Late Wednesday in Bird World

4 May 2022

It seems to be a good day in Bird World.

First up, Louis brought Iris a fish. He did not stay to incubate their egg at the Hellgate Canyon Nest in Missoula but, hey – he brought a fish. I am grateful. I am not going to get mad and stomp my feet. This is, I believe, the third fish this season. Grateful.

Iris, you are so gorgeous! The oldest osprey in the world and you look better every year.

It was also a good day, so far, at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest. Mum brought in a fish at 11:59:52 and low and behold Dad flew in with another nice fish at 13:04. Both of the eaglets ate. When one chick is dominant and eating the most, it really helps when the bigger fills up and another lands on the nest right after. That way Mum gets food and hydration, too. Happy.

Big wandered about a bit and even did a ps before he thought about more food. All the while Middle was gobbling up the fish as fast as Mum could get it to the beak.

Big had eaten and was not in an aggressive mood. Nice.

Both chicks get to eat. The fish is finished at 13:27.

It has been raining in Ithaca, New York. Not a torrent, thankfully. Big Red is trying to keep those wiggly nestlings dry! Are they cooperating? Not always.

That’s L4 with its head raised up.

CalFalcons posted a short video of Alden incubating the eggs. Gosh, it is possible there will be pips tomorrow but, more likely, on the 6th! Oh, I hope that all three hatch. That would be wonderful. Despite the injury to Alden’s left ankle, he really seems to have adapted and is doing well. He certainly has been a terrific mate to Annie since Grinnell was killed.

Nancy has stepped up and is delivering prey items to the MN-DNR in order that her and E1 survive without Harry. Nancy is perfectly capable of fishing and hunting and E1 has its juvenile feathers so that it can regulate its temperature. We are fortunate that the eaglets were older when Harry disappeared eight days ago. (For those who do not know this nest, Harry disappeared. Chicks were extremely hungry. E1 was very aggressive to E2 and had been for a long time. E1 pushed E2 off the nest and E2 had to be euthanized.)

Unless something dramatic happens, we should expect E1 to fledge and for Nancy to have a new mate next year – unless Harry miraculously, at this stage, returns.

Despite the fact that a UFO, a catfish, and a sucker were brought on to the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle nest, ND17 still struggles to get food. Today there were three feedings and a bit of one before noon. At the last feeding, the small eaglet got food to create a crop. Another Relief but another struggling nest trying to get enough food for everyone. Did I ever say I wish these nests would not have more than 2 hatches?

During the first UFO feeding, ND17 stayed in submission. It did not even try to get up to have something to eat.

He did go up after and try to find a place to nibble on the prey item.

ND17 also stayed away from the second feeding.

The little one managed to get some fish at the last feeding. There was even fish left on the nest. Thankful.

Fish delivery at Dale Hollow. Looks like Middle gets it first and then later Big comes down to have some. Nice sharing. That is Big up on the edge of the nest behind the parent.

The leaves are lush and green at the National Arboretum nest of Mr President and Lotus. The day started off soggy and now the sun is shining on DCD9 and he has dried out.

Martin made two deliveries this afternoon to the Dulles-Greenway eaglet. The first was a duckling at 14:28 and this was followed by something else that I could not identify at 15:19.

One of my all time favourite wildlife rehabbers is reminding us to help the migrating birds. CROW posted this today on their FB page. Check your region and help! Thank you.

As predicted, we went from winter to summer on the Canadian Prairies. Everyone is outside – and most around me are having their first official barbecue of the season. The birds have not been happy with my clearing up their old seed and I suspect that Mr and Mrs Grackle once again have their nest in the wood shed which is why Mr Raven and Mr Crow have been around so often. My neighbour tells me that he saw about 20 Pelicans in a tree – sounds like the tree with the Great Egrets in Grenada to me. Summer is here. No spring. Just summer.

I hope this blog finds all of you well. Some of the nests are still struggling but life is good and it is pip watch for the Cal Falcons tomorrow!!!!!!!! Yes. I cannot wait to celebrate the three eyases.

Take care. Thank you so much for being here with us. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Montana Osprey Project, Dulles-Greenway Bald Eagles, ND-LEEF, Cornell Bird Cam RTH, CROW, NADC-AEF, MN DNR, and DHEC.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

05 April 2022

Good Afternoon Everyone. It does not feel like spring on the Canadian Prairies. The sky is snow white, the snow is melting, and it reminds me of the first winter I spent in the United Kingdom when I was cold to the bone and came to appreciate heavy wool sweaters and a warm fire! Canada Geese continue to fly into the city while fears of a flood are mounting. The river is rising and rising and rising some more.

I want to thank those individuals – in addition to each of you – that stepped up to help Little Middle or to help me find people to help: Keith Buch (falconer), Ron Magill (Miami Zoo Goodwill Ambassador and Communications Director who retrieved the monofilament line from R2 in the WRDC nest), Resee Collins (Eagle & Rehabilitation Permit Coordinator, Migratory Birds & Science Applications, USFWS Interior Regions 2 – 4), Rusty Boles, Al Cerere, founder of the AEF, and Jessica Halls with the American Eagle Foundation.

As of yesterday, Jessica Halls was awaiting permission from the Army to enter their property; the nest is on their land. It came to my attention that a video showing River removing monofilament line was posted yesterday. I shared that knowledge with Jessica. I have not seen the footage. If the line is off the nest, great! Jessica is in charge and is working to verify if that is true. I have every faith in each of these individuals – their only concern, as is ours, is the health and well being of the eaglets. I want to give them a big shout out for stepping up and helping in any way they could. Little Middle and the Dale Hollow nest are now in their expert hands.

At 09:342 this morning it appears that DH15 or Little Middle still could have some monofilament line around that left foot area. It seems to move. I took an overall image showing the date and time stamp and then blew up the area with Little Middle.

Jessica will certainly ascertain if that is fishing line. We have done our due diligence and hope for a happy ending for Little Middle. He has eaten well today! He is more mobile than earlier. And with the rain, the nest and the eaglets will be turning into soggy little birds.

At 12:21 there is an image of a wet Big walking over to River to eat. Does Big have fishing line over its back? or is it nesting material? I don’t want to be the person that sees monofilament line where it isn’t. There is enough real line along the shores of the two rivers that impact my City and our wildlife.

River is staying in the nest with the eaglets – too big to fit under Mum unless she wants to pop the umbrella for them.

I had a wonderful note from ‘MR’ from New York who wants me to mention the Peregrine Falcon nest in Utica, New York. So many of you adore the falcons and would like to see more ‘good’ nests. The couple are Astrid and Ares. Astrid laid her third egg on the 4th of April.

The group is really organized. They have an excellent web page with both current and historic information. There is also daily information so be sure to check out the ‘latest news’ section. There are six – yes, 6 – cameras. Here is the fish eye view:

You can find everything you needed to know on the website including access to the six cameras. Here is the link:

They also have a FB group called Watch Utica. Why not check them out?

The first egg is hatching at the US Steel Bald Eagle nest. The chick is making excellent progress and appears strong. Here is a short video of that action:

There is another hatch in progress as of 09:43 nest time at Two Harbours. Chase and Cholyn are getting ready to welcome a sibling for Thunder over at the West End nest!

Here is the link to their camera:

Kincaid from the KNF nest in Louisiana and the second eaglet of Anna and Louis fledged yesterday morning. It happened at 08:17. Congratulations to Cody, Steve, and everyone at the Kisatchie National Forest. It was a great year. This is a wonderful eagle nest to watch. Cody and Steve are always working on improving the camera and the sound and are often on chat to answer questions. The mod is also wonderful – Eagles at Work.

This is an image from today. Unlike Kisatchie who fledged last year and never returned to the nest, Kincaid has been lured back by his/her love of fish. S/He had the opportunity to eat three fish so far today. Fantastic. As we all know, the fledglings that return to the nest, get better at flying and learn how to hunt/fish have a much better chance at survival. Hopefully we will be able to see more of Kincaid over the next 2 or 3 weeks. S/he is a gorgeous fledgling.

Life continues to be good at the West End nest of Thunder, Akecheta, and the triplets. They are so big now and have all of their thermal down. There is a hint of feathers coming!

The naming contest for Jackie and Shadow’s only eaglet this year is set to be announced. The deadline was 4 April. The children from the grade three class of a local school pick the name from randomly drawn submissions. Can’t wait. Baby is getting quite big!!!

The two nestlings at the Decorah North nest of Mr North and Mrs DNF are thriving. Aren’t they cute? And seemingly well behaved.

The two eaglets of Harry and Nancy are also thriving. Harry continues to load the nest with prey.

No worries for the triplets at the Pittsburgh-Hayes nest. They are all growing and doing quite well, transitioning from wee white fuzzy babes to getting their thermal down.

There is really good news at the Dyfi Osprey nest in Wales. Idris is home!!!!! He is often called Daddy Long Legs and no matter short or long, welcome home. Telyn has been waiting for you.

Dr Bast at the CROW Clinic has issued a statement on the death of the eldest osprey on the Captiva Nest. The chick died suddenly on the 15th of March. There were, of course, worries that it was the highly pathogenic Avian Flu, H5N1, that is spreading through the region. However, the other two osplets continued to thrive. Here is that announcement:

I am so grateful for all the wildlife rehabbers who work tirelessly – and through donations – to care for injured wildlife or in this case to rush to retrieve a dead chick to find out the cause of death. Thank you CROW.

It is that time of years. Birds are returning, local counts are being undertaken, and everyone with a camera is out trying to get that ‘great’ shot or to fill in their ‘Life List’ of birds. Cornell posted these guidelines for the photographers. Even if you don’t take pictures, it is always good to respect the space of our friends – feather, furred, or scaled.

https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/photography/how-to-photograph-birds/an-expert-photographers-advice-on-bird-photography-ethics/?fbclid=IwAR2WfnduKUY-ca7SommdVF1aWF54fveZmQGIzB3zTzj4iDLknVxwMjuZe9w

The tributes continue to come in for our dear Grinnell. It is so wonderful that a falcon could bring such joy to so very, very many. The role that birds play in enriching our lives should never be underestimated. Many who write to me feel closer to their bird friends than to humans. They find great solace in watching their lives and the care they give to their families. Grinnell certainly did all of that!

The ‘New Guy’ continues to bring Annie prey late at night, to help her protect the nest, and incubate the eggs. He is certainly rising to the occasion.

Karl II’s transmission for today has not come in. He was in Belarus yesterday having made it through the Ukraine without a problem.

I want to close today with a few images of the Canada Geese that I have been out counting for the past several days and for the rest of the week. As I said, I adore them! Some absolutely do not.

The local nature centre puts up wonderful nests and provides the straw – if the geese want to use them. This one did. Her mate is on the boardwalk and has decided that I will not walk through! I did turn around.

I remember when the geese used to arrive the middle of April. Now it is in March and we continue to have snow, rain, and melting snow. It is hard to find food.

The geese scour everywhere hoping to find a morsel of grass – green or dry. It doesn’t seem to matter.

There are geese everywhere!!!!!!!!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care of yourself. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB pages where I took my screen captures: CROW, Pix Cams, Explore.org, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Dyfi Osprey Nest, MN-DNR, KNF, and Utica Falcons.

Sunday in Bird World

3 April 2022

It was cold, damp, and dreary counting Canada Geese this morning. I did not take my camera – it is bulky and heavy – but I will return and take some images for everyone early this week. There are Canada Geese everywhere there is a large puddle!!!!!!

There is lots going on in Bird World – too much to keep straight. I want to start with dear Annie at the UC-Berkley Campanile. When Grinnell was killed we thought all was lost. Turns out Annie has her own ‘saviour’. It is thought that Annie laid an egg on Thursday but not in the scrape box. Cal Falcons felt that she thought she could only take care of 2 by herself. On time, she laid egg 4 and that is the big news. By my reckoning, this egg belongs to the new man since it takes approximately 2.5 days for Annie to make an egg. Oh, I hope this turns out well. It would be wonderful to see the last two chicks of Grinnell be healthy and fledge.

He’s a little raggle-taggled compared to Grinnell. I wonder how old you are Annie’s new man??

He is certainly trying to show Annie he has good intentions and is a good hunter.

Last evening Annie accepted ‘dinner in the scrape’ from the new lad. She stashed it for later and returned to incubate but how sweet was that?! Everyone remains hopeful.

Many of you are falcon fans. I have discovered a new scrape on top of the stadium at Michigan State University. It is brand new as of January 2022 so nothing is known, as far as I know, about the falcon couple. Here is that link – and there are 3 eggs!

Here is the link!

Michigan is working to reintroduce falcons into the state and there is another scrape that is funded by the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

How long do Red-tail Hawks live in the wild? I believe that Pale Male will be 33 this year. Him and Octavia have not had any clutches for the past two years. It will be three this year. Robert Yolton writes a wonderful blog on the wildlife around New York City’s Central Park. He found Pale Male eating a brown rat yesterday and took some video. His feathers appear to be fading a bit but what a legend Pale Male is.

Have you seen the free movie about Pale Male and how the community, including Mary Tyler Moore, lobbied and picketed for him and his mate to keep their nest on one of the nicest pieces of real estate in NYC? If not, watch it or save it for when you need something uplighting. The voices of people can really make a difference to the lives of these fantastic raptors. We just need the right person to hear us!

https://www.thelegendofpalemale.net/

Pa Berry and Missy at the Berry College Bald Eagle nest have been trying to coax 78-day-old B15 into the nest for some food. Missy has been watching her first fledgling closely making sure that he is learning to fly and land but not venturing far from the nest. Late this morning B15 returned to the nest and Dad flew in with a fish immediately for his boy.

Meanwhile Kincaid is branching higher and higher at the Kistachie National Forest nest near Alexandria, Louisiana. No one will ever know for sure if Kincaid is a male or a female; the eaglet will not be banded. But from the size comparison with Mum and Dad at this stage – right before fledge – most think Kincaid is a female. She is definitely a sweet eagle. Anna and Louis did a fine job this season. Hats off to everyone at KNF who worked so hard to get the two camera system in place, for taking the time to mod the chat and answer questions most of the day.

Closely watching the progress of Karl II, the patriarch of the Karula National Forest Black Stork nest in Estonia, as he flies over a war zone to get to his nest. Isn’t he gorgeous? This image was taken in 2017. He is still as handsome!

Who doesn’t know CROW? and who doesn’t wish we could wiggle our noses and get them to land at the Dale Hollow nest to check on that monofilament line? Made famous for their rescue of E17 and E18 of the SWFlorida Bald eagle nest when they had non-human caused conjunctivitis, CROW this morning cleaned out an Osprey nest full of human garbage. It is a threat to the wildlife – just like all those toys at Dahlgren are, sadly.

Oh, the Osprey chicks of Andy and Lena have been so neglected by me. They are just gorgeous and getting way too big too fast. So happy for Andy and Lena. After two horrible years, it looks like they will fledge two this year.

There was a statement on a FB group about the number of eggs in a Bald Eagle clutch. They said it was ‘rare’ for three and rare for three to survive. (They did not mention the rarity of siblicide twice at the same nest). I dug around and found a very interesting study on the change of clutch size in Bald Eagles in the Chesapeake Bay area of the US. It is really interesting ready. The author, writing in 2017, begins with the age of egg collection and continues to 2011 demonstrating that the size of the clutches has increased significantly since the beginning of the 20th century. It is not onerous reading. Very insightful.

Dave Hancock of Hancock Wildlife in British Columbia did a study and found that the average for that province’s Bald Eagles in terms of clutch size is 2.

https://hancockwildlife.org/hancock-wildlife-reference/bald-eagle-biology/eggs-incubation-hatching/

There are a number of 3 chick clutches currently being watched by us as well as one with 4, the PA Farm Bald Eagle nest. Pittsburgh-Hayes consistently has three and Redding would once again had three this year had their one egg not gotten broken. One of the most visited Bald Eagle sites is the West End where there are three eaglets this year. I wonder if this varies by region? Will look to see if I can find any solid information for us.

Deb Steyck made a video yesterday of the four at PA Farm being fed.

Meanwhile, Mr President seems to be really loving being a Dad again after 4 years and Lotus is figuring out everything as a first time Mum rather quickly. This is one spoiled little nestling that will grow fast and strong if Mr President’s prey deliveries are any indication of what is to come.

In contrast, nothing arrived on the Dale Hollow Bald Eagles nest until a two-bite teaser appeared at 11:24:55. We all know who ate that! These eaglets hatched on the 28th of February. Jackie and Shadow’s only chick hatched on 3 March. The Big Bear eaglet had been fed 8 times by 16:00 yesterday. The Dale Hollow nest continues to baffle me.

The eaglets are hungry.

At 12:31:34 a small fish was brought to the nest. Almost before the parent landed, Big went and began beaking Little Middle. Big’s beak is large and it can still encase Little Middle with its body hurting him. Big is a big bird.

To survive, Middle Little gets that head down and stays put.

I do not believe there will be enough for Little Middle to have any fish. I hope to be wrong. I also hope that the parent would change the direction they are feeding so Little Middle could move. It appears from the image above that the fishing line could be around some of the right talons??? But that is anything but 100%.

It is 12:44 and Little Middle has made no attempt to move to get any fish.

The fish is all gone at 12:45:24. Little Middle is still maintaining submissive posture. While it had been hoped that the attacks would stop, they continue because of the erratic fish deliveries. Like children, eaglets on the nest need some stability or they go into survival mode. Remember, Big wants to survive so it protects what it sees as a low supply of food. Middle Little protects itself for another time by being submissive and putting its head down. No sense in fighting a sibling that is twice your size.

A nest that is much calmer is that of Big Red and Arthur, the Red tail Hawks at Cornell who continue to incubate their four eggs which will hatch later this month.

Big Red is 19 years old this year and is the most well known RTH in the world. She is an incredible mother.
Cute Little Arthur has learned how to puff up his feathers to keep those four eggs warm and dry!

And the last check of the day, the two eagles that hatched on March 20 and 23 are doing remarkably well at the Redding Bald Eagle nest of Liberty and Guardian. They have sure grown out of the cute fluff ball stage now.

Liberty looks down at his two chicks while Guardian is aerating the nest.

It has been a busy day at the nests, many I did not get to check. Hopefully later. Thank you to everyone who has commented or sent me an e-mail. The inbox is full. I plan to have responded to everyone by tomorrow (Monday) at noon. Thank you so much for your patience and for your caring for Little Middle and all the birds. Your kind gestures bright light in a world that feels somewhat dark right now. Each of the nests seems to be doing exceptionally well. Dahlgren needs its garbage cleared, Richmond and Rosie have a good nest structure, West End babies fed well, and I have to check in with Chase and Cholyn to see if Thunder has a sibling. We continue to wait for the arrival of Ospreys Dylan, Aran, and Idris in the UK and for Iris in Montana.

Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB pages where I took my screen captures: Eagle Club of Estonia, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Cal
Falcons, MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club, Lansing Board of Water and Light Peregrine Falcons, Berry College, KNF, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, CROW, Cornell Red Tail Hawks, and NADC-AEF.

It’s three for Ron and Rita and other news from Bird World

Ron and Rita welcomed R3 early this morning. It appears that R3 hatched around 07:58. Notice also how Rita puts her beak at the tip of R1’s beak when it is wanting to peck R2. Very interesting.

Here is a very short video of R3 hatching.

R3 is officially fully hatched at 10:32:01.

Rita is now showing us anything as R1 and R2 look outside the nest cup.

That nest cup is very small. Fingers crossed for this little one to catch up and the older siblings to be kind. There is lots of food and experienced parents.

Congratulations Rita! (and Ron)

I have yet to see Daisy the Duck return to the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest since her and her mate came to check it again on New Year’s Day. The Ring-tailed Possum still has its own nest amidst the twigs that have been added to this enormous structure over the years. It was running up and down around the tree last night.

It is hard to see it but if you look at the left side of the ‘V’ branch, it is running down to the bottom of the V and on the nest image, it is running up the other side.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Lads must have a pact. Each one of them gets to spend an entire day on the nest! First it was Bazza, then Falky came the other day, and now it is Ervie’s turn again! Ervie flew in with a piece of fish yesterday and it is believed that he must have caught it himself. However, later, he also received a fish from Dad, the last fish of the day. They have also been diving off the barge – Falky is very good at this and it is wonderful to see them figure out how to fish. We most often do not get this opportunity.

There is Ervie protecting his fish on the nest from any siblings that think they will fly in and grab it.

Falky and Bazza are leaving Ervie alone to enjoy his dinner.

And perhaps by prior arrangement or reservation, Ervie gets to sleep on the nest alone. So when we see that one of them is staying by themselves all day on the nest, we will not worry about them. It looks like they are taking reservations for occupancy! What characters these three boys are.

There are so many things that humans use for one thing that wind up harming anyone that comes near them. Today, let’s look at ‘sticky paper’. Strands of sticky paper used to be common where I live to catch mosquitoes and flies. In France they are still used to catch birds! What horror and today there are used to catch mice and rats. Any bird or animal that gets near this gooey paper will be harmed. This was posted by CROW. The last sentence is not there but they suggest calling your local wildlife rehabber. Do not try to do anything yourself.

The wee ones at Hilton Head are still small and fuzzy but E19 and E20 are growing fast. Today, they are out of the nest cup and sleeping with their head on the sides of the nest. This is a major change for these two. Their pin feathers are also coming in and we can see their little tails starting to grow as their wings get bigger and bigger.

Another possum was just brought on deck for dinner along with the remains of yesterday’s two fish.

Eating and growing make for one very tired E19.

An earlier feeding of fish.

All is well at Harriet and M15’s. The beaking has really slowed down. Let’s hope it stays that way!

We are on egg watch at Big Bear for Jackie and Shadow.

Here is the link to the camera of this favourite Bald Eagle couple. We wish them the best of luck as they struggle to have nestlings up in northern California. It is perhaps the lingering DDT in the area that continually causes the shells of their eggs to be thin or the eggs to be unviable. But, let’s start 2022 off with all your warm wishes. I hope this is their year – they are so dedicated to one another.

Pip watch for those followers of Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest this weekend. Hoping that this year is better for Mum Connie and her new partner, Clive. Connie lost both of her chicks to rodenticide secondary poisoning last year. They were Hope and Peace. It was tragic. And, of course, rodenticide, like sticky paper, needs to be banned. Raptors and Cats are the answer to getting rid of rodents.

Here is the link to the Captiva Bald Eagle Cam:

I am trying to find streaming cams for raptors in Japan. In my quest to find a raptor cam in Japan for one of your fellow readers, I have found squirrel cams, monkey cams, cams for traffic and temples, cooking, etc. But I have yet to find a mention of a raptor cam. I will continue my quest but if any of you know of one, please let me know so we can all enjoy. Thank you so much!

The squirrels are adorable!

And the most incredible monkeys and deer but no raptors! This is Awaji Island.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is so reassuring to know that there are so many people, from all of the world, that love the raptors – and all the birds and animals. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Friends of Big Bear, Captiva Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, CROW FB page, Awaji Island Monkey Center, and Yatsugatake Today.

Boxing Day in Bird World

If you live in the Commonwealth you are celebrating Boxing Day today. Centuries ago, all people working in the manors and upper-class homes were given the day off after Christmas as a holiday. Small gifts from the wealthy would go to their help and the tradespeople who worked for them during the year. The tradition might have begun during the Roman-Christian era when alms boxes were outside the churches for the poor.

We lived in a wonderful small town when I was a student in England. Boxing Day was lovely – visits from good friends, small exchanges of food items. Most prized for someone who never loved mincemeat were the tarts with the orange pastry shells made by Jane. If you liked or needed to, you could begin paying for your Christmas dinner and all the treats in January. The milkman arriving with the electric float had a small catalogue. You paid by the week. The meal with all the trimmings was delivered when Christmas came. I was most impressed with the focus on being together as a family and sharing a meal – not on presents. Typically, children received a new bike and a sock full of treats and candies. We were extraordinarily fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbours and acquaintances. I can close my eyes and return to our living room on Gorse Road – magical.

Today, I hope that you have been able to be with a friend, friends, or loving relatives – in person or virtually.

Ferris Akel is having a wonderful tour today. He was at the Finger Lakes Regional Airport where there were two, perhaps three, Snowy Owls.

There were also Bald Eagles.

There was a male and a female Hooded Merganser.

Male Hooded Merganser
Female Hooded Merganser

There were ducks and geese paddling around the partially frozen water.

The ones with the white breast are Northern Pintails.

There were so many ducks.

I wished that Daisy was there with them paddling around and eating. The image is not clear but Ferris believes that the ducks below are Black Ducks (similar but different to Daisy).

There were Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans flying about.

Canada Geese in formation.
Trumpeter Swans

Ferris also found a very interesting goose. Is it a pale Canada Goose? or is it a hybrid? It is smaller than a typical Canada Goose. Mind you, we see various sizes here in Canada – the small geese pair up with the same size, the larger with the larger ones. Ferris believes this to be a hybrid – a Canada Goose and a Snow Goose.

There were also Sandhill Cranes.

Ferris is on his way to Ithaca – hopefully he will catch sight of Big Red and Arthur!

Meanwhile in Hilton Head South Carolina, Harriet, named after Harriet Tubman, and Mitch, named after General Mitchel, either have their first hatch or are close to it. There is no rewind function for the camera but the images are crisp and beautiful. More than 400 individuals sent in names for the pair. Great choice!

Here is the link to the camera.

https://www.hhilandtrust.org/eagle-cam?fbclid=IwAR2ncSAkZt2o_OXyTxtRDwpDj3Zgp1aNFHKD8ybz4b1-RZvdIEQ5BogeMFc

There will be twins again for Harriet and M15 with both eggs pipping this morning! The Pritchard family set the time as 09:55:54 on 26 December. Tears, Get your worry beads out. It will be rough and tumble in a couple of days!

M15 has had food in the pantry for Harriet who normally will not leave their eggs at this stage – no matter how persuasive M15 can be!

I am so excited. Harriet and M15 are amazing Bald Eagle parents and the Pritchett family has provided them with everything they need – including a stocked pond – and care when required. Here is the link to the camera. You will not want to miss these two!

It is very hot on the nest. Harriet is panting to regulate her temperature. She is used to the weather in Fort Myers so no worries. The eaglets will be listening to one another and that will give them momentum to hatch.

Last breeding season I believe there was only four hours difference between E17 and E18. Remember those two? How could we forget, you are thinking.

Not a week old and they go into care with CROW for conjunctivitis. The image below is after a couple days of treatment. Lucky eaglets, Thanks CROW. Thanks Pritchett family for insisting these kiddos got the care and treatment they needed.

E17 got time out in the peach towel because he was being too aggressive to 18.

Besties.

Thank you for joining me today and for going back to look at these two wonderful juvenile eagles, E17 and E18. The time between when they hatch and fledge will pass as if you only blinked your eye. I urge you to stay tuned and watch this marvellous family go about their every day lives – feeding babies and protecting one another in Fort Myers, Florida.

Thank you to the Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and the D Pritchett family for their streaming cams and Ferris Akel for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots. I also want to thank CROW for their FB Page where I took the images of E17 and E18 in care.

Owls, Eaglets, and Ospreys

Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:

Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.

E17 and E18 getting treated for AC at CROW, Fort Myers, Florida. @CROW FB

The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.

This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.

Breakfast for E17 (left) and E18 (middle). 16 March 2021. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:

They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.

16 March 2021. E17 (left) and E18 (right) looking out at the world of possibilities. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!

This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.

16 March 2021. Legacy (left) and her mother Gabby. NEFL Eagle Nest, Jacksonville, FL. @AEF and NEFL Eagle Cam

You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.

It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?

The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.

Older one at Duke Farms pecking and deliberately keeping little one from eating. 16 March 2021. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.

Yippee. Older going into a food coma. Little one eating. Well done. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.

16 March 2021. Breakfast for the trio. @Achieva Osprey Nest

I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.

And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!

Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!

So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.

Don’t mess with a Great Horned Owl named Bonnie

On a farm near Newton, Kansas, there is a tree. It has a Bald Eagle’s nest that, until a little over a week ago, belonged to a mated pair, Willie and Marie. It was ‘borrowed’ by a pair of Great Horned Owls, sometimes called Hoot Owls, that have been aptly named Bonnie and Clyde after the infamous bank robbers.

On 26 January 2021, the owls came to check out what appeared to be an unoccupied nest. This reminds me of when Daisy the Duck and her mate came to check on the WBSE nest in mid-December. Both have a look over the property to see if it is good for eggs and protection.

The owls decided that this would be the perfect spot to raise their family.

The next day the Bald Eagles come to check on their nest. Did they know that the owls had been there?

Something gave Willie and Marie concern. Normally they roost with a large group of eagles but that night, they chose to sleep on their nest.

In the middle of the night, a Great Horned Owl attacks them knocking one of the Bald Eagles from the nest. That was a game changer.

It wasn’t long til Bonnie, the GHOW, had laid her first egg right in the centre of the Bald Eagle’s nest.

In the image above, Bonnie, the owl, is on the nest. She has laid at least one egg. The norm is from one to five eggs. Great Horned Owls are absolutely fierce opponents as you can see from the confrontation that is taking place. In fact, Bonnie will defend her nest without hesitation. While most people will immediately think that owls are ‘cute’ and often ‘cuddly’ or ‘wise’ as in children’s story books, it is good to keep in mind that these are large raptors. They can easily kill, and do, all manner of falcons, Ospreys, as well as other owls. They are known to kill large prey by breaking their spines.

As with all other raptors, the female is the largest. Bonnie weighs, on average, 2 kg or 4.4 lbs. It is entirely possible that Bonnie’s mate, Clyde, weighs half what she does. Male GHOWs generally weight between 1 – 1.5 kilos or 2.2 – 3.3 lbs. Their wing span is about the same, measuring 1.2 metres or almost four feet. In comparison, a Bald Eagle has a wingspan of 1.8 – 2.3 metres or 5 ft 11 in – 7 ft 7 in. The average weight of an adult bald eagle is 6.35 kilograms or 14 lbs. In other words, the Bald Eagle is a lot larger than the Great Horned Owl. In the picture, it is hard to tell which of the raptors is, indeed, the largest. Had there been a fight between the two, both might have been injured. Thankfully, nothing has happened to date.

GHOWs have their young earlier than most other raptors. Generally, they lay their eggs and begin raising their young when the snow is on the ground. The Red Tail Hawks, on the other hand, do not normally lay their eggs until the third week in March, right about the beginning of spring. However, that does not seem to be the case with Bald Eagles. For example, the nest in Fort Myers Florida has eaglets that are twenty-six days old while E24 over at NE Florida, is nine days old. The Love Trio near Fulton, Illinois have laid their first egg on Valentine’s Day while other nests are ahead of them. It is unclear to me when this young mated Bald Eagle couple would have begun laying eggs on this nest. It seems to vary by geographical region and I presume normal climatic conditions. We know that this year in the US it is anything but normal now with the Polar Vortex taking over and causing severe winter storms.

I am left wondering about the Bald Eagles, Willie and Marie. What will they do for a nest? This GHOW has at least 21 more days til hatch. Those beautiful little owls aren’t going to immediately jump out of that nest and begin catching mice! No, they will branch (hop up to a close branch) when they are about six weeks old and will fledge taking short flights at seven weeks. That is, by my crude calculations, around the end of April or the beginning of May. Ah, those Bald Eagles aren’t going to wait that long to lay their eggs.

GHO chicks at 3 weeks of age. USFWS image.

These little fluffy owls are seriously cute with their big eyes. Not sure I would want to cuddle one thought unless it was a stuffy.

Adult GHOW and Juvenile, approximately 6 weeks old. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In Canada, the GHOW is our second largest owl. The Snowy Owl is bigger.

There are GHOWs that live in a tree on a nearby golf course. On occasion, the owls come near to where I live. Indeed, last summer there was a huge commotion in the large trees in front of my house. Neighbours ran out to see what was going on. Everyone thought that the cute owl – it was a Great Horned – was being attacked by the crows. In fact, the owl had come to raid the crow’s nest. The crows had called in family and friends to help them move the owl along.

As I watched, the cheering section for the owl grew in size. Is it because owls are ‘wise’ or ‘cute and fluffy’ and Crows are black with sharp pointed beaks? I wondered about the impact of children’s literature and movies on the reactions of the onlookers to the avian behaviour. All manner of misconceptions have come to us through writers. One that really bothers me often is ‘fish do not feel pain’. I say that because many people get upset if, for example, White-Bellied Sea Eagles eat a Silver Gull because it has feathers but they don’t care at all if it brings a live fish onto the nest for the eaglets. What I have learned, most explicitly, is that birds are extremely intelligent. Their senses are more highly developed than humans and they share the same emotions that we have including mourning, joy, love, and intimidation.

In the course of six weeks, I have witnessed a Pacific Black Duck (our sweet little Daisy) make her nest in an unusual place, in a forest in the centre of a White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest. We will never know ‘why’ Daisy risked laying her eggs there and trying to incubate them to hatch but something motivated her to get her nest off the ground. Owls are often opportunistic. Their nests are not normally constructed year after year, twig after twig, like the eagles, for example. Did the owls lose their nest? Was their nest destroyed? Was the nest of the Bald Eagle just convenient for Bonnie and Clyde? This evening a Barred Owl attached Bonnie around 11:05pm. Bonnie was actually rolling her eggs when the owl came up from behind. You can see Bonnie trying to get her footing and the face of the attacker on the right. It is possible that owl has a nest close by or maybe it has its eyes on this prime piece of real estate. However, it would be a whole lot better if the smaller owl was ‘wise’ and didn’t try that move again. Bonnie just might be having a much bigger dinner than a mouse!

Barred Owl knocks Bonnie off balance while she turns her eggs.

That was not the drama that I was expecting. Sometimes these bird nests are better than anything being shown on the streaming stations on your telly! Happily no one was injured. Wonder what will happen tomorrow?

JUST A NOTE: IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING OF THE 18TH OF FEBRUARY WHEN IT WAS STILL DARK, AN OWL KNOCKED THE BALD EAGLE M15 OFF OF THE ATTIC WHERE IT WAS SLEEPING (IN A TREE ON THE PRITCHETT FARM) AND INTO THE NEST WITH HARRIET AND E17 AND E18. BONNIE IS A LARGE OWL SITTING ON THIS NEST IN KANSAS AND SHE IS A FORMIDABLE OPPONENT.

Thank you for joining me today. I am so glad that you stopped in. Stay safe and take care.

Thank you to Derek the Farmer for his streaming cam, the USFWS, and Wikimedia Commons.

Fishing line, again

The area around Big Bear where Bald Eagles Jackie and Shadow have their nest could not be more picturesque. Beautiful mountains, trees, clear lakes, and winding roads.

For all its local beauty, it has been a very sad but, hopefully, promising season for the two.

The single egg that you see on the nest (image below) is the fourth egg that Jackie has laid this season. She originally laid three eggs. Two were stolen by ravens and the third broke. The eagles left the nest despondent and no one knew if they would try again – but they did! The first egg of their second season was laid on 8 February. Eggs are laid about three days apart so if there is to be a second, we should see it today or tomorrow. Remember that laying eggs depletes the female of much needed calcium. She needs to be in good health to try producing this many eggs close together.

Last night, Shadow brought Jackie a nice juicy coot. A coot, if you are unfamiliar, is not a fish but a medium sized water bird that is black. And, on this point, please when your friends tell you that Bald Eagles only eat fish, correct them politely! However, that coot had eaten fishing line and when Jackie ate the coot, she ate the fishing line. She was in great distress – heaving hard= and was finally able to throw that line up with her dinner. Then, of course, the fishing line is on the nest and Jackie gets it tangled around her leg. As of 11 am, 11 February it appears that Shadow was able to remove the line and take it off the nest. There is no sight of it. My goodness this pair have had what we can only call terrible luck. Let us hope that is over.

Shadow brings Jackie a coot for dinner. Egg number 4. Taken from Big Bear Streaming Cam.

Right now absolutely everything is fine.

Jackie on the nest 11 February. Taken from BigBear Streaming Cam.

In the post today was the latest edition of The Journal of Raptor Research. And there, just waiting for me to read it, is an article titled ‘Hospital Admissions of Australian Coastal Raptors Show Fishing Equipment Entanglement is an important threat’. Could it be more timely? Glancing at the article it indicates that the leading cause of population decline of White Bellied Sea Eagles and Osprey is loss of habitat, they also note vehicle collisions, power line electrocutions, window strike especially with the building of commercial and domestic buildings that are mainly glass, pesticides and now fishing equipment. With an increase in recreational fishing, the submissions of coastal seabirds is growing.

My dad was a recreational fisherman in Oklahoma fishing at the large lake separating Oklahoma and Texas, Lake Texhoma. I grew up with him and his friend, Elmer (does anyone name their child Elmer anymore?) and their catfish challenges. I often had to sit on the fish to prove their size! They won contests for catching the largest catfish, sometimes as much ninety pounds. The average was about seventy pounds.

My dad taught my children to fish before they were out of nappies. My oldest loves to fish and lives in the Caribbean where he can go out to sea or fish from shore. He is known for travelling around the world to visit his friends fishing in Japan, around Bangkok with his buddy Tapp, with his friends in Eastern Malaysia and in the Maldives. He is one of the ones who help to clean up the beaches on the island so he is readily aware of the mess that fishing line, nets, and hooks can cause. My grandson walks a few blocks from his house to fish off the shore of the Assiniboine River.

I grew up with people that fished. Now we all know the impact that those hooks and lines can have. It was only a month ago that CROW had to go up to the Captiva Bald Eagle nest and take a piece of monofilament from aroud little Peace. All of the fishing equipment needs to be non-toxic. Years ago they developed some line that was supposed to be unbreakable. Really? All I understood was that there were problems and a lot of fishers refused to use it. So here we are today. Who will be the person who does research and comes up with a kind of dissolving fishing line for recreational fishers? And how can we go about clearing the shores of our lakes, rivers, and oceans of fishing equipment tangled up in the trees and shrubs? This whole thing has plagued me now for several months. Does anyone know of a solution? I know that not everyone is prepared to stop fishing like my husband has. He did it for the birds and just possibly so I wasn’t going around the house in my hawk like voice screaming about it!! By the way, did you know that in movies and commercials with eagles they use the voice of the Red Tail Hawk? Seriously. They sound so much more ‘like an eagle’ than an eagle! Who ever would have thought?!

These are really short clips. Have a listen. Here is the little chatter of the Bald Eagle:

And here is the cry of the Red Tail Hawk:

Used for scary movies!

I promised to bring you updates Solly, the Eastern Osprey female with the satellite tracker. Remember she was born at Port Lincoln on a barge. She is 144 days old today. Solly was fitted with a transmitter and already she has given researchers much to think about. Last week she had flown inland and she had travelled more than 200 kilometres from her natal nest. And that evening we knew that she was at Streaky Bay. There was even a photo of her along the shore. Well, Solly still likes Streaky Bay. Here are the latest tracking images from yesterday (11 February in Australia time zone).

Solly was even captured in photographs down by the Bay and at the Dragon Club Boat Centre. Isn’t she wonderful? I can’t tell you how comforting it is to find out they are alive. So many die. Tears just roll down my cheeks.

She looks pretty happy hanging out with the pelicans. There are so few Osprey in Australia that maybe Solly has found her forever home. Unlike the tracker put on the Royal Cam Albatross, LGK and LGL, Solly’s transmitter will last as long as the Velcro webbing does. They are hoping for seven years. We will check in on her next week to see if she has decided to stay – or go. It is reasonable that if there is no competition from other Ospreys, Solly might have this big territory to herself. The fishing must be good. She looks healthy and well. Believe me, if there wasn’t good fishing, Solly would be out of there!

This afternoon in Florida, both the NEFL Eagle Nest of Gabby and Samson were on alert as was Harriet and M15 at the SWFL Eagle Nest. Intruders are another serious danger to the eagles and with the growth in the Bald Eagle population and the decline in the number of large trees for nesting, youngsters are looking for a home.

Gabby (on the nest) and Samson (on the branch) protect their territory and E24. NEFL Streaming Cam.
Harriet (closest) and M15 (on far end) protect their territory and E17 and E18.

Meanwhile updates show that there is now more snow on the Bald Eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey with more to fall over the coming days.

Duke Farms Eagle Cam, 10 February 2021.

Lime Green Lime (LGL) has returned to Taiaroa Head to replace her mate, Lime Green Black (LGK) so that he can go feeding. We will maybe get to see his transmitter results. What Lime Green Lime doesn’t know is that she will also be fitted with a transmitter today. Then for a year we will be able to see where they travel, like Solly.

Lime Green Lime and baby, 12 February 2021. Cornell and NZ DOC cams.

The transmitter is installed! And that little one is sure growing. Now we will be able to find out how far LGL and LGK go to fish.

It’s bitterly cold again. Wildlife is struggling in different parts of the world due to too much cold or too much heat. All of the little ones have gone to bed with full crops. Bald Eagles are alert and protecting their nests.

Thank you for joining me today. I didn’t expect to write such a long second blog until the issue of the fishing equipment presented itself again. Stay warm or cool wherever you are. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the streaming cams at NEFL, SWFL, Big Bear, and Taiaroa Head.

E17 and E18 are home in the nest…and their parent is there with them!

This is a very quick posting. CROW returned the little eaglets to their nest about five hours ago. It is 24 degrees C in Fort Myers. The eaglets were fed well before their return as it was unknown when the parents would arrive, if they would, and if they would accept the little ones. I am so happy to report that within the last twenty minutes, all is well in the SouthWest Florida Eagle nest on the property of Dick Pritchett. Oh, my. What wonderful news!

E17, the largest of the pair, was busy looking out at the traffic when the parent landed on the nest. But, little E18 walked and crawled over to its mom right away!

E18 was so happy to get in the protective shade.

It wasn’t long until E17 joined its little brother in the comforting curve of their parent.

This is just the best news. Tears still flowing down my cheeks.

Oh, it’s cold out there

It was so cold today, -14. It meant that my friend, Sharpie pretended he was a Peregrine Falcon and not a Sharp-shinned Hawk and tore between the houses and into the garden like a Stealth bomber. He first flew into snow on top of the back wood box and out, down between the houses and back again. I blinked and if I had done it again, I would have missed him. He certainly wasn’t after the European Starlings. They had been sitting on the tips of the Lilac bushes and then decided to eat the frozen grapes on the vines, instead of the bird seed, and were tottering all over the place when Sharpie arrived. Silly things! It’s like eating Ice Wine candies. Maybe Sharpies, like Peregrines, don’t particularly like the Starlings. I wonder if they are tough? Must be something. He totally ignored them.

Sharpie comes to visit and is puffed up it is so cold.

Sharpie doesn’t cooperate, too fast for me and the camera. This is a photo from a couple of weeks ago just so you can see what the little guy looks like. Oh, he is tiny. I think the plan is to get a camera and have it constantly running using solar power. That way I don’t frighten him peeking out the windows. I haven’t seen Sharpie’s mate for a little over a year. And, if you are wondering, yes, it is unusual for these hawks not to migrate with the other birds. We first noticed them in January 2018. There is a Polar Vortex heading our way for Saturday and the temperatures will plummet very quickly. I hope Sharpie is tucked up nice and warm somewhere.

UPDATES: The Threesome are working on their nest on the Mississippi River near Fulton. Valor I, II, and Starr moved a few big sticks around this morning. There is a blizzard and extreme cold temperatures headed for their area and the trio were not seen at the nest after 9:30 am.

Birds are incredibly smart as all of you know. And I am certain if they could figure out how to handle the computers and the green screens, the CBC would be wise to hire them as the weather forecaster. Seriously, it is so rare that the get the forecast right here. If you listen you might hear it is sunny but if you look out the window, you can see the rain coming down. Does this happen anywhere else?

The Threesome Nest on the Mississippi River, 4 February 2020. Image @2021 Stewards UMRR

E17 and E18 were improved at 4pm on Thursday. These little muffins. My goodness, they have grown, changed colour, and are getting better. They can’t go back to Harriet and M15 until they are completely clear of the ‘pink eye’. But the news today is optimistic.

And look, they are feeding themselves out of the little dishes. Wonder if they prefer fish or these nice tender, cut just right morsels of quail and rat?? E18 is on the left. He is a little whiter than E17 on the right E17 is still having to go to the time out corner. As she continues to feel better, she is taking it out on her little brother at meal time. And doesn’t E18 just look so sweet? I had so hoped they would have grown out of this phase. It makes me ache when one is bopping the other. Seriously, there is enough food to go around. You two are lucky. Your patron, Pritchett Real Estate, has a stocked pond full of fish just for you.

E18 (left) and E17 (right) enjoying their 4pm snack. Image courtesy of CROW.

And now on Friday morning, CROW has been able to return the pair to their nest. It is 24 degrees so warm. The little ones can pant to regulate their temperature and they are cheeping. But so far, neither Harriet or M15 have come to the nest. It has been several hours and I have to admit that I am getting a little anxious. And, of course, E17 already needs another time out!

It is a bit windy. The camera operator has moved it looking for the parents who appear to be at a distance hunting.

The image below is not great but it will give you an idea of the area around the nest. Dick Pritchett owns the land that the nest tree is located on and does have a fully stocked pond for the eagles. It looks they are flying around in the thermals.

CROW has permission for immediate rescue if the parents do not return to the nest. I am anxiously watching and will bring an update as soon as I have one.

It is Friday. For those of you out there working or working from home, it must feel really good to see a weekend coming. And since it is Friday, it is time for some cuteness overload. And where better for that than the Royal Albatross Centre in New Zealand.

Lime-Green-Black (LGK) is so proud of his eleven day old chick. It is so sweet how gentle he is. His eyes tell us just how proud he is of this little furry bundle. And how happy he is to be there in the warm sunshine rubbing his bill.

LGK teaching his chick to tap bills to stimulate feeding. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

Oh, and what a beautiful smile!

Hello! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

It sure didn’t take long for this little fella’ to figure out precisely how to fit that tiny bill inside dad’s great big one so that he could have some squid shake. Nature is truly amazing.

Great Feeding! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

With the little one safely tucked in between his big paddle feet, LGK does some of his morning wingersizes. I wonder if birds get ‘stiff’ from sitting in one place for too long, like humans so?

LGK stretching in the morning. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

And since it is the weekend, I have a recommendation for you. Now, I don’t always suggest movies to people because each of us has our own likes and dislikes. The little girl down the street left me a note today in my mailbox. “There is a movie that you have to see and it will make me cry”. And then one of the FB members of the Crow, Raven, and Corvid group recommended the same flick. So, I decided to put everything aside and watch it. It is on Netflix and the movie is Penguin Bloom. The woman on the FB group said:

Penguin Bloom, is the story of a woman who has had a catastrophic injury and endures depression related to her inability to lead a “normal” life with her husband and three rambunctious young boys. One of the boys finds an injured magpie, brings it home to care for it, and well, saying more would give away much of the story. It’s a charming movie, well done, probably not an Oscar contender, but the magpie’s (named Penguin) interaction with the family makes it worth a watch”.

The New York Times had a good review of Penguin Bloom. I hope that you can open this and read it.

You will need a box of tissue if you watch the movie.

I was very interested in this movie for two reasons. One is because WBSE 26, with its wonky leg, overcame so many obstacles to fly. So many people told me how inspirational she was to them. Several with physical challenges and who were not working as hard as they should said that if 26 could do it so could they! Secondly because, just the other day, one of Daisy Duck’s very good friends from Poland sent me a note to tell me that she had found and nursed an injured Raven back to health. It was in terrible shape with the feathers on top of its head all pulled out and, of course, it was starving. She took the Raven into her home and cared for it for five months til it was ready to be re-wilded. Little tears came down my cheeks. People can be incredibly kind and loving. My heart melted when I read her letter. I hope to bring you more about her story shortly.

Birds are magical if you let them into your heart.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join me. Stay safe. See you tomorrow!