Urban Birds

There is a superb little video of Dad delivering Mum a pigeon carcass to feed the Melbourne Four. You will notice that the chicks really come to attention when they hear the ee-chupping that signals that a food delivery and meal are eminent.

I wonder how many prey items have been delivered to this nest so far? Awww…cute little dad just melts my heart. He is such a sweetie.

The Port Lincoln Ospreys had 7 feedings yesterday, 7 different fish deliveries. They were getting off to a good start today with a delivery very early in the morning and several quickly following. This nest just amazes me this year. Everyone is doing so well. Just look at those beautiful juvenile feathers growing in and the tails! Those magical tails with their white fringe.

I have been interested in birds since I was a child – enjoying the ones in my family’s garden and feeding them as well as the regular trips to the duck pond. It was not until I was an adult and had an encounter with a female Sharp-shinned hawk that my life catapulted into a different direction. Today I have two very focused ‘bird interests’ – Osprey nests with three hatches and urban raptors.

Today I turned back to thinking about the need for large parks within cities so that there would be a diversity of wildlife. One person who covers the Central Park area of New York City has a great blog with incredible photographs and short videos. His name is Bruce Yolton and he covers all of the birds and sometimes other species that live in the urban parks of New York City. This is the address of his blog, take a look. He has recently written about a beautiful Belted Kingfisher and Great Horned Owl.

https://www.urbanhawks.com/

Indeed, the very first streaming cam I ever watched was a pair of Red-tailed Hawks raising eyases in a nest on the ledge of New York City University’s library. I learned so much about the challenges that urban wildlife faces watching their daily lives unfold, learning the history of the nest, and chatting with many of the other people watching. Then one year, the female died of rodenticide poisoning. The male tried to incubate the eggs but, as we all know, it generally takes two full time adult birds to raise a nest. It was quite sad. Eventually, I discovered Big Red up at Cornell.

Bruce is an expert on the notorious Pale Male whose nest is on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park. You might have seen the full length documentary The Legend of Pale Male and the fight for this raptor to maintain his nest at this prestigious address. Pale Male is, I believe, coming on 32 years of age. He arrived in Central Park in 1991, thirty years ago. Bruce just uploaded a video of Pale Male hunting in Tupelo Meadow for a Brown Rat.

One of the greatest causes of death to urban raptors is rodenticide. Every time I hear or see a bird of prey eating a rat or mouse I worry that they will die from secondary poisoning. As you well know, raptors kill more rodents than any poisons. So why aren’t the designer poisons banned?

It was, however, Bruce’s video of Chimney Swifts, hundreds of them, flying into the chimneys of New York City that intrigued me. I think it will you, too.

All of the birds are doing well. Really well actually. It is reassuring in a world full of anxieties.

Thank you for joining me. I will put the link to the movie about Pale Male in case you haven’t seen it. If that is the case, grab your favourite snacks and enjoy watching the lobbying for a bird to keep its nest. It is quite remarkable. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

You can find the Legend of Pale Male here. It is free and well done.

thelegendofpalemale.net

Iris and Louis defend nest

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.

Estonian Black Storks fledge…and other news from Bird World

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.

An Osprey blew off a nest! and other Bird World News

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.

Bird World Happenings. 27 July 2021

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.

Thanks S for this great screen capture.

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.

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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!

https://www.audubon.org/news/heres-why-birds-rub-their-beaks-stuff

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!

@ Cape Wildlife Center

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?

Ystwyth eating a fish on the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. Telyn is o the perch.

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.

Mrs G on the perch at Glaslyn.

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!

An evening with Big Red, Arthur and the Ks

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.

K3 on the nest. 21 June 2021. She was taken into care the following day.

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.

Tuesday 20 July in Bird World

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.

“Black-footed Albatross” by tombenson76 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Black-footed albatross chick. Photo credit: Eric VanderWerf” by USFWS Pacific is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/06/they-were-destined-drown-how-scientists-found-these-seabirds-new-island-home?fbclid=IwAR0ZtdwlPW1PElHy6uW5c1zW-Ojt4JC825Ccgor8f_imnjxVgs1COq5NolY

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 chick with plastics. Photo credit: Dan Clark/USFWS” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

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.

The credit for the featured image is: “Black footed albatross chick with plastics. Photo credit: Dan Clark/USFWS” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Late Saturday and early Sunday 17-18 July in Bird World

If you have watched Kindness, the Bald Eagle nestling at Glacier Gardens, then you might have caught her nipping at her mum’s beak. It looks like she is trying to kiss mum. A couple of days ago a video was made showing Kindness interacting with her mum. My goodness, Kindness, you are lucky your mum is so patient! Have a look.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, it looks like the final touches have gone on the nest renovations. The egg cup is now lined with very soft pieces of bark. Mom decides to try it out!

Dad flies in with something else on his mind! No eggs yet but mating is taking place. Season will begin soon!

As we approach fledging at all of the Northern Hemisphere Osprey nests and migration in a month to six weeks, if you fear Osprey withdrawal, here is the link to this nest. Just a warning. This nest has had instances of siblicide in the past.

The Port Lincoln’s eldest chick from the 2020 season, a female named Solly, was fitted with a satellite tracker. Solly is 301 days old and she is still hanging out at Eba Anchorage and Kiffin Island. It sure seems that Solly has found her forever home at Eba Anchorage. For those of you unfamiliar, the movements of Solly changed what everyone understood about Ospreys in Australia. It was believed that ospreys stayed near to where their natal nest was located. Solly travelled over 200 km to Eba Anchorage and Perlubie giving the researchers fresh insights to the behaviour of these ospreys.

To my knowledge there has been no sighting of DEW, her younger brother. He did not receive a tracker but he did get a metal ring and a Darvic colour band.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus again this evening. How lucky she was to get some great images of Big Red with a squirrel down on the ground – and it wasn’t raining. (Send the rain to the Canadian Prairies when you get tired of it, Suzanne!).

It was wonderful to see Big Red with prey that she was going to eat herself. She needs to build up her strength after laying eggs, incubating those eggs, and feeding and caring for the three Ks until fledge. Even now she is doing some prey drops and is busy training the Ks to hunt.

Big Red with Squirrel. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The Robins were giving Big Red a lot of grief. Could it be because Arthur has been up at their nest eating their babies? Or the fact that K1 caught a bird today and it was rumoured to be a young Robin?

Robins being rather assertive around Big Red. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

Big Red and her squirrel also attracted another visitor – a Turkey Vulture!

Would you mind sharing asks the Turkey Vulture. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The pair also attracted a human who was said to have tried to interfere with the situation. Both of the birds were fine. Big Red was eating and the Turkey Vulture appeared to be waiting to see if she left anything.

One of the things that I have learned is that hunting is difficult and prey is not abundant always. Raptors can wait for hours, half a day, or even a day to catch prey to eat. It is estimated that only 1 out of 3 juveniles live to the age of two years – mostly due to starvation. Humans should not interfere when a raptor is eating. As a result of the human intrusion, Big Red chose to fly away from the human who was interfering. This also caused her to leave part of her meal. The vulture did eat the rest – so in the end everyone ate- but it was a situation that should never have happened. Remember if you see a hawk hunting or eating, please leave them alone. Finding their meal is not that easy.

Turkey Vulture at Cornell. @Suzanne Arnold Horning

The scientific name for the Turkey Vulture – Carthartes Aura – means ‘cleansing breeze’. They are scavengers, eating mainly carrion. They have dark espresso coloured feathers, red legs and head, with a white beak. Like the condor, there are no feathers on their head. This is a great evolutionary trait so that pieces of the dead do not stick to them causing disease or parasites. The Turkey Vulture’s sense of smell is so great that they can find a fresh killed animal a mile away! The only raptors larger than the Turkey Vultures are the Eagles and the Condors. What I find interesting is that they are the only raptor that cannot kill their own prey. They simply do not have the right talons to do this – their feet are more like that of a chicken. That said they can tear through really tough hides with their beak. In other words, the Turkey Vulture was never a threat to Big Red.

As I prepare to settle in for the night, Tiny Little is waking up. The early morning fog over the marsh is just starting to clear. You can see the parents, or siblings, or both back on the parent tree. Tiny Little is still sleeping like a duckling on the nest. Good Morning Tiny Little! Let’s get that gear box into forward today.

Tiny Little is also checking the nest for any little tidbits of leftover fish. And just like Tiny Tot he has found some lurking under those sticks.

Tiny Little was doing some prey calling and looking up in the sky. The morning fog doesn’t seem to be clearing. What a beautiful colour it is – that sort of golden pink gradually fading into the grey-blue-green. Lovely.

Update: Tiny Little had a huge breakfast. It is now mid-afternoon and Blue 462 is working on a fish that arrived. 464 is standing next to that fish and Tiny Little, 463, is ignoring it right now. She is probably still full enough from the morning not to bother. Unclear if Tiny Little has taken a second flight today. I stayed up waiting! But had to give in to being tired.

This is the image of the afternoon line up for a fish! 462 is eating, 464 is pretending to be Tiny Little and bugging his big sibling. Tiny Little is over at the side duckling style. Tiny Little is full from breakfast and knows that Mum will come to the rescue later if she gets hungry.

There is a beautiful peachy almost coral sky as the morning begins at the Poole Harbour Osprey nest. CJ7 and Blue 022 are roosting elsewhere.

Golden diamonds are falling on the nest of Blue 33 and Maya at Rutland Manton Bay. No one is home. They are all perched elsewhere. Blue 33 does make food drops at the nest for the two Bobs.

A little later, Blue 095 flies into the nest and settles down and then flies out again.

Blue 095

Oh, wow. Just look at that sun coming up over the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn in Wales. It is so bright you cannot see the perch!

A very short video of Ystwyth fledging at 7:59 am on 17 July is here:

It is serene up at The Loch of the Lowes. No one is home but it sounds like there is a fledgling on the camera perch.

What you don’t see here is that later, NC0 is on the nest, spots a fish, goes out and gets it, and gives it to LM2.

Early Morning at Loch of the Lowes. 18 July 2021

The only thing you can hear at Glaslyn are either bees or wasps on the microphone! Oh, it is so beautiful and green. It has been hot at this nest, 26-29 degrees C – and the birds are staying cool in the shade of the trees. Even with the heat the landscape looks so lush. What a gorgeous way to begin the day.

Early morning at Glaslyn. 18 July 2021

Thank you so much for joining me today. I so enjoy hearing from all of you. Stay safe! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Byrwd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, LRWT and the Manton Bay Ospreys. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln Osprey Research Project and the PLO FB page where I took a screen shot of Solly’s recent tracking. And last but never least, I would like to say a huge thank you to Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to use her images on my blog. She holds the copyright on them so please do not use elsewhere. Thank you.

Saturday 17 July in Bird World

I promised some updates on Big Red, Arthur, and the Ks. Right up front I want to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to share her images of Cornell’s birds with all of you. She lives in Ithaca and once or twice a day she heads out with her family looking for the Ks. Thank you Suzanne!

This first series is from 16 July. Both of the Ks are on the corner of this unidentified building. K1 is on the left and K3 is on the right at the corner of the building.

Isn’ she gorgeous? This is K1, the mini-Big Red.

On the 15th, the Ks were hanging out on Weill.

K1 is doing the hawk walk! So cute.

She stops and looks for her brother, K3, who has just flown away.

K3 flew over to the middle of the hockey rink roof and landed! Good gracious.

Later, K3 rejoins his sister on Weill.

Meanwhile, where are Big Red and Arthur?

Big Red is on top of the Cornell Clock Tower.

Here’s a much closer look at Big Red.

And here is an image showing the position of Arthur and the Ks. The green arrow is where Arthur is on the light stands and the purple arrows points to the corner of the Weill Building where the two Ks are located.

Thanks Suzanne for the arrows and the images. It is reassuring to know that everyone is safe and sound.

There is some other news today. K1 caught her own prey. I know it happened but I do not have an image I can show you. Of course, no one knows if this is the first time or not but this is incredible. She is certainly related to Arthur who is like the stealth bomber of hunting! And Big Red is really good herself.

The Ks will be leaving their parents territory in August. They need to be able to fly well and hunt. As you can see Big Red and Arthur have now moved them around Weill and other areas farther from the nest. Soon they will have them hunting in the fields out by the Holey Cow Barns. Why holey and not holy you ask? The cows have clear tubes inserted in their sides so that the students in the Vet School can see what is happening inside the cow’s body. I have to admit the first time I heard this I was quite happy not to be there seeing it. But then wow – how would these students learn otherwise?

Suzanne Arnold Horning also went out to the Cornell Osprey nests and took some images. She believes that the nestlings are about to fledge!

There is only one Osprey nest on the Cornell Campus. It is located on the university athletic fields on a light tower at the soccer field. The adults there fish in Cayuga Lake, Beebee Lake, and Six Mile Creek. Those are within a few miles of the nest. The adults are Olin and Olive.

Off the Cornell Campus there were 38 Osprey nests around the Cayuga Lake Basin. While it isn’t a steadfast rule, most male Ospreys do return to the area of their natal nest. I am assuming then that when Olin showed up as a bachelor and began building a nest that he had hatched from one of the nests around Cayuga Lake several years earlier.

Olin would fly around the soccer field and people began to wonder if he was going to build a nest on one of the light towers. He made several attempts with sticks at the Game Farm Road soccer field. Olin did attract a female – Olive.

The nest you see in Suzanne Arnold Hornings’s images is the new nest that was built for Olive and Olin.

There are three little ospreys ready to fly in that nest this year.

Don’t you just hold your breath when they are hovering? I do! Wings everywhere. Looks like Olive needs to duck.

The Hornings and the Sedlaceks wrote a lovely article about the first year with Olin and Olive. There are some good images. I will attach it below this. Olin and Olive originally had a nest on a light and it was precarious. This is a wonderful nest that was constructed for this Osprey couple. Just look at it. They figured out the height, the measurements the nest should be and made sure that it was storm proof. Amazing.

Here is the link to the article. Please read it, it is lovely.

https://sites.google.com/site/cornellssurpriseospreys/

On the earlier part of the Ferris Akel Live Tour, there was a lovely juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. I think I have a couple of reasonable good screen shots to show you. What a lovely bird. We have Cooper’s Hawks that come to breed on the Canadian Prairies in the summer. They are protected under the Manitoba Wildlife Act of 1994.

Indeed, when I first encountered the hawk that comes to my garden, it was not clear if it was an adult Cooper’s or a Sharp-shinned. Turned out to be a Sharpie Adult, Northern. Like the Sharp-shinned, the Coopers are a medium sized Accipiter. These are the green-blue-grey (or celadon if you want to describe them like a pottery glaze) of a juvenile. The eyes of the adult male are red and they have a white breast/belly with ochre streaking, blue-grey hood and wings. You can see those red eyes in the image directly below.

“Cooper’s Hawk” by airboy123 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This juvenile might look like a Red-tail Hawk if you only saw its back. Like my Sharpie and the Red-tails, the length of the wings attributes to the silent stealth manner in which they hunt. They live in forests and even in urban back gardens and they need to be able to turn quickly which they can also do with their wings and their medium size. You can see those celadon eyes of this juvenile in the image below.

Look at the image below. Do not peek at their blue Darvic rings! Which one of those birds is Tiny Little?

It might be a surprise to you. Tiny Little is the bigger chick at the back!

I watched Tiny Little for several hours. He is absolutely hilarious. For awhile I wondered if he had forgotten how to fly. He hovered, he flapped his wings and he really wanted to go but he couldn’t get it in forward gear. But never mind. White YW brought a fish on to the nest and thoughts of flying went right out the window. Tiny Little was up to his old tricks. What you are seeing in the image below is the second sibling that Tiny Little has tormented over the evening fish. BTW. Tiny Little had a huge breakfast! His MOD is to stare at the fish, then do some flapping, go back and stare and make the sibling nervous til they walk away and leave the fish. And guess what? He is really good at it.

Blue 464 gave up the fish! Because of his behaviour you will know which one is Tiny Little below but please look at the size and look at the other bird. This is the female, that big female that tormented Tiny Little, Blue 464. Unfortunately I took about 300 images of this nest today (maybe more). I have one of Tiny Little standing next to Blue 462, the male. 462 has the thinner longer legs of White YW. Tiny Little’s legs are stout like a female and she is a big bird.

Just like she wanted. Tiny Little gets a nice feeding by Blue 35. Indeed, I think the two of them shared almost half a fish after 464 and then 462 tried to self-feed.

Here is an earlier image of the Foulshaw Moss family minus Blue 464. White YW is on the front left. Then Blue 35 is next at the rim of the nest. Then don’t peek, which one is Tiny Little? If you said the one on the far right, you are correct. Now necklaces in themselves do not indicate a female but with those stout legs and her size. Well..

‘Silo’ chick on the Patuxent River Osprey Nest 2, the one who fell out of the nest into the water last evening, was up and moving about in the afternoon so everything seems alright there. Fabulous.

Thank you everyone for stopping in today to find out about the birds. It is great to have you with us.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or who gave me permission to use their images: Suzanne Arnold Horning for the images of Cornell’s Red tail Hawk family and the Osprey Nest of Olin and Olive, Ferris Akel Live Tour, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, and Patuxent River Osprey Cam 2.

Oh, Tiny Little….and friends

I thought I would check on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. That streaming cam does not have a rewind and so it is hit or miss as to what the chicks are doing. All three were on the nest and Blue 35 was feeding them. And bless his heart, Tiny Little was right there getting many bites – lots. It was magnificent. He was pecking for bites at Blue 35’s beak before she was ready!

Blue 35 is finished feeding in the image below. Honestly, if you can’t see the bands it is getting difficult to tell which chick is chick. Can you believe it? Tiny Little looked like a mere babe two days ago!

Blue 35 gave 464, who waited patiently without being a nuisance, the skin and the fish tail. Tiny is not taking his eyes off of that tail! 462 has moved up to the front where she is moving a branch. All Tiny Little wants is that fish tail!

Then 462 gets rather exciting and starts doing wing exercises. Tiny Little is still staring at the fish tail.

Tiny Little ducks when 462 starts flapping but his eyes are locked in on that fish tail, still. 464 seems to be having trouble eating. Tiny Little is probably saying, “Let me have a try!”

462 got some good lift. I thought she was going to fledge but she didn’t. I don’t think Tiny is next. To me his tail is not long enough! Tiny Little isn’t so Tiny anymore – almost overnight this third hatch changes. He is going to bed with a nice crop. Well done, Tiny ‘Not so’ Little.

Fledgling 464 left the nest and Blue 35 returned. She moved over and found the fish tail and some fish and just guess who was right there beak to beak wanting some more dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is why Tiny Little is not so Tiny anymore.

It is very interesting. There were individuals who thought that Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest would to be doomed once the older siblings started self feeding. You know – we need to give these Osprey mothers some credit. They try and make sure everyone is fed. Tiny Tot blossomed before our eyes at Achieva once the other sibling 1 and then sibling 2 were flying – and it looks like having one off the nest (sometimes) at Foulshaw is helping as well.

I reported that one of Monty and Glesni’s chicks, Merin, was breeding in the Lake District. Emry Evans posted some images of Merin and his beautiful daughters in his blog. You can have a read and see the lovely images, too. If the link does not open automatically, do the old cut and paste method. You should also be able to sign up for Emyr’s blogs at the bottom if you wish to do so. Emyr includes a very helpful family tree on his blog today.

http://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/2021/07/07/merin-breeding-england?fbclid=IwAR1X6b1Qy5bYFNfXyFVgib_ah941eRBYXjaumRJsAZxMexV5xIGLknUz9wg

Janet Simpson is working on a very nice chart of the Rutland relatives in Wales. She has not polished it off completely but she said we can share as long as we give her credit. So thank you Janet Simpson! This is really brilliant.

Someone sent me a note and asked me if I had a favourite Osprey. Oh, my goodness. That is a difficult question to answer. So let me tell you a story first and then I will try and answer this for you.

I have always wondered what makes a ‘great’ Osprey. I have, in fact, praised the two nestlings daughters of Merin’s as being the most beautiful osprey chicks I have ever seen. Their picture is in Emry’s blog. That led me to wonder if it is performance or appearance or both. So, in that wonderful chat the other evening with Tiger Mozone, I asked him what makes a ‘great osprey’. {Tiger has an encyclopedic mind on Osprey history and Ospreys}Tiger answered with a question: “What do you know about horses?” “Well, some”. At one time I lived on an acreage and there were five horses. Had I heard of Northern Dancer was Tiger’s second question. I ask you, is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Northern Dancer? So there was my answer. Performance. Then one day my friend ‘T’ and I were chatting. If we came back in another life as an Osprey female who would we want our mate to be? Now there is the heart of the answer to my original question. I knew that ‘T’ would say Monty. I am actually quite fond of Blue 33 (11). Today I realized for me it would be a toss up between Blue 33 (11) and Idris if I were ever to return as a female Osprey….of the choices currently available. They perform for their families. These are the guys – Monty, Blue 33, and yes, Idris will prove himself – that get the fish out of the water and on the nest. There are lots of fish. Someone said today they thought that Idris could feed a four chick nest. I think he could, too and I think Blue and Monty could as well. Take good care of the females and the chicks, fledge those babies, and then have them return to breed successfully. That is a ‘great’ Osprey. I think Tiger might agree. Of course, every great male needs an equally great female. Nora, Glesni, Telyn, and Maya are doing fantastic. So think about your favourite Osprey.

There is Telyn feeding Dysynnis and Ystwyth late today. But this appears to be a first —— Telyn caught the flounder and brought it to the nest for the chicks! Yippeeeee.

Ferris had a great tour today. These are a few shots from the beginning to end.

There were two Green Herons along the drive.

When Ferris got to the Cornell Campus, he spotted K3 right away on top of the Rice Building.

Looking for K1, there was a lovely Mourning Dove family in the trees around the Fernow Building.

Big Red was up on Bradfield. Word came to the group that she had delivered prey to both K1 and K3 just a little earlier so they are both full and not food begging.

Isn’t she beautiful? She is already beginning to moult. In a week or so we will call her Big Blonde!

There she is again, same place.

Ferris looked in the pines. He could hear Robins vocalizing and thought K1 might be around. What he found was a lovely very young Robin. Oh, I wish this little one would hide! Those hawks would like you for breakfast – maybe. Robin is not their favourite treat for sure.

K1 was discovered on one of the light towers.

And then something happened and K3 came to join K1. K1 is on the top left and you can just see the little duckling, K3 laying flat out.

Arthur has joined Big Red. All four hawks are accounted for and they are fine. Good night Big Red, Arthur, K1 and K3. Have lovely hawk dreams.

That is it for a late Saturday evening. It is once again in the 33-34 C range on the Canadian prairies. The birds are draining the water bowls every couple of hours.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone and oh, tomorrow my blog will appear in the late afternoon or early evening. I have promised myself to clean out my office for several months —— it is now time! Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ferris Akel Live, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.