The sadness of Grinnell, the fishing line, and a new mate for Annie? No, this is not April Fools.

1 April 2022

It has been a very difficult two days in Bird World. The first concerns rose with the fishing line on the Dale Hollow Bald Eagle nest two days ago – its wrapping around Little Middle’s feet – and then the most horrific news coming yesterday of Grinnell’s death. As so many of you commented in the first instance, ‘If they can get up there to fix the camera, then why can’t they get up to help the little eaglet?’ But no one can make sense of Grinnell’s death. I tried to write a tribute to this sweet little falcon and could not do it last night. I will but it is going to take a few days. He was such a sweet little falcon that I simply cannot believe he is not with us this morning.

My heart ached for Annie. She was in the scrape calling. She did not lay a third egg yesterday.

I really felt for Annie last night. Where was her mate? why was he not relieving her? why was Grinnell not bringing her something to eat? Where was Grinnell?

It is unusual for a falcon to be down amidst traffic. They hunt in the air – they are the world’s fastest aerial predators. So what was Grinnell doing in traffic? The premise that Grinnell was chasing an intruder that knocked him down into the traffic seems reasonable —– and so sad. Always protecting his and Annie’s territory and babies.

‘B’ sent me a good article about Grinnell that I want to share with you.

Some of you will know Xavier and Diamond whose scrape is on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Xavier means Saviour. You might also know that but maybe some of you don’t. Xavier was given that name because when Diamond’s mate disappeared, presumed dead, Xavier came to the rescue almost immediately. He kept Diamond and the eyases fed. He did not interact with the chicks too much and of course, he did not harm them. He proved to be so trustworthy that Diamond bonded with him the following year and they had their own family. Perhaps Annie will have just such a saviour.

This was, literally, just posted by Cal Falcons. It can’t be an April Fool’s joke. Is it possible Annie will have help raising those chicks? Is this the male that Grinnell was chasing? was Annie talking to this male last night?

No one has gone up to help Little Middle at the Dale Hollow nest with the fishing line. It is still wrapped around his feet and in different configurations at various times. So much fish came on the nest this morning – at least three large fish, that it defies understanding that Big would continue to attack Little Middle but she did on several different occasions. Indeed, the kids had hardly anything to eat yesterday so I assumed Big would eat first and she did have a big crop. LM had nothing and then had an opportunity and Big attacked. Later Little Middle got up and ate until he had a nice crop. Then another fish arrived on the nest – a 4th.

Little Middle was so hungry that he began pecking on the fish in the centre of the nest. You might recall that Little Middle did this yesterday moving a fish from beside Big to eat away on it. DH15 is a survivor – if he gets the chance!

Little Middle managed to get a good feeding. And we can all say, ‘whew’.

I do not see Little Middle dragging the nesting material around this morning. I have caught a glimpse of the fishing line around its talons, loose. Perhaps this wee one who has endured so much will be able to get rid of it.

Little Middle was so hungry that he got himself back up to the fish after about 9 minutes of hanging by the rim of the nest. Big had already eaten and Middle Little had little food since Thursday morning if any food. He chewed on a fish by itself.

Big’s presence is just intimidating. She seems to get upset for no reason that Little Middle exists.

I had hoped that Middle Little would grow bigger and that Big would plateau but not only does it seem that Big’s plumage is changing dramatically, she also continues to grow. Her leg is almost the size of her parents! Middle Little still has to be careful.

River flew in with another fish 09:59:00. This should be number 4. Big was sleeping on the #3 fish and River was feeding #2. Plenty of fish today for both eaglets – no reason for any beaking or rivalry.

Little Middle has a crop and that is good.

There are so many nests that need to be checked on and I have an appointment today. A good report on all of them will come later with updates on Dale Hollow, Annie and the new mate, and Karl II if there is any new tracking data.

It feels a bit like we are all in a bird whirlwind. No one expected Annie to bond with another male this fast! Cal Falcons is really having to rewrite what they know about falcons! And we are learning, too. I just wonder if this is the male that was around when Grinnell was injured?

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone. I will do a very quick update late tonight. See you soon!!!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Dale Hollow Bald Eagles and Cal Falcons. Thank you ‘B’ for the article on Grinnell.