Monday Morning in Bird World

26 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that the start of your week has been a good one. It is 10 degrees C this morning and the birds in the garden are not happy. The men have come to put the skirting on the conservatory and they have a big saw. It is not very appealing! I did work outside and have moved in the some hot pink trumpet plants to reside inside along with the Hibiscus. Perhaps it will feel like a tropical paradise on the coldest days of winter. It is supposed to be excellent weather for the goose and duck flight arrivals as migration truly gets underway this week. Sandhill cranes have been spotted south of me and the honking and quacking at the ponds around the City is louder each night.

In the Mailbox:

‘L’ sends us a joyful little video she found showing ducks, swans, geese, flying.

‘A’ wonders if there are any raptors unique to Australia.

That is a great question since we are primarily looking at nests with eggs or youngsters pre-fledge in Australia right now. I cannot, at the first instance, think of a single raptor that is unique to Australia. One might think of the largest eagle, the Wedge-tail as living in Australia only it doesn’t. I have pulled out Penny Olsen’s Australian Birds of Prey to scour over today and this evening with hopefully an answer tomorrow.

If you are looking for information on Australian raptors, you can do not better than Penny Olsen. The book is sadly out of print and should be revised and reissued. If you happen to be able to find a copy, it is worth gold so hang on to it. The information is detailed and Olsen has a very interesting way of making data seem quite interesting. Very informative book and there seem to be a couple available at a very decent price on an on-line Australian bookseller. Just Google the name of the book if you are interested. Should be in everyone’s library – and not just those interested in Australian raptors as it covers raptors that reside around the world.

Many of you will have watched the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy. Harry did not return to the nest and Nancy raised one eaglet to fledge. The other was pushed off the nest by its older sibling and subsequently had to be euthanized. Well, Nancy has been photographed on the nest with a new male interest. Congratulations, Nancy!

Another study for the reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle to Cumbria:

Farmers are putting out water in the UK for all manner of wildlife. For us, living in other places, it is essential that the birds – songbirds, raptors, all of them, have water. They need it to rehydrate themselves while they are feeding so that they can have a safe and healthy flight – so please, keep the water out!

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-suffolk-62575058?fbclid=IwAR33H4tIitpYoIDG2Ixm-33435ppk3e-bU5t6W2DpENpWwg5rDniU_ZaYkU

The Swiss were set to be the first European country to ban factory farming on the 25th of September. Instead, they voted to retain the practice.

Nest News:

I could watch Samson and Gabby working on their nest in Northeast Florida all day. The moving the big sticks, the negotiating (or not) where they should go, and then moving them again. What an absolutely privilege to be able to see these two prepare for another breeding season.

They are an absolute riot – these two -you can laugh yourself absolutely silly for 10 or 15 minutes in one of these sessions especially if Samson brings in one of his huge twigs.

Thunder visited her nest at the West End Bald Eagle nest in the Channel Islands Sunday morning. She brought in a fish, ate it, and sunned herself on the rock. Isn’t she gorgeous?

SE29 has walked up to the branch of the White-bellied Sea Eagles in the Sydney Olympic Forest. This is not ‘branching’ – the eagles need to fly up to the branch but, we are getting close!

Dad brought in an enormous fish that has supplied the fish from Mum and the three osplets at Port Lincoln for four meals! Little Bob did miss a meal and sometimes he just gets turned in the wrong direction but, when he is up there he is getting full. Mum is fantastic at figuring out the feeding order.

Dad brought in more fish and at the end of the day, Little Bob had eaten so much fish and his crop was so big he could hardly stand up. Now isn’t that incredible.

Look carefully at the top image. There is Big Bob. Notice the head. After the chicks lose their fine light grey down they move into the reptilian phase. To me, they look like they have attended Carnival in Grenada and been out the morning when people throw oil, paint, or mud at one another as a way of freeing themselves from the past and in celebration of the new. That day is called J’ouvert and it marks the beginning of Carnival. Sometimes people dress as red and blue devils as they parade through the streets — and I always remind myself that it is in this phase that the older siblings can become unruly and domineering. Fingers crossed for Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad are doing fantastic and Little Bob is eating – not always at every meal – but, well.

It appears that the female at the 367 Collins Street scrape is accepting food gifts and that the bearer of those gifts is also on the ledge, sometimes in view of the camera and sometimes not. It appears that this is male 2. I stand to be corrected. The ID of the male falcons is very difficult unless you can see their neck!

The male arrived with a prey item when the female was off the eggs. He waited and then flew off with it. The exchange, if it took place, was off camera. Mum did not return for a few minutes so it is possible she was munching away on that nice food gift.

He is clearly looking for the female and he has made no indication of any attempt to try and harm the eggs. All of this is good news especially if the old male is no longer ‘in the picture’ and if those are the ‘old male’s eggs’. I will happily be corrected that this is the old male….

Peregrine Falcon males are, thus, quite interesting in their behaviours. If this is male 2 accepting the eggs and helping to raise the eyases (yet of course to be seen), then he grows a growing list of males that will help a female raise a clutch in order to gain the female and the territory. We know of both Alden and Xavier and studies in the UK have indicated that even fledglings of another year have worked to help with a clutch. These falcons get more unique. I would love to hear your stories if you have any examples.

Earlier in the day a male – I still cannot see the neck and the line that male 2 has – is on the ledge.

This is male 2 in the image below with the female. I believe then it is also male 2 in the image above that frequented the ledge several times on Monday (in Australia).

Diamond gave us a good look at the eggs when she left for a break today. Wonder where Xavier is??? He is missing eggie time.

1at the Captiva Osprey Nest in Florida, Lena is having nothing to do with the young male who keeps showing up. He has been dubbed ‘Romeo’ because of the small heart on his chest.

Migration News:

I want to begin with the news from the family of Karl II, the Black Storks from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There is good news over the past couple of days. The father, Karl II, normally spends much time in the area around Odessa in Ukraine. When we last had a signal transmission from him, he was known to be in the area of heavy fighting on the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Karl II survived! he flew 361 km after deciding he did not wish to stay in Odessa to Olanesti in Romania. He is very near where his mate, Kaia, is. Tears are flowing.

Bonus, the foster storklet from the nest of Jan and Janikka, is also in Romania! So three from the nest – Karl II, Kaia, and Bonus – were safely in Romania, out of Ukraine, on the 25th. Waba is in Moldova.

Here is a crazy colourful map to show you where they are in relation to one another.

It is hard to imagine how dangerous it is for the birds that must migrate back and forth to their winter and spring homes.

You can see what I am talking about in the bright white going right down the centre of North America. Where I live we are in the yellow area. Those light areas are beginning to spread eastward.

Oh, it is joyful to hear that Karl II and his family are safe. I find it very interesting that they flew west and got out of Ukraine. We must be watching for hatch at Melbourne. The eyases can be heard, close to hatch, and I have noticed – and perhaps you have also – that the female is looking at the eggs sometimes. Today is the 27th and it is the first day of hatch watch for these urban falcons. We will mark down the 1-3 of October for Xavier and Diamond. The Sea Eagles will be jumping up and down on the branches but let’s see which one flies up there first – and they must be working on self-feeding. These two truly do love Lady to feed them. By the end of the week all three of the osplets will look different – enjoy the last of that light grey fluff for now.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Everything seems to be going very well everywhere. What a relief. Perhaps I should not have said that! Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: NEFL-AEF, Explore.Org and IWS, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Looduskalender, Stepmap.com, and BirdCast.

Late Wednesday – Early Thursday in Bird World

30-31 March 2022

Wednesday was a day with super highs and lowest lows in the animal world. A group of hunters in the UK chased a Buck for 7 hours straight until it collapsed and died. Seriously horrific. River brought in a beautiful fish for the kids at the nest she shares with her mate, Obey, at Dale Hollow Lake. This is in northern Tennessee bordering Kentucky. It had a hook and fishing line. River broke the line and tossed the hook over the edge of the nest but some line remains and some – not sure how much – is on Middle Little’s foot. I hope it works itself off naturally without cutting into the talons and leg. Poor thing. Little Middle has been through so much. I could not – and still can’t – believe this happened. One of our readers has the e-mail of Al Cerere that started the American Eagle Foundation with its headquarters in Tennessee. Perhaps he can help Little Middle in some way. Thank you, ‘L’ for reaching out to him. Fires are raging the Pigeon Forge Tennessee home to Dollywood and the AEF Ambassador Eagles – and Al will also be busy with this. The wildfire is being monitored and there are plans for evacuation. In the positive column, White YW arrived today to join his mate, Blue 35, on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. Last year they almost arrived at the same time. So excited. These are Tiny Little’s parents!! It is a great nest but an aggravation as there is no rewind!

Akecheta feeding his triplets always puts a smile on my face! Just looking at them gives me hope.

All is well with the West End triplets this morning, Thursday the 31st.

The triplets at Pittsburgh-Hayes are also doing well. A dry morning has turned, however, into a miserable one and the three will need to stay dry and snug until it passes.

The storm that hit points to the west that is hitting Pittsburgh is starting to blow in Washington, DC where Mr President and Lotus have their only nestling to keep dry, warm, and fed.

There is lots of food but it is difficult to feed a new hatch in torrential rains!

There are storms moving through large swaths of US. The storm and heavy rain at Berry College where B15 has his nest with parents Pa Berry and Missy is just starting.

This morning at 09:17:55 Pa Berry and Missy’s eaglet B15 fledged!!!!!!! Here is B15 at 09:00.

I cropped the image so you can find B15 easier. It is the black silhouette at the top centre flying out of the frame.

Parent is on the nest trying to lure B15 back with a fish for breakfast – nice reward! Send positive wishes that B15 stays for the 4-5 weeks to learn its flying and continue to get prey from parents!

Gold stars go out to Rosie and Richmond. My goodness they have been working hard to get their Osprey nest on the Whirley Crane in the Richmond Shipping Yards fit for eggs. Well done!

Middle and Little (or Little and Mini) at the Captiva Osprey nest are ‘itchy’. Unless they are eating it is extremely difficult to get a good image of both of them standing together!

There is still no news on the cause of Big’s death. That was 15 March. Only 16 days ago. It could be another week or more.

A lesson learned that many wildlife rehabbers know is that if there is a nest where an eaglet needs to be removed so the others thrive, remove the oldest. Not the youngest. Both Middle and Little have done well, getting along perfectly well since the death of Big. I don’t want this to sound callous but it is the thing to remember. Often we think the one that needs food needs to be removed but it is actually the oldest who will do well in care while the young does best on the nest.

A sub-adult or juvenile White-bellied sea eagle has return to the nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Is this 25, 26, or 27 or 28? They are attempting to identify the bird. This is done, ironically, through the talons I believe.

Sea Eaglet is quite hungry but lovely to see. I wonder if this is not WBSE 27 that went into care twice? Will confirm when anything is posted.

The Black Stork Karl II flew into the Ukraine and instead of heading north headed back south to where it was on the 29th. Did something scare it? Individuals are hopeful that Karl II will go a different route to the west. Fingers crossed.

There is a fish pool at Mindic where Karl II can get food.

I have no information on the situation with regard to Little Middle at the Dale Hollow Nest. Yesterday River brought in a fish that had a hook and line stuck in its side. River removed the hook breaking the line. She threw the hook over the nest. Monofilament line remained and it got on D15 Little Middle’s left foot. This morning at 08:28:09 there is a clear view of the issue. The line, at that time, had wrapped around the 4th toe the hallux needed to carry fish and the third and over the first toe. Last night it was only around the top of the foot. It is tighter. Little Middle ate well last night. I did not see it eat this morning. Here is an image of that line:

I posted the image and the issue on Bald Eagles 101 this morning and send a message to the USFWS at Cookeville, TN.

If you feel so inclined, here are some phone numbers of appropriate authorities to call in Tennessee. Remember that Carol Moore called The Raptor Centre who was to call the USFWS yesterday. I believe this was done. It is unclear if there is any way to access the nest. Some trees are just not safe for someone to climb. It is imperative to remember that this is a human caused issue and, as such, warrants an intervention if, indeed, it is at all possible to do so. What we do not know is if there is any way to access the tree. That said, here are some phone numbers in the area if you feel you would like to add your voice. The Mid-South Raptor Center at Celina TN. 901-685-8827. The Army Corp of Engineers that own the property is 931-243-3135. The Cookeville USFWS is 931-528-6481.

There is no guarantee that anyone will do anything. I was hopeful that this morning Little Middle would be relieved. It is possible that there is absolutely no access to the nest. As one of my falconer friends reminded me yesterday, ‘Nature kicks you right in the gut just when you think everything is going well’. And it couldn’t be truer. Little Middle was clever and eating and Big didn’t bother it yesterday like the days before. Both of them are 31 days old today, 32 if you count hatch. Being gutted is pretty much what it feels like this morning but I live with hope.

Speaking of hope, Cal Falcons has estimated that Annie will lay her 3rd egg tonight around 21:10!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait!!!!!!! Something positive to look forward to.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I wish beyond wishes that I had good news for you about Little Middle. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: West End Eagles and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Pix Cakm, NADC-AEF, Berry College, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Sydney Sea Eagles at BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Anne7 at Looduskalender Forum, and Dale Hollow Eagles.