Bird World Happenings

For those of you hoping for a second hatch at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box, it is not to be. Either the eggs were not viable or the second chick died trying to hatch. What we have, however, is one really healthy eyas whose eyes will open in the next few days and what a delight that will be. One healthy baby is just fine!

A video was made of one of the chick’s feedings. I cannot wait til it can see its parents! How wonderful.

It is pitching down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum and the three osplets are absolutely soaked to the core.

Mum is the best. She is trying as hard as she can to keep her three babies from catching a chill. Sadly, Melbourne’s weather says it is to have rainy periods through Saturday. I do hope the nest gets a chance to dry out for this incredible Osprey family.

To my knowledge no breakfast has come in yet. Mum is really tired and would appreciate the sleep. She has a smelly wet pillow!

It is an hour later and Mum is beginning to dry out just a little. Hopefully Dad will be in with a fish soon.

The Melbourne Four have already had three meals today – before 8:30! These parents are working overtime. It has to be exhausting. Look how big that little one is and how big its crop is. These four are also healthy and strong. Well done Mum and Dad.

Skipping over to the US, those who fell in love with Anna and Louis during their first year as Bald Eagle parents will be excited to know that the streaming cam is up and running. Here is the link to that nest at Lake Kincaid in the Kisatachie National Forest. Last year, Anna and Louis had one eaglet fledge, Kisatachie. It was wonderful to watch the parents grow into their roles as parents. One time Louis was so eager to provide food early on that he had 18 fish in a pile. I can sure imagine quite a few nests that would have liked some of that! Kisatchie grew big and strong and honoured this old Bald Eagle nest that had not had an eaglet hatch or fledge in 13 years. Incredible.

Cody, Steve and the gang are handling the chat to answer any of your questions.

I have not checked on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia for some time. There is some troubling news, perhaps. regarding Julge. This latest report is on Birdmap.

“In the morning September 8, Julge crossed border between Germany and Belgium and from next overnight there was not long distance up to France border, anymore. 20-30 km, depends in what direction Julge continues migration. But perhaps, there is time to improve energy sources? Interesting, if quarry is good place to find food for stork…. Anyway, Julge flew south in September 12. That means France is next country Julge visits. And stayed in a village called Saint-Hilaire-le-Petit. Nor dare not fear the closeness of people. He could be seen picking up insects from the lawn in the parking lot of the nearby Pontfaverger supermarket … But on the afternoon of September 21, Julge flew some 30 km in direction of Paris. On 22 September, Julge reached a stopover between Paris and Reims, where the latest data were received on the morning of 25 September. Next behaviour of Julge is unknown. A local newspaper is also involved in the searches of Julge.”

You can check the migration status of the Ospreys, Black Storks, White-tailed Eagles, Eurasian Cranes, and the Lesser Spotted Eagles here:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

I also wanted to check on Karl II and his three children and on their migration status.

First is Udu. This is from the Forum: “It is now becoming unlikely that Udu will find/follow the ‘usual’ eastern migration route, I fear. All other options to cross the Mediterranean Sea are far more complicated, difficult and dangerous. Unless Udu will winter in southern Italy, or in Greece?” Udu is now in Kosovo.

Here is the map showing the three members of the family: Karl II, his daughter, Pikne, and son, Udu . They are making wonderful progress!

You can follow the Black Stork family whose nest was in the Karula National Forest in Estonia here:

This was just a quick check on the developments at the Orange Australian scrape box of Xavier and Diamond. I am certain that chatters and followers would loved to have seen two eyases hatch but, it was not to be. We can, however, wait with wonder to see the little one open its eyes and see its parents for the first time – and grow, thrive, and fledge. Send positive wishes for a fish to arrive at the PLO and for the rain to let up so the nest can dry.

Thank you for joining me. It will get chilly on the Canadian Prairies tonight – down to 4 C. It will certainly feel more seasonal. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or Forums where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Estonian Eagle Club, and BirdMap.

The Hornbill

There are over 50 different varieties of Hornbill. The one that I want to focus on today is the Rhinoceros Hornbill. It is the State Bird of Malaysia. I became acquainted with these amazing birds during a trip to the Sarawak in East Malaysia many years ago.

The arrow points to Sarawak. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is present also in Sabah as well as Borneo, in yellow.

You could not move through the area around the harbour of Kuching without seeing ‘something’ decorated with the motif of a hornbill – from table cloths, batik wall hangings, phone cases, and old and not-so-old wood carvings. To actually see these highly endangered birds you needed a guide to take you to the jungle areas where local tribes still live in their long houses. There the hornbill was also used as a design for the totems on the poles supporting their roof as well as on many of the art of tattoos.

“Iban? Long House near Kuching” by rosskevin756 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The weavers of the area specialize in ikat. Ikat is a type of resist dying. The threads are resist dyed before they are woven. The pattern in the textile below is called the ‘Feather of the Hornbill’.

Old carving of Hornbill, Ironwood. Sarawak Museum, Kuching.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is depicted in numerous designs in wood carving. The wooden figure above is a Kenyalang. Historically, these carvings were associated with many of the tribes in Sarawak, Sabah, and Borneo. For the Iban, the figure is an essential part of a celebration called the Gawai Kenyalang. Its role was as a messenger. It called upon the spirit world to give courage to the warriors who went out headhunting. The carvings are still made today and they are still important for the various tribal communities. Head hunting ended in the 20th century and most of the carvings are considered cultural icons.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is a large bird, 80 to 90 cm (31–35 in) long. The males are larger than the females. The birds are covered with black feathers except for the white tail that has a single black band. Their legs are white. The Hornbill is most notable for its colourful bill which is huge. In fact, that orange and red bill is what gave the bird its name. The Hornbill uses this lightweight beak to gather its food, build its nests, seal the nest, and feed the chicks. The structure on top of the bill is called a casque. It is hollow and its function is to amplify the call of the birds. The eyes of the male are red with black rims while those of the female are white with a red rim like the one below.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In comparison, this is an image of the male so that you can see the difference in their eye colour. It is the easiest way to recognize each of the genders.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by Steve Wilson – over 10 million views Thanks !! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hornbills are very unique in their nesting habits. They are cavity nesters but with a twist. When the female is ready to lay her 1-3 eggs, she will locate a cavity in a tree trunk (or sometimes a rock formation) to make her nest. Once made she helps her bonded-for-life mate seal her into the cavity with mud. The only opening is a small oval hole where the male feeds the female during her confinement that lasts 50 days. He also feeds the nestlings. This arrangement is very practical. It helps protect the nest from any type of predator including lizards and snakes. Ninety days after the chicks hatch, the female will break open the mud covering to the nest.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is listed as vulnerable. One of the biggest threats to its existence is the loss of the rainforest where it lives and builds its nest. It is also hunted for food as well as for items that are believed to give men virility including the feathers and the skull. The large trees that occupied the forested areas of Borneo are being cut down at an alarming rate. When I was there the wood was being shipped to China on those huge boats. It was overwhelming to see the forest being obliterated.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)” by Mark Louis Benedict is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In other news, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 nabbed the first fish of the morning on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. Tiny Little was busy eating it while sibling 462 waited on the nest. Tiny Little is off to a great start to the day! Go Tiny Little!

Karl II arrived at 8:10 to feed the three fledglings on the Black Stork nest in Estonia. The fledglings were incredible.

The glare of the sun on the camera creates a strong glow so you can’t see clearly what is going on. Karl arrives on the right and feeds the hungry storklings quickly. The nest is in the Karula National Park in Estonia.

One of the Storklings on the Siguldas Black Stork nest in Latvia has decided to get up close and personal with the camera and its supports while it waits for Grafs or Grafiene to bring them their breakfast.

The good news at the Peregrine Falcon Nest in the scrape box on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia is that Izzi – cute little Izzi – has not been in the scrape box for six days. He has been heard but he has not gone in after several altercations with Xavier. Diamond, Izzi’s mother, is expected to lay her eggs by the end of August. Here is Diamond looking out over her territory.

Also in Australia, the two little sea eaglets, 27 and 28, are just cute. They are really growing. Dad brought in a life fish and was going to feed them today. Lady flew in and stepped on the fish before it could flop all over the chicks. Then she took over the feeding. Both ate well but 27 had an enormous crop.

It continues to be as good a day as it can be in Bird World. The juvenile Ospreys are eating and eating preparing to being their migration. For some of the UK nests the average number of days is around 90 hatch days old for fledging. We will be keeping our eyes open to see who is leaving.

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a wonderful Friday everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WBSE Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Falconcam Osprey Project, C Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, the Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Sunday news in Bird World

The sun is bright but not too hot, the Hibiscus continues to bloom, and Tiny Little is on the Foulshaw Moss nest eating a large fish. That is a great beginning to the day.

This is actually ‘the tea time’ fish for our favourite little fledgling on the Foulshaw Moss nest. It is about 16:00 in Cumbria.

Tiny Little is so smart. She doesn’t waste her time and energy fighting with the mouth and eyes of the fish, she rips a part of the belly open and begins to eat the side and the bottom of the fish. She is ever mindful that there are also two hungry siblings lurking about.

Tiny Little ate off that fish for more than an hour. She got a lot of really nice fish Great work, Tiny Little!

After what appears to be an hour and a half, big sibling 464 arrives. I missed the hand off. Was Tiny Little finished or did 464 come in and take the fish? We will never know. 464 has been fighting with the front of that fish for over an hour now. Sibling 462 is waiting their turn! Tiny Little has flown off.

In the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park, Lady has been busy feeding 27 and 28. Oh, they are so cute! I love this stage. Lady is so gentle feeding them with her big beak. They look like two little snow people with arms.

The Only Bob or Bobette in the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest in Wisconsin has had a couple of feedings this morning and perhaps more by now; it is now 13:33 on that nest. The fish that are being brought to the nest by both parents are quite small. I wonder if all the fish are that small? or are the bigger fish lurking around in deeper water?

The chick is being watched for feather development. It is hoped that the ‘blood’ feathers will grow fully and, at the time of fledging, the chick will have a full set of juvenile plumage.

In the image below, you might want to look at what some people call the quills on the left wing. As the feathers grow, those quills break open and eventually fall off. This is what we are watching.

Yesterday I reported that Bonifac, one of the male storklings cared for by the people of Mlade Buky had been electrocuted just like its mother. The other male, Servac had not been to the nest but was seen flying with other storks. Pantrac has been to the nest to be fed. There were no storks on the nest so far today. This is not unusual! The storks are beginning to gather for their migration to Africa. Yesterday might well have been the last day for them in Mlade Buky.

Before the age of Immarsat M and GPS, the only way to study the migration of the storks was if they were ringed. In 1933, a short entry in Nature Magazine (30 September, p 509) says that ‘Storks nesting east of the River Elbe have been found to use the Asia Minor route when migrating, and those nesting west of the Elbe are stated to take the route through Spain.’ Today those similar routes are simply called the Easter and the Western. The western is through Spain and the Straits of Gibraltar while the eastern has the birds flying through Egypt following the Nile. With Satellite tracking, the birds are now known to winter in Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Senegal, Nigeria and the Niger River Basin.

The observations of the success of the migration and the concerns in 1933 are similar to those in 2021. It is a two month journey for the Danish storks – anything can happen between the time the storks leave and arrive. Even with laws protecting migrating birds, these lovely creatures have been known to have been shot down in France, Malta, and in parts of Egypt. There are many other things that impact this hazardous journey – changing climates, lack of food and water can all contribute to the loss of the birds.

Because we are talking about European laws, it is essential that the countries that make up the European Union – and many who do not- work together to ensure that the killing of migrating birds in European states is halted. There also need to be uniform protections in the territories where the birds migrate. As the world changes, following the SARS Covid-19 pandemic, countries in African that have been devastated by wars, famine, droughts, and epidemics need to understand that ‘birding’ can be an economic success story. People will begin to travel. Bird Tourism can bring vital monies into these struggling economies.

There is, however, another very troubling trend. As the climates change some of the storks are not migrating. Traditionally, they travelled to Africa where food supplies were plentiful during the winter when they were not in Europe. One troubling occurrence is that many of the European storks who take the western route are now stopping and living in garbage dumps in Spain and Portugal during the winter. There are groups that are not happy with the storks being there year round. One of them is called ‘Stop Storks’. A discussion of the issues is in an article, “European Storks become Couch Potatoes and Junk Food Junkies” in Environment.

https://www.dw.com/en/european-storks-become-couch-potatoes-and-junk-food-junkies/a-19172154

Speaking of storks, one of the nests that I have, embarrassingly not mentioned for some time, is that of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia. The camera was broken during a severe storm on 25 June and was not operational again until 15 July. Oh, those wee babies sure have grown. Their parents are Karl II and Kaia.

The trio was ringed on 9 July. You can see the bands. Those bands contain Kotkaklibi transmitters. To my knowledge this is the first instance this type of satellite tracker has been used on the Black Storks. The band numbers are as follows 716U for the oldest chick, 716P for the middle, and 716T for the youngest. Names are pending.

In the image below you can see both the banding ring and the transmitters on the legs a little better. Hopefully reports will come back on a regular basis so that we can follow these three as they undertake their first migration.

Here is the link to the streaming cam of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please go and see those lovely Black Storks. We are now at 1 August and they will not be with us for much longer. I hope everyone is well. Take care. Enjoy.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Osprey Cam, the Mlade Buky White Stork Cam, and the the Eagle Club of Estonia.

Please Note. I have very strong opinions and will always advocate hard for ways in which to protect birds. My son sent me an article with some videos on a troubling conspiracy theory in the United States. It is the ‘Birds are Not Real’ group. They believe that birds are equipped with transmitters and are actually drones that are for surveillance. Those beliefs would cause the killing of innocents. If you know of someone who believes this, please have a gentle conversation with them. If you want to check out their beliefs and what is happening, please Google: Birds are Not Real.