Fishy Dreams and Fish Tails

Today, the Collins Marsh Osprey chick, Malin, had six fish deliveries. SIX! Feel free to correct me but I don’t ever remember this much fish on this Osprey nest. Ever.

In fact, there was so much fish with deliveries coming in on top of one another that Malin simply could not eat all the fish. There is a bullhead left – it is on the left below the light. Malin is sleeping on half of a bigger fish. What a grand pillow for an Osprey. He can have fishy dreams all night! And, Malin can wake up in the morning and not have to wait for a fish delivery.

Fish. It makes all the difference in the health and well-being of our Ospreys and Storks.

In the image below, the setting sun puts a soft glow over our little one. Please note that the big feathers are now beginning to cross. Malin is also standing and walking more and is flapping his wings much more often to get them strong for flying.

A month ago there was concern that Malin would not develop his plumage and would be unable to fly successfully off the nest. Now just look! Food – the right kind of food and the amount of it – makes all the difference in the world in Malin’s development.

Malin is miracle #3 for 2021.

Here on the Foulshaw Moss nest, Blue 463 or Tiny Little Bob, is eating the fish her dad delivered. White YW would have heard her several miles away screaming for fish. Blue 462 had gotten the earlier fish and Tiny Little wasn’t liking it. Dad came to the rescue! Indeed, White YW and Blue 35 should get a round of applause. They pulled off a nest of three fledglings this year. They did not lose a hatch.

The crows are hoping that Tiny Little will leave some bites for them! I don’t know. She is a bit like a nest vacuum when it comes to food falling between the twigs!

Tiny Little is miracle #2 and, of course, miracle #1 is Tiny Tot from the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. I am certain that there are others that will come to mind when I publish this newsletter. For now, however, these three were enough to cause lots of anxiety.

I did a Sunday hop-skip-and-jump through some of the UK Osprey Nests to see if anyone was home. This is the Dyfi nest in Wales of Idris and Telyn. On the nest is Ystwyth, their daughter. Telyn is on the nest perch and Idris is on the far perch.

Idris and Telyn together. How beautiful.

Does he need an introduction? The chick on the Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest, Only Bob? Only Bob was so big when he was ringed that everyone believed him to be a large female. Nope. It is just all that fish that Dylen and Seren fed him. My goodness did Blue 496 grow.

He has spotted Dylan flying in with a fish. We are so lucky to see this. Indeed, to see so many of the UK fledglings on the nests today is fantastic.

That is a gorgeous fish for dinner. Only Bob looks pretty excited.

Watch out for your toes Dylan.

Only Bob learned well despite the fact that he was the only chick on the nest. He is excellent at mantling. But, stop, and take a look at that tail and the size of those wings. I would be ever so grateful if Malin’s was half that size when he fledges.

Oh, let’s just move this beauty over here so I can eat it!

At least one of the chicks on the Loch of the Lowes has a huge crop. It is so big, it looks like it could pop. The other is hoping for a fish delivery. Of course, neither is showing us their pretty blue bands.

NC0 and Laddie have done an amazing job raising these two. NC0 has really moved up to be one of the females that I want to watch. She is becoming super mom. She can fly and haul fish to the nest just like Iris – and she isn’t afraid to do it!

Grafs was able to find enough fish for two deliveries today. The first was a bunch of small fish at 15:29 and the second came at 19:41 with some bigger fish. The storklings are starving. They are already beginning to show the signs of malnutrition.

Grafs makes sure he moves around so that each one gets a little something.

It was mentioned that not only the sunken bodies but also the fact that the bills are turning a bright colour indicates starvation.

Once the people watching these nests realized what was happening, they became very vocal in their demands that the birds be fed. Everyone knows about the fish table that the two engineers set up for the White Storks in the village of Mlade Buky, Czechoslovakia. The people demanded that their storks be fed and the wildlife staff heard them. After seeing only one feeding by 15:00, Janis Kuze wrote the following on 15 August 2021: “It may be necessary to support the operation of the feeder – to bring live fish there regularly (once a day or two). I will write about it in the coming days.”

Liz01, the moderator of the looduskalender.ee/forum (English forum for the Latvian Fund for Nature and this Black Stork Nest) posted this notice:

“Due to the fact that the female has not been seen in the stork nest for several days, she has probably started migrating, opportunities are being sought to artificially feed this nest. Currently, the only feeder is the male, whose capacity is too small for the young birds to be successfully.
One way of trying to help the inhabitants of this nest is to set up an artificial feeder. There is one ditch near the nest where it can actually be done. Ornithologist Jānis Ķuze is ready to take over the management of this event, but he needs the help of the society. Therefore, we are looking for:
1) people on the Sigulda side who would help to set up a feeder,
2) human or fish feeders on the Sigulda side, which would be willing to donate and / or catch small fish (they must be still alive), with the possibility, to put these fish into the feeder, thus regularly
replenishing fish stocks in the feeder a third person or another link in the chain).
If anyone has the opportunity to help with this event, please send a message to Jānis Ķuze by e-mail: janis.kuze@ldf.lv.
This is currently the only real way you can still try to help the young birds in this nest survive and fly successfully! It is not known whether it will work, but we think it would be better to try not to do anything and just watch.”

Immediately, there were too many offers to help the Black Storklings and Grafs. Tears. People are so generous. All we have to do is ask.

If you wish to follow the discussion about what is happening at this particular nest in English, please go here:

When I have news of what is happening at the Estonian Black Stork nest, I will let you know.

You can watch the Black Stork Nest in the forest near Sigulda, Latvia here:

We all send our prayers and warm wishes to these beautiful birds and the people helping them. We need a miracle like that at Mlade Buky.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is wonderful to bring you such good news. Please send all your positive energy to Latvia and Estonia so that the efforts to save the Black Storklings from starving to death will be successful. It is heart warming to see so many people answer calls for help.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: The Latvian Fund for Nature, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Dyfi Osprey Project, Cumbrian Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest and CarnyX Wild, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

Just a note. My newsletter will be posted late on Monday 16 August. Thank you!

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.

Sad news about K2 and other nest stories late Thursday and Friday, updated to include tragedy to Osprey nest in Finland

First, I am so very sorry to bring you the sad news that K2 is no longer with us. Cornell Bird Lab released the following statement this morning:

June 25 Update: We have sad news to share about K2, the injured nestling from the Cornell Hawks nest that was transported to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital on June 22. There, K2 received emergency care and advanced diagnostics to assess the nature and extent of injuries and determine treatment. Unfortunately, X-rays and other testing revealed severe and irrecoverable injuries that would have prevented K2’s survival in the wild or quality of life in captivity. Because of this, and the chronic pain associated with this condition, the wildlife veterinarians made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize K2.

Cornell Bird Lab

Our hearts go out to Big Red and Arthur, K1 and K3 who will forever miss their middle sibling. Fly high little one!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me this week. I appreciate the comments and the e-mail letters. It is wonderful that so many people are finding delight in the bird families. As one of you said, watching the birds and their daily lives is certainly better than watching the daily news! I totally agree.

I posted a question about the Cowlitz Osprey Nest. What is happening? Are the lack of significant food deliveries due to a small number of fish in the area? or are there other reasons? Thank you to the person who wrote to me to say that there are fish available. Indeed you mentioned that Electra had been fishing and had come to the nest with fish and shortly after Wattsworth showed up empty handed wanting her fish. I had seen this earlier on this nest so that is a definite pattern. Today Electra didn’t let Wattsworth have any fish – she ate and so did the only remaining Bob. This just screams what is happening to Iris with Louis at the Osprey nest in Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. Both of the females are excellent fishers and both of the males come to the nest and try to take the fish off the female. So I wonder if Wattsworth has a second nest like Louis?

Thankfully, the little Cowlitz baby had a bigger crop later in the day. This baby is going to need so much more fish to thrive but, all we have to do is look at Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest to know that it is possible to have a turn around. But this means more and bigger fish. This chick should be in the rapid growth period and instead it looks like half its age.

Too bad these females can’t get an Osprey divorce!

Tonight (Thursday) there were two prey drops on the Fernow light tower. Arthur flew in with one and Big Red came with the second. Neither parent stayed on the nest to feed K3. It is time for a little tough love for this little one. He needs to learn how to unzip that prey and eat it – quickly so no one else comes along to take it.

It looks like K1 and K3 are having some kind of secret conversation in the image below. Perhaps it is about Big Red leaving a chippie but not feeding K3 who was crying for mom to give him some bites? Or maybe it is about who is going to eat the rest of that chippie??? If so, they had better decide quick. Big Red doesn’t like food to go to waste and that would just be a nice little snack before bed for mom! She will take it. Another lesson for these young hawks – leave food and someone else will grab it!

As the IR lights come on you can see that both of the chicks are still in that far corner. They are on the nest for the night. K3 has to be tired. He was flying all over the area trying to get back to the nest. He was on the bleachers, on another light boast, on the announcers both, on the Rice Building and finally got back to the nest. He has to be exhausted. K1 is having better luck at her flying and getting to her goal. Fantastic! When I first checked I saw the empty nest and could not see the pair of them in the corner. So happy to have found their hiding spot.

Big Red brought K1 and K2 their breakfast this morning. K3 remained on the nest resting from its adventures yesterday and K1 went over to Rice Building and was buzzed by Robins and Starlings. It is 11:40 am nest time and they are both back on the nest together. It is a good Friday morning!

Oh, there were terrible storms in Florida. Poor Tiny Tot, on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, was really having to sink its talons into the nest and hold on. The nest is still wet Friday morning in Florida. Jack brought Tiny Tot a nice fish at 11:26.

Tiny was still eating a half hour later. Thank you, Jack! So everything is fine in Florida with Tiny this Friday morning. And the camera is fixed. It must have gotten blown around during the storm. Thank you for doing that. Lots of viewers want to see the top of the perch and the entire nest.

Over in Cumbria, heavy rain was pouring down on Blue 35 and the three chicks on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest, too, Thursday late.

Blue 35 is doing the best she can to cover up her three babies on that Foulshaw Nest. There is poor Tiny Little Bob with its head under her wing in front of her tail. Oh, he should almost be directly under her. He doesn’t have the feathering the other two do.

Oh, I hope this rain stops. Ever since those two healthy chicks died of hypothermia in Spain it makes me uneasy when I see a wet nest.

It is Friday morning and the rain has stopped in Cumbria and the wind has dried that nest out quickly. Blessings! Now if Great Big Bob will allow Tiny Little Bob to have lots of fish today – it will be a good Fish Friday! Gosh that sibling 1 is even grumpy looking. Sad to say for my gender but I bet ‘it’ is a big female!

It had been pitching down rain over in Wales too at the Clywedog Nest of Dylan and Seren – and the chick that everyone thought was a huge female turns out to be a boy. Well, there was a break in the rain but the nest was still really wet. The banders went up to weigh, measure, and ring the chick. He weighs 1400 grams at 32 days old and is now Blue 496. Dylan and Seren flew above the nest for the entire 40 minutes that it took making sure their only Bob was safe.

For everyone who is having an eagle withdrawal since the fledging of E17 and E18, Legacy, the Duke eaglets, the Pittsburg-Hayes, the Decorah and many more – there is an eagle nest up in Juneau, Alaska. The parents are Liberty and Freedom. They have one chick this year, Kindness. Oh, I love that name. The world could use a lot more ‘kindness’ and compassion now. Less anger, more hope.

This nest is located in a very unique botanical garden set in the rainforest area of Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska.

The beautiful baby eaglet, Kindness, is 34 days old today. It was raining earlier and now that the rain has stopped the adult is standing up and trying to get the rain off their feathers. There is kindness all dry and warm!

There is the second egg. Mom still incubates it but, for those of you familiar with Legacy – this will remind you of ‘Eggie’. The egg is way past the date to hatch and now it is just a kind of pillow or prop for Kindness.

It is such a beautiful nest with little yellow wildflowers growing on it and all those green pine trees.

If you would like to watch this nest, here is the link:

There is wonderful news coming in from the Bucovina Golden Eagle Nest. Both parents have delivered prey to the nest. Yes, you read that right. The male actually came to the nest and brought a small mouse for the eaglet. Oh, this is so very good. Perhaps it is getting less frightened of the camera. The mom brought in a Eurasian Hare. The eaglet ate the mouse from Dad in one gulp and enjoyed having Mom feed it the rabbit.

Lady Hawk caught all the action on video for us:

There is sad news coming out of Finland. This is what happened:

Here’s a verbal description of the attack by an observer:“In air a raven doesn’t match an osprey, but Alma chased the raven into the woods, where her wingspan was too wide. The raven maneuvered on top of her and they fell down clawing at each other.“Alma probably got injured when falling and the raven to get the upper hand and go at Alma with its sturdy beak that’s a sharp and strong weapon.“The raven went at Alma for about 10 minutes on the ground, and when the raven flew to the nest, it had Alma’s feathers and blood on its beak.“Then attacked the chicks, killing one and injuring one, before Ossi [returned from fishing and] chased it away. After a while, the Raven returns to Alma who is still alive and fighting back but not able to get up.“The Raven finally leaves and a fox finds Alma who tries to defend herself one last time before the fox finishes her and hides her body. RIP Alma, you were a great mother and we’ll miss you.”

Thank you for joining me today. I am so so sorry to have to bring to you the news about K2. I know that each and every one of you were hoping she would be able to return to her family. She had the best care a hawk could get and we have to trust that all the right decisions were made in her interests.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Achieva Credit Union, Dyfi Osprey Project, Carnyx Wild and Clywedog Osprey Nest, Glacier Gardens Eagle Cam, and Cowlitz PUD. I also want to thank Lady Hawk for her video and John Williams for the posting of Blue 496 on FB.