Everyone is starting to wake up in Australia and there is some action at the Captiva Osprey nest, also. So…I thought I would send you a few pictures as their day begins and ours in a growing colder Canadian begins to wind down.
Gosh, those Sydney Sea Eagles are simply stunningly beautiful. There are not showing any signs of flapping their way up to the branches yet. They are walking all over the nest and it is incredible, if you look carefully, how well they are camouflaged (best when the camera is pulled out).
The sun is just casting that beautiful golden glow on the 367 Collins Street nest. Mum looks good. Someone is providing food – I wonder if we will get a glimpse of old dad today?
Mum is just waking up at Port Lincoln and it is going to be a busy day with those three! Gracious, goodness, those beaks are always open.
Right now, Big Bob is about twice as big as Little Bob. I was holding my breath when Middle and Big were beak to beak and eye to eye. Avoiding eye contact between siblings seems to help.
Beautiful Mum waits for the first fish delivery of the day.
Xavier has been and gone with a breakfast order from Diamond. I can almost hear her telling him, ‘Xavier, darling. An Eastern Rosella topped by a Galah would be perfect for breakie.’
Diamond took a quick break and we got a chance to see those gorgeous falcon eggs.
Meanwhile, in Florida, is trouble brewing? Lena has been at the new nest and so has this younger male. It is not Andy but he has a full crop and he is checking out the new camera and look at those nice perches. Remember. If it is an artificial nest the Osprey need perches!
Thank you so much for stopping in. I hope you enjoyed these images as the day begins with our four raptor families in Australia. Captiva will become interesting in a couple of months but, for now, we wait to see if Andy shows up. Take care. See you tomorrow.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife.
It is a gloomy day today. The sky is solid cloud cover and it is cool enough that I can hear the furnace kicking in once in awhile. The juvenile Blue Jays are quite busy eating along with one squirrel and a few sparrows this morning. It has also rained. Today is Open House at the rehabilitation centre. It is about half an hour outside the City. We always wish them to have a beautiful sunny day. Perhaps tomorrow. It is going to be a good day to finish reading some of the books sitting on my desk before the pile gets higher!
In the Mailbox:
‘A’ wonders if the intruder male falcons ever kill the eyases.’
That is a question on everyone’s mind that is watching the 367 Collins Street Falcons. So, first. I am more knowledgable about Ospreys – for transparency! Osprey males if they believe the eggs to be of another male will wildly kick them out of the nest. I hope to find an old YouTube video of that happening. It is simply crazy the flap they get into. Of course, they do not want to spend the time feeding and raising another male’s chicks. This is why Xavier and Alden, Peregrine Falcons, are so special. They did not have to compete with a male – the male was deceased but, they did step in and help the female raise the chicks. What a civil way to get a mate and a fantastic piece of territory, too. But to answer your question, the second male has not been able to get rid of those eggs of the old male and we must wait and just see what happens. The old male is a ‘sitting duck’ so to speak if he incubates so he has chosen only to bring prey items to the female. If he is flying and hunting to feed the family he is less of a target. Sadly, we have to wait and see how this plays out but I have seen non-parental males kill the eyases. Yes.
Technology is going to come to the aid of endangered eagles in Germany because of the deaths caused by wind turbines. Let’s support the effort and get every wind turbine trained to keep our raptors from being killed!
Things seem to be going rather well at Port Lincoln. These are the time stamps for yesterday, thanks to the chatter, Gtr Kitarr. 11:30 & 12:35 chicks close-up. 12:36 & 14:23 & 17:42 fish delivery/feeding. 17:55 Dad takes the fish. 18:05 fish back/feeding. 18:12 Dad takes the fish. 18:25, 18:42 & 21:55 feeding. There were the two earlier feedings as well and I might have missed one. Everyone is eating including the little gaffer.
Thankfully Mum is managing to get some sleep. These three are healthy and active.
Victor Hurley, the researcher for the 367 Collins Street Falcon Scrape and the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Association posts some wonderful information weekly. This was part of this week’s early posting and you might be interested in it. It is specifically about the site at 367 Collins Street. Indeed, earlier in his PDF, Dr Hurley says that many of the Victoria Peregrine Falcons are using stick nests due to the lack of high locations.
“The reason Peregrine Falcons were first (and continue to be) attracted to 367 Collins Street is because of the building design has inset windows with external ledges and an architectural feature of indented corners to the building structure. The original ledge selected (and the one used to this day) faces south east. This orientation provides warmth from the rising sun until late morning by which time the shadow from the building’s own south wall provides shade across the selected ledge. With the prevailing rainstorms tending from the west/north west means that most of Melbourne’s late winter rains blow over and past this ledge. Peregrine Falcons have had “the freedom of the city” to select alternatives and yet once the gravel filled trays were installed in 1992 pairs have repeatedly placed their thumping big feet to claim this one as their own ever since.”
No one knows how this season is going to turn out. We cannot even possibly begin to guess. We are, however, three days prior to a potential hatch and the female – and she is gorgeous – is holding firm to those eggs.
Dr Hurley did do a Q & A session and it is posted on the 367 Falcon Watchers FB Group, not YouTube. Indeed, Dr Hurley has posted lots of information on that site so please join their group if you are not a member already so you can access it.
Here is the link to that very informative PDF by Dr Hurley mentioned above.
The Sydney Sea Eagles will certainly win the beauty contest this week. Just look at the light on that beautiful plumage. The pair are still figuring out how to self-feed. They are not branching or hovering so there will be more time with them. When they stand on those branches and begin flapping then you can think fledge!
The cam operator did an amazing job and the light was just perfect to see that rusty peach. Incredible. I wish they would stay this way! Like the juvenile Ospreys, the plumage – to this person anyway – is much more beautiful than the adults!
At the scrape on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Xavier and Diamond are patiently waiting and eating, eating and waiting, for the eggs to hatch the first week of October.
I will be so excited when this very devoted couple have their first hatch.
Some of you might not know about Xavier. Diamond was at the scrape with her mate Bula. Bula died when the eyases hatched. Diamond could not have done all of the duties and kept them alive – and then Xavier came along. He did not actively care for the chicks but he brought food for Diamond and the chicks so everyone could live. The chicks survived and the rest is history. Xavier’s name means Saviour and he was definitely a saviour to this nest, like Alden for Annie at Cal Falcons. If something untoward were to happen at Melbourne, we might all begin to hope that the second male would be as kind as Xavier and Alden.
Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. Stop in and check on the PLO Chicks. They are quite adorable and keep your eyes on those lovely sea eagles. Take care of yourselves, too. Thank you for your letters and comments. They are always appreciated. I try to answer as quickly as I can. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB posts which make up my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, 367 Collins Falcons FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.
The sun is shining bright, the skies are clear bright blue and it is 9 degrees C. It dropped down last night to 4 degrees C and thankfully no lower. The garden escaped the frost. In anticipation of the conservatory I bought some non-local tropical plants including a Hibiscus. Goodness those huge terracotta pots are heavy. Two came inside but required their bath of light dish detergent to get the outdoor bugs off so there was no room at the inn for the third. It will get its shower today. I have a friend who brings his in and out every year and has done so for at least a decade so we will see if there is any green in this thumb!
The big news is, of course, the hatch at Port Lincoln of the third chick. That came at 19:31:40 with the lid having come off at 18:45. Here is a view of all three a few hours later.
This nest has always caused a certain amount of worry because of its history of siblicide which extends back to many memories of Solly, DEW, and little Tapps who died after not being allowed to eat by Solly on its 18th day. The difference in hatch times in 2020 was huge and not anything like this clutch. That said, Big and Middle Bobs really know how to eat. I have images from the 12:26 feeding yesterday when they took in huge pieces of fish. And it does seem that Big Bob always has its mouth open regardless of the time of day or circumstance. You will need to be a toughie little one but you can do it.
While we waited and worried, Little Bob was working hard to get out of its beautiful shell. And just look at that soft light grey down covering the older siblings. Isn’t it beautiful?
You can see Little Bob’s left wing out of the shell.
There you are sweet baby. Relief.
We know that Dad was followed to the barge by a Pacific Gull yesterday intent on that fish. I had seen gulls being ruthless to one another down by the river but never to an osprey til I saw what the one did to Sloop at Hog Island to get that fish. While we cannot see off camera, I wonder how much hassle Dad gets from gulls?
Dad came in with the breakfast fish at 07:51, another fish arrives at 12:26 and again at 15:23 with a feeding at 16:05. Mum pushed the half eggshell out of 3 at 17:04:33 with, again, the hatch at 19:31:40. There is another fish delivery at 21:36.
Here are some images from that 12:26 feeding before the arrival of Little Bob. Big and Middle are keen eaters. They can only eat so many big bites until their crop is full and they fall into a food coma but they need to be fed frequently, for now.
And the 16:08 feeding.
Big Bob has a really nice crop! And there will be another feeding in about three hours. Mum and Dad you are doing fantastic.
I will be back later today with a review of all the nests in Australia but, for now, savour the moment. Three healthy Bobs at Port Lincoln, grey and fuzzy with their distinctive black eye stripe to keep the glare out of their eyes when they are older and fishing. Adorable. 65 million years of evolution to get to this point. Incredible.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It is so exciting to have a clutch of osplets to watch again. We are also now within 4 days of hatch at Melbourne and so far Mum has kept the second male from harming the eggs. Fingers crossed. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!
Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures — and congratulations Port Lincoln! We are all cheering you on for a successful fledge of three strong chicks.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I hope that this newsletter finds you in good spirits and good health. I continue to appreciate your good wishes and today, I can tell you that I am back to 90%. Was its Victor’s release that caused my system to soar? One will never know but, I did get out for two walks at two different ponds. To be able to do this at the end of September, without there ever being a frost, is ‘different’ and, of course, harks at changes to come.
At the first pond the temperature was 17 degrees C but the wind was blowing at 23 kph. There were not a lot of birds around it seemed. Then I heard their call – the Greater Yellow Legs. There were two of them in the marsh area flying out to the shore.
Please note. I had to switch to the lowest quality of image as my card was filling up! So even my non-wildlife photographer images are not as crisp as they could be when blown up. You can see the normally mirror-still pond’s waves lapping.
Across the road, in this industrial area of our city, the recent rains have created two other water areas and there were a few geese and a couple of ducks – one in each pond! No sharing there.
So what are they? There is a distinctive white eye ring, a long sloping forehead and grey-blue bill. a gorgeous rusty head with a mottled back. I was unable to see the colour of the legs but its eyes are brown. The sloping shape of the forehead to the beak is very distinctive and what appears to be a white eye ring could be throwing me off a quick ID. It appears to be a Canvasback.
There it was on page 160 of the Crosley! Crosley says it lacks a forehead. Yes, he is right – the head just slopes into the bill. The shape is a wedge. Don’t forget it! Those south of me will see these gorgeous waterfowl flying by. Crosley calls the colour of the head and neck ‘chestnut’ – what a lovely word for that description. The eye should be a vivid red if it is a male but either the camera did not get that or it was the angle of the light or this is a female fooling us because of her not pure white back or a juvenile. I will keep you posted!
I will bring you news of the other pond later. My laptop decided to emit smoke and I have kindly been loaned another computer so I can finish the blog today. What troubles me about the second pond is that there are no less than 8 small fluffy ducks – with less feathers than the small one at the nature centre. So, if we have no frost and it is now 19 degrees C – do these ducks have a chance?
I cannot tell you how fantastic it was to see Victor released by Dr Sharpe yesterday – and from the mail pouring in – he touched all of our hearts. We will never forgot those adorable images with Lillibet, when Victor could not stand to eat and the entire eagle family tried to comfort him, to his rescue, to his walking in a towel with holes held up by a staff member at the Ojai Raptor Centre, to his release. What a time this juvenile eagle has had.
Images provided by the Ojai Raptor Centre FB this morning:
One of the letters in the mailbox was ‘Where is Hollingsworth Ranch’. Here it the information on where Victor was released:
This is the Ventura River running through the rugged mountainous area. Those in California might know its status better now because of the droughts the last few years. I hope it is the same. It looks like a great place for an eagle named Victor.
Every day there are thousands of raptors – and other wildlife – saved by the wildlife rehabbers. I often say the streaming cams get all the glory (and donations) because they are the first place we learn to leave these bird families but it is the rehabbers that love and care for and put the birds back together if they get into trouble. Their time, effort, and expenses often last years.
Another little eaglet made the rehab news because it was released, too, by the Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre in Pennsylvania. I love the pictures. They give you a real behind the scenes look at what goes into caring for a wee one who is well but has no nest or family. Notice that stuffed eaglet plush toy. When you are clearing up and you look down and see the stuffies that you have collected – and you don’t know what to do with them – the wildlife rehab centre is your answer!!!!!!!!!!!! They bring comfort to the birds.
This will be short with a longer analysis of what is happening tomorrow.
The second male at the Melbourne nest has been trying to mate with the Mum while she is incubating the eggs. She is having nothing to do with him but, the old male is holding back providing food. I wish the young male would leave and allow them to raise this clutch but his ideas are otherwise. We are 6 days from hatch!
We are still waiting for the third hatch at Port Lincoln as the sun is rising soon. It was raining in the middle of the night – not much but, Mum kept those chicks nice and snug. No doubt #2 is going to be hungry and up there to eat today. I wonder how #1 will treat its sibling? Fingers crossed. It seems they do not get too rowdy until day 8.
At Orange, the hatch dates range from 36-39 days so we are not expecting any action until after 1 October. We have a ways to go. Melbourne is ahead. Xavier has been getting Diamond out of the box with prey and getting some good time with the eggs. This scrape is very stable, thank goodness. But not this morning. Xavier brought a Starling, Diamond left without it and Xavier took it away minutes later. Diamond is extremely picky – poor Xavier. I hope the parrot population is good this year!
They have been together for a long time. Xavier probably is over feeling completely dejected by Diamond when he brings her breakfast. She does much prefer the fat already plucked and prepared pigeons too.
The Sydney Sea Eaglets are simply marvellous – what an incredible civil nest. Two females? Two males? Let’s watch their size as they leave their 9th week and into the 10th. It is refreshing not to see discord on a nest – no, the word is sheer relief. Last year’s breeding season was horrific. It was NOT at this nest. Last year and the year prior were fantastic. Lady and Dad are doing really well. Other nests did not fare so well.
Let’s keep an eye on Melbourne and, of course, Port Lincoln for this third hatch. I hope it comes soon! I am now off to investigate and agonize over what new computer to get. I use one all the time as you know but I like portability. You don’t get the lovely big images I am looking at with portable though!
Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street at Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Ojai Raptor Centre, and Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre.
Good Morning Everyone! I hope that you had a fabulous beginning of the week. Here we are at the middle. My calendar tells me that thing are going to begin happening in Bird World soon. First up will be the Port Lincoln Ospreys who should have a hatch in 4 days. Then it should be the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons on the 27th quickly followed by Xavier and Diamond. By the time those nests have feathered osplets and eyases, we will be fledge watching for SE29 and 30. It is going to be wonderful!
Tuesday was a big ‘T’ day but that doesn’t stand for Tundra Swan but, ’tiler’. It was fantastic to see the floor tiles in the sunroom being grouted today with the news that tomorrow I can move back in and watch my beloved garden birds. Oh, how I have missed seeing them from that perspective. A new book arrived in the post, too. Having purchased Crosley’s Guide to Waterfowl – well, logically, it seemed to me that the volume would cover Shore birds but, no. Definitely not. The new book is The Shorebird Guide by O’Brien, Crossley, and Karlson and it is wonderful. Most appreciated are the excellent images of the plumage during the seasons. It still is missing the inclusion of the females in great numbers just like all of the other bird guides who continue to focus on the more colourful plumage of the males. Yes, I am growling. LOL. Quiet and monochromatic can be viewed as ‘classic’ beauty. It certainly is with many of the female Sparrows.
Just like the ducks, my mind has been taken over by the Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs and Willets at one of our local ponds. If I close my eyes I am transported to the marsh where the shore birds are tapping away at the mud with those long long bills. Incredible. If you stay quiet and don’t move, they will completely ignore you, going on with their deep quick probing for food. They are really quite lovely. Learning to identify them is going to take some time.
The Greater Yellow Legs from the other day.
The plumage on the Mallard is really lovely.
It is overcast and cold at 13 degrees C this morning. The Crows have been for their morning hotdogs, the sparrows are wanting a bath, the Blue Jay has been flitting in and out (only one), and the cat has already been chased once. Meanwhile Little Red has been running back and forth on top of the new fence which now meets up with that of the neighbour so he never has to get on the ground to get to his new home. Yes! Little Red has found a place to live since his penthouse was torn down. So thankful. The torrential rains this year and saturated ground meant that all of the trees literally tripled in size. He found a hole in the big tree and if I look carefully, I can see him going in and out. So relieved after feeling so quilty about the shed. With my chair back in the sunroom this morning, I can watch over them and hopefully get some good images of Dyson who is looking ever so healthy and fluffy these days. Gosh, that squirrel is quick. I wonder if the Crows frighten her?
In the Mailbox:
‘A’ writes that I have awakened a love of ducks for her. That is fantastic. They are often very unappreciated, like the geese, in my City but, there is nothing so peaceful as sitting on a clean bit of lawn or blanket and watching them go about their daily paddling and preening. This is wonderful news. Thank you for letting me know! In honour of this, I have used one of our favourite ducks for ‘From the Archive’ today.
There is growing disillusion within the environmental and raptor groups in British Columbia, Canada at the decision by the Department of Forests and the University of British Columbia to cone a long standing Bald Eagle nest on the campus of the University. Their are ongoing campaigns to stop the coning which is due to take place today, the 14th of September.
Also in British Columbia, this time in Surrey, the David Hancock Wildlife Foundation is attempting to stop the cutting down of a Bald Eagle nest on the property of a Costo in that city–or get the owner to agree put up a platform nest for the eagles.
British Columbia is home to more Bald Eagles than any other area in North America. Because of this their conservation status and threat is very low – often cited as an excuse to cone the trees or cut down the nests — some 140 Bald Eagle nests were destroyed at the Site C Dam project by the province this year. Of course, what is the real count? With Avian flu still with us and in Manitoba nests and eggs destroyed by flooding with few goslings, perhaps we should be re-thinking our approach to preserve. Declines can begin to happen and spiral.
If you are in Southern Manitoba, Wildlife Haven is having its annual Open House on 23-24 September. Tickets can be pre-purchased and space is limited. It was gorgeous weather last year and the event was sold out. I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours on a fall afternoon than getting to meet the ambassadors, tour the new flight training buildings, and check out the great vet facilities. These are the people giving our wildlife a second chance.
Do you live in New York? do you love Bald Eagles? Here is a fundraiser event you might not want to miss.
Would you like to be an Albatross detective and help get a true worldwide count of these sea birds? Here is the information.
The Bald Eagles have been returning. Yesterday it was Gabby returning to the Northeast Florida nest to Samson.
Samson and Gabby love to ‘kiss’ just like Alden and Annie.
Anna and Louis are back at the Kisatchie National Forest and now Mr President and Lotus are at the National Arboretum Nest in Washington, DC.
They are really coming home. If you see a return, send me a note!
Thunder and Akecheta were caught sitting together on the cliffs of the Channel Islands yesterday. Oh, goodness. What an incredible year we had with Ahota, Star, and Kana’kini.
Thunder flew into the West End nest with a super fish yesterday, too… Ah, it would have been grand if one of the kids swept in and took it! Everyone misses those three amigos.
Andor was at the Fraser Point nest. I haven’t seen any new updates on Victor. We can all presume that he is doing lots of flying and strengthening those wings!
The nest that our dear Little Bit ND17 grew up on had dwindled down to only a bit of mud and straw at the joint of the branches. Everyone has been concerned that the adult eagles would not return and rebuild – knowing that if they didn’t St Patrick’s County Park in South Bend, Indiana, would not be moving the camera. Well, guess what? Dad has been caught returning to the nest! This should be a ray of sunshine for everyone. It will take work but each of us has marvelled at how quickly the raptors can whip a nest into shape. No, it will not be huge like a decade old nest but it will be a new beginning.
In the image below you can see what little is left.
It appears that Idris is finally alone to enjoy his fish and that Padarn has left the territory for her migration.
At Glaslyn, however, Aran is still bringing fish for Blue 497. It won’t be long, Aran!
497 is an incredibly beautiful osprey.
To my knowledge, Blue 497 is the only fledgling left on an Osprey streaming cam in the UK to migrate.
Did I mention mantling (when a raptor spreads its wings over its prey to conceal and protect) was one of the development stages coming quickly for the Sea Eaglets in Sydney? Well, guess which of the two was the first to demonstrate this stage of growth?
If you said SE30 you would be absolutely correct! Both eaglets held the prey down with their talons and pulled. Eventually they were fed but this is very good training. So proud of 30! Go baby. Don’t you just love the look on 29’s face? (squint)
The sea eaglets have been well fed and have been sporting crops on and off for a few days now.
Watching incubation and expecting a hatch in less than a week can be nerve wrecking.
The beautiful Mum at Port Lincoln. It is the 15th. Oh, so soon we will be having little osplets –. Cannot wait.
For Melbourne, mark your calendars for the 27th of September.
Xavier and Diamond will follow after Melbourne!
Into Hawks? Aren’t we all? Here is a new tool to follow the counts.
I am not a cartoon character but, for many raptor watchers in Australia (and elsewhere), I am the most famous duck in the world. Do you remember me? What is my name? What kind of a duck am I? Whose nest did I lease? And do you remember what happened?
Thank you so much for joining me today and for your lovely notes. It is actually relatively quiet in Bird World but soon…so soon, there will be action in Australia – at Port Lincoln and Melbourne. Meanwhile, we can all enjoy the antics of the little Sea Eagles who are jumping, flapping, and learning to mantle and eat their own prey. Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Thank you to the following for their tweets, their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Wildlife Haven, Bald Eagles of Centreport, Albatross Space, Channel Islands Eagle Lovers, Notre Dame Eagles, NEFL-AEF, NADC-AEF, Dyfi Ospreys, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Conservation Without Borders, and Looduskalender.
From the Archive: Daisy is a Pacific Black Duck. She first appeared on the nest of the Sydney Sea Eagles in December of 2020. She attempted three clutches of eggs – all predated by the Crows, sadly. The last clutch in 2021 almost made it to hatch. We were all cheering! Daisy stole our hearts and taught us many lessons about the challenges the female ducks face in being both incubator and security guard. The couple came this year to check on the nest. Oh, it was delightful to see Daisy and her mate but, equally, there was relief that she decided to lay her eggs elsewhere in the forest. Did you know that less than 15% of all duck eggs laid make it to hatch?
Sunday afternoon really was a beautiful day. The temperature on the Canadian Prairies was in the low 20s with a light breeze and a bright blue sky. It was the perfect day to wind down summer. For many, Monday is a holiday and then everyone is back at school. The Ospreys are flying south from the Cape in the US and the geese are landing in the newly cut farm fields in Manitoba.
These geese just landed on one of the ponds at Oak Hammock Marsh.
Today I walked the perimeter helping to pull invasive weeds that are threatening the marsh and was more than miffed when my watch told me that I had walked precisely .7km. Looking at the map now, it was 18.7 km. The muscles in my legs know even if the watch doesn’t!
Hiding in some of the reeds in the middle of the afternoon were some Northern Pintail ducks. Aren’t they lovely? Please do not mistake them for a Mallard – look at the beautiful colour of that bill, a soft blue grey. This is a little female with her mottled plumage of tan and light brown. They are also dabbling ducks with their little bottoms stuck high in the air while they search for pondweeds.
It is so quiet and peaceful in the country.
The minute I parked my car at home, I could hear them – the Crows. But it was much more than Mr Crow and his family. There at the corner house where a lovely lady also feeds birds were more than 50 crows – in the trees, on the fence, on her roof, on the grass, on her garage roof. What in the world was up with them? Well, it was ‘THE cat’. Yesterday, this same cat tried to get little Hedwig and the three garden crows saw this. There they were – yelling and flapping at it in this lady’s garden. No doubt it was there to try and get a song bird. Don’t get me wrong. I love cats. From the time I could crawl until last July (2022), I always had cats. In my City cats are to be kept inside. It has substantially cut down on the feral cat population and it is safer for our pets. But one neighbour insists on letting their well fed cats out every evening at 5pm. Need I say more?
It was quite unbelievable. Then the cat ran out of the yard —–the Crows dispersed and everything was back to normal. Goodness.
In the Mailbox:
After posting about the Cape May Hawk Count, ‘H’ writes to ask me if I know about some other migration counting sites. I did not! So here from ‘H’ – thank you so much – is https://www.hawkcount.org/ You can find your local nests or others you are interested in. Counts are streaming across the bottom, too! What a glorious find. So, please check this useful tool. It is at the top of my list – and it is so easy to use.
The staff of the DOC NZ at Taiaroa Head have decided that the newly fledged Royal Cam chick shall keep her code name as her name – QT.
Keeping with QT, Mum YRK returned to Taiaroa Head to feed her daughter on Monday (Australia time) and found the nest empty. She didn’t not stay very long and did not look about for the chick. She bowed her head a couple of times and flew off into the distance. YRK did a fantastic job taking care of her chick without OGK. My heart sank for her. Her and OGK often met at the nest of their chick and loved spending time together. So sad.
A clip from the Discovery Channel’s The Savage Edge – the Peregrine Falcon, a Living Missle.
Port Lincoln Osprey and all those in South Australia who have worked tirelessly for our beautiful fish hawks are celebrating. The first egg has been laid at the new platform on Turnby Island. Here is the announcement:
On Sunday, both Louis and Idris are still feeding chicks. Idris has been lucky and hasn’t gotten caught up with his daughter but Louis landed on Sarafina delivering her tea time fish and their wings got all tangled. It looked terrible but…all was well in the end. I think both of these dads will be looking for these girls to take off soon!
Xavier got to spend some quality time incubating the eggs today. Diamond seemed anxious to have a break when he arrived at 13:31. I love how Xavier always talks to the eggs when he rolls them and gets settled in!
Dad arrives at the Melbourne scrap in the CBD for a turn incubating the eggs in that bright sunshine.
Cody has the new canopy cam installed at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. It is a lovely clear view and there were eagles and chortles seen and heard this morning! I really like how Cody has the date and time at the top, white on black on the main screen.
Anna and Louis have now made three trips to the nest tree. I have a short video of one leaving and chortles from this morning.
Here is the link to the E1 camera for Anna and Louis:
Short video clip of one of the eagles at the E1 nest leaving this morning.
Here is the link to the E3 camera, the nest across the lake of the other eagle couple. It has a real crackling on the sound whereas the E1 cam is perfect.
Jak and Audacity were at the Sauces nest on the Channel Islands yesterday.
Lady and Dad are trying to encourage some self-feeding at the Sydney Olympic Forest nest. The eagles have dark brown feathers almost over their entire body. They will be hopping and flapping their wings more. We should see them figuring out how to hold the prey down with their talons while tearing bits off. You will see mantling – the spreading of the wings over the prey item to claim it. They will also stand on their feet for longer periods of time. It is hard to believe but we are about 4-5 weeks away from fledging. You will begin to bet anxious if one eaglet seems to get more food than the other. It normally works out!
At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Dad got some incubation time from 2339-23:54 and then Mum sent him to his cave. Dad acted like he would have incubated all night. What a sweetie!
You may recall that a raccoon climbed up the tree and took one of the two eaglets at Fort St Vrain in Colorado last breeding season. A raccoon guard has now been installed at the bottom of the tree.
It is now Monday and both Idris and Louis are still fishing for their ever ravenous daughters, Padarn and Sarafina. Top image is Padarn fish calling at Idris and the bottom is Sarafina with her fish from Louis. These girls should be leaving at any time but I wonder if anyone told them!??? LOL.
I cannot believe how dark Sarafina is – just like her Mum, Dorcha!
Tracking the latest news on the migration of Karl II’s family of Black Storks. Waba is in Ukraine.
Bonus remains in Belarus along the Prypjat Wetlands where he has stayed for several days now.
Kaia is in Ukraine near the River Desna which is close to Vovchok.
There is some concern for Kaia’s transmitter while she is in the war zone.
There has been no transmission from Karl II on Sunday.
But today on Monday the tracker indicates that Karl II flew over 600 km in a day and is now headed to Cherson in Ukraine which appears to be his second favourite stop enroute to Africa.
Karl II is such a strong flier and took such good care of his family. Now we need him to have some luck.
As our beautiful storks make their way to Africa, send them your best wishes for a safe trip and lots of food.
Thank you so much for joining me today. It is another gorgeous day on the Canadian Prairies. The sparrows and wrens are all over the millet seed in the garden and the Crow family has already had their “sandwiches”. Take care today wherever you are. Stay safe. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, posts, videos, and articles which make up my screen captures: DOC NZ, Discovery Channel, Friends of Osprey, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam at Orange, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, KNF, Explore.org and IWS, Sea Eagles@Birldlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Fort St Vrain Eagle Cam, Dyfi Osprey Project, and Looduskalender.
Good morning everyone! It is the end of the week. We blink and time whizzes by us. There is not a lot of news in Bird World. Sometimes that is nothing short of a welcome relief – a time to breathe.
What a way to start a Friday morning! Getting up and seeing Little Bit ND17 perched on his river roost in the evening. Oh, what a magnificent bird he is. Stephen Basly posted three images on the Notre-Dame FB page. This is the full zoomed in version. Oh, Little Bit looks so confident. A few little springs of baby down working their way out of the juvenile feathers. What a joy to see him!!!!!! So I want to move ahead a year and wonder if Little Bit will come to this same perch next year? Basly added that he had not seen 16 since Little Bit kicked him off the perch a few days ago! Way to go Little Bit. 16 was a nasty big sister!!!!!!
You will remember the two eaglets that were on the Pitkin Trail nest. The Mum flew off and pulled them out of the nest in the third week of June – one perished. The other was saved by passersby who got in touch with help immediately. I wrote to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails to find out if there are any updates on the little one. This was their quick response to my query: “The last update we received, on Aug. 8, was brief: “This Osprey is doing well so far. He is still being monitored at our ICU. Normally, this chick would have fledged in late July and would be making fewer and fewer appearances at the nest by now.” This ultimately means that the osplet will most likely not be in fit shape to take on the fall migration.
It is so nice when humans stop and do everything that they can to help our wildlife in need. It is often that immediate attention that is crucial to whether they will survive or not. Here is another amazing story of a passerby reaching out to help an electrocuted eagle. This one certainly got a chance at a second life thanks to an individual who saw the injured bird and called for help. Please cut and paste this link. I hope it still works! https://youtu.be/SCoigRwwA-Q
As you are aware, I am extremely concerned about the birds migrating from Scandinavia, Estonia, and Lativa who would normally be flying through the Ukraine. The other day Kaia, the mate of Karl II from the Karula National Forest Black Stork nest landed in the Ukraine and immediately headed back to Belarus. She has flown a bit east from her previous position but has not left Belarus. I understand from my colleagues that there are other migrating birds in the area where Kaia is resting and feeding.
August 19. Looduskalender gives the following information for where Kaia is this morning. “The Pripyatsky National Park is a protected area of swamp & oak forest, noted for wading birds, rare lynx and a herd of European bison.Pripyatsky National Park or Pripyat National Park in a natural reserve in Gomel Region, Belarus. It was founded in 1996 for preservation of natural landscapes around the Pripyat River from which it takes its name. Much of the park’s area is occupied by turf swamps.”
Hesgyn (KA3, 2019) was the last chick that Monty, the famous Welsh osprey, fathered, with Telyn. He returned as two year old in 2019 and sadly, at the blossoming age of 3 years, he was found dead. The wildlife centre that will do the post-mortem returned Hesgyn’s silver band and his coloured Darvic ring to the Dyfi Osprey Centre in Wales so that it could be placed on the family tree board. The results of the post-morten will be published when they are available.
I have been praising the Dyfi Osprey Project and Emyr Evans for their data driven website. It is wonderful to be able to go and find clear and accurate information. I also loved their family tree. Llyn Clywedog has now published their own family tree for their ospreys. Here it is:
Seren was still at the Llyn Clywedog nest in the Hafren Forest of Wales at 2055 on 18 August. She appeared on the nest wet and with muddy feet covering most of her Darvic band. Poor thing. How do I know this is not an Osprey chick? What would you say?
If you said the adult plumage you would be absolutely correct! If the plumage had been juvenile feathering then, it could have been the third hatch, Blue 555 (male).
Just look at all those males that will be returning to find mates and start their own families. My goodness, Dylan and Seren have had only one female. The largest male chick every to hatch and fledge was Blue 496 last year. He was a whopper! If every Osprey nest would design one of these family trees and have it on their website, it would be a great educational tool especially for studying the returnees, the dates of their return, and their gender and hatch ranking.
Oh, those little sea eagles are developing nicely. Breakfish arrived at 0614 with another meal following in about 4 hours. The eaglets eat more and are not fed as regularly. They are left longer in the nest alone but there is always a parent close at hand. We will see much more feather development and more balancing with the wing tips and standing up in the coming weeks. Grasping twigs and moving them about will be seen much more often, too.
Oh, this probably feels like a baby book for the sea eagles. I just got a note from ‘J’ that SE29 was playing with 30’s toes and so I went to look immediately. Thanks for the time stamp, J. Much appreciated. The cam operator gave us some great close ups. Also look, 29 is standing on its feet. Still shaky but fantastic.
‘J’ is right – it is a really cute bonding moment!
The two chicks on the Loch of the Lowes nest, LP8 and LR0, of Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0 were really fish calling when they saw an adult fly towards the nest. How said they must have felt when it was an intruder. There are many intruders landing on nests now as the birds being shifting away from their natal nests, exploring around them, and moving south for migration.
Blue NC0s chicks are really loud — just like their Mum. I often wondered if we should donate a pair of noise cancelling headphones to Laddie.
Laddie has been busy delivering fish to the pair on the nest and it is fantastic – like it is at all the nests – to see the birds on the streaming cams. So often they are simply not around. This year appears to be a bit of an exception no matter where the nest is located.
Fish delivery from Dad. Is Blue NC0 around or has she left for migration? Last week she took off for spa time for about 3 days and then returned with a big fish for the kids. She is quite the Mum.
Gosh these two are healthy! They are ‘fattening up’ nicely for their long adventure. Laddie is doing a great job keeping the fish on the nest.
Lancer is still getting room service from Chase & Cholyn at the Two Harbours nest. Lancer is certainly a really beautiful eaglet.
‘H’ sent a lovely close up of Sloop, the third hatch of Dory and Skiff at the Boathouse Osprey platform in Maine. What a cutie pie. She adds that Sloop is now loving the perch that he was afraid to move from before fledging. Grand news, indeed.
Sloop is quite handsome. So many of us worried when he was wee making sure Dory got some fish flakes in his little beak. Dory was an amazing first time Mum and Skiff kept the fish coming in.
Sadly, the Osprey rescued hanging from the tree with fishing line had to be euthanized and its sibling was found in the nest, image below, tangled in human debris. This is the announcement. Please read it and look at the tangled mess that killed these poor chicks. It seems that our rivers, lakes and oceans are nothing more than dumping grounds for human garbage carried back by the birds to their nests – innocently or tangled.
‘T’ sent me this very concerning story this morning. Another migration hazard – human meanness. Thank you ‘T’. A migrating White Stork has been shot through the neck with an arrow. The photograph of it on top of a house is below. It is not clear where the bird was shot. You do not need to hear what I am saying!!!!!! We have culprits like this in our City who think it is fun to do the same to the geese.
The RSPB in the UK has released the initial findings on the post-mortem of ICI, the Loch Garten chick that passed away after being lethargic in the nest. Please have a read. I find it interesting that they mention an enlarged organ. The inconclusive findings of Big at the Captiva Nest when he died stated, ‘enlarged organs’. They did not state that this could have been due to an infection. I would like to hear more about this – and I wonder if it is the same for Molate who also was lethargic for several days and died.
Thank you to everyone for being with me today. I hope that each of us is enjoying a lovely end of the week. Please take care. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or posts where I took my screen captures: Notre-Dame Eagles FB, Looduskalender, Dyfi Osprey Project, CarnyxWild, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Explore.org and the IWS, Audubon Explore and ‘H’, and The Raptor Centre.
It is a very early good morning to everyone- just past midnight. I am posting this newsletter early so that everyone will get to read the great news that is coming in – in case you do not already know. In the case of Victor and Little Bit, continued thanks to the wildlife rehabilitation staff that intervened and gave them a second chance on life.
My goodness, it is such a wonderful feeling as if you are floating on a cotton candy cloud when there is great news in Bird World. If you get emotional, I suggest you get the tissues out before reading further.
I want to thank ‘B’ and ‘L’ for alerting me to the special news about Victor in my inbox.
The Ojai Raptor Centre posted this announcement about Victor. When all of us were worrying he might not get well or he might not be able to feed himself ——– well, he is self-feeding and doing a grand job of it, too. He is in an outside enclosure not inside the clinic. Oh,, Victor, you have worked so hard to get well and all the staff at ORC have just being doing the best for you. Tears of joy, tears of joy.
Video of Victor self-feeding:
Video of Victor’s outdoor enclosure:
The other good news is, of course, Little Bit ND17. Images were taken and studied by several who go to the park on a daily basis to watch and photograph the Notre-Dame eagle family – Mum, Dad, ND15, ND16, and ND17 Little Bit. They have longed to get a good clear picture of 17 but wanted to be sure it was him. Here is the announcement in the Notre-Dame FB postings for today:
I was so skeptical when Little Bit was returned to the park without the ability to hunt his own prey. I am joyful to have been proven wrong! Notice the top right image. See how the hair kind of goes around in a partial donut shape. It reminds me of my late father-in-law who was bald but that circular band. It appears that some of the top is flat like strands of longer feathers covering up the places where feathers are missing. At the onset, I did not think he had a crop but, yes, that top right image appears to show that he has recently eaten. What a wonderful relief to see him looking and doing well. Thanks to everyone who worked hard to ensure Little Bit got a second chance on life and those birders on the ground who tried desperately to get images to reassure all of us. Thank you.
The Sea Eaglets are doing just fine, too. The crops of both of them are simply about to pop!!!!!!!
An hour later, Lady is urging them to have ‘just one more bite’! They are growing and will have a rapid growth spurt. Full crops will be the order of the day. Look at how the wings are forming and each has a cute little tail.
The two osplets on the Osoyoos Nest are looking good this evening. The forecast was correct and it has cooled down some – of course, it is still hot, just not as blistery. The chat for the streaming cams appears to be down. Not sure why unless it is all the spam.
Soo had a big crop at 10:46.
Looks like one of the chicks got the last delivery and is self-feeding.
One crop fuller than the other chick who is fish crying.
I cannot give you a fish count but it appears that both chicks ate today and so did Soo. Fantastic.
Ervie is out flying about and finding nice fish for dinner. He must miss hanging out with Dad on the barge and going to the nest to eat his fish. I wonder if he will try to return to the barge after this breeding season?
It is good to know he is safe – GPS trackers certainly help with that.
In the case of each of these nests or particular fledglings, it is so good to know that they are either improving in care or are doing splendidly on their own. There has been no word on L3 or L4. We wait.
I want to mention a book called Beauty and the Beak. How Science, Technology, and a 3D-printed Beak rescued a Bald Eagle. It is by a pair of talented women – writer Deborah Rose and wildlife rehabilitator, Jane Veltkamp. I first heard of the efforts to save this particular Bald Eagle when I was looking for information about the McEuen Park eagles in Idaho. The intended audience would be children ages 8-12 (I think) but I also enjoyed the gorgeous photos and learning about how science and new technology saved Beauty’s life. It is another fantastic book about positive interventions. If you teach science or know someone who does, I would highly recommend this book. (Cost in Canada is $11.46 for the glossy paperback).
It is a beautiful story of compassion and the commitment of Jane Veltkamp to help Beauty the Bald Eagle.
My regular newsletter that normally appears around noon CDT during the month of August will appear in the early evening on 4 August.
Thank you so much for joining me with all these good news stories. Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their postings and/or streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Notre Dame Eagles, Ojai Raptor Centre, Port Lincoln Ospreys and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.
UPDATE ON LITTLE BIT 17: Message from Humane Indiana Wildlife. ” Hello! We will post an update on ND17 tomorrow. Today was stressful for him, as you can imagine, but he is doing well and receiving much needed care.”
I am feeling some comfort in the news that Little Bit ND17 was taken to Valpo to the Humane Indiana Wildlife clinic for a thorough examination and assessment at 11:40 this morning. This is the best news Bird World has had in a couple of weeks. ——–And in the update ‘much needed care’ indicates that getting him to the clinic was the right decision.
I know that the St Patrick’s County Parks staff could never have foreseen the events that would transpire at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest this season. There is an expectation of stability – business as usual – but as many know, we live in very unstable times. And so it was with the nest. The second hatch ND16 took exception to Little Bit’s existence. The aggression, the deterioration of the nest, and then Little Bit’s 60 foot drop to the ground would never have entered the minds of park staff as spring arrived in South Bend, Indiana. But, it did happen. I am grateful that they were able to get Little Bit 17 removed from the bushes and taken to the Valpo clinic. IDNR has stated that not all rehabbers will take birds now because of Avian Flu – so thank you Humane Wildlife Indiana, too.
We wait to hear how our little eaglet is doing tomorrow!
The Dyfi Osprey Project has published all the information on the ringing along with the video of the ringing and weighing and another earlier one of nest aggression attributed to the fact that all three were females. There is a map showing the rivers and a pronunciation guide to the chick’s names after those rivers. It is a good read. Have a look. This is the kind of information that becomes so useful about the nests. Here is that link:
The ringing video is a really good one to watch. They are so careful and the chicks just pancake and stay still. It takes no time. Those colour Darvic rings with their numbers tell us so much information about these amazing birds and their life journeys.
There is also images and information on the ringing of nest 1A at Kielder. This nest had four babies ——yes, I did not get that wrong – 4. I did not mention it but once because I was so afraid that something would happen to little 4. There is a picture of him in there at 1000 grams. His big sister is 50% heavier at 1560. The other two were males. The ringers could not determine the gender of little 4 because he is so small for his age. I hope he proves mighty.
I have been working on and off on a couple of stories about wildlife rehabilitation clinics. They are our go-to when it comes to getting care for our wildlife in need. Each is special in its own way. Some specialize in certain animals and will not take birds. Because of the spread of H5N1 Avian Flu this year, many will not take our feathered friends. So, a bit of a shout out to Valpo for taking Little Bit. They need your support whether it is with your time, volunteering, with a few dollars or a truck load. Every bit is appreciated. Believe it or not, old clean towels are always wanted!!!! So, while we wait to hear about Little Bit 17, I will spend a little time showing you what I did today.
This afternoon was a day to spend at our own rehabilitation clinic. It is the only wildlife clinic in Manitoba with a full time vet, operating room and diagnostic equipment and it is run entirely by donations and volunteers.
Wildlife Haven is not unique. Every facility – those that many of you know by their names – CROW, The Audubon Centre, A Place Called Hope – operate entirely on donations and the generous time offered by volunteers.
I have been working on a blog about 2 other wildlife centres that I will finish up shortly. I was moved to tell you a little bit about our facility because the first thing the Rehabilitation Manager said was, “99% of the injuries to wildlife are human caused.” Everything that we do has the potential to harm the animals that share this planet with us – it can range from kidnapping bunnies from their Mum, to road accidents, taking wildlife in our houses where they imprint on humans, to wind turbines, sticky or glue traps – the list as you know is endless. I am grateful that there is a big campaign to let people know that fishing line is dangerous. It is that time of year when people should be using non-lead fishing tackle, barbless hooks, and helping to clean up the shores as well as taking care of their own area where they fish. I had no idea that so many bunnies arrive at the care facility. Over 900 right now!
Tip regarding rabbits. If you see a brown circle on your lawn and remove the grass covering and see bunnies, do not think that their mother has abandoned them. Take 2 thin sticks and criss-cross them over the top. Go back in 24 hours. If the sticks are moved, the Mum has been in to feed the babies. If the sticks have not been moved, then take the babies to a wildlife rehabber. Put a towel in a box with a lid and holes for air and carefully transport them to the closest facility.
Our centre has been in existence since 1984 but it has only recently been able to have full vet facilities. The amount of rehabilitation work that they are able to do has increased with generous donations for flight and hunting training. That requires trained staff and intense dedication and it is precisely what Little Bit 17 will require. He is missing that by not being with Mum, Dad, 15 and 16. So he is like WBSE28. We want Little Bit kept so that he is able to successfully live in the wild and what I have learned from our local team is that this is a long slow process. It doesn’t happen in weeks. 6 months or more for some birds.
Our wildlife facility, Wildlife Haven, is determined to educate the public through open house days as well as taking the ambassadors to the schools. Start young, teach the children to love and care for the welfare of animals. So every week on Friday they will have what is called a Raptor Rendezvous Day. It was fantastic to see so many people with children at the first event. They also sponsor Open Houses and try hard to let people know how much effort there is in caring for the wildlife patients. From 5 am to 7pm, songbirds are fed every half hour. They constantly need volunteers to do this. The middle of the summer is the most crucial time. Some volunteers are trained in ways to enrich the lives of the raptors that will spend all their lives in the centre. Eagles get bored, too!
So today they introduced three of the ambassadors that help educate the public on how to respect wildlife and what to do if they find an injured animal. They were a Swainsons’ Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, and a Great Gray Owl. The Great Grey Owl is the provincial bird of Manitoba.
This is Avro. He is a light morph Swainson’s Hawk. He was hit by a car. The accident caused him to be blind in his right eye. Losing that one eye meant that Avro is unable to hunt and provide for himself in the wild.
There are lots of Swainson’s Hawks that come to the southern part of our province to breed in the summer. They migrate to Argentina in the winter. Avro is 18 years old now.
Uma is a very small Great Horned Owl. Uma’s nest was in the yard of a family that watched. They noticed that Uma was much smaller than the other owlets and it appeared ‘different’ to the other siblings. It was determined that Uma was under developed due to a lack of food — just like Little Bit 17. Uma was also missing an eye and its beak was out of alignment. Uma would never be able to survive in the wild.
Great Horned Owls are very plentiful and they adapt to all manner of environments from the forests of northern Manitoba to the deserts of Southwest United States and beyond. They have excellent hearing – a kind of shallow disk or satellite-shaped face. The tufts on their heads are neither ears or horns. The ears are on the side of the head, like all raptors, and they are covered with feathers. The tufts are feathers. You can see that Una lost his right eye. He is fed rats every day. He can fly and has a enclosure that is large enough for him to do that. Owls hunt from dawn to dusk and mostly within an hour of each of those times of day. They will hunt during the day time to feed their young, if necessary.
You can see the misalignment of the beak in the image below. Imagine trying to tear into a squirrel with that beak.
This is Zoe with Una. She gave an amazing presentation and answered every question and more.
The last ambassador today was Ash the Great Gray Owl. Ash was orphaned and his rescuers took him home to live with them. As a result he imprinted on humans and not owls. This means that Ash believes she is human, not owl. Despite Ash being in excellent health he will never be able to live in the wild and know what it is like to fly free and hunt.
With its excellent hearing, a Great Gray Owl can detect a mouse under 60 cm or 2 feet of snow. Incredible. In the image below you can see the fur covered legs and talons that help the Great Gray in our cold winters.
It was a great afternoon and came on a day to really think about the important work that these people do.
What can you do? Well you can volunteer or you can donate. Want to do something else? Talk to people about caring for the wildlife on our planet. Let them understand how important it is to get them to care quickly if it is needed. Put on window strips to stop bird strike. Talk to people about putting poison on their lawns. Have that chat about fishing line with people you know and the need for lead free equipment. Take a shovel in your car. When you see road kill, pull over. Of course, be careful but move the road kill off the road and away from it. Vultures, hawks, eagles, and all manner of wildlife will find it and it will be cleared down to the bone within a few hours. Put out bird feeders and water…..lobby for protective wind turbine blades…the list is, sadly, endless. Educate yourself and talk to the experts at your local wildlife clinic.
Several of the streaming cams are set to go offline today. One of those is UFlorida-Gainesville. We will look forward to joining Mum and Dad in the new year! Big and Middle are doing exceptionally well.
Tomorrow is Canada Day. I will be posting a short blog in the morning. I hope that some news of Little Bit will be available. I will also try to check on other nests that we are watching closely including Osoyoos, Boathouse, and FortisExshaw that have wee ones in the nest.
Thank you for joining me. Thank you to everyone who cares for our much loved feather friends and to everyone who worked hard and believed that Little Bit 17 needed to be assessed. It is a bit world out there with many polarizing opinions and intervention is one of those. Take care. See you soon.
Thank you to Dyfi and Kielder for their ringing updates on their blog that I included here today – and to Wildlife Haven for all they do.