Jackie and Shadow – jubilant parents

04 March 2022

I haven’t been so captivated by a Bald Eagle nest – ever. 8600 souls must feel the same. We are watching every move of Jackie and Shadow at their Big Bear Lake nest in the San Bernardino Forest and are unable to take our eyes off their nest.

Yesterday on the 3rd of the third month chick #1 hatched at 16:14. It really is an affirmation of the positive. This morning watching these two Bald Eagles who have worked so hard to be parents for 2020 and 2021 and now, in 2022 are successful – it is a relief. But, wait. It is more than a relief. This single event has lifted my soul higher than I thought possible in a world weary of the SARS-Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, and now a war raging in eastern Europe.

As I watched Jackie and Shadow, friends of mine in Berlin messaged me to tell me that people were lining the arrival platforms at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof to welcome the refugees from the Ukraine, mostly women and children. This has apparently been going on for several days now with Berliners supplying clothes, meals, and places to stay for those fleeing the war.

Jackie and Shadow give me hope for the future while the Berliners reaffirm my faith in humanity.

There is our beautiful eagle parents. They have one fledgling from 2019, Simba, ZR1. He was last seen in August of that same year. It has been, therefore, awhile since each looked into the eyes of their little one, fed it, and brooded it.

Jackie has fed the chick two times this morning.

Another feeding came at 11:39:38. That makes three feedings so far for the little one. I am extremely impressed with how strong this little nestling is. It is easily holding its head up waiting to see what Jackie and Shadow are going to do.

It is 11:38. Shadow has popped in with a fish and to check on the family and see if he could have a turn. So far, Jackie has refused him 5 times. She is being very protective. It is cold and the little one can only be out for a blink. Big Red is the same with her chicks and she has fledged everyone that hatched but one!

What a little sweetie sitting there waiting. You can see that fresh fish Shadow delivered. There is another one somewhere under the straw.

Jackie is so gentle. She offers the wee one the tiniest bits of fish and juice.

Bingo! This morning Jackie has fed her baby fish at 08:04, 09:28, and now at 11:39.

It is seriously hard to take your eyes off of this loving family. It is simply the best!

Shadow has brought in 2 fish and at 13:01 a delicacy, a Coot. Will he entice Jackie to let him have a turn at feeding or brooding with this special gift? Shadows seems to think so.

Our proud Papa is really wanting some time with the little one. Shadow is now taking to moving sticks on the nest. Typical.

It has been a beautiful morning with Jackie and Shadow. Jackie has gotten up from brooding and incubating to eat the Coot that Shadow has brought. She has to be famished and in a real need for a break. Meanwhile Shadow has pulled out one of the fish. Chick 1 is looking at Mum. I wondering who will wind up with the feeding?

It looks like Jackie decided that the baby needed some of the Coot. She is right. One of the forestry rangers at the Kisatchie Bald Eagle nest of Anna and Louis reaffirmed one day that raptors need to eat a varied diet just like humans.

Awwwwwww. Shadow finally gets permission to brood his chick! It is sealed with a kiss.

Jackie is going to take a much needed break. This nest has food and the baby is strong and healthy. Relief. Wonderment. Happiness. What are all the words?

It had not been my intent to ignore all of the other nests but, that is precisely what has happened. This is the most up to date news on the nest of Shadow and Jackie at Big Bear Valley.

The Q & A session with Cal Falcons Lynne and Sean was very informative. They are a delightful couple, well versed in anything falcon and in particular, Annie and Grinnell. The hour long discussion is archived and you can find it here:

Thank you so much for joining me. It is a beautiful day in Big Bear Valley. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Friends of Big Bear Valley for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Wednesday in Bird World

2 March 2022

Annie’s return to the Campanile warmed all of our hearts. A ray of sunshine in a weary world. I imagined that the researchers at CalFalcons were completely dumbfounded when they looked on the screen and saw her sitting on the ledge. We have seen female eagles disappear for a day or so right at the height of breeding season but this is not common in falcons. Thanks to ‘B’ who sent me the note about Annie’s return, we have an interview with CalFalcons about how it felt to see her return and what might have prompted her absence.

Mark your calendars. Cal Falcons will have a live Q & A session on Annie and Grinnell on 4 March at 2pm nest time. Here is the link. You can set the timer as a reminder. This should be a really interesting session.

The osplets at the Captiva Osprey platform have had their morning fish at 09:32. You can count on Little Bob to be right up front at the table – a mini-version of Ervie! Little Bob will do well in the world.

There is some condensation on the camera and their appear to be boats and some other animal ? in the water under the platform at times. This must make it difficult for Andy to get fish.

There’s our Little Bob right up front. Good for him.

The fish actually arrived several minutes before Lena started feeding at 09:32. It was very difficult to see the size of the fish or the species. All continue to do well.

Nearly 4000 people are watching and waiting for any news on a pip at the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Valley.

Beautiful Jackie at first light.

Oh, I so hope these eggs are viable.

Shadows wears the same tight black jeans as Samson. Look at him. What a cutie. He would very much like some incubation time. I don’t know if Jackie is going to give in!

Pa Berry and Missy’s eaglet is walking strong and has most of his contour and wing feathers coming in or in. What a beautiful little eagle B15 is. S/he has been amusing itself by playing with one of the feathers in the nest.

B15 has really been working its wings lately – getting those muscles stronger and stronger by the flap.

No matter how big they are, thee aglets still like to be fed by a parent. Self-feeding is hard work when you are first learning.

Speaking of self-feeding. Remember when we worried about how dominant Jasper was at blocking NE27 from eating? We know that NE27 became the Little King of the snatch and grab. This morning a fish was delivered to the nest. NE27 went over to feed itself. Jasper sat next to it watching – not having a single clue how to go about eating. Jasper also did not beak NE27. I was thinking Jasper might be hoping that NE27 would feed her!!!!!! LOL.

Lots of preening with the first glow of the sun in the morning at the NEFlorida nest of Samson, Gabby, Jasper, and soon to be named NE27.

Beautiful image of our hero.

This is one beautiful eagle. Reminds me a lot of Legacy.

I couldn’t decide whether to cry with joy or laugh at loud. NE27 will be able to take good care of itself when it is out in the world. Yesterday, NE27 did not hesitate to steal food right out of Gabby’s talons. It was hungry and she was ignoring it and just feeding Jasper. I shouted ‘hoorah’ when that happened.

In the image below it looks like Jasper is wondering what in the world 27 is doing.

NE27 has learned to turn its back to Jasper, hold down the fish with its talons, and pull. This is an amazing little eaglet. And look at those beautiful wing and contour feathers coming in with the thick grey thermal down underneath.

Gabby is keeping a watchful eye. It won’t be long before 27 grabs the fish out of the talons again!

I have not been checking in on them but the WRDC nest with Ron, Rita, R1 and R2 seems to be just fine. We are going to have a lot of eaglets branching and fledging around the same time. At this point in time, I am not certain who is who on the nest.

Ron is feeding one of the chicks after the other was self-feeding.

I believe it is R1 self-feeding.

It is 2 degrees C and partly cloudy in Ithaca, New York. Our favourite Red-tail Hawk couple, Arthur and the Queen of RTHs, Big Red, are working and working on their nest. Since the problems at the Achieva Osprey nest with the squirrels and the eggs falling down into a dark abyss, I have noticed that there are layers of soft material alternating with twigs so as to build up a strong and tight nest cup on this light stand where…in two weeks, we could have eggs!!!!!!! I will be deliriously happy as will thousands of others.

You can see how much this couple has been doing. That nest is nice and deep now with a well defined egg cup.

Here comes Arthur. He is an amazing mate for Big Red. As this couple moves into their 6th year being together and their 5th breeding season, Arthur has proved that he is really up to the task.

Putting on the brakes. Once I was privy to watching Arthur flying through the buildings at Cornell to catch some prey. He was like a jet going between and around the buildings. Very impressive.

Arthur carefully arranges the twigs as he thinks Big Red would like them. She will, of course, come and finish the fine tuning and decorating.

The birds carry on with their lives. They give me solace and hope.

Thank you for joining me today. My granddaughter is coming over later and the plan is to cook for her. You might not well hear from me until tomorrow unless something extraordinary happens – like a pip at Big Bear! Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab, Captiva Osprey and Window on Wildlife, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, Berry College, the WRDC Bald Eagles, and Friends of Big Bear Valley.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

It turned out to be just a grand day for a walk at our park. In fact, while it was -11 C my winter walking clothes rated for the extreme winter temperatures to -30 C proved to be way too hot! It was hard to get the attention of the Red Squirrels because they were thinking ‘spring’ as they chased one another up and down the paths and up a tree, over a branch to another tree.

The photo below should go in the bin. When the little Red squirrel heard me, it stuck its head out of its nest. Before I could even get the camera focused, it was down on the ground. Sadly, the bars of the fence around The English Garden were very much in the way. But, there he is. Cute. Wanting some seed!

S/he scurried down the tree in anticipation of some seeds.

Quite the cutie and much more comfortable with humans than the squirrels in my garden.

Gosh, they are quick. Several big leaps like this and this wee Red almost landed at the fence.

Properly rewarded with some peanuts and Black Oil Seed.

This gorgeous Black-capped Chickadee landed right above me. I could hear the call but could not see the little songbird. So I turned quickly, turned the camera lens all the way to 600 mm and just hoped that I had an image.

When I finished my laps of the garden,, I returned to where I began. The little red squirrel was still eating its seed. No other squirrel cut in and took any. How wonderful.

There is always the question of feeding the animals at the park. Signage went up at the duck ponds not to feed the waterfowl. This was to stop people from feeding them bread so that they did not eat the plants growing in the water. But in the dead of winter? Habitats are lost, the seeds that might normally be available might not be. It is difficult. I have chosen to feed the wildlife. Make sure if you do that you always place the food in a safe place for them.

Annie’s return was cause for a major celebration. Cal Falcons posted a video of that moment! There is a close up at around 15:00 minutes.

This one shows Annie in the scrape reclaiming her ‘nest’.

Everything just feels right at The Campanile with Annie home.

The ospreys at Captiva, Florida had three good feedings today. The last one was at 18:14.

Lena arrives with a piece of fish. There was some concern as she had been away from the nest for 20 minutes leaving the chicks uncovered. Now that there are Crows about, this is a wee bit dangerous.

You can see how Big Bob is gradually changing and getting so dark. His head is like black oil and if you look carefully there are some coppery feathers coming in. Big Bob still has his crop from the earlier feeding at 15:51.

Little Bob is in the middle. The older siblings are rapidly changing in appearance.

Oh, look at those fat little bottoms. These chicks are doing well.

Bedtime! And look who is peeking out!!!!!!! Little Bob with a nice crop. Fantastic.

There is some concern at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest. Squirrels had been making holes in the nest. Diane had laid three eggs set to hatch in about 10-14 days. She has been seen spending less and less time on the nest. It is thought that the eggs have rolled down the holes created by the squirrel. There is only one camera and we cannot see down into the nest. There are certainly not any eggs visible but maybe the egg cup is just really deep. Still the behaviour indicates that something has happened. We wait and watch.

Today at the WWII Whirley crane in the Richmond Shipyards, Richmond and Rosie was taking in the view of their territory together! Looking forward to a great year from these two!

Aren’t they a gorgeous couple?

The feedings at Dale Hollow are going well. The twins wanted to exert their seniority at the table today but, in the end, a female Bald Eagle with at least 17 or 18 years experience raising eaglets can handle anything. River is an excellent Mum and Obey also likes to tandem feed the kids. I have no worries about this nest.

It is a gorgeous day at the nest of Jackie and Shadow in Big Bear Lake, California. We remain on pip watch.

Shadow is on incubation duties and you can hear the Ravens in the background. Jackie and Shadow have to be extremely careful not to be tricked or lured by the Ravens who desperately would like those eggs.

According to the mods, the eggs are 35 and 38 days old. Again, due to the high elevation, pips will come later than other nests at lower elevations.

Thank you so much for joining me on a quick check of some of the nests we are watching. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear Valley, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, Golden Gate Audubon and SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, and Achieva Credit Union.

Ervie, you melted our hearts

As a pigeon cleans the nest and a Cormorant dries itself on the perch of the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Ervie, we are all missing you! You hatched on 16 September at 00:51. You are five months and three days and you have been away from the barge for 48 hours. Are you gone for good? We all wondered until you surprised us returning to the nest at 12:42 and you stayed until 13:30. How wonderful. When you left a couple of days ago, we all worried that we would not see you again. What a real treat, Ervie. Thank you. You are looking really well.

You did your fish calling right before you flew off. Did you see Dad? Will you return later today?

Here the pigeon is looking for scraps and the Cormorant has returned to the perch after you left.

You hatched on 16 September were 51 hours younger than Bazza, the oldest sibling in the nest. As late as 27 September, when you were 9 days old, Bazza was trying to take over dominance in the nest. Yes, he pecked at your head and tried to stand tall to intimidate you but, you never gave in, Ervie. Never.

None of us will ever be able to be precise about what it was that made your melt our hearts but, you did – in spades. Is it the cheering for the under dog? You never felt like an under dog to me, Ervie. You were spirited, you knew what you wanted. You learned early to get where Mum could see you and close to her beak in the sweet spot in order to get the fish. You were a survivor. You never cowered in submission to Bazza or Falky. OK. Maybe one or two times when you were very little, close to hatch, but by the 27th of September, you had the drive and the determination to get what you wanted.

There you are with that fish bladder. All of you were curious about it.

Look how much you have changed in just a few days. In the image above you are still sporting you soft grey down and in the one below, four days later, almost full reptilian.

Look how tiny you are in thee middle of Falky and Bazza.

Ervie, you loved your fish!

All lined up like children in a choir behaving. That was the tone of this wonderful nest at Port Lincoln. No one could believe it. The early angst was gone and each of you just lined up and ate your fish. Dad made sure there was plenty on hand even when it was storm and the winds were blowing at 37 kph. Mum made sure each was fed. You could not have chosen a better family in which to hatch than this one at this time and place.

You are 20 days old Ervie, looking and wanting that fish standing behind the others. Adorable.

You wiggle around and come to the side and you will get fed.

There you are, already sporting a big crop, up at Mum’s beak wanting more fish!

You are 34 days old in the following image. you are the one closest to Mum’s beak. Look at the beautiful juvenile feathering that each of you is getting.

It is 27 October and you are the one getting the fish bites in the image below. Look at how well you are standing. All of you are growing up.

Your eyes never move away from the fish that Mum is feeding. There you are n the back ready to grab a bite!

There you are with your sat-pak, Ervie. You were all banded and given official names. They even put some nice fish on the nest so all of you could eat. There was enough for Mum and Dad, too.

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

Your bling is beautiful and we hope that sat-pak does work for 7 or more years so we know how you are doing.

It seemed that all of you grew up after you were banded. You were feeding yourselves and hovering and then fledging. Once everyone got their bling it was so much easier to identify who was right up at Mum’s beak – as she often chose to feed her boys even though they could easily feed themselves. That is you, Ervie, getting fed with your beak almost touching Mum’s head!

When Mum was not there and Dad delivered a fish, Ervie, you were often the one to get that fish first and mantle it.

On 14 November, you fledged, Ervie.

First to get the fish again.

Falky really wanted the fish Ervie had. Ervie, you were fast as lightning to get those fish deliveries – not always, but often and normally the first one of the day.

As all of you got older and more independent, the dust ups began. There was never any love lost between you and Bazza.

No one will ever forget the dog fight that you had with Falky!

Or your first puffer catch. Did you actually develop a taste for the Puffer, Ervie? You would bring in another one to the nest a few days before you departed.

You are four months old on 16 January and what a handsome fellow you are. You are now the king of the nest.

Super handsome Ervie.

You could hear your loud cry for fish across the cove. We will all miss it. Wonder if anyone tried to make a ring tone for their phone?

Oh, Ervie. You brought such joy to our lives. Every day we waited to see what you would be up to from the moment that you hatched. Thank you for staying with us for five months and for returning today to the barge. We never know when you fly off if you will return.

This is your latest tracking. Port Lincoln confirms that you are enjoying the Boston Bay area and the fishing is good by the National Park. We will look forward to more adventures.

If you do not return, Ervie, each of us wishes you the best life. Fly high. Live well and safe. Never be hungry. Come back to see us! And if for some reason you decide to use the barge as ‘home base’, I am sure no one will mind! At least not until Mum and Dad decide to take over the nest in the late summer.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam and FB pages where I took these screen captures and video clips. Thank you for letting us share in the lives of this beautiful Osprey family.

2 Bald Eagle families

What a joy it has been to sip my morning coffee and watch two eagle families going about their lives not having any idea that there are school children and people all over the world intently following everything they do.

Everyone loves cute fuzzy little eaglets especially when they are good to one another. Gabby and Samson at the NEFlorida nest have two of the sweetest little ones you would ever hope to see on an eagle nest. I have been watching them for days – without the usual beaking – amazed. Then it occurred to me that we were saying the same thing about the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. Is it possible that Gabby and Samson have two little boys?

Gabby brooding the babies.
Samson taking a turn at feeding.
27 in front and 26 behind

There is nothing like two very civilized little eaglets having lunch to warm your heart.

Civilized feedings.

Samson has the nest full of nice fish for Gabby and the babies. The wind is really gusting in Jacksonville and it is raining. Not a nice day at all!

It is really hard to feed two little bobbles in the wind and rain and keep them fed enough and dry enough so they do not get a cold or get grumpy over food.

Let us all hope that this weather system moves quickly!

Poor Gabby. It is almost impossible to keep the babies full and dry.

Louis has been delivering meals to the nest in the Kisatchie Forest. This morning he has brought in a Coot, an unidentified duck, and a nice large bass just a few minutes ago.

The soon to be named eaglet has been nibbling and eating off of the waterfowl. Is this self-feeding? It is certainly getting bites and eating them unassisted! just like R2 on the WRDC nest. Of all the nests, Anna and Louis’s is my favourite for many reasons. The parents are incredibly good. Louis can’t keep the nest too stocked with fresh game from Kincaid Lake. The eaglet is simply a cute and you have three of the best people running a chat and answering questions – Cody, Steve, and Tonya.

The camera has an amazing zoom that shows the area around the nest. This is Kincaid Lake where Louis goes to fill the pantry. Everything is always fresh.

It is a beautiful sunny day in central Louisiana!

View of Lake Kincaid from the Bald Eagle nest.

You can also get amazing close ups with their camera especially if you are trying to identify prey items brought to the nest or to look at the eaglet.

Today this eaglet has been focused on that nice bit of the waterfowl (I am not sure if it is the duck or the Coot) and has been feeding itself small bites.

Anna has just fed the baby some of the nice fresh bass. Looks like the little one is going to have to have a sleep soon!

Louis is on the nest brooding the baby. The sun shines on that beautiful fully adult white head of the Bald Eagle.

It is just such a pleasure to see the joys, the triumphs, and the challenges our Bald Eagle families face. There are some funny moments in the KNF nest between Anna and Louis when she doesn’t want Louis in the pantry. Just look at that pantry!

This is Samson and Gabby’s third clutch and Louis and Anna’s second. Both families have fledged each chick that hatched.

If you want to put in a name for the little eaglet on the KNF nest you have until the 30th. Then the top three most sent in name suggestions will go to a final public vote. You can send those name suggestions to nametheknfeagle@gmail.com

Have a great day everyone. Thank you for joining me today. All is well on the other nests so no worries at all. See you soon!

Thank you to the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF and the KNF Bald Eagle Nest for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Happy Old Year!

Happy Old Year is the name of a 2020 Thai film which explores reactions to the Marie Kondo method of tidying and decluttering. For me, it is something different. It signals the sweeping out of the Old Year – a reminder of my friends and acquaintances in Asia who have customs and traditions that date back centuries tied to this holiday.

In Japan, my friends have been deep cleaning their residences. This is oosouji or ‘the big clean’. Traditional foods were meticulously prepared days in advance so that everyone could stop and enjoy three days of holidays together. I remember being in Narita and having a very special soba or noodle dish on New Year’s Eve one year. Many of you will be acquainted with the thick white soba noodles but, Toshikoshi soba is made with a thin buckwheat noodle.

It is so delicious and can be either served with shrimp or with corn to be vegetarian. Eating this dish is to help bring good luck for all of the coming year. You have to slurp – very loud – pulling the noodles up between your lips. This is absolutely the best manners in Japan.

Many on the first day of the new year go swimming in the frigid waters of the lakes or the ocean while watching the first sun rise of the year. Money is given to children in small envelopes in Japan just as it is during the Lunar New Year celebrated in other countries. Everyone tries to visit their home shrine on New Year’s. There were few New Year’s Day traditions when I was growing up in Oklahoma but the one that could not be missed was eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. The basis of these traditions is to start afresh – pay your bills, settle any quarrels you have with someone so that there is nothing lingering into the New Year where everyone wants to have the very best of luck.

No matter how you transition from 2021 to 2022, I wish all of you the very best of happiness. I cannot tell you what a delight it is to get your notes or comments but, most of all, it is marvellous to know that all around the world there are people who recognize the joy that our beloved birds and animals bring to our lives.

Everyone in the garden brings their special wishes to you for 2022.

Dyson wishes that you always have some extra food in the pantry – just in case!

Dyson also wishes you a warm coat for winter!

Little Red wishes you a warm and comfy home with lots of snacks.

Today, the 34 European Starlings that came to the feeders wish that everyone has something as delicious as Bark Butter for their treat.

Mr and Mrs Blue Jay and Junior wish that everyone gets to feel the love of family and friends.

Sharpie hopes that everyone has a good meal once in awhile.

Mr and Mrs Little Woodpecker and Hedwig wish everyone good health and happiness.

I want to wish you a peaceful new year full of laughter, smiles, good health, and lots and lots of birds to bring joy to your heart.

Late Monday in Bird World

It has been a wonderful day in Bird World. It is a good time to reflect on how much joy the birds bring into our lives, how much they teach us as we observe them and, as always, what else we can do to enrich their lives like they have ours. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been like. First was the feeding of the songbirds in our garden and then there was the arrival of Sharpie’s mate. All of that was followed by watching Red-tailed Hawks in New York City and in Ithaca on the streaming cams. Years later the pandemic hits. Two years ago we had barely returned from a trip to Quebec City to celebrate my retirement and the first discussions of a deadly virus were swirling about. It was not long until we learned about the cases in PRC and, of course, all of that is now history. The first hawks that I watched in New York City are no longer with us (secondary rodenticide poisoning) but Big Red is still going strong up in Ithaca. She gave so many a reason to get up in the morning and, at the same time, reasons for us staying up all night as well – worrying. The birds taught – and continue to teach – me many things including empathy and patience.

Today, the Hilton Head Eagles, Harriet and Mitch, had their second hatch. The nest was discovered in October and the Hilton Head Trust held a contest for names for the couple while also setting up a streaming cam. Harriet is named after Harriet Tubman, nurse and spy for the Union army, and Mitch is for Civil War General, Ormsby Mitchel. Tubman actually led 700 slaves to their freedom, 100 of them to Mitchelville, a community established by the General for formerly enslaved persons. Thus, the names have a connection to one another and also to the community where the nest is located.

They are just adorable – littl eaglets with their soft grey natal down and spiky hair. Look how strong they are in the image below. It is so reassuring when they hatch and are strong and ready to go! Have a look:

I have been watching M15 and Harriet and the hatch of E19 most of the day. If you missed it, I updated my earlier blog identifying M15 as the adult on the nest when E19 hatched. That hatch was at 12:43:04. Harriet saw her baby for the first time at 14:46. The couple have each had turns feeding their first hatch of the 2021-22 season.

Look how wide E19 is opening its mouth. Harriet is pleased.

M15 stands guard over his nest with mate Harriet, E19, and yet-to-hatch eaglet, E20.

All of these eaglets will spend 75-85 days in the nest, depending on where they hatched. Here are the three standard divisions of the eaglet’s development. The first stage, 35-40 days, is called ‘structural growth.’ This is when the eaglets rapidly gain weight. They seem to be eating all the time. They are building bones and muscles as well as their tissue, toes, claws, etc. The second stage is related to the eaglet’s future ability to fly. The eaglets are born with natal down. Next is thermal down, then their juvenile feathers come in, and over the course from fledge to the time they are five years old, they will go through stages of feather development resulting, finally, in an adult with a beautiful white head, gorgeous brown body and yellow legs and feet. The thermal down will begin coming in around day 10. Juvenile flight feathers begin growing between 24-27 days. You will notice the eaglets doing wingercizes which help them develop the muscles in their wings. Right now these eaglets do not have much control over their heads and beaks. They will, as their neurological coordination increases, begin to stand on their feet instead of scooting around on their tarsi. They will learn to tear food, holding the prey down with their feet and pulling with their beak. Instead of being clumsy unfocused bobble-heads, they will turn into beautifully focused chocolate feathered raptors.

Within the last hour, another GHOW strike has happened at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest. These attacks are occurring much more frequently. Several nests including one Osprey one at Hog Island employed lights and clothed dolls to thwart the GHOW attacks. Thank you for that information, ‘L’. Maybe it is time to consider lights for Harriet and M15.

The Kakapo Recovery posted the cartoon of their infamous bachelors about two weeks ago.

Well, the staff no longer have to wait for breeding season to begin on Whenua Hou Island. The Kakapo kicked it up into high gear starting on 24 December. Oh, let there be many baby Kakapo!

Over at Port Lincoln everyone is eating well. Bazza found a fish before day break on the floor of the barge, then Bazza received another fish. Did I say I think Bazza will never leave home? Ervie has been over on the ropes eating a fish that it appears he caught and when he couldn’t eat another bite, Falky took over. Wow. Sibling sharing. How nice!

Ervie is at the top and Falky is eating the rest of the fish Ervie caught on the ropes near the bottom of the image.

Diamond slept on the Cilla Rocks last night. It is comforting to see her sitting on the ledge of the scrape at first light.

As I approach the end of the day, the sun is waking up on the deserts of Africa. The little birds are flitting about the bore hole in Namibia getting drinks. What a beautiful view. So peaceful. So warm compared to the cold snowy weather of Manitoba!

Good Night everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida and D Pritchett Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Nambia Cam, and Kakapo Recovery FB Page.

Happiest of Holidays to each of you

We live in what is defined as ‘downtown’ and yet, my garden is full of life. Four households have created a bit of a corridor for all the birds and animals so that they can wander from garden to garden. As a result, we support more than 350 birds daily along with the various squirrels that live on each of our individual lots. There is the occasional racoon that wanders over from the river and once a peacock fleeing from the zoo found its way to the top of my neighbour’s roof. I am grateful every day to have these fabulous creatures in my life and I feel privileged to be able to care for them in some small way. I am also grateful to each one of you for the love and joy you have shared with all of the birds this year, for the nights when we should have been asleep but were up watching a nest with anticipation or worry, or for the times when we all collectively grieved.

There was soft gentle snow dancing around Little Red. He is anxiously awaiting his Christmas Eve bowl of mixed nuts. This tradition began many years ago when my dear neighbours brought over a container of non-salted cashews for him. I don’t imagine Little Red has any idea that those nuts are a small reward for all the joy and laughter he has brought us through the year.

Dyson & Co have been out finding seeds buried under 10 cm (4 inches) of snow. We can always count on Dyson to clean up everything. No worry about seed sitting too long with our squirrel-vacuum.

Sharpie came to visit early. It is always a relief to see him.

Junior was also here early but we have not seen Mr and Mrs Blue Jay for some weeks and we are imagining that they migrated and Junior decided to stay and keep their home safe.

From all of us on the Canadian Prairies we wish you all of the blessings of this holiday season – good health, friendship, family, and the joy of the birds.

We are on pip watch for Harriet and M15. I am hoping for a Christmas hatch! Take care and thank you for joining me.

Mary Ann & the Gang

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Port Lincoln Kids doing well

Many will disagree with me about whether or not birds getting pin feathers are ‘cute’. When I went back to check on the Port Lincoln osplets and their feeding times yesterday, there was this moment when all are so full they are in ‘food coma’ – passed out on the nest.

Just look at those fat little bottoms and those stubby tails! Now what is that if it isn’t cute?

The Port Lincoln kids had the following food deliveries on 2 October: 6:09:52, 9:16:15, 13:10:09, 13:59:11 (?), 16:10:51, 17:14:02, and 18:41:50.

Here are just a few images from those feedings.

This is the second delivery of the day.

Here is number three. Mom is sure being kept busy this year feeding the trio.

All lined up behaving themselves.

All lined up nicely waiting their turn, once again. No shoving, no beaking. Polite kids. This time Little Bob is in the middle but, often, now, it is difficult to tell who is who! Remarkable.

This is the way it should be and this is why everyone watching this Osprey nest in Australia should be overcome with joy. These parents are working so well together and so hard this year to ensure that each one of these chicks is successful.

Dad has been fantastic to bring in the fish. He always has a nice crop. Hoping that mom is getting enough fish from the feedings. These three sure can pack it away!

All of the chicks went to bed quite full. Dad and Mum are really helping them during this ‘big’ growth period with lots of fish. If there has been beaking, I have missed it. This nest just feels happy – and it should – everyone is doing well.

A quick check on the Melbourne Peregrine Falcon nest. I am only going to show you one image. You can see that the parents are ready with additional pigeon if it is needed.

That is Dad in the scrape and Mom behind just in case. It must have been a little overwhelming to see ‘four’ mouths instead of the usual three.

If you are not familiar with Peregrine Falcons, it is safe to say that the incidents of siblicide are minimal. That is because the chicks hatch so close to one another. It is the same with other hawks. There is always concern for the little one but, in this instance, there should be no worries. These four will be fed – a mouth open and it will get food.

There they are singing like members of a choir. The last hatch will not yet eat as much as the bigger ones and it will go into food coma quicker but the parents will make sure all get food. No worries!

I am trying to read three books at once. They are all good. Still, I hope to finish Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin’s Back to Nature. How to Love Life – and save it, soon. While the focus is definitely on the United Kingdom during the first year of the pandemic, the central core of the book can be applied to all of us. During the lockdowns we discovered our gardens, the birds, and our love for nature. Packham challenges us to take those interests and concern and bring them forward: if wildlife and the wild helped us through that abyss, then we need to help them now! Wise words.

It is another beautiful fall morning on the Canadian prairies. The sky is blue and the sun is shining bright and it is a good day for a walk around the wetlands. Hopefully there will be some interesting bird images for you later today. Meanwhile, Grey Squirrel would like his morning peanuts.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. And to those who have written lately, thank you. You are never an intrusion – never!

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