So happy to have you here with me. I set out ‘in my mind’ last evening that I would get up early and head out to find Snowy Owls sitting on large round hay bales near Oak Hammock Marsh. I got a text from a friend – ‘no’ owls seen. So, determined to see a Snowy Owl today, I did something entirely different! I went to the zoo.
How long has it been since you have been to a zoo? With all the criticism against keeping animals in small cages, our Assiniboine Park Zoo set out to try and make the enclosures for the animals considerably larger. At the same time they addressed issues of ‘boredom’ and the environments that the animals would live in if they were out in the wild. It was a much more pleasant place to visit because of those major changes.
One of the zoo volunteers saw me looking at the map and asked me what I wanted to see. The answer was Snowy Owls and Birds. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn’t say ‘tiger’ or ‘cougar’. As it happened we were very close to the Snow Owls and it was feeding time. Fluffy yellow chicks raised specifically for the purpose were being dished out. For several seconds, it seemed that a woman standing near to me was going to pass out she was so overcome by seeing the owls eat the chicks. I stood in wonderment trying to figure out if she thought that they ate lettuce – our zoo purchases an inordinate amount of Romaine lettuce – or fruit. It is a good thing that she was away from the cougar or the Stellar’s Eagle compounds at that specific moment.
The real character of the entire four hours was the Toucan. He made eye contact immediately. What an incredibly beautiful bird he is.
This is the Toco Toucan. They are the largest of the species at 62 cm long with a bill/beak that is 17 cm long. Their lifespan is approximately 20 years. The Toco Toucan is native to South American rainforests where its numbers are decreasing due to deforestation.
I wish we could have had a conversation. This chap was a real cutie pie.
These little Sun Conures were tiny in comparison to the Toco Toucan. No wonder they have the ‘sun’ as part of their name. Oh, those faces ranging from yellow to orange to red are the colours we painted the sun as children. They are native to northeastern South America. They are approximately 30 cm in length but these certainly did not look that big unless you count that long olive green tail in the measurement! These little cuties were using their bill and their feet to dig around the edge of their enclosure. They have a stubby quite muscular tongue that helps them move their food around in their mouth.
This beautiful Golden Eagle was finishing up its breakfast and not the least bit interested in anyone looking at it. What a beauty. It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, about the same size as a Bald Eagle. Unlike a Bald Eagle whose legs and talons are bare, the Golden Eagle has feathers on its legs. In Canada, they are ‘at risk’. Their meals consist of small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels.
The Stellar’s Sea Eagle is the largest of the sea eagles. With its striking bright yellow beak and legs and its espresso brown/black and white plumage, it is easy to recognize this raptor. It has a wedge-tail and fine pointed wings. They are rare. In the northern areas they will stand on the ice and fish and love the salmon in the north. It is thought that they almost exclusively breed in the north of Russia. You may recall that there is a Stellar’s Sea Eagle that has come to Newfoundland, Canada travelling south to parts of New England. I believe it is back in Newfoundland.
There were so many little Red Squirrels. This one is eating a ‘helicopter’, the seed of the Maple Tree.
Little Red stuffed these Maple Tree seeds in every part of the old shed. There were boxes full. Never knew if he used them for insulation to stay warm as well as eating. There is a large box full of them in his new home if he ever moves in!
It was great fun. Lovely to see families out with small children running about. Next time you are looking for a place to go – think the zoo!
A very small fish landed on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge at 061847. Middle got some of the tail but Big got most of it at 062652.
Breakfast arrived at 0618 on the ledge of 367 Collins Street for the Melbourne Four. Another plucking lesson, too!
This big one has run off with a nice piece and is self-feeding.
After eating it was running to get those legs strong, finding scraps of prey, and flapping those wings. What a brilliant place for these eyases to get exercise! I wonder how being able to run and flap freely – running a great distance – might give these falcons an edge in terms of physical strength that would help them survive? Just a thought!
This is the Recap for the morning feedings at Orange. Goodness Xavier has been busy hunting!
BirdieCam RECAP: 6:07:33 starling, X leaves, 6:20:58 D feeds; 6:38:31 X w/RRP?, he feeds; 09.13.33 X w/Noisy Friarbird, D feeds
Everyone has had breakfast, some more than others. Wish for fish – a big one for Port Lincoln.
Take care all. This is just a quick check and all are doing well at the 3 nests we are watching in Australia.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
As is my usual routine, I am starting my blog for Sunday morning late on Saturday evening. That flu shot has had me a bit under the weather and I have not ventured out to check on the local duck populations. I hope to do that tomorrow with some new images for you. The number of birds in the garden is certainly dwindling. Instead of 40 or more Dark-eyed Juncos there are only a handful and the number of sparrows is about half. The squirrels continue to hoarde the peanuts at the dismay of both the Blue Jays and a single crow. All four of them are in the neighbourhood but, one family has taken to feeding them bread. Crows love bread – it is sweet and salty. It is junk food. And the ones that come to my garden would much rather have bread than healthy nuts, fruit, and protein. Drives me crazy! Angel Wing is why – when we went for a walk around the local duck pond on Thanksgiving, we found two Mallards with Angel Wing. They have since been taken to the wildlife rehab clinic. It is unclear if they will survive. People believe they are helping because the ducks come running for the bread. Sadly, not.
Have you ever heard of Angel Wing? It is a condition in waterfowl caused by a nutritional deficiency. The wings droop or are crooked. The birds cannot fly. It is normally caused by humans feeding bread to the ducks and geese! It can kill them. Feed only high nutrition feed such as wild bird seed OR do not feed them at all.
The United Kingdom has been hit particularly hard by Avian Flu. Indeed, scientists now believe that this deadly disease for wild birds and commercial poultry farms will remain in the country year round. The plan is to require anyone who has poultry to move them inside — no more free range eggs or chickens. That is very sad and, well, it is known by Virologists such as Thijs Kuiken -who examines the spread of Avian Flu – that factor farms are the likely cause. I wonder if what is being done in the UK will spread to other European countries?
The finalists in the funniest wildlife shots of the year:
Do you like Chimney Swifts? Have you ever gone birding in Central Park? Are you wondering what the 33 year old Pale Male, the resident Red-tail Hawk of 927 Fifth Avenue is doing? (Yes, he really is 33. He hatched in 1990 and has his own Wikipedia page!). I urge you to check out the blog of Bruce Yolton. Yolton is an excellent wildlife photographer and knows Central Park and its surrounding area as if it were his own hand. He has recently changed his blog template and it is easy to search using the box on the right. There are recent YouTube videos of the swifts as well as one of Pale Male from the 1st of September. Yes, he is still alive. Just do a search using Pale Male on Yolton’s site to see the latest video.
‘H’ wrote and said she had just watched the film about Pale Male. With all that has gone on at PLO, it is sometimes easy to forget what brings one happiness. So, if you haven’t seen it or if you are like me and you need to watch something that clearly demonstrates just how people can influence a hawk’s life, check it out. It’s free and it is very heart warming and uplifting.
LGK (Lime-Green-Black) is one of the favourite male Albatrosses and is the father of Taiki, last year’s Royal Cam chick. LGK has returned to Taiaroa Head! Here is the announcement by Sharon Dunne:
Damon and Gabby continue to work on restorations on their nest. Just look at the huge stick Samson brought in!
Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest and rebounding.
The eyases at 367 Collins Street are simply having a fabulous time wandering up and down the gutter. It seems to cause some confusion in the adults still but everyone is coping well. Mum loves her perch and as ‘A’ notes, the pair of them don’t seem to fully understand their duties so both are hunting and bringing prey. I love it – cooperative parenting. In fact, Osprey Mums often start hunting when the ospreys turn 30 days. It really helps during then and fledge when more prey is required.
The Melbourne Four were fed 5 times yesterday. In fact, five seems to be the average feeding per day. I have not sat down to compare delivery times. Once I tracked a hawk family that delivered prey 7 times a day at almost the exact same times. It was like they had a food supply delivery! The four ate at 0628 for 20 minutes, then again at 1108 for 7 minutes (a snack), at 1209 for 22 minutes, at 1540 for 17 minutes and their last meal at 1915 for 16 minutes. Mum continues to perch above the scrape box.
This adorable video of Diamond feeding little Rubus and Indigo popped up on my screen. It is now 6 days old but, it just shows hot cute these two eyases are and how much they have changed. Indigo was a cotton ball then. Poor Little Rubus. I wondered if he would ever get any feathers. Rubus is quite the character, full of vinegar and mischief with as loud a voice as his brother, Izzy. ‘A’ says he is as loud as Yurruga, too!!! It is hard to imagine how much they have grown in 5 days. Just look. They are all white down with no pin feathers.
Meals are coming in on a regular basis for Indigo and Rubus. The pair of them are a delight. Like any younger sibling, Rubus wants to do everything that Indigo does. He has now migrated over to Cilla’s stones to stay with Indigo! And he is enjoying the camera.
The weather appears to not be so good at Port Lincoln. It is now 1439 and I have not seen a fish arrive on the nest since the large breakfast fish. It is entirely possible that Dad has not been able to catch anything. There is an image of Mum eating a fish by herself at 2016 (the clock on the camera is incorrect). She is the one that I worry about. She needs to eat – a bite for Big, one for Middle, and then one for Mum. That would be good! She does not require as much prey as Dad as he is actively fishing but, she has been out fishing and will probably continue to do so to supplement the takings.
If you have been watching the Port Lincoln nest and noted more deliveries to the ospreys on Sunday in Australia (when they wake up it will be Monday), please do let me know.
The cam operator did some really good close ups of the ospreys yesterday. You can see how their feathers are developing and once again, we get a look at those gorgeous amber eyes.
We have been following the Black Stork family of Karl II from Estonia to their winter homes in the central part of Africa. There has been no recent transmission from the female, Kaia. Her last transmission was from Chad on the 16th of October. There has been no news from Karl II. His last transmission was from Egypt on the 18th of October. It is likely that both of the adults form the Karla National Forest nest are out of range for transmissions. The two fledglings with satellite transmitters are Bonus and Waba. Waba flew 161 km and is now in Turkey near Antalya along the coast.
Bonus flew 106 km and is near the village of Gravita in Romania.
Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Wish for fish at Port Lincoln. All is well at the other nests. The Bald Eagles are busy building and there is word that an artificial nest might go up for Connie and Clive at Captiva as the trees are mostly destroyed – the ones good for Eagles. Take care everyone – see you soon! Please note that my check on breakfast feedings in Australia will be coming out late. Just wanted to let you know.
Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sharon Dunne aka Lady Hawk videos, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, AEF-NEFL, Looduskalender, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, BBC, Royal Albatross FB Group, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam.
It was a very long night. I want to thank you for your outpourings of love and empathy for Little Bob at PLO. If love – human love – could have saved him, that nest would have been full of fish. Little Bob died of the effects of siblicide (starvation and a possible early morning injury) in the late afternoon of the 16th of October at the age of 24 days. Port Lincoln received permission to remove his body from the nest. Fran Solly (?) moved the camera away from the nest to the landscape while Little Bob was being taken off the nest.
Port Lincoln posted the following information on their observation board:
A sad day at port lincoln as #3 didn’t survive. It didn’t get fed properly these last few days and collapsed around 1 pm this afternoon and died at the end of the afternoon. PLO got permission to retrieve it for burial, but didn’t get permission to interfere before that. It is sad, but also the way of life in any nest. The other two siblings are thriving and have every chance to successfully fledge in a few weeks.
If you go to the obs board, you can also join in guessing the fledge time of the two surviving osplets. That obs board can be viewed here:
It is a shame that Port Lincoln did not get permission to intervene once they realized what was happening on the nest.
There are divided feelings on which osplet should be removed when food competition is present. Most researchers believe you remove the eldest if it can self-feed instead of the youngest – leave the youngest with the adult who will feed it. In other instances, smaller birds being beaked have been removed and fed and returned to the nests to live happily. Perhaps, in the future, should this occur again (and it almost seems inevitable at this nest if the first hatch is a big female), permission to intervene can be gained even before the eggs are laid. Just a thought.
Little Bob was loved by so many and we remain heart broken. I am glad that his suffering has ended, however. The parents have little time to grieve – they have two large osplets to care for and get to fledge.
Warming seas, overfishing, hotter temperatures are all having a huge impact on birds. Will there be a time when Ospreys will only be able to find enough food for the parents and one chick to survive?
We have just witnessed at Port Lincoln the ospreys eating fish that were fresh and left on the nest or the one that magically appeared on the barge. Since climate change is human caused, it is time that we began to consider ways in which we can help our Osprey friends adapt – and that is through intervention. Providing fish when there is not enough. Fish tanks. There are figures of how many fish come to an Osprey nest with three chicks. The average, if I recall correctly, is somewhere around 450 fish.
Already scientists are seeing a 43% decline in Penguins. Here is the story:
The article might be about penguins today but, it is easy to see that the Royal Albatross chicks are requiring more supplementary feedings. What others will we be reading about?
Here is a story coming from Cyprus about the Griffon Vulture. When will countries realize that wildlife and bird watching tours add much income to an economy. So instead of trying to wipe them out with poisons why not embrace the beauty of all and celebrate it?
There remain three active nests in Australia with chicks to fledge: 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, Charles Sturt Peregrine Falcon scrape in Orange (Xavier and Diamond), and the two Osplets at Port Lincoln. There are currently no concerns for the falcons at Orange. Both are eating well and food is arriving with no issue. There is concern about the amount of time the female is away from the scrape box at Melbourne. My understanding is that there will be two very hot days this week that will impact the eyases. They do not, as yet, have the ability to run up and down the gutter nor are they feathered to further help them regulate their temperatures. Big and Middle should thrive at Port Lincoln.
The Melbourne Four had several feedings yesterday. The last was at 1832. The four were absolutely bursting at the seams!
Indigo and Rubus ended their day with a duckling feed. Yesterday they had Starlings, a parrot and a Rosella. Xavier is bringing in quite a variety for his family. The Rosella feeding was at 16:29:58
At 1740 a duckling arrived on the ledge which Diamond happily took to feed Indigo and Rubus. Rubus did not have a crop from the earlier Rosella feeling an hour prior and so, this little one got to fill its tummy before bed with a favourite, duck.
At Port Lincoln, after the removal of Little Bob’s body, Mum fed the two surviving chicks one of the fish that was left by Port Lincoln. She also enjoyed some of it herself. It is worth remembering that both Mum and Dad have to retain their health or the entire nest suffers. Mum worked hard to find Little Bob fish when he was eating – at the expense of herself. The females lose weight and body mass as they produce eggs, incubate, brood and feed the chicks until such time as they fledge. Often, at about 30 days, Mum will, in fact, go fishing and supplement the fish Dad brings to the nest.
I do not personally believe there will be any more problems on the Port Lincoln nest. It is not always the case, however. At the UFlorida-Gainesville nest, after the third hatch died, the eldest began to take their angst out on the second hatch. The competition continued but as Middle got bigger, it was clear that Big could not kill it. At that nest, it was evident that the Mum often favoured the eldest. It was a very interesting nest to watch – it had two strong fledglings in the end.
Middle has grown a great deal in the last couple of days as she began to figure out how to get fish and be away from Big. Let us all hope that lots of fish continues to come in and that Mum will also get her share.
Breakfast has not yet arrived at all the nests. I hope to have a very late day report on the comings and goings early on a Monday morning at the nests in Australia. Thank you for being with me and thank you for all of your outpourings of sympathy for Port Lincoln over the death of sweet Little Bob. It will be very difficult to watch that nest for many. Port Lincoln is not a nest for the faint of heart. For those of you that love Ospreys, I want to now recommend three nests in the UK: Rutland’s Manton Bay with Blue 33 and Maya. That Osprey family has raised four osplets twice!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are Super Stars in the Osprey world. The second is at Dyfi in Wales, the home of Idris and Telyn. It just so happens that Telyn is Maya’s daughter from Rutland! The other is the home of Louis and Dorcha at Loch Arkaig. Louis melted our hearts when he helped his former mate, Aila, feed their three chicks in 2020. He is an amazing provider just like Blue 33 and Idris.
Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their stories, posts, and our streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.