We want fish! and more news in Bird World

24 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Our thoughts go out to all that are being lashed about by tropical storm systems and hurricanes.

It is a quiet drizzly grey Saturday morning in the garden. Little Red has been eating at the solid suet cylinder and the Blue Jays are pecking away at the cob of corn left for them. The sparrows have not really been around much. I hope to have some photos of Little Red cleaned up for tomorrow. But, so far, the gang is all here – Junior and the 3 fledgling Blue Jays and the 3 fledgling Crows plus Little Red, Dyson, and Scraggles. Dyson’s two from the summer come and go as well. There has been no sightings of Little Hedwig and the neighbours and I are beginning to fear the worst about those cats. Fingers crossed we see a bunny shortly.

The temperatures are dropping at night. All of the Grape tomatoes have been picked and will turn green in the lovely Birch basket. All of the plants to come inside are here but one which means a trip to the garden centre today for soil. Even so, we have not had a hard frost in the garden and this is absolutely remarkable considering it is now the 24th of September.

In the Mailbox:

The other day I was asked if non-parental male peregrine falcons could harm the eyases in the scrape. I told a story of an Osprey that had kicked the eggs out of the nest when he suspected they belonged to another male. Today, a cartoon that Chloe Baker did of Odin and EJ showed up on FB.

It was Loch Garten, 2013, and here is the video of that egg being kicked out of the nest. Odin waited til EJ went for a break! (not HD) I wish some of these great old videos could be cleaned up. They are fantastic. Of course, Odin was not the only male. Some of us waited to see if Aran would go after Mrs G’s eggs this season but, he didn’t. Presumably they were his and not the Pont Cresor Aeron Z2.

This also happened at Dunrovin a couple of years ago – much clearer image.

And here is another a couple of years ago. There are many examples. We do not know what will happen if the young male totally ousts the old male at Melbourne. Indeed, we do not even know if that will happen this year. My fingers are crossed that he goes and sits and waits til this breeding season is over! But, we also have to prepare ourselves for the worst. It is much better when the males get rid of the eggs.

Making News:

Some additional images were released of Victor taking his flight to freedom. He sure must have been so excited to be back in the wild. Victor is a magnificent eagle! Thanks to Paul K for cleaning these up!

Nest News:

It is all about life lessons at the Sydney Sea Eagles nest. The parents are deliberately branching, demonstrating how to ward off the Currawong, and then how to eat a fish. It is really a privilege to be able to watch the daily lives of these amazing raptors.

Xavier looking at the eggs. Hatch watch is 1-3 October! Xavier is one of the most devoted male Peregrine Falcons that I know. This is an incredible nest to watch and there are several cameras and a chat.

Xavier has been doing some of that enfluffing in the scrape.

I wonder how many of you are counting the number of fish flakes that Little Bob is getting at Port Lincoln. Big Bob is bigger and will need more and Mum is smartly feeding it several nice helpings before moving on to Middle and Little Bob. Dad, for his part, brought in a whomping size fish that will last the day.

Oh, Little Bob you are going to have to push and figure out how to get to the front with Big Bob in the front line!

Little Bob got himself in the right position for the next feeding at 10:50. Big Bob has a super crop and Middle is laying down. Little is going to get some really nice bites.

The camera operator gave us some fabulous close ups of the three after the 1415 feeding so we could see that each had a nice crop. Little Bob is holding its own. You can really see the egg tooth of each of the osplets – that hard piece of white beak used like a pick axe to get out of the shell. Enjoy this soft fluffy down. We will not realize it but time passes quickly and soon they will be in their reptilian phase.

Incubation continues at the 367 Collins Street scrape box. It is now the 25th in Melbourne and we are on hatch watch for the 27th.

For everyone who cannot wait for the Bald Eagle nests to be full of little eaglets, the first on streaming cam mating of the year occurred at the Northwest Florida nest of Samson and Gabby!

Migration News:

Do you know about EuroBirdPortal.org? It tracks all of the European Ospreys movements during the migration period.

I will be checking on Karl II and his family for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Little Bob is doing well. He isn’t our Ervie – no one could ever be Ervie but, I hope he holds his own against Big Bob and thrives. Mum and Dad are doing a great job. I fear that when Dad is late with fish it is either the wind or the gulls. Let’s blow those gulls away! Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that form my screen captures: Chloe Baker, Loch Garden RSPB, Dunrovin, Castnet, Bald Eagles 101 and the Ojai Raptor Centre, The Wonderful World FB, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcons, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, EuroBirdPortal, and NWFL-AEF.

Good Morning Australia

23 September 2022

Everyone is starting to wake up in Australia and there is some action at the Captiva Osprey nest, also. So…I thought I would send you a few pictures as their day begins and ours in a growing colder Canadian begins to wind down.

Gosh, those Sydney Sea Eagles are simply stunningly beautiful. There are not showing any signs of flapping their way up to the branches yet. They are walking all over the nest and it is incredible, if you look carefully, how well they are camouflaged (best when the camera is pulled out).

The sun is just casting that beautiful golden glow on the 367 Collins Street nest. Mum looks good. Someone is providing food – I wonder if we will get a glimpse of old dad today?

Mum is just waking up at Port Lincoln and it is going to be a busy day with those three! Gracious, goodness, those beaks are always open.

Right now, Big Bob is about twice as big as Little Bob. I was holding my breath when Middle and Big were beak to beak and eye to eye. Avoiding eye contact between siblings seems to help.

Beautiful Mum waits for the first fish delivery of the day.

Xavier has been and gone with a breakfast order from Diamond. I can almost hear her telling him, ‘Xavier, darling. An Eastern Rosella topped by a Galah would be perfect for breakie.’

Diamond took a quick break and we got a chance to see those gorgeous falcon eggs.

Meanwhile, in Florida, is trouble brewing? Lena has been at the new nest and so has this younger male. It is not Andy but he has a full crop and he is checking out the new camera and look at those nice perches. Remember. If it is an artificial nest the Osprey need perches!

Thank you so much for stopping in. I hope you enjoyed these images as the day begins with our four raptor families in Australia. Captiva will become interesting in a couple of months but, for now, we wait to see if Andy shows up. Take care. See you tomorrow.

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, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife.

Can AI save raptors from wind turbines and other news in Bird World?

23 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

It is a gloomy day today. The sky is solid cloud cover and it is cool enough that I can hear the furnace kicking in once in awhile. The juvenile Blue Jays are quite busy eating along with one squirrel and a few sparrows this morning. It has also rained. Today is Open House at the rehabilitation centre. It is about half an hour outside the City. We always wish them to have a beautiful sunny day. Perhaps tomorrow. It is going to be a good day to finish reading some of the books sitting on my desk before the pile gets higher!

In the Mailbox:

‘A’ wonders if the intruder male falcons ever kill the eyases.’

That is a question on everyone’s mind that is watching the 367 Collins Street Falcons. So, first. I am more knowledgable about Ospreys – for transparency! Osprey males if they believe the eggs to be of another male will wildly kick them out of the nest. I hope to find an old YouTube video of that happening. It is simply crazy the flap they get into. Of course, they do not want to spend the time feeding and raising another male’s chicks. This is why Xavier and Alden, Peregrine Falcons, are so special. They did not have to compete with a male – the male was deceased but, they did step in and help the female raise the chicks. What a civil way to get a mate and a fantastic piece of territory, too. But to answer your question, the second male has not been able to get rid of those eggs of the old male and we must wait and just see what happens. The old male is a ‘sitting duck’ so to speak if he incubates so he has chosen only to bring prey items to the female. If he is flying and hunting to feed the family he is less of a target. Sadly, we have to wait and see how this plays out but I have seen non-parental males kill the eyases. Yes.

Making News:

Wind turbines” by ali_pk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Technology is going to come to the aid of endangered eagles in Germany because of the deaths caused by wind turbines. Let’s support the effort and get every wind turbine trained to keep our raptors from being killed!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/20/germany-hopes-ai-can-stop-rare-eagles-flying-into-wind-turbines

Nest News:

Things seem to be going rather well at Port Lincoln. These are the time stamps for yesterday, thanks to the chatter, Gtr Kitarr. 11:30 & 12:35 chicks close-up. 12:36 & 14:23 & 17:42 fish delivery/feeding. 17:55 Dad takes the fish. 18:05 fish back/feeding. 18:12 Dad takes the fish. 18:25, 18:42 & 21:55 feeding. There were the two earlier feedings as well and I might have missed one. Everyone is eating including the little gaffer.

Thankfully Mum is managing to get some sleep. These three are healthy and active.

Victor Hurley, the researcher for the 367 Collins Street Falcon Scrape and the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Association posts some wonderful information weekly. This was part of this week’s early posting and you might be interested in it. It is specifically about the site at 367 Collins Street. Indeed, earlier in his PDF, Dr Hurley says that many of the Victoria Peregrine Falcons are using stick nests due to the lack of high locations.

“The reason Peregrine Falcons were first (and continue to be) attracted to 367 Collins Street is because of the building design has inset windows with external ledges and an architectural feature of indented corners to the building structure. The original ledge selected (and the one used to this
day) faces south east. This orientation provides warmth from the rising sun until late morning by which time the shadow from the building’s own south wall provides shade across the selected ledge. With the prevailing rainstorms tending from the west/north west means that most of Melbourne’s late winter rains blow over and past this ledge. Peregrine Falcons have had “the freedom of the city” to select alternatives and yet once the gravel filled trays were installed in 1992 pairs have repeatedly placed their thumping big feet to claim this one as their own ever since.”

No one knows how this season is going to turn out. We cannot even possibly begin to guess. We are, however, three days prior to a potential hatch and the female – and she is gorgeous – is holding firm to those eggs.

Dr Hurley did do a Q & A session and it is posted on the 367 Falcon Watchers FB Group, not YouTube. Indeed, Dr Hurley has posted lots of information on that site so please join their group if you are not a member already so you can access it.

Here is the link to that very informative PDF by Dr Hurley mentioned above.

file:///C:/Users/marya/Downloads/FFS%2005-22%20Why%20367%20Collins.pdf

The Sydney Sea Eagles will certainly win the beauty contest this week. Just look at the light on that beautiful plumage. The pair are still figuring out how to self-feed. They are not branching or hovering so there will be more time with them. When they stand on those branches and begin flapping then you can think fledge!

The cam operator did an amazing job and the light was just perfect to see that rusty peach. Incredible. I wish they would stay this way! Like the juvenile Ospreys, the plumage – to this person anyway – is much more beautiful than the adults!

At the scrape on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Xavier and Diamond are patiently waiting and eating, eating and waiting, for the eggs to hatch the first week of October.

I will be so excited when this very devoted couple have their first hatch.

Some of you might not know about Xavier. Diamond was at the scrape with her mate Bula. Bula died when the eyases hatched. Diamond could not have done all of the duties and kept them alive – and then Xavier came along. He did not actively care for the chicks but he brought food for Diamond and the chicks so everyone could live. The chicks survived and the rest is history. Xavier’s name means Saviour and he was definitely a saviour to this nest, like Alden for Annie at Cal Falcons. If something untoward were to happen at Melbourne, we might all begin to hope that the second male would be as kind as Xavier and Alden.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. Stop in and check on the PLO Chicks. They are quite adorable and keep your eyes on those lovely sea eagles. Take care of yourselves, too. Thank you for your letters and comments. They are always appreciated. I try to answer as quickly as I can. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB posts which make up my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, 367 Collins Falcons FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Late Thursday in Bird World

22 September 2022

Good Afternoon Everyone. I hope that this finds each of you well whether you are starting or ending your day. It remained a glorious day on the Canadian Prairies – a crisp fall one. There are so many songbirds in the garden now all wanting to eat and have baths. It is impossible to differentiate between the hundreds of sparrows and what looks like a few Grosbeaks but, they all seem happy and the two bird baths this year are really making a difference. They are so thirsty. The usual group comes around 1800 so these are the early birds.

Mr Blue Jay is here. There is a cob of corn for him as well as some individual kernels. Let us see if he gets it or if Dyson does! Dyson should be here in about an hour. It is amazing how they have their own timetables and really stick to them. Oh, two of the three Blue Jays have arrived. This will be interesting. One is eating from the cob of corn and the other is taking the corn kernels that I broke off a second cob.

This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledgling Jays that remain in the garden and at their nest tree across the lane. Junior still needs to grow in his crest. He is easy to spot.

He knows I am watching and he also knows that I am the one that puts out the corn. No, Junior. It is not just to take your photograph! Junior is 5 years old this year.

A little female squirrel has arrived.

One of the Crows just flew in to check out the evening’s buffet.

Our wildlife rehabilitation centre has its annual open house this week. If you live in Southern Manitoba or Winnipeg and want to go out and see the amazing facilities including a brand new surgery and our super flight training buildings, go to line to Wildlife Haven and order your tickets. Remember, too, if you go out – check for clean old towels and sheets. They can never get enough of them. And if you have some spare savings or are in need of a tax donation, every wildlife rehabilitation clinic will thank you and give you a receipt for your donation. It is the only way they survive.

Australian Nest News:

Oh, what a glorious day it was to wake up to a brand new osplet – and, so, as all of you probably know, the clutch at Port Lincoln is complete. Congratulations to everyone! Dad came in with a really nice fish for the brood. It is unclear if Little Bob got much or any – he has to be tired from working so long on that egg but, you can bet the other two got their fish!

Let us hope that the fish keep coming. We are off to a good start with that big fish. The key will be for Big and Middle to get full and then Little Bob to eat but let us see if it works out that way! Our dear Ervie had to be right up there preferring to thwart any attention Bazza wanted to pay on someone to Falky.

Just look at that nice fish. It is incredible to me that birds of all makes and models are hardwired to hold their heads up high and their beaks wide open for food from the git go.

You can watch all the action at Port Lincoln here:

It looks like a super day starting in Melbourne. I hope it is as it is the 23rd of September and gosh, golly, we are looking for a hatch on the 27th. Four days. Fingers crossed that the second male – who Mum is not interested in – is thwarted. I know. It is wishful thinking but, let’s all send good wishes out to our wonderful old dad. This could be his last clutch and he is remarkable. One of the great Peregrine males out there and so ever funny in his pjs.

Mum left for a break. Food is being brought in and stored elsewhere but not near the nest and this probably won’t happen til the chicks arrive. The falcons like, for some reason, to keep that scrape box really clean while there are eggs. Then when they begin feeding their eyases it can be mayhem with blood, bones, and feathers flying everywhere. The old dad used to love to pluck and feed the fresh pigeons right in the scrape. I don’t think the former Mum appreciated that at all.

Xavier has arrived early at the scrape box hoping that Diamond might want a break. He is such a devoted Dad. We are looking at the first week in October for hatch. For the past two years only one of the three eggs has hatched. I am wishing for one strong eyas! Two would delight Xavier to no end. Three might be overwhelming but these two very seasoned parents would manage.

Some of you might be wondering what is going on at the Sydney Sea Eagles. Yesterday, Mum flew in with a fish and stood on the nest eating it while 29 played with its tail. Lady wanted to see if the eaglets would fight for that fish and take it from her. That is what they will need to do in the wild. They did not. Eventually she offered and 30 got some nice bites. It was a very interesting educational moment. And so, here we are today.

The sea eaglets are up looking around in their beautiful plumage. Those feathers are almost all completely in.

One of the parents is in the tree watching every move the eaglets are making with that fish on the nest.

Both parents are now on the branch watching the eaglets. Do not ever think for a second that these parents do not know what they are doing. They do. They are letting go – and they are trying to provide their two kids, SE29 and 30 – with the skills so that they can survive in the wild. They need the eaglets to be hungry, to need to get that fish and eat and they need them to know how to hold it down and pull off the flesh. At some point in time Dad might bring them a live fish to see how they respond.

Making News:

The new Kestrel Ambassador for the Ojai Raptor Centre has a name. It is Topa and the word comes from a mountain range near to the wildlife centre called the Topa Topa. What a lovely bird to help teach youngsters and us about the challenges raptors face daily.

The new Osprey cam is now installed and working at Captiva in Florida. Just look – we have an adult. Last year Andy and Lena managed to end their years of not having chicks due to predation by Crows. How did they do it? They laid their eggs one month early. Very smart Ospreys. We had three magnificent chicks – and we ended with two, Middle and Little Bob, who turned out to be a male and a female. Big Bob died of an indeterminate cause but he did have enlarged organs similar to some other ospreys lost this year. That was determined to be salmonella in one case. Big Bob had also been ruthless in his eating claiming all the fish for nearly 72 hours before he died. The other two thrived and were very civil fledging with the male staying around Captiva and the nest for us to enjoy for some time.

In the Mailbox:

EJ sent us a great video of a juvenile sea eagle fishing. It is short and quite amazing. Thanks, EJ!

From the Book Shelf:

In a few of my blogs I have been writing about the campaign by Chris Packham, Mark Avery, and the Raptor Persecution Group in the UK to get rid of sport hunting and killing. In this instance I am referring to Grouse Hunting and Killing on large estates for sport. The problem is that the game keepers of the properties kill the raptors. Raptors such as the Hen Harrier who covered the wet lands and moors and heath was a common sight in England during the Mesolithic Age, ten thousand years ago. It has really gone into decline with the advent of the Enclosures Act in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Now, sadly, heath burning, the escalation in killings and diseases brought in by the imported birds has caused a swift and rapid decline in the number of breeding pairs of Hen Harriers in the UK. In 2012, there was only one breeding pair left.

David Cobham has set out and written an incredible little book on the history and decline of this amazing low flying raptor. It is based on the promising life of Bowland Beth and the title is, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier. You are drawn into Bowland Beth from the minute her father returns to his natal nest in the Bowland Forest to find a mate. You will discover this amazing and most promising bird and her daily activities (she is tagged with a sat pack). And you will come to understand so fully why the grouse hunting and the killing of all the raptors that find their prey on the wrong piece of land need to be kept safe. It is essential that the law be changed. I rarely head deep into politics but this is an archaic practice that needs to end for the sake of the wildlife. They need to thrive without fear of catching a vole and being shot.

$18.40 CDN for the hardback at your local on-line book seller.

Thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. I hope that you are well and that you will enjoy watching the sea eaglets and those cutie pie osplets. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, and postings that made up my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Ojai Raptor Center, Robert Full and ‘EJ’, David Cobham, Captiva Ospreys and Windows for Wildlife.

And then there were 3 Bobs at Port Lincoln!

22 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The sun is shining bright, the skies are clear bright blue and it is 9 degrees C. It dropped down last night to 4 degrees C and thankfully no lower. The garden escaped the frost. In anticipation of the conservatory I bought some non-local tropical plants including a Hibiscus. Goodness those huge terracotta pots are heavy. Two came inside but required their bath of light dish detergent to get the outdoor bugs off so there was no room at the inn for the third. It will get its shower today. I have a friend who brings his in and out every year and has done so for at least a decade so we will see if there is any green in this thumb!

The big news is, of course, the hatch at Port Lincoln of the third chick. That came at 19:31:40 with the lid having come off at 18:45. Here is a view of all three a few hours later.

This nest has always caused a certain amount of worry because of its history of siblicide which extends back to many memories of Solly, DEW, and little Tapps who died after not being allowed to eat by Solly on its 18th day. The difference in hatch times in 2020 was huge and not anything like this clutch. That said, Big and Middle Bobs really know how to eat. I have images from the 12:26 feeding yesterday when they took in huge pieces of fish. And it does seem that Big Bob always has its mouth open regardless of the time of day or circumstance. You will need to be a toughie little one but you can do it.

While we waited and worried, Little Bob was working hard to get out of its beautiful shell. And just look at that soft light grey down covering the older siblings. Isn’t it beautiful?

You can see Little Bob’s left wing out of the shell.

There you are sweet baby. Relief.

We know that Dad was followed to the barge by a Pacific Gull yesterday intent on that fish. I had seen gulls being ruthless to one another down by the river but never to an osprey til I saw what the one did to Sloop at Hog Island to get that fish. While we cannot see off camera, I wonder how much hassle Dad gets from gulls?

Dad came in with the breakfast fish at 07:51, another fish arrives at 12:26 and again at 15:23 with a feeding at 16:05. Mum pushed the half eggshell out of 3 at 17:04:33 with, again, the hatch at 19:31:40. There is another fish delivery at 21:36.

Here are some images from that 12:26 feeding before the arrival of Little Bob. Big and Middle are keen eaters. They can only eat so many big bites until their crop is full and they fall into a food coma but they need to be fed frequently, for now.

And the 16:08 feeding.

Big Bob has a really nice crop! And there will be another feeding in about three hours. Mum and Dad you are doing fantastic.

I will be back later today with a review of all the nests in Australia but, for now, savour the moment. Three healthy Bobs at Port Lincoln, grey and fuzzy with their distinctive black eye stripe to keep the glare out of their eyes when they are older and fishing. Adorable. 65 million years of evolution to get to this point. Incredible.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It is so exciting to have a clutch of osplets to watch again. We are also now within 4 days of hatch at Melbourne and so far Mum has kept the second male from harming the eggs. Fingers crossed. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures — and congratulations Port Lincoln! We are all cheering you on for a successful fledge of three strong chicks.

Morning Fish at Port Lincoln

21 September 2022

It is actually the 22nd of September in Port Lincoln, Australia and the morning delivery started off a little ‘cock eyed’. Dad delivered a fish, Mum fed the kids a couple of bites, and then Dad came and took it. He had already eaten the head but it was noticeable that he was hungry. He ate another portion, looked around a bit, and then delivered the rest to Mum and Big and Middle Bob. Those kids were hungry, too – and so was Mum. Let us hope the deliveries get closer together to ensure the continued peace on the nest and there is peace. Mum gives one a bite and then a bite to the next. The bites are not little flakes but, surprisingly, large and the kids gobble them down! Osplet 3 is working on getting out and the cap of the pip was seen to move in the middle of the night. So things are happening.

I hope you enjoy these screen captures. I could not wait to show you. These two are little darlings.

Dad finished his fish and waited on the ropes before flying over to Mum. Why did he hesitate? There was at least one gull flying around hoping to grab the kid’s breakfast and Dad wasn’t going to let that happen!

The gull came and did a clean up after Dad flew off to the nest. With its bright orange legs and beak, I believe this is a Pacific Gull but, every Australian, please correct me if I am wrong!

The gas tanks in the osplets were empty but by the end of the feeding they both registered full.

Thank you so much for joining me on this quick update to what is happening at Port Lincoln with Big and Middle Bob – and Mum and Dad. Take care everyone. See you soon — maybe Little Bob will be here by tomorrow. That would be grand.

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

Wednesday in Bird World

21 September 2022

Good Morning!

It is early (for me). The garden birds are very quiet. It is starting out to be a beautiful day as I work on getting to know this computer but, rain is to start today and be with us again on Friday and Saturday. It is always good to get the trees that have grown so much over the summer with all the torrential downpours a good soaking before frost.

One of the things that was lost were the images that I took yesterday at one of the ponds. So I want all of you to use your imagination. I could not believe my eyes. There before me were seven young ducklings just like the singular one at the nature centre. No feathers just fuzz on their bodies. They were all cuddled up together keeping warm. Today it is 10 degrees C. We are at the time of migration. All of the nature centres are opening up for special events as the birds from the north make their way to the wetlands and the big ponds enroute to their winter homes far south of us. Will the arrival of winter be late? What will happen to these wee ones? I have never seen small ducklings like this at this time of year. The spring floods and destruction of eggs has certainly caused issues. There are ducks that overwinter on our Assiniboine River near to where my daughter lives but…what about these little gaffers?

Making News:

Victor at his release. 19 September 2022.

For all of those wondering, the site where Victor was released is at the coast right across from the Channel Islands. Great choice! Let us all hope to see Victor near Fraser’s Point in a couple of years! Wouldn’t that be grand. It appears it was the best site for release like the Channel Islands but the closest point to his nest without breaking any regulations. Isn’t Dr Sharpe the best?

It seems that once we get a good population of birds established we then want to take their habitat away. This is what is happening in Albania wit the pelicans!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/21/albania-dalmatian-pelican-colony-narta-faces-threat-vlora-airport-aoe

Nest News:

So far, there are still only two osplets at Port Lincoln. The third egg is 37 days old and there is still time for it. Some chatters are wondering if there is any movement inside. We will have to keep our eyes opened! The other two and Mum seem to be doing splendidly.

The streaming camers (3) at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 will be going live during the first week of October.

Xavier brought an Eastern Rosella, well prepared, for Diamond who was excited and got off the nest. Xavier is a lovely! Hatch not expected til the first week in October but we are getting there…2 weeks?

Beautiful Diamond.

Xavier gets some ‘eggie time’. Yes! Can you tell how much I love this cute little falcon who is no longer in his prime but gosh, he is a fantastic mate and he loves his chicks. I sure hope this season turns out well for these two.

So many of you are marveling at the plumage colours of the little sea eaglets. They are gorgeous. A friend laughed at me for loving the feathering of the Red-tail Hawks. “Just wait til you see the Sea Eagles!” Oh, she was so right. It is hard to see the colours when the sun is at a certain angle but have a good look at them.

Our eagles are approaching their 10th week. They are still growing some feathers under their wings. Their wing flapping and jumping around is going to continue to get every more vigorous. Just breathe. They can scare the wit’s out of you when they start jumping on and off the rim of the nest and the branches . In week 11 you will see them gain some real height in their hovering. They will begin to sleep more and more with their head tucked into their wings rather than duckling style although fledglings also prefer duckling style on occasion. It must be much more comfortable! Self-feeding is getting better.

We do not want to talk about fledging but, after 70 days it is possible. And we are at that point. So spend your time watching these two and the hatches at Port Lincoln. SE29 and 30 will be gone in a blink and the osplets will be growing and changing so fast it will be hard to recognize these sweet fuzzy babies in a week!

Victor Hurley is going to post a pre-recorded session where he answers your questions about what is going on at Melbourne on Thursday, Australia time. That will be in a few hours. If you have questions, you can submit them on the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB page. Dr Hurley asks that you read the PDF that he posted on the top of the FB site before submitting questions.

We are all very curious to see what will be happening. The second male does some quick on and off mating which – well, we are now nearing hatch which should be 5 days away. Mum’s hormones will not be in breeding but incubation and caring for young. It appears that the old male continues to provide food for Mum. Oh, I hope that this clutch makes it but we are going to just have to wait and see.

Migration News:

Checking on the Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There has been no transmission for Karl II since the 4th of September. Bonus and Kaia were still in their respective areas with their last report coming in on the 20th of September. Hopefully this evening there will be some new news.

Birdmap is showing tremendous progress for the Ospreys and, one, in particular, flew across Europe to Spain instead of going directly South. Brilliant! The Ospreys are already heading into central Africa! You can go to BirdMap and get the animated version of their journeys.

Did you know:

How long do Bald Eagles live?

https://birdfact.com/articles/how-long-do-bald-eagles-live?fbclid=IwAR28ZeEq0BVJMgSX852wOBP7kcICCL6iKHdzvl0FIB7TUUxGNZSliJdQBFk

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are looking forward to the third hatch in Port Lincoln but, for now, in the night, Mum is getting some much needed rest! Take care of yourself and I will look forward to seeing you again real soon.

If you are sending me e-mails (which I love), please use this new address: maryasteggles@outlook.com Thanks so much!

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

Tuesday in Bird World

20 September 2022

Good Evening or Good Morning to you!

I hope that this newsletter finds you in good spirits and good health. I continue to appreciate your good wishes and today, I can tell you that I am back to 90%. Was its Victor’s release that caused my system to soar? One will never know but, I did get out for two walks at two different ponds. To be able to do this at the end of September, without there ever being a frost, is ‘different’ and, of course, harks at changes to come.

At the first pond the temperature was 17 degrees C but the wind was blowing at 23 kph. There were not a lot of birds around it seemed. Then I heard their call – the Greater Yellow Legs. There were two of them in the marsh area flying out to the shore.

Please note. I had to switch to the lowest quality of image as my card was filling up! So even my non-wildlife photographer images are not as crisp as they could be when blown up. You can see the normally mirror-still pond’s waves lapping.

Across the road, in this industrial area of our city, the recent rains have created two other water areas and there were a few geese and a couple of ducks – one in each pond! No sharing there.

So what are they? There is a distinctive white eye ring, a long sloping forehead and grey-blue bill. a gorgeous rusty head with a mottled back. I was unable to see the colour of the legs but its eyes are brown. The sloping shape of the forehead to the beak is very distinctive and what appears to be a white eye ring could be throwing me off a quick ID. It appears to be a Canvasback.

There it was on page 160 of the Crosley! Crosley says it lacks a forehead. Yes, he is right – the head just slopes into the bill. The shape is a wedge. Don’t forget it! Those south of me will see these gorgeous waterfowl flying by. Crosley calls the colour of the head and neck ‘chestnut’ – what a lovely word for that description. The eye should be a vivid red if it is a male but either the camera did not get that or it was the angle of the light or this is a female fooling us because of her not pure white back or a juvenile. I will keep you posted!

I will bring you news of the other pond later. My laptop decided to emit smoke and I have kindly been loaned another computer so I can finish the blog today. What troubles me about the second pond is that there are no less than 8 small fluffy ducks – with less feathers than the small one at the nature centre. So, if we have no frost and it is now 19 degrees C – do these ducks have a chance?

Making News:

I cannot tell you how fantastic it was to see Victor released by Dr Sharpe yesterday – and from the mail pouring in – he touched all of our hearts. We will never forgot those adorable images with Lillibet, when Victor could not stand to eat and the entire eagle family tried to comfort him, to his rescue, to his walking in a towel with holes held up by a staff member at the Ojai Raptor Centre, to his release. What a time this juvenile eagle has had.

Images provided by the Ojai Raptor Centre FB this morning:

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One of the letters in the mailbox was ‘Where is Hollingsworth Ranch’. Here it the information on where Victor was released:

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The Hollingsworth Ranch

This is the Ventura River running through the rugged mountainous area. Those in California might know its status better now because of the droughts the last few years. I hope it is the same. It looks like a great place for an eagle named Victor.

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Ventura River, one” by …-Wink-… is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Every day there are thousands of raptors – and other wildlife – saved by the wildlife rehabbers. I often say the streaming cams get all the glory (and donations) because they are the first place we learn to leave these bird families but it is the rehabbers that love and care for and put the birds back together if they get into trouble. Their time, effort, and expenses often last years.

Another little eaglet made the rehab news because it was released, too, by the Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre in Pennsylvania. I love the pictures. They give you a real behind the scenes look at what goes into caring for a wee one who is well but has no nest or family. Notice that stuffed eaglet plush toy. When you are clearing up and you look down and see the stuffies that you have collected – and you don’t know what to do with them – the wildlife rehab centre is your answer!!!!!!!!!!!! They bring comfort to the birds.

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http://ojaihistory.com/the-hollingsworth-ranch/embed/#?secret=jzkIzleQDS#?secret=NzEkoT3MUb

Nest News:

This will be short with a longer analysis of what is happening tomorrow.

The second male at the Melbourne nest has been trying to mate with the Mum while she is incubating the eggs. She is having nothing to do with him but, the old male is holding back providing food. I wish the young male would leave and allow them to raise this clutch but his ideas are otherwise. We are 6 days from hatch!

We are still waiting for the third hatch at Port Lincoln as the sun is rising soon. It was raining in the middle of the night – not much but, Mum kept those chicks nice and snug. No doubt #2 is going to be hungry and up there to eat today. I wonder how #1 will treat its sibling? Fingers crossed. It seems they do not get too rowdy until day 8.

At Orange, the hatch dates range from 36-39 days so we are not expecting any action until after 1 October. We have a ways to go. Melbourne is ahead. Xavier has been getting Diamond out of the box with prey and getting some good time with the eggs. This scrape is very stable, thank goodness. But not this morning. Xavier brought a Starling, Diamond left without it and Xavier took it away minutes later. Diamond is extremely picky – poor Xavier. I hope the parrot population is good this year!

They have been together for a long time. Xavier probably is over feeling completely dejected by Diamond when he brings her breakfast. She does much prefer the fat already plucked and prepared pigeons too.

The Sydney Sea Eaglets are simply marvellous – what an incredible civil nest. Two females? Two males? Let’s watch their size as they leave their 9th week and into the 10th. It is refreshing not to see discord on a nest – no, the word is sheer relief. Last year’s breeding season was horrific. It was NOT at this nest. Last year and the year prior were fantastic. Lady and Dad are doing really well. Other nests did not fare so well.

Let’s keep an eye on Melbourne and, of course, Port Lincoln for this third hatch. I hope it comes soon! I am now off to investigate and agonize over what new computer to get. I use one all the time as you know but I like portability. You don’t get the lovely big images I am looking at with portable though!

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street at Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Ojai Raptor Centre, and Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre.

Victor is Released!

19 September 2022

Fraser Point eaglet, Victor, who had suffered from acute zinc toxicity and had been in care at the Ojai Raptor Centre in Ojai, California has been released today!

Absolute tears. Thank you to Dr Sharpe, his team and the great folks at the Ojai Raptor Centre for returning this amazing eaglet to the wild.

A special thank you to ‘B’ who sent me the wonderful news!!!!!!

Thank you to the Ojai Raptor Centre for their posting and video on their FB page where I took my screen captures.

Adorable osplets at Port Lincoln and more news in Bird World

19 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Oh, goodness. The sky is the most beautiful blue this morning without a single cloud. The tree tops have been kissed and they are all turning slightly golden but, we have not yet had a frost. Decades ago, there was always a frost in August and people lost their tomatoes still growing in the gardens. This year the mint has eclipsed its pot and the tomatoes are still growing and turning red. Thankfully, my three-year old neighbour loves those little grape tomatoes – there were 1000s this year!

Dyson has already arrived along with the Blue Jays who let me know that there are absolutely no peanuts to be had. It was the first time that I really examined those nuts. No wonder the Jays are picky eaters. Some of those nuts are not good – dry or with only one peanut. I don’t blame them for giving them a shake to find the fullest heaviest one.

Scraggles loves peanuts and always tries to take two! Notice her tail. It is growing back after she used part of it for her nest this summer.

Dyson looks great. Her tail has grown in and it is so nice to see her in the garden every day. Dyson stayed and ate quite a few nuts before leaving with a couple. It is so good to see her looking so well. It is hoped that by providing good food and water the animals might live better and longer.

In the Mailbox:

A number of you have asked: “What happened to the old Mum at 367 Collins Street?”

That is a question on probably hundreds of mines watching that scrape. The old Mum had a really formidable face but she was a great female and raised many eyases. Mum and Dad had been there since 2016 so, like Dad, she was at least 8 or 9 years old with the average life expectancy of six years according to Victor Hurley. So let us rewind for a minute. Last year the camera went off right when the 4th chick died of trichomonosis.

Trichomoniasis is a disease that is transmitted between birds through direct contact and therefore can spread relatively easily. One characteristic of this disease is the lesions that will present on your bird’s crop and esophagus. Trichomoniasis is a disease caused by the protozoa trichomonas gallinae. This condition is highly contagious among birds. There is a loss of appetite and general inability to eat, they have difficulty standing and keeping their balance, etc. This year we saw the female at the Janakkulum Osprey nest in Finland contract what was believed to be trichomonosis and probably died. Luckily her two chicks did not contract the disease. I mention this disease because it is possible that the Mum did get trichomonosis.

The other possibilities include dying naturally from old age, severe injury or death caused by the urban environment, severe injury or death caused by the new female or another female.

Sadly, the camera was off and we have no clues. Indeed, what happened to the female might have taken place on the other side of Melbourne. We miss her and Dad together and the stability on the ledge. The life of an urban falcon is difficult at best and even more so when we have grown to love them as individuals.

“What is going to happen to the egg shells at Port Lincoln. Why doesn’t Mum get rid of them?” This certainly is a question on a lot of people’s minds as we sit and wait for the third hatch. It is a very good question, too!

The females make the egg shells using calcium from their bodies. As a result, their calcium levels are lower. Some females eat the egg shells to help replenish their stocks while others will kick the shells out of the nest or just allow them to break up and become part of the nest. At 0:40:40 Mum at Port Lincoln is seen eating some of the small pieces of egg under the chick.

In the News:

‘N’ sent me a lovely article and it is so appropriate – the challenges that urban raptors face appeared in The New York Times. It is a good read and continues to remind us of the importance of the wildlife rehabbers that care for the raptors we love after they leave the nest. I wonder what the gender % is at wildlife clinics? The ones where I live are more than 90% women, like those in this story. Thank you ‘N’ for sharing with us.

A Scottish Osprey, Glen, misjudged GPS for migration and wound up on two ships!

https://www.thenational.scot/news/21870390.scottish-osprey-found-hitched-lift-boats-migration/?fbclid=IwAR0nfVtGDTADEoI1zms4EiWN3MgwBmf2P9zrA5X0I-BQEtNqeetnBinPdsw

Nest News:

The second osplet hatched at 19:11:32 at Port Lincoln. The third is working on making its appearance. Here are a myriad of shots from yesterday. It is amazing just how strong the first hatch is. I have not counted how many feedings that chick has had. Mum is hungry and Dad is getting the fish to the nest. Adorable Dad. He has gotten to see the babies and Mum looks tired. Perhaps it was only because she went without any fish for so long while Big Bob was hatching.

Dad was drying off after being out fishing. Thanks, Dad, for all the fish!

What a beautiful picture with the sun shining down. It is lovely to see Dad and Mum on the nest with the new hatch. I guess Dad has news for Ervie now!

Oh, this first hatch always wants to eat. I sure hope it is nice to its siblings and shares.

Snug as bugs in a rub those two osplets are!

Rumour has it that Little Bob is making good progress. Oh, I hope so. Big Bob has eaten so much s/he will be twice as big by the time little one gets out of that shell.

‘A’ writes that SE30 has managed to get the good prey items but has, in turn, shared with 29. Fantastic. What a wonderful civil nest this has turned out to be – very similar to the last two years. I do have a warm spot for those Sea Eagles. Lady and Dad have done a fantastic job with these two!

While the little sea eaglets were having their breakfast, Xavier was trying his best to get Diamond to get up off the eggs so he could have some time and she could have her breakfast. Diamond was buying it! Poor Xavier went off to the ledge dejected.

I really hope that all is well at Melbourne. This morning, if you listen, you can hear one of the males calling from the ledge out of view of the camera and I saw a feather fly into the air. Breakfast for Mum is being provided by someone — and I hope it is old Dad. It would be good for him to raise his eggs!

I wish I could capture the feathers flying.

A male flies in to relieve Mum. I have not been able to get a good look to see which it is.

He will give us no clues. I hope that someone grabs a quick look when he leaves. But let us all send warm wishes to this nest for a successful outcome. We are a week from hatch.

On the Bookshelf:

This book is from Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkemp who brought us the book, Beauty and the Beak. The pair combine the stories of raptor rescues into moving tales. If you are a science teacher or have children aged 7-11 both of the books are for you. They are filled with information and amazing images – really good ones – along with stimulating ideas for students at the end. This one is about a nest that was blown down and the fostering of two little osplets from Idaho where Veltkemp has her practice. Thinking of holiday book gifts already? This is a good one!

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Everything appears to be going splendidly at the nests. Port Lincoln is going to be busy today. Remember the feedings occur almost every hour so you will be in luck during the daylight hours whenever you sign on. Take care all.

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