Late Sunday and early Monday in Bird World

20-21 March 2022

Correction: Abby and Blazer’s chicks hatched on the 11th and 14th of February not March! Argggh. Thanks, ‘S’.

The atmosphere at the Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagle nest of River and Obey has been so good for the past 36 hours that, well, I am still smiling and can’t settle down. When that happens I start watching nests!

Mum and Dad met at the nest on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge around 11:49-11:59 on the 21st. How nice it is to see them! They get a chance to rest, relax, and enjoy the quiet. Do you remember how loud Ervie was calling for fish all the time once Bazza and Falky had literally flown the coop? Mum and Dad needed ear plugs!

Xavier and Diamond have been hanging around the scrape box. Xavier brought Diamond a gift – a Starling. Now Diamond doesn’t like Starling but she grabbed it and went flying away ready to enjoy the meal.

Besides those delicious prey drops for Diamond, the couple have been bonding inside the scrape box. Life is good at Orange!

It may be good with no confusion at Orange, Australia but Grinnell has problems! That young female juvenile that brought a pigeon to the ledge of The Campanile just won’t go away. Grinnell and Annie have been mating and Annie has been in the scrape — and Grinnell needs this other female to leave! It is a good thing that Grinnell didn’t let all this female attention go to his head.

Annie is so beautiful. She has been staying close to the scrape today. I sure hope Grinnell brings in some juicy prey for her.

Thunder and Akecheta are ending the day with a very unique way of tandem feeding. Akecheta is passing bites of food for Thunder to feed the Little Baby while he feeds the two big ones. Another brilliant strategy to keep this nest calm and to quiet any inklings of food competition and rivalry.

At the nest of Liberty and Guardian, Guardian has brought in a huge fish. Their first egg pipped 12 hours ago. In the next 12 hours there should be a Bobble head.

Guardian got up to eat some fish but she is not giving away any hints as to the stage of the pip.

Eagle 1 at Redding hatched at 21:14 on the 20th of March!

No hints coming out of Pittsburgh-Hayes either. But, if all is going well, there should be Bobbleheads at both nests by 09:00 tomorrow morning, the 21st of March, the first official day of spring.

Mum and Dad were present when the first chick popped off the top of the egg at Pittsburgh-Hayes. They both stood in awe watching. It was pretty amazing. That chick fully hatched at 08:16 and there is a pip in the second egg. Squint and go right below beak of adult to see that the top if cracked all around.

Welcome both of the new eaglets. Congratulations to Liberty and Guardian at Redding and to Mum and Dad at Pittsburgh-Hayes!

Andy had a nice big fish on the nest at Captiva Ospreys at 07:57:24.

Both ate until their crops were full and there was fish left for Lena! All is well on this nest. Still no official word on the cause of Big’s death.

Wow. Arthur has had most of the incubation duties for Monday morning at the Cornell Red-tail hawk nest. Big Red who normally doesn’t give him much time on the nest got off for her morning break, left Arthur for more than an hour, she returned for a short while and gave Arthur incubation duty back. Fantastic. He is a great mate and really needs to be involved more now that he has proven himself. Also, wouldn’t you get really stiff sitting on eggs all day??

Arthur is such a little cutie.

Big Red is back on deck.

I am writing a separate report on the happenings at Dale Hollow and it should be finished in about two hours. There were some amazing things this morning and it is good to look at them separately.

Thank you for joining me this morning. There is so much happening. Pipping, hatching, fledging or branching. It should be a lively week in Bird World. Oh, and don’t forget about all of the Ospreys returning! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Redding Bald Eagles, Pix Cam, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, West End Bald Eagles and the Institute for Wildlife, and Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Late Sunday in Bird World

The other day, Jean-Marie Dupart took photographs of a Scottish Osprey in the Saloum Delta in Senegal. The band on the leg, slightly obscured, could read JJ2 or JJ7. JJ2 was believed to be a female at the time of banding. JJ7 was believed a male at the time of its banding.

Here is the photograph Jean-Marie Dupart took of the Osprey in question:

The Woodland Trust and People’s Post Code Lottery put out the following announcement today:

I had so hoped it was JJ7 but, in the end, it is wonderful to see a healthy Scottish fish eagle that hatched in 2019.

In a sadder note, the H5N1 highly pathogenic strain of Avian Flu that killed the two white-tailed eaglets in the spring of 2021 is striking again in the UK. First swans were culled and now the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Yorkshire.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-60188953

Ervie has been waiting on the nest hoping that Dad would either bring him a fish or that he would catch one as he focused on the beautiful waters of the cove. And then, at 8:20:39, Ervie finds an old fish tail on the nest. He did several double takes when he saw it a few seconds earlier. What a delight! An old dried up fish tail for our lovely boy.

Ervie really enjoyed that old piece of fish.

Ervie had been standing fish calling to the parents missing that piece of tail down by his talons. In the image below you can see that this is not a big piece of fish but for Ervie, it must have felt like he had found gold in that nest.

Gosh, Ervie is a handsome Osprey.

Ervie is still working on that old piece of dry fish. He is not giving up.

And he is still working on it…

You can see from the time how long Ervie has been pulling this dry fish. He is making good progress. Ervie would love to share some of the fish from the KNF nest! But he is not going to give up until he eats every single scrap of this tail. That is why you are a survivor, Ervie.

While Ervie is dreaming of having a big fish soon, the eaglet at the KNF nest in Louisiana has been filled to the brim by Anna. Look at that crop. Incredible.

Anna is making up for missing the feedings yesterday afternoon but, at the same time, Louis did a fantastic job taking care of the eaglet. The baby was never hungry and always had a bit of a crop. Louis was extraordinary – just like Samson was when Gabby was away for 24 hours before NE26 and 27 hatched.

Diamond did not seem to spend the night at the scrape but she is on the ledge early this morning. I wonder how much the hot weather impacted her and Xavier? As you know, many Peregrine Falcons wound up in care from dehydration.

Last breeding season the Mum at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest spent most of it buried in snow. This year is starting off the same way. Whether it is extreme heat or extreme winter storms, our feathered friends are being impacted.

Mum will keep the eggs warm and dry. These eagles are amazing.

I wanted to do a last check on the WRDC eaglets, R1 and R2. They are doing fine. R2 is being fed at the moment which must mean that R1 is full! You can tell the difference between the two because R1 still has a big drop of light natal down on its head.

If you are a Pittsburg-Hayes eagle fan, the couple were just mating on the tree. Eggs are not normally laid til 15 February or after. I wonder if they will be early this year? Looks like they have a nice egg cup created. Last year this couple raised triplets. Yes, three eaglets. 3.

Thank you for joining me today and for all your letters and comments. I really enjoy hearing from you. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: WRDC, KNF Bald Eagles, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Duke Farms, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Friends of Loch Arkaig Ospreys, and Pix Cams.

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!

Winter Solstice in Bird World

As all of you know, Daisy the Duck has occupied my mind for some 20 days now without much of a break. She has just arrived home to the nest – it is the Summer Solstice 22 December in Australia – and I am going to take some time to check in on the other nests that are normally watched.

It has been a horrible day for Gabby who is incubating two eggs on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest called The Hamlet. It is just outside Jacksonville.

Bald Eagles generally have 35 days of incubation. Gabby and Samson were really wise. They did not start hard incubation until the second egg was laid meaning that the two eaglets will be born close together with no older sibling advantage. They will just bop each other taking turns! This means that the hatch date is 19 January. Mark your calendars.

For me, this is great timing. Harriet and M15s eaglets are set to hatch in 3-4 days. We won’t be watching two bobble head nests at once. Oh, those high winds are really hitting Fort Myers. You can see Harriet’s feathers blowing.

It is a beautiful day over in Decorah, Iowa with the Decorah Bald Eagles. No eggs – it is winter! But the Eagles are around. The nest is at a trout hatchery – lucky raptors. Smiling. Everyone should have a source of fish for their Ospreys and their Raptors. Takes about 350-400 a season. Not bad for giving life to these beautiful birds and their family.

The Bald Eagles in Iowa generally lay their eggs in mid-February.

The Decorah Eagles are not to be confused with the Decorah North Eagles!!!!! It is home to Mr and Mrs North.

The camera is live at Duke Farms in New Jersey. No eggs yet. In fact, it should be about a month until we see eggs on this nest. I hope this Mum has better weather this year! She was encased in ice and snow most of incubation in early 2021.

Diamond is starting the day in the scrape box at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Both her and Xavier have been examining the new gravel that Cilla Kinross provided awhile ago. They have also had bad weather with torrential rains but it looks like they will have a nice day today. Fingers crossed.

Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in Big Bear, California are doing nestorations. It looks like they are going to have a white Christmas.

Last year Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Horned Owls, took over a young Bald Eagles couple’s nest on Farmer Derek’s property. They raised two owlets. The nest is currently unoccupied but one of the Bald Eagles did a fly by at 07:19 this morning. Will there be a battle over this nest?

The eagle is right at the horizon line with the blue sky. You should be able to see it.

Anna has taken over incubation duties of the two eggs on the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. This is her and Louis’s second breeding attempt. They fledged Kisatchie last season.

Clive is on incubation duty at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. Another storm is really starting to churn in that area. It will effect the eagles as well as the ospreys – and, of course, it is the same storm that is hitting Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers.

It is a beautiful winter’s day – perfect for the Winter Solstice – at Glacier Gardens. I wonder what Kindness is doing? She was such a special juvie.

Alaska is a perfect place for Bald Eagles, too. When Dave Hancock put the satellite trackers on the 7 or 8 fledglings in British Columbia that survived that horrific heat wave, all of them flew north to Alaska.

Lena is waiting for Andy to bring her some fish at the Captiva Osprey Nest. This couple was really hit hard – along with Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest – from the storms the other day. It is good to see that all had no problems. There is another storm brewing today.

Ervie got the morning fish and Bazza is not happy. Apparently, Ervie woke up in the middle of the night and kicked Bazza off the nest. I can understand why he is grumpy.

Ervie is doing a great mantling job. Third hatch turned out to be the ‘King Pin’. Wonder if Bazza remembers how he tried to treat Ervie? Do raptors have a memory like elephants?

Daisy is fine. Wishing for a quiet day for her.

This is a wee bit of a catch up with some of our other favourite nests. Cal Falcons raised $3500 through the sale of t-shirts to support Lindsay Wildlife for treating Grinnell. That is fantastic! There is no news of who Annie will pair with for the 2022 breeding season. Watching birds is all about patience. Sometimes I don’t have any!!!!!!

Thank you so much for stopping in to check on the nests. The birds will weather the current storms in Florida. They are used to them but, still, we worry. Wishing all of you a very happy Winter solstice. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF, SWFlorida and the Pritchett Family, Captiva Osprey, Captiva Bald Eagle, KNF Bald Eagles, Glacier Gardens, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Eagles, Duke Farms, the Raptor Research Project at Explore.org, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

The Daisy Chronicles Day 17, continued

Despite the presence of the Sea Eagles, Lady and Dad, at the River Roost on the Parramatta River, Daisy has been blissful since she returned from her morning foraging trip at 07:11:00

The Sea Eagles have not come to the nest. The wind is beginning to really pick up. I have not seen any predators on the nest. That said, the sound is off on the main camera and the Ravens could have been in the branches above like they have been lately or simply flying by. The strong winds might keep them at home!

It is currently 30 degrees in the forest and the winds are blowing at 19 km/h with gusts up to 39 km/h. It is hot and humid for Daisy with the confirmation of thunderstorms (90% chance) from 15:00-18:00. Hopefully Daisy will wait til the rain and winds have calmed before going out for her evening foraging. I am not concerned about her. She has been through many storms but, rather, for the priceless down covering those eggs.

It is nearing 11:30 on the old Ironbark Nest. The wind is rocking the tree but Daisy does not seem bothered. I have no noted any predators around and it is unclear if the Sea Eagles are still at the River Roost. The sound is still off line.

Other Nest News. A video has been posted of the thunderstorm that hit Orange last evening. Lightning, hail, thunder, and high winds. Diamond is in the scrape. You can see she is frightened. This morning Xavier arrived on the ledge of the scrape box and there was much relief he was alright. You can imagine that was this type of storm that also hit Daisy in Sydney.

Need an Osprey fix? Lena can see Andy in the distance and she is fish crying. Here is that video:

Samson is so happy that him and Gabby have their first egg as of yesterday. Just look at those two!

Over at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, Ervie picked up the first delivery of the morning -despite the choppy water and winds – from dad at 06:30:41.

Falky got the 07:39:44 fish.

Last time I checked Bazza was alone on the nest wishing for a fish.

Thank you so much for joining me. There is not much to report about Daisy which is, after all, a good thing. Hopefully the weather will not be as bad for her as it was for the Peregrine falcons, Xavier and Diamond, at Orange. I will monitor her throughout the rest of the day. Take care everyone. Stay safe! Look to the birds for joy!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey, the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Saturday in Bird World

Sometimes you don’t need any words to go with the images. It was 13:30 Saturday 20 November at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yurruga is 44 days old.

Some of the volunteers at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital are on the grounds around UC-Berkeley in case there is a falcon that needs to go in care. So far nothing. Annie has been seen soaring with the intruder that injured Grinnell. Despite Grinnell returning to his and Annie’s territory there is no certainty that he will be successful in winning his mate back or keeping his territory. Will bring all news to you when I hear it.

Bazza ‘finally’ got a portion of a fish at 12:36 yesterday. Here is a parent delivering.

The boys and their wings.

You can see Bazza’s red leg band – he has the portion of fish. Good job, Bazza. Look at Dad’s nice crop. My goodness. He has delivered so many fish to this nest I wonder if he had any portions for himself. We know the answer now.

It is so funny. Falkey is mantled like he has a fish too. Ervie is full and doesn’t care. Bazza enjoyed every morsel. Now – everyone has eaten and it is only the middle of the day. Dad has brought in at least three fish in 6 hours. Gold star.

Falkey will go on to get the 17:15 delivery from Dad. Falkey is really getting good at grabbing those fish. He seems to have ditched his nickname ‘Mellow Yellow’.

At 19:13 Bazza is going to steal what is left of Falkey’s fish right from under him. Good work, Bazza. He’s catching on. That is grand.

Bless his heart, Dad brought in yet another fish at 19:50. Bazza and Ervie fought for it. Lost it and then Ervie found it. Dad is really taking care of his boys. Thanks, Dad. If you are wondering, Bazza has hovered but has not done any flying other than the day he had the fight with Ervie and landed on the deck of the boat in Dad’s area.

Other News:

For those of you wondering about the Cornell RTH camera of Big Red and Arthur, there is a power outage at the Alumni Fields that is affecting the camera.

Poole Harbour Osprey Friends will be holding a free on line talk about the importance of bird life. Here is the information:

https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/osprey-project-talk?fbclid=IwAR0E886G-XBU-n5Q20cVXARlKaUNeaAxSsneJslHavl1Wjuza_EkqjSY1SQ

Bruce Yolton who writes the blog Urban Hawks and takes amazing images of the raptors in New York City, has been looking at the 86th Street Peregrine Falcons. Have a look.

I have been lucky to have stayed in Southeast Asia many times. I am particularly fond of Cambodia and Laos. The rice farmers in Cambodia have started planting a new type of rice to attract the birds back to their fields. It is a good little read.

It has been a great morning. We have not seen the garden rabbit, Hedwig, for some time. We were afraid that the construction of new condos about three blocks away destroyed the rabbit burrows. Perhaps the rabbits have moved. I was delighted to see him. He must have been under the feeders eating seed for some time because I didn’t have time to get my camera before he left.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. Enjoy your Saturday. I am going to step back and listen to Ferris Akel’s Tour until it is time to feed all the birds.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Yurruga

Yurruga is 43 days old.

Yurruga is a Peregrine Falcon whose parents, Xavier and Diamond, have their scrape on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Soon this beautiful fully feathered falcon will take its first flight out to that world that it is becoming increasingly interested in.

There are, according to Helen MacDonald in her book, Falcon, “60-odd species of the falcon family Falconidae…Those species are subdivided into four groups: the largely insectivorous hobbies, the tiny, bird-killing merlins, the kestrels and…the large falcons which are divided into two groups, the peregrines and the desert falcons.” The Falco Pereginus or the peregrines are fast flying hunters in the open air whose physical traits have developed over millions of years.

In the world of falconry, the female peregrine is called a falcon while the male is called a tiercel. In French, tiercel means a third indicating that the male is roughly 1/3 the size of the female.* This is called sexual dimorphism. Many also believe that the third hatch is always a male, a tiercel.

Yurruga has incredible vision. In The Peregrine by JA Baker, he says, “The eyes of a falcon peregrine weigh approximately one ounce each; they are larger and heavier than human eyes. If our eyes were in the same proportion to our bodies as the peregrine’s are to his, a twelve stone man would have eyes three inches across weighing four pounds.” * White goes on to say that the whole retina of a hawk’s eye records objects “twice as acute as that of the human retina…with a resolution eight times as great as ours.” Helen MacDonald states that while humans have one fovea and falcons have two enabling them to have two images of the same object fused in their brain.*** Humans have three receptors – red, green, and blue but falcons have four. We have three-dimensional colour vision, falcons can see four. In other words, these magnificent slate grey birds with their streaked chests, yellow cere and legs are far superior in their vision than we could ever wish to equal.

Southern falcons, such as Yurruga, are said to have significantly larger beaks than northern birds. Historically it was believed that these evolved for killing parrots. Researchers today are not quite sure of the discrepancy in size between the two geographical locations.

Peregrines also have a tomial tooth. This is a razor sharp point shaped like a triangle on the outer edges of the upper mandible that fits into a slot in the lower mandible. They use this tooth to bite into the neck of their prey to cut the vertebrae killing the bird instantly.

Sometimes Yurruga sits on the ledge of the scrape box with her mother, Diamond, looking out on the family’s territory.

Once Yurruga fledges, her parents, Diamond and Xavier, will teach her to hunt and will supply her with prey until she makes her very first kill. Yurruga will normally leave the parent’s territory after 4-6 weeks of training.

In the image below, you can clearly see Yarruga’s tomial tooth and her large eyes. She looks so much like a falcon today as opposed to a nestling. She is a gorgeous bird. Some viewers and chatters have gotten upset when Yurruga is aggressive with either Diamond or Xavier. Cilla Kinross said, “Shrinking violets won’t last long in the real world.” So true. Sadly, the survival rate of falcons in their first year is low. We know that Yurruga’s brother, Izzi, was thriving and we hope that she will, too.

One last observation. Diamond has been broody lately. She has incubated or fiddled with the eggs on numerous occasions. This could just be hormones or the physical eggs being there triggering Diamond. But, I wonder if she understands that ‘her baby’ will only be in the scrape a little while longer and she wants to ‘mother’?

In the middle of the night, Diamond was looking at her beautiful daughter.

As winter sets in, we are all looking for some good reads. There are many field guides that feature falcons but it is difficult cuddly up with a field guide. Looking at my bookshelf, I can see any number of them. If, however, you are looking for a really good read to understand the cultural history of falcons and their mythology, I highly recommend (and have done so many times) Helen MacDonald’s Falcon. MacDonald is an excellent and knowledgable writer that easily draws you into her respect and love for these birds. If you have exhausted the guides and have all three of MacDonald’s books, then there is another one. It is a small book illustrated by Welsh artist, Jackie Morris. She is incredibly talented. It is called Queen of the Sky and tells about the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of a peregrine falcon in Wales. An enjoyable read. Morris has a great website full of her wonderful animal stories and bird images.

https://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay warm! and safe!

Thank you to Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

*The males are 7.62- 10 cm or 3-4 inches shorter than the females who are 43 to 50.9 cm or 17 to 20 inches long.

** 12 stone is 76.20 kg or 168 lbs

*** The fovea is the tiny pit located in the macula of the eye’s retina. It allows light to fall directly on the cones to give extremely sharp images.

Caring for the Animals and Birds

There has been a real leap forward against animal cruelty. You may recall that several months ago, the home of Chris Packham in the New Forest had its gate burnt and a car set on fire. Packham has been leading the call for a banning of ‘the hunt’ on the grounds of animal cruelty. Today, trail hunting has been banned on all the land owned by Natural Resources in Wales. The amount of land is 362,456 acres or 146,681 hectares.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-59337295

Trail hunting is supposed to involve dogs and hounds following scent without actually harming, chasing, injuring, or killing a fox. It has been proven that this is not always the case and Wales said that they did not have the resources to police the land for those who do not follow the law so they are not outlawing the practice altogether. Recently, Packham demonstrated that one of the riders was unusually cruel to her horse – an incident filmed that went viral. In October, the National Trust in England outlawed trail hunting on its properties as well. This is a great move forward in outlawing any cruelty to animals.

Speaking of cruelty to animals, Animal Nation, has called for people to stop using doves and pigeons at memorial ceremonies. The birds are released and die or if they are lucky wind up in a wonderful centre to receive care. They are not bred to live in the wild. Please tell your friends. No wonder it was so easy for Dad to catch that dove and take it to try and feed his #4 chick at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne.

The text was too long so that I had to take two captures. If you know of anyone considering memorial doves or pigeons, please talk to them, respectfully, about the implications to the birds. This is tragic. Thank you.

Whenever it looks a little dark, there is always someone or a group of people doing a really good thing for the birds and animals. A Place Called Hope posted images of the new osprey platform going up in Branford, Connecticut. A pair of Osprey nicknamed the Pretzel Pair had a poor location for a nest and annual failures. The community hopes that this brand new platform on a telephone pole will attract the couple and that there will be fledglings next summer. How thoughtful!

Wow. A lot can be done when a few dedicated people get together to help our birds. The platform on the pole will be lifted into place tomorrow. Fingers crossed the osprey couple find this to their liking!

It is raining in Port Lincoln. The three lads are wet. This might calm their adrenalin. Falkey is eating the latest fish delivered after Mum retrieved an earlier fish that Bazza got from Dad and that Ervie managed to take later. (They both ate). It felt like a lesson that Mum was teaching them when she swooped in and grabbed that fish. Sadly, it is time to toughen them up for the real world – which I hope is not so full of ospreys that they do not thrive.

Little Yurruga is very interested in what is going on outside and below the scrape. She has given viewers today more than a little scare. It was only a year yesterday that her big brother, Izzi, fell out of the scrape!

For some time now, Cilla Kinross, the main researcher at this scrape box, believed Yurruga to be a female. Now with the fluffy down falling away, Kinross now believes Yurruga is a male. She showed images of Yurruga next to Diamond and said she would expect Yurruga to be much bigger at 41 days and she isn’t.

Do we really care? I think everyone wants a lively, beautiful, and successful falcon – male or female!

I have seen no news on Grinnell or on the release of the WBSE fledgling in Sydney.

Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week. Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cams. That is where I took my screen shots. I would also like to thank A Place Called Hope for the posting and images of the new osprey platform at Branford. That is where I took my information and images.

Oh, Bazza

Bazza, the first hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, is the last nestling to fledge. OK. He hasn’t fledged yet but you might have been fooled at 06:15 this morning when you saw an empty nest. Bazza was doing amazing hovering. Maybe this will be his day to fly! Wouldn’t that be grand? Bazza could begin to explore the cove with his brothers, Ervie and Falkey.

He really seems to want to be out there enjoying all the fun! But to put all of this into perspective, Ervie fledged early at 60 days. Bazza is 65 days old and Solly fledged last year at 65 days. DEW did not fledge til 73 days. Ervie just got us all excited! And then of course, Falkey followed suit rather quickly, too. But if Bazza does fledge today it will be right in line with Solly.

Yurruga, the nestling Peregrine Falcon in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia, is waiting for her breakfast. She is looking a little ‘ragged’ this morning. Almost all of the baby down is off!

Grinnell, the resident male Peregrine Falcon, at the Campanile on UC-Berkley’s campus, was released one hour ago in his territory. He has been in the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital and in ‘home care’ since he was injured in a territorial take over bid on 29 October. That is the latest news that I have. The cameras are being rotated a bit to try and get a glimpse of what will ultimately happen when Grinnell tries to land on the Campanile and take his place beside Annie. Will he succeed? Will the interloper? Here is a link to one of the cams:

It is nothing short of a blustery winter day on the Canadian prairies. Snow is blowing everywhere, some more flakes are falling, and the temperature is warm enough to be causing ice. It was a bit worrisome when I stopped at the pond and found a few ducks in a small open space of water.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves. No one seemed to have feather or wing issues but that open water is closing in fast.

There they are from a distance. It will give you some perspective on the size of the little pond.

I was surprised to see a few standing on the ice. Ducks – at least here – tend not to like to get their paddles cold.

My garden has been ‘very loud’ all day with about 200 or more House Sparrows all clamouring for food – which is in abundance. This little fellow was all puffed up to stay warm.

There was one lone Black-Capped Chickadee eating something in the Flame Willow. Like the sparrows, the chickadees are year round visitors to the feeders.

The two books from Roy Dennis Wildlife – Mistletoe Winter and Cottongrass Summer – arrived today. I have just finished Chris Packham and Meg McCubbin’s book and Isabella Tree’s on wilding to help restore the environment. It will be interesting to see what Dennis says in his latest book, Mistletoe Winter. Now for a nice cup of hot tea to go with it.

Send out positive wishes to Grinnell and all our feathered friends.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone and be safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Diamond is so patient

Little Yurruga has really been shaking it up – or should I say ‘off’? Those fluffy white down feathers, so soft and so cute when she was younger, must be driving her crazy. Underneath what is left is going to be a lovely bird, just like her Mum, Diamond.

There is no doubt that Yurruga can be loud and she certainly almost claims those eggs as her own in the video above. She can also persuade the parents to go to the ledge or leave entirely. But, Yurruga feels like a much gentler soul than Izzi. Diamond is simply a patient observant Mum and after a bit, Yurruga stops with the prey calling when she sees that nothing is coming. Rather nice.

A few minutes later, Yurruga was running around with a Starling beak. What a character!

There have been several fish deliveries at Port Lincoln. Ervie got the first fish and left a little for the brothers. That came in at 6:50:24. There was another delivery at 12:11 and another at 14:25:11. I could not tell who got the last fish but, Bazza picked up the noon delivery. Maybe Falky got the last one. Ervie didn’t. They are all getting fish to eat and no one is hungry despite the scramble for the latest delivery.

Port Lincoln posted Ervie’s flight path yesterday. He is definitely exploring around the barge.

Falky continues his flying and landing exercises and Port Lincoln adds that Bazza seems to figure if he stays on the nest, he has the best chance of getting a fish! One of the chatters wondered if he was too ‘heavy’ for lift off. Bazza will fly when Bazza is ready. We don’t need to urge him on. I am certain Ervie and Falky are very capable of doing that.

I am continuing to read and enjoy Emry Evans Monty more and more. I am on my second reading of parts of this marvellous book. While it is about the foundational male of Welsh Ospreys it is also about this wonderful species and insights into their behaviour. I was particularly moved by the essay on Monty’s mourning the loss of his daughter, Ceri, and the links drawn to all of the studies that demonstrate that animals not only experience ranges of emotion but also pain and suffering and to Dr Marc Bekoff’s writing as well as to that of Jane Goodall. One of those is The Ten Trusts.

Those trusts, according to Goodall and Bekoff are: 1. Respect all life; 2. Live as part of the Animal Kingdom; 3. Educate our children to respect animals; 4. Treat animals as you would like to be treated; 5. Be a steward; 6. Value the sounds of nature and help preserve them; 7. Do not harm life in order to learn about it; 8. Have the courage of your convictions; 9. Act knowing that your actions make a difference, and 10. Act knowing that you are not alone.

Because of the unnecessary death of Solly, the 2020 hatch at Port Lincoln, on the power line at Streaky Bay, I am particularly interested in #9. Each of us can make a difference and I note that in Wales, all that had to be done to keep the Ospreys off the power lines where they love to eat fish was to place two diagonal rods. How simple is that?! The South Australian Government could do this with all of the power lines near the coasts where the birds fish and eat.

There is an update on Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon who was injured in a turf war. Of course, everyone hopes that Grinnell is super fit and able to take on his assailant who is now courting Grinnell’s mate, Annie. This was 19 hours ago:

https://hoodline.com/2021/11/celebrity-berkeley-falcon-in-avian-love-triangle-close-to-recovery-after-injury/

It is a another grey day with the promise of more snow. Meanwhile everything seems to have a crust of ice on it or, in the case of walkways, several centimetres of ice making it nearly impossible to walk. The birds are very inventive. They have been burrowing tunnels in the snow and then standing in the holes – it is like having one’s on private igloo.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB groups where I took my screen captures and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project Cam and FB Page, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.