Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.

Good morning Australia!

11 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

Summer temperatures have returned to the Canadian Prairies. It is currently 19 degrees C. outside. Dare I say that the conservatory is 26. The tropical flowers brought in from the garden are going to thrive. Meanwhile, the Blue Jay, the Dark-eyed Juncos, the Black-capped Chickadee, and the squirrels are having a marvelous day.

This morning, very early, I caught Little Red taking peanuts into the small, three sided woodshed. For those who do not know him, Little Red is a Red Squirrel, quite tiny. For a number of years, he lived in our old woodshed that was torn down so that we could legally add the conservatory without getting a variance. Permits take a month; variances in our city can take up to 18-24 months! So Little Red lost what was his ‘forever home’. I have felt bad ever since and bought a squirrel house on-line which the grey squirrels took over. So, the light bulb went off this morning. So, two wooden slat boxes, 45 x 60 cm, with cut out handles have been attached to one another and to the interior of the wood box. Wood shavings and a gallon of Maple seeds are lining the bottom. It is surrounded by firewood. Now we wait to see if Little Red will move in. Cross all your fingers and toes. (I think he also has a tree down the back lane but, I would like to know he is safe here). That is Little Red above. Could you leave this little cutie homeless? I don’t think so.

This is Dyson. For a long time, she stayed on the solid seed cylinder eating when I was working on Little Red’s mini-penthouse. I was about 2 metres away. She just watched me. I do wish the squirrels were more afraid of people, but they have lived in the garden for so long. Hopefully they do not trust everyone.

Making News:

Fran Solly of Take2Photography and Friends of Osprey FB page reports that Ervie is doing well. He is still in the Port Lincoln area and has his favourite hunting and perching spots. Isn’t that fantastic? Would love to see our lad!

I know that many of you have been worried about SE30 since she fledged especially since we saw images of her hanging upside down in the nest tree harangued by the Pied Currawongs. This is the latest news that I can find. Thanks ‘L’.

My concern for SE30 is that the parents tend to feed on the nest. You might recall SE26 being in the forest for a week and finally making it back to the nest exhausted and starving. Lady and Dad immediately brought fish. Last year, they went to Goat Island early. Let us hope they stay around and SE30 makes it back to the nest.

Connor from Window to Wildlife has gone to Captiva and has given his report on the condition of the nests, hearing Lena, and the fate of the cameras from Hurricane Ian etc. So happy to know Lena was doing her loud Osprey call! Such wonderful news. Buildings can be replaced. Trees grow back. Our raptor friends do not recover if they were severely injured in the hurricane or worse, killed.

If you have travelled to India or read the news, you are probably aware of the air pollution in India’s large cities and, in particular, Delhi/New Delhi. Two brothers have spent the past two decades striving to save Black Kites from the toxic air. Their story is in a new film, All That Breathes. Check your local theatre or the local streaming channels in your area for it after its release on the 14th of October.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/oct/11/all-that-breathes-review-delhis-birdmen-on-a-mission-to-save-the-black-kite

In the UK, the RSPB is not ruling out direct action in its fight to save nature.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/10/rspb-not-ruling-out-direct-action-to-defend-nature-from-government-policy

Nest News:

SE30 was sighted in the Sydney Olympic Forest and observed for 45 minutes yesterday. SE30 has not returned to the nest and neither parent slept on the natal tree last night.

At Port Lincoln yesterday, the osplets ate very, very well including the fish delivery at 12:48:22. Sadly, there was no more fish and the chicks are going to be especially ravenous when they wake up this morning. Big might well be in a mood.

It is currently raining at Port Lincoln. Mum is trying to keep those osplets dry. It is difficult as they are growing big and strong. Dad is particularly adept at fishing in the rain so I am hoping he doesn’t disappoint this morning.

Nothing has arrived at Port Lincoln so far. It is only 07:37 so there is plenty of time. But, oh, I hope several large fish come in at once!

Diamond is waiting for Xavier to bring in the early prey for Rubus and Indigo.

Yesterday it was reported that Rubus had 90 bites of prey. The little one did eat better.

To fully understand if one chick is fed well, you must consider the composition of the prey item – was it meat or fish or feathers? (There is nothing wrong with feathers as they clean the crop but not just an all feather feeding). The analogy might be white bread vs. protein. Indigo requires more food. S/he is older. What is the ratio of bites between Indigo and Rubus? are the prey items equal? We would have to dissect them and weight them! So it is not easy. Better guide might be to observe if both chicks have crops at the end of the feeding. It is just a thought. That would mean for their age and size they are ‘full to the brim’. Rufus appears to be getting stronger every day and what we want is for both of the eyases to thrive. Indeed, we want that for all our bird families.

It was a bit of a wait for Xavier to deliver the prey this morning. It arrived at the Orange scrape box at 07:46:39. I could not tell what it was. Indigo was ravenous and pushing her head up with her legs to eat. Of course, Rufus is equally as hungry but no matter what it does, it just can’t get that beak equal with Indigo’s so it has to wait and hope there is lots of prey and that Diamond is very patient.

At 07:50:10, Indigo has a crop and is still getting prey. Rufus is desperately trying to do anything to get some food including biting Indigo’s beak. She has not had a single bite as of that time stamp. Rufus gets its first bite at 07:51:03 but, Indigo continues to be fed and has a hard crop.

Once Indigo is full, Rubus is getting some nice bites at the end of the feeding. It has become the custom of the nest for Indigo to be fed first and then Rubus. She will be full. They are nice big pieces of prey.

Yesterday ‘A’ and I were discussing the scrape box at the other end of the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The eyases will be able to run down the gutter getting to the other end safely where they will have shade and be protected from the rain. I made a quick call to the local experts and they said this could occur at 21-25 days (the stability in running). That would be a big help if the Mum is going to be absent at the height of the noon sun. Dad tries to shade but the chicks are getting so big.

I found a blog post on the stages of growth for the falcon eyases. It has nice images and I thought some of you might be interested.

https://falcoperegrinus-froona.blogspot.com/2008/04/eyases-from-day-to-day.html

What will Melbourne have in store for us today? I hope nothing eventful. Boring would be good.

Mum left the 367 Collins Street scrape at 06:33:09 returning at 06:35:26 with a very boney piece of pigeon. I assume a fresh one will come in shortly.

Dad was right there with a fresh pigeon at 06:37:34. He landed, the parents chatted, and he took it up to Mum to feed the kids. Did I tell you how much I adore this male?

It is cloudy and rain is now falling in Melbourne.

One last check on our migrating Black Stork family form Estonia, Karl II, Kaia, Waba, and Bonus. Kaia is the first of the family to reach Africa. Her last transmission was near the Karakoram Mtns. It is an area where there is little cell or satellite service. We hope to hear form her again when she is out of the Sahara. Waba is in Bulgaria. Karl II is in Turkey near the Syrian border. Bonus is in Romania. All of this is good news.

This will be my only post for today. I will continue to monitor the Port Lincoln nest for a feeding and also 367 Collins Street to see what happens around 1100 with Mum. I hope she stays home! And lets Dad get the pigeons. Tomorrow morning will have a full report. Until then, thank you for being with me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or posts that form my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Osprey, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Pips and Popping Crops…Early Thursday in Bird World

29 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The news coming out of Sanibel/Captiva is not good. (see below) Our thoughts remain with all of those who were so heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian.

In Manitoba we continue to take in the full beauty of autumn with a temperature of 12 degrees C. And it seems that today, I will have hydro in the conservatory. Just in the nick of time as nighttime temperatures continue to drop near the freezing point. All of the Crows and Blue Jays continue to come to the garden and it will be a few weeks til we know whether they will winter here or leave.

In the Mailbox:

Lots of people are asking: Is there any news about Captiva Ospreys?

As you probably know Sanibel/Captiva took the direct hit of Hurricane Ian when it hit landfall at 155 mph. There is no communication between Captiva and some of the images coming out of Channel 8 news in Florida touch on the devastation. The individual who owns the property that the Captiva Bald Eagles and Ospreys have their nest is Lori Covert, a Canadian from Nova Scotia. Lori has reported that Captiva is under 12 feet of water and there is no communcations. It will be some time before things are restored because sections of the causeway are completely wiped out. Access would be by boat or helicopter.

The video clip is Sanibel.

Making News:

Catastropic damage to the number of birds and raptors due to the climate crisis.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/28/nearly-half-worlds-bird-species-in-decline-as-destruction-of-avian-life-intensifies-aoe

Nest News:

There is nothing like a trio of ‘full to the brim’ osplets to set your mood to ‘excellent’. That big fish that Dad brought into Port Lincoln certainly started the osplets off on a good day, too. The cam operator obliged by giving us some fantastic close ups of the three. Look carefully at their plumage.

You can easily tell the three osplets apart. Big Bob has lost almost all of its down on the head and back. The back of its head is black on top with a copper bottom. Middle Bob is losing its down on the head and Little Bob is not yet started like the other two.

Soon Big Bob will look like its dinosaur relative. Poor thing. I feel sorry for it with all those itchy feathers.

Look closely. See the coppery colour plumage coming in below the black on Big Bob. You can also see the pin feathers coming on the wings and back.

Little Bob is still soft and sweet. He is beginning to remind me a bit of Ervie.

Those beautiful baby blues of the osplets will change to an amber and then yellow when they are adults. One exception that is know is Monty, the infamous Welsh Osprey, whose eyes remained amber.

In this image you get a clear look at Big Bob in the front and Middle Bob with its huge crop in the back. Little is in-between. Middle is one to keep an eye on – not sure it will not turn out to be the dominant bird. We wait to see.

They all had a good feed. There was another feeding and this time Little Bob got caught behind the two big ones. He tried to get up so that Mum would see his beak but to no avail. Little Bob will not starve. He has had lots of fish this morning and no doubt, he will have more!

The next feeding came at 1550 and Little Bob was right up front. He ate and ate and quickly went into a food coma. And then..there was another feed around 1830. It seems that Mum is keeping them absolutely packed with food until their crops could pop. Then she sits on them! That is a good way to stop any fighting nonsense.

The rumour has it that there are three pips at the Melbourne scrape box.

The Sea Eagles are still in the nest, hopping and flapping. They are big and beautiful and so very healthy. It seems like they just hatched yesterday and now in week 10 they are all grown up. They can fly. They just don’t know it yet.

We are now in Pip Watch for Diamond and Xavier. The time from pip to hatch varies from 24 hours to 72. Dr Cilla Kinross, the lead researcher at Orange for the falcons and their angel like Dr Sharpe is to the Channel Island Eagles, cleaned the camera yesterday at 1518. Diamond had a look of surprise in her eyes. She must be used to Cilla coming and going over the years because that look in the falcon’s eyes was all that happened.

All eyes are on Melbourne for a hatch today and for pips coming at Orange.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Channel 8 news, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Lena and the Catfish – late Saturday at Captiva

16 April 2022

It is so much better in video. Lena just had her bath and returned with a fish. There are two ravenous Osplets! She lands on the nest with a Gafftopsail Catfish! This is at 17:42:31.

Enjoy.

Make sure you have your volume turned up!

This was just too funny not to share.

It has been a great day. Dr Sharpe rescued the youngest of the West End Eaglets that fell off the nest and got the camera running again at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta. The three osplets have eaten and eaten at the Gainesvlle Osprey nest. Life is good.

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

Thank you to Captiva Ospreys and Window to Wildlife for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clips.

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.