Did Rubus fly to the tower? an osprey eating a fish in Central Park? and other news in Bird World

27 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Well, we have all worried about Rubus and it seems that there might be some good news coming. I sure hope so! There is, currently, a lot of confusion about whether or not Rubus was flying around the tower with Xavier and Diamond yesterday. We wait for positive confirmation with high hopes.

It has been warm on the Canadian Prairies but it appears that we will now be sliding from +5 C to -10 C. It can be a bit of a roller coaster here sometimes but, a blue sky and sunshine are always welcome and that is what it is like this morning.

Little Red has mastered balancing himself on the feeder and eating so he is well and appears to be in good health as the winter begins to set in.

I love the Sparrows. While they generally eat the Black Oil Seed and Millet, they also seem to be liking the Butter Bark. It will certainly give them a lot of energy. You can make your own. There are recipes on the Internet using primarily peanut butter and cornmeal. If you have a good one, send it to me! Please.

I think Sparrows are beautiful. Just look at the range of colours out of a very simple paint box for them.

In the Mailbox:

Do you a follow the Tweed Valley fledgling, Glen, Blue 708? Well you might have gotten a real lump in your throat when everyone was worried that he was grounded on top of a building in Portugal. But great news has been posted and sent to me by ‘G’. This is fantastic news. Here are those two tweets:

We have seen those sat pads going haywire in areas where there are a lot of hydro or cell towers or both. But it is possible, looking at the map above, that Glen took off over the Atlantic where there would be no transmissions and then – wow – he lands in Morocco and the signal returns. ‘G’ reports that after flying over the Atlantic for 36 hours, Glen then rested for 12 hours in Khnifiss Bio-reserve and is now fishing in the same area. Thank you ‘G’ and what a relief this is to have everything fully confirmed. Glen is a strong bird, my goodness. Wishing a long and productive life for this fledgling!

Oh I get the most marvellous mail and today, ‘M’ sent me a link to something very special. Imagine an Osprey catching a fish in the pond in Central Park in the middle of New York City. Yes, you read that correctly! It is a rare sight indeed!!!!!!


There is more news from Bernard in Brittany!

I am certain that everyone was so excited to hear the news about Willow being spotted in Brittany in mid-September. That news comes on the heels of another Scottish bird being spotted in the same region which Bernard reported. Here is the information on it that Brian Etheridge sent to Bernard. Some of you might be quite interested in this osprey sighting. Osprey, blue/white 527 at Anse of Combrit, Brittany 29 on 3 September 2022. “This bird was ringed on 25 June 2022 as a chick in a nest of three young near Errogie, Scottish Highlands, 57. 46’12″N, 004.23’19″W by myself, Adam Ritchie and Ian Perks. The British Trust for Ornithology metal ring number is 1489674. This is the first sighting of this bird since fledging in July.”

Well, 527 has been spotted again! Mary Cheadle’s tells me that Blue/White 527 was one of many Ospreys photographed and counted by Jean-marie Depart in Senegal on 16 November. Now that should put a smile on our faces! I am very hopeful that Willow LW5 will be sighted if she is in Jean-marie’s territory!!!!!!

527 as photographed by JMD on 16 September 2022, above.


Atlantic puffins” by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

‘N’ sent me a lovely announcement from Audubon. The focus is on Puffins. I had no idea that warming seas could cause the fish to grow larger causing starvation in the Puffins, did you? Here is a brief extract from that mailing by Audubon:

We monitor nesting on remote islands in the Gulf of Maine and this year they have great news! Despite a steep decline in 2021, seabirds like Atlantic Puffins finished this past summer on a remarkably higher note with twice as many chicks surviving and fledging compared to last year. Thanks to generous support from you and your fellow bird lovers, Audubon is able to closely monitor delicate habitats like this one and carefully tend to the birds that very much depend on us to survive.
 
The puffins’ precarious journey for survival is just one of countless examples in which the climate crisis harms and threatens our beloved birds. Last year, warming waters gave rise to increased butterfish counts, a food source too large for small Atlantic Puffin chicks to swallow, tragically leading to starvation. The climate crisis is also making storms more frequent, much stronger, and increasingly unpredictable. 

Australian Nests:

This was posted under the streaming cam by Cilla Kinross. Please keep reading as the news gets better throughout the afternoon.

“Our small search party scoured the campus today for Rubus without luck. The only place that adults gave warning calls was in Girinyalanha (when Indigo was in the box), so there is still a chance that he is there, but just hard to find. I’ll send another call out to staff to keep an eye out for him. However, at this stage, I’m not that hopeful. I have received a lot of criticism about why Rubus was not put back in the box (including hate mail, which I could do without, thank you). On reflection, Rubus probably should have come into care when he was found on the ground, not put in a tree (and certainly not put back in the box). But I was reassured by Victor Hurley’s assessment that it was unlikely that he had trichomoniasis (canker) and we often have birds still with a bit of fluff, that fly poorly for a couple of days before they come good. He was flying and his parents were feeding him, so I was not too worried. I take responsibility for that decision, even though I was not able to be present at the time (for personal reasons). If found, he will taken into care for veterinary assessment and rehabilation if necessary. I will let you know if and when that happens.”

Later there was some more positive news: “NEWS 27th November 2022 1300 h While our small search party was looking in the woods below the tower, a falcon flew out towards the tower. As I couldn’t see Indigo in the box any more, I assumed the bird we saw flying was Indigo BUT Indigo was in the box (at the back), so it was a different falcon. On tower cam, at that time, this same bird was seen to harrass Xavier into leaving the microwave, so I believe it was Rubus. This is typical juvenile behaviour, not something Diamond would do. She would land on the roof. Hopefully, we will soon see all four falcons on the roof together, so we can be sure.

This would be grand. I am so hoping that the mystery falcon is Rubus and all is well.

Breakfast came in the form of a Quail for Indigo who carried it to the scrape box and ate it, leaving leftovers in the corner just like she has been taught by Diamond and Xavier. Approximately 0613.

Diamond came and raided the pantry! There will be a lesson in this for Indigo!

Now let us go back to where this mystery of Rubus begins. At 084155, the tower cam shows two falcons flying. Indigo was in the scrape box at the time. Is there a third flacon sitting on that appendage sticking out on the right near the top? I hope so!

Diamond had been in the scrape and flew out – top image. Then Indigo came into the scrape – bottom image.

It is a tad confusing and perhaps misleading. If there had been three clear falcon profiles around the tower while Indigo was in the scrape box, then yes, we would know. On one occasion a flying bird thought to be a falcon was, indeed, a Swallow. Cilla has said that she will go out and investigate before she heads home. What she needs is to see 4 falcons on top of the tower. Proof. Fingers crossed — and toes.

Cilla has posted a video of the event at the tower. She says she is not wanting to get our hopes up but here is the footage.

There is some indication that the juvenile that was in the scrape box for so long on the 26th in Australia was Rubus but nothing is confirmed.


Breakfast came to Port Lincoln about 090609. Mum was on the nest with the fish and Zoe was elsewhere. Zoe flew in and took that fish and had her fill.

Here comes Zoe wanting that fish!

In Port Lincoln, it looks like Mum has landed another big flat fish at 1309. There she is eating it on the ropes while Dad sits stoically and Zoe is in the nest screaming for fish. I hope that Mum eats her fill. She will always share with her daughter, always, unless she is absolutely starving and sometimes, as we have seen this season, even then.

Well, it is hard to tell what happened with that fish. The camera was fixed in a particular location and if there was a fish transfer to Zoe, we could not see it. In the background you could hear Zoe fish calling so maybe Mum didn’t land on the nest?? Zoe is definitely not going to starve. This fledgling eats more fish than I could imagine. And still wants more!

Dad delivered his second fish of the day at 2043. Zoe in the nest and took it but Mum flew over. I wonder if she still wants to feed her daughter and have a bedtime snack?


No 16. Red List Bird. Pochard

The Pochards are a stunning duck that arrives in the United Kingdom from Scandinavia to over winter in the slower moving rivers and estuaries. There is now, also, a small group of Pochards that stay in the United Kingdom year round. They populate the newly created reservoirs and gravel pits. the Pochard feeds on seeds, roots and other plant material as well as small invertebrates by diving and also tabling.

There are declines in Northern Europe and this will decidedly impact the number coming to the United Kingdom in the fall. One of the major threats to the Pochard are the predatory mink that have invaded their breeding areas. The draining of lowland marshes and fish ponds for agriculture is causing a massive decline in the numbers. The major cause is climate change and there is also a growing number of mink – predators – in their breeding grounds in the north. That could account for a great loss of these gorgeous waterfowl. Other threats include egg collecting, fishing, disease such as Avian Flu, human disturbance, and illegal hunting!

Red-crested Pochard” by Andrej Chudy is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Let us have a look at this duck more closely in his breeding plumage. He has intense red eyes with a fiery rusty-copper head, a distinctive black breast, a dark taupe on the wings and back, a black rump and grey at the tip of the tail. The under area is white. In this image the bill appears to be red. You would recognise them immediately. The legs and feet are a blue grey for both genders.

Now just look at the female. How beautiful she is with her two little goslings. The eye is the deepest brown-black – not red -with a softer auburn head. The body is white mingled with the same soft auburn from the head.

mare i fill 06, xibecs – madre e hijo, patos colorados – mom and son, red-crested pochard” by ferran pestaña is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In his text for Red Sixty Seven, Mike Dilger states, ” I will concede that of all our threatened bird species, the more glamorous and charismatic species, such as the Puffin and Cuckoo, will undoubtedly grab the headlines. But, I’d argue, a winter without spotting a Pochard would be even worse than Christmas without a turkey.” (12)


Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, posts and streaming cams which make up my streaming cams: ‘G’ and Conservation without Borders, ‘M’, Quoteny, MC, Bernard, and Jean-marie Dupard, OpenVerse, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Osprey.

Hovering, Nest building…Saturday in Bird World

19 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope that you are well. So nice to have you with us this morning. It is a blue sky cold day, -14 C, on the Canadian Prairies. The kittens are up carrying toys and watching the Crows come for their morning feeding. The Grackles have already been to the suet feeder and the little Sparrows are all puffed up keeping warm in the lilac bushes.

It is a type of soft suet that the Starlings like. They can stand back and poke at it with their long sharp beaks.

The Blue Jays that fledged from the nest across the lane are still here. One was eating peanuts while these two were in the lilacs sunning themselves.

Nest News:

Yesterday Zoe got some really good height in her hovers. Thankfully she remained on the nest and did not fledge into those strong winds as that storm did roll in.

If you missed it, here are those beautiful early morning hovers.

Later, Mum is down in the nest with Zoe taking care of her only ‘baby’. Dad was not out fishing. If you remember, Zoe ate really well on Friday so did Mum. On Saturday morning, Mum took Dad’s fish and returned with the tail portion for Zoe. That has been the only meal so far and if the weather stays, it could be it for the day. Zoe will be fine. She is not going to starve.

Indigo continues to fly out of the scrape and return. This is excellent. Most of you watch the Bald Eagle nests as well as the Ospreys and it is ‘normal’ for fledglings to return to the nest for food, to fly and strengthen their wings being fed by the parents for a period of 4-6 weeks.

Rubus continues to do his wingers and the pair enthusiastically eat all that is brought into the scrape. There are still a few dandelions on Rubus but not many.

The brothers 9 days ago.

Just look at them all covered in down with Indigo revealing some lovely back and tail feathers.

Oh, little Rubus had to get to the front and jump in the beginning to get some prey. Hard to imagine now when both of them are screaming and running all over the scrape. Diamond and Xavier have raised two healthy feisty chicks.

‘A’ reports that it was raining so hard in Melbourne yesterday that the wipers had to be on full speed. Of course, all we can think of are the fledglings from 367 Collins Street. Positive wishes out to them to be safe and fed.

As the season in Australia winds down, everyone is on egg watch at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers, Florida. The pair have been working diligently to rebuild their nest after Hurricane Ian. Sadly, that GHOW continues to plague our beloved eagle couple. Oh, I wish their nests were further apart!!!!

Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest together. They are amazing.

Samson and Gabby have been at their nest, too, working away. They have had a three year old Eagle visiting the nest and I began to wonder if it could be Jules or Romey.

Mum and Dad have been rebuilding the nest in St Patrick’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. You will remember that this is the home nest of Little Bit ND17. They are making good progress and now, some snow has arrived. I sure wonder where Little Bit is! Gosh, we long for them to fledge and then we grieve to see them again hoping they survived that almost insurmountable first year.

Humane Wildlife Indiana sent out a clever fundraiser. They are asking for donations for the strays in their care to have a full fledged Christmas dinner. You can purchase one for one animal or more. I wonder why more animal sanctuaries do not do this? You might mention this to your local care group. It is a marvelous idea.

Making News:

Sadly, for the wrong reasons the adorable Melbourne Four make the news.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/collins-street-falcon-chick-dies-days-after-taking-wing-20221115-p5byi1.html?fbclid=IwAR22J_pnOqqPaRA8JqL7WcplN8ddPreG3bIpfCVw8kNgpVudjgCKWoSHXgI

Oh, our beloved Canada Geese are making news in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/18/country-diary-canada-geese-are-on-the-move-with-a-melancholic-honk-but-why?CMP=share_btn_link

No 9 The Red List: The Nightingale

It is the song of the Nightingale that has attracted writers for thousands of years. Pliny the Elder described its song more than 2000 years ago when animals were denied artistic abilities. He wrote: “the sound is given out with modulations, and now is drawn out into a long note with one continuous breath, now made staccato . . .” Ellen Finkelpearl continues in her short article on Pliny and the Nightingale that he did believe, strongly, that the natural world including our feathered friends can be artistic!

https://classicalstudies.org/plinys-cultured-nightingale

If you are a lover of Shakespeare, you will know that the Nightingale shows up in more of the plays, not just when Juliet educates Romeo on the wonderful song of the Nightingale.

Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

Here is a fantastic blog that captures the portrayal of the Nightingale in all of Shakespeare’s works.

https://blogs.bl.uk/sound-and-vision/2016/04/shakespeare-and-the-nightingale.html#:~:text=The%20morning%20after%20their%20secret,is%20not%20yet%20near%20day.

In his entry in Red Sixty Seven, writer Luke Massey says, “…We should be ashamed that in our quest to clean our landscape, in our acrimonious divorce from nature, we have forgotten this songster and let it suffer. Despite its song we have ignored it ; we have let it fall silent in our copses, our scrub and our hedgerows. We have failed it and with that we have failed nature. Will we really let this be the last song of the Nightingale?”

Its very last space in the UK is under threat.

https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/2018/04/last-stronghold-of-nightingale-under-threat

There are problems with the Nightingale’s wings getting shorter due to climate change. That is mentioned in this great report for The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/01/nightingales-at-risk-due-to-shorter-wings-caused-by-climate-crisis

Changes in farming practices, the destruction of hedgerow and copses for more modern farming are all adding to end the life of this most beloved bird who nests are on the ground. There are fewer and fewer sites for this beloved bird to raise their young safely.

As I read more and more of what we have done to halt the lives of so many birds, it is readily apparent that the world needs to return to some of the ‘old ways’ and continue policies or re-wilding if we are to save our precious wildlife.

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ was wondering how these transmitters work – like the one put on Zoe at Port Lincoln. She found a great article and you might be wondering how these transmitters work, too. Thank you, ‘EJ’. Here is the link. You should be able just to click on it.

Technology (ospreytrax.com)

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care everyone. As I look at the weather report there is a severe weather alert for wind in both Orange and Port Lincoln. Maybe Zoe and Rubus – as well as Indigo – will take care today. Send best wishes to them!

Thank you to the following for their posts and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: RSPB, The Guardian, Osprey Research, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, The Age, Lady Hawk and SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, and Notre Dame Eagle Cam.

Early Friday in Bird World

11 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

The sky is gradually turning blue and there are 57 European Starlings in the trees and 49 Old World Sparrows. Two Blue Jays have also already been to the feeders. There is so much snow. It was blowing and coming down hard around midnight and in certain places in the garden it is more than a foot deep. Winter has set in.

In the Mailbox:

Oh, I get the most marvelous mail but today ‘A’ reminded me of a very poignant moment last year. The 4th eyas at 367 Collins was dying. The entire family – including the siblings that had fledged – returned to the ledge to spend the night and keep the wee one warm as it passed. So, yes, the Collins Street falcons can fly back up to that ledge! Thanks, ‘A’. I remember that moment well. It is one of the finest examples of caring and grieving in Bird World. Do you remember?

I also received a fantastic letter from ‘K’ that reminds us of just how one single invention from an Ornithologist at Cornell saved the Peregrine Falcon population after its demise because of DDT. Do any of you know what that invention was? Think about it! I will bring it in to tomorrow’s newsletter.

Australian Nests:

Friday has been a very eventful day in the Australian nests and it kicked off with Indigo’s fledge at 0700:34. My goodness what a beautiful flight and it appears that Diamond and Xavier kept a good eye on Indigo and may have just delivered a nice piece of prey to her in the trees – prey that Rubus thought might have been coming to him!

Off she goes. Rubus did not notice – too busy eating his breakfast.

An adult almost immediately comes into the scrape and feeds Rubus. This is a great strategy. Rubus is no where near fledging. Keep him full, keep him in the scrape. No premature fledging.

Oh, Rubus is clearly starting to look like a little falcon. Look at those eyes. Rubus stayed facing the camera when Xavier came in with the prey. Having no screaming Rubus, Xavier immediately departs with food and flies down into the trees where Indigo is.

Sleeping standing up. Notice the beautiful barring coming on Rubus’s chest.

​Moderators RECAP: 06:42:35 X w/prey, Indigo takes; 07:00:33 Indigo fledges; 07:00:38 D follows Indigo; 07:01:33 D feeds leftovers; 07:25:43 juv star, X feeds; 09 26 07 D feeds scrap; 10:10:51 D w/prey, feeds…12:44:00 D with prey, Rubus takes; 15:54:13 X with prey, Rubus takes; 18:48:54 D with prey, Rubus takes.

There is a storm forecast for Orange on Sunday. Let us all keep positive thoughts flowing to Indigo. It will be day 3 after fledge.

When the excitement of the fledge at Orange had settled a wee bit, it was time for Melbourne and, much to the delight of everyone, a gentleman who has a view of the ledge from his bathroom actually filmed one of the eyases fledging this morning! Brilliant. It was quickly removed from the FB page but, the more than 500 viewers who saw it knew that there were no only 3 or, perhaps, 2 left on the ledge of 367 Collins Street. Two could be seen clearly. IF one was in the gutter, flat, loafing, then maybe three were left but, it is probably save to say that two have fledged in Melbourne.

For all the fledges may you always be safe, maybe your crop always be full, and may you feel the wind beneath your wings for decades.

At Port Lincoln it is a question of ‘where is the fish’. The water around the barge is a little choppy. A fish came on the nest at 0835 and Mum, thankfully, ate her fill. She gave some bites to Big. Dad has not been up to his usual standards in terms of delivery numbers. Did the storm stir up the sediment and is the visibility poor for fishing? is it the choppy water? is Dad not feeling well. I noticed the other day when they did a close up of Dad’s talons that he had a lesion on one of them. All of know that he was unwell when eggs were being incubated. Let us hope that this is just passing and that all will be back to normal at Port Lincoln. This family has faced enough challenges this season. Big is not scheduled to fledge for at least another 8-10 days at least.

Ah, a fish has come in. Mum caught it and is eating her good share before taking it over to Big who is fish calling on the nest. Hold your horses Big – the order is: territory protected, parents fed, offspring fed.

And, if you are wondering, yes, this is Mum. She has gone out and caught the fish. Dad left earlier and has not returned. She is sure going to eat her share before she hands it off to Big. Just do a drop and dash – Big needs to self feed! Gosh. It has been 15 minutes. Wonder if Mum will eat the entire fish?

At 1509 Mum flew to the nest with the fish to feed Big. So far she has kept control of the fish and is feeding. Maybe she will eat some more herself.

Gosh, that fish is tough to get the flesh off. Mum is really working at it giving Big a few bites and some that she could eat on her own.

Mum is feeding slowly and she is eating fish, too. At 1546 Dad flies in with a headless fish to the nest. Mum is in the background eating fish as fast as she can. Big and her will have enough fish for today. Let us hope that Dad had a good portion, too. It is so nice to see Dad. He was gone for awhile. I hope he was out fishing with Ervie in those choppy waters.

Mum in the back eating the rest of her fish as fast as she can. Dad’s is not big. He could have just eaten it but, he doesn’t. He leaves his small offering for Big and Mum. Thanks, Dad! I do hope you ate. Big has a crop and is fine.

Port Lincoln has said there will be no banding on Saturday. So, perhaps, the banding will take place on Sunday or Monday.

Mum went over to cover her only surviving osplet when the rain started. What an amazing parent she is! Little Dad is down in the shed. Let us hope that these two are alright. Everyone was so worried about Dad yesterday. He was away for so long.

Right now it is pitching down rain at Port Lincoln. The forecast I am seeing so a high chance of rain all morning at Port Lincoln.

Number 4. The Red List: The Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting – Sardinia – Italy_S4E1978” by fveronesi1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In some countries, birds are of least concern while, in others, they are vulnerable and, in the case of the Cirl Bunting, on the Red List in the UK. It is of LC in the United States.

This lovely little bird is a relative of the Yellowhammer. Just pause for a moment and look at the image above. How would you describe it? First, it is difficult to understand the size of the bird without any reference. Normally they are approximately 15 cm or 6 inches in length. During the breeding season, the males have a distinctive black chin. Below is a drawing of a male and female. In this you can get a better feel for how the male should look with its two yellow eye lines, black chin and crown, yellow line at the neck with a grey-olive collar and yellow underbelly. The female is much more striated with a vertically barred chest and a touch of the same olive-grey at the top of the wing. They are lovely little birds.

Cirl Bunting” by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

So why are the Cirl Buntings under threat of extinction? Farming practices is the main issue. The bird was once common all across the southern half of the United Kingdom. In the 20th century their population numbers began to spiral downwards when farming practices switched from spring sown cereal crops to autumn sown. Habitat intrusion and the use of pesticides also impacted the population numbers.

The RSPB worked with farmers in south Devon to switch back to traditional farming practices. The result was an increase in the numbers of Cirl Bunting along the cost. What had once been only 118 pairs in 1989 became 1000 pairs in 2016. This is fantastic news and all it meant was a return to the traditional sowing practices of farmers, the growth of shrubs and hedges, etc. Here is an excellent article from a farming on line journal that speaks to the challenges and what can be done for the Cirl Bunting to save it. Think rewilding!

There is still cause for concern. Farmers across the rest of the UK and elsewhere need to heed the use of pesticides and they need to pay particular attention to how their cycle impacts wildlife. The decline could lead to extinction just as quickly as the population numbers climbed over the past 30 years.

Other Nests:

I am so grateful to ‘B’ for alerting me to Indigo’s fledge but he also sent me a note telling me that Samson and Gabby were in their nest as Tropical Storm Nicole plummeted the area near Jacksonville. Well done you two. Riding out the storm together like Harriet and M15.

Jackie and Shadow are another power couple. They have really worked on this nest and they sure didn’t want a storm to take it away!

B’ wrote me first thing to say that both Gabby and Samson are fine and so is SWFlorida. Nicole has now passed through them. Fantastic.

Samson and Gabby

Sunrise over Samson and Gabby’s nest near Jacksonville, Florida.

Everything looks intact at the NEFlorida Nest. Maybe we need to get the Eagles to be our designers. These nests are amazingly strong.

Harriet and M15 have both been seen at SWFlorida and this looks like Harriet aerating that nest getting it ready for those precious eggs.

As Nicole moves out of Florida, there is sunshine on the nest of Harriet and M15. It is so good to see that they are fine and so are Samson and Gabby. The camera is still offline at Big Bear. It could have been damaged during the storm but, let’s all hope that it wasn’t.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. It is time for me to do some shoveling and fill the feeders! The Starlings are waiting for their Butter Bark. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up the screen captures in my post: Farm Life, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, NEFL-AEF, and SWFL and D Pritchett Family.

Will the Melbourne Four fledge? …and other news in Bird World

7 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I am so sorry that the link I published to the story of WBSE26 did not work. The one under question 1 below works! Thank you ‘J’ and ‘H’ for alerting me to this issue!

___________________________________________________________________

It is actually 2030 on the Canadian Prairies, Sunday evening, and the snow that was forecast, arrived. The precipitation goes back and forth between snow and freezing rain so it is like a slushy drink outside. The garden birds will not be happy. Watching them during the torrential rains last spring, it is readily apparent that they prefer the snow (dry snow not heavy wet) to the rain. Their food does not ruin and they can fly easier. So many prefer to eat directly off the deck than from the feeders that I worry about them when it is so wet. Will this snow be here in the morning?

It stayed. The squirrels have run all over the place. Dyson was here early with her two kits.

The miniature weeping Caragana and Japanese lantern look lonely this time of year.

One of Dyson’s kits. The other is in the lilac bushes.

Dyson under the bird bath eating Black Oil seed and peanuts she found under the snow.

On the Bookshelf:

One of my biggest complaints about bird guides is the images. We have a locally published book on Manitoba Birds. It has drawings instead of photographs and they are lovely but, they are only helpful to an extent. Sometimes there is only the image of the adult male. There are never immatures! And definitely not an immature female bird. How are we supposed to learn which is which in the garden? Merlin ID has driven me crazy. My best book for sparrow ID has been the hefty Crosley’s Sparrows. But, what if you want to identify other species? Some have pictures or drawings the size of postage stamps and the layout designer used the size 8 font so that anyone over the age of 30 or someone with poor eyesight cannot read the text.

There is a new book out that will help those living in Europe. You might still need a magnifier to read the text or probe the maps, though. The book is Europe’s Birds. An Identification Guide. It is a weighty volume. You will not be hauling it around with you in the field but, it should be a much used reference for home. The images are far superior to any I have seen in other volumes. In Canada, the hard copy is $36…well below the average of some of the other guides that take up space but do not help one bit with IDing a bird!

In the Mailbox:

Oh, I love getting questions! There were 3 today and all of you might be wondering about one or more of them.

1. ‘J’ wrote about having difficulty opening the link to the former blog about WBSE26. I am so very sorry if this happened to all of you. Here is a link that works. 26 is inspirational and needs to be remembered for all the joy and encouragement she gave to all of us in her short life.

https://maryannsteggles.com/tag/wbse26/
January 5 is National Bird Day!

2. ‘K’ wrote: ‘Will the parents continue to feed the chicks on the ledge in Melbourne after they fledge?’

‘K’, that is a difficult question to answer. Normally, the adults would begin teaching the eyases how to hunt when they fledge. They would deliver prey to them in mid-air transfers and would be finding other places to feed their fledglings. The previous couple did not feed the fledgling falcons on the ledge. Mirvac turned the camera off at that time. These are first time parents and we will have to wait and see but I assume the answer is ‘no’, they will not bring prey to the ledge for the falcons if they have fledged. Prey would be taken to those that have yet to fly. You might also have noticed that the adults have begun to reduce the amount of prey that is being delivered. Food is a great motivator!

3. Several asked, ‘Will the Collins Street eyases fledge one by one or will they fledge together?

Like question 2, this is difficult to answer for several reasons. Males tend to fledge before females. The reason is simple. It takes females longer to produce all the feathers for their larger size than the males. At the present time, we do not know the gender of these chicks and it is likely we never will as they are not ringed nor has any blood been taken to determine gender. We should, however, expect the male to fly first. Victor Hurley has said he believes that there are 3 females and 1 male. But is the male the 4th hatch or the 1st? or the 3rd? Hatch order and gender could impact the timing of fledge. So if the male is the 4th hatch he might fly the same time as the 1st if that bird is a female because of the difference in their ages.

I have seen many nests where the eyases get so excited seeing one of their clutch fly that they all fly off within an hour. It has happened at this ledge. Now that the youngest has made it to the window ledge, I am wondering if the eyases might not all fledge within an hour or one another. We should know the answer to this question soon! I know that this does not answer your question. It might even confuse it more and my apologies. We just don’t know! They will keep us guessing until they take off…and then we will wish them safe skies, long lives, and full crops.

Fledglings depend on the parents from 4-6 weeks to help and teach them how to hunt and obtain prey. They will then leave the parent’s territory.

One of the most difficult things about getting close to the birds is not knowing what happens to them. Some people prefer to not know while others like myself, want to know every detail of their life. I think that is why satellite tracking is so interesting to me or a book such as Bowland Beth.

Australian Nests:

You might well have noticed. Mum and Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge don’t seem to be in such a big hurry in the morning to get up and off and find fish. Dad appeared to have a leisurely morning and Mum went and had a spa break. Good for her. She must eat and take care of herself.

Mum and Dad are also spending a lot of time with one another. Mum has fed Dad – a tender thank you for the food he brought when she was so desperately hungry -, they have sat together in the shed, and now they are spending time on the perch. If someone believes that they are not mourning, they need to consider the behaviour of these two beautiful ospreys who have lost two chicks. The loss of Middle had to be particularly difficult, a fully feathered osplet.

Dad flew in with a large whole fish. It looked like Big wanted that fish for itself but Mum prevailed and kept control. She remains in charge of the feeding. Is this on purpose? Big is now the age that she should be self-feeding. Big hatched on the 18th of September. If we count hatch date, Big is 51 days old. She will be ringed anytime between today and Thursday. We should be able then to confirm the gender, the weight, a name, and see Big with her tracker.

I had to laugh. One of the chatters said that, ‘Big is just an eating machine’. That is possibly why Mum still controls the reigns of the fish so that she gets fed properly, too, when an extra nice fish like the one that came in this morning is delivered.

Look at that fish. Wow!

Watchers of 367 Collins Street are having a hard time deciding if any of the eyases have fledged. They are such beautiful eyases. At 1400 all four were on the ledge.

‘H’ did a great compilation of the 4th hatch, ‘little Peanut’ branching up to the window ledge. Watch as the others come down and do a ‘cheer’ for the wee one.

Indigo and Rubus are changing every day. Like Big, Rubus is a bit of an ‘eating machine’. When Rubus hatched and was so absolutely tiny and couldn’t get up to eat – do you remember? -, I felt so sorry for Rubus. Indigo was just tall, stoic, and elegant. At one point it seemed like Diamond didn’t want to bend down to feed Rubus. And then…Rubus started jumping and stretching that neck. What a long neck and well, that is all history. Rubus practically knocks the parent over if there is food. Indigo appears to want to look out to the world beyond and feed herself. Rubus gets fed but is doing quite well at self-feeding, too.

‘Hello Everyone!’

Rubus was very happy that Indigo left some prey.

Rubus is doing a great mantling of the second prey delivery. Indigo is not interested. She ate most of the earlier delivery and is looking out to the world where she will be flying with her parents – the fastest bird on the planet!

Look at Rubus’s wing feathers. Lovely. We will wake up one morning and Rubus will look like Indigo. What a shock that will be!

At 1642 prey was delivered. Indigo expected to get it but, Rubus was quicker grabbing the item and carrying off into the corner by the Cilla Stones.

Indigo is telling Xavier and Diamond about how naughty Rubus was taking her prey!

The adults leave the kids to it…Rubus takes the prey to eat it in the back of the scrape while Indigo comes over and wants the food. Rubus turns quickly to protect his meal and heads back to the Cilla stones. Rubus has had some good fast bites.

Indigo will eventually get the prey from Rubus through the great ‘stare down’.

Need a refresher on falcons? This is a good resource on Peregrine Falcons that includes many helpful links that you might find interesting.

https://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/birds/peregrine-falcon.html

What’s Up with the Eagles?

Harriet and M15 have been working really hard rebuilding their nest that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Lady Hawk has posted a video of their progress. And guess what? Harriet is sleeping on the nest tonight. Eggs might be coming soon!

Philippe Josse posted some super screen captures of Mum and Dad at the Notre Dame Eagles nest in St Patrick’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. This is the home of our beloved Little Bit ND17 – the little eaglet that could. Their nest completely collapsed and many wondered if they would rebuild in the same place. They did and both have been walking around testing the nest to make certain it is sturdy. Thank you, Philippe!

Jackie and Shadow continue to work on their nest in the light snow in Big Bear.

And last but, never least, some great news. I have been tracking down information on ospreys that went into care before they fledged. There is an urban myth that they do not do well in care and, in particular, before fledging. You might remember the two osplets that had not fledged at Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails. Their mum pulled them off the nest by accident. One died while the other went into care. It is doing great and is being over wintered and will be released in the spring. Urban myth proved wrong. (I have been asked not to publish the name of the wildlife centre as they do not have the staff to answer queries). This is good news and details will be sent to Port Lincoln.

Banding will take place anytime between today and Thursday at Port Lincoln. I have seen no specific time or day indicated yet.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Amazon.ca, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, FOBBV, ND-LEEF and P Josse, SWFL and D Pritchett plus Lady Hawk.

Early Thursday in Bird World

3 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Thank you for your very kind messages. I am phenomenally lucky to have such empathetic people in my life. The collective mourning of Middle is a way of healing our hearts and our minds. For many it will be some time when we can look at Big and not think of Little or Middle. The circumstances this year were very challenging to this Osprey family and it was not only the osplets that suffered from lack of fish but also, Mum and Dad. It was worrying watching Mum not have fish to eat. The water has calmed today and an enormous fish arrived early. Big and Mum ate for more than an hour and a half. The seas are calm and the weather is better.

You will, of course, notice that I say ‘she’ and I have always referred to Big as a female. Some wonder if it makes a difference on a nest if the first hatch is a big female. So, let me try to explain. If the entire clutch is female – and there were several Osprey nests in the UK this year with just females – Manton Bay at Rutland and Dyfi in Wales – there are no problems. If the clutch is all male such as that at Port Lincoln last year, the lads are angels. Put a big female at the head of a mixed clutch on a nest with problematic fish deliveries and well, you have trouble. The key phrase is ‘problematic fish deliveries.’ It can be as simple as only one fish arriving on a particular day mid-afternoon and immediately, the eldest female, who requires 50% more food (all females require more food to feather than the males) is alert that there might not be enough fish available to feed the entire family. In some instances, there are no problems with mixed clutches because the fish land on the nest, the feeding is extremely democratic, and well, life is good. If there is a problem, the first place to look is gender/birth order and a period of few fish being delivered. Because so few nests band and take DNA tests, it is impossible to say with 100% accuracy that the culprit is a large female first hatch but, overall, it appears that is the case.

It is very true. New kittens are a distraction. These two came on a day when I needed that, a wee break from the ospreys. (I highly recommend taking mental health time from the nests – it is very beneficial). These two are rescues. They were found as newborns along with their siblings and Mum. They went into foster care before they could be adopted. They are not related but, knock on wood, they are getting along splendidly.

This is Lewis. Named after Lewis Hamilton the race car driver because he zips around everywhere too fast.

This is Missey. She is a week older than Lewis, a really tiny fluffy girl. All that fur makes her look bigger than she is and she fooled Lewis right away, establishing her right to dominance. Lewis did not care! He just wants his food and his toys and some loving attention! Lewis enjoys seeing all the birds and squirrels in the garden and Missey could care less. She likes her cat tree and she has taken over the hidey-hole in it.

In the Mailbox:

Many wrote to ask if they were seeing things. ” Were there really fish left after Middle’s body was retrieved?”

The answer is ‘yes’. There is a standard practice by banders to leave fish on the nest after they remove the chicks from the nest and return them. Additionally, there were fish placed on the Port Lincoln barge nest just around 0906. You could see two hands. It is apparent that Port Lincoln applied for and was given permission to supplement the fish for the nest. Sadly, those fish came late. Hopefully permission can be given to PLO for eventualities, a blanket permission if this situation presents itself in the future.

The Australian Nest and Scrapes:

367 Collins Street. The Melbourne Four. Look at that eyas below. There are only a couple of dandelions on the head and wing, reminders of its fluffy youth. What a beautiful falcon. It is the 4th of November in Melbourne. If the scrape at Charles Sturt University in Orange goes on fledge watch around the 12th, this means that we are entering fledge watch at the Melbourne scrape for the eldest tomorrow. I must check that!

‘H’ reports that there were at least two prey drops on camera and one off yesterday. The eyases have also been chewing on all the leftovers in the scrape.

And if you are wondering, no one cleans up the area. The wind and the rain between the end of this season and the beginning of next seem to do a good job. Falcons also like to know that wherever they raise their eyases is a good prey area so if they see a scrape like this one, well, they will know in an instant. That said, you will notice, that when the eyases are quite tiny the Mum will keep the scrape pristine for a bit. It helps to detract predators if there are any.

Wow. Look at those wings!

Seriously adorable.

Mum deserves to be proud. Look at her four ‘babies’. They are nearly ready to fly off the ledge and start learning how to hunt their own prey. Soon – if they have not already started – Mum and Dad will do flying lessons, some with and some without prey, to lure the eyases into fledging. There is still some time to go. They need their fluff gone!

Do you remember when we worried so much about this particular scrape? I have almost forgotten Mum leaving these wee ones in the middle of the day in the Melbourne heat before they could stomp down to the other end. They survived. Mum and Dad did well – first time parents.

Rubus and Indigo are precious. Fledge watch will start for Indigo on the 12th of November. I simply hope that Rubus doesn’t do what he always does and copy her immediately. He will not be ready.

The only prey so far at Orange is the early delivery of that large prey item. It is now 1439. As the chicks get older, the number of feedings drops considerably because the eyases can eat more and more at one sitting. I bet they would love a parent to fly in with a nice fat pigeon right about now.

One of the most tender moments on any nest is when one of the adults feeds the other. In this case, this morning Mum fed Dad at Port Lincoln. He brought in a huge fish and Mum and Big had been eating for an hour and a half. What a wonderful way to thank your mate. And it was more than one bite!

We need to pause and imagine just how hungry Mum was. I need to remind myself of this. How many times did we see her feed almost every bite of fish to the osplets? or just to Big without having more than a handful of bites herself. She must stay healthy and the same goes for Dad. I often say it is like flying in the plane, ‘Put the oxygen mask over the adult before the child.’ Mum did not always do that and there were plenty of times that Dad came to the nest and there was no leftover fish.

Both of these parents are mourning the loss of their chick. They don’t have the liberty to take a mental health day like I did, they must be there and carry on, making sure Big fledges.

The arrival of the big fish on the nest this morning.

It was a lot of fish and would keep Big until tomorrow if another does not come on the nest today.

Port Lincoln has expressed some concern that other chicks were lost on unmonitored nests during this period of bad weather where the males were unable to bring in enough fish.

Let us all hope collectively that permissions to assist with fish come in a timely manner or a blanket permission.

Migration News:

Bonus has found a good place to rest and feed now that he has left Greece. He is currently in Konya Province in Turkey just north of Lake Seydisehir.

Waba is feeding along the Nile River in Egypt.

Making News Elsewhere:

I am finishing reading Bowland Beth, the story of an extraordinary Hen Harrier who died way too young. A second book, The Hen Harrier’s Year by Ian Carter and Dan Powell (newly released) arrived today. I am very interested in the topic of the Hen Harrier because they are becoming more rare than they already are because of persecution by grouse hunting community and the games keepers. In the Foreword to the book, Roger Riddington states, ‘In recent years the Hen Harrier has become the de facto flagship species for the birding community in its stance against raptor persecution.’ While the Hen Harriers are, in particular, being shot with their populations on the knife edge, it is also other raptors that we should be concerned with as well – such as the White-tailed Eagle.

A recent report talks about the ghastly people who are these games keepers and how sadistic they are. It is good that the Scottish government has taken a stance and the prison terms will be such that they might deter the practice. The real way is to outlaw hunts. Fox, Red Grouse, you name it…outlaw them.

Convicted Millden Estate gamekeeper Rhys Davies had ‘formed a close bond’ with another animal-fighting sadist – Raptor Persecution UK

Something to feast your eyes on – patterns created by our feathered friends in flight.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2022/oct/29/xavier-bou-ornithographies-birds-patterns-flight-in-pictures

What if there are no birds to create the images the artist depicted above? What if the climate is heating faster and faster and warming the seas quicker? There are many sobering questions for humans who have caused the destruction of our planet and the myriad of challenges for our beloved birds (and all wildlife). The warnings of our planet heating faster than anticipated are beginning to make headlines in certain papers.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/02/europes-climate-warming-at-twice-rate-of-global-average-says-report

There is also news coming in regarding SE29 from the Sea Eagle Cam. There is no news on SE30.

November 2 : news from the vet caring for SE29 : today SE29 has moved into a slightly larger room that can be monitored with CCTV -doing as well as can be expected , everything is stable at this point.

Harriet and M15 on the branches after working hard on rebuilding their nest destroyed by Hurricane Ian. If they don’t put a smile on your face, I honestly do not know what will!

The first Bald Eagle egg of the year has been laid in Florida. That honour goes to the nest of Superbeaks, Muhlady and Pepe. The first egg of the Royal Albatross season has been laid at Taiaroa Head. Those parents are GK (Green Black) and BKW (Blue Black White).

Remember to send some of the names you came up with for the Alphabet Game by midnight tonight! E-mail is: maryasteggles@outlook.com

Thank you so much for being with me this morning and being the caring community that you are. Please take care as we all collectively heal. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos and/or their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, The Guardian, and those great people at the Looduskalender Forum.

Early Sunday in Bird World

9 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

It looks like it is going to be another beautiful day on the Canadian Prairies. Nippy as it is only 7 degrees C at noon but, beautiful blue skies, a wee breeze, and no rain in sight. I hope that all of you have had a joyful weekend, have had some time to watch our beloved bird families as they face challenges of feeding two eyases at Orange or delayed food deliveries at Port Lincoln.

Making News:

The RSPB is urging everyone to let the wild grow. While they are focused on the UK, other agencies are doing this throughout the world as the number of insects decreases dramatically.

Did you know?

While Peregrine Falcon chicks are almost born blind, as juveniles they will be able to see a Starling a mile away (or .6 km). That is the reason that some at Cal Falcons Berkeley believe that Annie might have seen her precious Grinnell killed. With the difference in size of the two eyases at Orange and with the eyesight getting more focused daily by the little one, here is a brief article to help us understand how falcons actually see so well.

https://intobirds.com/eyes-of-a-peregrine-falcon/

I thought I would also include Kate St John’s article on Peregrine Falcon Development week by week. It is an excellent reference to what is happening as you watch the eyases at Melbourne and Orange grow and develop.

Nest News:

I know that you will be delighted to see that the adults at the Notre Dame Bald Eagle nest, home of Little Bit ND17, are beginning to rebuild their nest on the cam tree. Smile.

The names for the eyases of Diamond and Xavier at the Orange, Australian scrape are Indigo for the oldest and Rubus for the youngest. How lovely!

I haven’t been counting the bites that Rubus has gotten at each meal; I only do that with third hatch ospreys who are being badly beaked by older siblings or when watching a nest that could become unstable, such as Port Lincoln right now. I have, however, looked for a wee crop on the little one at Orange and haven’t seen one until yesterday. ‘A’ assures me that Diamond is getting better at feeding it and certainly the second feeding appeared to be better than the first with a wee crop on Rubus. Indigo is a great big sibling; she is just bigger and well her neck is longer. She will be getting pin feathers when, today, Rubus is really getting its eyes opened.

There were 5 feedings yesterday with the little one getting a bit more than the day prior. Those feedings were a Starling at 6:39:48; a pigeon at 8:42:33; 10:25:42; leftover pigeon at 12:58:11; another Starling feeding at 15:19:05 and 18: 31:26.

Here are some images of those feedings yesterday. Enjoy! Please note that the top image is the late feeding of the day.

I had actually hoped that Xavier would get a chance to feed the wee ones.

The first fish of the day did not come in until after 1300 at Port Lincoln. There had been some beaking as the three became hungrier and hungrier. It was also the first feeding where I have witnessed beaking. There was a reason. The lineup was Middle, Little, and Big at the farthest point from Mum’s beak. Middle and Little got quite a few big mouthfuls with Little Bob eating a piece of an organ that fell on the nest at 13:10:52. (Thanks, ‘A’). All of the chicks were ever so happy to see a fish that it looked like they were frantically gobbling the food. Big wasn’t getting any, though. He beaked the siblings and had them both afraid of being fed. S/he ate and then when s/he had their fill, the others ate some more. At the end of the feeding all had eaten well except for Mum who must have been ravished herself. Fighting continued at various times throughout the day with a few feeds. Big’s target was, for the most part Middle. Those two do not like each other at all and Big has always been trying to establish its dominance since they were 8 days old.

The chicks were absolutely ravenous when that 1307 fish arrived. I wonder what is keeping Dad from getting the fish to the nest early in the morning? The late deliveries are causing the nest to become unstable. Still, until yesterday, the feedings had not been impacted by food competition. Yesterday was a particularly brutal day of attacks by Big.

Little Bob eats the dropped piece of fish organ all by himself. It was a great horking just like Big did with the fish tail the day prior.

Despite the discord on the nest, all of the chicks managed to get their crops nicely filled at the feedings. Let us all hope that Dad will be able to overcome whatever it is that is stopping him from delivering fish early in the morning.

The four eyases at Melbourne are well fed. Mum spends a long time making sure that each is fed. In the last feeding of the day, you can barely see them as Mum has her back to the camera. There are a couple of glimpses. The eyases are beginning to look like raptors and you can clearly see their crops and the shiny skin on their chest where the feathers are worn off. Great work by Mum and Dad at Melbourne.

The Sydney Sea Eagle camera has been offline sometimes. SE30 spent the night on the nest with a parent above on the parent branch. No sign of SE29 yesterday although it could easily be on the nest tree out of view of the camera. That said, in days prior, SE29 was happy to jump down on the nest with the family so it does make me wonder.

The Bald Eagles in the US continue to visit their nests making a few nestorations or rebuilding an entire nest. They can do it! Let us all send warm wishes to Port Lincoln today for several fish early in the morning. That would go a long way to settling down Big and its fears about food supply. It would be wonderful if the cam would be operating at Sea Eagles – would love to see SE30 when it fledges or a visit from SE29. Meanwhile, we know that the Melbourne Four are going to begin to get itchy and start preening. We also know that they will have loads of prey. Dad is keeping the pantry full. I am especially looking forward to seeing Rubus with its eyes more focused today.

Thank you for joining me. Take care. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Thank you to the following for their postings and stream cams that made up my screen captures today: RSPB, Notre Dame Eagles FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

QT is now Lillibet, Little Bob has a huge crop and other news in Bird World

6 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Oh, goodness. One area of my City had its first snow last evening and the temperature for the rest of us is 1 degree C. (Think of 0 as 32 degrees F). We had our first heavy frost last night. This cold snap will surely put some of the birds that are arriving in our City on a path south!

The active nests remain in Australia while the Bald Eagles work on their nests for egg laying later in the year in the US. Rain is the issue at some of the nests. Melbourne received 3 inches of rain or 7.5 cm. Mum worked so hard to keep those eyases dry. Sadly, the Collins Street scrape will have more rain today – perhaps an inch – starting at around 0800. My weather report says that should end around 1300. It has really rained in Sydney and there are some areas that are flooding. Rain should begin in the Olympic Park where the Ironwood Tree nest of the Sea Eagles is located at around 1100 and then stop. Port Lincoln could be dry today! Yippee. It looks right now that Orange could be dry as well. We wait and see how the forecasts hold up BUT regardless, these amazing raptor families are doing well despite the heavy downpours that are occurring. That is simply wonderful.

There is word that Friends of Osprey – think Janet Foster, Ian Falkenburg, Fran Solly – from Port Lincoln and all those who donated or joined Friends of Osprey – have received four sat pack transmitters for this year. There will be one available for Port Lincoln and one each going to the three other nests should they have fledglings. Calypso has been seen numerous times and is flying well. She is the 2019 fledgling from PLO. Ervie is, of course, out and about being the man about town in Port Lincoln. This is excellent news. More platforms are planned for South Australia as well as the number of Ospreys grow in the area.

Friends of Ospreys has a new website and they are grateful for all donations. All funds go directly to the camera, etc at Port Lincoln, new platforms in the area, and those precious transmitters. This is their new site and it is packed with information. Not a member? Consider donating. Membership is $20 Australian.

Here is the latest news from the blog on our darling Ervie:

https://friendsofosprey.com.au/our-tracked-osprey/

An announcement came out of the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head yesterday that a decision was made and accepted by all members that the Royal Cam Chick known as QT be officially named ‘Lillibet’ after Queen Elizabeth II.

I was worried about Little Bob at Port Lincoln yesterday. Big and Middle continue to go at one another and well, I will sound like a broken record but, it is a real blessing that they stop fighting and act nicely at the fish table. ‘A’ noticed yesterday that Little Bob’s lack of a long neck is hampering him if he is not at the right position during feeding. That said, he walked away with several nice size crops later yesterday when larger fish came to the nest.

In the image below, have a look at Middle Bob. Notice the dark woolier down that is now replacing that light grey coat of down the osplets had when they hatched. They will retain this thermal wooly layer to help them regulate their temperature. Feathers will begin to appear. You can already see the rusty-gold ones on their head and nape. These will be followed by the wing, tail, and body feathers until they get their full juvenile plumage. They are going to be very itchy and will spend much time preening.

Remember that the feathers are often called ‘blood feathers’. The feathers grow from blood quills which will disintegrate and fall off as the feathers grow.

Little Bob looks great with that big crop of his. You will notice that all three chicks are in the full reptilian phase including having ‘clown feet’.

We all wondered if Little Bob would be another Ervie. He certainly does his best to get up front and at the beak for feeding. The beaking between the two older siblings does send him into safe positions and it does appear that he is often afraid of them — and for good reason. He is still very small. Let the older more evenly matched siblings take their angst out on one another!

Dad continues to provide lots of prey for the Melbourne eyases and he does his best to feed them and keep them covered from the sun. It is difficult for him to brood them – even last year, Old Dad has a huge problem when it came to four chicks. They all seem to be doing well including the smallest one.

Mum has been notified that prey is delivered. She has flown off to have a break and eat.

Dad arrives and stays with the eyases til Mum returns.

Some chatting and bowing and Dad is off!

The older chicks can see well. It is hard to determine if the 4th has its eyes fully open and focused yet. Oh, how I wish there was a zoom on that camera!

The wee one at Orange is getting some food while Big Bob is growing like crazy. Everything is going well at Orange for Xavier and Diamond and we will all get to see how these two manage as parents of two this year instead of one.

There have been lots of feedings and Xavier has been able to feed and brood his family! He so loves being such an active part in everything instead of just providing prey.

SE30 has not fledged yet. The heavy rains in the forest should slow down any flying but, SE29 does not seem to be bothered flying in and out of the nest. SE29 is roosting elsewhere. SE30 is so excited to see its sibling when it flies in. They seem to have such a special bond with one another this year.

Fish have been coming to the nest and Lady often feeds SE30 and also SE29 should s/he show up on the nest. SE29 is often more interested in what is going around making one wonder if s/he is not also being fed elsewhere.

All of the nests are as quiet as they can be in the middle of the night in Australia. Despite the weather, all of the parents are able to feed and keep their little and not so little youngsters fed and warm (if needed).

Migration:

Checking on Karl II family for 5 October. Bonus continues to stay in the same area of Romania. Tracking shows that he flew a lot. This is a map of where he is and an image of the area.

Waba is still in Moldova at an area around Glodeni.

Waba seems to be enjoying a pond in the landscape. You can see by the blue dots that he visits there often. How wonderful he has found a source of fish and frogs.

Karl II has just astounded people with a 450 km flight. He is now in Turkey!

I see that there are no tracking reports yet for Kaia. On 4 October she was 31 km from the Mediterranean Sea. She is perhaps in areas where there is little satellite transmissions available.

Don’t forget that 8 October is Big Bird Day at Cornell Bird Lab. Go to their website to register for the bird count if you are not already a part of eBird. It is free. Here is the information to get you started:

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2022

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Looduskalender Forum.

Early Sunday in Bird World

2 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is going to be 21 degrees C on the Canadian Prairies. Just a fabulous autumn day to be outside checking on the geese and the ducks and other birds that are migrating through the area. That is where I am headed shortly. It is so rare to get this kind of weather in October that it has to be enjoyed.

I want to thank everyone, before I forget, for all their letters and comments. Much appreciated!

In the Mailbox:

I have had word that it will be a long time before anything can be confirmed about the eagles and ospreys on Captiva/Sanibel. Individuals have seen both eagles and ospreys flying in some of the news broadcasts from the area. The area was more or less completely destroyed I was told. So sad for everyone’s property but thrilled that the raptors appear to be around.

Several have written in to ask if there is something wrong with Mum’s eye at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge? Thank you, ‘M’ for the image of Mum!

What you are seeing is the nictitating membrane or third eye lid. This thin membrane helps the Ospreys to see under water and instead of lowering this third eye lid, it raises up from the bottom. You will often see the birds pull up the nictitating membrane when they are resting. Some people call them a windshield/windscreen. Their function is to hold in the lubricating fluids of the eye. — So there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mum’s eyes!

Making News:

A recent poll in the UK reveals that the majority of individuals believes that nature is in need of protection! While I do not have a crystal ball, it seems that this might be the sentiment in most countries in the world. So why is there not being more done to protect the land and the wildlife – not just words – but action?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/30/most-uk-adults-think-nature-is-in-urgent-need-of-protection-poll

Cornell Bird Lab reminds us that October 8 is Big Day for Bird Counting.

Here is how you can take part:

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2022#:~:text=Mark%20your%20calendars%20for%20October,birds%20to%20bring%20people%20together

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project has given an update on Blue 694, a fledgling, seen in Portugal!

https://forestryandland.gov.scot/blog/osprey-update-29-september?fbclid=IwAR2DpHTcmnVUilg0fnubkJ2CgXBsTLFLADdXdpZdKJ4HPflqdvep8_RjknE

Mr Kes at the Robert Fuller nests in the UK has a new mate!

Nest News:

If you are a fan of Big Red and Arthur, the Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus, then you will be thrilled to hear that L4 was caught on Karel Sedlacek’s streaming cam catching a squirrel yesterday. This is the longest that any of this popular couple’s fledglings has ever been seen on campus. It is fantastic.

The osplets at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge just seem to be ravenous. Big Bob is 2 weeks old and they are entering their big growth spurt and consuming more and more fish will help that. Dad brought a small-medium fish in at 1334 and it was completely gone by 1400. At first Big Bob was right up there followed by Little Bob. Little Bob got a couple of good bites and then Middle joined the line. Middle had the advantage in terms of position with Middle and Little seemingly getting all the bites. I wondered when Big would tear into them but s/he didn’t and all left the table with crops. I wondered about the heat – it is 19 degrees C in Port Lincoln and they are in the direct sun. They had a nice meal and that is all that counts. What was interesting was that both Big and Middle made attempts to pick at the fish themselves! Keep the fish coming in, Dad!

The three had another fish and finished it off around 1900. Look closely. Little Bob is losing his soft light grey downy coat. Oh, he will be a reptile soon!

It was really hot up in the scrape box at 367 Collins Street. Mum was just panting and it appears that both Mum and Male2 provided the eyases with some much needed shade until the sun was no longer on the scrape.

Yesterday I said something that confused one reader and I presume more, so my apologies. The couple at the Melbourne 367 Collins scrape are both new parents. I had been watching the old couple for about 5 years -.

What I ascertained from the 13:13 feeding is that it is possible the male has now served as a umbrella to shade the chicks, is bringing in prey for the female and the chicks, and has fed them. I admit to being completely confused by these two unless they are side by side and I can see the line of black in the white at the neck of the male. Both have extremely dark heads. The be all end all of this is that we should not be worrying. These first time parents are working this out and it seems that male2 will be another ‘saviour’ like Xavier.

They are soooooo cute!

Everyone is wondering whether or not Xavier and Diamond will have a second hatch at the scrape box on the water tower in Orange. Big Bob (or Only) is only a day old. Yes, many times falcon eggs hatch within 24 hours of one another but, that not happening in Orange does not mean it can’t. The last two years Xavier and Diamond have had only one hatch out of three eggs – Izzi in 2020 and Yurruga in 2021. It is common for not all of the eggs to hatch – there is one egg still in the 367 Collins Street scrape that hopefully will not hatch!

Mum and Dad have done wonders with SE29 and 30 this year. Big beautiful eaglets ready to fly.

I love this image of SE29 up on the parent branch with Lady. SE29 has ‘officially’ been declared as branching at 1445 on Saturday. Thanks, ‘J’.

Thank you for being with me this morning as we check on all the action that happened late Sunday in Australia. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab, Robert E Fuller, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.