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.

Bird World 15 November 2021

In the first chapter of her book, Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder, Julia Zarankin talks about the rather spartan apartment she had as a graduate student. She talked about the compromises with her husband’s collection of 300 stone elephants only to realize what happened when she discovered birds. She said: “Within a year, the barometric pressure in my apartment shifted. Stuffed-animal squeaky hooded warblers learned to coexist with tigers; bird-shaped vases stood next to the elephant-shaped salt shaker; sculpted owls flirted with the faux-malachite elephant’s plastic tusks…more frightening: a pile of bird-themed stationary of every persuasion and a shelf dedicated to field guides…Not to mention the nondescript felt bird, the two paintings of birds, and the stained glass owl..” Later she adds the parrot notebooks, bird-themed t-shirts and all the bird magazine subscriptions. How many of us see ourselves in those same words?

I was, despite all of the warnings by Zarankin, delighted to see Emry Evans’s book, Monty, in the post along with some pins. The Dyfi online shop is now open. All of the nature centres will ship overseas. Roy Dennis’s Wildlife Fund has his three books and shipping internationally is calculated at check out. Lots of good things at all the on line shops for Osprey fans.

Emyr Evans writing is exceptional as are the images in Monty. Written with a deep, abiding love and respect for a bird – 50 stories from the pen of Emyr Evans.

It is a horribly grey day on the Canadian prairies. Will it snow or will it rain? Do birds get arthritis? Would they like a heated area to warm their little feet? Those are the silly thoughts that have gone through my head today.

Dyson decided it was best to just be off the snow altogether and sit in the tray feeder filling his cute little face.

Dyson doesn’t share. He is like Ervie, the Port Lincoln super star fledgling who grabbed the first fish of the morning from dad at 6:50:24. Oh, I love this image of Ervie in front of Dad grabbing that fish with his leg just like Mum does. Ervie watched and learned. Sorry, Bazza.

Falky just loves to fly and he was much more interested in checking out the area than the first fish. He flew in just a little too late.

Falky’s landings are actually really good. Ervie did a few spins yesterday and wound up landing on Bazza – Ervie needs landing training. That is great form that Falky has on this landing. Ah, the lads will all improve. This flying thing is just new. What fun it must be to whip around the bay!

Now Bazza – it is your turn!

Diamond brought prey in for Yurruga at 07:09. Yurruga was ready!

I thought Diamond would drop the prey and leave like Xavier but she had a different idea.

Diamond who incubated the two eggs during the night decided she was also going to feed her nestling.

Look carefully. Yurruga is changing. The white down is really coming off those wings and the head. She looks like a bird, not a fluffy column with a sort of bird head. Even, the fur boa is disappearing.

You can see the pin stripes on Yurruga’s chest and her head now looks like that of a falcon. Amazing. Equally impressive is the length of Yurruga’s tail. What a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon she is going to be.

Ah, and if you are watching the dates, Izzi fludged a year ago today. Izzi is the 2020 hatch of Diamond and Xavier and quite the character.

Oh, such delight. There is no news – at least not yet today – on Grinnell. I hope he is ready to be released shortly. And no news on WBSE 27 but there was a gorgeous Galah in the nest this morning poking about.

One of the Aussie chatters always said that if someone called you a ‘galah’ it meant that you were rather ‘slow, dim witted’. Ah, terrible. They are such incredibly beautiful pink and grey cockatoos. A few minutes of a cute bird that loves to have ‘tickle tickle’.

Bazza still has plenty of time to fly today but I don’t. Thank you for joining me — and if you loved Monty, you seriously need to get to the Dyfi store and get a signed copy of Emry’s book. I promise you will not be sorry but you will need a box of tissues. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Late Saturday in Bird World

It is difficult to try and describe the weather we have been having to someone who might never have experienced it. Someone took a video of the blowing snow on the highway, a huge buck, and some of the issues people face trying to drive on the road in a storm. When you cannot see the road for the blowing snow, we call it a ‘white out’. This is the time of year we also call ‘the rut’. The bucks dig and spray marking their territory. We are seeing many in the fields around the city and in larger treed forests within the City.

Ah, but I am not here to talk about the horrible winter weather we are having.

My last blog focused on Ervie, the third hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in South Australia. Ervie managed to get the first fish of the day. He only left the tail for Falky. To show how congenial these three are, Ervie did not even try to get the 10:48:28 delivery from Dad. Instead, Bazza (Big Bob) snatched it.

There he is enjoying his fish.

The camera is zoomed out in case one of the lads decides to fledge. Oh, I do hope they stay a little longer – another week, maybe.

Little Yurruga at the Charles Sturt University falcon scrape had 5 prey items for breakfast today. Yesterday was not a good day for feedings but, Diamond and Xavier have made up for it today. I am thinking that the parents might be teaching Yurruga that there are days with little food and some days with a lot.

Yurruga was really hungry when Xavier came with breakfast! Really hungry.

Yurruga has just finished that breakfast. Another prey item sits on the scrape, a Starling, and Xavier has brought more food. Notice that Yurruga is not running up and tackling Xavier to get the prey. Yurruga is probably wondering why there is so much food today.

Diamond came in to help Yurruga finish up that delivery. The Starling is still where it has been all morning. Diamond really dislikes Starlings!

Yurruga has an enormous crop. It isn’t her crop that interests me, however, but, the change in her plumage. Much of the fluff has disappeared. Peregrine Falcon juveniles have beautiful banded chests. Their bars are vertical. When Yurruga is an adult, the bars will be horizontal. Notice also the beautiful dark head and the tip of the wing. Oh, she is morphing right before our eyes into a very beautiful juvie.

She does not seem to be interested in the Starling that she pulled over to the rocks earlier. Oh, wait…maybe she is!

The feathers are almost off the left side of Yurruga’s head. Notice her beak. We get a chance to see how it has developed in this profile image. Yurruga is becoming very ‘falcon like’. Those chest feathers – that coppery brown – are just lovely. She looks like she has a feather boa around her neck – something she might need where I live today.

Oh, Yurruga means business. She is going to do something with that Starling.

She is showing us how strong she is! There are still some soft pantaloons but the down is coming off with every flap of those wings. Is there anything cuter than a little peregrine falcon at this stage in their development?

She is dragging that old bird back into the centre of the scrape.

There is our Peregrine Falcon with her large beak standing victorious on her prey. This pose really reveals how much Yurruga has grown. All of the feathers necessary for flight are growing in. Amazing.

Awww. Yurruga gave up on that old bird. No one seems to really want it. Wonder if Starlings have ‘Best Before’ dates on them?

WBSE 27 @Chris Bruce

If you missed it, here is the latest update on White Bellied Sea Eagle Fledgling 27, three days ago:

I wanted to bring you an update and some good news. The Port Lincoln Osplets are doing fine and I am certain that Falky will have a fish before the end of the day. Yurruga has already eaten enough to last her well into tomorrow. It also appears that WBSE27 is doing extremely well in care. The last update on Grinnell was on 10 November. He was getting to go into foster care for a few days before being released. All of the Kakapo are alive and the NZ DOC Rangers at Taiaroa Head will not decide which Royal Albatross couple will be on the Royal Cam until all eggs are laid.

Thank you. It is really nice that you are joining me. Take care wherever you are. Stay safe.

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

Three lads and a Puffer Fish

It is time to check on what is happening at Port Lincoln. Too soon these three fabulous males will fledge and oh, how we will miss their antics! Friendly banter amongst brothers.

Mum brought her boys a bit of a puzzle at 12:51:46. It was a Puffer Fish and she just let them go at it while she stood and watched each of the deal with this strange object.

“Puffer Fish” by ciamabue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffer fish belong to the Tetraodontidae family. They are known by various names including blowfish, balloon fish, toadfish, globefish, bubble fish, and puffers. They carry a toxic poison – tetrodotoxin. It is one of the deadliest poisons found in the natural world. They are considered to be the second most poisonous creature in the world. These fish can live up to ten years and are found in tropical and subtropical oceans. Some species (there are 120) also live in fresh water. The puffers inhale air. This turns them into sphere. They also have poisonous spikes to try and keep from being eaten by larger fish. You can see those clearly in the image above. Their skin is also said to be extremely thick making it difficult for any predator to eat them. So why did the Mum bring the three boys a puffer fish? Was it a lesson?

I broke the event into two segments for you:

In the end, the lads left the ‘white football’ on the nest. You can see it on the left.

Ervie aka Little Bob could not stand to see the fish just go bad on the nest. The two other siblings didn’t seem to want anything to do with it so at 13:34:31, Ervie goes over and pulls the now mostly deflated fish over to the rim of the nest.

Ervie tries hard to eat that thick skinned fish.

Ten minutes later, Ervie has caught the attention of one of his siblings. In the end, Ervie lets his brother have a ‘go’ at the impossible fish. That is very unlike Little Bob. It must have been a struggle.

A half hour later the fish was abandoned again. It is lying on its side in the image below.

And it remains there. Possible lesson: Don’t ever waste your time catching a puffer fish, sons!

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that the three lads at Port Lincoln bring a smile to your face. They do mine. But before I close, we can all use some sunshine – Yurruga style. Oh, my. She reminds me of her brother, Izzi, so much. She is soooooo loud!

Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the streaming cam of the Port Lincoln Osprey Project where I took my video captures and screen shots.

Send your warm wishes to Diamond

Diamond, the female at the Charles Stuart University scrape box in Orange, Australia, was away from the scrape for ten hours a few days ago. When she returned her right wing was droopy and she was limping slightly. Xavier, the male, has been doing the hunting and feeding little Yarruga, their three week old plus 2 day chick, its meals. Xavier is getting more proficient with each feeding!

Diamond slept in the scrape box last night with little Yarruga. She was standing on ‘her’ rocks in the corner.

When she went to go to the ledge to fly out for a break, she could not put weight on her right foot and stumbled.

She fell down, got up and stumbled some more.

Just watching her trying to make it to the ledge to fly off made you realize how difficult it is for her to heal. It will be a long process. She doesn’t have the ability to put a lounge chair in a tree or in the scrape box and elevate that leg. Anyone who has sprained an ankle or hurt their foot can have great sympathy with this devoted Mum. Of course, Yarruga had no idea what was going on.

Xavier arrived at 07:03:06 with a very prepared fat pigeon for little Yarruga. He might have been expecting Diamond to be in the scrape and feed their baby. He hesitated.

All Yarruga wanted was breakfast and she began to make her way over to Dad.

At that point, Xavier realizes he is on feeding duty and dragged the carcass into the middle of the scrape, away from the ledge so the baby wouldn’t accidentally fall out.

Yarruga was delighted. Dad is getting very good at this!

Little Yarruga is so cute. She will go into the corner when she is full to the brim. Xavier always has to check to make sure she doesn’t want anymore!

Xavier makes his way over to the ledge. I am hoping that he shares that lovely breakfast with Diamond.

Send Diamond your warmest wishes.

Port Lincoln has confirmed that the trio will be banded Monday, 8 November – Australian time. The bander is arriving from Adelaide. I do not know the time.

Thanks for joining me. I knew that you would want to know how Diamond is doing. We all hope that she is well soon but, in reality, it will take some time. There is no need to panic. Xavier is doing a wonderful job. No worries for little Yarruga. Dad is definitely up to the job.

Take care everyone.

Thank you to Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

Wow! Just look at the PLO Chicks

I am sorry to be so late in sending off my newsletter today. It was not intended and if you have worried, I apologize. The day wasn’t meant to be so busy but it simply turned out that way with a last minute trip to get 200 lbs of bird seed tacked on to the end.

Just look at these beauties. Overnight the three osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge turned into juvenile beauties. Those are serious feathers! Just look, all pushed out from their quills, perfect layering with that gorgeous white line and tip of the juvenile. Each one also seems to have grown a perfectly white beard over night. Their eyes are also that dark amber colour that will, when they are adults, turn to yellow.

Gosh. I can hardly take my eyes off of them. They are stunningly beautiful. If I could look like a bird it would seriously be a juvenile Osprey.

Mum was looking out over the water hoping that Dad was off fishing – and he was. He landed on the nest at 7:46 with a breakfish for everyone.

Little Bob, the closest to Mum’s beak and the front, is 34 days old today while the two older siblings are 36 days old. There is a ways to fledge – thank goodness, but, for now, we can enjoy how grown up they all are and how wonderful this Eastern Osprey nest has been this year. It has brought nothing but tears of joy! It goes to show how having chicks that hatch close together and plenty of food deliveries are a great combination to success.

Dr Victor Hurley heads up the research on the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. He has been doing this for many years. He wrote a very good article about what the differences are for the two falcon nests in Australia with streaming cams – 367 Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne and Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross. The 367 Collins Street scrape box had 4 hatches this year while the Orange scrape box of Diamond and Xavier had one. So what is the difference to the falcons? is it better to have one or four? Dr Hurley believes for the falcons it is better to have four eyases and be run off your feet feeding them because the chance of one of them surviving to adult hood is greater than a scrape having only one chick. He believes, however, that it is beneficial to the chicks to be the ‘only One’ instead of one of four in terms of food resources. Still, others believe that the stress on the parents to feed four instead of one is immense but, we are looking at it from the chick’s perspective. Anyone watching the scrape boxes just know these growing chicks just want food!

While Dr Hurley did not address other issues, I wonder if being part of a larger hatch group helps in terms of understanding how to live in the real world where there will be pressure from others. Maybe it doesn’t matter? Last year, the male from the Collins Street scrape used to come into the nest and pluck a freshly caught pigeon. It was a terrific mess but those three girls could sure pluck a bird – and do it fast before they fledged – a skill essential to survival. Catch, pluck, eat, and go! I beg to be corrected but it seemed that Izzi had some difficulty with plucking even after an age when he should have had his own territory. So I wonder if they learn quicker and faster as part of a group??? and having plucking imprinted on them so many times?

The little eyas at Orange is 13 days old today while the Collins Street Four are starting their third week. Each is right on track in terms of development. Indeed, the little Orange eyas has been scooting around on its tarsus for a couple of days now and is very strong and healthy. – slightly ahead of the curve The plumage is changing radically on the Collins kids and they are standing and walking.

Kate St John did a wonderful blog on the developmental stages of the peregrine falcons. I want to share that with you.

Dad is trying out larger pieces of pigeon on the four. The prey came in one after another the other day. They are losing the soft down around their eyes and getting the juvenile feathers and they are also getting their wing feathers.

I am afraid that I got a little carried away with the images of Xavier and Diamond’s eyas. Not only is it loud – soon to rival Izzi – but it can also make the cutest faces.

They are all doing well. Last I checked the Bald Eagles in the United States are all still working on their nests. There is some intrigue at the Captiva Nest and the speculation as to who the male will be this season. Joe is gone and it appears Martin has been ousted also. Meanwhile, Harriet and M15 along with Samson and Gabby are steady as you go! To my knowledge there has not been a fledge at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic forest but this could happen any time. And – for the lovers of Jack and Diane – it seems that the couple might be back on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg together. They have a lot of nestorations to do!

Thank you for joining me for this quick catch up. I will be shaking my head and smiling at just how beautiful three juvenile ospreys look in the PLO nest. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, 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.

Port Lincoln chicks ate well!

The streaming cam has been down at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge most of the morning. It was also a dreadfully wet and miserable start to the day. Mum tried as she might to snuggle up with her three babies (can we call them babies anymore?). At 10:30 they were wet, cold, and probably hungry.

The first fish arrived at 11:09:12. Even the sun came out for the occasion. Mum was still feeding the trio at noon.

In the image below, Dad is eating his share and making certain the fish is dead before he delivers it to Mum and the chicks.

Mum has the fish and she is getting ready to feed the three hungry chicks. It is late for the breakfast fish.

There is Little Bob at the end. What is he looking at so intently?

I wonder if it is Dad flying away. Look at the expression on his little face.

Whatever it is, Little Bob is more interested in what is happening off the nest than eating his first fish of the day. That is pretty incredible. Little Bob is always the one who wants to be fed first!

Oh, two of the chicks are watching instead of eating. Is Dad giving a flying demonstration? These chicks are developing just as they should. They are becoming much more interested in things happening outside of the world of the nest. They are standing more and beginning to flap their wings. Think they are dreaming of flying? Little Bob is 29 days old today. The two older siblings are 31 days.

For those that are worried, Little Bob has stood up to ‘sometimes nasty’ Big Bob. Little has done that twice that I am aware. This nest is really calm and the chicks are so big that we should all expect them to fledge with their satellite packs. I understand they will be ringed, get their sat paks, and get their names in early November. Oh, I cannot wait to find out what the names will be this year.

When the three fledge, this will be a historic moment for this nest. Perhaps with the first fledgling of all three hatches, the curse of this nest will be lifted. These two adults have demonstrated clearly that they are highly capable parents and can easily raise a nest of three chicks from hatch to fledge.

Oh, look at Little Bob and look carefully – there is another chick looking up in awe, too. What an expression!

Now down to the business of breakfish!

After eating for 40 minutes, the chicks are beginning to get nice filled crops.

By noon, the fish is finished. Everyone is full and ready for a bit of a snooze.

The three osplets had no more than settled down when the second fish arrived on the nest at 12:35:28. Little Bob is on the right. He is turning around and probably cannot quite believe what he is seeing – another fish!

The role of the crop is to grind up the food before it enters the stomach. It also serves as a storage tank. The chicks can ‘drop their crop’ when they need nourishment. The reality of a raptors life is that they might eat well one day but not have any food for another two days. They need to eat as much as they can when they have the opportunity.

There they are lined up very politely for Mum again. I do not believe I have ever seen such a civil nest of growing ospreys. They might have their spats but not at the table. They line up and Mum feeds them. She is very fair. I have not noticed her favouring one over another. She does, in fact, often feed them as they appear in the line – one bite each and then back to the beginning. The other thing that is noticeable is the chicks do stop eating when they are full allowing the line to close so the other two are only being fed.

Is this behaviour down to the simple fact that they are so close in age? There is only 51 hours separating Big Bob from the time Little Bob hatched.

Just look at how close they are in size.

One of the chicks has left the table. Little Bob (see the roundish spot on the top of his head?) is still hungry. Of course, he is.

The second fish was done and dusted by 13:02. Little Bob is still looking. Maybe he sees some fish skin? or is there a piece of tail? He has a very nice crop.

In terms of size, I can no longer tell Little Bob from the other two. If the roundish spot disappears I will no longer be able to identify him as easy. He is growing so much. Wonder if Little Bob is a female?

Ah, it is silly to try and guess the genders but we all do it. They will measure the chicks when they are ringed. Of course, the measurements are not foolproof. Only DNA or an egg or mating can confirm.

Once the three are fed and all is well, it is much easier for me to sleep. The wee eyas of Xavier and Diamond’s have also had several meals today. You can clearly see that it has more than doubled in size from hatch.

Xavier is on the ledge while Diamond feeds the chick the prey he delivered. Look at the size of the wee one’s wing. Is it looking over to Xavier?

When Xavier turned around, I thought it was last year’s chick, Izzi.

Only Bob is looking directly at the beak and eyes of Diamond. Diamond is so delicate with the tiny little bites she feeds her baby.

The chick’s neck is now so much stronger. It can hold its head still for longer so that Diamond can feed it. The bobbling days are pretty much over. Notice, at times, that the chick instinctively keeps its balances by placing its wing tip on the gravel.

I absolutely love this image of Xavier looking so tenderly at his baby.

All full. The little one has now had four meals. Unlike the Ospreys, Only Bob needs many meals and fewer bites. Her crop is tiny. She is now collapsing into a food coma.

Awww. I wonder if Xavier wishes that Diamond would let him brood the chick? Perhaps she will in a few days but the falcon mothers are extremely protective in the beginning.

The Collins Street Four have been eating, sleeping, growing, and decorating the walls around the scrape. Their world is that of the scrape box. They are not as interested – yet – in what is happening outside of their world. They will become more interested, just like the Osplets at Port Lincoln, in a couple of weeks.

As the days pass, we will begin to notice a difference in size. This is not due to the amount of food the eyases eat individually. It will be because some of them are males and some are females. The females will be approximately 30% larger than the males and they will consume about 25% more food (nothing staggering). When fledge time comes, it is normally the males that fledge first. Their feathers will have covered them quicker because they are smaller! It is that simple.

Last year we did not notice a difference in size in the triplets. That is because they were all females. I do hope Dad gets a break this year and has a couple of males. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and feed four large females!

They are beginning to look slightly different in their faces. Notice the one facing the back who looks more ‘hawk’ like.

These eyases are more than full. Look at that shiny big crop. My gracious.

If you missed the live streaming of Iniko 1031 arriving at the pre-release containment area at Big Sur, here is the video of that moment. The condors are so endangered and there is no telling how many more wildfires will rage. Fingers crossed!

It is late on the Canadian Prairies. Our damp is supposed to go away on Saturday. Meanwhile, it is the annual birdseed sale at our nature centre this weekend. It is a great time to get high quality feed for a big discount and help out the centre as well. You might check and see if your local nature centre does this. The savings can be substantial. I will also continually remind people that if you have a local feed and seed store, you might be able to find Millet, corn, Black Oil seed, peanuts in their shells at a substantially lower price point. My neighbours introduced me to this years ago but, sadly, the big feed store moved. The distance makes it no longer viable as a source.

Thank you for joining me. It is always a pleasure to receive your notes and letters. I appreciate the time you take to write to me whether it is an e-mail or a public comment. You take care. See you soon. All of these nests are doing so well that we can all rest easy. Life is good!

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

Name the chick

It is a miserable 9 degrees C on the Canadian prairies. It is grey and wet. We have yet to have frost but it is certainly feeling like the time has arrived to bring out the jumpers and wool socks and put away the summer linen. A few of those gorgeous Dark-eyed Juncos are still in the garden pecking away at the Millet and Mr Blue Jay is working his way through a cob of dry corn.

A few have written to find out where to get the dry corn. Many specialty bird seed shops carry dried corn. You can purchase it by the cob or by the bag of 25 or so cobs. It will vary by supplier. If you live near a feed and seed store or a farmer who grows corn to feed their livestock, you might want to compare pricing. It is thoroughly dried corn you want. While I just lay the cobs out for the Blue Jays and the squirrels there are also specialty holders that prevent one or the other from taking the entire cob.

Do you have a garden? If so, you might want to plant some corn meant specially for drying. Check with your seed supplier.

Everyone seems to have recovered from the sadness of Xavier and Diamond not having a second hatch. If there was a pip and beak showing, it appears that the chick was simply not strong enough to break out of the shell. As you all realize, life for the birds is challenging. They need to be strong and healthy and that is certainly what that first hatch of Xavier and Diamond’s is. You can hear it today calling and, if you listened to Izzi last year, you will know that they can be very vocal. This one might even rival its big brother!

Today, Dr Cilla Kinross, the chief researcher for the past twelve years on the Peregrine Falcons, has posted a list of names for the wee one. They are all Maori names and relate to the weather. Everyone can have one vote. If you wish to take part, here is the link:

https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

This wee one has amazing parents. A viewer caught a super video clip of Xavier delivering prey and Diamond feeding the chick. Have a look!

The Port Lincoln streaming cam is down this morning and it is not yet dawn in Australia. Fingers crossed it is back working soon. All of the other nests – the WBSE and the Collins Street kids – are fine. In the United States, the Bald Eagles are busy working on their nests. At 07:23 this morning, Anna and Louis were caught on camera at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. It is wonderful they have each returned safely for a second season. I wonder if Louis will contain his enthusiasm for feeding his family?

Thank you for joining me today. Please vote for the wee one at the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam. You have until 5pm on 22 October Australian time to tick your favourite. I will bring you an update on the PLO this evening if the streaming cam begins working. Take care everyone.

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0