Bald Eagles working hard on their nests…it is Friday in Bird World

30 December 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

Can you believe it? It is New Year’s Eve in Australia and Asia while in North and South America and in Europe it is the 30th. 2023 is almost here and for many, it feels like we were just welcoming the birds back to Canada in the very late spring and early summer. What will the New Year have in store for all of us and our feathered friends?

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies but it isn’t that nice. We are having sleet which makes driving or walking rather hazardous. Still, I got out and the birds and the house fur balls have food for another month. The birds don’t like it especially since I decided to break up a large cylinder of suet and scatter it around. The sleet has managed to make certain that the pieces are difficult to unlodge. Still, I cannot complain and won’t…although Canadians really are known for complaining about the cold and then when the heat arrives, equally complaining about it! But, right about now, I wouldn’t mind sitting outside listening to the birds or heading for a coconut ice cream and watching the Magnificent Frigatebirds dive for fish in Grenada.

Mr Blue Jay taking flight with a peanut – taken with iPhone.

A video with really good images of Blue Jays and 10 Fun Facts about one of my favourite garden birds.


We have all been waiting for an update on WBSE30 with nothing appearing and many fearing the worst. Well, our sleuth ‘H’ found an update with a video on FB showing WBSE 30 flying in its aviary. Fantastic news. Thanks, ‘H’. The key is to go to the Raptor Recovery Australia FB page it seems.

I cannot think of a better way to end the year than to know that that both 29 and 30 will have a chance at a full life in the wild like WBSE27. This news and knowing that it is the same team that gave 27 such a commanding start to her life in the wild is so reassuring.

What everyone down in the Sydney Olympic Park needs to consider – based on 27, 29, and 30 – is that the minute the sea eagles can be picked up after fledge and taken into care, the better. I know. It sounds ridiculous but, the Pied Currawongs and Magpies will not allow them to thrive. If they are found at all, they are emaciated and sometimes injured. They have had no time to perfect their flying skills or to be taught how to hunt by their parents. Indeed, when did you last hear of Lady and Dad training a fledgling to fish down by the Parramatta River? have they ever? No, the nuisances drive them out of the forest to their death OR they are picked up and taken into rehabilitation. So instead of pondering it, just do it! Pick them up the minute they are seen on the sidewalk or in someone’s yard and give them to the rehabbers for 27 and 30 to train.

Now how is 29 with that break?

Climate change and the extreme weather conditions that are striking some areas of the Earth are the subject of an article in The Guardian. It is really a good read and we must, we absolutely must, realise that climate not only impacts humans but everything on the planet – especially our feathered friends. How long will we ignore it? and what can we do to help? If everyone in the world woke up on the 1st of January resolving to not buy a single new thing in 2023 unless it was essential (and I really do mean absolutely essential), turned down their heating 3 or 4 degrees, did not waste any food thus cutting down their purchases by 30-40%, resolved to feed the birds (purchase of birdseed can come from food not purchased that would be wasted), cut down on car travel and thus reliance on fossil fuels ——–would it make a difference? Surely during the pandemic we saw the most noxious skies in places like New Delhi and Beijing clear as well as animals coming to life. We need curious, determined, and ‘efficient’ people to help us get motivated to really get on with what needs to be done. And we need ‘paid’ influencers – I don’t need to tell you who is on my list not to ever be persuaded by but their names end with a ‘K – banned from the air waves. I really do not want my kind and empathetic granddaughter to ever think that being beautiful requires altering every aspect of her body! Enough of a rant. I am going to read Bill McGuire’s Hothouse Earth. An Inhabitant’s Guide again this week.

And now that we have completely lost our train of thought, a good look at a woman who ties the knots of weather disasters together to give us the whole view.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/29/i-am-an-optimistic-person-the-scientist-who-studies-climate-catastrophes?CMP=share_btn_link

So in the world of hungry raptors and other feeders of carrion, who will win? The Red Kite, the Crow, or the Magpie? There is a pheasant lunch waiting for one of them!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/28/country-diary-a-downed-pheasant-draws-quite-the-scavenging-party?CMP=share_btn_link

You might remember that I wrote about Beauty and the Beak, a book chronicling the Bald Eagle who lost her beak and could not feed herself. Deborah Rose and Jane Veltkamp worked to give her a new life with a 3D printed bank. And now, there is an update from ‘J’ on Beauty who is part of the Birds of Prey Northwest in Idaho:

“Beauty is doing very well. Her upper beak has slowly regenerated some growth, which pushed the specially-fitted prosthetic beak off. The GREAT news in this is that the beak growth now allows Beauty to feed herself. We cut strips of salmon (one of her favorites) and lay them out, and she is able to scoop them up to eat on her own. We are in a wait and see pattern before determining any kind of new prosthetic beak, which is dependent upon any continued regrowth. Beauty continues to live in her own large aviary where she moves about, spreads her wings during short flights, perches on large tree limbs, and looks out over forested mountains and a lake. She remains a stunning, very special bald eagle, and a reminder that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Port Lincoln has published a video on the life of Zoe, the only surviving Osprey chick at the barge near the marina in Port Lincoln. It was really bittersweet watching it – there was Little Bob and Middle. So, I suggest having a tissue handy.

This morning Zoe was screaming for Mum to bring her a fish. ‘R’ and I could not help laughing. Poor Mum and Dad. I wonder if Zoe is going to sit on that nest for the next couple of months screaming for fish! Go get a Puffer, Zoe! Let Ervie show you how. Give Mum a break.

If I was hoping that E3 – 01 would be nice to E3 -02, it was just wishful thinking. The oldest sibling at the E3 nest on Kincaid Lake in Louisiana took great exception to its younger sibling being in front when the food was being dispensed! The little one wasn’t even 12 hours old.

It’s blurry but he is dispensing the beaking at the back of the little one’s head. Hopefully this dominance issue will be settled quickly. My problem is I know how it can end and we have seen too much siblicide during 2022. I would just as soon start out 2023 on a positive note).

There is lots of food and everyone will be well fed. Still, the beaking can continue regardless. ‘A’ wrote that she hopes that the first hatch is a male and the second a female – that would certainly level out the field!

Andria will brood the eaglets because the natal down they are born with does not allow them to regulate their own temperature. By about the 9th or 10th day, the two eaglets will have a grey thermal down. Andria will not have to brood the eaglets after this period but, she will. That is her instinct to keep them warm and dry. She can be off for longer periods. By 21 days, the eaglets will be entirely covered with a grey thermal down that looks like an old carpet! We will start to see the juvenile feathers emerge from the wing tips, the back, and the tail. The growth of the thermal down should be fully complete by 30 days when the juvenile feathers will begin to grow on the breast of the birds and their head. Believe it or not, in 6 or 7 winks – yes, if you blink too much near Valentine’s Day you will be shocked. These two will be covered entirely with juvenile feathers. Unbelievable growth. Right now they will be fed often, usually every hour, a little food. As they begin to eat more and hold food in their crop, they will be fed less. I do not know about Andria but Anna at the E-1 nest had so much fish on the nest that she just stuffed her last two eaglets!!!!!!! I think this might happen here at the E3 nest, too.

A later feeding by Alex and both eaglets got bites. E3-01 has a ‘huge’ crop for such a little gaffer and so does its smaller sibling. Now this was Dad, Alex, feeding. Well done, Alex.

It sure looked like the eagles had been visiting the MN-DNR nest the last few days. Last year Harry and Nancy hatched two eaglets before Harry was injured/killed at this nest. Later you will remember that food was scarce- Nancy had to hunt, protect, and keep away intruders, impossible – and E1 pushed E2 off the side of the nest not long before fledge. E2’s injuries were such that it was euthanised. So is Nancy with a new mate? or is this a new couple? I am not completely sure. We do know that Nancy did have a new mate in the early fall. I await confirmation from the MN-DNR or Pat Burke who knows Nancy well and will be able to ID her.

Caught Thunder out on Tor Thursday morning. Oh, what a beautiful view! I would not mind being in warm Southern California right now sitting there on top of that rock looking out at the water. I wonder how many would like to join me?

Staying with the Channel Islands eagles, Andor and Cruz were both at the Fraser Point nest today.

Ron has been bringing gifts to Rose including part of a squirrel. Both have been working on the nest but whether or not there will be eggs is unknown. Maybe next year?? Bald Eagle season in Florida can go into May so it isn’t too late for both Rose and Gabby.

There is definitely a defined egg cup at the NEFlorida nest of Gabby and the new mate, V3, today. Does this mean anything? We will have to wait and see.

New grasses have been added for softness and Gabby has tried out the bowl.

Gabby and V3 were working on the nest again late Thursday evening. Well they are a beautiful couple and if my math is correct, this is the 5th night that V3 has spent with Gabby at the nest. I would say the deal is being sealed…and no other intruders appear to be about either. Fingers crossed for a long productive union. They really do make a handsome couple.

The snow had disappeared (but it will return today) at the Big Bear Valley nest of Shadow and Jackie. Both of them were at the nest moving sticks before the new snow started falling. Here they are around 0715.

Eagles have been at the nest in Decorah, Iowa near the trout hatchery working on the nest cup today, too. I couldn’t help myself. The close ups of the eagle were incredible. What a wonderful place to have a nest and so different from that of Jackie and Shadow high up in the mountains east of Los Angeles.

You should begin to look at the different materials that the eagles use for their nests. The Decorah eagles love corn stalks!

It was really a treat to move over to the Decorah North nest and find not only a juvenile but also Mr North and Mrs DNF! At last. Everyone has been worried about them and here they are just fine.

There was a visitor to Decorah with a backpack. You can see the sat pak if you squint hard). I hope that I did not confuse any of my identifications up with this eagle. I will write Raptor Resource and check!

Here is the announcement. The visit was on the 28th.

Oh, it is frustrating trying to see those two eaglets at the Superbeaks nest in Central Florida. A ‘ps’ has really clouded the camera and until they get a good rain, the view will stay this way. The little ones are really growing. Here you can see the beak of one being fed.

In this video from a couple of days ago, Lady Deeagle shows us the pair exercising their little wings and cheeping away. ‘H’ tells me that if you click on the YouTube symbol at the bottom left it will take you to the YouTube channel where you can read the description.

And a feeding where you can see them:

We have a few more days before the eggs at SWFlorida and KNF E1 or Captiva hatch. Gosh, there is Pa Berry and Missy, too. Too many Bald Eagles nest to keep track of…soon, it will be time to check on those Florida Ospreys.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, their videos and announcements, and their letters: ‘H’, ‘A’, ‘J’ and ‘R’, Lesley the Bird Nerd, Superbeaks, Lady Deeagle and Superbeaks, Raptor Resource Project FB, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, IWS and Explore.org, MN-DNR, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF-E3, The Guardian, and Raptor Resource Australia.

Sex hats for Birds?…and other stories from Bird World

12 November 2022

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to their Saturday. It is -8 degrees in Winnipeg, heavily overcast with some flakes of snow drifting down. The Blue Jays have been scurrying back and forth for peanuts since dawn.

The following quote is from an article that ‘K’ sent me and I wanted to share it with you. I do so treasure these feathered friends of ours. They have brought me so much love and joy. I cannot imagine – for a single instant – life without them. When I park my car on the street and walk to my house, I can hear them. Singing. What happiness that brings!

“All is an Ocean. All flows and connects so powerfully that if, in this life, you manage to become more gracious by even a drop, it is better for every bird, child, and animal your life touches than you will ever know.” (Dostoyevsky’s, The Brothers Karamazov)

The pictures are from the day before the snow. Mr Crow is here, Junior and one of the three siblings, a White-breasted Nuthatch came to visit, too.

This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledglings this year. Junior normally stays all winter. How do I know it is Junior? His feathers are a little duller but it is the thin eye line that extends further back. You can compare them. Junior is sitting on the edge of the bird bath while one of the fledglings is down getting a peanut.

Black isn’t just Black but depending on the light it is a green black or an iridescent purple blue with green as in the second image. Mr Crow is beautiful. My heart warms every day that he comes as it does for all the others.

It was the first time ever I have seen a White-breasted Nuthatch at the feeders in a long time. The last was on the 13th of October in 2019. A little over three years. According to the recent bird surveys, the Nuthatch population is on the rise in Canada and the rest of North America. We normally recognise the Nuthatch because it moves along the tree branches with its head facing downwards.

The squirrels have all been here, too. They have not cooperated for photos! Most of the time they are trying to get as many nuts off the solid seed cylinders as they can!

Making News:

Oh, we all love those shy flightless parrots who are more than vulnerable. There is new research that might help in caring for these marvellous characters. Adorable. Simply adorable.

Halfway around the world, a much anticipated California Condor release took place a week ago. The Condor is as vulnerable as the Kakapo is. These releases are always great moments, full of emotion and excitement. I missed this event and am so grateful that the release of these four birds back into the wild has been archived so that we can see it at our leisure.

In the Mailbox:

‘N’ writes: Today this was posted by one of the moderators at one of the streaming cams: “We’ve been trying to discourage anthropomorphic stuff for years, I’m afraid. It’s a losing battle. people project human emotions on the birds all the time.” You have mentioned this subject several times. Is it possible for you to repeat what you have said?

I would be happy to, ‘N’. First I would like to introduce Dr Marc Bekoff who is the international authority on animal emotions. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I am extremely impressed with the work that Dr Bekoff and other Cognitive Ethologists are conducting. Cognitive Ethology is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of animal minds. This includes their emotions, their beliefs, their reasoning and processing, their consciousness, and self-expression. The keen interest, ‘N’ in animal cognition is not new and it is extremely important for animal welfare and protection. Bekoff sees the field as all encompassing in terms of understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals.

In his research, Dr Bekoff has consistently said that as humans the only language we have is our own and it is the only thing we have to describe animal emotions. If we do not look at them and use the words joyful, grieving, then what words would we use to describe what we are seeing? We have nothing more than what we have. Dr Bekoff continues in his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals, by saying that he knows no researcher who, when working with their animals, “DOES NOT FREELY ANTHROPOMORPHIZE. THIS ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, BY THE WAY; AS ALEXANDRA HOROWITZ AND I HAVE ARGUED…THESE SCIENTISTS ARE SIMPLY DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY. ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS AN EVOLVED PERCEPTUAL STRATEGY…IT IS NOW LARGELY ACCEPTED AS FACT, THAT ANIMALS, SHARE THE PRIMARY EMOTIONS, THOSE INSTINCTUAL REACATIONS TO THE WORLD WE CALL FEAR, SURPRISE, SADNESS, DISGUST, AND JOY.” (10). The capital bold letters are mine.

I could continue on for pages ‘N’ but, it is upsetting when someone makes the statement that you have written. I am sorry but they are not informed by the current science. There are many who believe that animals do not feel pain or fear. It makes it easier to kill them! We know animals feel pain. I have seen eagles and other raptors grieving along with the Corvids in my own neighbourhood. I have seen Grackles celebrate the fledge of one of the chicks in my garden (they invite the extended family) and we have all heard and some have been blessed to witness the rituals associated with Crows when one of their group dies. I hope this answers your question and provides you with a beginning from someone expert in the field, Dr Bekoff, to rebuff those statements. I also urge everyone who is interested in this topic to get a copy of this amazing book. It is paperback and can be ordered through library loan as well. It will provide you with a clear foundation on this subject backed up by clear examples, not anecdotes.

In other mail, ‘K’ sent me a wonderful letter and an article, “Cherish This Ecstasy” by David James Duncan from The Sun written in July 2008. I want to share the topic of that article with you – bringing back the Peregrine Falcons from extinction. It seems so appropriate as we just watched Indigo and 2 or is it now 3 of the Melbourne Four fly and await Rubus’s triumphal departure.

Now do you know what the invention was that brought the Peregrine Falcons back from sure extinction? It was the Peregrine Mating Hat invented by one of Cornell’s Ornithologists. The ornithologist would put on the hat. He would sing Chee-up! while, at the same time, bowing Buddhist style. You have seen our falcons do this in their bonding rituals. The male falcon copulates with the hat. The scientists remove the sperm and inject it in the few females they had at the time. The hatchlings were raised in a DDT free environment – and that is how we now have Peregrine Falcons living almost everywhere.

Here is an example of the hat and the process. Turn your sound down a wee bit.

While we are talking and thinking about everything falcon, it is a good time to mention some of the really good books that are out there. They are in no particular order but each is loved and well worn and I pull them off the bookshelf often.

Falcon by Helen MacDonald. I love MacDonald’s books. That is not a secret. This little paperback volume is the social history of falcons from the gods of the Ancient Near East and Egypt to the hunting falcons of Europe and the Middle East. Everything you wanted to know about falcons and more including their use in the military. It really is a good read particularly if you want to known more about falcons than just scientific data – their entire cultural history of falcons in a wonderful narrative. My first pick always for a book on the subject of falcons (not just peregrines) other than a guidebook.

On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by Alan Tennant. Ever wanted to fly? to understand how falcons migrate? This is the view from Tennant’s flying and tracking of the falcons as they migrate. Tennant narrates the voyages tracking the birds with the tiny little transmitters on their tails. I like it because the science is woven in with the narrative.

Queen of the Sky by Jackie Morris is a beautiful little book. It not only includes the stunning watercolours of Morris and gorgeous photographs of Hiss and her friend, Ffion Rees, who rescued this dying falcon from the sea and nurtured it back to health. This is a profoundly personal and moving book. There is a deep connection between Ffion Rees and Hiss that develops over time but which began the minute Rees looked into the eyes of that raptor. They looked into the souls of one another. Highly recommended for the art work alone but the story will certainly move you.

The Peregrine by JA Baker. Baker tracks a pair of peregrine falcons during their daily lives. He is transfixed by them. You get to know their habits – everything about them – through the eyes of Baker. Many consider this a ‘must have book’ for the shelf.

There are more but these would get you started – but, as I said, out of all the MacDonald is first. Since I love the paintings of Morris and the positive story of a falcon rescue and release the Morris is second.

And one last falcon bit. Dr Cilla Kinross (the researcher at Orange) went out looking for Indigo today. Xavier and Diamond saw her. I imagine they did not want her to get too close to their beautiful fledgling. The video will not win any awards but it does give you a fantastic idea of the sounds the adults can make if they are anxious about someone being near their offspring.

Before we check on any of the other nests, let’s see how Rubus is doing in the scrape alone. It would appear that some of those dandelions are shedding but there are lots to go. Rubus also appears to be only interested in the visits by parents if they have prey! My goodness Rubus is ferocious when there is prey about. Diamond has been flying up and checking on Rubus quite a bit this morning.

The beautiful golden glow of dawn falls over our dear little one, Rubus, who now looks out to the wide world of Indigo and the parents. Rubus, you will fly too but…it is going to be awhile. You need to get rid of most of that fluffy down. Flap those wings and shake, shake, shake.

Dare I say that Rubus is missing Indigo?

Rubus would love another prey delivery.

Diamond goes over to check on Rubus.

At 367 Collins Street, it is anyone’s guess as to how many of the eases are now fledglings. We know from a video clip from ‘Bathroom Guy’ that at least one has fledged. It is now believed that there are two. This morning very early there were three erases on the ledge waiting for a prey delivery – or at least hoping for a prey delivery! Did one return for breakfast? We know that the eyases can easily reach this height.

Here is a group of photos of the erases on camera this morning. Looking, listening, eating, and loafing.

Loafing has spread around the world…starting with Alden at UC-Berkeley. What an influencer he is!

It seems as if two have fledged and two remain to fledge – but, in truth, we have no idea! That is the nice thing about the scrape at Orange. You can be absolutely certain when the eyas flies for the first time!

The streaming cam remains off at Port Lincoln. This morning when it was back on there was a note that Big had two fish meals both of them brought in by Mum. Thank goodness Big is older and Mum is a good fisher. It is difficult to determine what is going on with Dad but, whatever it is could be linked to his two seizures seen on camera during the early incubation stage.

5 Red Listed Bird: The Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) captured at Borit, Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

I first saw an image of this lovely bird after the ospreys had started their migration to Africa. For the life of me I cannot remember if it was the Glaslyn or the Dyfi nest in Wales but, on one of them was this stunning little bird, the Missile Thrush. The scientific name Turdus viscivorus means ‘devourer of Mistletoe’. It is a large songbird with a grey-brown head, back, and wings. Its breast is spotted with the same grey-brown on ivory. Piercing deep espresso eyes with an ever so slight eye ring. The pop of colour comes in the pinky-peach legs. One can only imagine that this combination in haute couture would land it on the Paris runways. In its behaviour, this Thrush is powerful and aggressive. It eats insects, invertebrates, and loves berries. They do love mistletoe but will also eat hawthorn or holly berries. The largest of the warblers in the UK, their son is loud and is carried for a distance from their perch high in trees. Actually, it isn’t a song but a rattle.

These lovely birds are globally threatened. Their numbers have declined dramatically, as much or more than 50%. The cause is a lack of habitat. Hedgerows where the find food and wet ditches because of the drainage of farmland has led to a lack of earthworms and other invertebrate that the Missile Thrush relies on for its food. Cow pastures and woodland have also been lost or degraded.

Research conducted by the RSPB suggests that ‘Farming measures likely to help song thrushes include sympathetic hedgerow management (with tall, thick hedges), planting new woodlands on farmland, and planting wild bird seed mixtures including leafy cover.’ In addition, the RSPB found that preventing the soil from drying out during the summer would be of great benefit to the thrushes. Hotter summers have brought more rain so perhaps, there is some hope here.

Migration News:

Bonus remains in close proximity to the area he has been in Turkey for the last little while. Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile but has moved slightly south.

It is so wonderful to have you with us. Thank you so much for being part of this marvellous international family of bird lovers. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Special thanks go to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, Ventana Wildlife Society, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Thursday in Bird World

21 July 2023

Oh, it feels like another scorcher. Clear beautiful blue skies, not a cloud in sight, no rain, and 27 degrees C. It is a cooker. There are no birds flitting about – they are all being still in the shade.

I want to thank ‘B’ for alerting me to Little Bit’s release. I failed to do so in that posting and I am very grateful. Thank you ‘B’.

There is hardly anything left of the old Notre Dame nest in the park. It is going to be 33 in the area today. Let us all hope that Little Bit 17 – who was released back into the area yesterday – finds his family and is learning how to locate prey and eating well. Anything short of that would just be tragic.

Everyone at our local wildlife rehabilitation Centre was thrilled when a Bald Eagle that came into care was ready to be released today. This was an adult eagle and did not need to be taught to hunt prey but they did have to master the Flyway!

There he goes! Congratulations.

Sadly, a Merlin came into care after being shot in its shoulder yesterday. The vet at Wildlife Haven and the team worked tirelessly to try and give that little raptor a second chance.

I received word this morning that the Merlin is doing very well and the surgery to save its life was a success. It will now begin the long process of recovery thanks to all the volunteers, the donors who immediately chipped in for the costs of the antibiotics, etc. that will help this raptor recover. The wildlife rehabbers, vets, students, and volunteers as well as donors continue to be real ‘angels’ for all the injured birds. They do amazing things each and every day out of love – not our of any financial gain – because there isn’t any! I had a chat with one wildlife rehabilitation officer and she said that if everyone would take the funds they would spend for one coffee or one treat and put it in a jar and at the end of the month donate that money – every clinic would be able to do wonders towards helping centres across North America be able to help all the patients that come into their care even better.

Just when we thought that Avian Flu was waning, news from the UK and now from the province of Newfoundland in Canada says otherwise. Seabirds are dying by the thousands in eastern Canada. No doubt we will see a rise elsewhere. So very, very tragic.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-seabirds-dying-avian-flu-1.6525180?fbclid=IwAR2qxyrUa7YAamJOmchw6xru2qdPes-2mJBDDAo60QQqZp8nOow2E6bq7F8

Mr Crow is training the three fledglings on what foods to eat – in our garden! We put out the makings of the sandwich and one took a leaf and dipped it in the water which got a frightful cry from Dad. They are making quite the ruckus. They are also ‘playing’ flying from chimney to chimney and back again. They look big and they are but their minds are ‘little fledglings’. Yesterday they were on top of the glass roof of the sunroom pecking away trying to get in. —–Of course my point is this. The male is actively teaching the three what to eat and where to find food!

This guy decided to dip his peanut in the bird bath. So cute.

Looking at me.

All three flew up to the neighbour’s chimney. (She puts out cat kibble for the feral cats but doesn’t realize it is the Crows that are eating it!) One stood on the metal top til its feet got hot. Mr Crow told them to stay put and they did – for about 10 minutes in the heat. I think they are now having a good old rest.

I wonder if the parents of Little Bit 17 will undertake this level of training? They have had all this time to work with ND15 and 16. Big Red and Arthur certainly spent weeks impressing on the hawklets where to catch voles and how to catch the squirrels. Oh, gosh, let us hope so and – let’s pray for good food sources for them.

At the Osoyoos Osprey nest where temperatures have been in the mid 30 degree C at ground level, Olsen has brought in one fish this morning. Mum Soo fed both chicks equally and had some herself. It is a good start to the day but it has to be difficult fishing for it is now 0936 at the nest. That first fish and feeding were 0816. It will be another extreme heat day at the nest. Keep your positive wishes going out to them.

The osplets are standing and look at the nice juvenile feathers coming in.

The fish has arrived.

Soo made sure that each got equal so no one is left out. Good for Mum. Her crop is sunken in – everyone really needs one good fish to land on this nest today along with a few small ones. Or could I wish for 2 big fish?

We are only 27 degrees C but, in the shade of the lilacs, the temperature is 18. There are dozens and dozens of small songbirds in there, sitting quiet, saving their resources and staying cool. Thinking of planting? Think of the birds. Plant native trees that will provide shade and maybe even some seeds for the birds and squirrels.

Poor Alden! Will Grinnell Jr find him hiding in the shade of the scrape?

Dad has two nice fish on the Sydney Sea Eagles nest for when Lady and SE29 and 30 wake up and want their breakfast fish.

The news out of Balgavies Ospreys is that the chick that was on the nest that collapsed, Blue 640, was placed on a new high platform and has fledged. How grand. No injuries from the nest collapsing — and immediately taken into care to see if all was alright. Parents are around. All is good.

At the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G, the last of the 2022 chicks, Blue 499, has fledged! Congratulations everyone. He flew back to the perch and slowly made his way down to the nest.

Dory keeping her three osplets cool today. It is currently 24 degrees C – not bad! Osoyoos would certainly take those cooler temperatures.

Fish continue to land on the nest at Jannakkalan Osprey nest in Finland. No shortage! Both chicks self-feeding – one continues to be better than the other but it will soon catch up. They need to get their technique down and hold the fish and pull up…it will come! The possible step-mum began to peck at the chicks again and has not been seen today. Both chicks are 46 days old today so close to fledging. A statement will be released about the Mum, Yellow ring band NTF after a search around the nest for her shortly.

Iris hasn’t been on her nest for some time. This morning at 0721 she paid a visit! Good Morning, Iris. Iris appeared to be looking around at someone or for someone while she was on the nest. She eventually goes to the perch and looks and then preens.

The one thing I did notice was that it was early in the morning. Iris normally fishes well before 0700. Why doesn’t she have a nice big crop? How is the fishing in the river lately? They are having the same heat as everyone else. 34 C for Iris today. Is she able to get fish?

Junior and Malala together on the nest. The female Bald Eagle has brought fish to the nest today and waited for her kids to show up. We know what has happened to Junior but where is Malala?

A letter has gone out to BC Hydro about the electrocution of Junior on one of their power poles. If you want to help, I urge you to write a letter in support. I could not find an e-mail contact on their site. If you stumble across it, please let me know. This is a great letter – have a read. Thank you, Anna Brooks!

I went to check on Soo and the chicks at Osyoos. She is desperate to try and shade them from the heat. She lost all of her chicks last year because of the heat wave. Send her your most positive wishes.

Thank you so much for joining me. People are working hard to try and help our raptors and all of the other species of birds and wildlife. Remember to leave water outside for them. It could save their lives. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their FB posts or their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: GROWLS, ND-LEEF, Audubon Explore, Osoyoos Ospreys, Finnish Osprey Foundation, Montana Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney, Bwywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, and Cal Falcons.

Snow for Birds on the Canadian Prairies – and no eaglets in Fort Myers, yet

We are in the middle of a snowstorm here on the Canadian Prairies. The European Starling are using those really long and sharp beaks of theirs to try and forage food under the feeders. The sparrows are flitting around from branch to branch as the wind blows the snow in tiny little tornado-like gusts. For a long time we have wondered what to do for the birds when the weather is like this. A carport for birds and feeders????

The camera does not catch the snow blowing – and I don’t have a slow enough shutter speed on my phone. You can see the snow on the domes of the feeders and the little pine tree is almost completely covered.

All those white dots are snow blowing around. So hard to capture it so that you can really see the amounts. The depth is about 34 cm or over a foot. I do so feel for the birds – and other animals living in the wild – on days like this.

The eaglets, E19 and E20, in the eggs under Harriet are still working their way out. You can see what appears to be a large crack in one of them below. Or is this a piece of grass stuck to the egg?

The view of the eggs changes each time Harriet rolls them. Last evening a large piece of the moss stuck to one of the eggs making it appar that there was a crack going all the way around.

It is currently 24 degrees C in Fort Myers. It will rise to 27 degrees mid afternoon for Harriet and M15 today.

Poor Harriet. She is already panting to regulate her temperature.

Harriet is certainly restless this morning. I don’t blame her. Those pips came about 14 hours ago. She has been so careful moving around the eggs.

The camera has been down at Port Lincoln for a couple of days. I can see what I believe are the three lads. If they are in their usual spots it is Bazza on the nest, Ervie on the perch, and Falky on the ropes in his favourite diving spot. It is 03:00 on the barge.

The temperatures in Jacksonville, Florida are currently 18 degrees C rising to 23 during the middle of the afternoon for Gabby and Samson.

I found a new bird feeder cam that I really like for the variety of birds that arrive to eat. This feeder will not allow me to embed the link for you so go to youTube and search for LIVE Feeder Cam Gettysburg PA. They aren’t raptors but they sure are fun to watch when waiting for eagles to hatch!

The Starlings can be bullies but I still love them!

And for those looking for a new board game, look no further than ‘Wingspan’. Don’t be fooled – there are two parts. First is the book, Celebrating Birds and then there is the actual board and playing disks. I wish they were sold together. The book and game were developed with the Cornell Lab, Natalie Hargrave, and a couple of creative women, Natalie Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez. The images are beautiful – each is a watercolour. It is a great way to learn about the birds of the world but, you need to do your homework and check prices. I found that they can vary by as much as 40% for the actual board game and pieces. The book is quite reasonable and there are various extensions including the birds of Oceania.

I hope all of you are well. Thank you so much for joining me this morning as we anxiously await for the arrival of E19 and 20. Take care and stay safe. I hope to see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the Live Bird Feeder Cam Gettysburg PA.

Mr Blue Jay outwits Dyson!

Yesterday I revealed how we had finally figured out who was stealing Mr Blue Jay’s corn cobs. After several days of the cobs disappearing, we were able to catch the small Grey Squirrel in the act yesterday! We just had to look all over the garden to find the little thief!

To take the cob of corn, Dyson had to drag it for about 2 metres, pull it down steps and then 2 flower boxes. Once on the ground, he had moved it about 3 metres out of sight of the Blue Jays – and us.

I had no idea that these little squirrels were so strong. Persistent, yes, when it comes to food but, strong? The corn cobs are heavy when they have almost all the kernels on them. And this cob had only a few bites taken out of it before Dyson started moving it.

The Blue Jay family could not figure out what happened to their corn.

The real question was how to stop this activity. Dyson has lots of food – year round. Him and the other two grey squirrels have been coming to our garden for many years – 2016 for one of them. We have learned to identify them through different markings on their fur and we do keep a log. I have no idea how long urban Grey Squirrels normally live but having a penthouse (our shed) and readily available food, the vet told me she bet these three could live to be ten years old. They have no real predators other than the neighbourhood well-fed cats. The hawk that visits the garden is a Sharpie and him and his mate only take a small bird or nestling. So to cut to the chase, Dyson does not need to take Mr Blue Jay’s corn!!!!!!!!! There is never any chance that he would starve – he is just being a squirrel.

As all of you know, Blue Jays are part of the Corvid family, like Crows. These oscine passerine birds include crows, Mr Blue Jay and Company, Ravens, Magpies, Rooks, Jackdaws, Choughs, and nutcrackers. Most just say Crow Family.

Corvids are super intelligent, problem-solving birds. It seems that Mr Blue Jay was figuring out how to stop the squirrel, too, and he devised a very good method! I believe this is how it worked as I watched with camera in hand today for nearly three hours.

One of the three Blue Jays would land and watch the corn from the lilac bushes, about two metres away.

In this instance, Dad is watching from the lilac branches. He is ready to fly at Dyson if he comes near the deck where the other two are eating the corn.

Two of the Blue Jays would go down to the corn. This is Mum and their ‘baby’. Mum is nearer the corn cob.

When Mum finished eating, she flew away.

Junior went over to eat the corn under the watchful surveillance of Dad who remained in the lilacs.

While Junior ate, Mum was watching to make sure that Dyson did not come up on the deck, too.

When Junior finished, he flew off with Mum.

Would Dyson try and get the corn cob?

No way! Dad flew down to eat off a second cob of corn that I had put out. He was hungry too!

Junior flew back down to work on the other cob at the same time. Mum watched from the lilacs.

Sometimes Mum would fly down to be beside Junior and eat some corn, too.

They shared the one cob while Dad claimed the other.

There was no way that they were letting Dyson get their corn if Mum had to stand on it all day!

All of a sudden the pair become alert! They stop eating. Do they hear Dyson coming?

They look around.

Mum goes back to eating but Junior seems to think that Dyson might be coming up the other side of the deck. He seems to be listening and looking.

Junior turns all the way around.

Then all of a sudden Junior flies off.

It happened so fast I could not get a picture. Dyson had crept up to the other corn cob after Dad had left and had grabbed a kernel. Junior flew at him and sent him through the flower box over the edge of the deck.

Dyson did not come back all afternoon!

The Blue Jays were able to finish their corn cobs in peace. They figured out a wonderful way to get to eat their corn working together – way before this human came up with a plan. It was quite amazing to watch over several hours. I was truly impressed.

Wonder what will happen in the garden tomorrow?

Thank you for joining me this Friday. I hope that you are all well. Be happy. See you soon!

Who Stole Mr Blue Jay’s Corn?

It started out as a grey, damp, raining on and off again day in my neighbourhood and then…the sun came out, the sky turned blue, and the garden was a flurry of activity. As it happened, it also helped us solve a mystery: Who was stealing Mr Blue Jay’s corn cob?

Mr Blue Jay has been suspicious, too. Today he more or less stood guard while his partner ate her fill.

They had no more than begun their morning breakfast and the corn cob disappeared! So who is taking it? The largest of the grey squirrels was not around and even if Little Red’s ego would make him think he could shift that cob, he couldn’t. So who is it? For several days now we have not been able to catch the culprit but, today we did!

Look who has the corn! It is the smallest of the Grey Squirrels. It worked really hard to get that big cob full of kernels off the lower deck and around to the other side of the garden.

The cob has fallen in a little hole and the squirrel is able to dig its nails in and lift it.

Oops. It is falling down again.

He stopped to eat some of those prize kernels and then he began nibbling them off and burying them in the grass.

We left him to it and went and checked on the ducks at the local pond. When we returned the corn cob was gone and he was madly filling his cheeks with the nuts from the deck.

Just watching him I laughed and said that he was like a vacuum cleaner – and there you have it. That is how the smallest Grey Squirrel came to be re-named Dyson on 28 October 2021.

The duck pond was relatively quiet. Normally you cannot hear yourself think for the honking of the geese. The parks department has turned off the fountains and there were people raking leaves from the edge of the pond into a truck.

There were a few Mallards remaining along with 10 Wood Ducks. Apparently, 10 is a high number for Wood Ducks to still be at this location. Thankfully, I could prove to Cornell’s eBird Submit that there were 10 just through the photos!

It was cold walking around the pond and hopefully these remaining waterfowl will decide to move on to more warmer climates shortly.

Besides about 40 Canada Geese and Cackling Geese, there were a few Mallards. There was, however, one special little duck swimming around with all the regulars – a visitor. She was a female Ring-necked Duck. They are sometimes called a Ringbill.

Ring-necked Ducks breed across Canada during the summer and in a few northern US states. They live in freshwater marshes or near shallow ponds and lakes. You can apparently see thousand upon thousand of these ducks near Rice Lake in Minnesota during the fall migration.

They are dapper divers. This means they are quickly in and out, diving in shallow water to feed on aquatic plants, tubers, and invertebrates. They also eat worms, leeches, midges, and flies, etc.

There is a very distinctive grey head. The forehead slopes down and in a few of the images you can see the peaked rear crown. Because she has been diving, it is not as prominent as it might be when dry. The female has a white ring around its eye. The back is a gorgeous dark brown with a paler brown underpart. You can see the distinctive ring on the bill. That is not, however, what gives the duck its name. The males have a light chestnut coloured ring around their necks….something that is very hard to see I am told.

The colouring on this duck is simply gorgeous.

She really stood out

Sadly, there is another injured duck. This time it is a male Mallard in eclipse plumage. We will try to retrieve it tomorrow to take it to the rehabilitation clinic and that, for me, is always problematic. These two were inseparable all the time I was at the pond. Ducks do not form life long bonds but the bonding is seasonal. Still, it ‘feels’ bad to break the pair-bond but still necessary if this duck is to survive. It appears that it has a broken wing just like the female Mallard a couple of weeks ago.

Hopefully some food will lure this young man out of the centre of the pond tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Before I leave, I also want to introduce you to another streaming cam. Last year there was a lot of excitement when the two Great Horned Owls named Bonnie and Clyde stole the Bald Eagle’s nest on the grounds of Farmer Derek. We all watched in awe has Clyde hunted and Bonnie fed the two owlets. Well, I have another owl box for you to watch. This one is in Joburg, South Africa. It is the home of a Spotted Eagle Owl. On 13 October two eggs hatched. Today they are 15 days old. What makes this nest box interesting is that there was an orphan owlet placed in the box on the 22nd of October. It is 5 days older than the resident pair. No one knew if the female would accept the orphan – but she did. She is raising it as her own!

Just look at how adorable they are waiting for Mum to return with a meal.

There she is feeding all of them.

I think you might really enjoy seeing these three owlets grow up.

It turned out to be a great day for the birds. It is a relief to finally find out who is taking Mr Blue Jay’s corn cob. We are going to have to figure out a way to thwart Dyson. And then there is the injured Mallard to deal with – tomorrow.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope everyone is well and enjoying the birds. Next week they will be ringing the three osplets at Port Lincoln and in two weeks the Collins Four will be fledging. After that it will only be a week until Yarruga is ready to fly. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: EcoSolutions Joburg Owl Cam.

Oh, Little Bob!

The birds in my garden are always aware when I am watching them especially Mr Blue Jay and family. Sometimes he will stop and look right in the window and fly up into the lilacs and down to the corn as if he is teasing me. Other days he might sit on top of the deck chair calling to remind me that the corn cob has disappeared. Or maybe he is saying hello! Today, it was the youngest of the trio staring at me as he flew in and out to get kernels off the cob. Dad, Mr Blue Jay, was observing from the lilacs.

How do I know this is the youngest? He is a bit thinner and his legs are a charcoal grey, not black. I can also identify them by their facial markings and I still don’t know, after several years, where they roost or which is the male or the female. All I do know is that in exchange for a corncob, some peanuts, and some seeds, this family of three brings me year round joy.

Of course, the birds on the live streaming cams have no idea there are hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, watching them. Many have caught their reflection in the camera’s dome. I recall Izzi, the peregrine falcon eyas at Orange, and the little Golden Eagle in Romania liking to look at themselves. It is very cute.

Today, Little Bob was having some fun. It is a good thing he is not conscious or caring of anything to have to do with humans!

Yes, that is Little Bob. He is fanning out his tail like a peacock. While we are not able to see it clearly yet, Little Bob’s tail will have stripes, alternating white and espresso. This same type of barring will also be seen on the secondary feathers. The secondary feathers are those after the primary or wing tip feathers.

In studying other birds of prey, those dark stripes are often counted with the understanding that on a Red-tailed Hawk, for example, the nestling needs at least 5 dark bands to fledge. It is simply a way of gauging the length of the tail because tail length is one of the elements necessary for flight.

In the image below, Little Bob has lowered his tail a bit and is stretching his wings in what is known as the ‘W’ pattern. It will be familiar to you as it is the shape that gets tightened up when ospreys dive head long into the water.

The nest on the barge at Port Lincoln is getting crowded as these young ospreys grow. There is Little Bob looking out standing in front of Mum. You can clearly see that dark espresso line (it is neither brown or black) that runs from the beak, across the eye and down to the nape of the neck. This dark strip is your word for the day, it is the auricular. Many believe that this helps to stop the glare of the sun so the birds can see better.

There is a lot of speculation on the streaming cam chat as to the gender of Little Bob. Ospreys need strong legs and feet in order to fish and pull their prey out of the water. They grip their prey with their long black talons using those ‘scratchy pads’ – specialized barbs -on the bottom of the feet to hold the fish secure. They also are the only raptor to have a reversible outer toe which helps them secure their prey. They will, most often, position the fish so that the head is facing in front which is a help with wind resistance.

Ah, but back to telling the males from the females. Measurements will be taken when the three get their Darvic rings. Females tend to have thicker leg bones than males. A good example were the measurements taken of Laddie and NC0’s two fledglings, LR1 and LR2. With females being at least 20% larger than males (normally), the first to hatch and the largest was ringed LR1. The wing measurement of 337mm and weight of 1.51kg led the bander to state that LR1 was a female. The second chick was three days younger and had a wing measurement of 276mm. It weighed 1.4kg and was said to be a male. The differences are slight and the only real way to determine gender is through a DNA test or by seeing an egg laid.

Note: LR2, the male, is the fledgling that has been seen several times over the last week in Spain. Fabulous news!

That said there are a lot of people who believe that Little Bob is really Little Bobbette.

One of the other ways that people believe females are different is through their darker and wider ‘necklace’. Unfortunately, I believe this idea to be unreliable as there are a number of known males with very elaborate and dark necklaces. One good example is Blue 022 the ‘maybe’ mate of CJ7 at Poole Harbour.

It is often difficult to establish which chick is which on the nest. As my concern is in the third hatch, I have paid particular attention to Little Bob. Look at the top of his head. Whether you say Little Bob has a white V or a round circle on its head doesn’t matter – both apply. Look carefully at his head in the image below. One of the things that will not change over Little Bob’s lifetime will be the pattern on its head.

Oops… there Little Bob goes again!

Oh, my. This time he is going to spread his wings, too. Somehow I do not think Big Bob is going to be happy about that. Did I say this nest was getting crowded? Just wait til they all start flapping and hovering at once.

Just like Mr Blue Jay and family, Little Bob continues to delight me. I am so glad that he doesn’t know how many of us are watching his every move.

Take care and thank you for joining me. My newsletter will be late tomorrow. It is time to pick up a large order of birdseed and corn cobs for the garden animals for the winter.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Corn Cob Show Down

It has been an interesting morning in the garden. First, it is wet and cold – again. 8 degrees with a cloudy sky.

Because of the recent rain, all of the old seed and shells were cleared off the deck and put into the bin. Birds can get sick from eating wet mouldy seed. Wet seed encourages bacteria to grow and the diseases can be fatal. I would like to think that birds know better than to eat that wet, sometimes smelly, seed but they do not always, especially if they are ravenous. Over the years we have experimented with many different ways to keep the bird seed dry. Putting a roof or a dome over the feeder works best. Other people recommend mesh feeders so that there is air circulation. I have found that these work best in conjunction with some type of a roof or dome.

The garden birds do not like it when things are cleaned up. Today was no exception! Some of the bowls were left to be cleaned while others were filled. The House Sparrows arrived wanting baths – yes, they take baths when it is 8 degrees C! Others were dismayed to find their bowl empty. We warm the water for them in a heated bird bath during the winter but it is only enough for then to drink with wooden slats placed across so they will not bathe. Thank goodness they do not weigh enough to move those boards about! It is really important to remember as the cold days of fall and winter set in that birds need water to drink. If you put out seed in the winter, they also need water. Yes, they eat the snow but they often need more. See if you can figure out a way to provide it for them.

This is one of the sweetest little House Sparrows. It along with the one above wanting a bath were just darlings.

Grey Squirrel (Bushy) joined everyone on the blocks eating his favourite seeds with big nuts and fruit.

The Slate-Coloured Juncos are still here and they like that fruit and nut seed just as much as the Millet. Sadly, with the wet on the deck and their favourite red carpet, the Millet turns to mush and might make them ill. So it is fruit and nuts today! Hopefully the weather report is right and the sun will be out tomorrow and we will be back to non-seasonal temperatures for a few days so everything can dry.

The plumage of the Slate-Coloured Junco is quite extraordinary when you begin to look closely to the variations of rusty brown over the slate grey.

Mr and Mrs Blue Jay came for the corn cob but were joined later by another Jay. The reaction to that bird seemed to signal that it was an intruder.

Blue Jays are often overlooked. Many dislike them as much as they do House Sparrows. As for me, I adore them both but – because Mr and Mrs Blue Jay have been coming for several years and each summer they bring their surviving fledglings to show us, I am especially attached to them. They eat their corn and love it if they can get a peanut ahead of one of the squirrels.

I found a woman who loves Blue Jays, too. She made a great little video explaining their courtship behaviour. Have a look!

I love the drawing on the top left and the saying: Birds Make Me Happy. As all of us know, that is absolutely true. They bring such joy.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope all of you are well and happy. See you soon.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Late Friday in Bird World

It is 10:16 in Australia as I begin this short newsletter.

The osplets on the Port Lincoln barge had a small fish between them around 06:15. They have had nothing since and Big Bob is getting a bit restless. Sadly, he has been pecking Little Bob’s neck and Little Bob is going to have to learn to use his backside to protect himself when this happens. So far the beaking has not been too bad but, as all of you know – this Osprey nest makes me nervous. I will not be able to relax until Little Bob is a little older. It seems that Big Bob is trying to establish nest domination. Tiger Mozone wondered on the chat about DNA causing excessive aggressiveness in the chicks. Certainly this nest has a history of that type of behaviour. I also wonder about toxins in the water that enter the fish and stay in the tissue of the Ospreys.

Mom was hopeful around 09:45 and the chicks were in line to eat. Their crops have dropped from the small fish three and a half hours earlier.

The chicks are being fed more fish and for a longer period. What was six minutes a week ago has stretched into 45 minutes at the table. And these chicks will be fine today if a big fish does not come on the nest for a few more hours. The issue is Big Bob who seems to want to press his authority by fighting with the other two. Middle Bob is the clever one (so far) and seems to be able to stay out of the way but Little Bob still needs to learn how to protect itself.

The two older chicks are moving straight into the rapid growth period where they need lots of fish. Little Bob is following as quickly as he can. You can see that he is moving into the reptile phase himself. The dark feathers are coming in and he is losing the down on his head. Big Bob is awfully dark and a bit scary looking! He is the one holding his head the highest and looking towards you.

It is nearing noon, nest time. Dad has come to the nest without a fish. Is there a predator in the area? I actually thought that this nest was relatively free from predators unlike those in Europe and the US that have to deal with Goshawks, Great Horned Owls, etc. Or has Dad arrived to get the meal order from mom?

I couldn’t help myself. I had to check. Dad must have been taking the fish order at 11:25 because he delivered a fish to the nest around 12:25. Thank goodness. Big Bob behaved himself and everyone is getting to eat.

Look at who has his little mouth open wide!

Little Bob ate first. You can see from the crops. Middle and Big will eat next and by the time they finish, Little Bob will be hungry again. I hope that fish is big enough!

The big news over in New Zealand is that Tiaki has fledged on 25 September. She was 244 days old. Both her and Plateau Chick left the headland but, it has not been completely determined when that was. By the sat-pak it seems that Tiaki might have fledged at night but sometimes that sat-pak GPS requires adjustment. We all wish her a wonderful safe life, full of fish, and a return to us in five years time.

You can follow her satellite GPS. I will put the link below the fledging video.

Cornell Bird Lab caught the moment:

Here is the link so that you can check on Tiaki. Her satellite tracker should continue working for a year until her first moult. You can follow her dad, LGK also. His tracker should be good til he moults – another couple of months. There are only six chicks remaining to fledge.

https://my.wildlifecomputers.com/data/map/?id=6008d9ba31af59139976bcfe

The migration continues in Manitoba with everyone is excited. There are dawn breakfasts and evening dinners celebrating the arrival and departure of the Canada Geese – and, of course, the swans and all the other ducks and birds. Today marked the return of the Dark Eyed Junco to Winnipeg. Oh, people are so happy to see these adorable little birds. There are several sub-species of Junco and the one that visits Manitoba in the summer to breed is called the Slate-coloured Junco.

The Juncos love my red outdoor carpet. Tomorrow or the next day there will be 50 or more hopping about on it and jumping in and out of the dill. They love it if we ‘intentionally’ spill some seeds on the carpet. They are better than a vacuum clearing them up if we do. They do not feed at the feeders but are also seen on the ground for invertebrates. Isn’t this a real cutie? It was definitely not shy. The image was shot through a triple pane of glass so as not to disturb the bird. It seemed to not notice me.

Today, Mr Blue Jay had two other Blue Jay male visitors that wanted to help him eat his cob of dried corn.

By the time dusk arrives, the Jays and the squirrels – both red and grey – had made a real mess of the seeds. I think one of the squirrels wanted some of that corn but the Blue Jays were not having it. They would eat 3 or 4 kernels and then take some away in their beak. It was fascinating watching them through the windows.

Little Red decided it was easier to get up in the lilac bushes and balance himself on the bird feeder and eat his dinner there. Contending with three male Blue Jays was not something he wanted to do. So he kept quiet and ate and ate. He also doesn’t get on with the Grey Squirrels. He has picked a good place to eat in peace and quiet.

Awwww. Look at those tiny little nails.

It was a good day. All of the garden wildlife save for the rabbit were accounted for. There were also several new species of sparrow in the lilac bushes eating seeds. There were Chipping sparrows as well as Clay Coloured Sparrows today.

Hatch watch is coming soon for the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons. WBSE 27 and 28 are doing well. 28 actually managed to get a prey delivery today. Here is a short video showing 28 mantling the prey and then wanting to share it with his big sib. They have their beautiful juvenile plumage and are so adorable.

I also checked in on the Bald Eagles who are working on their nests. Will put in a report some time this weekend. I know that many of you are anxious for Samson and Gabby, Harriet and M15, as well as Jackie and Shadow to get those nests built and those eggs laid! And while the last of the Albatross are fledgling, it will not be that long til the other adults return to Taiaroa Head to make their nests and lay their eggs for the 2022 season. Sometimes time feels like it melts in front of our eyes.

Thank you for joining me. I have promised myself that I am not going to worry about the Port Lincoln Ospreys tonight. The crazy thing is that I wish the winds would pick up. Dad seems to be able to fish better when that is the case. Yes, I know. That is a crazy idea. Take care all of you. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and Wildlife Computers.