Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!
They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.
I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?
All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.
This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!
After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.
At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.
The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.
I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.
Here is cute little dad.
And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.
Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.
Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.
It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.
Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screenshots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.
Everyone at the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre are working hard to provide videos and updates on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in the Sydney Olympic Forest. A number of days ago I simply had to quit watching the live camera feed. The level of prey had dropped coming into the nest and WBSE 27 was overly aggressive to WBSE 28. It appears that the current delivery of prey items is quite good and, 28 has figured out how to wait and watch and then get fed. These are all good things and helped our Ospreys, Tiny Tot Tumbles and Tiny Little survive.
In the image below, both WBSE 27 and 28 are full to the brim. This is excellent. Soon WBSE 28 will be too big and any worries of siblicide should evaporate. Fingers crossed for this little one.
Gorgeous light on these two. 27 is quite large compared to 27. But both are full and clown feet are coming!
Diamond, the female at the Peregrine Falcon nest in Orange, Australia continues to think about laying that first egg. It is Sunday morning in Canada and I just checked on Diamond. Still waiting for that egg.
If you missed it, the female at 367 Collins Street laid her fourth egg.
My goodness what a beautiful morning in Wales. I wonder what impact the streaming cams will have on tourism when the world can travel again?
I love seeing the cows going in from the fields. It is all so serene.
These little birds seem to be all around the nest. Do you know what they are?
Aran came to visit the nest before the mist was gone.
He looked around every direction and then left. Yesterday he was on the perch with Mrs G. This morning, Sunday, Aran was at the nest around 6am. He will probably leave when Mrs G does. They may be staying longer to make sure Aran is fit for migration – every day of healing helps – or they may still be protecting that nest against Monty’s kids. Maybe they will wait for them to leave!
Yesterday, both of the boys, Idris and Dysynni, were on the nest at Dyfi. Dysynni was 100 days old. This morning all is quiet. Are they still around? Telyn migrated on 21 August with Ystwyth following on the 24th. There are sure lots of people including Emyr Evans watching the Dyfi nest this morning to see if either Idris or Dysynni or both show up.
Idris has arrived with a nice fish for his son. He is looking around. Doing his duty. Idris flies off the perch with the fish looking for Dysynni. Will he find him? has he left? It is about 6am.
Idris arrived back in Wales on 29th of March. He is reputed to always be one of the last Ospreys to leave Wales. What a fabulous dad he has been. With all the sadness this year, Idris raised one-quarter of all Wales’ hatches to fledge. You are a great dad, Idris. I remember those whoppers you brought in this year. Incredible. You deserve your break now.
It is equally quiet up at The Loch of the Lowes. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has issued their official statement that Laddie, LM12, Blue NC0, LR1 and LR2 have departed for their migration. Stay safe all.
Rutland Manton Bay’s Osprey nest seems very lonely as well.
Are you interested in Goshawks? Here is a lovely six minute video I found of a compressed breeding season. It is quite nice. I love when the three are learning to self-feed. So cute.
We have Northern Goshawks that live in Manitoba year round. They only come down to the southern areas of our province if prey is limited in the north.
My heart skipped a beat. There is an Osprey on the Foulshaw Moss nest! Is it Tiny Little? No. It is White YW also doing his duty, like Idris, to make sure that his chick has breakfast. White YW has been looking about and calling. There is no Tiny Little rushing to the nest to tear at his toe or grab the fish. While he waits, White YW decides to do some nestorations. Gosh, it must be hard trying to figure out if they are just over at the river or have left.
White YW flies away from the nest. Will this be his last visit to check on Tiny Little? Blue 463 – our fantastic Tiny Little – could be in Brittany by now.
My garden is filled with birds this morning. It is a roar to go out to the feeders. Today we may have to fill them up four times. The delight, however, came in the form of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Vermillionaires. Did you know they are capable of speeds up to 100 km per hour. Their wings beat up to 1200 times a minute – which is precisely why it is hard to get decent photographs of them.
We are just so delighted to see them.
If this is a normal year – and so far it has been anything but, the hummers will be gone by 3 September.
We did not put our the sugar water for them this year because of the wasps. Our City has been consumed with them and they take over the feeders. The wasps do not, however, bother with the Vermillionaires.
Soon all of the Ospreys in the UK and Europe will be making their way to Africa. We wish them good winds, great feeding places enroute, and a safe arrival. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you have a fabulous Sunday or start to the week depending on where you are. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots and video clips: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dfyi Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre FB Page, LRWT Manton Bay Ospreys, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes.
Oh, my goodness. The male at the Collins Street Peregrine Falcon nest is nothing short of adorable. I spent all last year wanting to scoop up this stealth fighter in my arms and cuddle with him. Or dreaming of a Peregrine Falcon onsie. Wouldn’t that be cute on a toddler?
The first egg of the 2021 season has been laid on 21 August. Wow. It is eggciting.
You might be asking why the female is not incubating that egg. The female will not start incubating the eggs until the last one is laid. This is because the adults want the nestlings to be about the same size for the first fortnight so that there is no rivalry over food. Last year, the three big girls all hatched within a 24 hour period. There was never any sibling rivalry – that is what I love about falcons and kestrels. Once the last egg is hatched, they will be incubated for 32-40 days.
Mom looks so proud of herself!
These are some images from last year:
Mom brooding the triplets.
Dad feeding the girls when they are a little older – before they lose all that fluffy white down.
This year Mirvac, the property owners, are in charge of the streaming cams of the Victorian Falcon Project. You can watch these falcons from the very beginning.
Some more great news. The Season of the Osprey will premier on PBS October 27 at 8pm! Please check your local stations for the exact time in your area. This is what they are saying about this documentary:
“Birds of prey exist in myriad shapes and sizes. Scores of eagles, hundreds of hawks and countless kites and falcons have all adapted form and behavior to fit diverse habitats. But in all the world, there is only one osprey. Following a single evolutionary path, it has conquered every continent save Antarctica. One bird, one design, unchanged. It is the only truly aquatic raptor, the sole member of its own taxonomic family. This one-hour, blue-chip special brings viewers into the life to this incredible raptor with a depth and intimacy never before attempted. Shot in and around Great Island Marsh, where the Connecticut River meets the Long Island Sound, cameraman Jacob Steinberg has achieved unlimited access to an osprey nest and captured the struggles, failures and triumphs of a single osprey family.”
Oh, I can’t wait!
I am afraid that I am having Malin withdrawal. A week or more ago I took a few video clips of Malin being fed by Marsha. I would like to share one of those with you now.
And another one of Malin exercising his wings.
It is so much easier when you know that the little one fledged, returned to the nest for food for 36 days or so, and then flew off to find their life. There is a level of anxiety when it doesn’t happen that way. I sure miss that little one. I have not, as yet, received any images of the two Osprey chicks found or any other news. I am hoping for tomorrow or Monday. It is a busy time of year for the wildlife rehabbers.
Two of the storklings have fledged at the nest of Grafs and Grafiene near Siguldas – the youngest was first and then the oldest yesterday. Only the middle remains. All have returned to the nest safely. The one that had its wing up against the far branch seems to be alright as well. That is good news. I have heard of no feedings since Grafs came in with some very small fish for the trio on 19 August. That means that if the storklings did not find the feeder – the two that fledged – they have had little food but nothing for two days. This is critical. There is concern that Grafs has left for his migration — it was the very initial concern. I want to remain hopeful.
Jan has fed his storklings but the meal was only tiny fish or worms. Urmas has not brought any more fish to the nest. Since he has fed them once and they accepted the fish, I hope that Urmas will do this again (he also left fish when he banded them and put on the trackers). It is not clear whether the anxiety of starvation is worse than having a human bring food to the nest.
These are very difficult times for everyone but they are especially difficult circumstances for these six starving Black Storks – rare Black Storks!
At the Black Stork Nest in the Karula Forest in Estonia, Karl II was still in the nest area. His transmitter told us. The two early fledges, Tuul and Udu, headed the wrong direction due to weather concerns and then turned south. Pikne travelled south from the beginning. New tracker information should be coming in soon. Safe travels all of you!
Oh, this youngster can really scream for food on the Loch of the Lowes nest. What a beauty. This is another good example of a ‘normal’ fledge. The chicks return to the nest to be fed and fattened up for migration.
I really want to put a plug in for the administration of the lochs in Scotland. No one is allowed on those lakes from April to the end of September so that humans do not disturb the birds. It means that motor boats with their leaking fuel are not chasing the Ospreys and making the water toxic. Gosh, I hope that only human powered boats are allowed. What a great idea – leave the lakes to the birds during breeding season. Three cheers for Scotland! This could well be the case throughout England and Wales also. I will try and find out.
And look what is on the Foulshaw Moss Nest. It is a flounder for the lucky chick that makes it to the nest first. Tiny Little!!!!!!!!! Where are you Tiny Little?
It’s a few minutes later and I missed that lucky fledgling that snagged that flounder! It’s gone. That leads me to believe that it was probably Blue 464, the male, the first to fledge. He likes to take the fish and eat it on the branch of the parent tree.
Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that you are looking forward to those falcons hatching as much as I am. Take care. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Mirvac Corporation and the Collins Street Falcon Cam, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia, The Latvian Club for Nature, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, and The Dyfi Osprey Project.
Sometimes there are birds that seemingly get forgotten as I rush to find out if Tiny Little beat the big older siblings to the fish or to check on Malin’s feather growth. Clearly one of those has been the Kakapo. There are now only 202 Kakapo, parrots that cannot fly and who love to eat Rimu, on a couple of small islands near New Zealand. They are continually monitored and all have satellite transmitters. They get health checks and are flown off island for care, if needed.
The Kakapo Recovery has partnered with On the EDGE Conservation to create the Kākāpō Run game. As a player you can help the Kakapo evade their predators will collecting Rimu Fruit. Because it is filled with facts about these amazing birds, it is a good way to learn about them. You can download the game here:
Ferris Akel spent most of the Saturday tour at Sapsucker Lake near Ithaca, New York. It was magical. We never made it to see Big Red and her family at Cornell University but it was a great time. One of the highlights was a Great White Egret which is rare to Sapsucker Lake.
Great Egrets are also called the Common Egret or Great White Heron.
Great Egrets will generally stand and wait to see their fish. They also slowly and quietly wade through the water until their neck snaps quickly and they get their fish.
Patience. Quiet. The Great White Egret gets its dinner.
Great Egrets nest in trees.
The beautiful white plumage that adorns these graceful wading birds was used for women’s hats in the late 19th century. Those silky white plumes are called aigrettes – which gives the bird its name. At the beginning of the 20th century, an ounce of Great Egret feathers was worth $32 USD, more than an ounce of gold according to the authors of Birds of Canada. People were so outraged that some of the first legislation to protect birds and their feathers was because of the Great Egret being brought to near extinction for hats!
In Canada, the Great Egrets nest in a very small number of places – in the very southern parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, a small part of southeastern Alberta, and southern Quebec. They are found in the Americas, Asia, and parts of southern Europe.
The Great Egrets are large birds. They are 94-104 cm (or 37-41 inches) with a wing span of 1.3 m or 4.2 feet. They weight about 1000 grams or 2 pounds. They are all white with black legs and a yellow bill like the one shown above. During breeding season, a patch between its eyes turns neon green and long plumes grow out of its back.
Non-breeding Great Egrets have a small yellow patch between its eyes and bill.
Great Egrets build a flat nest or platform of twigs and sticks. They will lay between 1-6 eggs which are incubated for a period of 23-26 days. It will be another 21-25 days til fledging for the youngsters. Aren’t they cute!
I am getting so excited for Peregrine Falcon season to begin in Australia. The male at the 367 Collins Street Nest also known as the CBD Nest arrived with prey for the female today. He is just such a cutie. The nest camera that streams on YouTube is not up and running. It will begin operations after the eggs are laid (normally). For now there is a camera operated by the owners of the building, Mirvac. Here is the link:
The other Peregrine Falcon nest is that of researcher, Dr Cilla Kinross, at Charles Sturt University. The scrape box is home to Xavier and Diamond and they have been working on the scrape for some time now. We expect eggs at both nests by the end of August.
If you watch both nests you will get a good glimpse into the difference between a falcon nest on a high rise building in a major city, Melbourne, and the more open rural area of Orange, Australia. The prey is very different!
As it turns nearly midnight on the Canadian prairie, the day is just starting on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. No doubt our beautiful Blue 463, Tiny Little, will fly out from where she is roosting on the branches of the tree in the distance, to the nest. White YW has a trio of big Osprey fledglings to feed. He has demonstrated that he is perfectly capable of feeding a family of five.
Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. I hope to have some local images of bird life in Manitoba for you shortly.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ferris Akel and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.
Elsa was a category 1 hurricane when she bore down on the Southwest Florida coast last evening. The two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest had their talons anchored, riding out the gusts and the rain. This was the pair of them at 23:08 Tuesday, 6 July.
Whew! No chicks blown off the nest just a good soaking.
As the gusts calmed some in Sarasota, they were picking up at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. It is nearly midnight. What is surprising are the number of cars on the streets and even people walking. The nest perch weaves back and forth. Oh, I am ever so glad that Tiny Tot is not on this nest! Indeed, I can see why the birds might choose to migrate north for the summer to get away from hurricane season.
All of this made all of the aunties and uncles relatively nervous. We can’t do anything but watch which is precisely the problem! And none of us knows what kind of damage the storm will do.
Instead of drinking coffee and eating way too much chocolate, I turned my mind to Peregrine Falcons.
Peregrine Falcons. The fastest animal on the planet. Speeds up to 390 kph or 243 mph. They are flying killing machines attacking their prey in the air instead of on land. They are magnificent creatures who appear in art, literature, culture, and sport.
Falcons appear on the shoulders of the terracotta figures, the haniwa, on the Kofun (mound tombs) in Japan from 300-555 CE. These were royal tombs. The haniwa were not placed on the inside of the tomb but, rather, on the top of the mound as if in a ceremonial parade. They served many functions. One of those was utilitarian – they kept the soil from eroding as they would have their bottom portion pushed into the the ground.
Using Google Earth, satellite images show you the distinctive ‘keyhole’ design of these ancient burial sites. Forests now cover the sites but originally, they would have been cleared. These hollow clay figures covered the surface. Were they there to protect the deceased? did they tell about the status of their life on earth? No written records exist but we know that over time simple clay cylinders developed into very elaborate human and animal shapes like the falconer, above.
Falconry was known to be practised by the aristocracy in Japan. Taka is the Japanese word for falcon. Taka means strength and bravery. It is no wonder that the art of falconry, takagari, was adopted by the warrior class, the samurai.
The military class ruled Japan during the Edo era. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1603-1858, local war lords (daimyo) and the Shogun hired painters to depict the falcons on crests, screens, textiles such as boy’s kimono, in hangings as well as in single sheets or albums.
The image below is one of many woodblock prints depicting falcons. This one is Falcons with nestlings in a pine tree at sunrise by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
Falconry is still practiced in Japan today. Here is a lovely short video about a woman who desired to take up the sport.
As it happens, I have just finished reading Queen of the Sky. That is probably why falcons are on my mind. In fact, this beautiful little book is sitting next to me. The illustrations are gorgeous.
What a marvellous little book written and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It is the story of Ffion Rees’s rescue of a Peregrine Falcon off the coast of Ramsay Island. It might be easy for someone to think, on the surface, that it is a condensed version of H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. If so, they would be missing the book’s heart. It is about love. “Come and see what is in my kitchen” Ffion urges Jackie. It is a story that weaves the lives of the women and the bird – love, loss, and friendship – together in a book that you will not wish to set down. Morris draws you in – you can smell the sea and the land, you can hear the gulls and you want to escape into the wild that is Ramsay Island. Required with the book are at least half a dozen tissues.
Morris tells us that the Peregrine Falcons hatched on Ramsay’s Islands are believed to be the fastest and most fierce in all of the United Kingdom. The kings of England kept many birds from Ramsay.
As a child do you recall the nursery rhyme about the Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie? Can you conjure that image? Like the one in the old coloured drawing below?
But did you know that King Henry II (1133-1189), known as Henry the Falconer, allowed his noblemen to bring their falcons with them whenever there was a feast? And adding to that, did you know that Henry’s chefs made special pies full of live songbirds (they could not have baked them!) and when they were opened the birds flew out as fast as they could while the owners took the hoods off the falcons?
Hoods protect the eyes of the falcon and help to keep it calm. They can very elaborate. This one is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. It dates from the early 17th century and is made of leather which has been incised and gilded. There is silk velvet embroidery with silver thread along with silver breads and a tuft. It is typical of the type of hoods used in Europe at the time. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Can you see it in those cold stone castles with their long wooden tables, pies full of birds flying and thrashing about being chased by stealth fliers? Plucked feathers flying all about and landing in the food?
Falcons raise their eyases in scrape boxes or on the sides of cliffs or in caves. The scrape are shallow and contain gravel. It is believed that the falcons developed this method of raising their chicks to keep away the pests and diseases associated with twig nests.
There are several falcon scrapes that have streaming cams. One of the most famous couples in the United States is Annie and Grinnell who have their scrape box in the Campanile of the University of California at Berkeley. They have just fledged three boys – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek. At this time of year, if you want to watch falcons hatch and fledge, you have to go to the falcon streaming cams in the Southern Hemisphere. Two are the CBD Peregrine Falcons otherwise known as the Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne, Australia and the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The CBD Peregrine Falcon Cam is not up and running yet. I will let you know when it is.
Here is the link to the live streaming cam with Diamond, Xavier, and their nine-month old son, Izzi, who refuses to leave home!
I am very happy to say that the two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest survived their very first hurricane. Here they are at 10 am, Wednesday, 7 July.
Tiny Tot’s nest held up perfectly well, too. No one was on it but one of the adult visitors this morning for a bit. We all assume that the impact of the storm had no harmful effects on our beloved Osprey family in St. Petersburg.
The question of who this bird is has driven me a little nuts. The bird has the white ‘V’ and the rounded white heart shape that Tiny Tot has. It has the black patch on the rear of the head that Tiny has. It has Tiny’s short thick legs. But, this is an adult!
Thank you for joining me today. Many of us are quite tired having stayed up to ride the hurricane out. It is such a relief that it has passed. If today’s blog is a little disconnected – that was the state of my mind last night. It will all pass (we hope). Take care all!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen images: The Bay Sarasota Osprey Cam and the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida.