Thursday in Bird World

There are a number of Ospreys named Louis but the one that I am writing about today is the Louis of the Loch Arkaig Osprey Nest. His mate, Aila, did not return from migration this year and there is a new Mrs Louis. Her name is Dorcha. Louis chose not to make their nest on the one that he had shared with Aila. As a result, news of Louis and Dorcha comes from those who have access to see the nest. Today’s news is from the person who ringed the chicks. They report there are two healthy 4-5 week old nestlings. How grand. Louis is a fabulous dad – he even went fishing at night for Aila and the three chicks last year.

I am doing a bit of nest hopping. For whatever reason I am unable to access the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. Others are having difficulties too but some seem to have some success. It is, of course, slightly frustrating because this is the nest of Tiny Little!

The eaglet on the Bucovina, Romanian Golden Eagle nest is hungry. Yesterday he only had a small bird and a bone. There seem to be days of bounty and then not much of anything on this nest. Is there enough prey? how far to the parents have to travel? are both parents still delivering food for the baby? For many this is the haunting memory of Spilve and Klints last year. The young Golden Eaglet cannot live on a little bird. Zenit is a beautiful bird and it will not be long til fledge. Let us all hope that Zenit gets a large prey drop today.

Zenit saw his reflection in the camera for the first time yesterday. It is so cute when they do this – the reactions to seeing another bird like them! Lady Hawk caught this precious interaction.

Wishes come true! I checked on Zenit just a minute ago and Zenit has an enormous crop! Looks like he swallowed a softball.

Scrolling back, Zenit’s mother came in to feed him. This was at 14:12. It also appears that a bird delivery was made around 17:00. It is not clear what the mother brought but as you can see above, Zenit has a very large crop and this is a good thing. It remains unclear to me how much prey there is in the area. Let us all hope it is good!

When the Royal Albatross chick was weighed on Tuesday (NZ time), she had dropped from 8.2 kg to 8.0. The rangers were monitoring Taiki’s weight and were considering whether or not she needed a supplementary feeding. Perhaps that won’t be necessary after today because her mother Lime-Green-Lime flew in for two feedings and her dad, Lime-Green-Black was there for one. Three feedings in a single day at 9:58 (LGL), 13:57 (LGK), and LGL arrives twenty minutes after LGK departed at 14:17. These were quick in and outs but it looked like Taiki got a lot of food.

LGL is so happy to see her daughter. Taiki would like her mum to dispense with all the formalities – the sky calls, the welcome – but LGL will insist. Her daughter needs to learn all of these and imprint them in her mind. Taiki will fledge in mid-September. She will not return to land for 4-6 years. At that time she will do a skycall just like Mum is doing now. Can you imagine being at sea and never stepping foot on land for that long?

Taiki is so excited to have a parent come in for breakfast.

LGK saunters in after Taiki has had her breakfast and is ready to feed her lunch at 13:57. It always looks like the adults have difficulty walking – and maybe they do if the chicks are digging holes and building play nests everywhere. Here comes dad!

It is so interesting that these little Albies stay put on their nest without moving about so much (at least at this stage). LGK does several sky calls but Taiki just wants food!

Taiki settles down to work on her play nest after LGK leaves and gets dirt all over her beak. It sure doesn’t matter. Look at how beautiful she is.

This is LGL’s second visit to feed her daughter. Taiki is so excited to see her again. I wonder if she told mum that she just missed dad? LGL does several skycalls when she greets her daughter.

The baby down is falling off and revealing a beautiful pattern on the back of Taiki.

LGL always looks like she is smiling.

Taiki must be about to pop after three big feedings! LGL must be fishing near to Taiaroa Head as she is returning so often. Taiki is lucky.

It was a golden morning on the Loch of the Lowes. No one was on the nest- they were all out flying and learning to fish. There are some trees around the nest that are apparently good perches for the birds. What a beautiful place. It looks so tranquil —- and safe for Ospreys.

It was just as beautiful at Mlady Buky in Czechoslovakia this morning. There is a mist, low lying clouds, or a fog hugging the mountains. The three storklings are on the nest. Everything is so quiet – you can almost hear the stillness.

Father Stork arrives at 6:19 with breakfast for the three almost fledging storklings.

The three continue to find small morsels on the nest after the frenzy when dad arrives.

The feeding gives them energy. The sun is up and they are warm and two are flapping madly on the nest.

The female is really covering the nest and moving her wings. She was getting some lift this morning as well. Father Stork and the people of Mlady Buky have done well. After the loss of the female, it has been simply a miracle to watch these three thrive. In a way, the people of the community stepped in and took over when supplementary feeding was necessary – just like the New Zealand Department of Conservation rangers.

Sadly, there is no one stepping in for Zenit if it is needed. I wonder if the people who operate the camera would consider setting up a food table if it were needed?

My goodness. Blue 022, the two year old who returned from his migration and stopped off at the Poole Harbour nest of CJ7, is so enthusiastic. He has been helping fix up the nest and has even provided fish for CJ7. He has also been seen ‘sky dancing’ on several occasions. This morning was no exception!

They make such a lovely couple. Oh, goodness. Everyone is already crossing their fingers and toes that these two return from their migration safely. The months will not pass quickly enough. Imagine – no chicks born in this area of England in 200 years! Incredible. There will be lots of celebrating!

Dylan and Seren are both on the nest at 7am watching and waiting for Only Bob to come and have some breakfast. He loves to go and fly often landing on the camera stand. It is so different when they fledge – at first babies always on the nest and hungry and then parents having to wait with food as they fly about.

Kindness is getting her legs stronger every day. She is standing straight and walking some on the nest. She is certainly growing fast – an advantage to being the only chick on the nest.

Kindness loves to do kissey-kissey with Mom. It is so funny watching these two.

At the Osprey nest on the Port Lincoln barge, Mom is on the nest and Dad was over on the ropes. Eggs arriving soon.

Oh, it is a bit like a bad joke. The camera at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest just started working. Both 462 and Tiny Little are on the nest. It is around 7am and they are watching for a parent to arrive with breakfast. Look at that nice necklace that Tiny Little has. Interesting. (TL is on the right) They are being kissed by diamond rain from the sun.

And when he wasn’t watching for a delivery, Tiny Little was flapping his wings dreaming of flying.

The more flapping he does the more the last tidbits of baby down disappear. It won’t be long Tiny but you were four days younger than everyone and you were behind in growth. You will get there just like Tiny Tot!

Hopefully that fish arrives! These two are both hungry. And it did. Tiny Little went over and ate some of the remaining fish and Blue 35 comes in and removes what is left (piece at the front) and will fly off with it.

The camera was still on the blink. I just checked and Tiny is fine. It is tea time and both Tiny and big sib are waiting for a delivery. It is so interesting that the big siblings know when to show up for food.

And last but never least, a lovely picture of Aran and Mrs G on the Glaslyn Nest together. This is a beautiful sight. There has been some bonding over the last few days. I was concerned that Aran was not in top form and Z2, Aeron, of the PC nest might want to take over this one. They are being kissed by golden raindrops, too! Mrs G doesn’t look like she is 21 years old, the oldest osprey in the United Kingdom. She is in really good shape. So sad that they lost their three chicks this year. That can cause issues but they seem to be a solid couple.

Thanks for joining me everyone. It is lovely to see the Golden Eaglet doing well today. That nest is a constant worry. And speaking of worry. The comments section on my blog seems to not be working all the time. It is like Tiny Little’s camera. Please feel free to send me an e-mail: maryannsteggles@icloud.com. I know that some of you had concerns and I regret that technology has caused you any worry. For the next while, til things step up in Australia, there may be only one blog per day. I hope to get more local Osprey news for you this coming week.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I grabbed my screen shots: Bucovina Golden Eagle Nest Cam, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Mlady Buky, Port Lincoln Osprey Cam, Glacier Gardens Eagle Cam, Dyfi Osprey Project, Clywedog Opsrey Cam and Carnyx Wild, Byrwd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Poole Harbour Ospreys, and Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes.

A Fun Day with the Ks

As Ferris Akel said this evening – some people think that once Big Red’s kids fledge that is it but, of course, it isn’t. The fun just begins once they fledge. Today, we were treated to K1 and K3 figuring their way out of predicaments and then watching Big Red try to lure them back to the nest with prey. We got a look inside a world that at one time, we might not have even noticed.

K1 left the nest at 13:38 and flew to the Oak trees across Tower Road. Half an hour later, K3 fledged. He wanted to be with his big sister not alone on the nest for another day while she was out having fun.

K3’s fledge had many of us holding our breath. K3 flew towards the Oak tree in front of the Fernow Building where K1 was but, he made a turn, almost hit Bradfield but, instead, clung to the building and fell down. Until K3 was spotted by boots on the ground – and believe me it felt like it took forever to get someone there – we had no idea if the last hatch of Big Red’s 2021 season was dead or alive. Thankfully K3 was fine – probably a little more tired and anxious but no physical injuries. How lucky!

K1 spent much time in the Oak Tree and then decided to do a little tour of the area. Maybe that wasn’t such a smart idea. She wound up hanging on to a thin window ledge on Bradfield – as if she were a moth.

We know it is K1 because of the wide white terminal band and the distinctive six dark bands on her tail. K3 has a ‘muddy’ tail.

She looks rather elegant holding on to the ledge with her talons but it must have been physically tiring. She managed to pull herself up eventually but the ledge was not wide and she was scrambling.

Still, she was able to manoeuvre so that she could fly back to her favourite tree – the Oak tree that she fledged to – her security blanket tree.

Meanwhile, Big Red is over on the light stand taking it all in. She has a perfect line of sight to both K1 and K3. They probably had no idea their mother was ‘watching them like a hawk’.

K3 is somewhere in the Oak Tree. Earlier he had landed on one of the Bradfield ledges and all he wanted to do was get to his big sister, K1 in the Oak Tree. And he did, eventually, get to the tree but she was high above him and his laddering abilities found him going down, even falling down, instead of going up.

Gosh that little K3 is soooooo cute.

K3 wound up on top of the sculpture in front of the Fernow Building.

He flew back into the Oak tree trying to get to his big sister – again!

Big Red decides that it is time to try and lure these kids back to the nest on the Fernow light tower for the night. She has prey and everyone knows that food is a great motivator.

First, Big Red took the prey to the nest. She is hoping that one or both of the Ks will fly over to the nest for a nice meal with mama.

When that didn’t work, Big Red decides to take the prey over near the Ks. Seriously, how could they resist a nice fresh chippie snack?

There she goes. No one ever has to worry that Big Red’s kids will go hungry. They won’t!

Big Red lands on a corner of Bradfield.

Indeed, Big Red flies to various spots around the Fernow lawn trying to entice the two hawklets to come out and eat. She even flies back to the nest to see if they will follow her. Then she returns to the buildings around the treed area of Fernow.

She flew to the top of the Rice Building. Rice is a popular prey drop for Big Red and Arthur and all of this little exercise tonight is a teaching. Big Red is showing them places that will become food drops.

Still no takers. Is it possible these Ks are not hungry?! She flies around some more with the prey in her talons.

Before she gives up, Big Red decides to take the chippie to the tree close to K1. Surely K1 will come for dinner!

Big Red waited. And she waited. In the image above you can see the chippie in Big Red’s talons.

But, after awhile, when it appeared that no one was going to come down and take the chippie, Big Red decides to eat it. Another good lesson – eat the chippie when you have it, don’t wait. Someone else might eat it!

While all of this was going on, Arthur was protecting the territory from one of the light stands while being harassed by a Robin.

As the full moon comes up and lights the night sky, K1 tries to get to the light stand with the nest. She winds up on the wrong one.

K3 remains in the Oak tree where he will have to perch for the night.

Big Red returns to Bradfield where she has a clear sight line to both of her children.

Arthur later flies to Bradfield.

It is a beautiful night. There is a full moon and everyone is settled where they are – like it or not – for the night. One can only imagine that little K3 would love to be in the nest cup sleeping comfortably instead of standing in a tree with all kinds of noises he is not used to. That little one has had a lot to take in today since it fledged!

Good Night Big Red, Good Night Arthur, Good Night K1 and K3. Sweet Hawk Dreams.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is such a joy to watch this family.

Thank you Ferris Akel for your live streaming of the Red tail hawks this evening on the Cornell Campus. That is where I grabbed my screen shots.

Tense Day in Bird World

It has been one of those days. Two things happened that were expected. One was a good expectation that almost turned into a tragedy – and sadly, the other one was the siblicide of one of the chicks on the Cowlitz Osprey Nest in Longview, Washington.

K3 fledged from the Fernow Light Tower at 13:42. K3 is 49 days old and is a tiny little hawklet standing at just a little less than 30 cm (12 inches) tall. The flight was dramatic. K1 had been visiting the nest. Indeed, the K1 had spent the night on the nest with her little brother, K3. They were sooooo cute.

K1 is a great big hawklet – a big female and a cute tiny little male. K1 flew over to the Oak Tree where she had fledged yesterday at 13:38. I don’t think K3 wanted to be left out of the action that his big sis had described. If you missed it, here is that fledge:

K3 flew around the Oak tree where K1 was, did a turn, and tried to grab onto Bradfield and missed. But he was not injured and has spent the afternoon exploring the ledges and being dive bombed by Robins.

Here is an image of K3 after fledging taken from the nest cam:

K3 has even had a rest. Meanwhile K1 flew back to the nest where a chippie was dropped off for a tea time snack.

After all the stress I thought that I should just follow it up with a check on Tiny Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss Nest. There are three chicks on that nest and Great Big Bob is a bully. It was not certain that Tiny Little Bob would survive but it seems like he will. Fingers continue to be crossed. The older and bigger that Tiny Little gets the more chance he has.

When I turned on the nest cam the chicks were looking around and you just knew something was happening. They were looking around everywhere. Mom landed on the nest followed by White YW, Dad, with a Flounder!

Here is that video clip of the arrival of that fish:

Tiny Little was not comfortable eating first as you can see and then Tiny Little Bob realized that Great Big Bob wasn’t pushing for food so Tiny Little went for it. He ate for about 4 or 5 minutes without stopping. You could tell he kept wanting Blue 35 to hurry up before Great Big got hungry!

Great Big and Middle let Tiny Little go first.

Seeing Tiny Little eat made me feel really good but, of course, I am still uneasy about the size difference between Great Big and Tiny Little. I needed one of those feel good moments and that sent me checking on Richmond and Rosie. Richmond and Rosie are the equivalent of going over to check on the Royal Cam chick in New Zealand. You just know before you look that everything will be alright.

Richmond and Rosie had three boys this year. Gosh, there are a lot of male ospreys being born! I also wanted to see what names were selected for the trio. There they are on the natal nest on the historic Whirley Crane on the Richmond Shipping Yards. The third chick is on the other side of Rosie.

The Golden Gate Osprey FB – the SF Bay Ospreys – posted the image below with pictures of the boys, their ring numbers, and their names. Over 700 people voted. That is pretty amazing. Now look at the beautiful necklaces on those boys! Don’t let anyone tell you that only female ospreys have necklaces. 022 on the Poole Harbour nest has one of the best necklaces I have ever seen! And look here at Sage.

Richmond and Rosie always make me feel good. They are a stable couple with a male who provides well for his mate and children. There is never the issues of sibling rivalry and siblicide as we have seen on the Cowlitz Nest. It is refreshing and calming.

Jack brought Tiny Tot a fish at tea time so everything is all right with the world on the Achieva Osprey Nest. Oh, Tiny has grown into such a beautiful bird and a great protector of the realm. Who ever would have believed this in March? A whole lot of love went out to this third hatch – so many people wanted 3 to survive and well…just look!

There is Tiny mantling really big and tight! S/he wants that fish. Thanks, Jack!

Thanks for joining me today. Looks like it could be a stormy evening on the Canadian prairies. Take care everyone. Be safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my video clips and screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, and the Cornell Bird Lab and RTH.

K1 fledges and K2 is rescued

This morning on the Red tail hawk nest on the Fernow Light Box in Ithaca, New York, the first hatch of 2021, K1, fledged. It was one of the best leaps of faith I have seen in a long time. That happened at 8:27:31.

No sooner than K1 had fledged than the team from the Cornell Bird Lab went up in a bucket truck to rescue K2. Indeed, the fledging of K1 was perfect as the staff had decided that K2’s health was not improving and they needed to take her into care.

Here is the official video of that rescue:

Watch the reaction of K3 at the end! This went so smoothly. No falthy fledge from K3. Thank you everyone!

K3 just teased everyone. We are told that Big Red and Arthur’s kids fledge before noon or after 4pm. They like their afternoon siesta and K3 was no exception. He taunted the camera operator into thinking he was going to go and then would lay down and have a rest!

There was a lot of scratching about on the ledge above and K3 was listening and watching everything.

Despite settling down rather comfortably in that egg cup – seriously K3 rubbed its breast just like Big Red does when she is incubating or brooding – K3 knew someone was about.

Guess who it was? K1. K1 flew back to the nest to join K3. Fabulous effort.

They had diamonds sparkling all around them. You can just imagine K1 telling K3 how much fun it is to fly and showing him the landing spot he is going to take in the morning.

One of the most fun things that the fledglings do is play soccer with the pinecones. It really helps them with strengthening their grip – who said you had to go to a gym!!! Talon strengthening for prey. Amazing.

Hopefully tomorrow K1 and K3 will be out having fun over on the Fernow Lawn across the street and flying to the top of Rice to get prey drops from Big Red and Arthur.

Thank you for popping in. I knew you would enjoy seeing K2 getting rescued. The poor little thing. She was just too sick to put up any fight. Let us all send warm wishes for a quick recovery.

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

Wednesday in Bird World

The rain is pouring down and it is so welcome. Thunder and lighting have sent the family cat scurrying off to her ‘tent’. The smell and the sound of the rain are a delight and the greens in the garden seem to have come alive. I cannot remember when last we had downpours like this. One of my friends in Regina, Saskatchewan says it has been four years for them.

Years ago I remember standing in the street in Chennai, South India. The skies opened up on the first day of the monsoon. It was around 4pm. People were dancing and raising their arms singing and shouting. It was a beautiful experience. Rain is certainly a gift.

A good friend of mine that lives south of the East Kootenays, at the base of the Purcell Mtns, wrote to me yesterday to tell me about the drought in their area. They have been warned that the wildfires in their area of British Columbia will be worse this year and already the creek beds are drying up and people are not able to find water when they try to drill wells. How sad. I wish I could share this downpour with her.

Today I went and checked on the tiny little third hatch at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of White YW and Blue 35. The little one has been treated very aggressively by both of its older siblings. Today, it waited til they had eaten and then went up to get some fish. Many of you know that I cheer these little third hatches on with all the might I have – and I know that hundreds, if not thousands more, send them positive energy and love. If they survive, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest is recent proof of what can happen when a third hatch is almost starved to death and survives. They become ‘street’ smart – so to speak. They refuse to take abuse. They learn how to fight. They are clever and they are not afraid to eat left over pieces of dry fish found in a nest to survive. Tiny Tot remains on the Achieva Osprey Nest and it is wonderful to see him.

Roy Dennis in his book, The Life of Ospreys, suggests sketching the plumage on the head and neck, particularly around the eye of these unringed birds. It can help in future identification. Believe me when I say that I hope that Tiny Tot takes over this nest he has so valiantly defended – and why not? I don’t even know why he should leave. There is no rule book that says he has to. And since Florida is a year round home for the Ospreys he doesn’t have to migrate – it is his instinctual choice.

Tiny Tot sleeping on the perch ready to defend his nest if any intruder comes in the morning.

But back to these little ones. Tiny Tot did survive and the wee Bob at the Foulshaw Moss, with its sore eye from the others pecking it, has learned to wait. Here he is. He has a crop from the last feed but he is going to go up and get some more. He has stayed away til the big ones were fed and have quieted down. He may only get the food left towards the tail but he will not get walloped by the others. He needs to learn to protect himself and it looks like he is figuring that out. Well done you.

Look at the size of those other siblings! Bob 3 is hardly the size of their wing.

If you know of any third hatches who have survived aggressive treatment and gone on to fledge, please do send me a note. I am collecting information on them. Of course, on my list are Tiny Tot, Z1 Tegid of the White Egg, and JJ7 Captain (who had amazing parents and did not get the treatment that Tiny or this one on Foulshaw Moss has received). It will be interesting to see their survival rate at the age of 2 moving forward. Z1 already has its own nest in Wales for the second year of breeding. His believed to be more survivable sister died shortly after fledging. Go figure. So thank you. There are so many nests and such a history I welcome any that come to your mind. Thanks so much!

Indeed, for awhile, I thought that the second Bob on the Loch of the Lowes nest was going to suffer but Laddie seems to have kept the fish coming and NC0 has grown into being a great mother. They are both doing well.

Here is Laddie flying in with a delivery.

Here is Laddie still on the nest after delivering a fish and NC0 feeding both of the Bobs. Bob 2 is still small compared to Bob One but they are both getting their beautiful curved juvenile feathers rimmed in white. Look at those cute little tails and the blood feathers coming in on their wings. This nest at the Loch of the Lowes is really a delight to watch – and such a beautiful landscape!

It has been a really nice day in Scotland and in southern England but it is raining in Wales.

Blue 5F Seren is keeping her wee Bob warm and dry.

A lonely fish waits at the Glaslyn Nest for Aran or Mrs G to come and fetch it (or an intruder).

Over in Storkland, the three White Storks in Czechoslovakia continue to grow and do well. Every morning I wake up and smile because of the kindness of this community. I wish it were everywhere!

Everyone is doing really well at the Red tail Hawk Nest of Big Red and Arthur. Arthur made a prey drop this morning. The two older siblings ate off of it and then Big Red flew in and fed little K3.

Yesterday Big Red spent a lot of time on the fledge ledge and the fledge post. She will continue to do this showing the Ks where is the best place to take that leap of faith. Big Red is an amazing mother. I honestly don’t know how she keeps it up encased in ice and snow, soaked to the bone with rain, loving each and every chick!

Thank you so very much for joining me today. It is a wonderful day because of the rain! And it warms my heart to see the tiny little one at Foulshaw Moss still alive. I hope that everyone is well. Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thank you so much to the following who have streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Carnyx Wildlife, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Trust, Foulshaw Moss and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Achieva Osprey, Mlady Buky, and the Llyn Clywedog Osprey Project.

Leaving you with a lovely image of Tiny Tot. I have a collection of these noting the distinguishing markings of this beautiful Osprey. He will not be ringed so hopefully these marks and his behaviour will always help us to identify him.

Big Red, Arthur, and the Ks

It’s Monday. What in the world can happen in Bird World on a Monday? So I was thinking yesterday as I was watching Big Red and the Ks that an update on their progress would be good today. However, I woke up to a request in my neighborhood newsletter for support in stopping our public utility company, Manitoba Hydro, from clear cutting 12-15 ft around their poles at a local park. The reason was clear: there is an active hawk nest in the trees with little ones on their way to fledging. So everyone got busy in the ‘bird’ community in my city and for now, the clear-cutting is on pause. It is the Sandra Crowson Park in East Fort Garry. If you read this and you live in Winnipeg – or elsewhere – send Manitoba Hydro and the Mayor’s Office a note! According to one of the long standing birders in our community, this was also done in Windsor Park in our City. Another woman noted that local arborists are known to cut down trees and put the nests, eggs, and birds into the chipper. I have not seen that but if it happens it is all against the 1918 Migratory Bird Act that is signed by Canada, the US, and Mexico. If you know of such actions, let me know. They can do their trimming after the birds leave – there is still time. Note that I use the word ‘trimming’. Clear cutting that much of an area around hydro poles would mean destroying unnecessarily trees – when our City is promoting the planting of 1 million trees this summer. I wonder if they take off the ones they cut from the ones planted. I doubt it. ——— So for now the hawks and their nest are safe.

So what is going on with Big Red and the Ks? And what do the Ks do when mom is not on the nest. Big Red spends an inordinate amount of time incubating eggs and then staying on the nest when the chicks are smaller. Now that they are being encouraged to self-feed and as we approach fledge she is spending less time on the nest during the day. Here she is taking a break today on the light tower. She is never far away from the nest and, indeed, with their ‘hawk’ vision, the Ks can often see her from the nest.

Let’s have a look.

Sometimes the Ks are little mother hawks and they preen one another just like Big Red preens them. Did you know that birds spend approximately 70% of their time conditioning their feathers? Why do birds preen? Well, the little one poking around the head and ear of its sibling is looking for dirt and parasites. You see they cannot readily see their own head to do this. They also preen to align their feathers, they repair feathers by rehooking the barb hooks on the feathers and applying oil to condition and waterproof their feathers.

In birds, the uropygial gland (preen gland) is located at the base of the tail. The oil from the uropygial or preen gland reinforces or conditions the surface of their feathers. The oils change composition during the year – just like the oil you put in your car is different from summer to winter. The oil that the hawks spread on their feathers when they are preening contains vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Redtail hawk adults do an incomplete moult annually. They do not do this all at once. It would be too much stress on their system. In fact, Big Red turns into a blond during the moulting period.

They practice their self feeding but it is still so nice to have Mom break up the prey and feed the little ones.

The Ks are entering their running, jumping, and flapping period. Look at those gorgeous legs. This is one beautiful bird with all that peach and red. I hope she is a glorious dark red like Big Red.

Sometimes Big Red and Arthur get up on the higher rails and the little ones can see them. Now look at the little baby standing up, K3. Talk about peach on the chest and a gorgeous red feathered apron. This one might look like Big Red for sure! We still need some feathers to cover up those ears and this one will also be getting some head feathers. The ear feathers generally come in first.

When these three fledge in a few weeks time, their wing and tail feathers will be the longest they will ever be – longer than Big Red and Arthur. When they first moult, they will return to normal size. The longer length helps them to fly easier. The juveniles will have their first moult in the spring of 2022 and continue moulting to the early fall replacing P1-7.

This diagram will show you those primary wing feather locations:

Besides working on their feathers, they also spend a lot of time looking around at their environment. I wonder what they think of all the PS they have splattered on those boxes? Or are they just admiring their art work?

Sometimes they will spot Big Red if she flies to the top of the light box where the nest is located.

They also spend a lot of time watching people and cars on the Cornell University Campus. Remember – they are on a nest about 20 metres off the ground. They have a really good view.

Sometimes they see their mom arriving. They must think she is so beautiful. But no food this time Ks. Mom is returning from having some time alone. Dad will be out hunting.

Oh, mom. Don’t jump on me, jump on K1 please!

K1 hatched on the 2nd of May. 46 days is average for Big Red’s eyases but some wait till 48 and last year it was longer. So…for K1 today is 36 days. That means 10-14 days to fledge. These little ones need to grow more feathers in their wings and tails and we will see some changes in Big Red’s behaviour as fledging approaches. One good sign is when she no longer spends the night in the nest with the Ks.

Thank you so much for joining me today. If you hear of tree clear cutting near you and bird nests, please get in touch with everyone you can think of who is responsible. All birds but house sparrows, pigeons, and Starlings are protected under the 1918 North American Migratory Bird Treaty. Take care!

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and their streaming cam on the Cornell campus at Ithaca. That is where I grabbed my screenshots.

Tiny Tot scraps again – and other nest news, late Tuesday edition

So far Tiny Tot, the youngest juvenile on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida, has not had any fish but he has battled an adult intruder and later this afternoon, there was another juvenile on the nest. Tiny Tot did not like that. It definitely wasn’t sibling #2 but it could have been sibling #1 – now that would be a surprise with her gone for so long after fledging. If it was sibling #1 she might have been shocked by her little brother. Tiny didn’t cower in the corner like she might remember – nope. He went full frontal attack mode. Being really hungry helps and it is 31 degrees in St Petersburg and it is hard to fight if you are thirsty and hungry.

At 5:00:18 the other juvenile lands on the nest.

Tiny appears not recognize the bird that landed. Tiny goes into attack mode.

Then, Jack flies in with a fish at 5:47:51 which should have been for Tiny Tot since sibling #2 took the previous fish. That seems to be Tiny’s thinking, too.

The other bird holds its head down in submission.

Jack flies in and delivers a fish at 5:47:51.

The minute Jack lands on the nest there is a scramble for that fish. The stranger juvenile (or sibling #1) gets its talons in it first. Tiny Tot is hungry and he has been battling an adult intruder all morning, he wants that fish.

Tiny opens his wings and covers up the other bird that has the fish and they begin this kind of 360 dance around the nest.

Tiny forces the other bird lower onto the nest. Tiny looks like he is biting the other bird but he actually has his beak in the fish. They will do a series of tug of wars.

Then Tiny pins the other bird down. He goes for its head!

Tiny Tot is doing everything he can to get that fish. He is surely not afraid and if this is sibling #1, I don’t think she ever would have thought Tiny Tot would come after her with this level of aggression. Remember. Tiny Tot is hot, tired, fed up, and most of all hungry!

Tiny is standing over the other bird trying to get the fish. The stranger juvenile is flat down on the nest covering that food.

More tugging at the fish.

Tiny Tot must have learned a lot with that adult Osprey fighting him. Here Tiny Tot is climbing onto the back of the other bird who remains flat down on the nest. You might recall that the adult intruder did that to Tiny the first time they had a confrontation. Today, Tiny Tot sent that adult packing. He has confidence and that confidence is growing.

He continues grabbing at the bird and/or the fish.

Tiny lets up and the other bird moves to the rim of the nest.

Tiny Tot is on its back!

After two minutes of fighting – yes, that is all this was – Tiny Tot is tired. He grabs at the other bird and it flies off the nest.

The other bird has the fish and flies around to land on the perch to eat it. Gosh, I wonder if this is sibling #1. Despite Tiny Tot not getting the fish, he has demonstrated that he can defend himself. He is growing more confident every day – something that will help him trying to survive off the nest.

If it was sibling #1 that is good – it means that it has survived and that would be simply grand.

I am still hoping Tiny Tot will get a fish as a reward for all his effort today! And if he doesn’t, I sure wouldn’t want to be another bird on that nest tomorrow when Jack delivers the morning fish drop.

Big Red and Arthur’s Ks are growing. K1 is getting interested in pecking at the prey that is now being left on the nest. Of course, that is the purpose. Get the Ks to start self feeding!

Aren’t they cute? Even K3 is getting its feathers but those ears are still not covered!

Laddie made several deliveries today. In fact, every time I stopped to check in on the Loch of the Lowes nest the Bobs were almost always eating. Here they are under NC0 waiting for a delivery.

Laddies brings in some perch and some trout today. I doubt if the Bobs care – they just want to eat. Big Bob is on the left – see the peach. Little Bob is on the right. They are both growing fast with all this eating.

After that feeding, Little Bob had a nice big crop. He’s looking up to say hi to everyone and show them.

Laddie has perfect timing. He arrives with a fish for NC0 right at dusk so she can have full babies sleeping soundly all night. Fantastic.

And every day they get better at eating and her at feeding.

Everyone’s tummies are full – the Two Bobs and NC0. Sleep well everyone!

Idris brings in a huge flounder to the Dyfi Nest in Wales. Telyn is delighted! Idris is one of those great fishers but he also likes to feed his Bobs, too. Great guy!

I wonder if the Two Bobs are going to wake up for their fish?

Ah, Little Bob did. Feed me, Dad!

Telyn decides that she is going to take charge of this feeding. Little Bob moves away from asking Idris over to Mom!

Later on, Idris catches a whale of a Flounder. He is eating his portion on the perch. Telyn is fish calling. I think she likes flounder! Idris promptly acknowledges and heads to the nest with the fish.

Here he comes flounder in tow.

Idris loves any chance to check on his babies. He is quite the dad.

Ah, they are both awake and up there. The oldest is starting to get that pink sheen on its head and neck meaning feathers are coming in. Little Bob still has his soft grey down.

Tummies are all full and there is lots of flounder left for tomorrow. Telyn looks down lovingly at her babies as they fall asleep.

Dylan was busy delivering fish, too, to Seren and the Little Bob. Right at dusk, just like he should, he shows up with a nice perch for the last meal of the day. That little one on the Clywedog Nest is going to be pampered and spoiled. It looks like the other two eggs are duds – and that is just fine. Best one healthy chick.

Dylan stays awhile so he can see his little chick.

That little one is growing fast. Look at it standing up so straight reading for some of that lovely Perch. Good Night Llyn Clywedog!

Other nest news: Wek-Wek fledged so all three of Annie and Grinnell’s chicks have fledged now. Fauci came in to be fed by Annie today, too. Nice. At the Cowlitz Nest of Electra and Wadsworth, it seems that Wadsworth delivered at least two fish. Maybe I will start watching that nest after all! This would surely be a nice turn around. Everything on all the other nests seems to be just fine. The two on the Savannah Osprey Nest at The Landings on Skidaway Island are beautiful and growing like crazy. The Pittsburg Hayes eaglets are jumping up and down and really wanting to take off. And, I haven’t mentioned them lately but the three eaglets at The Trio Love Nest of Starr, Valor I and II are now leaping high in the air. How lovely.

Thanks for joining me. Stay cool. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, Dyfi Osprey Project, Clywedog and Carnyx Wild, and the Cornell Lab RTH.

Wednesday up and downs in Bird World

Wednesday started off with the sudden death of EE2 at the White-tail Eagle Nest in Estonia. The little one was up, bright and cheery at 4:04 and then gone. There has been a lot of speculation. A heat wave went through the area with temperatures doing from 1 to 26 degrees C in a day. Those dramatic changes can put stress on wildlife. Eve and Eerik had plenty of food and the eaglets were, as far as I could tell, growing and filling up the egg cup. Yes, there could have been a toxin and for sure, everyone has been watching EE1 closely. It could also have been a tragic accident of some sort. We won’t know because the body of the little one will not be taken – so I am going to stop speculating myself and hope that EE1 thrives and fledges. EE1 was fed five times between 13:22 and 19:14 and appears healthy.

The three eyases of Annie And Grinnell were banded today. The chick on the left has been banded. The one whose wings are back and looks totally frightened is just getting ready to be banded. It looks a little frightened.

The eyases receive two bands. One is metal and has a 9 digit aluminum band. There is a second coloured band with four digits that is unique to Peregrine Falcons in the SF Bay region. No gloves are used in the banding process so that the banders can handle the birds safely. Banding helps with studies in survival and movement. It does not hurt the birds.

The three are all males.

The banding was an on line event with two people from the centre answering questions as they discussed the process. You can see the whole procedure here and listen to the questions being answered:

Can you tell which of the two ospreys on the nest is Tiny Tot?

Oh, my, that bird has grown! Someone looking over my shoulder said, ‘The one with the beard!’ Well, if those feathers were smoothed down, it sure would be hard to pick Tiny out because Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Tiny Tot needs to grow some more feathers for flight. Look at sibling #2 at the back. See the length of the wing tip feathers? And the next layer? It would be really good if Tiny got all that feather growth before setting out on its own. Hopefully Tiny will hang around the nest, as #2 has done, to get some more flight training and to let the parents, Jack and Diane, feed it.

Sibling #2 is on the perch post eating a fish and Tiny Tot has just acquired the 3:47 pm fish delivery. No doubt s/he is going to be really full! Look at the size of that fish!

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are doing fine. K3 really is a corker. Poor thing. I watched it yesterday when it got behind siblings 1 and 2 and wasn’t getting any bites. Oh, that little one – not scared at all – pecked at that big sib. I was rolling with laughter. It was like a comedy routine. Early this morning, for the first feeding, K3 was up front. It takes a few days to figure out the strategy but those little ones have spunk and drive. No one needs to worry about getting fed on Big Red’s nest!

This nest has a lot of different food items for the Ks. Believe it or not, at this age, they are already imprinting those birds and mammals so that when they are older, they will know that it is OK to eat them. The eyases have to pack a lot of knowledge into a few short months.

Big Red goes off for a break. It is a nice warm day. Arthur delivers a grey squirrel and then returns with a Starling! Everything is fine on the nest of the Ks.

I did a quick check on the little osplets on the Savannah nest. They had nice crops – both of them – around 13:30 – left over from the earlier feeding.

The second sibling is getting a nice feed from mom. That is nice to see. There remains some rivalry that can be unpleasant at times.

The image below was taken yesterday, 11 May. It is Iris and for those of you who do not know, Iris got her name from the specks in her right eye. You can see them clearly below. So, even without any band, everyone knows that this is Iris!

Iris did not incubate the eggs in the nest last night nor did she spend the night on the perch. In fact, she left her nest in good time to go and get herself a good fish dinner and did not return until this morning.

Iris had a nice fish breakfast before heading over to the nest nearby.

Iris returned to the nest at 6:42. She had been away at least twelve hours. Iris is taking care of herself.

As the graduate student at the UC Falcon Cam said today when asked if Annie and Grinnell would remember the banding every year. He said, “Birds have memories.” There is no doubt in my mind that Iris is chained to her hormones during the breeding season. She migrates to Montana and begins working on her nest. She lays eggs regardless or not of mating. She has some urge to incubate them BUT no doubt, over the past four or five years she remembers what has happened. Perhaps she remembers and isn’t caring so much this year? I cannot answer that. Perhaps she knows that both of those eggs are not fertile. ——- I just want to continue to enjoy seeing her. She is an amazing Osprey.

Legacy at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam in Jacksonville was waiting for a food drop this morning.

Isn’t ‘he’ gorgeous? He, you ask. The reasoning is in part because of the ‘flat’ head but more important the mandible – the yellow portion of the beak/mouth does not extend to 90% of the back of the eye. I hope that makes sense. Instead, the bright yellow area below stops almost level with the front of the eye. Take your finger to see – and then notice how much longer it would be if it extended to the back of the eye. Are you a boy, Legacy? Of course, there is never 100% certainty unless a DNA test is taken or you see Legacy lay an egg but, it is a good indicator.

Samson came in with a fish delivery at 2:11:32 and he got out of Legacy’s way fast!

Wow. By 2:31 – twenty minutes later – there is hardly anything left of that fish! Good work, Legacy. You are a pro at self-feeding.

I want to close with a look at a power couple in the Osprey world: Maya and Blue 33 (11). Blue 33 (11) has brought a fish to Maya so she can feed the two Bobs.

There was mention about Blue 33 (11) and this nest at Mantou Bay at Rutland. Tiger Mozone said something very ensightful: “Blue 33 (11) not only wanted the nest but Maya, too.” Right on. As Tiger pointed out, Maya had first been paired with 32 (05) who was shot. Then she was with 5R (04) but he didn’t return in 2014. In 2014, Maya paired with 28 (10) who Tiger calls Wonky Wing – Blue 33 (11) made short shift of him evicting him from the nest. Maya and Blue 33 (11) did not breed that year but they started in 2015 and have since had twenty-one chicks!!!!!!!! Blue 33 (11) knew a good female as well as a good nest.

Look at those healthy Bobs. I cannot think of a better way to end the day than seeing these two strong future ospreys.

Thank you for joining me today. It is nice to have you here with me.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LRWT, NEFlorida Eagle cam and the AEF, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcons, and the Eagle Club of Estonia.

Tuesday Nest Hopping

I watched Legacy this morning. She seemed occupied by what was happening beyond the nest.

Then she moved to another branch and looked out.

She turned back to look at us. Then, Legacy lowered her head, did a ‘ps’, and flew off. It was 11:51:00 on 11 May.

It was a fabulous push off – and whoosh. Legacy left the nest.

There she is leaving the branch and flying out beyond the nest tree – in the two images below. What a gorgeous silhouette.

Notice the wing positions as she goes up and then thrusts forward.

Are Samson and Gabby training her to find prey elsewhere? Will she return?

And here is our answer. At 2:42 Samson coaxes Legacy back to the nest. He flies in and drops a small piece of fish on the nest. Sometimes Samson looks like a cartoon character – I promise you that is really Legacy’s dad standing on the nest! He has the most amazing legs!!!!!!! Almost like skinny jeans.

Here comes Legacy – she messes up her landing and has to fly around and come back on the other side. Meanwhile, Samson waits.

Samson sees Legacy coming and he is out of there. She mantled it and took only a few minutes to eat that small piece of fish.

Legacy was up on her branch looking out over the territory of her parents Samson and Gabby and hoping for another chunk of fish! So glad to see you Legacy.

Across the state of Florida, from Jacksonville and Legacy’s nest to the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St. Petersburg, Diane appears to be giving more advice to Tiny Tot. Is it one of those mother-daughter chats about survival and raising her own chicks?

Oh, I hope that Tiny Tot hangs around the nest for 3 or 4 weeks building up her skills! The research indicates that the more food and the longer on the nest the stronger the possibility is of survival.

Blue 152 (female) and unringed male were still at Loch Arkaig at 16:09. Fingers crossed for a new couple. They are surveying what could be their territory. Looks like Louis might not give them any trouble. He is busy with his new mate since Aila did not return from migration on the other nest. Rumour has it Louis and her have at least one egg on that nest.

This is not the best screen capture, apologies. The female has a very beautiful necklace (she is on the right with the blue band). And look at the difference in eye colour from that of Tiny Tot. Osprey eyes are darker, an amber or orange-yellow, as a juvenile lightening up to a bright yellow as an adult. The female appears to have a bit of a crop – she was crying for a fish this morning – while the male’s seems to be fairly flat. Remember the crop is a pouch under the throat which is part of the bird’s (all raptors but owls) digestive system. I like to think of it as a holding tank. They might find prey one day and get ‘full to the brim’ – both the stomach and the crop bulging – to not have any food for a couple of days. The raptor can ‘crop drop’ – releasing food into the stomach.

The female spent some time rearranging the nest and the pair mated just after 4pm. Now bring your lady a fish!

Boy does he look grumpy. I hope it is just the angle of the camera.

Blue 33 (11) gets his status as super star of the Osprey world for his great devotion to Maya and his chicks. Here he is delivering a nice big one for the evening meal for the ‘Bobs’.

Of course raising 11 chicks in three years (2019, 2020, and this year if the third egg hatches) gives both him and Maya super Osprey status.

Blue 33 (11) is a very devoted dad and often spends time sitting nest to Maya in the nest while she incubates or broods.

Big Red took a break and the Ks all cuddled up together to keep warm. When she returned she had a fresh chippie for lunch. Watching the Ks learn to eat in the midst of a little bonking is fascinating. Big Red is so patient!

You can catch this entire feeding on a video. See if you can tell which K is which.

This morning the Ks were a little disorganized. Look at them five hours later standing still all lined up to eat. K3 knows that being in the front is important. This is more like it. They have dried out more and so has the nest. Almost looks like they have had a bath.

Grinnell was doing a great job feeding the three this afternoon. Those juvenile feathers are really starting to come in. Love the ‘peach’ at the end of the tail.

It is hard to imagine but they will look like Izzi in about a month.

Izzi is such a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon. Here he is at just a little over seven months old – 5 May 2021. Of course, we all want him to stay in his parent’s scrape box but, do they? In a nutshell, Izzi had three fledges – yes, three! One fludge, one that sent him into a window and rehab, and then a fantastic one. Each time he was returned to the scrape box so this parents, Xavier and Diamond, would accept him. But now, maybe he thinks the penthouse apartment on top of the water tower is his!

Look at those eyes. Izzi loves to see his reflection in the camera casing.

Jack brought in a nice fish for Harriet to feed the two osplets on the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in King George County, Virginia. It is nice to see Jack staying on the nest while Harriet feeds the babies. There is one egg lost in the nest that didn’t get incubated and another in the nest cup but from my calculations it is too late for it to hatch. That is probably a very good thing. Look at how big those two are!

I didn’t know if we would ever see Tiger or Lily Rose back on the nest tree in Kansas. And there, at 5:09 am is one of them sitting on a branch hoping for a food delivery. I think it is Lily Rose but I cannot be 100% certain. Bonnie and Clyde will continue to help them until they such time as they are able to catch their own prey – and that won’t be long.

Thank you so very much for dropping in to check on ‘the birds’ today with me. I hope that your day was good and that you are safe and well wherever you are. Tomorrow the Duke Farm eaglets will get banded.

Thank you to the following for their steaming cams. That is where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab, Farmer Derek, Achieva Osprey, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt University at Orange, Australia and the Falcon Project, Woodland Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the LRWT Manton Bay Ospreys.

K3 has hatched and other news in Bird World

All of the Ks at the Red-tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower on the campus of Cornell University have hatched. Big Red and Arthur welcomed K3 sometime in the wee hours of the morning. K3 has its big sibs for bookends today. Arthur is prepared. There is lots of prey of all kinds around the nest. I promise you those furry creatures will grow in dimension to line the nest bowl and fill the pantry at the same time!

K1 is wanting to make sure that the other two siblings know it is the oldest. Big Red has her own way of dealing with this. If the eyasses don’t line up nice and eat quietly, she will sit on them! Normally she feeds the biggest and loudest first but in a week you will begin to see K3 figure out how to get up to the front of the line. So nice to see some sun coming out in Ithaca, NY.

Kistachie, the sole occupant of the Bald Eagle nest in the Kistachie National Forest in Central Louisiana branched this morning. The official time was 6:08:12. Anna and Louis are his parents and he was rewarded with a nice fish from Kincaid Lake.

Boy those talons sure can grip! He is going straight up! Wow
Kisatchie can really climb that straight branch! 6 May 2021
Kisatachie has a nice fish breakfast
Kincaid Lake where Louis fishes

Legacy really enjoyed the squirrel that Samson brought in around 5:30 last evening, 5 May.

Legacy is staying really close to the nest tree but it doesn’t mean she is out of danger. At 6:44:29 this morning Legacy was knocked off her branch by a hawk! Yes, she recovered and it is one of the issues of being at the top of the food chain. Crows, Blue Jays, Hawks – all want the big birds out and away. Go!

Thank goodness Legacy was alright. She got back up on her look out branch. Let’s see if Samson brings her dinner around 5:30 again. I think that they are training her to come to the nest tree for food and also because she has no sibling, Gabby is being a surrogate sibling – as is Samson – trying to train Legacy to survive in that big world out there.

Legacy is simply stunning. She is such a beautiful juvenile Bald Eagle.

The news from the UK Osprey nests is all about the weather. The rain is still pitching it down in Wales and Telyn, Mrs G, and all the other females are simply soaked to the bone. At the Loch Garten nest there is snow!

This is the scene just the day before. The male is AX6. The female is unringed. Oh, these poor birds. What a freak snow storm they are having today!

It is a little dreary in Estonia for the White-tail Eagles, Eve and Eerik and their two little ones. Still, look closely. Eerik has the nest full of fish for these two who are moving into a fast growth phase. Oh, they are doing so well!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is soooooo beautiful. This afternoon he has busied himself watching the traffic below the nest tower.

Yesterday afternoon, Tiny took the opportunity of an empty nest to really flap his wings and get those wing muscles strong. Look at that tail. Those feathers are really coming in nicely. So happy for this little one to get to live and be a fish eagle!

Tiny has not been hungry for a couple of weeks now and the energy from that food is really showing in its feather growth and the body fattening up. I no longer log every bite that Tiny Tot takes but suffice it to say that he had at least two fish yesterday in total. Not bad! Diane brought in a catfish late – in fact she brought in two fish in the evening. Both Tiny and #2 were full and Diane also go to enjoy some fish.

Thank you for being with me today. That is a quick check in with some of our favourites in Bird World. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. I get my screen shots from those. They are: Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and the AEF, KNF, Friends of Loch Garten, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Cornell Bird Lab RTH.