Middle takes the Fish Tail…and more news in Bird World

26 October 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you had a really lovely afternoon.

It was not a particularly beautiful mid-afternoon on the Canadian Prairie. The forecast is for the temperatures to climb tomorrow and last for 3 or 4 days. Good days to go out and see the local wildlife. Still, today was not a disappointment. While waiting for three Canada Geese to cross a road, in front of them, down about 5 metres were three fauns crossing over, too. What a beautiful sight and, how nice it was that everyone slowed down to let them move at their own pace! At the local pond, there were about 200 Canada Geese on the soccer pitch with only a few in the water along with a lone male Wood Duck and a pair of Mallards.

Nearer to home, more than 35 Crows gathered in a nearby tree. It was only 1500, too early to be having a communal roost. Was there any Owl in the neighborhood that was bothering them?

This is a small corner of the tree. There were so many that flew in. Normally this time of year the Great Horned Owl comes by and all the Crows gather to usher it out of their territory.

The first of the Australian raptor families to have breakfast this morning appears to be the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University. Xavier came in with a nice bit of prey at 0726. The eyases were sound asleep until his arrival. Indigo ate first with Rubus joining in. Indigo then moved to the corner and Rubus continued eating. Where does he put it all? Then Diamond arrives. Xavier moves and eats some prey on the ledge. Diamond searches for leftovers. Meanwhile, Indigo is on the Cilla Stones wondering what in the world is going on?

It is a wet morning in Port Lincoln. Middle and Big are waiting for their breakfast fish to arrive.

A nice fish arrived and if you were watching that feeding, you might have been wishing that Big would get a few more bites! Now isn’t that a switch? Middle dominated the feeding from the onset to the ending. At one time, Middle turned away – possibly thinking Big would get grumpy if she didn’t get any fish! Then after Big got a couple of bites, Middle leaned back in and ate some more! Goodness. There was no beaking although I noticed Middle eyeing Big and wondering and one time Middle raised its neck up and looked directly at Big as if to dare her but…nothing happened. Big is docile. Meanwhile, Middle still does a lot of snatch and grab even if the feeding is directed at him. Still a little nervous. That is a good thing. It will bode him well for his future.

I love how Middle opens his beak wide letting Mum know he is ready!

Middle just keeps getting bites of fish and more fish and all the while he is sitting right next to Big. Cautious but never as fearful anymore.

Big gets the lion’s share of that fish. Big doesn’t seem to care.

Want to know what really showed how much this nest has changed? Big got the tail and was playing with it. Everyone thought it would keep Big busy for a bit but, no. Mum had other ideas. She took the tail, gave a bite of the fish flesh to Middle and then Middle took and horked the tail — right in front of Big. Oh, hos this nest has changed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is Big playing with the fish tail. Look. Middle is actually leaning down wanting to take it.

Mum took it from Big. She is pulling out the last of the fish flakes from it.

Middle has just gotten this fish tail and is beginning to hork it down. Ironically, Big didn’t even attempt to do that. Quite interesting.

Oh, how this nest is turned around. My money is on Middle. A true survivor. Maybe both Big and Middle will each get a sat-pak since Turnby Island will have no chicks. I think it would be very interesting to compare these two after they leave the nest.

At 0822 a freshly caught pigeon is brought to the 367 Collins Street scrape. What a chore Dad has trying to pluck with those four ravenous eyases waiting in line for food. I sure wouldn’t want that job. Does anyone remember how in 2020 little Dad was almost pushed off the ledge trying to feed those three big girls?!

Some eyases would rather run up and down and flap their wings than eat!

Oh, gosh. It sure was a good start to the day at all of the Australian nests. I am especially delighted because Middle is really coming into his own. What a joy to see that osplet hork down that fish tail today. Just little tears of happiness. The trauma is over on that nest. Please join us now and watch these two grow and fledge!

Thank you so much for being with me to check on the breakfast meals in Australia. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cams where I took my screen capture.

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.

Egg shells and pelting rain…late Saturday in Bird World

22 October 2022

Good afternoon everyone,

It is a miserable day in Port Lincoln and in Orange…I have not checked Melbourne but, it is also kinda’ miserable in Winnipeg today, too. Grey skies, bare branches on brown trees, spits of rain falling.

The view of the landscape looks dead and barren – but, we all know that, in fact, those leaves are protecting all of the pollinators and invertebrates. This is why you must Leave the Leaves! It will annoy your neighbours to no end but, you will be doing yourself, your garden, and the birds a huge favour.

Ah, I have a retraction. Books do not work for everyone. My friend, Sally Michener, a Vancouver ceramic artist, told me once that “getting old is only for the brave!” She was 83 at the time and stunningly beautiful, always in red, and still working on her ceramic sculptures. She is right. Eye sight goes. Our minds still think like the 20 somethings we once were but, sadly, not always our eyes. ‘H’ reminded me that e-Books are fantastic as you can adjust the size of the font. Of course! ‘H’ also tells me that both of David Gessner’s books on Ospreys are available as e-Books. Thanks, ‘H’.

Wow. A ‘V’ of Canada Geese just flew over my head. They were as low as the top of the telephone poles in the back lane. Incredible.

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It is pelting down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum is soaked and I wonder how miserable the kids will be with their circumstance? Dad has proven himself quite capable of catching fish in rain and wind but the waters look pretty chopping. Wishing him luck today.

The weather at Orange is rather bleak also. So bleak that Diamond was finding scraps to feed Rubus and Indigo decided she would just eat one of the egg shells being tossed around all over the scrape.

Look at Rubus in the corner flapping those little wings. Oh, this eyas melts my heart.

Indigo’s wing feathers are growing, can you see them? And if you look closely you will see the feathers on the tail coming as well. Such a beautiful healthy big sister for little Rubus.

The skies look heavy with rain – like the ones above me. But, oh, look at that green…green fields and trees. Beautiful.

The little raptors hatch so that by the time they fledge, their prey will be waking up from winter.

The first prey of the morning came in at 062814 in Melbourne. Am I seeing things? Has it stopped raining in Melbourne?

I absolutely cannot tell you what it is!

Well, Dad did not disappoint Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. he brought in a nice big fish for breakfast. I cannot tell you precisely how much fish Big got or Middle but Middle stayed by the side of Big and you could tell from his movements that he was snatching and grabbing. At one point I saw a small crop. This is all good. There was no cowering in the corner in submission to Big. Let us all send warm wishes to this nest for continued fish and both chicks eating. Here are a few images of that feeding – and bravo Dad!

It is always reassuring to see the chicks on all the nest fed first thing in the morning. The three are starting out the day absolutely fantastic. Let us hope that this continues.

Thank you so much for joining me. Everyone is good. Let us hope that all of the nests in Australia continue with many prey deliveries today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Leave the Leaves!, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

SE30 is in care, Middle and the two fish…and other news in Bird World

21 October 2022

It is 14 degrees C in Winnipeg. That is really hard to believe and it is almost 2200. I am again starting my newsletter for tomorrow early. With the improved weather I hope to get some photographs of the birds foraging and building their strength to migrate tomorrow. I wonder if that little fuzzy duckling that was getting its back feathers is still around? Tomorrow will be a lovely day to be outside and this morning newsletter might be my only one for the day with a little brief account late about the breakfast feedings.

Oh, how things change overnight. My super powerful flu shot seems to have given me the flu! I am behind in answering e-mails as a result but I wanted to get the bird news off to you. I plan is to feel better. You hear a lot about my grandmother. She was a great believer in honey ginger tea and sweating out the sickness. We will see if she was right. Have a wonderful day. Thank you!

Making News:

SE30 has been taken into care. The birders on the ground in the vicinity of the Discovery Centre near the Sydney Olympic Forest have been keeping an eye on her. No details are given on what caused her to go into care. It was, however, believed that she had not been fed by the parents. It is very challenging for the WBSE fledglings once they leave their natal nest in the forest. The Magpies and the Currawongs continually chase and harass them. It has been happening for years, never slows down, and always seems to wind up in tragedy for our eaglets that we treasure.

This was the announcement:

There are two main spotters of European Ospreys in their winter homes in Senegal and The Gambia. Jean-marie Dupart reports from Senegal and Chris Wilson reports from The Gambia. The images give you an idea of their winter homes along the coasts of Africa and the inland waters. These are the latest sighting reports by duPart:

Jean-marie Dupart travels to various sites in Senegal reporting throughout the season. You can find his page on FB. Just do a search using his name.

Australian Nest News:

For those that missed it, the second camera at 367 Collins Street has been activated and you can now watch the comings and goings of the Melbourne Four. So grateful to Mirvac for acting so quickly. We were all in a panic.

The heat from the sun was such a worry especially with this first time falcon mother leaving her eyases for extended periods of time. When she was with them in the heat of the day, Mum made a magnificent umbrella. ‘A’ and I were counting the days until the eyases could run down the gutter to the other end and get in the shade. This area is also protected from the rain. Perhaps the four will persuade Mum to choose that end next year to lay her eggs!

Rubus and Indigo could have their own comedy programme on cable television. What a pair they are.

Rubus and Indigo have had 3 feedings so far today. They were leftovers at 070557, a parrot at 074247, and what looks like to be another parrot or rosella at 105333.

Be sure to notice Rubus’s little wing flaps. Seriously. What an adorable eyas. I could watch his antics all day!

Indigo had been flapping her wings and Rubus had been watching. Just look at him give it a go!!!!!!!

There was high hope in Port Lincoln that the arrival of that huge fish at 0649 was a good omen and that many fish would be brought to the nest in quick succession. You can see from Big’s enormous crop that it had a fantastic breakfast. Middle had some beaking from Big but, wound up with a nice crop, too.

The pattern has been that Big is not so ‘grumpy’ at breakfast but gets more anxious as the day progresses. This translates into the beaking of Middle. It is now after noon and a second fish is yet to arrive.

The cam operator did give us some wonderful close ups. You can see the feather development on Big.

Please note that Port Lincoln have set the 12-14th of November as ringing day on the barge. The chicks will get their names and their measurements should give us an indication as to their gender. What do you think?

The amber eyes of the youngsters will change to yellow when they are adults. The only exception to this that I know is Monty at the Dyfi nest in Wales. He kept his amber eyes – something that was very striking in an adult bird.

At 1300 Dad brought in a flat fish – at times it looked like one of the Zebra fish. It looked a little stiff. Middle immediately took the fish doing a superb mantling job. Big was not going to let Middle have a whole fish to himself and a brutal attack occurred. Big took the flat fish while Middle was curled up in submission. Big managed to open the fish and eat.

Yeah for Middle!

Middle defends himself and the fish.

Big uses her brute strength and size to push Middle over. Look at her enormous legs and feet.

Big also has quite the bottom – a sign of a chick that has not gone without.

Having whipped Middle into submission, Big moves over to the rim of the nest. She has completely forgotten about what she was fighting for.

Then she remembers.

Big was able to find a place and tear off the skin and eat.

At 1312 Mum flies in with a whole big fish. She caught it. You can see the white feathers of her fluffy behind are wet. Big immediately drops the fish Dad brought and moves up to Mum to be fed. Middle stays in submission. At 132939 Middle moves over and Mum begins to feed her second chick. Six minutes later, Big decides he wants more fish! He eats, moves, then Mum feeds Middle again.

Once Big leaves, Middle moves over slowly to get some food. Remember. Big ate the majority of the breakfast fish and still had a big crop at 1300. Middle has only had ‘some fish’ – hard to tell how much but, clearly Middle needs to eat much more, just like Mum does.

Big gets a hankering for more fish.

Topped up, Big goes to watch the water while Mum finishes up the big fish she caught. I bet she thought she might get to eat something, too. Big reminds me so much of the second hatch at Achieva Ospreys in 2021. That osplet would eat and eat just to spite everyone else.

At 1346 Mum takes the flat fish and begins to feed Middle. She will move this fish and eat some herself. She is ‘very’ hungry. These two leave little fish for her.

Middle has a crop. Mum must eat to replenish her energy.

Mum ate some but could not ignore Middle’s calls for fish. She turned around and fed Middle and, at the end, treated herself to the fish tail. I want you to look at the size of Middle’s crop. There are no worries for Middle. If he gets no more food today, he will be fine. If he does, it will be a bonus.

Note the time. Mum has really been feeding these chicks! She should get a reward for looking out for Middle. She has certainly done that in very subtle ways the last two days.

Middle’s crop is just about to pop!

Migration News:

There are no new transmissions for Karl II who was in Egypt and Kaia who was in Chad. They could be in areas with very little service. Everyone was quite worried because no transmission had come in for Bonus. It is well known by the data kept in Estonia, that only 20% of Black Stork fledglings survive their first migration. This caused much anxiety and then…Bonus’s data came in. He is still in Romania near Latinu.

Waba had his breakfast at a lake formed by the Koca Stream (?) then he flew 284 km and was at Baklankuyucak, Turkey.

Send all your warm wishes for their continued safe travels.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take good care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Sea Eagles Cam FB, Jean-marie Dupart FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Looduskalender Forum.

Melbourne Four on camera!

20 October 2022

A big round of applause and thank you for Mirvac. The camera at 367 Collins Street has been moved so that it shows the eyases at their digs. Yesterday it was shot hot and all of the chicks were able to thunder down the gutter. They packed their bags and left their natal nest and moved. Mum and Dad had to go along with them!

They are enjoying a nice pigeon meal!

You can join the thousands who watch the antics of this first time falcon couple in Melbourne here:

Thank you so much to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

The loneliest scrape…and other tales from Bird World on a late Thursday

20 October 2022

It is 16 degrees C. The sky on the Canadian Prairies is mostly cloudy. While the Blue Jays and Crows remain and the squirrels continue their feverish collection of nuts for their winter cache, it appears that most of the Dark-Eyed Juncos have departed. Oh, I will miss them flitting about with that touch of white on their tails as they move. There are still some Canada Geese in the City feeding on the grass and, tomorrow, I hope to get out to count geese and ducks. It didn’t work for today but, tomorrow should prove to be another light-jacket day. How grand!

In the Mailbox:

‘H’ asks: Do falcons hunt at night?

The answer is yes! This may be particularly true for urban falcons. Most observers of falcon streaming cams were first introduced to the night hunting with Alden, the new mate of Annie at the U-California Berkeley Campanile scrape box. It was thought that Alden used the light of the city to help him hunt for prey. It was also noted that the smaller birds that the falcons feed on are active in the dark and it would make it easier for Alden with the challenge of one of his legs. Sean Peterson also believes that it is safer for Alden to hunt at night, away from the eyes of other large predators (save for owls). This breeding season we have seen M22 bring prey in before dawn at the 367 Collins Street scrape.

From the Bookshelf:

I took Helen Armitage’s Lady of the Loch with me to several appointments this morning to read while I was waiting. I am going to go back and put a highly recommended star by this small packed volume. If you want to learn about nesting behaviour, this is an excellent read. If you want to learn about some of the myths about Ospreys that were debunked by Lady, it is a good read. At the time, scientists believed that Osprey females could only lay a total of 20 eggs! Lady laid more than 58!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Making Waves:

The floofs from the 367 Collins Street scrape have moved!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the smallest one capable of stomping (‘A’s word and a sound she loves to hear) up and down the gutter, the Melbourne Four have packed up their bags and headed to the scrape at the other end of the ledge. This scrape is protected from rain and from the sun. They will no longer wonder if they are being roasted. Of course, we will have to rely on sounds and it would seem from yesterday that feedings also took place at that end of the building’s ledge. In the past there was great reluctance to move the camera during the breeding season. This is why, I believe, that Mirvac will be installing a second camera so that we can enjoy the eyases wherever they are until they fledge.

Of course, that does not help us observe them now but the policy has been very clear. The falcons will not be disturbed in order to change the camera for public viewing. That would go against all of the State wildlife laws.

So, at present, let us hope that those little fluff balls run back and forth to get their legs strong!

At 0606 you could hear kew-kew-kew coming from the ledge. The eyases were obviously enjoying their breakfast.

Nest News:

Deb Steyck made a video of Harriet and M15 working on their nest yesterday. Enjoy!

‘H’ caught the pair of Bald Eagles on the Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest again! This time they are removing a nice big stick. Replenishing their own nest for breeding season? I had no idea until ‘H’ told me that some of the Bald Eagles stay in Delaware, on the coast, for the winter. I know that we have one couple in our City and a single male downtown that stay year round. It has to do with food availability not necessarily weather.

Thanks ‘H’.

It was good to see that Middle had some of the late fish. I was extremely impressed when Big moved away from eating and Mum waited, watched, and then physically moved the fish over to Middle and fed him. This meant that Middle did not have to walk up to the fish and have Big turn around and beak him again. Middle had already been subjected to many attacks yesterday. I wonder what today will hold for our osprey nest on a barge in the marina at Port Lincoln?

Yesterday, it was very interesting watching Rubus and Indigo at the scrape in the water tower at Orange. I don’t know if it is just me or if it is the timing of the Starling deliveries, but these two eyases seem to much prefer Crimson Rosella’s, Rainbow Lorikeets, and ducklings compared to Starlings — like their mother, Diamond.

Diamond was up and out of the scrape at 060657. The day is waking up at Orange. Rise and Shine Rubus! Serenade us with your very loud voice.

Rubus and Indiigo had a leftover breakfast at 070557. Then…

Xavier arrives with a King Parrot at 074247. Rubus and Indigo are delighted!

Look at Rubus. Isn’t Dad going to feed us this morning? Xavier is a wonderful feeder. Maybe later, little Rubus.

Big is known to usually wake up in a good mood at Port Lincoln. That mood seems to change later. I am hoping that the whooper of a fish that came in at 064931 will just keep Big happy. Maybe Dad will find another one. he ate the head – Dad has to be as hungry as Mum at times. Keep them coming!

It is almost impossible to see who is eating until around 0717 when you can see Middle gets bites. I cannot tell you who got the most of that fish with confidence. I hope that Mum was able to feed them rather equally with some for herself.

Mum is beautiful and so are the two osplets. Just look. Little angels. Oh, I hope it stays that way from now on. Middle is closest to us. The black line on the top of its head is smaller. What a beautiful beard, Middle.

Middle looks like it has a crop forming. You can certainly see Big’s crop! Oh, I hope this nest has a good day today.

Oh, wish for fish for Port Lincoln!

Thanks for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Deb Steyck and SWFlorida Eagles, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

It’s not all about Raptors…

19 October 2020

Hello Everyone,

The first feeding at Port Lincoln was a good one, save for Mum. She has two big osplets that could sit and eat fish all day. It went well. Smiling. And it is warming up on the Canadian Prairies. It is 11 degrees. Tomorrow is going to be beautiful. It will be a good day to get outside!

In the Mailbox:

‘D’ writes:  You often mention some of the visitors to your garden. Today the squirrels were included again. I’m interested to read that you have greys & reds visiting. As you know, the greys in the UK are a threat to the reds, I wondered are yours a different species?

A Eurasian Red Squirrel in the Scottish Cairngorms. Photo by Dani Connor Wild.

I did not know the answer to ‘D’s question right away although I knew that Little Red looked different than the Red Squirrels in Sweden and the UK that Danni Connor photographs. First, the Grey Squirrel is native to North America. It was introduced by the aristocrats of Victorian England as an ornamental species. It is very invasive and there are currently issues with it and the native Red Squirrel in the UK. In my garden, Dyson is the matriarch of all the grey squirrels. She has been visiting for several days now along with her babies from the summer. One of the young ones prefers the shelled peanuts and will spend hours eating on the deck in the warm sunshine. Dyson will eat anything – as all of you know – but she much prefers the solid seed cylinders with the nuts and cranberries.

There are 3 species of Red Squirrel: the North America species is the one that lives in my garden in Canada. It has no ear tufts and has a single cache of winter food. Previously, Little Red used the garden shed but now he stores his nuts in the wood box. Eurasian Red Squirrels live in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia. They have tufted ears and spread their cache to multiple sites. Gosh, I loved that question. It made me look closer at my own garden animals and it reminded me of Dani Connor Wild. I wonder what she has been up to?

Well, Dani has made a trip to Scotland to see rewilding and reintroduction measures. Wow. So today, it isn’t all about raptors…but imagine, in these Scottish Highlands, in the spring, the call of the Osprey!

Making News:

Arthur was caught on camera this morning at the Cornell Red Tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower. He delivered a single stick at 083726. It sounds like Big Red has chosen which nest to use for the 2023 breeding season. Arthur looks good!

Here he comes!

I am so fascinated at how they fly so fast, talons first and pull back their wings so they are not ripped off as they go through the metal bars.

Well, hello Arthur. It is really nice to see you!

The streaming cam at the nest of Southwest Florida Eagles Harriet and M15 is now operational again after Hurricane Ian. You can watch the nest building progress.

Australian Nests:

It is sometimes not easy watching raptor nests. We love the little gaffers and take them to our hearts. Most of the time all is well but, there are times when it isn’t and we lose one. Many of us still want to honour Little Bob in some way. We are discovering more and more about the legislation and who is responsible for permissions. When ways to help ask for intervention permissions are discovered, I will certainly let everyone know.

This was the day that the beaking began – 26 September. Little Bob was so tiny next to Big.

This is a video put together by Bart who is one of the moderators on the PLO chat that is beside the streaming cam. Difficult but best to watch to the very end.

I had so hoped that Big would settle and let peace reign on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. That happened until it didn’t. Let’s hope that today is different.

The first fish of the day, a whole fish, arrived on the nest at 063037. This is early and very promising. So far Middle has been able to have bites without being beaked…although he is visibly cautious of Big. Middle is the furthest away from the screen.

Oh, it’s a nice big fish. Middle is so hungry and he is getting so good at the old snatch and grab. Every once in awhile, if you watch it live, you will see Middle jerk over to the right with its head and shoulders – trying to get his head out of the way if Big goes for him. But so far, so good. Big has ‘leaned over’ to try and remind Middle she’s the boss but Middle is so hungry he is doing a great job at snatch and grab. Hopefully Big will be friendly all day long but she tends to get grumpy…let’s just blow the grump out of her!

Now Mum needs some fish. That was a great feeding. Back and forth between the two. Middle finished with a really nice crop. So happy. The feeding was over at 064511. Fifteen minutes to vacuum down a big fish with its head. Gracious.

Pigeons are arriving early in Melbourne. Mum waddled down the ledge with the breakfast offering before the lights in the CBD had come on. It was 05:42:33. That pigeon was finished and Mum flew off with a couple of bones at 06:06:22. Gosh, just stare at the eyases with their thick white down and the feathers beginning to appear. Many are beginning to look like that cartoon hero The Hulk or maybe a member of the Australian Rugby team as they try to stand and use their wings for balance.

Just look. One trying desperately to stand and the other all fluffy with a nice tail. They are changing before our eyes. The thermal down will be beneath their feathers when they finish getting their plumage before fledge.

Everyone looked like they were full.

At Orange, the kids are awake. Diamond has been restless and Rubus is starving! No surprise there. It is shocking how much prey that little one can hold. And here I must admit something. I think that Rubus is one of the cutest eyases I have ever seen. He is such a character. They are waiting for breakfast to arrive.

Xavier flew to the ledge with a freshly caught unplucked Starling at 055658. The kids got a lesson in plucking. Rubus was so excited to see prey that the little gaffer was happy to have a mouth full of feathers.

Xavier was visually delighted that Diamond was not in the scrape and he got a chance to feed Rubus and Indigo.

It is 1536 on the Canadian Prairies. The sky is cloudy but it is warming up. The Juncos are busy eating Millet off the red garden carpet, their favourite. What a nice way to close the blog with the garden birds happy and all the chicks in the Australian nests fed. It is such a relief that Middle got a good feed this morning first thing.

Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that made up my screen captures: Dani Connor Wild, SWFlorida Eagle Nest and D Pritchett Family, Cornell Bird Lab, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Breakfast in Australia…raptor style

17 October 2022

Hi Everyone,

As promised, here is a wrap up of the breakfast feedings in Australia. It is all good!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Mum started doing her talon dance and calling to Dad at 07:46. He was over on the perch attempting to have the head of the fish he had just caught for his breakfast. She could see him. At 07:468, Dad gave in to Mum’s cries and flew the fish over to the nest.

Today Big is 30 days old. Peace descended this morning as both Big and Middle had their breakfast. No beaking. No intimidation. Just two siblings happy to be fed their breakfast by Mum.

Mum had some bites in between feeding the osplets and, at the beginning, Big got more bites per bites given than Middle. In the end, both ate well.

Notice the juvenile feathers coming in on the osplets. They are moving out of the reptile phase. Fantastic.

At 367 Collins Street, Dade flew on to the ledge and gave Mum a well-prepared pigeon. Mum fed the Melbourne Four who tore through that pigeon in record time. It arrived at 0646 and Mum flew off with a few leftovers at 0701. 15 minutes. Wow. Those eyases are getting quite large and strong. Gosh, they are gorgeous.

At the scrape box of Indigo and Rubus on the campus of Charles Sturt University at Orange, Xavier flew in with a Starling at 06:24:49. I have expected Indigo to run into the corner in fear after the Starling head yesterday. Diamond took it immediately feeding the two and flying out with the leftovers at 063727.

Indigo hit the bull’s eye on the camera with a rather large ps. That is why the image is cloudy.

All of the chicks in Australia did very well. They were all fed early. What a wonderful way to begin the day.

I have had several requests in the mail for a book list of readings for Ospreys and ‘H’ has suggested that I remind everyone about another book on Ospreys. That is coming up tomorrow! More in-depth news will also be coming tomorrow but, for now, smile. Port Lincoln is, as predicted, settled – at least for the moment and I am hopeful that it will stay that way.

Thank you for being with me. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Grieving? Surviving? A look at Bird World early Monday

17 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The mailbox has been full. So many of you want to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene should siblicide be apparent in the future, others want to know if raptors grieve, many are concerned about the hot sun on the eyases at Collins Street. What a caring community you are! It warms my heart. The outpouring of love for a small little Osplet still brings tears to my eyes. It is so very difficult to lose one. It takes days to get over it.

It was cold this morning. -5 C. We are being told that there will be a warming period with temperatures up to 13 the end of this week. I hope to go and check on the ducks that day and see how many remain in our City. The past two evenings there have been no Canada Geese flying overhead. It will be interesting to see how many are still at the nature centre.

Today, however, I have appointments this afternoon and I expect that my breakfast updates will be arriving late.

In the Mailbox:

My mailbox has been full of individuals wanting to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene in the future should the fish deliveries run low. I would love to help Port Lincoln secure those permissions. There have also been other questions – ‘Is Big really a survivor’. My answer is below in Nest News’.

One question that is very important comes from ‘F’ who writes: ‘Will the mother know that the youngest has died because of the eldest?’

The answer to that question is ‘yes’. At times Mum even ‘sat’ on the three when they were younger to stop the beaking. Other osprey and eagle parents have tandem fed so that the youngest gets food. There are many examples of tandem feeding but Harriet and M15 come to mind immediately. I always refer back to the falconer, Laura Culley, who insists that raptors have a higher level of communication than humans – that we have lost that ability. She would answer this question with this answer, ‘And why wouldn’t the Mum know what happened?’

Animals and raptors grieve. A few good examples are when the sweet Moli chick, Ka ha Ki’i died unexpectedly in April 2021. His Mum, Laysan Alobatross, Kauai often visited his grave. When Hope and Peace died on the Captiva Bald Eagle nest due to a rat brought to the nest by their dad, Joe. The rat had eaten rodenticide poisoning. Both parents stood over the body of the second dead eaglet and mourned before it was removed for testing. Humans only believe that we are the only ones with feelings and emotions. This is not true. One of the best books on the subject of the emotional lives of animals which includes grieving is Marc Bekoff’s The Emotional Lives of Animals.

It also needs to be understood that most parents do not get the opportunity to grieve because they have other chicks to care for. In many instances, when the male has felt responsible for the deaths of the babies, such as the case with Joe at Captiva, he is mourning, leaves the area, and never returns. Connie, his mate, has taken several mates since him but has had no eaglets to fledge.

Making News:

The attacks on Chris Packham and calls for his BBC presence to end by Nature’s Alliance are not being supported by the public. Indeed, the mood of the UK population is to support nature, not harm it. Packham has been lobbying to end grouse hunting on the hunting estates. He has had his gate and car burned and has threats on his life.

Public support for Chris Packham overwhelms Countryside Alliance’s latest vindictive attack – Raptor Persecution UK

If you ever travel to Port Lincoln, they have indicated that Ervie often perches in front of the hotel on the Morton Bay Fig Tree.

Nest News:

‘A’ wrote to me about Indigo and the Starlings head wondering if anyone would mention it. Yes, it comes in the form of a video! It was one of those great moments in streaming cam history.

If Academy awards could be given out in Bird World surely the ‘Starling Head Scene’ at the Orange scrape would rate right up there with the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Here is the video of that interaction with the Starling head.

If you are trying to watch Orange today, you will not be able to see the chicks from the side camera (the one I use) very well. Indigo made a perfect bull’s eye with a big ps. I wonder if Cilla will climb up the 170 steps to get to the scrape to clean it? I am betting she does.

Victor Hurley has announced that Mirvac is going to install a second camera at the 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne next year. He also indicated that the camera will be panned out to show part way down the gutter now that the eyases are becoming more mobile. There are a few of us that are hoping they might put a shade cover and rain protector – like they have at the other end of the ledge on the other scrape box – on this one if the F22 is going to continue leaving her eyases alone in the heat of the day.

‘H’ takes very detailed notes of the Collins nest. She counted 5 feedings yesterday: At 1640 for 15 Minutes; at 0852 for 11 Minutes; at 1343 for 19 Minutes; at 1657 for 27 Minutes; and the last feeding at 1920 for 21 minutes. I was astounded at how fast the Melbourne Four could eat a large pigeon yesterday. Thanks, ‘H’.

At Port Lincoln, Big decided a few times that Middle was getting too much of the fish. The beaking was not awful and you can see Middle has a crop in the image below but, the intimidation remains. I continue to hope that her angst slows. Today Big will be 30 days old.

Let us all be clear about ‘Big Bob’. Big Bob did not have to survive anything. Big Bob ate all the fish including times when Mum needed some nourishment, intimidated its siblings, even killing one of them by starvation and possible injury. Right now Middle is having to survive Big and Middle is ‘clever’. She went under mum’s bottom and between her legs to eat. Middle has -so far – survived Big. Sadly, Little did not. Big has had no hardships to face. As ‘H’ puts it, ‘How would Big do if it went up against some bird bigger than it?’ ‘H’ is right. We would then see if Big was a survivor. The use of the word is misleading – you must survive ‘something’ to be a survivor.

The weather was not good yesterday with choppy water and strong winds. Dad managed to bring in several fish – one whole and the others partially eaten. The fish he brings in must feed four. If he is to provide, he has to eat. So does Mum. Dad has no control over the wind, the waves, and the gulls that attack the Ospreys wanting their fish. We hope that he has much better fishing luck today. The nest could use some large fish to fill everyone up — and I am speaking mostly of Mum since you will notice that both Big and Middle had crops at several feedings.

With the first eggs due to laid in November for the Bald Eagles in the US, ElfRuler has posted links to all of the streaming cams for eagles. Here is the link to their blog to find those cams.

LINKS TO STREAMING CAMS | Bald Eagles (elfruler.com)

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. I hope not to be too late with the breakfast news today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to all those who wrote in with questions or comments, to ‘A’ and ‘H’ who are my eyes in the middle of the night, and to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Raptor Persecution UK, ElfRuler Blog, 367 Collins Falcon Watchers, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

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.