Early Tuesday in Bird World

26 April 2022

Monday the 25th: It is going to be a long nite for the eaglet, TH1, of Chase and Cholyn. The eaglet attached itself to Cholyn’s talons around 14:35 on Monday and fell – thankfully not directly into the sea but, luckily onto a tiny ledge on the cliff face. Dr. Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies is looking for someone to help him rescue the eaglet in the morning. It just needs to hold on. How easy this is to do is unknown to me. The ledge is not wide. It will also be a long night for all those worried for the eaglet. It is, however, in the best hands that any eaglet could have. Dr Sharpe will do anything for the birds that is in his power.

The wee one lasted through the night. Let us all send positive energy to help it hang on and not tire out until Dr Sharpe and his volunteer can reach it and do the rescue.

The eaglet is on the ledge directly above the word ‘Institute’.

The three at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta are fine. The chick that is clinging to the cliff is Chase and Cholyn’s at Two Harbours.

It has, indeed, been a long three weeks that awakens us to all of the perils that our feathered friends face. Grinnell, the male at The Campanile scrape and mate of Annie, was killed within a mile of home probably chasing an intruder, a juvenile female. The three Denton Homes eaglets most likely died of H5N1 on the 23rd.

iThe male adult has returned to the nest and is roosting on a branch above the remains of two of the nestlings. He looks to be in good health. The female consumed one of the carcasses. It is hoped that it has done her no harm.

Little Bit at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest died from starvation induced by siblicide sometime between 18:32 on the 24th and the morning of the 25th. Little or MiniO fledged or was fludged by wind gusts at Captiva on the 23rd and has not been seen since. The biological chick at the Pink Shell Osprey nest died from siblicide brought on by the addition of a larger foster chick to the nest. The third hatch at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest is small with two big siblings and is being (sometimes) kept from eating even when food remains on the nest (I have not included this nest in my blog). Siblicide is perhaps more widespread than is recognized. The list goes on and on with many, many more eagles, geese, ducks, hawks, and falcons dying daily of H5N1. It is easy to feel completely helpless.

We cannot, however, become complacent. First, we have to savour the good moments and appreciate the birds that are alive and we owe it to them and their children to create a better place. Each of us in our way can help. Perhaps you can help by getting barbless hooks mandated or if you know a fishing friend or family member, ask them to cut the barbs off. When I lived in England no one used barbed hooks. It really does help the fish from enduring pain and suffering. Organize a clean up – get some gloves or a picker and set out to clean up all the pandemic masks that have been tossed at a local park or in your neighbourhood. Remember we should cut the ear loops. Lobby in any way you can the use of lead in hunting and fishing equipment. Make it known how dangerous rodenticide is to domestic pets and raptors – get it banned. Find accurate information about the Avian Flu and how it is spreading. Consider eating less meat or eating locally raised chickens, etc as opposed to factory farmed ones. If you can afford it, drink certified bird friendly coffee. Feed the birds. Plant bird and insect friendly plants in your garden. Keep the cats indoors. The list is endless.

I have not brought recent news from some of the European nests so I want to do a hop and skip through many of them while I am waiting for tomorrow.

The White Storks at the nest in Armenia have at least four little storklets so far.

Here is the link to the camera:

Two things about this nest. There is some plastic sheeting that has been brought in that makes it difficult to see the storklets. Secondly, if it turns out that 7 or 8 storklets hatch or even 4 or 5 and the parents do not feel that they can adequately feed them based on the current availability of food, they do not let them have a prolonged starvation on the nest like Little Bit had to endure (along with the physical trauma that little osplet went through). No, the adult storks will pick out the weakest and drop them off the side of the nest. Death is instant. It often traumatizes viewers but, what is more traumatic? a chick being physically beaked, plucked, thrown about and starved for days? or this? I pick the stork method.

The RSPB has its first Goshaw streaming cam in Scotland. Hatch watch is the 23rd of May. Today, while the female was incubating her eggs, a Buzzard attacked the nest. It lasted less than 17 seconds.

Goshawks are beautiful creatures that live a rather solitary life in the forest. They are large hawks with rounded wings and a banded tail. The eyes of the adults are red. Their bluish slate coloured plumage is gorgeous; they have a dark crown. There is a bit of a white band and then a dark band extending from the beak through the eye to the back of the neck. No doubt this helps with glare when hunting. The raptors are quick often luring their prey into the forest.

The Goshawk returned to its nest after ridding its territory of the Buzzard.

Here is the link to this new RSPB nest.

Are you fans of Idris and Telyn at the Dyfi nest? Telyn has just broke the nest record for the laying of eggs! I adore this couple. In the past five years she has laid three eggs each season for a total of 15 eggs from 2018-2022. The previous record holder was Glesni who laid 13 eggs in a five year period.

At the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G, Mrs G has now laid her 60th egg. That is going to be a record very hard to beat. Mrs G is incubating and Aran is on the perch.

Mum and Dad have been coming and going to the barge at Port Lincoln.

I have not seen any mention of any Ervie visits lately. His tracking from the 25th of April shows him traveling to the marina and to an area known as Delamere.

It would seem that Ervie has found a very good area to fish and roost. So nice to know that he is alive and doing well.

There has been no more discussion at the Cornell Bird Lab about the pip in the 4th egg. Perhaps it did not make it. The three Ls are doing great and Big Red will not have to deal with trying to get four wee ones under her if the weather gets poorly.

These three are utterly adorable.

Send all good energy over to Two Harbours for strength for the little one and a quick rescue! Here is a link to that camera in case you do not have it.

One last thing before I go. If you go where there are ducks and geese – as at a park – please understand that the Avian Flu can be spread by both footwear and car tires. While this might pertain to factory farming of chicks where delivery trucks and workers go in and out, it is very appropriate to try and help. H5N1 is spread through feces and mouth droolings (or so I am told). It is now in the far western province of Canada where free range chickens have been dying off.

Take care everyone. I hope to be able to bring wonderful news about the West End nest soon. It is nice to have you here with us – with the good news as well as the challenging.

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors this morning. I have had to write this in a bit of a rush this morning.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures and video clip: RSPB Goshaw Nest, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Explore.org, Denton Homes, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, and NABU.

24 hours full of birth and death emotion

First, before you get anxious, Daisy the Duck managed through the high temperature of Sydney yesterday. She left the nest at 15:11:10 to forage and returned twenty minutes before sun down at 19:45. It is currently day 14 of her brooding and it is 5:43 Monday the 25th of January in Sydney. All is well in the nest. The sea eagles did not make an appearance in the evening and Daisy did not go out foraging before dawn this morning. It is due to be another hot day on the nest.

Daisy just before dawn, 25 January 2021.

I have said often that the lives of our feathered friends hang on a thread. Anything can happen at any time. Sadly, much of the time the root cause has something to do with humans and our lack of respect for the environment. Rat poison – rodenticide – contains chemicals that cause the mice and rats to bleed internally. But before they did their movements slow down. Raptors (falcons, hawks, eagles) often catch the dying animals. While it is not always lethal for the larger birds such as adult Bald Eagles, it is for the smaller hawks and falcons and their babies. Toxins in the water flushed out from industrial plants is another or the heating of the oceans causes toxic red algae. Window strike breaks their necks. Tossing any food waste onto the highways causes the birds to come and not watching, they get hit by vehicles. The mesh bags that hold oranges and other fruits along with not cutting the ties on face masks tangles up the birds as does the mesh that people and farms use to cover the trees and bushes in their orchards. And of course the glue strips that catch the birds and cause them such devastating pain trying to free their little legs. I could go on. The list would be endless. The most prominent way is through the loss of habitat.

In a short period of time, in the world of our beautiful birds, there has been intense pain and great happiness.

At Captiva Island, there was such joy when Peace and Hope were each born, within six hours of one another, on 14 December 2020.

Hope and Peace being fed fish on Christmas Day by their dad, Joe.

Fishing line was discovered in the nest with a hook on it. The American Eagle Federation got permission from the US Wildlife Service to have it removed. On or about the same day, the parents brought a rat into the nest to feed the eaglets. No one knows precisely what happened but it was observed that Peace no longer wanted to eat and was becoming dehydrated. Peace passed away. Hope continued to thrive until a couple of days ago when people started noticing that ‘something was wrong’. They didn’t know what. Many noticed tremors in her leg. Others watched as it appeared she could not cough up a pellet. (Raptors cannot process all of the food that they eat. What they can’t is formed into a pellet that is coughed up). Some saw blood on her wing and leg. She coughed and choked all day, January 23. Many think her heart gave out last night. Connie, her mother, flew to the nest as she was taking her last breaths. One of the saddest things is that prior to Hope and Peace, Joe and Connie had fledged nineteen juvenile Bald Eagles in the twelve years they have been together. In fact, people exclaimed how physically strong these two were. Hope crawled out of the nest and up to the end where the parents bring in food when she was only two days old. They were both growing and getting strong. Peace died on 13 January. A few days, Joe took her body from the nest. Many are hoping that a necroscopy can be done on Hope to determine the cause of her death.

January 20, 2021. Hope with Connie on the nest overlooking their territory.

In the image above, three days ago, you can see how Hope was getting her beautiful dark brown juvenile feathers.

Apologies. Hope is moving. 23 January 2021.

In the morning fog, the same day of her death, Hope stands talls and is jumping up and down on the nest flapping her wings.

Today, Connie is standing over the body of her daughter, Hope, shading it. From all available evidence, birds grieve just like humans when they lose a child.

Connie with the body of Hope.

There is frustration and anger and the debates continue as to whether or not intervention in the lives of these majestic birds should take place. Some argue that we are fortunate to be able to view their lives but that we should not intervene to help them unless it is clearly something a human has caused. Others state the opposite. While we are now privileged to watch the comings and goings of the birds, it is our duty to protect them so that they thrive. Unfortunately, nothing will bring back to the vibrant eaglets, Peace and Hope.

January 23 was also the day that Harriet and M15’s two eaglets hatched at Fort Myers, Florida.

E17 and E18 hatched just an hour and a half apart. What were two wet limp bodies have turned into fuzzy little bonking babies this morning!

E17 and E 18

Notice the white at the top end of their beak. That is the ‘egg tooth’. The egg tooth is a small white protuberance that helps the birds chip away at the shell so that they can hatch. By hitting on the shell, the egg tooth makes the first pip! The egg tooth disappears in a few weeks.

Bonking of bobbing into one another after hatch is a rather normal experience. The little birds cannot focus their eyes well, their heads are bigger and awkward til they get some strength in their necks, and because they know that food comes from their beak and the parent’s, you will often see them bonking back and forth. This should end after a few days but in some nests it persists as a means of establishing dominance. In some cases it can lead to siblicide, the killing of the other sibling.

And on 23 January in New Zealand, the Royal Cam Albatross chick belonging to LGL, Lime Green Lime, and LGK, Lime Green Black, hatched. New Zealand gives the albatross born at Tairoa coloured bands for identification. This couple were chosen to be the stars of the camera this year. The baby Albatross will receive a Maori name right before it fledges and we should know in a couple of weeks if it is a male or a female.

DOC Ranger Julia and LGK as he sees his baby for the first time.

I can always be found praising the New Zealand Department of Conservation. They protect their birds. Once the rangers noticed the ‘pip’ of the Royal Albatross egg of LGK and LGL, it was removed and a dummy egg was placed under the parent to continue incubating. The ‘real egg’ was placed in an incubator. The reason for this is fly strike, the infestation of fly larvae during the period that the chick is trying to hatch. This can lead to their death. Royal Albatross are a highly endangered species because of climate change and long haul fishing. The New Zealand government is taking a very proactive role in trying to keep their birds healthy and also in promoting the use of varies methods to protect bycatch, whether it is our gentle albatrosses or sea turtles.

This is a great video to introduce you to the topic of bycatch and how important it is to get international agreements in place to protect the ocean’s animals.

There is much you can do to help birds from cutting the lines to your masks and putting them in the trash, to educating people on feeding birds at feeders and ponds, to lobbying international agencies demanding the end to bycatch. If you go back through my posts you will find several dedicated to ways that you can help birds no matter what your financial status.

Daisy on her nest just after dawn breaks, 24 January 2021.

I will have a full report on Daisy’s day in about nine hours. The weather will be hot again in the Sydney Olympic Park and we hope that means that no sea eagles will come to see if they can catch Daisy!

Thank you for joining in the daily life of our favourite little Black Pacific Duck, Daisy.

And thank you to Pritchett for the camera views of Harriet and M15, Captiva Eagle Cam and the AEF for the camera views of Joe and Connie, to Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ Department of Conservation for their camera views of LGL and LGK, and to Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the camera views of Daisy.