Monday Updates in Bird World

The snow and rain persisted in the North East longer after bringing bitter cold, rain, tornado warnings, and ice in the SE. Last night those white flakes piled up on Big Red and Arthur’s nest at Cornell University. This afternoon rain is falling in Ithaca.

There is still about 9 weeks before Big Red thinks about laying eggs. Suzanne Arnold Horning caught Big Red preening in the snow this morning. Big Red is always beautiful, no matter the weather.

The sun has come out on the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita. Hopefully this will make R1 nicer. Even Rita tried to stop his nonsense with R2 yesterday.

The behaviour of R1, more aggressive than normal during the day of the storm, was mirrored in E19 who was entirely unpleasant to E20 on Harriet and M15’s nest in Fort Myers. These two have been called the ‘the most sweet’ and ‘the most caring’ of all of Harriet and M15’s eaglets and yet, yesterday brought out the aggression.

The cameras at SWFlorida are having problems this morning. The IR remains on and they are all on different times. The camera should, at this moment, be reading 12:30. Those eaglets are fine. Hopefully today will calm E19 down.

The one nest that I have been concerned with is that at Berry College. Missy did real well during the storm yesterday. It appears that the chick attempting to hatch in the second egg has failed. As one of the chatters said this morning, ‘we are thankful for one feisty chick’. Agreed. Let Missy get some experience with this one! Fingers crossed that this little one, B15, will grow and thrive.

I checked on Missy late last night and was thrilled to see the precipitation had stopped.

What I would like to see is a pile of fish on that nest! Pa Berry, let’s go fishing.

No egg at Duke Farm but the nest continues to be restored by the pair of Bald Eagles that gave us those two magnificent fledges last year.

It is breezy and sunny at Hilton Head Island Trust Eagles Nest, home to Harriet and Mitch and their two eaglets. It certainly isn’t hot there and the forecast indicates that the temperatures will plunge on Thursday. Right now the babies are full of fish and sleeping.

Lori Covert at Captiva Bald Eagles has announced that the two eggs of Connie and Clive are either unfertilized or non-viable. No eaglets for Connie and her new mate this year, sadly.

There was a late fish delivery to Ervie on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. I am not quite certain of the delivery time but Ervie was working on it after 20:00. At one point, Mum came over to see if she could get that fish off Ervie and he promptly booted her off the nest. Ervie!

Ervie did not finish that fish. He seems to have saved some of it for breakfast. He is sleeping on it!

Before signing off – I am late in feeding the garden birds and animals – a quick check on Anna and the little one. Louis has the pantry full – typical Louis -and this baby continues to delight. It is so strong. The Kisatchie National Forest nest is quickly rising like cream to the top in terms of my favourite Bald Eagle nests.

I know that there has been a lot of chatter about Louis being able to feed lots more chicks. Yes, he could. He could supply Berry College easily and keep Anna and babies full. That said, my preference will always be for one very healthy chick at each nest – always. Anna is a young Mum. This is only her second breeding season. Ease her into larger clutches gently! If ever.

This eaglet is the cutest! Seriously.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. They all seemed to have survived the storms well. Such a relief. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Berry College, WRDC, SWFlorida, Hilton Head Island Trust, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab, and Suzanne Arnold Horning for the image of Big Red today.

It’s three for Ron and Rita and other news from Bird World

Ron and Rita welcomed R3 early this morning. It appears that R3 hatched around 07:58. Notice also how Rita puts her beak at the tip of R1’s beak when it is wanting to peck R2. Very interesting.

Here is a very short video of R3 hatching.

R3 is officially fully hatched at 10:32:01.

Rita is now showing us anything as R1 and R2 look outside the nest cup.

That nest cup is very small. Fingers crossed for this little one to catch up and the older siblings to be kind. There is lots of food and experienced parents.

Congratulations Rita! (and Ron)

I have yet to see Daisy the Duck return to the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest since her and her mate came to check it again on New Year’s Day. The Ring-tailed Possum still has its own nest amidst the twigs that have been added to this enormous structure over the years. It was running up and down around the tree last night.

It is hard to see it but if you look at the left side of the ‘V’ branch, it is running down to the bottom of the V and on the nest image, it is running up the other side.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Lads must have a pact. Each one of them gets to spend an entire day on the nest! First it was Bazza, then Falky came the other day, and now it is Ervie’s turn again! Ervie flew in with a piece of fish yesterday and it is believed that he must have caught it himself. However, later, he also received a fish from Dad, the last fish of the day. They have also been diving off the barge – Falky is very good at this and it is wonderful to see them figure out how to fish. We most often do not get this opportunity.

There is Ervie protecting his fish on the nest from any siblings that think they will fly in and grab it.

Falky and Bazza are leaving Ervie alone to enjoy his dinner.

And perhaps by prior arrangement or reservation, Ervie gets to sleep on the nest alone. So when we see that one of them is staying by themselves all day on the nest, we will not worry about them. It looks like they are taking reservations for occupancy! What characters these three boys are.

There are so many things that humans use for one thing that wind up harming anyone that comes near them. Today, let’s look at ‘sticky paper’. Strands of sticky paper used to be common where I live to catch mosquitoes and flies. In France they are still used to catch birds! What horror and today there are used to catch mice and rats. Any bird or animal that gets near this gooey paper will be harmed. This was posted by CROW. The last sentence is not there but they suggest calling your local wildlife rehabber. Do not try to do anything yourself.

The wee ones at Hilton Head are still small and fuzzy but E19 and E20 are growing fast. Today, they are out of the nest cup and sleeping with their head on the sides of the nest. This is a major change for these two. Their pin feathers are also coming in and we can see their little tails starting to grow as their wings get bigger and bigger.

Another possum was just brought on deck for dinner along with the remains of yesterday’s two fish.

Eating and growing make for one very tired E19.

An earlier feeding of fish.

All is well at Harriet and M15’s. The beaking has really slowed down. Let’s hope it stays that way!

We are on egg watch at Big Bear for Jackie and Shadow.

Here is the link to the camera of this favourite Bald Eagle couple. We wish them the best of luck as they struggle to have nestlings up in northern California. It is perhaps the lingering DDT in the area that continually causes the shells of their eggs to be thin or the eggs to be unviable. But, let’s start 2022 off with all your warm wishes. I hope this is their year – they are so dedicated to one another.

Pip watch for those followers of Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest this weekend. Hoping that this year is better for Mum Connie and her new partner, Clive. Connie lost both of her chicks to rodenticide secondary poisoning last year. They were Hope and Peace. It was tragic. And, of course, rodenticide, like sticky paper, needs to be banned. Raptors and Cats are the answer to getting rid of rodents.

Here is the link to the Captiva Bald Eagle Cam:

I am trying to find streaming cams for raptors in Japan. In my quest to find a raptor cam in Japan for one of your fellow readers, I have found squirrel cams, monkey cams, cams for traffic and temples, cooking, etc. But I have yet to find a mention of a raptor cam. I will continue my quest but if any of you know of one, please let me know so we can all enjoy. Thank you so much!

The squirrels are adorable!

And the most incredible monkeys and deer but no raptors! This is Awaji Island.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is so reassuring to know that there are so many people, from all of the world, that love the raptors – and all the birds and animals. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Friends of Big Bear, Captiva Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, CROW FB page, Awaji Island Monkey Center, and Yatsugatake Today.

Christmas Day in Bird World

It is a gorgeous Christmas morning over Big Bear Lake in San Bernadino County, California. This is the home of Bald Eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow. What a beautiful view as the sun rises to wake up the forest and the animals that live around the lake.

A little later the camera operator gives us a treat by panning around the area where Jackie and Shadow live.

Jackie and Shadow have been delivering some nice (some large) twigs to the nest. This wonderful couple live in the hope of hatching eaglets and we send them positive energy as we hope with them.

Harriet and M15 might be wishing for a little bit of the cooler northern Californian weather in Fort Myers. The couple began ‘listening’ to their eggs last evening. It is pip watch!

About four days before hatching, the eaglets will grow their egg tooth. Imagine it as a sharp spike facing outward towards the shell on the tip of the beak. The little ones will chip away at the shell. They will take their first breath and continue picking away until they have broken through and hatched. This whole process can take up to four days.

Last year Harriet and M15, fledged E17 and E18 – the twins that won all of our hearts from their first bobblehead days, to going into care for conjunctivitis, to their return. Beautiful fledglings. Best friends.

I am so glad that Samson and Gabby did not lay their eggs at the same time as Harriet and M15. This way we will get to enjoy having two nests of bobble heads independent of one another! Last year, Gabby and Samson had one hatch, Legacy. S/he turned out to be a beautiful and formidable juvenile.

Gabby is on incubation duties.

Anna and Louis are also incubating two eggs and have a wait similar to that of Samson and Gabby. Their nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. This is the couple’s second breeding attempt. Last year they fledged Kisatchie, the first eaglet hatched and fledged on this nest in central Louisiana since 2013. Wow. Cody and Steve have installed sound at the nest this year.

It was fun watching Anna and Louis last year figure out what to do as new parents. Louis is a fabulous provider. When he is not loading the nest down with fish, he is aiming to give Anna the softest Spanish Moss he can find for the egg cup! Just look at it.

Clive and Connie are incubating two eggs over at Captiva. They have had some terrible weather there lately and this image is from yesterday. The camera appears to be down this morning.

Clive is a new mate for Connie. Last year, Connie and Joe hatched two eaglets, Peace and Hope, who died on the nest from rodenticide poisoning.

One of the ospreys over wintering at Urdaibai in the Basque Country of Spain waking up to Christmas morning.

While many of the Ospreys are opting to stay on the Iberian Peninsula instead of making the long journey down to The Gambia or Senegal, there are still celebrations as the December count along the Senegal coast was 1100 birds this year. Jean-Marie Dupart did an amazing job going out and counting all of the beautiful fish eagles. Thank you!

German Osprey along the coast of Senegal.

Closer to home, Jack and Diane have been working on their nest. Some really nice strips of bark have been brought in. Last year, the pair fledged three for the first time: Sibling 1, Sibling 2, and the miracle bird who survived against all the odds and became dominant, Tiny Tot Tumbles.

Cilla Kinross is celebrating the third camera at Charles Sturt Falcon Project. There is a ledge and box camera and now one that shows the falcons flying around the outside of the water tower. Congratulations, Cilla.

Here is the link if you wish to check out the new tower cam:

Big Red and Arthur have been spotted out hunting so all is well with the Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus. Hope to have images I can post for you shortly.

The countdown is on for all the hawk and osprey fans…three months til Big Red is incubating eggs and three months til the first arrivals of the Western Ospreys back in the UK. Oh, and the beautiful storks of Latvia and Estonia. May they all stay safe until then.

Wishing all of the birds who bring us such joy, extra prey items, good weather, and safe flying.

Thank you for joining me today. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope that you have a peaceful, joyful day, with something a little special. For those birds not with us today, we thank them for the happiness they gave to us – and as one of my readers ‘B’ so eloquently said, ‘and all they taught us.’ So true. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Friends of Big Bear, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, KNF Eagle Cam, Captiva Eagle Cam, Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and the Achieva Osprey Cam.

Note: Port Lincoln Osprey Cam is down or we would all get a look at those lads!

Eagle Season is coming!

It is almost Bald Eagle breeding season in some parts of the United States. as more and more people and governmental agencies focus on the environment, there are studies from around the world trying to make wind farms more safe for our beautiful raptors.

The University of Minnesota has been doing just that. They discovered some interesting things when trying to use sound —– Bald Eagles just have normal hearing, nothing special. So as many begin talking about floating platforms in the ocean to generate renewable power, what can help the birds?

https://www.startribune.com/university-of-minnesota-researchers-protect-eagles-wind-farms-airspace/600100175/?fbclid=IwAR1ctzmnP07P3o5wb8IKkL0j35KkO33jluna8B38ge4CnZm2J-DTiqvhpeI

The sun is just rising over the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Florida. It is the home of Samson and Gabrielle (Gabby). This is their third season together. They have hatched Romy and Jules (2020) and Legacy (2021).

If you have forgotten, this is the nest that Samson hatched at. It belonged to his parents, Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy struck the pair in 2019. The story and video of it is here:

This is the beginning of the 2021-22 season. It is a new day with wonderful prospects for the fall and spring! I so look forward to their little ones. Legacy pulled at all my heart strings as she did thousands of others. What a grand juvenile she grew into. So, lots to look forward to.

Samson and Gabby had spent the night on the branches of the natal tree. It is just turning 07:00 and Samson is fishing. Gabby is down working on the walls of the nest getting it ready.

She looks all over trying to decide what to move and where the new branches should go. Typically, the male brings in the branches and the female positions them.

It will not be long til Gabby has this nest worked into her liking. It is high up on a pine tree and everything has to be perfect to protect the eggs and the eaglets.

She waits for Samson to arrive. You will notice that he has brought a big stick onto the nest. Now he has left again.

Now he is back! They are having a conversation about what to do during the day.

I have to admit that I really enjoy this Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. Legacy was just a joy last year as she navigated life with ‘Eggie’ and ‘Pinecone’ as an only child. Here is the link to their streaming cam 1 (they have 3):

There are two other streaming cams to watch and both couples have arrived. One of the most famous is the nest of Harriet and M15 on the land of the Pritchett Family in Fort Myers. Both eagles have returned to the nest and have been seen working on it.

The third is the Captiva Eagle Nest on Santibel Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Martin. Both have arrived at the nest this afternoon. One was seen earlier in the day.

Last year, the two eaglets named Peace and Hope died of rodenticide poisoning. The male Joe – well, I would argue that he reacted the same way that Romeo did when he could not care for the eaglets in 2018-19 – and well, Joe is gone.

Let us hope that Connie and her new mate have a fabulous year and that the folks using these designer poisons have stopped and cleaned up the area for these beautiful birds.

There are so many Bald Eagle nests it is hard to keep up with them. At the same time, there are the beautiful White-tailed and Golden Eagles in Europe. The Latvian Fund for Nature runs a host of eagle cams and I will be bringing you information as it becomes relevant. I am hoping that Matilde will have a new mate and that this will be successful! Spring is going to be busy!

The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest is yelling to Dad to get a fish on the deck for the osplets!

Last year he seemed to ignore her but this year Dad has been, for the most part, on the ball. Sometimes he has to come to the nest to get his earful orders but then he goes fishing. Let us keep our fingers crossed for a very large fish like the one delivered yesterday. These kids are growing and they need more bigger fish. Less feedings but a lot of fish.

It is now 08:30 at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Forest and WBSE 27 and 28 are waiting for a breakfast delivery, too.

This pair have done well this year. WBSE 27 has the darker head at the back with 28 here at the front. Both are healthy and there are no obvious physical difficulties like 26 had last year.

The problem that they do have are feathers and the two are constantly preening.

Both can stand and walk well.

Here they are watching for the parents to make a delivery! Waiting must be very hard when you are hungry. How dependent these birds are on the good health of their parents, too.

Food deliveries will be coming. The nestlings wait at both Port Lincoln and Sydney.

Thanks for joining me. I will bring you an update on the PLO nest first thing tomorrow. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The NE Florida Cam and the AEF, Captiva and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Fishing line, again

The area around Big Bear where Bald Eagles Jackie and Shadow have their nest could not be more picturesque. Beautiful mountains, trees, clear lakes, and winding roads.

For all its local beauty, it has been a very sad but, hopefully, promising season for the two.

The single egg that you see on the nest (image below) is the fourth egg that Jackie has laid this season. She originally laid three eggs. Two were stolen by ravens and the third broke. The eagles left the nest despondent and no one knew if they would try again – but they did! The first egg of their second season was laid on 8 February. Eggs are laid about three days apart so if there is to be a second, we should see it today or tomorrow. Remember that laying eggs depletes the female of much needed calcium. She needs to be in good health to try producing this many eggs close together.

Last night, Shadow brought Jackie a nice juicy coot. A coot, if you are unfamiliar, is not a fish but a medium sized water bird that is black. And, on this point, please when your friends tell you that Bald Eagles only eat fish, correct them politely! However, that coot had eaten fishing line and when Jackie ate the coot, she ate the fishing line. She was in great distress – heaving hard= and was finally able to throw that line up with her dinner. Then, of course, the fishing line is on the nest and Jackie gets it tangled around her leg. As of 11 am, 11 February it appears that Shadow was able to remove the line and take it off the nest. There is no sight of it. My goodness this pair have had what we can only call terrible luck. Let us hope that is over.

Shadow brings Jackie a coot for dinner. Egg number 4. Taken from Big Bear Streaming Cam.

Right now absolutely everything is fine.

Jackie on the nest 11 February. Taken from BigBear Streaming Cam.

In the post today was the latest edition of The Journal of Raptor Research. And there, just waiting for me to read it, is an article titled ‘Hospital Admissions of Australian Coastal Raptors Show Fishing Equipment Entanglement is an important threat’. Could it be more timely? Glancing at the article it indicates that the leading cause of population decline of White Bellied Sea Eagles and Osprey is loss of habitat, they also note vehicle collisions, power line electrocutions, window strike especially with the building of commercial and domestic buildings that are mainly glass, pesticides and now fishing equipment. With an increase in recreational fishing, the submissions of coastal seabirds is growing.

My dad was a recreational fisherman in Oklahoma fishing at the large lake separating Oklahoma and Texas, Lake Texhoma. I grew up with him and his friend, Elmer (does anyone name their child Elmer anymore?) and their catfish challenges. I often had to sit on the fish to prove their size! They won contests for catching the largest catfish, sometimes as much ninety pounds. The average was about seventy pounds.

My dad taught my children to fish before they were out of nappies. My oldest loves to fish and lives in the Caribbean where he can go out to sea or fish from shore. He is known for travelling around the world to visit his friends fishing in Japan, around Bangkok with his buddy Tapp, with his friends in Eastern Malaysia and in the Maldives. He is one of the ones who help to clean up the beaches on the island so he is readily aware of the mess that fishing line, nets, and hooks can cause. My grandson walks a few blocks from his house to fish off the shore of the Assiniboine River.

I grew up with people that fished. Now we all know the impact that those hooks and lines can have. It was only a month ago that CROW had to go up to the Captiva Bald Eagle nest and take a piece of monofilament from aroud little Peace. All of the fishing equipment needs to be non-toxic. Years ago they developed some line that was supposed to be unbreakable. Really? All I understood was that there were problems and a lot of fishers refused to use it. So here we are today. Who will be the person who does research and comes up with a kind of dissolving fishing line for recreational fishers? And how can we go about clearing the shores of our lakes, rivers, and oceans of fishing equipment tangled up in the trees and shrubs? This whole thing has plagued me now for several months. Does anyone know of a solution? I know that not everyone is prepared to stop fishing like my husband has. He did it for the birds and just possibly so I wasn’t going around the house in my hawk like voice screaming about it!! By the way, did you know that in movies and commercials with eagles they use the voice of the Red Tail Hawk? Seriously. They sound so much more ‘like an eagle’ than an eagle! Who ever would have thought?!

These are really short clips. Have a listen. Here is the little chatter of the Bald Eagle:

And here is the cry of the Red Tail Hawk:

Used for scary movies!

I promised to bring you updates Solly, the Eastern Osprey female with the satellite tracker. Remember she was born at Port Lincoln on a barge. She is 144 days old today. Solly was fitted with a transmitter and already she has given researchers much to think about. Last week she had flown inland and she had travelled more than 200 kilometres from her natal nest. And that evening we knew that she was at Streaky Bay. There was even a photo of her along the shore. Well, Solly still likes Streaky Bay. Here are the latest tracking images from yesterday (11 February in Australia time zone).

Solly was even captured in photographs down by the Bay and at the Dragon Club Boat Centre. Isn’t she wonderful? I can’t tell you how comforting it is to find out they are alive. So many die. Tears just roll down my cheeks.

She looks pretty happy hanging out with the pelicans. There are so few Osprey in Australia that maybe Solly has found her forever home. Unlike the tracker put on the Royal Cam Albatross, LGK and LGL, Solly’s transmitter will last as long as the Velcro webbing does. They are hoping for seven years. We will check in on her next week to see if she has decided to stay – or go. It is reasonable that if there is no competition from other Ospreys, Solly might have this big territory to herself. The fishing must be good. She looks healthy and well. Believe me, if there wasn’t good fishing, Solly would be out of there!

This afternoon in Florida, both the NEFL Eagle Nest of Gabby and Samson were on alert as was Harriet and M15 at the SWFL Eagle Nest. Intruders are another serious danger to the eagles and with the growth in the Bald Eagle population and the decline in the number of large trees for nesting, youngsters are looking for a home.

Gabby (on the nest) and Samson (on the branch) protect their territory and E24. NEFL Streaming Cam.
Harriet (closest) and M15 (on far end) protect their territory and E17 and E18.

Meanwhile updates show that there is now more snow on the Bald Eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey with more to fall over the coming days.

Duke Farms Eagle Cam, 10 February 2021.

Lime Green Lime (LGL) has returned to Taiaroa Head to replace her mate, Lime Green Black (LGK) so that he can go feeding. We will maybe get to see his transmitter results. What Lime Green Lime doesn’t know is that she will also be fitted with a transmitter today. Then for a year we will be able to see where they travel, like Solly.

Lime Green Lime and baby, 12 February 2021. Cornell and NZ DOC cams.

The transmitter is installed! And that little one is sure growing. Now we will be able to find out how far LGL and LGK go to fish.

It’s bitterly cold again. Wildlife is struggling in different parts of the world due to too much cold or too much heat. All of the little ones have gone to bed with full crops. Bald Eagles are alert and protecting their nests.

Thank you for joining me today. I didn’t expect to write such a long second blog until the issue of the fishing equipment presented itself again. Stay warm or cool wherever you are. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the streaming cams at NEFL, SWFL, Big Bear, and Taiaroa Head.

24 hours full of birth and death emotion

First, before you get anxious, Daisy the Duck managed through the high temperature of Sydney yesterday. She left the nest at 15:11:10 to forage and returned twenty minutes before sun down at 19:45. It is currently day 14 of her brooding and it is 5:43 Monday the 25th of January in Sydney. All is well in the nest. The sea eagles did not make an appearance in the evening and Daisy did not go out foraging before dawn this morning. It is due to be another hot day on the nest.

Daisy just before dawn, 25 January 2021.

I have said often that the lives of our feathered friends hang on a thread. Anything can happen at any time. Sadly, much of the time the root cause has something to do with humans and our lack of respect for the environment. Rat poison – rodenticide – contains chemicals that cause the mice and rats to bleed internally. But before they did their movements slow down. Raptors (falcons, hawks, eagles) often catch the dying animals. While it is not always lethal for the larger birds such as adult Bald Eagles, it is for the smaller hawks and falcons and their babies. Toxins in the water flushed out from industrial plants is another or the heating of the oceans causes toxic red algae. Window strike breaks their necks. Tossing any food waste onto the highways causes the birds to come and not watching, they get hit by vehicles. The mesh bags that hold oranges and other fruits along with not cutting the ties on face masks tangles up the birds as does the mesh that people and farms use to cover the trees and bushes in their orchards. And of course the glue strips that catch the birds and cause them such devastating pain trying to free their little legs. I could go on. The list would be endless. The most prominent way is through the loss of habitat.

In a short period of time, in the world of our beautiful birds, there has been intense pain and great happiness.

At Captiva Island, there was such joy when Peace and Hope were each born, within six hours of one another, on 14 December 2020.

Hope and Peace being fed fish on Christmas Day by their dad, Joe.

Fishing line was discovered in the nest with a hook on it. The American Eagle Federation got permission from the US Wildlife Service to have it removed. On or about the same day, the parents brought a rat into the nest to feed the eaglets. No one knows precisely what happened but it was observed that Peace no longer wanted to eat and was becoming dehydrated. Peace passed away. Hope continued to thrive until a couple of days ago when people started noticing that ‘something was wrong’. They didn’t know what. Many noticed tremors in her leg. Others watched as it appeared she could not cough up a pellet. (Raptors cannot process all of the food that they eat. What they can’t is formed into a pellet that is coughed up). Some saw blood on her wing and leg. She coughed and choked all day, January 23. Many think her heart gave out last night. Connie, her mother, flew to the nest as she was taking her last breaths. One of the saddest things is that prior to Hope and Peace, Joe and Connie had fledged nineteen juvenile Bald Eagles in the twelve years they have been together. In fact, people exclaimed how physically strong these two were. Hope crawled out of the nest and up to the end where the parents bring in food when she was only two days old. They were both growing and getting strong. Peace died on 13 January. A few days, Joe took her body from the nest. Many are hoping that a necroscopy can be done on Hope to determine the cause of her death.

January 20, 2021. Hope with Connie on the nest overlooking their territory.

In the image above, three days ago, you can see how Hope was getting her beautiful dark brown juvenile feathers.

Apologies. Hope is moving. 23 January 2021.

In the morning fog, the same day of her death, Hope stands talls and is jumping up and down on the nest flapping her wings.

Today, Connie is standing over the body of her daughter, Hope, shading it. From all available evidence, birds grieve just like humans when they lose a child.

Connie with the body of Hope.

There is frustration and anger and the debates continue as to whether or not intervention in the lives of these majestic birds should take place. Some argue that we are fortunate to be able to view their lives but that we should not intervene to help them unless it is clearly something a human has caused. Others state the opposite. While we are now privileged to watch the comings and goings of the birds, it is our duty to protect them so that they thrive. Unfortunately, nothing will bring back to the vibrant eaglets, Peace and Hope.

January 23 was also the day that Harriet and M15’s two eaglets hatched at Fort Myers, Florida.

E17 and E18 hatched just an hour and a half apart. What were two wet limp bodies have turned into fuzzy little bonking babies this morning!

E17 and E 18

Notice the white at the top end of their beak. That is the ‘egg tooth’. The egg tooth is a small white protuberance that helps the birds chip away at the shell so that they can hatch. By hitting on the shell, the egg tooth makes the first pip! The egg tooth disappears in a few weeks.

Bonking of bobbing into one another after hatch is a rather normal experience. The little birds cannot focus their eyes well, their heads are bigger and awkward til they get some strength in their necks, and because they know that food comes from their beak and the parent’s, you will often see them bonking back and forth. This should end after a few days but in some nests it persists as a means of establishing dominance. In some cases it can lead to siblicide, the killing of the other sibling.

And on 23 January in New Zealand, the Royal Cam Albatross chick belonging to LGL, Lime Green Lime, and LGK, Lime Green Black, hatched. New Zealand gives the albatross born at Tairoa coloured bands for identification. This couple were chosen to be the stars of the camera this year. The baby Albatross will receive a Maori name right before it fledges and we should know in a couple of weeks if it is a male or a female.

DOC Ranger Julia and LGK as he sees his baby for the first time.

I can always be found praising the New Zealand Department of Conservation. They protect their birds. Once the rangers noticed the ‘pip’ of the Royal Albatross egg of LGK and LGL, it was removed and a dummy egg was placed under the parent to continue incubating. The ‘real egg’ was placed in an incubator. The reason for this is fly strike, the infestation of fly larvae during the period that the chick is trying to hatch. This can lead to their death. Royal Albatross are a highly endangered species because of climate change and long haul fishing. The New Zealand government is taking a very proactive role in trying to keep their birds healthy and also in promoting the use of varies methods to protect bycatch, whether it is our gentle albatrosses or sea turtles.

This is a great video to introduce you to the topic of bycatch and how important it is to get international agreements in place to protect the ocean’s animals.

There is much you can do to help birds from cutting the lines to your masks and putting them in the trash, to educating people on feeding birds at feeders and ponds, to lobbying international agencies demanding the end to bycatch. If you go back through my posts you will find several dedicated to ways that you can help birds no matter what your financial status.

Daisy on her nest just after dawn breaks, 24 January 2021.

I will have a full report on Daisy’s day in about nine hours. The weather will be hot again in the Sydney Olympic Park and we hope that means that no sea eagles will come to see if they can catch Daisy!

Thank you for joining in the daily life of our favourite little Black Pacific Duck, Daisy.

And thank you to Pritchett for the camera views of Harriet and M15, Captiva Eagle Cam and the AEF for the camera views of Joe and Connie, to Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ Department of Conservation for their camera views of LGL and LGK, and to Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the camera views of Daisy.