Anything you can do, I can do it, too! and an update on SE29 and other tales in Bird World

28 October 2022

It has simply been an extraordinary day on the Canadian Prairies. Here it is 2113 and the temperature is +10 C. Earlier it was 13 C. There were individuals walking around with their summer flip flops! Fall is such a harbinger of the cold, cold winter that well, it is nice to have a break. I am starting the news for tomorrow because it is happening right now in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to get out early and find some Snowy Owls in the fields north of where I live. Perhaps a Northern Harrier or two and might there be a duck?

Snowy Owls arrive in Manitoba when the temperature begins to drop. You can see Snowy Owls on the utility poles, hay bales, and in the fields of Southern Manitoba. They rarely venture to the center or the north of our province. They blend in perfectly – their beautiful white plumage with its dark flecking – with the snow covering the land. Their eyes are a bright yellow as are their legs. They feed on grouse, lemmings, rabbits, and weasels in the winter. Any that remain here in the summer live off of voles and mice in the fields. We always think of owls as hunting from dusk to dawn but, the Snowy Owls hunt during the daytime. They range in size from 50-70 cm with reverse sex size dimorphism (the female is noticeably larger than the male).

This beautiful image is “Snowy owl (female)” by Marie Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Making News:

Update on the status of SE29. Oh, my goodness, a broken leg above the talon. Sweet baby. So glad 29 is in good care!

Missing Annie and Alden? They were bonding in the scrape box yesterday!! ‘H’ caught it!

Progress is being made on the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle’s nest that collapsed. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Parents working very hard to get it ready for the upcoming breeding season.

Australian Nest News:

Friday on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge has simply been ‘interesting’. The day arrived with a small fish and deep breaths as I wondered whether Big would attack Middle. Or would Middle decide to give Big a peck again? ‘H’ calls what Middle got last night as ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – it certainly was! But, today both have been civil. That said, something else is happening.

If one of the chicks does something, the other immediately does the same thing. Now seriously bear with me. This meant that both of them stuck their little bottoms in the air and did a PS in the window of 1030 and 1031. I kid did you not.

Big was sleeping and Middle was looking out over the water with a really nice crop.

Middle begins flapping his wings.

Then Big stands up and flaps her wings.

Middle raises up its fat little bottom with its head bent down low and gets ready. At the same time Big begins to lower her head and raise her bottom.

Middle goes first. Just look at that incredible ps. This chick has been eating well…if we did not know it we could ascertain that from the volume and the velocity of this incredible perfectly white ps. (There are some sticks there as well, check above or below so that you can tell what is ps. Middle has strong legs and a fat bottom and is growing like an incredibly bad weed.

Nine seconds separate the ps of each osplet.

Then Big decides to do some wing flapping.

Then Middle! The one good thing about their method is that it allows room for both to flap on the nest. I sure wonder what Mum thinks when she watches these two.

Then they both quiet down.

Dad arrives with another fish. It is 1232.

Gosh, I couldn’t see the size of that fish but Mum was still feeding the osplets at 1300. Big appears to have gotten the largest share. In the image above you can already see the crop that is large and — it will continue to grow!

At 1301 Middle had to stop eating and have another ps. Then he went back to the table probably hoping to get some more good bites which he did get. Now will he get that important fish tail?

Then – all of a sudden – the two osplets look up and there is Dad landing with another fish. Can you believe this?

Dad lands with a very small fish. A good practice fish for self-feeding. Mum ignores him and continues to feed Middle. She also gives some bites to Big who seems to always be able to find room for more.

At 1315 Dad takes his unwanted little fish and I presume goes over on the ropes to have his own lunch.

Dad returns empty taloned. He is looking closely at the fish that Mum is still feeding Middle and Big. Mum has been feeding the two and herself for over an hour. That was a BIG fish!

Incredible. At 1350 Mum is just finishing up that fish. Happy to see her eating well today, too.

Middle and Big had another meal at 1945. Wow. Dad is having some excellent fishing days.

Rubus and Indigo are adorable. Indigo ran off the Cilla Stones this afternoon to join Rubus in the corner. Oh, these eyases are so cute! That cuteness comes in part from their behaviour – their facial expressions, their interaction with one another and with Xavier and Diamond and their environment inside the scrape.

Rubus has been playing with the feathers. Is he looking for food scraps?

Indigo is over on the Cilla Stones watching her little brother as he intently stares at a feather.

Wow. That was a bit of a leap. Has Indigo been secretly going to gymnastics classes? I wonder how many points she would get for that landing?

Indigo is so curious as to what Rubus is doing and finding in those stones in his corner of the scrape.

Ah, two little sweeties! ‘A’ tells me that Cilla is certain that Indigo is a female as she is already as large as Xavier and still growing but, will not declare gender of Rubus for a bit. Four days younger and he is growing and growing. I have always called Rubus a ‘he’ and said ‘little brother’ but, in fact, Rubus could be a little sister for Indigo.

‘A’ notes that Indigo is losing all of her cotton fluff and will be looking much more like a falcon as Rubus continues to copy everything she does and remains a ball of cotton. From the time stamps that ‘A’ sent me, these two had a few good meals yesterday. Looks like there were five – that is appearing to be the daily average for the scrape at Orange.

The Melbourne Four seem to have relocated – for part of the afternoon – to the other end of the ledge.

The eyases are running up and down and then resting. All is well. No need to panic! ‘H’ caught them doing their famous gutter stomp heading to the other end for prey!

The weather report from ‘A’ for the eastern coast of Australia is rain and more rain. Storms put out power and pumps were working over time. This could inpact hunting for the Melbourne adults. We wait to see.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care of yourself. See you soon! (Please be advised if the weather is grand, I could well be out birding until late Friday. There might not be a late evening newsletter going out after this one. If that is the case, I will see you Saturday morning!).

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ for her video clips of Cal Falcons and the Melbourne Four, ‘A’ for her over view of the nests, the Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Breakfast arrives at Port Lincoln Osprey barge

25 October 2022

I am still nervous about Port Lincoln despite the fact that everything has been going well. Today. as I was going through old screen shots, there were so many of Little. It is always a reminder that the challenges our feathered friends face – whether they are song birds, sea birds, or big Apex Raptors – are serious. All it takes is a late fish arrival to set off a series of events that often leads in the death of the smallest and most vulnerable.

So, it is reassuring to see that everyone on the Port Lincoln nest had a good feed. Dad came in with a large whole very much alive fish at 08:46:17. At one point, Big ‘sort of’ raised her neck high. It was enough to leave Middle at the far side waiting…waiting for the time when Big was full enough to go up for fish but, not so long that nothing was left. Middle watched, listened, and moved over. Middle and Mum are really going to enjoy the last half of that fish! Thanks, Dad.

Just look at that nice fish! Mum had full control of it. She wrestled it around with her strong talons and jaw so that there was no chance it would get away.

Big is ducking over. That fish gave it a bit of a flap when Mum was hauling it in. (Facing the screen – Big is on the right of Mum and Middle is on the left).

Middle is just waiting while Big eats.

Mum has been feeding the two osplets for nearly an hour taking some nice bites for herself. Big now has her second wind and has decided she is up for seconds. Not surprising. Big does love her fish.

That nice fish will keep Mum and the two osplets for quite some time. They should not be thinking about another fish until tea time!

I knew that you would be as anxious to hear how the feeding went at Port Lincoln as I am. It is all good. We can each rest a little easier today knowing that Middle has had a good feed and that there was no beaking.

Big horked the tail down at 09:43:30.

The feeding took 57 minutes – what a fish! Everyone is full.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care all. See you soon.

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

Mum saves the fish…and other tales from Bird World

25 October 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone!

I hope that your day is starting off wonderfully well.

For those living in Melbourne, oh, enjoy those 24 degrees C temperatures for me, too. My forecast is for it to snow in the next hour! And for it to be -1 C tomorrow. Now…I don’t know about your meteorologists but, ours are sometimes not correct and I am really hoping that they will be wrong. Not for me but for all the birds that remain in our City. There are even reports of the first Snowy Owls arriving in the southern part of our province. Cold weather is really and truly on its way. I have never seen all the Snowys on the fields in our province. Looking forward to finally seeing one this year.

There was no snow when I woke up but it is 1 degree and grey. The Blue Jays are gathering peanuts in the shell and the Lilacs are full of little sparrows singing away eating their Black Oil Seed and millet. Just a few seconds ago six Canada Geese flew over.

Thankfully I had the camera ready because I was wanting to try and catch Little Red. He was too quick!

My attempts to lure the European Starlings down from roosting in the far trees did not work. There were, however, some wrens and sparrows that promptly went over to eat the Meal Worms and the Bark Butter. The squirrels were also busy today and Little Red continues to go in and out of the big box that holds the wood. That is where I put his new house – if he would move into it. I am afraid to go and check but it is possible that he is entering from the back hole to the house. Fingers crossed. It would be a great place for him.

There are a few Dark-Eyed Juncos still around looking for Millet.

Dad brought in one of the nicest fish I have seen to the Port Lincoln nest. Mum had been doing her talon dance and Middle had joined in prey calling. When Dad arrived, the fish, like all fish being slimy, slipped…oh, it looked like Mum was going to lose it down the side of the nest. But…she didn’t. She managed to get that very much alive fighting fish up on that nest and then she decided to fly off with it. I do not know what Mum did to that fish in the few seconds she was off the nest but it sure wasn’t wiggling and jerking when she got back. How many times have we witnessed these big fish, alive and fighting, being brought to nests only to hold our breath as they flipped and flopped over the ospreys??? Manton Bay comes to mind for this past season in the UK. My goodness I thought those two babies were going to die. How the one survived I will never know but, she did.

It is not the first time I have seen this happen and I am certain that you have, at one time or another, if you have watched Osprey nests, seen a fish go overboard. It is heart breaking. I cannot say for certain but many say that it takes about 15 dives to get a catch. That is a lot of energy expended to go over the side. And, as we all know too well, a fish can sometimes mean life or death to one of the chicks.

Mum fought that fish pulling and pulling so it would not go overboard.

The other thing that I find interesting in these situations is that the male does not help. It is as if once the fish is delivered he is done..gone. At any rate, three cheers for Mum. She did an amazing job wrestling that fish.

Middle is very clever. Mum is getting the fish situated and Big is already to eat. Middle does not waste any seconds getting to the table but he doesn’t just rush in either. He can see how long that fish is and slowly moves into place.

Middle is going to get a truly good feed.

It is hard to tell but, Middle has a very large piece of fish he is getting ready to hook.

Just have a look at our dear Middle. That crop could pop!

Notice also how heavy the wings are now. The ospreys will let them droop. I also like to point out the dark down on the chest. The ospreys will have a thermal down underneath their feathers that will help them regulate their temperature.

All is quiet. Two very full ospreys. As I write this, the time is just past 1500 in Port Lincoln. I have not seen another fish come to the nest yet but there will be at least 1 more if not 2 today.

It is so nice to have these three nests progressing along nicely without too much worry of anything untoward happening. Oh, yes, I always say that the fortunes of a nest can turn in an instant – and they can. Thankfully we have no worries about predators, like Eagles, owls, or goshawks, diving down to snatch the chicks out of the nest! Those are constant worries at some nests such as those in Finland and now, of course, at some in the US like Cowlitz PUD where all three ospreys were taken by a Bald Eagle.

Oh, how precious. Indigo walked over to give her little brother a cuddle.

Xavier arrived with the afternoon tea. For a moment I thought that he might get to feed Indigo and Rubus but, no…Diamond arrived. It looked like a Starling but then as Diamond plucked it looked less so. The fact that it took longer to remove the feathers with Rubus getting anxious and walking away to Cilla’s stones indicated that it must have been something larger. Oh, my goodness. When Diamond started feeding the two were jumping and stretching for joy! It was a great feeding.

Notice that Little Rubus is at the kind of cotton ball stage too…the fluffy white down just hanging on as the juvenile feathers grow underneath. Indigo is doing a lot of preening and if you catch a glimpse of her tail, it is really growing nicely. They are changing almost right before our eyes. It is now Wednesday in Orange and by the weekend we should see some dramatic differences in the plumage of both.

It sure looks like a Starling!

Diamond arrives and takes the prey. Xavier has a last look. Oh, he loves being a Dad and what a wonderful one he is!

Some of you more familiar with the prey available around Orange can probably identify this tea time treat. It looks like a Starling to me but please correct me if it is something larger.

Poor Indigo. Both ‘J’ and I noticed that she let Little Rubus be right up in front. I do wonder about the fright she had with that one Starling head having a lasting impression or lasting fright.

Rubus gets impatient waiting for the plucking to end and walks over and gets on Cilla’s stones. Do you know why the stones are placed where they are? It is so Diamond will have to lay her eggs so the camera can see them, not hidden in the corner.

Rubus has a ferocious appetite! Not to worry. Indigo did get some food!

Notice how Indigo is changing. You can see those beautiful tail feathers and we are now getting a reveal of her back as the soft down comes away from her eyes. She is going to be just a stunner.

Oh, and thankfully, someone caught the morning feed at 367 Collins Street on video! (I am not able to use my video app on this machine…I hope to be able to make video clips for you soon but, for now, we will rely on others!)

Around 1345 at the scrape of the Melbourne Four in the CBD of Melbourne, the parents are on alert. One is calling from the ledge and they seem to be spending time on the ledge protecting the eyases.

Even if there was an intruder about, the Melbourne Four managed another four feedings lasting over ten minutes. They were at 0641 for 17 minutes, 1126 for 11 minutes, 1629 for 12 minutes, and a really big feed at 1855 lasting for 18 minutes. Thank you ‘H’ for all those times.

Other News in Bird World:

One of our favourite Ospreys, Richmond from the San Francisco Whirley Crane nest in the Richmond Shipping Yards, has had to protect his territory from Ravens today.

This is the latest news on SE30 who was found in a residential neighbourhood. I sound like a broken record. It is incredibly sad that the eaglets are rushed out of the forest so they cannot get their flying strong and be taught how to hunt for prey by their parents. This scenario is repeated annually. Thankfully, all those wonderful people around the Discovery Centre who love these eagles from here and beyond keep an eye on them. It is also reassuring that the right protocols are in place to rescue the eaglets and get them into care. Let us hope that SE29 and SE30 are both kept in care until they are flying strong and know how to hunt! Thank you Judy Harrington!

There is also some progress being made at the North Dame Bald Eagle nest in St Patrick’s Park, South Bend, Indiana. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Good luck Mum and Dad. They have a huge job ahead of them!

How much is a Bald Eagle’s life worth? Sadly, not much. A Devon, Ohio man shot and killed a Bald Eagle. WKBN27 First News is reporting that a federal judge gave the man a one year’s probation, a fine of $4000 and another $1200 to USFWS.

Thank you so very, very much for joining me today. Take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Norte Dame Eagles FB, Eagle Cam, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon.

Late Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

I hope that each of you has had a fabulous weekend!

In my earlier blog today, I did not catch the ‘auto correct’ of Samson when I posted that him and Gabby were working on their nest. It is, of course, Samson not Damon!!!! Goodness.

The Sparrows thought it was warm enough for a bath today. And it is. It is a beautiful 14 degrees C – for me the absolute perfect temperature. It could stay like this forever and I would never get tired of it. They had such a good time! For well over an hour, one group after another spent time in the bird bath. They were so excited! I really do love sparrows…and I hope that those that think they will go extinct are wrong! And those that refuse to feed them because they are ‘not special’ will think again. They are so varied that I have a 8 cm thick book on them and still have trouble sometimes with Clay Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows — and I shouldn’t!

During the last month I have seen hundreds of Crows fly over my house around 1700. I did not know what they were doing until ‘N’ posted a YouTube video on Crows flying to join one another at a communal roost. It happens an hour before sunset. Thanks, ‘N’.

But, why did Crows get the moniker ‘Murder of Crows’? Apparently the use of the name goes back to 15th century English literature but, the Crow expert at Cornell University said the term is incorrect. ‘Scientists would call it a flock’. Indeed, Crows are often connected with death because they are black and because they eat carrion (dead animals) like Vultures, Condors, and Eagles. So remember, the next time you see a large group of Crows it is a flock!

As you will know, from reading my blog, I love ‘my’ Crows. Mr Crow has been around the garden for a number of years but, this year, he was joined by three fledglings that grew and grew and grew. (I always say Mr Crow…it could well be Mrs Crow!). This summer they started alerting me to when the wandering well-fed domestic cats were in the garden. They were so loud that their caws could not be ignored. For several days it seemed that they were wanting more food. They must have think I am truly daft. It wasn’t food – it was the cats. I am so grateful to them for protecting the other garden animals. In fact, most of the garden animals live in harmony. There is enough space and lots of food. It is the cats that cause the unhappiness.

But back to the Crows. ‘H’ wrote to me that Crows are signs of bad luck or death in Australia. In North American Indigenous traditions, the Crow and the Raven are good signs. They are signs of protection and often are viewed as messengers of wealth. In Manitoba, the Crow is part of the Creation Story of many of the local tribes just as it is with those in northwestern California. There are ceremonies that use the symbol, the power, and the prayers of the Crow to invoke protections – and these are very sacred, only used and known by those who deal with the Spirits. For the Inuit who live in the far north of Canada, the crow and the raven are often considered the same. You will find the creation stories of the Inuit and the Haida from British Columbia, using the Raven or the Crow, to tell their myths. The myth ‘The Crow Brings Daylight’ describes the moment when the people who lived in total darkness first saw the light that was brought by the Crow.

https://prezi.com/r9jz3ih7karv/crow-brings-daylight/

I hope that the Crow will bring you much luck and will guard and protect you.

All of the nests have had breakfast in Australia early. No one has had to wait for food to arrive despite the ominous clouds that you can see out the window of Xavier and Diamond’s scrape or the rain drops collecting on the camera at Port Lincoln.

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond to feed Indigo and Rubus. That was at 063320. Indigo and Rubus watch everything their parents do intently – each is a learning opportunity. The chicks will learn how to pluck and feed through observation. They will watch their parents fly from the scrape and, after they fledge, Xavier will teach them how to hunt. (With hawks and raptors it is often the role of the Dad to teach the fledglings to hunt.) Still, I have seen many, if not most, of the females do this as well. The exception would be the female Ospreys that leave the nests in the UK prior to the chicks fledging.

Notice that Little Rubus is in the corner with Indigo. Everything Indigo does, Rubus copies.

Indigo was so frightened by the Starling head last week. And here is another Starling head dangling! Do falcons have nightmares?

Just about the same time in Melbourne, at 0634, a plump freshly caught pigeon landed on the ledge at 367 Collins Street.

This morning you could really hear the stomping on that metal gutter! The eyases ate and began running up and down getting their legs strong. They are also flapping those little wings. Soon the white dandelions will be covering everything as the down flies off revealing the gorgeous juvenile falcon plumage.

It did not take long for the Melbourne Four to ‘decorate’ the far end of the gutter. Did you know that when falcons are looking for a good territory/scrape box/cliff, they will check to see how much guano is spread all over. The more ‘ps’ the better – it means that the area is rich in prey. An ideal location to have a nest!

Flapping and flapping. The others are almost all the way down to the other end of the gutter. The little one, however, chose to stay in the scrape. Cute wings!

Thankfully, Dad was out fishing early at Port Lincoln (as I am told he always is) and he hauled in a flat Zebra fish at 065757. The feeding was absolutely civil. In fact, it looks like Middle got the largest portion of that early fish.

It is difficult to describe how thrilled I am that Big has settled down and that life on the Port Lincoln Osprey platform is civil. It helps everyone. Middle can now eat without too much fear of reprisal. Still, he should be a wee cautious just in case Big wakes up on the wrong side of the fish one morning.

The nests have had their first meal for Monday in Australia. All is well.

There is no further news on Sea Eaglets 29 or 30 – both are in care. Dad and Lady have been working on their nest. They must wonder where their fledglings have gone. I wonder if they will leave for Lady’s favourite spa location, Goat Island, soon?

Thank you so very much for joining me. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Pinterest, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross,. 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Forest, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Port Lincoln’s Middle Bob is getting some confidence…and other tales in Bird World

22 October 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone,

I hope that you are already having a wonderful weekend by the time you read this update on our feathered friends. Things are really beginning to look up at Port Lincoln. I am cautiously optimistic that Big is moving out of her aggressive stage.

My friend “S’ and I were talking about books – holding books, feeling the paper, turning the pages – a few weeks ago. She is encouraging her graduate students at university to read real books, to go to the library, to feel the pages. Of course, she was talking to a ‘member of the choir’, so to speak, when we had our chat. I love books, good quality books with beautiful images. Today, it wasn’t a book that arrived in the post but Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Living Bird magazine that arrived. The cover featured a beautiful goshawk. Inside was a treasure trove of information for every species lover. There was a lot of information on migration, loss of biodiversity and what this means alongside reports on projects aimed at mitigating loss. The core of every article is how each of us can help mitigate the issues- sparking action to bend the curve.

As researchers and citizen scientists discovered with the great bird counts, the number of songbirds increased dramatically when ordinary people, just like you and me, began putting out bird feeders. Today, one of the most pressing issues is biodiversity. It is the word of the moment. One of the articles in this edition of Living Bird, ‘The Most Distinct Birds are at Greatest Risk of Going Extinct’ goes straight to the heart of the loss of entire species. On that list of Red Species, to my surprise, was the House Sparrow and the European Starling. The lead researcher, Emma Hughes from the University of Sheffield, said that birds with unusually long or short beaks, long or short legs were more likely to go extinct than others. Climate change and habitat loss is at the heart of the loss of these others such as the Red-headed Vulture, Giant Ibis, Seychelles Scops-Owl, the White-headed Duck, the Bee Hummingbird to name only a few on her list. They are going extinct because of their weirdness and the particular ecosystems that support them are being lost. For Hughes, the only way to stop the extinction is to increase efforts at biodiversity (21). This is precisely what they are trying to do with two species that depend on one another for survival – the White-barked Pine and the Clark’s Nutcracker. As the author of the article in Living Bird states, ‘Some pairings are so iconic that one is not complete without the other: Macaroni and cheese, Abbott and Costello. Peanut Butter and Jelly. In the northern Rockies and Sierra Nevadas, that duo is the white bark pine and Clark’s Nutcracker.’ (28)

To read the latest addition of Living Bird magazine, go to this URL: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/living-bird-latest-issue

There is a lovely video of the work being done on the Clark’s Nutcracker in this latest edition. Be sure to check it out.

I used the term ‘Red List’. Do you know what this means? It is the full name is the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. It just so happens that there are two wonderful and exquisitely produced books on these threatened birds. They are Red Sixty Seven and the most recent edition, Into the Red, by Kit Jewitt. Both editions are collaborations between authors and artists whose goals are to call attention to at-risk-birds as well as to raise funds to support conservation work to halt their extinction. The books were published by the British Trust for Ornithology. Go to bto.org for more information, to view some pages and read about the artists, and to purchase. The purchase will go directly to helping. I urge against buying through on line book sellers as the prices on their sites are way too high or they say not in stock.

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It is nearly 2300 on the Canadian prairies. There are no stars out tonight but there is one brave little Osprey in Port Lincoln, Australia who needs a round of applause. That ospreys name is Middle.

At 111232 a whole large live fish landed on the nest. Middle is being overly cautious not trying to grab any bites. Letting Big get those precious first bites and get her crop a little full. Meanwhile, Middle is pecking away at the tail of the fish. This is very interesting. You have probably seen, as I have, siblings eating from the tail while the breaking sibling is fed up at Mum’s beak. It is a good strategy once Middle figures out how to unzip that tail. By 112218 Middle is up by Big and is doing the snatch and grab. Sometimes Middle pulls back – he is very cautious. Mum gets to eat some fish. In fact, she is feeding the ospreys a little slower than usual. Big moves away from the fish feeding a couple of times. The first is at 112506. Big has been eating for 13 minutes and is getting full. Mum begins to feed Middle. At 112951 Big moves away. Middle remains cautious and then, at 114139, Middle pecks Big before he moves up to begin getting fish. So to summarize, even thought Middle is afraid and displays this as we watch, he is hungry and he is getting braver in order to get fed. Eating is essential to his survival. Middle is doing well. He will end the feeding with a nice crop.

I also noticed that Big is not as grumpy as yesterday despite there being 5 hours between fish deliveries. Perhaps she is slowing down, hitting that plateau. That would really bring peace to this nest.

By the time the 1637 Zebra fish arrives on the barge, Middle is feeling much better, more confident, and Big is being nicer. That feeding went well and even at 1817 when Mum and the two ospreys saw Dad and were feverishly calling for another fish, Middle (and Big) had enormous crops from the day’s takings. I have spent much time watching this nest as opposed to the two falcon scrapes because the fate of Middle was not quite clear. I will have said it twice today, at least, but, it appears that Port Lincoln has turned a corner.

Look carefully at the bottom image. That is Middle, full to the brim. Just sit and smile. Cry. Life appears to be good at Port Lincoln. Still, send all your best and warmest wishes to this family for continued supplies of fish.

It is getting more difficult to tell the female Peregrine Falcons from the males. You must look closely. Diamond just about fooled me yesterday. They lose weight. All of the females lose approximately 30% of their body mass during incubation and raising their chicks. Diamond now has the look of a male with his tight little striped pants.

The same is true for Melbourne where the camera is now positioned so we can see the happenings at the far end. Mum seems to be enjoying it. She has a nice perch above the chicks so that she can watch them but not have any one or all of the Melbourne Four rumbling around underneath her all night. Like human parents, she can get some sleep now!!!!! Thank you to ‘H’ who watched and clocked the feedings at 367 Collins Street yesterday. Much appreciated. There were 5 of them. At 0650 a large unprepared prey arrived on the ledge. The erases were fed for 22 minutes. Leftovers came at 1153 and that was an extremely short feeding of 4 minutes. At 1358 D arrives with a big prey item and feeds the eyases and then Mum arrives and takes over. That lasted 16 minutes. The final two feedings at 1657 and 1836, were large prey items fed for 24 and 18 minutes, respectively. Four active growing eyases can eat a large unprepared bird in such a short time!

This is just a short catch up. Everything is absolutely fine at the two scrapes in Australia – at the 367 Collins Street location and at Orange. I am cautiously delighted about the happenings at Port Lincoln and extremely proud of Middle Bob who is getting ever so clever. Middle Bob is a ‘survivor’.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that you are all well. I am back to normal. it was the flu shot that caused me to feel like I had been hit by a big truck. It is cloudy this morning but it appears to be a reasonable day to go and check on ducks. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Stuart Falcon scrape, and ‘H’ and ‘A’ and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

SE 30 fledges and other news in Bird World

9 October 2022

It is only 11 degrees C but the sun pouring through the Conservatory is ever so warming. Enough that I have to open up one of the windows and let the cool breeze from outdoors filter through the back of the house. I can hear Little Red somewhere in the Lilac bushes telling the Sparrows what he thinks. Has he noticed the new solid seed cylinder?

The event we have been waiting for happened at 07:15:58. SE 30 fledges!

Making News:

A short but lovely article on a ferry trip from Ullaport to Storoway and the sight of Gannets flying. If I close my eyes, I can smell the sea air and hear the sea birds – so many of them. How many more will Avian Flu take from us? or climate change?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/07/country-diary-the-awful-relief-of-seeing-gannets-in-flight

Hot on the heels of the Lincolnshire raids and the finding of three birds of prey killed, there is news of another raid in Shropshire. The growing concerns in the UK over the raptors killed near or on Red Grouse hunting estates might mean that, at some point, the penalties will be enough to stop them killing the Hen Harriers and White-tailed Eagles. The real solution is to also save the Red Grouse – simply ban hunting and killing of birds.

Nest News:

At 367 Collins Street, Mum was acknowledging a prey delivery at 0625. She flew off the ledge a minute later.

Dad arrives at 0627 on the ledge and goes over to watch over the four eyases. He seems overwhelmed by how much they have grown overnight.

Mum returns with what appears to be the ‘last legs’ of a pigeon.

It didn’t last long at all and by 0634, Mum is off the ledge and out to find more breakfast prey. No little crops visible.

Oh, what a great pair. Dad lands on the ledge with a fresh plucked pigeon and Mum arrives to fetch it and feed the eyases. Brilliant.

The breakfast feeding at Orange was much improved this morning on yesterday. Rubus had 23 good bites – not counting the ones Diamond put in its mouth and took out. Indigo appeared to have 5x that amount. Indigo is a wonderful big sibling – sitting up and being so very calm. Rubus is definitely much less wobbly today also. Both had crops at the end of the Starling feed which began with the delivery from Xavier at 06:38:55.

SE29 was not seen on the camera at the Sydney Sea Eagles nest yesterday. SE30 spent the night with a parent sleeping on the parent branch. Early this morning Lady flew in, chased by Currawongs. with a fish for SE30. SE30 was watching the Curras dive around the nest tree. I wonder if they are intimidating enough to keep 30 on the nest. I so fear that they will rush it out of the forest. And I do wish we knew the disposition of SE29. Has anyone seen her? She did so well coming to the nest for food. I hope that she is down by the river with Dad!

In this image, SE30 has an enormous crop. Did I miss a feeding or 30 finding a fish on the nest?? SE30 is clearly watching the Currawongs in the image below and not as interested in the fish Lady has brought.

No, the Currawong did not phase SE30. What a beautiful flight at 07:15:58.

What a beautiful take off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lady was in shock.

It is 0726. SE30 has not returned to the nest tree yet. I wonder if it is sitting over by the camera?

Sadly, Mum flew off the nest early and Big started in on both Middle and Little. They continue to wait for a fish arrival. I hope a big one arrives soon.

Oh, I was so happy to be watching when SE30 fledged. What a beautiful sight and what a great year that it was at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest. I cannot imagine a year as perfect.

Thank you for being with me. I knew that you would want to know about SE30’s amazing fledge. Wish for fish for Port Lincoln. I will be back with you tomorrow morning. Take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

SE29 fledges and the Dust Ups continue at Port Lincoln

2 October 2022

It has been a really exciting day (and it is only mid-afternoon in Australia) with the first fledge at the Sydney Sea Eagles nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. One of the parents was on a branch of the natal nest when SE29 flew. Another parent was with SE30 later. And then SE29 returned to the nest tree. I am still trembling with excitement. While we don’t know where SE29 flew to – perhaps just the camera tree – what we do know is that the Pied Currawong did not chase this amazing eaglet out of the forest to the Salt Marshes. So happy.

I will not have an early blog tomorrow. I am going to post this right away. Look for news from all the nests later on Monday.


In my last blog, Big and Middle continued their battle for dominance of the Port Lincoln nest. The two are pretty much evenly balanced and each gives as good as it gets. Both cause the trouble. Sadly, wee Little Bob often gets caught up in the misery.

Interestingly, they are quite civil at meal times! There was a nice big feed around 10:20ish. Little Bob had no problem stepping right up by Middle Bob and opening its mouth for fish!

Then Big and Middle started scraping again.

Then a big fish arrived and everyone lined up nice to eat. Perhaps Mum should just sit on them between feedings until the pair of them calm down.

After Big and Middle had their feed, Mum gave Little Bob a private feeding. Give her a round of applause. Mum is working hard to make sure that each of her children is fed. Little Bob sure can consume fish but, he needs a fewer more feedings in between. He is entering the big growth spurt now. So far he has demonstrated no real fear of the two big siblings. He even took a fish flake from Big Bob’s beak earlier.

There is enough fish for everyone.

At the Sydney Sea Eagles nest, the time for fledging draws nearer and nearer. On Monday morning (Australia time), SE29 flew to one of the lower branches of the nest tree. S/he waited there for a bit and then…did not fly off but rather, returned to SE30 in the nest. Bravo!

At 13:44:30 SE29 fledged. S/he had watched one of the parents on the branch and was looking over the edge of the nest and just flew. It was beautiful. Congratulations to everyone at Birdlife Australia and all connected with the Sydney Sea Eagles.

A parent waits with SE30. The siblings were so close to one another and what a fantastic year it has been with them and Lady and Dad. I wonder if SE30 will leave today or if SE29 will return later? We wait to see.

At 14:46:58 SE29 returned to the nest to join SE30 and the parent. Tears are just rolling down my cheeks. This is incredible. Normally the Curras chase them out of the park – it didn’t happen today.

Tears of joy.

Thank you for being with me for this great event. SE29 flew!!!!!!!!!! And SE29 returns safely to the nest.

See you soon — and take care of yourselves.

Thank you to the streaming cams at Port Lincoln Osprey barge and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park where I took my screen captures.

Quick news – late Friday in Bird World

30 September 2022

I did not intend to send another blog out until tomorrow but a few things have happened in the last hours that might interest you.

First, ‘L’ writes that Samson and Gabby have both been seen at the nest tree near Jacksonville, Florida. What a relief!

There are three eyases at the 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne.

At Port Lincoln, the fight between Big and Middle Bobs began around 0817 and continued for a full seven minutes. Little Bob was often literally caught in the middle of the two and, on occasion, Middle Bob whalloped Little Bob just because it was there.

Big Bob is clearly trying to set dominance and Middle isn’t having any of it. They are pretty evenly matched. When Big Bob relaxed thinking the fight was over and it had won, Middle came back and started it all again.

It was quite brutal. I wish I had my video app that I used on my old computer. I will try and see if I can get it transferred to this machine. The battle for dominance on this nest will continue. I felt so bad for Little Bob. He looked quite scared at one point. The images are from the very beginning. Big Bob pushed and hit Middle Bob out of the screen at the right. I am just glad that it is the two older ones fighting one another and leaving Little Bob, for the most part, alone.

Of course, when the fish arrived they all lined up for Mum and ate till they were full and silly.

Now I wonder if there will be another hatch at Collins Street – there is one more egg to go OR at Xavier and Diamond’s scrape. Gosh, we could even have a fledge at the Sea Eagle’s nest before I wake up tomorrow.

Take care all.

Thank you to ‘L’ for sending me a note and for the streaming cams at 367 Collins Street by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Grinnell and Annie Unite – and other Bird World News

In North America it is the first day of the New Year. We remain under an Extreme Cold Warning. It is -30. Yesterday, it was reported that there are nearly 200 ducks still in the open waters of our Assiniboine River. When it is warmer I will go and check for all of us! And get a photo.

It is incredible that the waterfowl can tolerate such extreme temperatures. The ducks apparently swim very close to one another. That mass creates a large area of heat which keeps the water melted so they are able to eat. They just have to keep moving. They will swim in one direction in unison and then turn and swim the other direction keeping the water flowing so that it does not freeze. Their down – remember all that down that Daisy removed from her breast for the nest? – keep them warm along with their waterproof feathers. This is impressive in terms of adaptation.

I am so excited. Annie and Grinnell bonded on the ledge of the scrape box together first thing New Year’s Morning. Tears. Grinnell is back. Annie has picked him over the interloper that injured him! Oh, I could hardly believe it. Grinnell arrived calling Annie last night. What wonderful news for everyone. Congratulations UC-Cal Falcons.

Wow. Remember I said that E20 was a pistol? Meaning that this little one is full or surprises. Well, guess you wanted the first bite and climbed out of the nest bowl to get it? E20!!!!!!!

Here is a very short video showing E20 climbing up the nest bowl. At first, 20 did not get any food because the angle was wrong. It is an advantage to not be right under Mum or Dad’s beak. Notice that the adults have to turn their head in order to feed the chicks. That is so the eagle can see the beak of the eaglet. It is often why first time Bald Eagle mothers have difficulties feeding – they do not tilt their head. In the image above you can see the tilt of Harriet’s head in order to feed the babies. And, yes, E20 does get fed. This little eaglet has lots of spunk.

Harriet will make sure that they are both fed. Sometimes she fills up the one that is causing all the mischief so it will go to sleep and then she will feed the other one. Harriet is very experienced. She had this nest with her mate Ozzie before M15. There has never ever been a chick lost on this nest to siblicide or hunger. Ever. It is a really good nest for everyone to watch.

The other streaming Bald Eagle cam with two eaglets is Hilton Head. Deb Steyck put together a video of the Dad, Mitch, feeding the pair. They will, eventually, both get fed. Now sure how much experience Mitch has feeding his babies!! They are such darlings.

Dear Ervie was on the nest at the Port Lincoln Osprey as the sun was setting on New Year’s Day in Australia. Happy New Year PLO!

Yesterday, Mr and Mrs Daisy visited the nest of the White-bellied Sea Eagles. What Daisy doesn’t know is that the crows have been visiting the nest almost daily looking for eggs. If they see her sitting on eggs they will go after them. Then, like clockwork, Lady and Dad returned to the nest to spend the night on thee first night of the New Year. As much as we all love Daisy, I hope that when she comes back the Sea Eagles are there and she will choose a different place for her nest!

First, it was the Currawongs bothering the Sea Eagles.

Then BooBook Owl came calling in the middle of the night.

Maybe this time we should collectively blow Daisy off the nest?! I feel so sorry for her. I wish she had a safe place to raise her ducklings. This nest is not that safe place! And, it is possible the Sea Eagles will have trouble with the Ravens now. I hope not.

I want to wish you and all the birds every happiness and success for the New Year. It is so nice to have you here with us. Take care of yourself. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, UC-Cal Falcons, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett.