Port Lincoln chicks ate well!

The streaming cam has been down at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge most of the morning. It was also a dreadfully wet and miserable start to the day. Mum tried as she might to snuggle up with her three babies (can we call them babies anymore?). At 10:30 they were wet, cold, and probably hungry.

The first fish arrived at 11:09:12. Even the sun came out for the occasion. Mum was still feeding the trio at noon.

In the image below, Dad is eating his share and making certain the fish is dead before he delivers it to Mum and the chicks.

Mum has the fish and she is getting ready to feed the three hungry chicks. It is late for the breakfast fish.

There is Little Bob at the end. What is he looking at so intently?

I wonder if it is Dad flying away. Look at the expression on his little face.

Whatever it is, Little Bob is more interested in what is happening off the nest than eating his first fish of the day. That is pretty incredible. Little Bob is always the one who wants to be fed first!

Oh, two of the chicks are watching instead of eating. Is Dad giving a flying demonstration? These chicks are developing just as they should. They are becoming much more interested in things happening outside of the world of the nest. They are standing more and beginning to flap their wings. Think they are dreaming of flying? Little Bob is 29 days old today. The two older siblings are 31 days.

For those that are worried, Little Bob has stood up to ‘sometimes nasty’ Big Bob. Little has done that twice that I am aware. This nest is really calm and the chicks are so big that we should all expect them to fledge with their satellite packs. I understand they will be ringed, get their sat paks, and get their names in early November. Oh, I cannot wait to find out what the names will be this year.

When the three fledge, this will be a historic moment for this nest. Perhaps with the first fledgling of all three hatches, the curse of this nest will be lifted. These two adults have demonstrated clearly that they are highly capable parents and can easily raise a nest of three chicks from hatch to fledge.

Oh, look at Little Bob and look carefully – there is another chick looking up in awe, too. What an expression!

Now down to the business of breakfish!

After eating for 40 minutes, the chicks are beginning to get nice filled crops.

By noon, the fish is finished. Everyone is full and ready for a bit of a snooze.

The three osplets had no more than settled down when the second fish arrived on the nest at 12:35:28. Little Bob is on the right. He is turning around and probably cannot quite believe what he is seeing – another fish!

The role of the crop is to grind up the food before it enters the stomach. It also serves as a storage tank. The chicks can ‘drop their crop’ when they need nourishment. The reality of a raptors life is that they might eat well one day but not have any food for another two days. They need to eat as much as they can when they have the opportunity.

There they are lined up very politely for Mum again. I do not believe I have ever seen such a civil nest of growing ospreys. They might have their spats but not at the table. They line up and Mum feeds them. She is very fair. I have not noticed her favouring one over another. She does, in fact, often feed them as they appear in the line – one bite each and then back to the beginning. The other thing that is noticeable is the chicks do stop eating when they are full allowing the line to close so the other two are only being fed.

Is this behaviour down to the simple fact that they are so close in age? There is only 51 hours separating Big Bob from the time Little Bob hatched.

Just look at how close they are in size.

One of the chicks has left the table. Little Bob (see the roundish spot on the top of his head?) is still hungry. Of course, he is.

The second fish was done and dusted by 13:02. Little Bob is still looking. Maybe he sees some fish skin? or is there a piece of tail? He has a very nice crop.

In terms of size, I can no longer tell Little Bob from the other two. If the roundish spot disappears I will no longer be able to identify him as easy. He is growing so much. Wonder if Little Bob is a female?

Ah, it is silly to try and guess the genders but we all do it. They will measure the chicks when they are ringed. Of course, the measurements are not foolproof. Only DNA or an egg or mating can confirm.

Once the three are fed and all is well, it is much easier for me to sleep. The wee eyas of Xavier and Diamond’s have also had several meals today. You can clearly see that it has more than doubled in size from hatch.

Xavier is on the ledge while Diamond feeds the chick the prey he delivered. Look at the size of the wee one’s wing. Is it looking over to Xavier?

When Xavier turned around, I thought it was last year’s chick, Izzi.

Only Bob is looking directly at the beak and eyes of Diamond. Diamond is so delicate with the tiny little bites she feeds her baby.

The chick’s neck is now so much stronger. It can hold its head still for longer so that Diamond can feed it. The bobbling days are pretty much over. Notice, at times, that the chick instinctively keeps its balances by placing its wing tip on the gravel.

I absolutely love this image of Xavier looking so tenderly at his baby.

All full. The little one has now had four meals. Unlike the Ospreys, Only Bob needs many meals and fewer bites. Her crop is tiny. She is now collapsing into a food coma.

Awww. I wonder if Xavier wishes that Diamond would let him brood the chick? Perhaps she will in a few days but the falcon mothers are extremely protective in the beginning.

The Collins Street Four have been eating, sleeping, growing, and decorating the walls around the scrape. Their world is that of the scrape box. They are not as interested – yet – in what is happening outside of their world. They will become more interested, just like the Osplets at Port Lincoln, in a couple of weeks.

As the days pass, we will begin to notice a difference in size. This is not due to the amount of food the eyases eat individually. It will be because some of them are males and some are females. The females will be approximately 30% larger than the males and they will consume about 25% more food (nothing staggering). When fledge time comes, it is normally the males that fledge first. Their feathers will have covered them quicker because they are smaller! It is that simple.

Last year we did not notice a difference in size in the triplets. That is because they were all females. I do hope Dad gets a break this year and has a couple of males. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and feed four large females!

They are beginning to look slightly different in their faces. Notice the one facing the back who looks more ‘hawk’ like.

These eyases are more than full. Look at that shiny big crop. My gracious.

If you missed the live streaming of Iniko 1031 arriving at the pre-release containment area at Big Sur, here is the video of that moment. The condors are so endangered and there is no telling how many more wildfires will rage. Fingers crossed!

It is late on the Canadian Prairies. Our damp is supposed to go away on Saturday. Meanwhile, it is the annual birdseed sale at our nature centre this weekend. It is a great time to get high quality feed for a big discount and help out the centre as well. You might check and see if your local nature centre does this. The savings can be substantial. I will also continually remind people that if you have a local feed and seed store, you might be able to find Millet, corn, Black Oil seed, peanuts in their shells at a substantially lower price point. My neighbours introduced me to this years ago but, sadly, the big feed store moved. The distance makes it no longer viable as a source.

Thank you for joining me. It is always a pleasure to receive your notes and letters. I appreciate the time you take to write to me whether it is an e-mail or a public comment. You take care. See you soon. All of these nests are doing so well that we can all rest easy. Life is good!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Iniko to be released!

The California Condor, Iniko (1031), is the daughter of 190 Redwood Queen and 167 Kingpin. She hatched on 25 April 2020 in the large Redwood Tree in the Big Sur area of California. Iniko was caught as a nestling in the tree during the Dolan Fire that ravaged the area from late August through December of 2020.

Iniko means ‘Born in Troubled Times’. The individuals who named this amazing baby could not have predicted how horrific 2020 was to be.

The streaming cam to the nest was lost and it was feared that Iniko had perished in the fire. To everyone’s surprise, she was alive! 190 Redwood Queen also survived the fire but, sadly, 167 Kingpin is presumed to have died.

This video by Lady Hawk shows the rescue of Iniko after she had been knocked out of the tree by an intruding condor. Her leg was injured and she will be taken into care at the Los Angeles Zoo.

This is what Iniko looks like on 7 October 2021.

Here is a video clip showing Iniko interacting with Eva, her pen mate.

Now for the really great news. Tomorrow, Iniko will be transferred from the Los Angeles Zoo to San Simeon. On her arrival, she will receive her official wing tag. The tag will be orange with the number 31 on it painted in black. This is because Iniko’s number is 1031. As a result, she has come to be known as the Halloween Queen. On Wednesday, 13 October – that is just two days away – Iniko will be placed in the pre-release pen at San Simeon along with nine other condors. You can watch her and the others on the streaming cam at San Simeon. Here is the link:

On the 4th of December, Iniko will be released back into the wild into the Big Sur Flock where she hatched. The Ventana Wildlife Society live stream the event. I will provide the details as the release date approaches.

Here is a wonderful short video on Baby Iniko’s life:

It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the headlines of doom and gloom in the news. Sadly, ‘bad’ reports often garner more viewers than positive ones. The return of Iniko to her Condor Flock is one of those feel good stories that should stay with you. There are people, around the world, working hard every day to help wildlife. I cannot even imagine what it was like for those that rescued this extremely rare bird from the burnt forest floor. They must have been overcome with joy. Tune in to watch when she is released!

Thank you for joining me. This is simply a joyous moment. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the Ventana Wildlife Society and the Los Angeles Zoo for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Featured Image: Iniko in Redwood Tree taken by S. Herrera for the Ventana Wildlife Society.

Rising from the ashes – how the Basin Complex Fire and the Dolan Fire are threads that bind

Today was ‘supposed’ to be the day that I re-organized my books and my desk – plus dusting – but, several wonderful distractions came in the mail. Always happy to talk about our beloved birds than doing the dusting!

Ventana Wildlife Society in Monterey California and the condors at Big Sur are featured in an article by Joy Lanzendorfer in Alta Journal. I am going to post the link and hope that you are able to read it for free. It is joyous-an article that pulls at your heart strings as Lanzendorfer talks about witnessing the release of the first condors bred in captivity. Here is the link:

https://www.altaonline.com/dispatches/a35588538/california-condor-sighting-joy-lanzendorfer/

“California condor” by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

What also caught my eye was a story about the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. It reminded me of the Dolan Fire last year and baby Iniko – and now there is a thread that binds the tragic life of the birds of those two fires.

In 2008, the Basin Complex Fire burned through the Redwood trees.

“Finding Phoenix alive after such a devastating burn was truly a miracle, however, locating his nest tree and climbing that massive redwood took all the adrenaline I could muster, it was the toughest and scariest climb of my life! (Condor Recover Program manager Joe Burnett). Here is a very short video of that moment:

In 2020, the Dolan Fire began on 18 August and continued to burn until 31 December 2020. If the miracle of the Basin Complex Fire was the survival of Phoenix 477, then the miracle of the Dolan Fire was the survival of Iniko. Iniko’s father, King Pin 167, is believed to have died in the blaze but his mother, Redwood Queen 190 survived. Iniko was found in her charred nest tree alive.

Iniko fledged but was injured. She was taken into care at the Los Angeles Zoo and will be released into the wild this year. It is amazing.

The thread that binds these two fires is Iniko’s mother, Redwood Queen 190 and Phoenix 477 that survived the Basin Complex Fire. The two have formed a bond and have laid an egg together which they are incubating in Redwood Queen and Iniko’s nest tree.

Redwood Queen 190 calls to her mate Phoenix 477 on 4 March to show him the newly laid egg.

Here are the parents today incubating the egg. If the egg survives, it is expected to hatch at the end of April. Iniko will be a big sister!

Redwood Queen just leaving for a break. 15 April 2021
Phoenix arriving to incubate his egg. 15 April 2021

You can watch this miracle unfold here:

One of the reasons that I wanted to get this blog out quickly is a Zoom webinar scheduled for Wednesday, 21 April, 12:30 Pacific Time. Kelly Sorenson will be joined by Joy Lanzendorfer to talk about the return of the condors from extinction. It is free but you must register. Copy this link and you will see the information and the tab to register:

https://www.altaonline.com/events/a35951377/alta-live-california-condors-kelly-sorensen/

Thank you for joining me on this quick update on these magnificent birds. How can you not love a condor? And the story of Redwood Queen, Iniko, and Phoenix is a miracle. Let us all hope the little one arrives safe and healthy!

Thank you to Ventana Wildlife Society and explore.org for their streaming cam. That is where I picked up my screen shots today.