Hawks definitely do not like children

By 18:30, the smoke and the temperatures were cooperating and it seemed like a good time to go and check on the Cooper’s Hawk family in Assiniboine Park. When I arrived at the Park, there were several cricket games going on, families were meeting and sharing a pot luck outside – many for the first time since spring 2020, there were birthday parties and children running around.

When I found the spot and knew where the hawks had their nest and were hunting for bugs and chipmunks the other day, there were children running around. I could see the hawks in the sky circling. They never went to the nest tree or came to the ground. It is the life of a birder. It would be wonderful to see them a few more times before migration. The Canada Geese do not usually begin leaving until the middle of September through to the end of October. I have seen some miss the group and wind up walking about on an early snow. Weather is such a significant factor in the challenges our birds face.

For those who are not sure what migration actually is. Our feathered friends Move from one area for breeding during the spring and summer to another area for winter. They have adapted to the pattern of coming and going in order to survive. It is based on food supplies.

Different species travel different routes to their winter homes. These are long journeys. For example, the Ospreys in the United Kingdom will travel some 8,000 kilometres or 5,000 miles to places in Africa. The birds will fly over land, sea, and desert to reach their destinations. People wonder why the birds just don’t live in Africa all the time. The answer is rather simplistic: there would not be enough nesting sites or food for all of them plus their chicks. There are also a lot of very hungry predators ready to take those lovely fluffy little ones. So they disperse from Africa to sites in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The birds decide when it is time for them to migrate. The hormones in their body begin to change. Unlike spring when this hormone change leads to breeding, the autumn sees the birds restless until they know that it is time to depart. These hormones trigger a lot of eating. Fat begins to gather under their skin. They gain weight. It is that fat that will see them through their migration. Still, they stop and feed along the way. Normally they hunt for food in the early mornings and late afternoons. High pressure systems are good for flying but low pressure systems bring winds and rain. When the birds get into a low pressure system, they will normally stop flying, if they can, and wait til another high pressure system comes through. Migration times vary because of the winds and the weather. Birds that soar and ride the thermals can travel as much as 465 km or 300 miles in a stretch. Some gather in flocks like the storks in Latvia and Estonia. Sometimes birds pair up to migrate. For the Ospreys, the female leaves and the male stays behind until there are no fledglings crying for food.

Not all birds migrate. Even I have a sedentary Sharp-shinned Hawk that defies all logic to stay on the Canadian prairies for the winter. The Osprey in Australia do not migrate. The birds in the Amazon Rainforest do not migrate. There is plenty of food and nesting sites for them year round. This past spring and early summer there was much discussion over the migration of birds from Florida. In Jacksonville, Samson, the father of Legacy, stays in the area of the nest year round. Gabrielle, on the other hand, migrates north – yes north – to cooler summer climates. This year she might have discovered it is hotter up north! Even some of the Ospreys in Florida do not migrate; they stay year round. There are plenty of fish for them as well as nests.

Birds take different routes. The White Storks from Latvia either taken a western route or an eastern route. Dr Erick Greene and his team in Montana study the migratory movements of the Ospreys from the Clark Fork River area with satellite transmitters. In the United States, some fly over Hawk Mountain where there is an annual count. In fact, you can go to this site to see the number of birds traveling over this marvellous area with its thermals. Here is the link for you for their autumn migration count that will being in about a week!

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/hawk-count

Migration is extremely challenging and we hope that all of the adults will return to their nests the following spring and that we will see the juveniles who take their first flight to Africa in a couple of years.

And now for some birding and nest news

Poole Harbour: Blue 022 and CJ7 who were so visible until a few weeks ago sky dancing, mating, and working on the nest with the streaming cam are now working on another nest in the area. There is no camera. They are still doing everything together and everyone is looking forward to the first hatches in Poole Harbour for 200 years.

Dahlgren: A large part of the nest in King George, Virginia, collapsed today. It will be fixed in the fall well after Jack and Harriet’s migration.

Kielder Forest: All 16 of the 2021 juveniles have fledged successfully. Everyone is elated. This is 6 more fledglings than their previous best year. Congratulations everyone!

Mlade Buky: Bucachek and his new love spent the night on the nest in Mlade Buky, Czechoslovakia. Oh, how sweet! Just as the dawn is beginning to appear, they are both preening.

Balloons, something that impacts all birds: Virginia, Maine, Maryland, and Delaware have or are going to pass shortly the release of balloons. Hawaii has already passed a law on helium balloons.

Port Lincoln Ospreys, Australia: Dad and Mom have been taking turns incubating the eggs. Here is dad on the nest. A little earlier he had been pestering Mom. He kept pulling on that turquoise rope wanting his turn. It was too funny. The Port Lincoln Ospreys are an example of sedentary birds. They do not migrate. There is no need.

Loch Arkaig: The two juveniles of Louis and Dorcha have now fledged. I have not heard anything about the chosen names yet.

Collins Marsh: Malin was a little wet off and on during Saturday. S/he is sleeping on the nest alone tonight. There is no perch – let us hope that the parent or both parents are in a nearby tree in case there are any owls about. It seems like a pattern. Does mom always spend Saturday night off the nest?

WBSE, Sydney Olympic Forest: 27 and 28 continue to eat until their crops almost burst and sleep. Meanwhile there has been an intruder today and Lady and Dad were honking in alert.

And last but very special, A Place Called Hope. Along with other wildlife centres, they are receiving quite a number of starving Great Blue Herons and other herons. Why would they be starving? It has been raining in the Connecticut area and all the herbicides and pesticides that people put on their lawns and gardens makes its way into the environment, into the water table, into the ponds. It is poison. If your gardening centre or lawn care person tells you that the chemicals they use are ‘Green’ – well, think again. Whatever they are using kills. So sad. It is OK if your lawn doesn’t look emerald green.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Have a lovely Sunday. Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and their FB pages where I grab my screen shots: A Place Called Hope, Mlade Buky White Stork Cam, Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre.

The featured image is Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge taking his turn incubating his two eggs.

Monday in Bird World 26 July 2021

There have been dark clouds over our City since the morning. I think everyone I know was hoping for some heavy rain – gutter gushers are what I think they call it in some places in the southern United States. But, no. Enough to water the flowers for the hummingbirds and then stop. No more than four minutes of rain. So what do you do? Well, you go and check on Tiny Little at the Foulshaw Nest. No one was there this morning and guess what? No one is there tonight!

It is the time of year when we have to loosen the apron strings and begin to say farewell to all these beautiful bobbleheads that have grown into amazing birds. Their journey is just beginning as the cameras are shut down. There is at least a 4000 mile trip to Africa or Central America, or Brazil depending on where the birds begin their long, arduous flight. We wish them all well and hope to see Tiny Little in two years flying around, causing mischief.

Earlier, both of the chicks on the Loch of the Lowes Nest were home waiting for a fish drop from either Laddie or NC0 or both.

Feeling lucky after catching these two and watching them in that gorgeous setting, I decided to check on some of the other nests. Some luck at the Llyn Clywedog Nest, where Seren 5F had delivered a Mullet to Blue 496. That is one big baby. He has already been seen carrying a good size piece of fish on his talons to the trees.

No one visited Poole Harbour when I checked, but all of the chatter says that sky dancing continues to take place between CJ7 and the two-year-old fledgling Blue 022.

Blue 096 on the Rutland Manton Bay nest has been missing from sight since last Thursday. He turned up on the nest today for a few minutes, and his sister, Blue 095, sent him packing. He has a crop, so he is getting fish somewhere else. No worries with that chick! Alive and well.

And now for something completely different. Remember the small white storks that the people of Mlade Buky saved from starvation along with Father Stork?

The female has fledged, and I suspect the males have too (but I have not seen this information). They still return to the nest to be fed by Father Stork. Their animation and the sounds they make are incredible. Have a look, and a listen:

The little chick on the Collins Marsh Nest has had three feedings today. Mom flew in not that long ago with what looks like a Small Mouth Bass (feel free to correct me) for the wee one. That chick was excited to see that fish land on the nest. It remains warm up on that tower, 110 feet off the ground!

Look at the chick’s expression.

It is so exciting when food lands for everyone! Indeed, the parents simply become Door Dash – or other food delivery services. There are a lot of people looking out for this little one – at the Wisconsin DNR (Stephen), at the Collins Marsh Nature Center (James) and at the local wildlife rehabilitation clinic (Patricia). Their attention to the mother missing and the feather issues with the chick are so appreciated.

The nests are slowing down and I will also be slowing down with my postings. You can expect one posting a day in the late afternoon or early evening. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or my video clips: Mlade Buky White Stork Nest, Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Carnyx Wild and Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest, and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Sunday in Bird World

Today it not just about Ospreys. There have been some nests that have been overlooked lately so I am going to try and catch up on some of those for all of us.

I love how the wildlife rehabbers go to great lengths to make certain that the babies they rescue do not imprint on humans. Have a look at an eaglet that came into care and how it is being fed:

https://fb.watch/v/1NOZVD1I5/

The female White Storkling at the nest in Mlady Buky, Czechoslovakia is ready to fledge! Look how beautiful she is with her wings spread. She looks like a dancer bowing to her audience. She was making all the right moves this morning. She began flapping her wings as the sun was rising and got very enthusiastic around 6am. She is restless and continues flapping and looking out to the world beyond the nest.

Father Stork comes in to feed the three youngsters. This generous community continues to provide supplementary food for Father Stork so that he and his three babies can survive. You can see, in the background, Father Stork eating from the fish table that is provided to him and his family. Sadly, their mother was killed on one of the electrical lines and these three are alive today because of this community. It is heart warming to see that the storklings are ready to fledge. Everyone can be so proud of their efforts!

The Bucovina Golden Eaglet, Zenit, grabbed the prey delivery from Mom and completely self-fed today for the first time. Zenit mantled and flapped all the while telling Mum to go away he could do this himself. Wow. Another milestone to independence. Lady Hawk caught this magical moment in a video:

There has been a lot of discussion about goshawks lately because they have raided and killed many Osprey both in Latvia and an eagle in Spain. There is a Crested Goshawk nest in a park in Taipei. The adults failed at their first breeding attempt and had one hatch on their second. The eaglet is three weeks old. So cute.

Crested goshawks live in Asia. Their territory is from the Indian subcontinent to Taiwan. In terms of its range and numbers it is of ‘least concern’. It is, however, a protected species in Hong Kong because of the encroachment on its forest environment. The hawks are now adapting to urban living. The Crested Goshawk is 30-46 cm in length or 12-16 inches. Like other raptors, there is reverse sex size diamorphism – the female is larger than the male. They feed on insects, birds, and mammals. The nest is normally made of sticks in a tree and most often the female will lay between two and three eggs.

The image below shows a Crested Goshawk Female. Look at that gorgeous plumage.

“鳳頭蒼鷹 – 雌鳥 Crested Goshawk (Female)” by alexwhite21 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In size comparison, the Northern Goshawk that has caused issues related to the death of the Osprey chicks in Latvia and Spain is approximately twice the size of the Crested Goshawk. Each species has a long tail and shorter broad wings to help them speed around the forest area where they hunt. They are more adapt at living in the forest and often lure their prey into that environment.

Here is the mom in her nest with her eaglet.

The eaglet has been ringed with two official bands.

The eaglet will fledge in 2-3 weeks. You can watch this little one grow up here:

Now let’s check on some of those Ospreys!

Foulshaw Moss. Tiny Little is still moving in to get fed. I have seen some people worrying about him but, honestly, this little one is going to be grand. At tea time on Sunday, 464 was self-feeding. Self-feeding is hard work and the chicks spend a lot of time and energy fighting with the bones in the head. They get tired. So when 464 finished eating, Blue 35 took over and fed Tiny Little and Middle Bob.

In the image below, 464 is self-feeding. Mom, Blue 35, is waiting and it is Tiny Little stretching his wing. As we will all be saying, Tiny Little isn’t so Tiny anymore. And that is a good thing!

Blue 35 has taken over the feeding and, of course, Tiny Little is right there for the bites! Tiny Little and Middle Bob have always done well together. It is really good that 464, the big female, fledged first. It is hard to imagine but a couple of days ago Tiny Little looked like an extremely young chick. Now, unless the bands are visible and you follow the chicks it is hard to tell them apart. Now that is magnificent and it shows precisely what getting a good feeding means to these chicks.

Dyfi. Right now it is pitching down rain. Earlier it looked like Dysynni was hovering so high that he was going to fledge – but, he didn’t. Ystwyth is in awe! Dysynni is 52 days old today and Ystwyth is 48 days.

I imagine that Sir Richard Branson whose Virgin Galactic’s Unity Spaceplane took off from Spaceport America this morning successfully returning to Earth from space would really like to fly like a bird. Laura Culley, falconer and great mind, told me once that humans have the DNA for feathers and flight we just haven’t turned them on. Any geneticists out there to confirm that?

And then the rains came and Idris delivered a really nice fish that Telyn is feeding the nestlings. No more thoughts of fledging today!

Poole Harbour. Both CJ7 and Blue 022 were at the nest at Poole Harbour today. They continue bonding. There is at least a month or six weeks til they head off on their migration. Let us all hope that this lovely new couple return in late March or early April – both of them – and entertain us with their antics while raising chicks.

Clywedog. Oh, it is wet and miserable at this nest in Wales today. Only Bob looks pretty miserable.

Never fear. Dylan went out and got a nice perch for Only Bob’s (Blue 496) tea time treat. Seren is happily feeding her little one. Soon Only Bob is going to be thinking about fledging too.

Look at Dylan’s strong thin legs. The other day he flew 13 km to get a trout for his family’s dinner. Thanks John Williams for confirming that distance!

Loch of the Lowes. It is raining in Scotland, too. NC0 is on the nest feeding her nestling and her fledgling their tea time meal. NC0 has been flying with Fledgling Bob over the loch. It will be wonderful to see her spend time flying with both her babies once Second Bob has fledged. NC0 has become a very good mother. She struggled at the beginning with the feeding and many thought that Second Bob would not survive and perish like little third Bob. But, look at these two now. Fantastic. NC0 really came into her own. Laddie has done his part, too!

Are you interested in France’s plan for their Osprey and White Tailed Eagles? If so, Stephanie Scofield posted the French government’s document on the Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) FB page. If you cannot read French, have a look anyway. The graphics are very helpful. Here is that report:

Thank you so much to the person who forwarded me an image of Z1, Tegid. I do not know who to credit for the image so thank you to that individual. I hope you do not mind my posting it today!

I am so grateful to my friend ‘T’ for telling me about this brave little osprey. As many of you know, I am setting about on a ten year plan to follow the osprey hatches that were beaten and battered and deprived of food but, who made it despite all the odds against them to fledge! I want to see how their lives unfold. Sadly, many like Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey nest are not ringed and most are not seen on camera. So my list is short. It includes Z1 Tegid, JJ7 Captain, Tiny Little Bob Blue 463, and Tiny Tot. If you know of others please alert me. You can leave me a comment or send the information through e-mail (maryannsteggles@icloud.com). It is much appreciated.

Here is Tegid. He has a nest with chicks for the second year in Snowdonia in Wales! Look at those strong little legs, too.

It is a soaring hot day on the Canadian prairies. The birds are really enjoying the water dishes and baths – they are keeping us busy filling them. I am taking a break from cleaning my tiny home office. It got stuffed with all manner of everything during the pandemic and now it is time to get that sorted. It is so nice, like now, to stop and check in on our friends with feathers!

Thank you so much for joining me and thank you for all the letters, comments, and pictures. I love hearing from you.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, CarnyX Wildlife and Clywedog Ospreys, Dyfi Osprey Project, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Crested Goshawk Nest Cam in Taipei, and the Mlady Buky White Stork Nest Cam.

Here a fish, there a fish, everywhere a fish!

One of the things that I have learned but which I continually have to remind myself is this: birds are individuals. They may have instincts that have developed over 50 million years but, at the same time, they definitely have their own character. One of the first times I noticed this was with the Royal Albatross Family in 2020. The Royal Cam chick was Atawhai (Pippa was her nick name). Her parents are OGK (orange-green-black) and YRK (yellow-red-black). OGK hatched in 1998 and he was 22 years old last year when Atawhai hatched. YRK hatched in 1994 and was 26 years old when Atawhai hatched. They have been a bonded pair since 2006 and 2020 was their seventh breeding attempt. They have four children and one foster chick as of 2020. So they are not ‘new’ parents. OGK would fly in to feed Atawhai. He loved to sit next to his baby girl and have the most animated conversations. OGK was never in a hurry to leave. Atawhai adored him and would go running when he would land. Sometimes he would even spend the night with Atawhai. In contrast, YRK liked to feed her daughter and leave! Then there are the adults that I call over providers. A case this year was Louis, the partner of Anna, at the Kisatchie Forest Bald Eagle Nest. They were first time parents of Kisatchie. At first I didn’t think that Anna would ever figure out how to feed her wee chick. The parents try to look straight at their chick and keep their beak straight and vertical but in fact, because of the way the raptors see, the mother needs to angle her beak. Anna figured it out – thankfully. Louis was the envy of all the people fishing on Lake Kincaid. One day there were eighteen fish piled up on that Bald Eagle Nest – 18! He had enough food for all the Bald Eagle nests in the southern US. Unbelievable. And then there are those nests where you just sit down and weep. I said I was not going to watch the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest but one day I peeked. How bad could this dad be? I know that I often called Jack at the Achieva Osprey Nest a dead beat dad and for several weeks he was but I didn’t think it could get worse than Jack. Oh, but yes it can! Wattsworth. I only have to say his name and those that watch the nest know precisely what he does and doesn’t do. Wattsworth gets caught not bringing in fish but if Electra catches one he is right on the nest expecting her to give it to him! Meanwhile the two barely living chicks – those poor little things – have barely enough food to live. They certainly don’t get enough food to thrive. And Electra is worn out and ever so hungry, too.

Can a nest be an indication of the success the couple will have with their nestlings? I know it sounds like one of those really stupid questions. The day that Louis landed on the rim of the nest at Loch Arkaig, the nest he shares with his mate Aila, he began to do nestorations. He repaired the walls of the nest, brought in new seaweed from the loch to dry and got everything ready for Aila’s arrival. As the days passed and Aila didn’t show up, Louis continued to work on the nest in case she was really late. Have a look at this nest. There has been snow, lots of rain, and some pretty windy storms but the nest is more or less the way Louis left it when Aila did not return this year.

From the moment Iris arrived at her Hellgate Missoula Montana nest she began to repair it. Iris had a lot to do. Last year she went on a rampage when a squirrel climbed up and tried to get in the nest cup. This was after the raven had eaten her egg. There wasn’t much left of the walls. So in 2021 it was almost like starting from scratch. One of the people who belong to the FB page of the Montana Ospreys commented on how Iris was still doing her best even though Iris knows that the outcome in 2021 will not be any different than previous years. The key is that she is doing her best, regardless.

Even CJ7 and 022, who are currently bonding on the Poole Harbour Nest but will not have chicks this year, are working on their nest!

Just yesterday one of the two chicks on the Cowlitz Nest almost fell out of the nest. There is no wall on the far side! You can see it plainly in the photo below.

Is this because there are no sticks to bring to continue building? or there are so many intruders there is no time to secure the nest? or is it indifference? or is Jack just lazy? or does he have another family or two? If anyone knows the answer, write to me – I would sure like to know!

How can you tell if a raptor has food in their system? We all know by looking to see if they have a crop but is there any other way? I happened to catch Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest tonight doing his ‘ps’. That white streak ends between the C and the H in the Achieva logo below. The PS left Tiny Tot’s body like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. The point of all of this is that Electra had such a tiny ps yesterday that you knew her system was almost entirely void of food. The same for those babies. They fight now – they each want to live. It is sad because that clobbering one another uses up their precious energy.

Tiny Tot doing a PS. 15 June 2021

The Cowlitz kids had feedings from two fish today and Electra was eating too. We can hope that all of that small fish will go to Electra and the babies and not into the talons of Wattsworth who was waiting to claim it! Wattsworth certainly gets the Dead Beat Dad award for the past two weeks!

Speaking of Dead Beat Osprey Dads. I have to give Jack a gold star. He has really turned around. Every day he brings at least one fish to Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest. One day – was it Sunday? – he even brought in four – FOUR – fish for Tiny. Jack has not forgotten his little one protecting the nest!

Here comes Jack with that fish for Tiny at 7:05:17.

White YW and Blue 35 on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest have also been working on the nest. White YW is getting much better at bringing in fish to the nest for Blue 35 and the three chicks, too. My concern is really only Tiny Little Tot. Oh, he is starting to get clever like Tiny Tot did when he was starving and being picked on by the bigger siblings. One of the FB friends of the nest said it well today, “Little One saw the fish coming in and made sure he was in pole position!” Her observations were absolutely spot on. Tiny Tot got right in front of mama so that she could see him clearly and Tiny Little Tot didn’t move. Not only did he not move but he also took bites meant for one of the bigger siblings. Oh, I just adore this little sweetie. He could go on that list of third hatches that survive and thrive!

That was just brilliant! And the older ones didn’t even seem to mind. What a relief. Tiny Little Tot had a really good feed.

Speaking of crops, have a look at the crop of Little Bob on Loch of the Lowes. Looks like everything has straightened itself out on that nest as well. Both Bobs are really thriving.

Today’s winner of provider of the day goes to Idris, however. Sorry Laddie! Just look at that whale that he hauled in for Telyn and the Bobs. He didn’t even eat the head!

Oh, thanks so much for joining me. It is always a pleasure. I will be checking in on Big Red and Arthur and the Ks first thing tomorrow. Fledge watch is truly on for that Red tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Nest, Achieva Credit Union, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest, Scottish Wildlife Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Woodland Trust and Friends of Loch Arkaig.