Harriet and M15 weather Nicole together…and other news in Bird World

10 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. The kittens are very active this morning. The Starlings have discovered the Butter Bark! And the Blue Jays are eating peanuts and what better entertainment for the kittens than watching birds safely behind glass!

Lewis is a charmer.

Oops. Turn your head! Missy is sideways smelling the orchids and moved quickly to see the Blue Jays.

They are adorable and are tied at the hip to one another. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, they must be together – eating, sleeping, and being a poopinator.

Late Wednesday, Nicole was upgraded to a Hurricane. As she went over Florida last night, Nicole was again down graded to a Tropical Storm. These are the latest images.

I will be posting my blog when it is approximately 1000 Thursday the 10th of November. This system will not be moving out of the region of Samson and Gabby’s next until much, much later in the day. Harriet and M15 got a right soaking. Continue to send your good wishes to all in this region.

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The real news of the day is ‘waiting’. Waiting for fledging in Australia and waiting for Hurricane Nicole to pass in Florida. Yes, Nicole is now upgraded to a hurricane from the previous tropical storm. Winds and rain are increasing across the state of Florida.

Before I go any further, we all love Harriet and M15. They are weathering Hurricane Nicole together – in the nest! Talk about love and devotion. They have rebuilt after Hurricane Ian and they are staying together Wednesday night as Nicole approaches. Send them all the love you have! These two are amazing.

It is starting – the winds are swaying the nest. Harriet and M15 are both still in the nest together. Oh, my heart just goes out to them. They need that nest to hold. It will not be long until Harriet is laying eggs.

Early Thursday morning. Together and wet. Oh, did I tell you? Harriet is 28 years old!

In the News:

I am so happy. The wildlife rehabbers who cared for the Pitkin County Osplet did not have staff to deal with messages after the osplet came into care. Pitkin County gave me their name and I wrote to them a couple of days ago and now they have posted the information for the public. This is really important. I want each of you to remember because pre-fledge osplets really do well in care! They survive and they have a second chance at life. The image of the beautiful osplet below is the evidence.

Birds of Prey in Colorado has two waiting for release in the spring. Let us all debunk this urban myth.

Last June, the female at the Pitkin Open Spaces and Trails pulled her two osplets off the nest accidentially. One died, this one went into care and is waiting to be released in the spring.

I have been slowly gathering up evidence of successful treatments for pre-fledge Ospreys or any Osprey that has been taken into care. If you are aware of any ospreys in care or that were in care and released, would you please contact me with any details that you know. It will really help make my case to Port Lincoln that there is good evidence – hard evidence not anecdotal – that pre-fledge ospreys do well in care. By poking a hole right in the middle of the rumour that has spread and established itself as fact, it is possible that ospreys like Middle can survive. For Little and Middle, let’s work to change this to: Pre-fledge Ospreys do as well in care as do Post-fledge Ospreys!

Let’s take another look at Coots. Do you have Coots in the ponds or wetlands where you live? Sometimes called the ‘black duck’, the author of this article fell in love with them when he was a wee child.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/09/birdwatch-coots-gadwall

Why is Bird Flu so important and, what happens if it mutates causing another pandemic?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/09/bird-flu-mutation-h5n1-virus-strains-pandemic

The Melbourne Four, those precious babies, made the news!

3 Red List Bird:

Roseate Terns” by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Roseate Tern is the most rare of all the sea birds that breed in the UK. There has been a lot of interest in the migration of the Roseate Terns from the UK and from Ireland. Satellite trackers have discovered that they migrate to the West African coast and spend their winter in the Gulf of Guinea. Those Roseate Terns from North America also have an impressive migration. They travel to the eastern part of Brazil. These journeys are more than 15,000 km return made across the open seas.

They are such beautiful sea birds. They are called Roseate because of the pink tint to their gorgeous plumage. Their beak is slender they have a long forked tail, a white cap with grey wings and white under belly. Their legs are longer than other Terns. This means that they can walk through higher and thicker undergrowth and this is where they make their nests so they are not in competition with other terns.

The Roseate Tern is globally threatened. One of the greatest challenges these beautiful birds face is the human disturbance of their nesting sites and the collecting of their eggs. Climate change, flooding, and frequent storms are also major contributing factors in the decline of the species.

The following contains information on the threats to these amazing sea birds.

Roseate Tern

http://roseatetern.org/threats.html

Australian Birds:

The camera turned and all of the Melbourne Four were still home! Gosh, if you didn’t know it, at a glance, these look like fine full grown Peregrines.

Hot in Melbourne. Some are looking for shade!

It is raining in Melbourne and ‘A’ tells me that it is not a good day to fledge now and won’t be for a few days more. Hopefully the Melbourne Four will stay put!

According to my eagle-eyed and ears friend ‘A’, the Melbourne Four were on the ledge when Mum brought a prey item in at 181203. They ran down to the other end where the 4th eyas was.

A small fish came on the Port Lincoln Opsrey barge. Mum took control and then gave it over to Big. I think Mum was hoping for the tail but Big took it, too.

Big is as big as Mum now. Look at those legs. Here the pair of them are prey calling Dad who is on his way with breakfast.

Big is not going without food. Dad brought in the small fish this morning and then, seeing Dad over on the ropes, Mum decided she best get out there and bring in the afternoon meal. Big might have thought she would get the whole thing to herself but Mum had other ideas and started out feeding her girl. She managed to get some bites. Big will take the fish and would take all fish if left to her own now.

Dad will bring in another fish. There were three delivered on Thursday in Port Lincoln. Those times were 09:33, 15:01, 19:22.

If the weather is good, Big will be banded, measured, and named sometime between the 12-14th. That is a few days away. I hope to find an announcement with the specific day for you.

Lots of Starlings and other prey coming into the scrape. Both Indigo and Rubus are excellent self-feeders. It is wonderful to see. Indigo continues to look out at the world beyond and poor Rubus, he still has so much flu that it will be a bit of a wait. Don’t worry Rubus, Mum and Dad will feed you – they won’t forget!

Indigo is adorable.

It is just after midnight on Thursday and this is the recap of Thursday up until late afternoon at Orange: RECAP 6 02 26 D w/grebe, Rubus takes; 08 45 13 X w/juv starl, leaves; 10:17:16 X w ER, Indigo takes; 10:24:23 D in, feeds Rubus; 14:50:29 X w/prey, Indigo takes.

At one point, Indigo was running around the scrape flapping her wings and chasing Rubus. Remember. Indigo does not have the room that the Melbourne Four have to run off some of the energy and to really get the wings and legs going.

Rubus had no idea what on earth was going on with Indigo. There was a piece of prey stuck between her talons. Was that the cause of all the restlessness? or is it that Indigo will be fledging soon?

Indigo was able to get the piece of prey out from her talons and she settled. Look at Rubus watching everything that she is doing. He will miss her when she flies. If she does what the others have done, she will fly down to the trees where she sees the parents. They will also lure her with prey items and begin teaching her how to hunt. They will do this for 4-6 weeks until Indigo leaves their territory. Now that I say that we must not forget that Izzi did not leave home until Diamond would no longer let him in the scrape many, many months after she should have left.

Indigo will not fly back to the scrape box. She is not strong enough to undertake that steep upward flight yet but, she will get those muscles really going once she is down chasing after Diamond and Xavier.

Rubus will either love having the prey all to himself or miss Indigo or both.

In other news:

Continue to send your best and most positive wishes to the nests in Florida. Ron and Rita’s human designed nest on the grounds of the Miami Zoo is really beginning to rock and sway. You can see the movement of the palm trees caught in the image below. There are so many, many nests in Florida and it is the wintering grounds for some of the birds from the north.

Gabby and Samson’s nest near Jacksonville is really blowing and rocking. It is in one of the areas that is expecting the highest winds.

The record snow and wind has caused power outages at Big Bear Valley. The cameras for Jackie and Shadow are offline at the moment. We will wait and see if they are up tomorrow. Thursday. The camera is up over the valley but the nest camera remains offline. The storm has passed. Yippee.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures ‘A’ and ‘H’ for their eyes and ears on Collins Street, National Hurricane Centre, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails, ABC News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, WRDC, and NEFlorida-AEF.

The loneliest scrape…and other tales from Bird World on a late Thursday

20 October 2022

It is 16 degrees C. The sky on the Canadian Prairies is mostly cloudy. While the Blue Jays and Crows remain and the squirrels continue their feverish collection of nuts for their winter cache, it appears that most of the Dark-Eyed Juncos have departed. Oh, I will miss them flitting about with that touch of white on their tails as they move. There are still some Canada Geese in the City feeding on the grass and, tomorrow, I hope to get out to count geese and ducks. It didn’t work for today but, tomorrow should prove to be another light-jacket day. How grand!

In the Mailbox:

‘H’ asks: Do falcons hunt at night?

The answer is yes! This may be particularly true for urban falcons. Most observers of falcon streaming cams were first introduced to the night hunting with Alden, the new mate of Annie at the U-California Berkeley Campanile scrape box. It was thought that Alden used the light of the city to help him hunt for prey. It was also noted that the smaller birds that the falcons feed on are active in the dark and it would make it easier for Alden with the challenge of one of his legs. Sean Peterson also believes that it is safer for Alden to hunt at night, away from the eyes of other large predators (save for owls). This breeding season we have seen M22 bring prey in before dawn at the 367 Collins Street scrape.

From the Bookshelf:

I took Helen Armitage’s Lady of the Loch with me to several appointments this morning to read while I was waiting. I am going to go back and put a highly recommended star by this small packed volume. If you want to learn about nesting behaviour, this is an excellent read. If you want to learn about some of the myths about Ospreys that were debunked by Lady, it is a good read. At the time, scientists believed that Osprey females could only lay a total of 20 eggs! Lady laid more than 58!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Making Waves:

The floofs from the 367 Collins Street scrape have moved!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the smallest one capable of stomping (‘A’s word and a sound she loves to hear) up and down the gutter, the Melbourne Four have packed up their bags and headed to the scrape at the other end of the ledge. This scrape is protected from rain and from the sun. They will no longer wonder if they are being roasted. Of course, we will have to rely on sounds and it would seem from yesterday that feedings also took place at that end of the building’s ledge. In the past there was great reluctance to move the camera during the breeding season. This is why, I believe, that Mirvac will be installing a second camera so that we can enjoy the eyases wherever they are until they fledge.

Of course, that does not help us observe them now but the policy has been very clear. The falcons will not be disturbed in order to change the camera for public viewing. That would go against all of the State wildlife laws.

So, at present, let us hope that those little fluff balls run back and forth to get their legs strong!

At 0606 you could hear kew-kew-kew coming from the ledge. The eyases were obviously enjoying their breakfast.

Nest News:

Deb Steyck made a video of Harriet and M15 working on their nest yesterday. Enjoy!

‘H’ caught the pair of Bald Eagles on the Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest again! This time they are removing a nice big stick. Replenishing their own nest for breeding season? I had no idea until ‘H’ told me that some of the Bald Eagles stay in Delaware, on the coast, for the winter. I know that we have one couple in our City and a single male downtown that stay year round. It has to do with food availability not necessarily weather.

Thanks ‘H’.

It was good to see that Middle had some of the late fish. I was extremely impressed when Big moved away from eating and Mum waited, watched, and then physically moved the fish over to Middle and fed him. This meant that Middle did not have to walk up to the fish and have Big turn around and beak him again. Middle had already been subjected to many attacks yesterday. I wonder what today will hold for our osprey nest on a barge in the marina at Port Lincoln?

Yesterday, it was very interesting watching Rubus and Indigo at the scrape in the water tower at Orange. I don’t know if it is just me or if it is the timing of the Starling deliveries, but these two eyases seem to much prefer Crimson Rosella’s, Rainbow Lorikeets, and ducklings compared to Starlings — like their mother, Diamond.

Diamond was up and out of the scrape at 060657. The day is waking up at Orange. Rise and Shine Rubus! Serenade us with your very loud voice.

Rubus and Indiigo had a leftover breakfast at 070557. Then…

Xavier arrives with a King Parrot at 074247. Rubus and Indigo are delighted!

Look at Rubus. Isn’t Dad going to feed us this morning? Xavier is a wonderful feeder. Maybe later, little Rubus.

Big is known to usually wake up in a good mood at Port Lincoln. That mood seems to change later. I am hoping that the whooper of a fish that came in at 064931 will just keep Big happy. Maybe Dad will find another one. he ate the head – Dad has to be as hungry as Mum at times. Keep them coming!

It is almost impossible to see who is eating until around 0717 when you can see Middle gets bites. I cannot tell you who got the most of that fish with confidence. I hope that Mum was able to feed them rather equally with some for herself.

Mum is beautiful and so are the two osplets. Just look. Little angels. Oh, I hope it stays that way from now on. Middle is closest to us. The black line on the top of its head is smaller. What a beautiful beard, Middle.

Middle looks like it has a crop forming. You can certainly see Big’s crop! Oh, I hope this nest has a good day today.

Oh, wish for fish for Port Lincoln!

Thanks for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Deb Steyck and SWFlorida Eagles, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Good morning Australia!

11 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

Summer temperatures have returned to the Canadian Prairies. It is currently 19 degrees C. outside. Dare I say that the conservatory is 26. The tropical flowers brought in from the garden are going to thrive. Meanwhile, the Blue Jay, the Dark-eyed Juncos, the Black-capped Chickadee, and the squirrels are having a marvelous day.

This morning, very early, I caught Little Red taking peanuts into the small, three sided woodshed. For those who do not know him, Little Red is a Red Squirrel, quite tiny. For a number of years, he lived in our old woodshed that was torn down so that we could legally add the conservatory without getting a variance. Permits take a month; variances in our city can take up to 18-24 months! So Little Red lost what was his ‘forever home’. I have felt bad ever since and bought a squirrel house on-line which the grey squirrels took over. So, the light bulb went off this morning. So, two wooden slat boxes, 45 x 60 cm, with cut out handles have been attached to one another and to the interior of the wood box. Wood shavings and a gallon of Maple seeds are lining the bottom. It is surrounded by firewood. Now we wait to see if Little Red will move in. Cross all your fingers and toes. (I think he also has a tree down the back lane but, I would like to know he is safe here). That is Little Red above. Could you leave this little cutie homeless? I don’t think so.

This is Dyson. For a long time, she stayed on the solid seed cylinder eating when I was working on Little Red’s mini-penthouse. I was about 2 metres away. She just watched me. I do wish the squirrels were more afraid of people, but they have lived in the garden for so long. Hopefully they do not trust everyone.

Making News:

Fran Solly of Take2Photography and Friends of Osprey FB page reports that Ervie is doing well. He is still in the Port Lincoln area and has his favourite hunting and perching spots. Isn’t that fantastic? Would love to see our lad!

I know that many of you have been worried about SE30 since she fledged especially since we saw images of her hanging upside down in the nest tree harangued by the Pied Currawongs. This is the latest news that I can find. Thanks ‘L’.

My concern for SE30 is that the parents tend to feed on the nest. You might recall SE26 being in the forest for a week and finally making it back to the nest exhausted and starving. Lady and Dad immediately brought fish. Last year, they went to Goat Island early. Let us hope they stay around and SE30 makes it back to the nest.

Connor from Window to Wildlife has gone to Captiva and has given his report on the condition of the nests, hearing Lena, and the fate of the cameras from Hurricane Ian etc. So happy to know Lena was doing her loud Osprey call! Such wonderful news. Buildings can be replaced. Trees grow back. Our raptor friends do not recover if they were severely injured in the hurricane or worse, killed.

If you have travelled to India or read the news, you are probably aware of the air pollution in India’s large cities and, in particular, Delhi/New Delhi. Two brothers have spent the past two decades striving to save Black Kites from the toxic air. Their story is in a new film, All That Breathes. Check your local theatre or the local streaming channels in your area for it after its release on the 14th of October.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/oct/11/all-that-breathes-review-delhis-birdmen-on-a-mission-to-save-the-black-kite

In the UK, the RSPB is not ruling out direct action in its fight to save nature.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/10/rspb-not-ruling-out-direct-action-to-defend-nature-from-government-policy

Nest News:

SE30 was sighted in the Sydney Olympic Forest and observed for 45 minutes yesterday. SE30 has not returned to the nest and neither parent slept on the natal tree last night.

At Port Lincoln yesterday, the osplets ate very, very well including the fish delivery at 12:48:22. Sadly, there was no more fish and the chicks are going to be especially ravenous when they wake up this morning. Big might well be in a mood.

It is currently raining at Port Lincoln. Mum is trying to keep those osplets dry. It is difficult as they are growing big and strong. Dad is particularly adept at fishing in the rain so I am hoping he doesn’t disappoint this morning.

Nothing has arrived at Port Lincoln so far. It is only 07:37 so there is plenty of time. But, oh, I hope several large fish come in at once!

Diamond is waiting for Xavier to bring in the early prey for Rubus and Indigo.

Yesterday it was reported that Rubus had 90 bites of prey. The little one did eat better.

To fully understand if one chick is fed well, you must consider the composition of the prey item – was it meat or fish or feathers? (There is nothing wrong with feathers as they clean the crop but not just an all feather feeding). The analogy might be white bread vs. protein. Indigo requires more food. S/he is older. What is the ratio of bites between Indigo and Rubus? are the prey items equal? We would have to dissect them and weight them! So it is not easy. Better guide might be to observe if both chicks have crops at the end of the feeding. It is just a thought. That would mean for their age and size they are ‘full to the brim’. Rufus appears to be getting stronger every day and what we want is for both of the eyases to thrive. Indeed, we want that for all our bird families.

It was a bit of a wait for Xavier to deliver the prey this morning. It arrived at the Orange scrape box at 07:46:39. I could not tell what it was. Indigo was ravenous and pushing her head up with her legs to eat. Of course, Rufus is equally as hungry but no matter what it does, it just can’t get that beak equal with Indigo’s so it has to wait and hope there is lots of prey and that Diamond is very patient.

At 07:50:10, Indigo has a crop and is still getting prey. Rufus is desperately trying to do anything to get some food including biting Indigo’s beak. She has not had a single bite as of that time stamp. Rufus gets its first bite at 07:51:03 but, Indigo continues to be fed and has a hard crop.

Once Indigo is full, Rubus is getting some nice bites at the end of the feeding. It has become the custom of the nest for Indigo to be fed first and then Rubus. She will be full. They are nice big pieces of prey.

Yesterday ‘A’ and I were discussing the scrape box at the other end of the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The eyases will be able to run down the gutter getting to the other end safely where they will have shade and be protected from the rain. I made a quick call to the local experts and they said this could occur at 21-25 days (the stability in running). That would be a big help if the Mum is going to be absent at the height of the noon sun. Dad tries to shade but the chicks are getting so big.

I found a blog post on the stages of growth for the falcon eyases. It has nice images and I thought some of you might be interested.

https://falcoperegrinus-froona.blogspot.com/2008/04/eyases-from-day-to-day.html

What will Melbourne have in store for us today? I hope nothing eventful. Boring would be good.

Mum left the 367 Collins Street scrape at 06:33:09 returning at 06:35:26 with a very boney piece of pigeon. I assume a fresh one will come in shortly.

Dad was right there with a fresh pigeon at 06:37:34. He landed, the parents chatted, and he took it up to Mum to feed the kids. Did I tell you how much I adore this male?

It is cloudy and rain is now falling in Melbourne.

One last check on our migrating Black Stork family form Estonia, Karl II, Kaia, Waba, and Bonus. Kaia is the first of the family to reach Africa. Her last transmission was near the Karakoram Mtns. It is an area where there is little cell or satellite service. We hope to hear form her again when she is out of the Sahara. Waba is in Bulgaria. Karl II is in Turkey near the Syrian border. Bonus is in Romania. All of this is good news.

This will be my only post for today. I will continue to monitor the Port Lincoln nest for a feeding and also 367 Collins Street to see what happens around 1100 with Mum. I hope she stays home! And lets Dad get the pigeons. Tomorrow morning will have a full report. Until then, thank you for being with me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or posts that form my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Osprey, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Parent arrives at Melbourne scrape

9 October 2022

After nearly an hour of being MIA, a parent landed back on the ledge of 367 Collins Street scrape. Thank goodness. The chicks were panting so fast and hard, their beaks wide open accompanied by frantic movements that, at one point, it looked like one might actually go off the edge. Instead, two of the chicks went down into the gutter with two in the scrape.

At one point in time on her return, Mum tried to pick up the two eyases in the gutter to get them back into the box. Eventually with that encouragement, one made it up. I believe that the eldest eyases is still below in the gutter. Mum has done the best she can – she initially alternated between the two groups of two to cool them off. You could see her trying to figure out how to get the two back up. There is only one down in the gutter as I write. Shade is covering the area and it seems a wee bit perky. Let us hope that it gets up with the others.

The question remains: what happened? It is highly unusual for raptor parents to be gone for an hour when their chicks are little. Normally, at this scrape, the male would come and going over and stand above the chicks. That did not happen this time.

Are there two adults? Were there intruders? We will have to wait to see if the male turns up with food. Right now I feel like someone has run over me with a truck…I cannot even contemplate having only one parent at this scrape after all that has already happened this season.

Continue to send this nest your very warmest and most positive wishes. It was good that all of the eyases were fed good this morning. They need hydration. Now we wait for the wee one to get up to the box and for the other parent to come with food. I am trying to be the most positive I can be.

We were worried about Port Lincoln getting fish and the Currawongs at Sydney. Concerned about Rubus getting enough to eat at Orange. I had relaxed and was enjoying Melbourne. This incident just shows us that we cannot assume anything. ‘A’ sent me a Buddhist saying, ‘The only certainty is uncertainty.’ So true. I want to be certain that this is still a family of six and not five.

Thank you for being with me. I will give a full update tomorrow. As I leave you, Mum is down in the scrape with the eldest. She is trying to encourage it to get up. Fingers crossed.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street streaming cam by Mirvac where I took my screen captures.

It’s a hatch for Xavier and Diamond!

30 September 2022

It was a lovely day on the Canadian Prairies. 20 degrees C. Summer. No jackets, no heavy sweaters, beautiful light. Today I got out of the house. There will not be many more likes this – and I discovered a new park in our City. This one is called King’s Park and it is huge – gently rolling hills along the river with a dog park, ponds, a water fall, and a Chinese pavilion. Few birds!

The big news of the morning in Australia is that Xavier and Diamond have their first hatch for the 2022 season. Chick was visible at 0926.

When I left, I was in a really good mood because I had looked back at the footage from the ledge at 367 Collins Street carefully. Yesterday the male came to the nest and the female had a wee break. He was fascinated with the eyases but was quite uncomfortable brooding so he just stood over them. That is fine. He is beginning to engage and he is providing food.

The eyases are being fed and without being able to see really close up, it looks like they are doing just fine.

The Sea Eaglets are incredibly gorgeous. They are up waiting for a breakfast delivery!

And it arrived – nice fish was brought to the nest around 0905. There is still little or no aggression between the siblings. Eventually Lady will feed them!

There was a very early feeding at Port Lincoln, 0620, today. The osplets had one big feed yesterday but it did not arrive til after 1500. They really needed to have fish first thing this morning. I continue to marvel at the civility that was at the nest yesterday. So happy.

When Mum gets up the kids get ready for a delivery. Note the difference in size between Middle Bob and Little Bob. Look at the wings.

Still sleepy babies.

Middle Bob has a bald spot right on top of its head. And now you can also see the size difference between Little Bob and Big — just look at the wings. That tells it all. It is a good thing that Little Bob is feisty like Ervie!

Little Bob still looks like you could have a good cuddle with him. I am astonished at the size of Big Bob already – even the length of its beak!

All is well in Bird World. Congratulations to Xavier and Diamond, Dr Cilla Kinross, and all the gang at the Orange scrape. We will wait and see if a second egg hatches for one of the most beloved Peregrine Falcon couples in the world.

Thank you so much for joining me for this brief look at what is going on in Australia as the 1st of October begins. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cameras where I took my screen captures: Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Wednesday in Bird World

21 September 2022

Good Morning!

It is early (for me). The garden birds are very quiet. It is starting out to be a beautiful day as I work on getting to know this computer but, rain is to start today and be with us again on Friday and Saturday. It is always good to get the trees that have grown so much over the summer with all the torrential downpours a good soaking before frost.

One of the things that was lost were the images that I took yesterday at one of the ponds. So I want all of you to use your imagination. I could not believe my eyes. There before me were seven young ducklings just like the singular one at the nature centre. No feathers just fuzz on their bodies. They were all cuddled up together keeping warm. Today it is 10 degrees C. We are at the time of migration. All of the nature centres are opening up for special events as the birds from the north make their way to the wetlands and the big ponds enroute to their winter homes far south of us. Will the arrival of winter be late? What will happen to these wee ones? I have never seen small ducklings like this at this time of year. The spring floods and destruction of eggs has certainly caused issues. There are ducks that overwinter on our Assiniboine River near to where my daughter lives but…what about these little gaffers?

Making News:

Victor at his release. 19 September 2022.

For all of those wondering, the site where Victor was released is at the coast right across from the Channel Islands. Great choice! Let us all hope to see Victor near Fraser’s Point in a couple of years! Wouldn’t that be grand. It appears it was the best site for release like the Channel Islands but the closest point to his nest without breaking any regulations. Isn’t Dr Sharpe the best?

It seems that once we get a good population of birds established we then want to take their habitat away. This is what is happening in Albania wit the pelicans!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/21/albania-dalmatian-pelican-colony-narta-faces-threat-vlora-airport-aoe

Nest News:

So far, there are still only two osplets at Port Lincoln. The third egg is 37 days old and there is still time for it. Some chatters are wondering if there is any movement inside. We will have to keep our eyes opened! The other two and Mum seem to be doing splendidly.

The streaming camers (3) at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 will be going live during the first week of October.

Xavier brought an Eastern Rosella, well prepared, for Diamond who was excited and got off the nest. Xavier is a lovely! Hatch not expected til the first week in October but we are getting there…2 weeks?

Beautiful Diamond.

Xavier gets some ‘eggie time’. Yes! Can you tell how much I love this cute little falcon who is no longer in his prime but gosh, he is a fantastic mate and he loves his chicks. I sure hope this season turns out well for these two.

So many of you are marveling at the plumage colours of the little sea eaglets. They are gorgeous. A friend laughed at me for loving the feathering of the Red-tail Hawks. “Just wait til you see the Sea Eagles!” Oh, she was so right. It is hard to see the colours when the sun is at a certain angle but have a good look at them.

Our eagles are approaching their 10th week. They are still growing some feathers under their wings. Their wing flapping and jumping around is going to continue to get every more vigorous. Just breathe. They can scare the wit’s out of you when they start jumping on and off the rim of the nest and the branches . In week 11 you will see them gain some real height in their hovering. They will begin to sleep more and more with their head tucked into their wings rather than duckling style although fledglings also prefer duckling style on occasion. It must be much more comfortable! Self-feeding is getting better.

We do not want to talk about fledging but, after 70 days it is possible. And we are at that point. So spend your time watching these two and the hatches at Port Lincoln. SE29 and 30 will be gone in a blink and the osplets will be growing and changing so fast it will be hard to recognize these sweet fuzzy babies in a week!

Victor Hurley is going to post a pre-recorded session where he answers your questions about what is going on at Melbourne on Thursday, Australia time. That will be in a few hours. If you have questions, you can submit them on the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB page. Dr Hurley asks that you read the PDF that he posted on the top of the FB site before submitting questions.

We are all very curious to see what will be happening. The second male does some quick on and off mating which – well, we are now nearing hatch which should be 5 days away. Mum’s hormones will not be in breeding but incubation and caring for young. It appears that the old male continues to provide food for Mum. Oh, I hope that this clutch makes it but we are going to just have to wait and see.

Migration News:

Checking on the Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There has been no transmission for Karl II since the 4th of September. Bonus and Kaia were still in their respective areas with their last report coming in on the 20th of September. Hopefully this evening there will be some new news.

Birdmap is showing tremendous progress for the Ospreys and, one, in particular, flew across Europe to Spain instead of going directly South. Brilliant! The Ospreys are already heading into central Africa! You can go to BirdMap and get the animated version of their journeys.

Did you know:

How long do Bald Eagles live?

https://birdfact.com/articles/how-long-do-bald-eagles-live?fbclid=IwAR28ZeEq0BVJMgSX852wOBP7kcICCL6iKHdzvl0FIB7TUUxGNZSliJdQBFk

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are looking forward to the third hatch in Port Lincoln but, for now, in the night, Mum is getting some much needed rest! Take care of yourself and I will look forward to seeing you again real soon.

If you are sending me e-mails (which I love), please use this new address: maryasteggles@outlook.com Thanks so much!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Ojai Raptor Centre, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, and BirdMap.

Hatch and a Pip at Port Lincoln

18 September 2022

Well, it is Sunday morning and I did not make it to Toronto this trip. I have been slightly unwell – nothing concerning – just a bad reaction to a new medication which I have not stopped using. Still, it makes you feel like you just want to get under the duvet and sleep for a week. I want to spend superior time with that Harris Hawk so soon. Until I am back to normal, the blog will probably be a little shorter than usual.


So, like many of you, I spent Saturday anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ervie’s sibling. It seems that this pip did not emerge into a crack as soon as some of us might have hoped. Here are some images from today. It is now after noon in Port Lincoln. Perhaps there will be a little osplet by evening – and, perhaps, just perhaps, its cheeping will bring the second one along!

Mum will be very tired. Dad blew in and gave her a break at 12:16:17 until 12:26:41. Good for you Dad. Mum was hungry! Here is an image of the changeover! (Thanks Renie for that timestamp!)

The first egg pipped on the 17th of September at 20:53:37. Hatch was on the 18th at 21:27:30. The second egg pipped at 19:53:00.

Making News:

The male intruder at the Melbourne Peregrine Falcon nest has made the news along with the nest and the wonderings about how this might end.

It remains unclear what will happen at Melbourne, however. The arrival of the second male has clearly caused a disturbance in what should have been a routine incubation and hatch with the old male and the new female. The fact that the old male has not been able to rid his territory of this second male is very worrisome. The old male began breeding at this site in 2017 which makes him at least 8 years old now. The average life span, according to Victor Hurley, is 6 years. There is definitely competition for the nest site and the female which might prove to create a very difficult season for hatch and raising chicks. There has been a lot of ‘racket’ in the background. The competition will probably not end well as normally the males will fight to the death.

Meanwhile things are fine at the Sydney Sea Eagles cam. Lady Hawk posted a video of a great feeding with the eaglets flapping and getting stronger every day as we enter week 9. SE 30 continues to get some really good fish, too. Both sea eaglets doing well. Expect much more flapping..

Everything is rock solid at the scrape in Orange, thankfully. We do not need the drama that Melbourne is experiencing – just a strong healthy eyas or two in about 12 days.

Handsome Xavier.

Loch Arkaig has produced their season review. Have a look. Enjoy the bag pipes! Thanks Mary Kerr for all the great memories from arrival to departure.

Thank you for joining me for this short blog. Stay tuned to Port Lincoln as the second hatch will probably come quicker than the first. Then we wait for three and hope that they are grouped together closely. Let us all hope that Melbourne can settle and save this years clutch. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, or posts that make up my blog today: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Lady Hawk, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Mary Kerr and Friends of Loch Arkaig, the Woodland Trust and the People’s Post Code Lottery.

It’s 3 for Diamond and Xavier and Bonus and Kaia were 25 km apart…Early Wednesday in Bird World

31 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

The sun is once again shining bright on the Canadian prairies. There is not a cloud in the sky and it is getting hot. By tea time the temperature will have risen to 29 degrees C from the current 22. It is a day to make certain that there is plenty of water for the birds in the garden — and lots of food. The migrants are moving through.

Yesterday, I went for a ride to check the birds in the countryside. The gulls were enjoying the fields that the farmers had just plowed and a single Ring-billed gull thought that it could share my lunch.

There was a quiet stillness over the wetlands at Oak Hammock Marsh. A few geese, a handful of ducks and shore birds were around but nothing like what will begin to happen as September begins. Migratory birds will be landing at dusk and taking off in the early morning hours.

In the Mailbox:

This letter comes from a local friend but, it could be from anyone: “Every time I reach out to help the wildlife, I get told to leave nature alone (in the rudest way), nature will take care of itself. What is your advice?”

I wonder what you would say to this individual?

My advice is to ignore the negative comments. Lead by example. We have destroyed the habitats and, thus, the lives of the wildlife. We poison their water and have caused the oceans to warm. We throw our garbage into their ponds. We have destroyed their food supplies…we shoot them. It is time to embrace caring and understanding. Wildlife – the whole of it – are sentient beings, they have feelings and emotions. They deserve the best we can give them. We need to become selfless and put wildlife first, not ourselves. Putting humans first has caused us to be in the present state we find our planet in. Peter Merren says, ‘Care for Nature begins at home.’

Making News:

The plans to stop two pairs of Bald Eagles from being able to access their nests is causing a lot of outrage in British Columbia. You can sign the petition, too, by copying the link into your browser!

BirdGuides finds many human-induced changes to the environment that are killing the migratory birds. Of these infra-structure, hunting, and earth warming are the top three.

https://www.birdguides.com/articles/conservation/built-infrastructure-hunting-and-climate-change-linked-to-huge-migrato/

Nest News:

The birds are on the move and I found a super guide to Osprey migration. Everything you wanted to ask and were afraid to…It will give you some great insights as to what is happening at all the nests.

https://birdfact.com/articles/osprey-migration

Loch of the Lowes has an announcement:

While Loch of the Lowes is empty, the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G still has three chicks yelling at Dad to bring in the fish!

Louis has delivered a nice fish to Sarafina at the Loch Arkaig nest this morning.

Idris brought a nice fish to Padern who appears to be the only fledgling at the Dyfi Nest. Paith was last seen at 1700 on the 29th.

I got a little emotional when I saw that Bonus and Kaia were just 25 km apart in Belarus. My heart beat a little faster wondering if it was possible that they would fish together along the shores of the Priyapat River. It was not meant to be…Kaia flew into the Ukraine again and then set a trajectory quickly east. Meanwhile Karl II remains in Estonia enjoying an empty nest (yes, parents do love their children but it is also nice to have some quiet and fish to one’s self). I want to give a real shout out to those that are posting the maps and images on the Looduskalender site for Karl II and his family’s migration. I have included their comments and image notes so you can see where Bonus and Kaia are in the image below.

Moving forward, on the 31st, here are the locations of the individual Black Storks.

The other big nest news is that Diamond has now laid her third egg. It happened at 0525 on 31 August 2022. Historically, Diamond has only laid 3 eggs and for the past two seasons, only one of those has hatched.

You could tell things were happening. Diamond was focused and standing.

Xavier comes into the scrape box and he is so excited!!!!!!!!! Diamond is happy to show him the three precious eggs. The bowing and the rituals fascinate me…oh, to be able to speak falcon!

In celebration, Xavier brought Diamond a very nice breakfast. Now we can get a good look at those three beautiful eggs.

Diamond took a break and Xavier comes into the scrape to incubate the eggies…he loves doing helping out. Diamond does not always oblige him but he can incubate those eggs with the best of them!

“Oh, she’s back….maybe she won’t see me here!”

The Sea Eagles are picking up sticks and 29 is standing stronger and doing some wingersizing. Both are fine.

The light on SE29 really shows off the variation in plumage colours. One year I was thinking that everyone should go to their stylist and ask for a 26…the little eaglet at the time but, this year, right now, it could be a 30. They just get more and more beautiful.

As many know, my first love was hawks. There is nothing cuter than a precious Red-tail juvenile. One of the moderators of the Sea Eagle cam who also was the admin on the Cornell Chatters kept poking me and telling me that I would change my mind the minute I saw a sea eagle juvie. ‘TCR’ you were positively right, of course.

This eaglet just makes me melt. So gorgeous. Talk about clown feet! Whoaaaaaa. Did I hear someone say they would like to cuddle with this cutie pie??? Now before you hold up your hand, just look at those very sharp talons and think about your answer carefully.

This image shows the difference in the back plumage. SE 30 is on the left and SE29 is on the right. Plumage progress is going well for these two.

But if SE30 sits differently, it is hard to tell them apart!

SE 29 flapping those wings! SE30 is watching carefully.

I should warn you…when they both start flapping on that nest -at the same time – you are going to need some worry beads!

Everything is fine on the ledge in the CBD of Melbourne. Dad is really enjoying getting some incubation in the warm Australian sun.

All is well at Port Lincoln. As the month changes from August to September, we are now only two and a half weeks away form hatch. It has just been too long since we have seen a little osplet with its back stripe in a nest.

Just like it was at the marsh, it is pretty quiet in Bird World today. Everyone is on the move, incubating eggs, or enjoying a time not raising chicks and getting strong again.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care of yourselves wherever you are. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, posts, and videos which make up my screen captures: vancouverisawesome.com, LOTL Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Looduskalender, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam at Orange, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Friends of Osprey.

Remembering Lindsay…and more. It’s Friday in Bird World

26 August 2022

Amidst the joy of Peregrine Falcon eggs in Australia at both Orange and Melbourne, the loss of dear Lindsay, the eldest of the two siblings hatched at The Campanile on the grounds of the University of California-Berkeley, remains heavy – a real heartbreaker. From the news it is apparent that Lindsay died several weeks ago; her body just being found today. She was last seen on the Campanile on 5 August precisely three months after she hatched on 5 May. A life cut way too short.

Lindsay was one of a two-part miracle. Lindsay’s Mum, Annie lost her mate Grinnell when he was killed after chasing an intruder away from The Campanile. There was worry that there would be no chicks this season. Alden arrived in 5 or 6 hours hours (already a friend of Annie and Grinnell’s) and offered to help Annie incubate the eggs and take care of the chicks. We rejoiced at the love the two siblings had for one another, when they played, and when they chased moths. They grew strong and they flew. It is with such deep sadness that we say goodbye to Lindsay today. Fly high, Sweet Girl. Soar to new heights you never imagined.

Here is the full announcement from Cal Falcons. It appears that Lindsay’s death, from the evidence found from her body, was killed by another raptor.

It is heartbreaking. Lindsay had such potential and, of course, it is very possible that she was the last chick our beloved Grinnell fathered. She brought us such joy! I would like to share a few images of this remarkable falcon moving back in time from the last sighting of her on The Campanile on 5 August to the day she hatched.

Lindsay and Grinnell, Jr adopted many of the quirks of Alden including loafing. Annie has perfected it!

Annie and Grinnell, Jr playing together at The Campanile. The two siblings seemed to really enjoy playing with one another, something that I have not seen for a long, long time. It was refreshing.

Lindsay on the roof of the library on 18 June after fledging. Just look at this exceptionally beautiful juvenile. Stunning.

Do you remember banding day 27 May (on the right)? Lindsay was frightened but quiet. Alden would not stop being loud! Lindsay was still sit ting with a not so scared look on her face in early June.

Lindsay was also sitting in that same pose on 22 May.

Hatch day for Lindsay, 5 May. Grinnell wants to come and help. Annie is not sharing – yet – but she will and each of us will rejoice watching this wonderful family.

‘H’ just sent this press release on Lindsay. Thank you, ‘H’. Just made it before I hit send! Grateful.


From the Mailbox:

‘M’ writes: What do you think about this from Dyfi project? I am not sure I would pass off some of that behaviour as just “playing”, at least not based on how the smaller chick reacts. Wondered about your view, based on your study of third hatches.”

For transparency, I posted the information from Dyfi in one of my blogs. Emyr Evans has a long history with the Dyfi Nest in Wales. I have great respect for him but, in this instance, I choose to disagree.

In the UK Osplet deaths are generally attributed to either very poor weather in the early days after hatching or lack of prey, starvation not siblicide. There is little history of siblicide; there are so few breeding pairs and chicks compared to North America. This year, however, we did see it at the Loch of the Lowes Nest. It was rather horrific treatment of the third hatch that was killed by the eldest during a period of low prey delivery.

As you are aware, my research is on siblicide and, in particular, the success of any third hatch osplets vs the other two siblings. Because I track the juveniles long term this is limited to those that are ‘ringed’ and/or ringed with SAT tracking. My findings also rely on the good fortune of someone seeing the juveniles in the future and providing that information to various data bases! In my experience, the aggression shown by older siblings ranges from mild displays of dominance to more serious concerns that seem to taper off around the age of 26-28 days. Serious aggression often ends in the death of the smaller weaker sibling. There is much research to support the fact that it is not always about food. Sometimes it is just dominance.

‘M’ this, in my opinion, is not play. It is establishing the dominant bird on the nest. The dominant bird will eat first and if there is little food it will be the only chick that eats. Had food been scarce the treatment might have escalated but, thankfully, it didn’t. Gender may play significant roles also with the females requiring more food to grow 1/3 larger and feather a larger body. Thus, the females, especially if they are the first hatch, tend to be more aggressive.

Multiple times this year we have seen the third hatch killed by the eldest sibling and sometimes in conjunction with the middle one. As mentioned, this happened at the Loch of the Lowes this year when food was scarce. It also happened at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest amongst others. It also happens on eagle nests and other species. However, there appears to be a higher rate of siblicide among North American Ospreys than those in the UK. It is likely that these numbers reflect the higher population of Ospreys in North America. In addition, the lochs are full of fish and there are restrictions on many of them to prevent human intrusion during the breeding season.

Loch of the Lowes

In the News:

We are going to start with some fantastic news. When I lived in the UK, I studied in Leicester but lived in Lincolnshire and Belvoir (pronounced Beaver) Castle was a regular haunt for me – so close to where I resided. For the first time in 200 years, we have Ospreys breeding on top of Belvoir Castle! Oh, my goodness. I am delighted. Here is the BBC News report.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-62675910?fbclid=IwAR2oh_nwcQ04Sgqp9W2VubAHNIWEVdklHCduT0KiCfsp1lu7y_-92-kc-hI

There is more news coming in about the sad state of the White-tail Eagles on Mull Island — known internationally for the birds and their nests.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/mull-white-tailed-eagle-chick-dead-from-bird-flu/?fbclid=IwAR1dQ2AI_bU07KxyTS0T6CeKgHBU0FFA5bnjUFrTF1LOCudnRC2vPFJhjhU

Bird Flu is also killing Black Vultures. Deaths from migration, Avian Flu, human disturbance and killings, fires, habitat loss, lack of food…how many of our raptor friends will be left?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/24/bird-flu-has-killed-700-wild-black-vultures-says-georgia-sanctuary

There is a lovely documentary on YouTube on the return of the Black Storks to Germany in the 1980s. The cinematography is excellent as is the narration. So much to learn – 53 minutes. Find a nice quiet time to watch!

Nest News:

The 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam in Melbourne is up and running. So far there are 2 eggs!

Here is the link to the camera:

As you will be aware, the first egg of the season for Xavier and Diamond at their scrape in Orange was laid at 0713:48.

Diamond resting in the scrape after her labour and the delivery of the first precious egg for these two.

Diamond incubating the egg. How beautiful.

Xavier comes to the scrape to relieve Diamond. A short bonding ritual takes place before Diamond flies off.

Xavier scraping and trying to turn the egg as he settles down.

Xavier carefully rolls the egg.

Everything is alright with the world. Oh, what a joy to finally see the first egg for Diamond and Xavier. Let us all hope that their year is as successful as it was in 2020 with the hatch of the ever adorable Izzi.

Here is the link to one of three cameras for Xavier and Diamond:

I am so used to the Ospreys in the UK and the Dads bringing in a fish right before or when the sun is rising in the morning. That first fish delivery for SE29 and 30 at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest did not come until 12:31 today. Thankfully the chicks were civil and it was not huge but was a good size.

Images from early morning to feeding.

Early morning preening of those itchy feathers.

Beautiful Lady listening and waiting for Dad to bring food to the nest.

SE29 and 30 watching Mum aerate the nest. Just look at how carefully they are looking at her every move. This will imprint in their mind’s and they will know to aerate their own nests.

Finally, a fish has arrived!

Things appear to be going good at the Port Lincoln barge except for Mum making cries for fish. On occasion Dad has flown in eaten more than his fair share while Mum is fish calling. He then delivers the remainder to her. Come on Dad! Dad is taking his turns incubating.

Oh, it seems so long until 19th of September – may the time pass quickly! There is nothing cuter than nestlings a couple of days old.

Checking on Kaia’s transmission. She remains in Belarus. On the 25th of August she flew 123 km. She is now near the village of Liaskavicy. It is in an area that is part of the wetlands of the Pripjat River. There is a national park and the area is considered to be quite safe for Kaia.

Karl II is looking a little tired. Thanks to Urmas the supply of fish continues so that he can feed the four Black Stork fledglings. Soon they will fly and hopefully Karl II will have some days to recover and gain some weight before he leaves. Of course, when they do depart we shall all be worried for them. I wonder if by some means Karl II and the children will meet with Kaia and decide another route to their winter home???

It appears that all of the White Storks from the nest in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic have left for their migration. It is raining heavily and both of the nests of Bukacek and Betty appear so lonely. Safe travels dear family.

Suzanne Arnold Horning has caught L2 on the Cornell Campus! So happy she is here with us. In the history of the nest, it seems that the 28th of August is the last day to see fledglings in the past. Enjoy these moments then with our first fledge of the year. Gosh, she is beautiful. We know that she is catching her own food – she was the second of the fledglings to do so more than a month ago. So all is well with L2.

It is Friday. A friend sent this to me to cheer me up because of Lindsay. I did giggle…love those sour worms. Thank you ‘S’.

Thank you so much for joining me today. If you have any questions, you can send them through the comments page or through e-mail. My address is maryannsteggles@icloud.com Have a fabulous Friday! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, and posts that form my screen captures: Cal Falcons, Berkeley News, Dyfi Osprey Project, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB, The Guardian, BBC, 367 Collins Street Falcons and Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydeny Olympic Park, Looduskalender, Eagle Club of Estonia, Mlade Buky, and Suzanne Arnold Horning.

Fall to winter

The beautiful weather that we had on the Canadian Prairies yesterday was due to dramatically change over night.

Footpath linking Portage Avenue with Assiniboine Park over the Assiniboine River

Our weather will go from nice blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures to snow and then snow mixed with rain. It is currently 0 degrees C and will warm up to a balmy 2 degrees C in the morning when the precipitation begins. My daughter messaged me to tell me there were still some Canada Geese and ducks in the Assiniboine River. It seemed like a good time to get out and go for one last nice walk.

The little Red Squirrel at Assiniboine Park knows that the warmth is not going to last. It was busy pulling off the seeds from a Maple tree and cramming them into holes and in the grooves in the bark of a tree. He was so busy he did not even notice the people standing and watching him.

The geese were looking for any blade of grass to eat they could find.

Some were in the duck pond flapping their wings trying to stir up the plants from the bottom of the pond.

Others were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the warm sunshine.

It gets dark around 17:00 and as I was leaving some of the geese were flying away. Are they heading south for the winter?

I really hope that the geese and ducks got out of the City last night like the ones above taking flight. As promised, we have snow. Mr Blue Jay has come to visit and the sparrows are trying to find seed under the snow.

There are many feeders filled with sunflower chips, suet, black oil sunflower seeds, and then that wonderful ‘trail’ mix which looks better than what I make.

The sparrows in the snow on the deck know there are goodies underneath. Why they are not back at the feeders I cannot tell you. There is room for everyone there.

What a handsome little House Sparrow this fellow is. You can always tell them by their grey caps!

So how do birds cope with winter? This article was published by Daisy Yuhas in 2013 but it is still accurate now. Have a read – it is really interesting:

“Each autumn as many birds begin epic journeys to warmer climates, there are always some species that stay put for the winter. These winter birds have a better chance of maintaining their territory year-round, and they avoid the hazards of migration. But in exchange they have to endure the cold.Like us, birds are warm blooded, which means their bodies maintain a constant temperature, often around 106 degrees Fahrenheit. To make enough heat, and maintain it, they’ve evolved many different strategies–some similar to our own.Sparrows, for example, seek out shelter in dense foliage or cavities to avoid the elements. They also huddle, bunching together to share warmth, and try to minimize their total surface area by tucking in their head and feet and sticking up their feathers. Cardinals, impossible to miss against the snow, and other smaller birds puff up into the shape of a little round beach ball to minimize heat loss.”Big birds, like geese and grouse, do what we do,” says physiologist David Swanson at the University of South Dakota. “They put on insulation.” Their insulation often involves growing an extra set of insulating downy feathers.Birds can also put on fat as both an insulator and energy source: More than 10 percent of winter body weight may be fat in certain species, including chickadees and finches. As a result, some birds spend the vast majority of their daylight hours seeking fatty food sources, making feeder food even more precious for surviving a frosty night.When asked which birds are toughest winter survivors, Swanson points to little ones like chickadees. These small creatures can’t put on too much bulk for aerodynamic reasons. Instead, explains Swanson, they are experts in shivering. This isn’t the familiar tremble that mammals use to generate heat. Birds shiver by activating opposing muscle groups, creating muscle contractions without all of the jiggling typical when humans shiver. This form of shaking is better at retaining the bird’s heat.Another adaptation shared by many species is the ability to keep warm blood circulating near vital organs while allowing extremities to cool down. Take gulls. They can stand on ice with feet at near-freezing temperatures while keeping their body’s core nice and toasty.Keeping warm when the sun is up is one thing, but few winter challenges are more daunting than nightfall, when temperatures drop and birds must rely on every adaptation they have to survive their sleep. Some birds save energy by allowing their internal thermostat to drop. Hummingbirds are a famous example of this, undergoing torpor nightly as their body temperature drops close to outside temperatures. But torpor is not too common in winter birds, because the morning warm up would take too much extra energy. Instead, black-capped chickadees and other species undergo a more moderate version of this, reducing their body temperature as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit from their daytime level in a process called regulated hypothermia.One simple way to help birds when the weather outside is frightful is to hang feeders. To attract a diversity of birds, select different feeder designs and a variety of foods. A tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower or mixed seeds, for example, will attract chickadees and finches. Woodpeckers devour suet feeders. And a safflower or sunflower-filled hopper feeder entices the usual visitors plus larger birds like cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. The birds benefit from the backyard buffet, and you’ll have a front-row seat to numerous species flocking to your plants and feeders.” Some raptor species, lower their body temperatures. More on that another day as we shift from fall to winter.

It is not clear how many birds are on the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The Mum was there overnight with one – the one with some floof still on its back and wings in the scrape box below. There were two. Where is the other one? at the other end? flown off? difficult to tell. The one on the scrape box has just vocalized and headed down the gutter. I suspect it could be breakfast.

It is almost flying along the gutter now.

Fledging will be happening soon down in Port Lincoln and if you want to see how a hungry falcon acts just go over to the scrape in Orange. Yurruga is a week younger than the eyases in Melbourne. It is really foggy in Orange this morning so breakfast could be delayed. That link is:

Look for a lot of wing exercises and hovering from the trio at Port Lincoln. Ervie was doing a fabulous job yesterday.

Oh, I am really going to miss these lads when they fly to find their own way. Last year it was this Osprey nest that almost put me off my interest in third hatch ospreys. Siblicide is horrific. And it is this same nest (along with Achieva and Foulshaw Moss) that gives me hope that things can turn around for the good for the chicks. It has been incredible this season.

It is time for some hot tea. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.