Saturday Nest Hopping

As many of you know, I have a ‘soft’ spot for several of our avian friends and clearly, Legacy, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot, and the Ks are at the top of that list but, in truth, there are so many amazing birds that have brought me joy that it is impossible to give each one of them the air time that they truly deserve. That said, Tiny is going to fledge in about a week. Legacy is still home but it won’t be long until she is gone into the big world, too. That is why I am spending so much time with them.

Tiny Tot working his wings. 7:15 pm. 8 May 2021

This morning Legacy really lucked out. At 9:30:16, she sees her parent coming in with food and she starts squealing. She flies down to the nest six seconds later to retrieve that fish from her dad, Samson.

Then at 2:43:25 Legacy starts squealing again. She flew down from her branch so quickly that she sent Samson off the nest with the fish. He had to come around and land again. Wow, it was a whopping piece of nice fresh fish. Legacy will be full until tomorrow for sure!

That is a really large chunk of fish that Samson has brought Legacy.

Legacy is learning how to hold the fish with all of her talons so it is easier to eat and doesn’t move around and so that no one steals her dinner!

Oh, Legacy is doing a really good job with the self-feeding.

Legacy’s crop is as full as it can be! Isn’t she just gorgeous?

Richmond is busy bringing in fish for Rose and the gang. Like all the dads, he loves the head. He has nice crop. Richmond is a great provider. It looks like Rosie is keeping the toys and hats out of the nest for now.

There they are. Three tiny little Ospreys.

Aran brought in a really nice flounder for Mrs G today in celebration of Mother’s Day. There are the three eggs that Mrs G is incubating.

Big Red and the Ks are beginning to dry out. Oh, it has been a soggy couple of days on this Red-tail Hawk nest.

Precious. Well behaved. Big Red always has everything under control.

Blue 33 (11) brought in a nice fish for Maya to feed ‘Little Bob’. There he is not even a day old. Oh, so cute.

The two little ones at The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest are growing.

Can you find them? Look carefully.

Still looking a little reptilian.

You can see the big crop on the eldest one and the youngest still being submissive in the image below. These little ones learn quickly – if they survive – to keep their head down, let the dominant one eat, and then go for it. So, like Tiny Tot they wait, listen, and get ready to jump.

And there is the little one getting a nice feed.

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is enjoying a nice fish meal as I type this. Indeed, Tiny has had a lot of fish today. He might have even had more if it had not been for sibling #2 losing a whole catfish off the edge of the nest. This last delivery came at 8:11:58. You can just hear Tiny Tot squealing, “It’s mine”. If you look you will notice that Tiny still has a crop from earlier in the day.

Jack is so funny. He really is not comfortable feeding the kids. He keeps looking around for Diane. Meanwhile, Tiny must be thinking “just give me the fish, I can feed myself.” Turns out Jack is OK at feeding the little one.

Tiny is still being fed as the IR camera comes on and the sun is going down in St Petersburg.

This is a lovely image of Tiny Tot by Diane with sibling #2 eating its fish in the back. I want to try and get a really good front image of Tiny tomorrow. It appears that Tiny is getting a dark necklace. If that is the case, I am going to have to stop calling Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot a ‘he’.

Tiny’s wings are getting so big and the tail feathers are growing nicely. The plentiful food in the last couple of weeks has made a big difference in Tiny’s life.

Thank you for joining me as we hopped, skipped, and jumped from nests today. Take care and all the best.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots. They are: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Golden Gate Audubon Ospreys, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Babies, Branching, and Bittersweet

It is all too quick. One minute they are little chicks bonking and bopping like the three Ks of Big Red and Arthur and then they are branching and fledging. It is all bittersweet.

Arthur has already begun to line prey up around the egg cup at the Fernow Light Tower nest in Ithaca, New York. Look at the crop on K1. I never get tired of watching these little eyasses grow. Arthur and Big Red are such devoted parents.

6 March 2021

Adorable. Simply adorable.

Oh, look at those little cutie pies. The Ks. 6 May 2021

Annie and Grinnell’s eyasses are a little older than the Ks. Their pin feathers are really growing in and they now spend their time preening, sleeping, or eating!

Look, you can see their little tail feathers starting to grow! People say the feather growth makes the eyasses itchy. How would a human know what it feels like to grow feathers? Birds are the only living thing on the planet that has them.

They are starting to get to the clown foot stage, too. Oh, they love that pigeon Grinnell is feeding them.

It is raining in Estonia and Eve is very careful not to get the little ones wet. Until they have their contour feathers they are not protected. Thermal down will help them against the cold but for now, they have to rely on mom to keep them both warm and dry.

I included the image below for two reasons. The first is the distinctive white tail feathers of the White-tailed eagles. Aren’t they gorgeous? And the second reason is to have a look at the feathers. Each of Eve’s feathers has a central shaft with tiny barbules that lock together like Velcro. They lay flat and make the bird waterproof. Feathers grow out of skin follicles.

White-tail eagles are the largest apex raptors in Europe. They also have the largest average wing span of any eagle in the world. Their wings span averages 2.4 metres or 8 feet. Did you know that they are on the coat of arms of Germany? They are Germany’s national bird just like the Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States.

Today, both Kisatchie at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle nest and one of the pair of the Bald Eaglets at Duke Farms branched. Kisatchie had no one to cheer him on but the eaglet that branched below got a high five from its sibling for a job well done. It won’t be long til the sib is jumping up on that branch, too!

We are still on hatch watch with Maya and Blue 33 (11) at Rutland Mantou Bay. Tomorrow the first egg laid will be 38 days old (May 7).

And, of course, the bittersweet. In a month or so, E17 and E18 along with Legacy will leave us to make their own way out into the world. And sooner than I want, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot will fledge.

Legacy is waiting for Samson to bring her the evening meal. It is nearly 7:30 and he normally visits the nest around 5:30 with a food drop.

Legacy is not starving. Remember, Gabby and Samson are trying to teach her about what life will be like outside of the nest. Food is not always plentiful and eagles do not eat every day in the wild. Legacy had a squirrel yesterday and a big hunk of fish the day before. It is nearly 8:30 p, in the image below and it seems Legacy might have to wait and hope for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is having some nice fish. Diane seems to really enjoy feeding Tiny. Often they are on the nest together as #2 sibling flies around and lands on the perch pole. There has been no sighting of #1 sibling. She fledged, returned to the nest once and is MIA. Normally, the raptors depend on their parents for food from 4-6 weeks after fledged (an average overall – some stay longer). They eat at the nest and strengthen their flying muscles. Sometimes the parents feed them ‘off nest’. It is not clear what is happening with #1 sibling and because she is not banded, we will never know.

I am clearly going to miss Legacy and Tiny Tot when the fledge. Unless there is some very distinctive marker – like the dots in Iris’s left eye or the tear in the wing of WBSE 24, unringed birds are simply not that recognizable, one from the other.

And the last news of the day, Iris, the oldest living Osprey in the world laid her first egg of the 2021 season at her Hellgate Nest in Missoula, Montana today at 18:04:31. I would like to hope that if nature intends it, Iris would get to be a mother again. Her last successful hatch with Louis was in 2018. As you know, I wish this day had not come but it has and now we wait to see how the season will twist and turn.

There is a new director for the Cornell Bird Laboratory, Dr Ian Owens. In an interview that came out in the latest edition of Living Bird, Dr Owens remembers the bird that changed his life. He was fifteen and the bird was an Eurasian Marsh-Harrier. Dr Owens will take charge in July.

Like Dr Owens, there are many of you reading this that will recall the first time that a bird influenced your life. Mine was over four and a half years ago when I met Sharpie’s female mate. I haven’t seen her for awhile but Sharpie stopped by today. I rejoice in seeing him – whether it is for a few minutes or an hour. They certainly changed my life and I will be forever grateful. It is just like the joy that all of the birds give us each day.

So take care everyone and remember – March 8 is Bird Count Day. I will remind you tomorrow with the link so you can submit your count. It helps everyone understand the perils of migration. Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Achieva Credit Union, The Eagle Club of Estonia, UC Falcon Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, and LRWT Rutland.

Wednesday Nest Runs

Congratulations to Richmond and Rosie. Their second hatch for 2021 arrived on the nest on top of the Whirley Crane at the Richmond Shipyards in San Francisco on 3 May.

In the image below, Rosie and Richmond’s first hatch of 2021 is right beside the egg that is pipping. You can see the end of the beak and the egg tooth breaking up that shell.

Rosie is really excited to show Richmond the second hatch!

Here we are dad! Can we have some fish, please?

Legacy stayed around her natal nest today. As I sat and watched her, I was reminded of an incident with one of our cats, Melvin. At the time, cats were allowed outside and Melvin loved to roll around in the grass and dirt in the garden. He was content not to leave the yard and never wandered away. One day he didn’t come when we called him. We searched high and lo at all hours of the day and night. Then about four days later, in the middle of the night, we heard him yowling at the door. Melvin ran into the house and went under the bed. For the next 15 years of his life he rarely left that one room. We will never know what happened to him while he was away, but it scared the wits out of him. There were marks on his paws where the fur was gone and holes. We wondered if he had gotten caught in a trap or barbed wire.

Looking at Legacy I have a feeling that she was lost. Of course, I could be all washed up! This evening Samson brought in a fish for Legacy at 4:52:41. It was 32 degrees in Jacksonville and it was windy.

Legacy started mantling when she saw her father coming in with that fish. She was also squealing very loud.

Legacy held on tight to the fish. Samson had eaten the head so it was easy for Legacy to self-feed. She did it like a pro!

Legacy ate every last bite of that fish. When she got to the tail she wasn’t quite certain what to do with it. She tried to pull it off like skin. If the parents were watching they would have been very proud. Good work Legacy!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot on the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida is the most beautiful bird. Tiny is a survivor. As the sun is setting Tiny had not had any of the last fish. He spent some of the time when he was alone on the nest chewing what fish was left on that bone in the middle of the nest.

At 7:59:46, there was a fish delivery and Tiny mantled it. ‘Mine!’

Tiny had not moved. He was still working hard on that fish as the sun set even more. Good night, Tiny!

Diane, #2 and Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot are ready and waiting for breakfast on 5 May. If you are wondering, #1 sibling has not returned to the nest. It is unclear if she is being fed elsewhere or what her status is.

You might recall my concern over The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest. The aggression from the oldest sibling was amping up as the food deliveries were irregular. That aggression continues. However, this morning the youngest got a nice big feed and it was a delight to see. They are still in their reptilian phase.

The oldest is getting fed and the youngest is cowering (on the left) afraid to go over to mom.

But like Tiny Tot, the youngest is waiting and watching for an opportunity. It moves around the long way once the biggest is full. If allowed, these little ones that are bonked/abused become quite clever. We have seen what an amazing bird Tiny Tot is. It is interesting, speaking of Tiny Tot, that the Achieva Osprey nest became peaceful the instant the oldest sibling fledged despite the fact that the eldest did not directly attach Tiny Tot after the third week in March. It became the duty of #2. Sorry – the behaviour of the birds is very interesting. I bet you never thought their lives could be so complicated?

There is number 2 – the darkest plumaged of the osplets – getting a nice big feed from mom. How wonderful!

Oh, goodness. Over at Big Red and Arthur’s Red Tail Hawk nest, K3 is coming!

It is a very soggy morning at the Fernow Light tower nest and here are K1 and K2 waiting for their little sib! It won’t be long and the entire K clan will be with us! There will be bonking bobble heads for a couple of days til their eyes focus and they realize that it is mom’s beak they need to connect with not their siblings!

I have checked on many more nests this morning but this blog would go on for a kilometre. Suffice it to say that Kistachie at the KNF Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana is doing a pretty good job self-feeding. He is not branching yet and Anna helps when he has trouble eating. Blue 152, a female, has landed again on the Loch Arkaig nest. Maybe a new male will appear! This morning Li’l and Big at the Duke Farms Nest were doing great. Mom was feeding both of them and that silly squirrel continues to bug the Pittsburg Hays trio. The last notice for today is 8 May is Bird Count Day. This is the day that people around the world stop and count the birds that they see. It is a major migration study and is how we know if populations are declining, growing, or if there are environmental issues impacting them. You, too, can take part. In fact, I urge you too. I will give you that information tonight.

Take care and thanks for joining me today. K3 is coming!!!!!!!!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell BirdLab and Skidaway Audubon, Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, NE Florida Eagle Cam and AEF, and Achieva Credit Union. I get my screen shots from these cameras.

As the Nest Turns is spinning faster!

Big Red left the Fernow Lightbox Nest with the 2Ks at 14:10:46. She returned at 14:24:14. The temperature in Ithaca was 25 degrees C and the 2 Ks were fine. They got some much needed warmth from the sun.

Oh, gosh, aren’t they the cutest with those tiny little wings and fat little bottoms!

Oh, look at K1 looking up to its Mom. How sweet. And look what Big Red has in her talons!!!!! Looks like rabbit is in the pot for dinner.

Often Arthur will hunt – his job is provide the food for the family, security for the territory, and support for Big Red – and leave prey at a drop off for Big Red to pick up and take to the nest. Sometimes Big Red hunts herself. We will never know who caught the bunny but there it is – it will become hawk. I sound like a broken record but these kids will never be short of food – never. And if they are there will have had to have been a major catastrophe in the area.

The vandalism at the Llyn Brenig Osprey nest caught the attention of one of the BBC morning programmes. On Saturday night the platform was approached by boat and cut down with a chainsaw. A tragedy. On that nest was the female and her egg. Alternative arrangements have been made for the Ospreys which Wales Water hopes they will take advantage of – one is a new platform close by and another is a replacement platform where their original one was.

Here is that broadcast:

As gleeful as I am to see Big Red and her very trusted mate, Arthur, enjoying their beautiful babies, I am equally joyful to see ‘no’ eggs on the nest of Iris at the Hellgate Osprey Nest. Her mate, Louis, has two nests. Historically he has not been the best provider for Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world. There has been nothing short of heart ache for Iris since her mate, Stanley, died. I am glad there are no eggs. Iris will not take another mate because she is bonded to this nest in Louis’s territory. Another male will not come and take over unless he takes out Louis – and then what about Starr and her osplets? It is very complicated. Raising chicks takes a toll on both of the parents.

Over in the United Kingdom, Maya and Blue 33 (11) woke up to a soggy morning. Blue 33 (11) loves sleeping and cuddling next to his mate. Their devotion to one another is refreshing when I think about what Iris’s life could be and isn’t.

As the day progressed, the sun came up and Maya dried out. It is day 35 for that first egg that Maya laid. You might remember that her and Blue 33 (11) were the first couple to return from their winter migration to Africa on 19 March. The normal incubation period for Ospreys is 35-42 days. We are now on hatch watch for this lovely couple!

If you would like to catch out the action, here is the link to their camera at Rutland Mantou:

I often get frustrated with prey delivery to the nests. The birds cannot, of course, go to a store and buy a bunny or a fish. They have to hunt and fish for their food. It was a lot easier for the birds to do this before we took over their land or killed it with pesticides and herbicides. Boating and fishing leave their mark on the health and well-being of the birds as well.

Here is a video of Richmond, the mate of Rosie, at the San Francisco Osprey Nest on the Whirley Crane. It is a 6 minute clip of him going out to fish. Richmond is a bit like Arthur – he is an incredible provider.

If you would rather not look at the video, I can show you that Richmond was successful but it was the legion of trips that he had to do across the water that is so impressive.

It is evening in the United Kingdom and any snow that was on the Welsh Osprey nests yesterday is now gone.

Mrs G is on her nest at Glaslyn as the sun is setting and all is fine.

Telyn is on her nest and all is well. She apparently called out to a train when it went by! No hatch alerts for either of these two nests. More than a week to go at either one (or a little more).

And the last for today, the White Tail Eagle nest in Estonia of Eve and Eerik. Eerik is another great dad – he is working on keeping the pantry full enough. Those two little ones are really growing. Everything is positively fine on this nest. The little ones sit up and eat and there is no mischief!

Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you tomorrow. Have a great evening! It is a wonderful day to work in the garden. I noticed there is now green on the rose bushes and the peony shoots are about 10 cm high. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, LRWT Osprey Project with Rutland Water and Rutland Wildlife Trust and, Bay Ospreys by Golden Gate Audubon.

It is official – Big Red and Arthur have a pip

On Sunday, 2 May, Big Red and Arthur, the mated couple of Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus in Ithaca, New York have a pip!

The first egg was laid on 26 March. Different places have ways of counting. My way is to not count the day there was a hatch. So this makes it 37 days. If you count the day the egg was laid it is 38 days – all within Big Red’s traditional 37-41 days from laid to hatch.

Oh, this is so exciting!

Big Red is an 18 year old Red tail hawk. She was banded on the 20th of October at Brooktondale in 2003. We do not know, as yet, the name of the bander. Arthur is 5 years old. He hatched in an adjacent territory to Big Red and her long time mate, Ezra, in 2016. Ezra was killed in 2017 trying to protect Big Red. That year was the only year that she did not have a clutch.

A young juvenile came to the nest in April. He wooed Big Red, amongst other suitors, over the summer. That young juvenile did not even have his red tail when he landed on Big Red’s nest! But, out of all the suitors, Big Red will pick ‘Wink’ as he was known locally at the time. In the fall of 2017, they will begin building their nest. Wink’s was given the name Arthur in honour of the founder of the Cornell Lab, Arthur A. Allen. They have successfully fledged chicks in 2018, 2019, and 2020. They are an amazing couple!

In order to prepare yourself for what is coming, you should have a look at the 2020 highlights:

And here is the link to follow all of the action – and I do mean action.

There will be lots of prey deliveries of many kinds. The nest will be loaded. You will be able to see the teaching moments of the parent hawks. You will watch them run and jump and get their muscles strong for fledge. And in all of it, you will get to see this beautiful raptor family live out their daily lives. I cannot recommend a better nest to watch. And if you can’t keep up with all your nest watching, I promise to bombard you with news from this one because it will always be ‘my heart of hearts’.

Thank you for joining me. I will give lots of updates later as we are now on official hatch watch.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab for their streaming cam. That is where I grab my screen shots.

‘As the Nest Turns’ – late Sunday night edition

You can really get into a cuteness overload watching all the little bobbleheads that are less than a week old. The UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcons are a case in point. Soft little balls of white down with pink beaks and feet that are being taught the sounds the parents make when they are there to feed them. The team at UC Berkeley Falcon Cam posted this short video of Annie, Grinnell, and the two chicks at dinner time. Listen to the sounds the adults make to alert the chicks that it is time for lunch.

We should be looking for one or two hatches tomorrow at this falcon nest.

You can just see the two osplets at the Savannah Osprey nest peering over the edge of the nest cup their necks stretched. They are both doing fantastic! All good news. I continue to hope that the third egg is not viable – these two are doing fine and this nest has a reputation for issues relating to siblicide if there is a third hatch.

Can you spot the two osprey babies? 18 April 2021

Louis has been doing his regular visit to Iris’s nest. It is a good think thing that Iris is a great fisher and doesn’t sit around and wait for someone else to bring her a fish. No sign of the third osprey that was on the nest yesterday.

Everyone has an opinion about Iris. Indeed, I fell victim to wanting to see the oldest breeding osprey in the world raise another batch of chicks. But after watching Diane at the Achieva osprey nest and the toll that it is taking on Diane physically, it could well be a blessing that Louis does his hello and thank you. Unless there is a dramatic change, Iris will continue catching big fish and feeding herself, fixing up her nest so that it is the envy of everyone. She will lay her eggs and the Raven will steal them —— and then, after a bit, she will enjoy herself for the summer while others work day and night to feed their growing chicks.

18 April 2021

Iris has really been fixing up her nest. Look at how healthy she is – she is absolutely majestic. And she deserves a break from the rigours of motherhood. After all, she has given no less than thirty or forty offspring and who knows how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the natural world. I would like to think of her watching the setting sun eating her fish instead of being exhausted at the end of the day.

18 April 2021

At the NCTC Bald Eagle nest, we have a group portrait with mom, Bella, and the two little ones. They are 30 and 28 days old now. They look like they are posing just for us! Oh, they are cute.

18 April 2021

E17 at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest has fledged. E18 has not taken that first flight from the nest but did join E17 up on the attic today.

Jackie and Shadow can now move on with their lives. They have been incubating an unviable egg ever since their first chick died during hatch. Today the raven came and took the other egg. This couple up at the Big Bear Nest in Northern California can try again next year!

Raven steals the non-viable egg on 18 April 2021. Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest.

In the image below, Ma is feeding FSV44 who started piping on 16 April, the day that its older sibling died during brooding. No one knows what happened to the first hatch at this nest in Platteville, Colorado. Ma and Pa Jr were taking their turns and the eaglet appeared healthy. Glad to see that this little one is fine and is eating well!

The sun is just rising in Latvia and Milda continues to incubate her eggs at the White-tailed eagle nest in Durbe. Rumour has it that her and Mr C – now called Chips – might be bonding more as a couple. Only time will tell. Milda lost her mate Raimis on 27 March after he did not return from hunting prey. He was either too injured or died. Several suitors and intruders have been around the nest, some of them fighting. Milda is incubating three eggs. She spent days on the nest without eating – eight of them! She has left the eggs for around five hours uncovered and it is believed that are no longer viable.

A new day is beginning in Latvia and in Florida it is just past midnight. There has been a storm already with lightning, winds, and rain. The weather service says there is a lull and then it will begin again early in the morning. As evening closed on the Achieva Osprey nest, a fifth fish had come in and Tiny Tot had been fed some. How much is not really clear but not enough for him to get a crop. Tiny Tot did retrieve the fish tail and was self-feeding and then Diane turned around and gave it to 1. 1 did eat from the tail and then Diane came over and fed 1. Tiny Tot moved in and was also stealing some bite from one. It could be a long day tomorrow if it is real stormy and the weather forecast looks dire for a few days. I will keep you posted on all developments.

Tiny has moved in to get what extra bites it can before dark. 18 April 2021

1 got nasty – like she used to do – and had a threatening posture directed towards Tiny. There is no reason for the aggressive stanch. Tiny Tot is not a threat to their survival at this stage. 2 is actually larger than Diane and both eat all day. Tiny Tot needs only a small portion to survive and thrive which is good for this nest.

Tiny moves to get away from sibling 1. 18 April 2021

Thank you for joining me in Bird World. It continues to be cold on the Canadian Prairies. I will do updates on the UK Osprey Nests tomorrow, the hatch at UC Berkeley and, of course, will keep an eye on what is happening to Tiny Tot. Continue to send your warm wishes his way.

I would like to thank the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: The Latvian Fund for Nature, Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrian Bald Eagle Nest, Friends of Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest, SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest and D Pritchett real estate, NCTC Bald Eagle Cam, Cornell Bird Cams and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cams and the Savannah Osprey Nest, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Saturday Nest Hopping

Tiny Tot is growing. He is the third hatch of Jack and Diane at the Achieva Credit Union’s Osprey nest in Dunedin, Florida. It is on the coast, just north of Tampa. He is clever and he is starving. You can’t tell how small he is from the picture below. Tiny Tot is on the left.

17 April 2021. Tiny Tot is on the far left, then 2, and 1

So far, three fish have come on the Achieva Osprey Nest today. Tiny Tot got nothing. He was fed at 9:00pm last night for about half an hour. The skin is simply sagging off its bones.

For the past two years this nest has had only one chick on it to feed. Perhaps the parents are simply overwhelmed? Tiny Tot is used to being hungry. The food insecurity started on 12 March when he was a week old. He has never known any different – for Tiny Tot it is either famine or a feast. He is clever and he has survived this long because of it. He is the only one that has been self-feeding because he had to and then it is pieces of old flesh from bones. In doing the research on the ones who survive like this, they do well. Often living much longer than their siblings that were pampered. Some of those have not even made it to migration dates. I wouldn’t count his abilities to survive in the wild out – that is what I am saying. I hope before the thunderstorms come into Dunedin again that he gets fed. It is all we can do – hope.

In the image below, Tiny Tot has bulled the bone out of the rim of the nest and is trying to find some food. It is 4:12pm.

It is nearly 5pm and Tiny Tot is still working on that bone. Diane has left the nest. I hope she brings in a massive catfish, wide at the girth, so that Tiny can finally have some food. Or will she ignore him?

There is, however, something to cheer about. Over in San Francisco, the second hatch of Annie and Grinnell came around 12:12. Now they are four. Only two more eggs to hatch! These eyasses will not have a problem with sibling rivalry or food! This is an amazing nest to watch. I actually admire the hawks and the falcons. They can feed a family of four or five and not blink an eye – and all of the chicks thrive.

12:12 pm 17 April 2021

Annie often eats the yolk left in the egg and sometimes the egg shells to help her replenish the calcium that she loses laying the eggs. In fact, you can leave egg shells out for the birds in your garden to help them have strong shelled eggs – they need calcium, too. You need to wash the eggs and clean them good and place them in a 250 degree F oven for about 30-45 minutes to kill any bacteria. You don’t want to transfer anything to the birds. Alternatively I have boiled the shells for half an hour at a hardy boil.

Legacy is really branching today. She has gone quite a bit higher in her natal tree, the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest, near Jacksonville, Florida. Fledge watch is coming! She is such a strong girl. There is really something to be said for having only one egg hatch on a nest. The parents don’t get worn out and that chick gets lots of food. Legacy has learned from watching Samson and Gabby. She was self-feeding and mantling. She did not need a sibling to drive her to do those things that come to her naturally.

One of the others to benefit from being an only child is Kisatchie. He was born in the Bald Eagle nest in the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana- the first eaglet since 2013 to be born in this beautiful tree. His parents are both new to raising a family. Louis and Anna have done a fantastic job. Can you see the turtle shell? There are actually two of them on the nest. I wonder if they have been feeding Kisatchie turtle? The shells seem to move. I wonder if they were brought to the nest and are alive????

Over at the Duke Farm Bald Eagle nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey, Li’l and Big are losing the last bits of their soft white down just like Legacy and Kisatchie.

Oh, and another great nest is Pittsburg Hayes. It has been seven years since this nest had three eaglets; the last time being in 2014. Look at the trio now. H13 hatched on 23 March at 4:21 am, H14 hatched on 23 March at 21:57, and H25 hatched on 27 March at 5:33. And they are all doing fabulous!

Fish Buffet. 17 April 2021

You can see the wing feathers starting to come in.

Everyone has a food coma. 17 April 2021.

Proud mama and her big healthy babies.

17 April 2021

Family Portrait!

17 April 2021

The eaglets on the Minnesota DNR nest are doing great, too. They do like to scare the living daylights out of you. The youngest one likes to walk right along the rim of the nest. Harry, you might want to bring in some more twigs and big up that wall!

17 April 2021

Be careful little one!

17 April 2021

Food coma.

17 April 2021

So far, both of the Osplets on the on Skidaway Island Osprey Nest near Savannah, Georgia are doing fine.

Lunch time.

17 April 2021

Peeking out.

17 April 2021

NC0 laid her third egg on the Loch of the Lowes Osprey Nest this morning. Congratulations Laddie and Blue NC0!

17 April 2021. Now it is three.

What an amazing view – and a beautiful calm day for egg 3. Laddie you are going to be very busy!

17 April 2021

Also bringing hope is the arrival of an Osprey at Balgavies Loch. The resident male for the past two years, KR3, just returned. This is going to cause a disturbance on the nest as a new male, Blue YD, has already taken up with the female. The Balgavies nest was Blue YD’s natal nest and there are many hoping that he can retain control. But, this also means, that there is still hope for Aila to arrive at Loch Arkaig. Louis is still waiting.

Thank you for joining me for a hop, skip, and a jump around Bird World. I live in hope that Tiny Tot will get fed today. If he does, I will do a very short posting. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union Osprey Cam, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, NE Florida and AEF Bald Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Pittsburg Hayes Bald Eagle Cam, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Cornell Bird Lab Savannah Ospreys.

First Hatch UC Berkeley Falcons -‘As the Nest Turns’, early morning Saturday edition

At 9:00:04pm on Friday night, 16 April, a fifth fish landed on the Achieva Osprey nest. Tiny Tot was there and ready for a good feed. Except for a couple of bites that went to 1 and I hope some to Mom, it is 9:27 and Tiny Tot is still eating. I know that there are tears flowing in lots of places around the world. There is a lot of talk about the survival of the fittest but if Tiny Tot can survive this nest, he can probably survive a lot better than most!

9:28:14. 15 April 2021. Tiny Tot still being fed.

It was too dark to see how big the fish is that Diane is feeding Tiny Tot. But he is going to be full when he finishes. The others aren’t interested. Thank goodness! He is still going strong at 9:30!

Tiny Tot finally got a meal! 9pm. 16 April 2021

It just makes you feel good all over. The feeding ended around 9:33. It is not clear if the fish was completely gone or if Diane is saving some for morning. And it was impossible to see if Tiny had a crop or not. But, he did eat!

And Diane brought in a fish at 7:13:46 am Saturday morning. She eats the head herself. Feeds 1 and then feeds a few bites to 2 and Tiny gets fed some. He has a Tiny sized crop seen at 11:02:45 but I would not say he got fed a lot. It was a real bony catfish but Diane ate the majority. Mom has to eat. Hopefully more fish today.

Tiny stayed up and cried for food. 17 April 2021
11:02:45. 17 April 2021. Tiny has a mini crop

The first hatch at the UC Berkeley falcons – Annie and Grinnell – happened this morning. Congratulations!

One nest that I always check on but, often, forget to report about is the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam in Jacksonville. E24 or Legacy hatched on 8 February. Samson and Gabrielle are her parents and her grandparents are Romeo and Juliet. Today someone asked if the offspring ever return to their natal nests. They do! And some go on to raise their own children on those nests, just like Samson is.

My goodness. Legacy has grown into one of the most beautiful Bald Eagles I have ever seen. She is 67 days old. She is like ebony – deep, dark penetrating eyes and black plumage. Legacy is jumping around the nests on a pair of legs that would be the envy of any sumo wrestler. She is a big girl! And flapping her wings. She has been self-feeding for some time and it will not be long, since she is now branching, that she will fledge. Still, I am reminded of the wisdom shared by Laura Culley one day: The longer the juvenile can stay on the nest and the more good food they eat, the better their chances of survival in the wild. So, Legacy, please stay with us longer.

Legacy has been branching. 16 April 2021
Awww. Legacy still has Pinecone! 16 April 2021

Oh, there is one nest that has really been neglected. The Trio over near Fulton, Illinois – Starr, Valor l, and Valor II. Their nest got destroyed in the winds last year so they rebuilt across the Mississippi River. There is no camera. Thanks to Dennis Becht who takes the most amazing photographs of the eagles along the river (Google his name to find his website and all the images), we can get glimpses into what is happening in the nest. The image below was taken by Dennis and shared on the Trio Eagle Nest Lovers FB Group today. There are six in that nest in the sun. Oh, if the three little ones would stick up their heads. You can clearly see them and they are looking great! How wonderful to have an extra parent to help get the fish in the nest.

And here is another that Dennis took on 13 April. You can really see those lovely little eaglets! Thanks Dennis. Oh, they are adorable! I love this nest – everyone working for the family. The three of them built a new nest that looks like the envy of many in a very short time. And there will be no shortage of food with two parents out fishing and one watching over the babies.

The Stewards of the Mississippi River confirmed that on 5 April there were three eaglets. Precise hatch times unknown.

Starr with the three little ones. 13 April 2021.

I had no more finished checking on the Bald Eagle trio and I go to have a look at what is going on in the life of Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, and guess what? There are three ospreys on Iris’s Hellsgate nest in Missoula, Montana. Seriously!

Three on Iris’s nest. 16 April 2021

Now Louis (far right) has just had his sweet way with Iris (facing us). Then the third bird appears (back left). Is this Starr, Louis’s other mate over at the baseball park? did she catch him in the act? or is this an intruder maybe wanting in on this nest? Wow. Iris, you might have a new suitor!

And what a prize nest it is. The river is just to the right and down a little hill, about 15 metres or 50 feet away. And then of course the best prize of all – Iris!

River where Iris fishes. 16 April 2021

There is wingersizng happening over at the Great Horned Owl Nest near Newton, Kansas. Both of the owls now walk around the rim of the nest with ease.

16 April 2021

The two little Ospreys on the Savannah Osprey nest seem to be doing fine. After the Achieva nest, I keep hoping that the third egg on this nest doesn’t hatch. Let’s just have two healthy ospreys fledge instead.

Lunch time. 16 April 2021. Savannah osprey nest.

Big Red had to be grateful for the waterproofing quality of feathers. It rained all day long on the Red Tail Hawk nest in Ithaca today.

Pitching down rain on Big Red. 16 April 2021

Harry and Nancy’s two eaglets on the MN DNR Bald Eagle nest are doing fantastic. They are the cutest balls of dark grey down. Gosh. It is hard to imagine that everyone was worried that Harry wouldn’t come through feeding and hunting but he did.

Little cuties are really growing. MN DNR Bald Eagle nest. 16 April 2021

Curious but afraid of heights. Just don’t get any closer, little one!

16 April 2021. MN DNR Bald Eagle Nest

It is late Friday night, the 16th of April. Wonder what will happen in Bird World tomorrow? will Aila show up at the Loch Arkaig nest and make Louis happy? will the visitor return to Iris’s nest? Join me in ‘As the Nest Turns’. Take care!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: MN DNR, Achieva Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Red Tail Hawk Cam, Farmer Derek, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Cornell Lab and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest. I would also like to thank Dennis Becht and the Trio Lovers FB group for the images of Starr, Valor I and II.

Second Hatch for Savannah (in pictures) and Tiny Tot update

There was a wee bit of a pip overnight at The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island near Savannah. At 3:45am the second hatch pulled itself out of the egg. By breakfast time, the little one was dry and ready to go!

No training necessary. Stand up at the rim of the egg cup near mom and open your mouth. 2 caught on quickly.

There is one more egg to hatch on this Osprey nest. Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps these two will not feel the hungry that starts the food competition and they will go big and strong.

Back at the Achieva Osprey Nest, a fourth fish landed at 5:22:37. It is a big bony one. Of course, 1 and 2 are eating but surely there will be food for Tiny Tot if Dad doesn’t come and take this fish off the nest!

The fish arrives. Already 2 has Tiny Tot in the corner.

2 wants to make sure that Tiny Tot knows it is not welcome to eat. And look at that crop 2 has from the first three fish.

Never mind. Tiny Tot is watching and making its way around.

At 6:13:59, Diane, the mother, leaves Tiny crying for food by the rim and walks across the nest to pick up a fish tail to eat. She has to be as hungry as Tiny is! Tiny Tot has been chewing on the bones – self-feeding if you like – but not enough meat there to matter.

Tiny Tot blasted to Diane at 6:14:34 and Diane pulls on the end of the bone and tail. By 6:15:49 there was nothing there. Tiny Tot got on a little bit of food, but Diane is also hungry. The others are too full and sleeping. If Diane is that hungry can we count on another fish for her and Tiny? or would she eat off the nest?

Even when there is only a scrap left, 2 continues to try and keep Tiny Tot away from any food, however small. Diane was back pulling the flesh off of a piece of bone and Tiny thinks he might get a morsel. 2 wakes up to stop him.

It is clear that neither 1 or 2 need any more food. If Diane and Tiny can eat tonight it will be very good for both of them. If another fish does not come until tomorrow morning then the cycle begins again with 1 and 2 hungry. We wait and we hope.

Thank you for checking in today. You get to see the full range of Osprey growth today – the just hatched and those getting ready to fledge. You can sure see the change from the tan wooly coat to the beautiful juvenile plumage.

Thanks to Cornell Labs for the cam at the Savannah Osprey Nest and to the Achieva Credit Union for their cam. Those are the sites where I grabbed my screen shots.

You can always count on Arthur

Big Red, the grand dame of the Red Tail Hawks, whose nest is on the Fernow Light Stand on the Cornell Campus at Ithaca, New York lost her long time mate, Ezra, in March 2017. She had many suitors who were put through the rigours to find out if they were good providers and devoted so that their chicks would grow and thrive. Big Red chose Arthur. All of the humans thought that Big Red had ‘lost her mind’ in selecting such a young male to be her companion.

Big Red hatched somewhere near Brooktondale, New York, in 2003. She received her leg band on 7 October 2003 in Brooktondale. I have yet to find out the name of the bander. In 2017, Big Red was fourteen years old. Arthur, who had been born in an adjacent territory and who was known by some as ‘Wink’, was born in 2016. When he arrived checking on the Fernow Nest, he was only a year old and did not have his red tail feathers. He caught Big Red’s attention and by the fall they had totally bonded and were fixing up the nest for the coming breeding season in 2018. Big Red could not have chosen a better mate!

In the image below, Arthur has delivered prey to the nest so that Big Red can go and eat and he can take over the incubation duties of their three eggs. This was last evening.

13 April 2021

While Ezra was known as the squirrelinator, Arthur is known for capturing more chipmunks. Hence, he is often called the chippyinator. However, Arthur is like a jet plane when it comes to hunting. Rumour has it that he has flown onto someone’s porch to get a squirrel! So maybe Arthur is both squirrelinator and chippyinator!

In the image below, Arthur is delivering a Robin to Big Red as she incubates the eggs in one of Ithaca’s snowstorms. It was the day she laid her third egg of the 2021 season.

1 April 2021

The images below are from last year. The Js have hatched. How can you tell? Look at all the prey around the nest. Arthur will bring in so much that Big Red can line the nest bowl with fur! I am serious. No one on this nest is going hungry.

6 May 2020

Arthur has found a nest of goslings and thought Big Red might like one for dinner.

6 May 2020

Unlike other raptors, hawks will only eat road kill if there is a food shortage. On occasion, Arthur has brought in live prey to the nest. Some believe this is a teaching lesson for the nestlings.

Of course, people that watch hawk nests have a strange habit of trying to identify prey or making up names such as ‘Dunkin’ Chipmunks’ or ‘Chocolate Chippie Cookies with a Squirrel Glaze’. All kidding aside, researchers watch what prey is brought into the nest and the amounts. A typical Red-Tail hawk diet consists of 68% mammal, 17.5% other birds, 7% reptiles/amphibians/snakes and 3.2% invertebrates. Those amounts come from research by Johnsgard in 1990 but those observing the Cornell nest say that they still apply, for the most part. In 2020 with the pandemic, there was a proliferation of chipmunks. It is believed that the lack of cars killing chipmunks on the road helped with this along with just not having people around.

In April of 2018, Ferris Akel caught Arthur eating a skunk:

The same researchers have tested prey for its caloric/protein/fat/cholestrol components. Did you know that 3.6 ounces of raw pigeon has 294 calories compared to the same amount of squirrel which has only 120 calories?

From the prey delivery reports, it was established that nearly .7 more prey was delivered in 2020 compared to 2016, 2018 and 2019. That is an enormous difference. None of it was wasted, everything was eaten. The factor that changed – the pandemic. Arthur was able to freely hunt all over the campus. There were hardly any people or cars to contend with. The more food the healthier the chicks are. Even feather growth can indicate when a bird was hungry. Also, the longer the eyasses stay on the nest the better their survival rates in the wild.

Big Red laid three eggs for the 2021 season. The first was on 26 March followed by 29 March and 1 April. Red-tail hawks generally incubate their eggs for 28-35 days. Big Red’s incubation periods have ranged from 38 to 41 days. Still, by the 28th of April all eyes will be on that nest! The Ks are coming. Yippeee.

Why do I mention all of this? There is no doubt that Arthur is a devoted mate. When it is time to fix up the nest, work on the nest bowl, incubate the eggs, provide prey for Big Red and then for her and the eyasses, Arthur is right there! You know the other ones that I wish were like Arthur if you read my blog. I will leave it at that. Can you hear me growling at them?

You can watch the life streaming of this nest here:

In other news, the three chicks on the Achieva Osprey nest are waiting for food. Yesterday Diane, the female, delivered many fish and Tiny Tot finally got a good feed very late in the day. As I write this it is 3pm and no food has come to the nest. The mother is not calling for food and the male touched down for only a few minutes around noon. There is something wrong at this nest today. It is extremely hot there, over 30 near the nest. Hopefully if it is the heat food will come in. Tiny was well fed but he needs to eat less more often still. The fish also provides the hydration. I wish the wildlife laws allowed for the care in these situations.

Louis is still waiting for Aila to arrive at the Loch Arkaig nest and Iris continues to bring in twigs and branches for her nest at Hellsgate. One of the members of the FB group had a really good take on Iris. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she will not be able to raise chicks if Louis repeats his behaviour, we should be happy that she can enjoy her summer vacation without the burden of care for little ones and the toll it takes on one’s body. What a positive way of looking at this. Maybe I should be thanking you Louis for just being Louis. Iris has fledged at least 30-40 chicks or more – she does deserve a break to stay healthy.

You can watch Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey Nest cam:

And you can watch Louis wait for the arrival of Aila here:

Thank you so much for joining me today. I wish the news was better on the Achieva Nest. We can hope that it is only the heat. Still the little one needs to eat more often. Take care and keep watching the nests!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Woodland Trust and People Play Lottery, Cornell Bird Lab – Hellsgate Osprey and Red-Tail Hawk, Ferris Akel, and Achieva Credit Union.