggs of the birds. An ongoing study on gull eggs may reveal the damage that will be done to the chicks. I will keep you posted.
Did you know that at the turn of the century it was fashionable to have an entire dead bird decorating your hat? Etta Lemon campaigned against the use of feathers of any kind in the fashion industry.
Many of the species that I write about were made or almost made extinct because of this practice – the Albatross and the Osprey – are only two.
It is 4:30 in the morning at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. Tiny Little is waking up. You can see the silhouettes of the other two siblings and the parents on the tree in the distance.
After missing out, at 13:30, Tiny Little figured out what he had to do to eat. When White YW comes into the nest with a fish, you claim the fish as yours! And TL did that. Yeah for Tiny Little!!!!!! This is a good lesson to learn. In the world of Osprey you need to be a little assertive even if you would rather not.
Thanks, Dad! So glad no one else is here!
Tiny Little has the fish between his talons and he is going to eat it. Dad took the head off so he doesn’t have to deal with those annoying bones like the ones around the eyes.
It is now 16:34 on the Foulshaw Moss Nest. Tiny Little is standing on the big stick and 464 is eating a fish. Will there be any left for Tiny Little? or will Tiny Little take off flying?
Thanks so much for joining me this morning. It is raining again where I live. The sky is light grey, the trees and plants are green and it is wonderful! It is 18 degrees, a much more normal summer temperature for us. They even say we have a chance of rain tomorrow. This will not fill up the Morris River but it might help the grass, the trees and the flowers the nectar eaters need. Take care all. Stay safe. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and the Cornell Bird and NZ DOC Royal Cam Albatross.