Less can be more

Hopefully today’s ramblings will make a point on how to help our birds. Bear with me. I love to tell stories and revisit memorable moments.

More than a decade and a half ago, I was in Beijing teaching some special workshops at the International School and also giving lectures on the history of Chinese ceramics. Yes, you read that correctly. A Canadian was in China talking about Chinese pottery! I had been there several times before and always enjoyed myself and treasured the friendships that I made. This particular visit I was staying in a hutong that had been converted into a small guest house. Hutongs are the traditional courtyard houses, many torn down now. During breakfast I met a very interesting lady whose name was Fanny Farkles. She had retired from owing a restaurant, catering, and cooking school in New York City. I asked her, being terribly curious, what she was going to purchase and take with her as a reminder of her time in Beijing. What she told me has stuck with me. She said, ‘I spent the first 50 years of my life acquiring stuff and I will spend the last 50 getting rid of it’. Instead of ‘something’ she was going for an experience – a 17 course Ming-Dynasty meal fit for the emperor.

It wasn’t until later that I fully grasped the wisdom of what Farkles was saying but when I did, it hit me hard and, like all great insights, you wish you could turn back the clock and start again sometimes. Stuff. This coming year I will be spending much time finding new homes for ‘the stuff’. Thankfully, my resolution for 2021 was not to buy any new books. I almost made it had it not been for Chris Packham’s Back to Nature or Emyr Evans, Monty. Almost any book can be purchased used from a myriad of international sellers but not those two when I checked.

Speaking of Emyr Evans’s book on Monty, the DFYI on line shop is now open. If you are interested, here is the link to their on line shop:*

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/

A signed copy is 15 GBP. If you live in the UK, the postage is a very low flat rate. The round the world flat rate is 11.99 GBP. If you are a fan of the Dyfi’s Monty, the super star of the male Osprey world (by some), it is a great book or gift. It is also a fundraiser for the Dyfi Osprey Project.

One other year a young woman asked women around the world not to buy any new clothes. To wear one thing and switch it up with what was in the closet. It was the year of my black sheath dress. The money saved was given to young women in India to purchase school uniforms because we all know that education is important but you cannot go to school without a uniform in India. It was a brilliant idea.

An article in the environmental section of The Guardian today talks about ‘stuff’ and how to save the environment by not buying. Several months ago, an economist suggested that if everyone in the world cut their spending of non-essential goods by 15% it would have a major impact on climate change. If it is good for the environment then it is good for the birds. Have a read.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/20/we-need-to-stop-buying-stuff-and-i-know-just-the-people-to-persuade-us

A quick check on those adorable feathered creatures that inspire us to leave the world a better place reveals that Middle Bob and Little Bob on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge had a tug o war over the fish tail this morning. I think Middle Bob won but, that’s OK. Little Bob won when he pulled with Mum!

Despite their amazing growth and those awesome curved juvenile feathers, you can still tell Little Bob from the circle on top of its head. You can also count on Little Bob being as near to where Mum is handing out the food as anyone. They line up and he is there, right at the beak with gleeful anticipation in his eyes.

Mum is happy to oblige!

The feeding is over and Little and Middle are tugging for the tail. The osplet behind Mum is Big Bob. It looks like a circle on its head but it isn’t. It has lines radiating out when you can see the full design.

Middle Bob is eating the tail and Little Bob is checking to see if Mum finds any more food on the nest. Oh, he loves leftovers, too. First up to the table and normally the last to leave. Sounds like Little Bob is a female to me. They need about 25% more food than the males.

Yurruga is currently sleeping off that entire Starling that Xavier fed it for breakfast. It is a wonder the baby didn’t pop but, like a good falcon, when Xavier suggested it eat more and made that chumping sound, Yurruga ate. It is learning to eat when food is available. You don’t always have the luxury of a stash in the corner of a scrape box in the real falcon world.

At least one of the Collins Street Four looks like it wants to try out for one of the local rugby teams. My goodness these chicks are enormous. Look at those feathers coming in. One day we will wake up and they are going to look like their Dad and Mum – it will happen in a blink I am afraid.

No other news from the little sea eaglets that flew off the nest yesterday. Keep them in your positive thoughts.

Thank you for joining me today. Everything at the nests is just fine. What a lovely relief. You take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

* I might mention books or other things in my blog. I do not make any money if you purchase the items and never will. My purpose is to simply bring news of the birds as they add so much joy to our lives and to alert you to ways that you can help make the world a better place for those birds.

Izzi’s very noisy sibling

Tomorrow I am going for the annual tour at our local wildlife rehab facility, Wildlife Haven. Every year they do this as a fund raiser but it is a good way to get a really good look at the varied and in-depth work that these people do. There doesn’t seem to be an animal or bird too difficult to try and help mend. I do not know if they will allow photographs but, I will try and take some to show to you.

This video was posted. It is the little ‘waiting to get a name’ eyas in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Prey items come one after another. The chick already has a fine crop but will be fed more. But, turn the volume up and listen to this little one. Last year’s only chick, Izzi, was know to be such a character and part of it was his very loud voice. Everyone is beginning to wonder if this chick will be even louder than Izzi!

Have a look. It is such a cute clip.

One of the things that you can see are the chick’s ears. Look closely. It is also scooting around, and there are some pin feathers coming. This chick is, of course, doing very well under the excellent care of Xavier and Diamond.

Clearly as Dr Hurley notes, an Only chick gets all the food!

For those fans of Anna and Louis whose Bald Eagle nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana, both eagles were working on the nest this evening around 18:54.

Wrestling with sticks seem to be what all the Bald Eagle couples are doing now – as well as trying to keep any would be intruders out of their territory.

It wouldn’t be right not to go and check on those gorgeous osplets at Port Lincoln before I sign off. They are just simply so beautiful in their full juvenile plumage. Here is the trio looking out probably seeing the parent flying in with their lunch.

That lunch arrived a few seconds later.

Everyone lined up and as I write this, they are still eating.

This is a reminder that Xavier and Diamond’s chick needs a name! This is the information as Cilla Kinross posted it under the information for the streaming cam:

VOTE FOR NAME FOR THIS CHICK You have until Friday 5 pm 22nd October to vote. You can only vote once. Note that multiple votes will be deleted. All names are in the Wiradjuri (local indigenous) language and relate to weather terms: cloud etc. Here is the link: https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

Cilla Kinross, Charles Sturt University

I want to note that Cilla would like everyone to cut and paste the link into their own browser. So the time for voting is closing quickly. Why not join in?!

I will not be posting my newsletter until tomorrow late afternoon or evening depending on the tour at the wild life facility. Fingers crossed I can get you some good inside views of what goes on when animals come in needing attention.

Thank you for joining me. Please take care. See you soon.

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

Who has 3 breakfasts? and 2 lunches?

Xavier and Diamond are on a roll to keep their week old chick fed. Xavier came in with a pigeon while Diamond was away. He might not have had long to feed his baby before Mum returned but, Xavier did a splendid job and Only Bob got some very nice bites.

Xavier was very good at connecting with the little one’s mouth.

It is so cute when they can finally see their parents and that beak of food. Look at it opening wide. What a little sweetheart.

Priceless.

Xavier had really been enjoying feeding his chick. He has demonstrated repeatedly that he wants – very much – to be more involved in the care of the eyas. Hopefully, Diamond will be less protective soon.

Bye Xavier!

There were, of course, many more feedings during the day.

Xavier had some time to cuddle with the little one after he brought in the prey for Diamond for one of the evening meals. So sweet, that little one leaning up against Dad.

Only Bob is ready for its 17:30 meal – beak wide open!

Look at how big the little chick’s wings are getting. Yesterday, this wee one was only a week old.

There might be only one but it looks like it is going to be big and strong!

Thank you so much for joining me. So many of you really enjoy watching Xavier and Diamond. If you haven’t ever looked into their scrape box, here is the link. They are fantastic parents – lots of fun with the prey and Xavier trying to get some ‘chick time’.

Take care all. See you soon!

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

Thursday Late in Bird World

It might still be drizzly and cold on the Canadian Prairies but the rain has stopped on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest – Thankfully! The kids had a last feed at 19:44:28 yesterday. Today, two fish were delivered before 08:30.

Dad is eating his share before the delivery to the nest.

The second fish that arrived, in the image below, is a flat fish. The previous one was a round. You can check the difference quickly. There are Leather Backs and Mullets in Australia. But, sadly, while my father and sons and grandson could tell you the names of most fish, I can’t.

Little Bob is the only one left eating.

Little Bob is usually first to the table and the last to leave. That may be the only way that we recognize him in the future.

Even Little Bob finally got full down to the tip of his talons and Mum was able to enjoy some of that nice fish. Beautiful.

Yesterday, Xavier delivered a food item to the scrape box at Orange. Diamond was not home! He looked at his little one and went over and fed it some of the bird. What a sweet moment.

There have been several feedings already this morning. Diamond and Xavier’s Only Bob can see them – its eyes are wide open.

Peeking out!

Remember that very tired little one that could not hold its head still so you could count to 3? Look today! Those eggies will turn out to be props and toys to play with for this little one other than competition in the nest.

It looks like the Collins Street Four were treated to having a pigeon plucked in the scrape box. Here is the before. The scrape isn’t all that tidy but…

Did Mom make this mess? Or was it Dad?

That is the little one that look so hawk like with that bulging crop. Cute. Everything that they see they imprint. By plucking the pigeon in the nest they will quickly learn the method.

Everything is alright in Bird World and there is still most of a day to come.

This is a quick check on everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Dad brought in a whopper

At 8:56:34, Dad brought in a massive fish (despite having eaten his fair share) to the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest.

The image below shows the size of the fish a little better despite much of it hidden under mom. Imagine that the top part is up at her beak where she is feeding one of the chicks to get an idea. Little Bob is in the middle. You can see the white lace on his cere and the black circle on top of his head.

Dad returned at 9:11:33 to see if Mum was finished feeding the chicks. She wasn’t and she did not let him take the fish.

The trio lined up again. Big Bob, who had eaten first, is full and is moving away from the feeding line. She is letting the two younger siblings have their share.

Middle and Little are right in there. Their feathers are growing so quickly. Look along the edge of Little Bob’s wing. They are beginning to look like fringe.

Oh, goodness. Dad is rather anxious this morning. He returns a second time at 9: 28:20.

Mum is still feeding Middle and Little Bob. Oh, and look. Big Bob is waking up again. Is he ready for another round of fish?

You can see that there is still lots of fish left. The chicks have now been eating for 34 minutes and it looks like half the fish is left. Dad is really having a close look. Mum does not give the fish to him, again. She seems to have decided that he is not going to rush her today.

Ah, Big Bob is back up at the end of the line wanting some more. This is such a polite nest. Big Bob does not push his way to the front of the line, she waits.

By 9:29, Mum decides to move the fish around to the other side. Maybe she thought Dad was going to take it. She continues to feed the chicks and herself.

Despite the fact that the chicks have moved so that they can pass out in their respective food comas, Mum continues to feed Little Bob.

Little Bob is ‘stuffed’ and has turned away from any more bites of fish. Mom is doing a good job eating that nice fish near the tail. She needs to eat, too! Dad seems to have nodded off waiting! In the end, I do not think Dad even got a nibble of the tail. We have to remember that he did have a big chunk before he brought the fish to the nest.

The trio and Mum finished off that extra large fish in 47 minutes. Amazing.

Dad brings another fish to the nest at 13:29:38. Everyone is fed and it is not even the middle of the afternoon. This is a good example of how the feedings change. When the three were wee, they needed more feedings with less fish at each one. Now they will eat much more fish but, there will be less feedings. They are really, really growing. Little Bob is 24 days old today while Middle and Big are 26 days old.

Xavier watches from the ledge of the scrape box as Diamond feeds their wee babe. So far there appears to be no pip or crack on a second egg. It is unclear if there is even a pip.

It is the middle of the afternoon and Xavier is again resting on the ledge. He was seen limping and he is probably resting that leg. Instead of Starlings and Parrots, Xavier has been bringing in pigeon which is a much larger prey item. He might have strained his leg when he was hunting.

I also wonder if he can hear the second chick? or if he just wants to be there with Diamond in the scrape? or wants to brood the chick and incubate the eggs?

The waiting must be frustrating for these two. Big Bob (or Only Bob) is poking its head out from under Diamond to the right of the egg. Cute.

At the nest of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles in Sydney’s Olympic Park forest, a Pied Currawong will not leave WBSE 27 and 28 alone. It has been harassing them on and off all day. It is the Pied Currawongs who are intent on chasing the little sea eagle fledglings out of the forest. Normally, eagles fledge and return to the nest for the parents to feed them while they strengthen their flying skills. Many will return to the nest for feedings for up to a month. If they are rushed away, the ‘map’ or return to the nest might not be imprinted in their memory.

27 and 28 are smart. They can hunker down duckling style and watch but the Currawong cannot harm them. These birds can knock them off if they were standing on a branch or injure them if they were standing up.

These two will be branching so soon and then fledging. They can walk and stand and both are self-feeding. We are entering the 11th week. From hatch to fledge for the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagles is 80-88 days. The median is 83.1.

Here is a video of WBSE 28 stealing the prey from 27. Fantastic!

At the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape, Mum has left the scrape box and is off for a break and to retrieve prey for the eyases. Look at how much room they take up today!

They look like a large white Persian cat if you squint.

Time for your mid-afternoon pigeon everyone!

Dad had it prepared and ready for Mum to bring and feed the youngsters.

Yummy.

The oldest two are getting more hawk like in their appearance.

Except for the Pied Currawong’s harassment, all of the nestlings are doing very well. It is, indeed, a pleasure to be able to watch them grow from hatch to fledge. How fortunate we are!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 365 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.