Little Yurruga

As many of you are aware, Yurruga has not been seen since last Thursday. Cilla Kinross saw him on the top of a building in the pitching down rain and later, university workers also saw Yurruga on the same building. Cilla sent me a short note this morning because I had written to her earlier about Yurruga’s 2nd right tail feather still being contained by the quill. The local vet did not think this was a problem but, like Cilla Kinross, was concerned about a lack of feather development on the little falcon. What impact this might have had will never be known. Cilla has looked and looked in all the places Yurruga might be and others but she is concerned and has posted a note that has been placed on the FB Page for the Orange Peregrine Falcons. I was very touched because she referred to Yurruga as a ‘poor little lamb.’ Every day is a test for our birds. Even the strongest have challenges. It is difficult enough for fledglings but compounded with unkind weather for numerous days, well. Yurruga should be flying around screaming at his parents for food and the conclusion is that he is no longer with us.

The parents, Xavier and Diamond, had an extremely long – fifteen minute or more – bonding session in the scrape yesterday morning at 05:15. This is simply not something that would normally happen with a fledgling needing prey and training. Considering the work of Marc Bekoff (Emotional Lives of Animals), Jane Goodall, the observations of Hob Osterlund with the Laysan Albatross, the bonding behaviour of Xavier and Diamond should be considered alongside grief. While we have only a limited view of the falcon’s behaviour, it might be assumed that the couple have now grieved for their wee one and are, with the weight of that loss, reconfirming their love and commitment to one another. We cannot do a brain scan on Diamond’s hippocampus (area of brain in human animals for emotion) to see if it lights up, Barbara J King in her book, How Animals Grieve, would tell you that the investment in the mating, the making of the egg, the care and incubation, the care and feeding after and training, she says that ‘grief comes from love loss.’ There have been roadside funerals of Crows, Ospreys who have mourned the loss of their chicks by predators. Other bird species and drowned themselves after the death of their mate. And, of course, all of you reading my blog, will know about Arnold and Amelia, the two Canada geese. Arnold and Amelia lived at the pond on the grounds of the clinic (fortunate for them!).* Arnold had one of its digits severed by a snapping turtle and required surgery. Amelia went to look for Arnold and watched through the glass, finally sharing a meal and a pen til Arnold was released.

So, today, we grieve with Xavier and Diamond over the loss of little Yurruga.

It was a beautiful morning when little Yurruga flew for the first time.
Diamond and Yurruga bathed in the golden glow of the sun the morning Yurruga flew.
Xavier feeding his baby.
Xavier brings prey for Yurruga.
Diamond and her baby.
Xavier feeding Yurruga. Xavier loved getting a chance early on to feed his little one.

What an adorable little eyas. Fly high little one. Fly high.

I am so sorry to bring this terrible news to you. We join Xavier and Diamond, Cilla Kinross and the team at Orange in their mourning.

Thank you to Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross for the streaming cam where we get to share the joys and the sorrows – and where I took my screen shots of this lovely Peregrine Falcon family.

  • I say this because many do not consider the mate when one is taken into care. Arnold and Amelia were extremely lucky.

Thanksgiving Thursday in Bird World

Our wildlife rehabilitation clinic has seen a 21% increase in patients in the last week. If you live in Manitoba and have the finances, send them a donation, however small or large. They receive no government funding. Everything is done on a donation basis – as is the case with most wildlife rehabilitation clinics. They have a long list of items they need on their website and all monetary donations are tax deductible.

I know that many of my readers live elsewhere but if this is happening here then perhaps it is happening all over.

There was a very sobering article on that cute little Korora (Tiny Blue Penguin) that is doing well in NZ. Its sibling died because the parents have to go so far to feed. For those that love those New Zealand birds such as the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head and wildlife that depend on the oceans to survive, what they are seeing is warming waters which mean the fish move or even die (like the trout did in Montana when the Clark Fork River got too water). It is time we demand that governments get serious and take radical steps to try and stop the situation from getting worse.

I want to remind everyone of Ferris Akel’s tours. You can go to YouTube, search for Ferris Akel, and hit the subscribe button to the live stream. He has lots of archived video tours as well. They normally take place on Saturdays at noon, Ithaca NY time. Ferris is out at Sapsucker Woods today for Thanksgiving and he has just found a beautiful juvenile Red-tail hawk that is hunting.

Notice the ‘eyebrow’ that helps to keep the glare away from its eyes when hunting. Oh, isn’t this a beautiful raptor?

Ferris just caught a Belted Kingfisher close to the RTH. There have been other birds this morning included Canada Geese and maybe another Kingfisher.

In the summer and fall, Ferris finds lots of shore birds and in the winter there will be owls! You can leave Ferris on like a radio if you are busy or you can watch as little or as much as you like. There is also a chat function with great people who can answer questions.

I am so thankful for Ferris Akel and his tours and his generosity in allowing us to share his images. I have learned so much from him over the years just wish I had a better ear to know which birds are out there by their beautiful voices.

Little Yurruga, the Peregrine Falcon fledgling at Orange, has been seen on top of a building so it is flying alright. Xavier and Diamond have been seen taking food in and out so she/he ? is being provided for. Isn’t this wonderful?!!!!!!

Below is the image that Dr Cilla Kinross took the day Yurruga fledged. She placed it in a tree. What a lovely little falcon you are, Yurruga.

This appeared on the FB Page of the Orange Peregrine Falcons today.

Have you ever wondered about the colour morphing of birds? The Audubon Society has a nice ‘Ask Ken’ article on that very topic! Thanks BM for letting me know!

The NZ DOC rangers at Taiaroa Head are deciding which Royal Albatross couple will be the Royal Cam family this year. There are 36 eggs and they believe that is all for this year. The favourite couple, WYL and BOK, who have made us so happy with their cuddles have not laid an egg – maybe next year! Will keep you posted!

It is a quiet day in Bird World and that is something to be very thankful for – no drama, nothing horrible happening.

Take care everyone. Have a marvellous day. To those having Thanksgiving, enjoy. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures or their FB pages: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Ferris Akel Tours, Orange Peregrine Falcons FB page and the Cornell RTH FB Page.

WBSE Release

Here is an image of WBSE 27 being released last week. It was determined by the scale lines in her toes that the bird was in fact, 27 not 28. So happy that ID was solved! The day the bird was released was the first day that the parents were not at their River Roost. I hope the three connect! There is a video of the release and it shows 27 as a really strong bird. I hope she thrives in the wild for eons. What a gorgeous bird.

The following was posted on the FB page of the Sea Eagles:

Here is a news report:

https://www.9news.com.au/videos/national/incredible-moment-sea-eagle-returns-to-wild/ckwd1mylj000n0go2tpq6dkcs?fbclid=IwAR1LEfr-N1vKUIgUAawVmy477RlTUb7sTU0yFDQwedhjs2gAW9t_FQQJva0

The Kakapo Recovery are doing their annual fundraiser. As many of you know, we started out the pandemic with 208 Kakapo in existence. There are now 202. Dedicated individuals do wellness check ups which mean they have to find these elusive non-flying parrots. The only way to do that is with a transmitter. The transmitters and batteries require check ups and replacements (batteries) on a regular basis. Medical treatment, etc. If urgent and life threatening, the bird is flown to Dunedin, NZ for veterinary care.

Many are considering doing one special gift on behalf of their family to help wildlife and the planet (as opposed to fast fashion that winds up stacked in the deserts of Africa). The Kakapo Recovery is hoping you might choose them.

Last year we adopted Rangi! He happily lives in the living room plants when he is not cuddling up with Pippa the Albatross or Big Red the Red-tailed Hawk!

It is something everyone needs to think about even if it is $5 to a streaming cam that you love. It can make all the difference. You can also adopt other types of birds. Last year there was a huge rush to help Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Bywyd Gwyllt. You might recall that two horrific events came together in the perfect storm at Glaslyn. A heavy rain storm with cold temperatures hit the area when the chicks hatched and Aran got in a territorial fight and injured his wing and he could not fish. The community came together and provided a fish table for the family. Sadly the chicks did not survive but Mrs G and Aran did and Aran got his strength and migrated on time. To help that cause many went to the website and adopted Aran and his family.

You will have your own list as well. Other ways that you can help is to check with your local wildlife rehabilitation clinic. They often post a list of items that they need. You would be surprised but clean old towels are usually at the top of the list! So next time you are looking at a pile of towels and old sheets, think of your local clinic for wildlife! It doesn’t cost anything but getting the items there and often the clinics have volunteers that pick up for them.

Books for children and teens on how to help wildlife thrive are, of course, invaluable in building the next generation to care for our beloved birds.

Holly Parsons posted an update on Yurruga on the FB page for the Orange Australian Peregrine Falcon:

“Post from Cilla approx. 5pm 24 November:I haven’t seen Yurruga since I placed him in the tree, but I’m pretty sure he is still there as the parents have been coming and going with prey and giving me warning calls if I approach too close. I only check once a day and the foliage is really thick so hard to find him if he’s quiet.”

That is great news coming out of Orange! That is the kind of news I wish were coming out of Sydney with WBSE 27 – that the parents have been feeding it. Fingers crossed.

This is a short update. It is extremely quiet in Bird World now that the falcons and ospreys and WBSE in Australia have fledged. Eggs are happening in the Bald Eagles nests in the US and there will be lots of action around the holidays in December.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my information: Orange Australian Peregrines FB, Kakapo Recovery FB, and Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Yurruga Fledges

It was a beautiful flight. Xavier was outside taunting Yurruga. Diamond was at her side. Then Diamond flew. Yurruga was watching everything. She took off like a pro with perfect form. It was a beautiful Monday morning in Orange, Australia. 06:03:55.

Diamond and Yurruga are watching Xavier. That beautiful golden glow of the morning sun touches the scrape.

Diamond is off!

Yurruga joins her parents flying around the water tower. It was brilliant. No fludge for this young man or lady.

She has perfect flying form.

Yurruga leans down and out she goes. Magnificent.

This is the view of Yurruga leaping out to chase her destiny from the ledge cam. Look at Yurruga go! Beautiful and strong legs.

Fly safe, Yurruga!

Diamond returns to the scrape box ledge. Her job is mostly over.

Diamond watches from the ledge cam. Xavier and Yurruga are flying by. Xavier will teach Yurruga to fly and hunt along with team teaching with Diamond.

Congratulations to Dr Cilla Kinross, the lead researcher on the Peregrine Falcon Project, to Diamond and Xavier bravo! You did an amazing job. May Yurruga bless you with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!

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

Yurruga

Yurruga is 43 days old.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** 12 stone is 76.20 kg or 168 lbs

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

Caring for the Animals and Birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday in Bird World

On the Canadian Prairies, it is 8 November and it is 11 degrees C. There are some birds still around the southern part of our province including a large number of Great Horned Owls (GHOW) and Barred Owls (BADO). Several hours from where I live there are some hawks and Bald Eagles still making their way south. In celebration of such a gorgeous day with the promise of snow and plummeting temperatures on Wednesday, we decided to make one last check at Oak Hammock Marsh.

It was simply grand. You could see for miles.

The walk was great. It was sooooo quiet, a wonderful change from the noise of the city. If you were intent on counting tonnes of birds and seeing lots of species, then it was a bust! There were about 60 Canada Geese scattered about and a couple of Mallards, a male and a female.

They were all feeding on the tender marsh grasses below the surface.

Even the geese were quiet, no honking, nothing. Just working hard on those plants.

The two Mallards were quite interesting. They were sort of breaking down the grasses as they moved through forcing them under the water with their paddles and then eating them.

Beautiful little female Mallard.

The ducks were not bothered by the geese – everyone seemed intent on eating and enjoying the warm sunshine. The farmers in the area have finished harvesting their crops and the fields are bare. In several hours only six or seven Canada Geese flew into the wetlands.

It might have been quiet in rural Manitoba but there was a lot of things happening elsewhere. First up, for all of you that watch the Royal Albatross, OGK’s mate since 2006 has been YRK. OGK was first in on the peninsula excited to see her and build a nest but…she didn’t arrive. Time passed and she didn’t arrive. Today, 9 November YRK landed on Taiaroa Head. If people could have rung bells they would have. Instead many of us sat and shed tears. The fear is always there. OGK and YRK were the parents of very popular Royal Cam chick, Atawhai (aka Pippa) in 2020. This year will be their 8th breeding attempt.

In other Royal Albatross news, the new couple – Red and BOK (Blue-Orange-Black) have really been entertaining us. They are so sweet. Well, today, Red got some new bling. As one of a mated pair, he is now WYL (Whit-Yellow- Lime).

The image below shows the Ranger giving Red his new bling and identity. BOK is walking off the nest. She will return once everything is over.

Could this new couple with their first attempt at breeding turn out to be the Royal Family of the year? We wait.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Mum decided it was time to go to the spa. She flew off the barge and went over and had a lovely bath in the warm Australian waters of the cove yesterday. It is well deserved. Her and her mate have raised three healthy boys this year.

Isn’t Mum just beautiful?

It is hard to keep up with the 367 Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. I ‘believe’ that there are two (probably female) still on the ledge.

Yes, still there. There is a lot of noise and it could well be the parents trying to lure these two off with prey.

There are theories about gender and fledging times in falcons and hawks. Because the females are substantially larger, it takes longer for their bodies to feather. Therefore, they generally fledge after the males. I do not know how accurate it is but I hear this often.

In Orange, Diamond’s foot is doing much better. At 8:11 Xavier, the male Peregrine Falcon of the scrape on the water tower of Charles Stuart University, delivers a Starling to Yurruga. Xavier does not wait. He drops the breakfast prey and gets out. I don’t blame him. It could definitely save his talons.

Notice how big Yurruga is compared to Xavier. Think Yurruga is a female like her mum, Diamond?

Yurruga is a very good plucker!

Cilla Kinross just posted a video clip of Yurruga. It is really short. Have a peek. I do not think those eggs are going to last much longer.

Everything is as it is expected at Port Lincoln. Dad flew in with a really nice fish but instead of letting the chicks do a grab, Mum got over quickly, mantled the breakfast, and proceeded to take control of the feeding.

It should, by now, not surprise anyone to the identity of the chick right up at Mum’s beak. Now the chick can be identified quite quickly – it’s Ervie! aka Little Bob.

The rule of thumb is that the males return to make their own nests near their natal nest. I hope there are three or four more barges available.

One last nest. NEFlorida with Samson and Gabby. They are both very busy working on that nest. They have been bringing in a lot of big twigs. Here is Gabby moving some of those around.

Cute little Samson looks like he is standing very still in his tight black jeans waiting for orders. What a sweetie.

Samson is a very good listener and Gabby is giving precise instructions. Looks like they are already thinking they need high rails this year.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we check in on some of ‘my’ favourites. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Owls, Eaglets, and Ospreys

Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:

Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.

E17 and E18 getting treated for AC at CROW, Fort Myers, Florida. @CROW FB

The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.

This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.

Breakfast for E17 (left) and E18 (middle). 16 March 2021. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:

They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.

16 March 2021. E17 (left) and E18 (right) looking out at the world of possibilities. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!

This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.

16 March 2021. Legacy (left) and her mother Gabby. NEFL Eagle Nest, Jacksonville, FL. @AEF and NEFL Eagle Cam

You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.

It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?

The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.

Older one at Duke Farms pecking and deliberately keeping little one from eating. 16 March 2021. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.

Yippee. Older going into a food coma. Little one eating. Well done. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.

16 March 2021. Breakfast for the trio. @Achieva Osprey Nest

I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.

And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!

Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!

So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.