Saturday in Bird World

7 May 2022

It is a gorgeous spring or summer day – feels like summer – at 19 degrees C. The Black-capped Chickadee is serenading everyone in the garden after having a bath and the White-throated Sparrows have arrived in large numbers. All are digging and scratching around the wet leaves for insects. That is one of the best reasons not to rake your lawn in the fall and not until the end of May. Not lazy. Helping the birds!

All of the images were taken through a window screen. The birds seem to like to be in a dark area of the garden where there is a lot of dead leaves and a puddle of water from the snow melting.

There are so many White-throated Sparrows in the garden today. They are all enjoying the dark wet areas, having a drink in the remaining puddles, and stomping on the ground for insects. You might think that this is a White-crowned Sparrow like the one below but look at the lovely yellow over each eye.

This is a White-crowned Sparrow. Do you know it? This little guy arrived in the garden just today. The White-crowned Sparrow is a very distinctive bird. Its black and white striped head is the first thing you will notice. Then its grey breast with its brownish and grey patterned wings and back. This little one was digging around through all of the vegetation. Notice the beak. It can be either an orange-yellow or a reddish-brown depending on the subspecies of the bird. This bird, like the one above, is passing through heading to the boreal forests north of me.

The Black-capped Chickadee, who is a regular in our garden throughout the year, really wanted time in the puddle for a quick bath!

It was nice to see Mr and Mrs Purple Finch in the square feeder today. Just lovely.

There are a few European Starlings that still come for the hard suet.

It is so nice when the migrating birds are coming through the garden heading to their summer homes. The songs and their presence are very re-assuring.

If you need a smile, Annie feeding the two chicks in the scrape on The Campanile at UC-Berkeley should do it!

As of 1300 Pacific time, there were still only two chicks hatched for Annie, Alden, and Grinnell.

oh, they are just so perfect with their little pink beaks and feet. Annie and Alden work together like mates that have been together for a long time. Alden keeps the pantry full. You will see Annie go down to the larder on a lower level and come up with something for the wee ones.

Cal Falcons just posted a video of Alden keeping an eye on the chicks while Annie is away. He is a little nervous. Many believe that this is his first time ‘dad’ stuff. He will be a great mate for Annie and dad for the eyases.

It is a pretty nice day when nothing much is going on in Bird World. It is like this sort of lull – some eggs to pip soon, a few eaglets to fledge, but steady. That is a good thing.

It was so nice to drop in and see Kincaid on her branch at the Kistachie National Forest Bald eagle nest in Louisiana. She is going to survive and do really well. Right now all she wants is to see her dad, Louis, flying in with a fish for her.

I wish I could put Kincaid side by side with the MN-DNR female. My goodness. They said she weighed 9 lbs. Eaglets normally grow at the rate of a lb a week. The MN-DNR eaglet is six and a half weeks old. She is 50% more heavy and larger than normal! Formidable is the word. She is at the high end of the large female eaglets. Those legs are strong and she has her wings folded in part way. Awesome.

Cholyn’s only baby, TH1 of 2022, has quite the crop this afternoon. Wonder if she is a big female, too? Cholyn needs to eat that remaining fish!!

Star and Sentry are really looking good at the Redding nest of Liberty and Guardian. Look at their plumage development in comparison to Two Harbours 1 above.

The triplets at the Pittsburgh-Hayes nest were soaked this morning but by afternoon late they were dried out and sound asleep.

There is an afternoon storm with rain, high winds, and what sounds like thunder at the National Arboretum nest of Mr President, Lotus, and DC9.

It is reassuring at a time when the Avian Flu is killing so many Apex raptors to stop into the nests and see that the birds and their parents are doing alright. Here are some images from the nest of Samson and Gabby at NEFlorida. Both Jasper and Rocket have fledged and, like Kincaid, they are hanging around the nest to get those wings strong and their hunting skills perfected before heading out on their own.

I was surprised to see how many fish bones are in the nest!

The same strong winds that are blowing in DC are blowing on the West End Nest of Thunder and Cholyn and the three eaglets – . Thunder came in with a big fish that was still alive. All have eaten well today.

There has been a lot of Bird Flu in the upper Midwest. It is good to check in on the nest of Mr North and Mrs DNF at Decorah. The two eaglets appear to be fine. Relief.

There is a short video clip of these two attempting self-feeding yesterday.

I showed this image in another posting but it is such a rare occasion that she allows her mate to brood or feed the chicks. So it is worth posting a second time in case you missed it.

So many nests to check and so much going on. It was a real relief to find everyone doing so well on these nests. The weather has been miserable in different places and I hope that it all warms up for tomorrow so that all of our bird mothers have a lovely day.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Pix Cams, Explore.org, Friends of Redding Eagles, NEFlorida Eagles-AEF, MN-DNR, NADC-AEF, and Friends of Redding Eagles.

Sunday in Bird World

If you are looking for the NCTC streaming cam for the nest of Smitty and Bella and have not found it, here is the link. It is not on YouTube.

https://www.outdoorchannel.com/live/eaglecam/326707/326904

Everyone is hopeful that if the young female returns there will not be a horrific fight between her and Bella. I gather she was not near the nest today as Smitty and Bella got down to all those important preparations for eggs! They did not waste a second.

More love stories with the eagles! A very handsome 4 year old, A-14, named Andor is making a nest with Cruz at Fraser’s Point on the Channel Islands. Oh, goodness, another young dad. It was fantastic to see the young male at the MN-DNR last year. He was quite incredible once it all got figured out. Here is the link to the Fraser’s Point streaming cam. If you like the sound of frogs and crickets, turn it on at night!

The barge at Port Lincoln sure looks empty. It was full of pigeons yesterday cleaning. There is an Osprey sleeping on the perch and it must be Dad. I wonder if he is missing Ervie, too? They got to be good buddies. Wasn’t that fabulous?

Port Lincoln has uploaded the latest tracking on all three Osprey. Our Ervie is really getting around! The green pin indicates the last place he was. His pattern still seems to return to the barge. I do wonder if he will stop in again. He is also going along the coast for the most part which is what he should be doing. It is unusual for the Ospreys to inland but Solly did that last year, remember? Notice, there is a spot in the bay where he appears to have stopped to fish.

So glad that Ervie’s tracking is working and we can follow our favourite Osprey juvenile as he becomes more independent!

Andy brought in a really nice fish for Lena and the three babies this morning. Someone said it was a nice trout.

Lena, we want to see the babies not your tail!!!!!!

Andy looks awfully handsome with his crest fluffed up.

Can you say awwwww?

Each chick ate well.

At the 11:27 feeding, you can get a good look at all three of the babies. Andy brought in a whopper of a fish!

The new parents are getting used to being really busy. Andy has to provide food and security and Lena has to feed and keep them warm plus try to take care of herself. They are doing well. That is Little Bob on the right.

Parents are alerting. Now Little Bob is in the middle.

Everyone had fish. We have to remember that Big Bob will eat more than the newly hatched Little Bob. Don’t worry if it looks like he is getting all the food. They all ate well and Lena is a fabulous Mum.

Look at those little crops.

Here is the link so you can watch this fantastic Osprey family:

The soon to be named eaglets at the NEFlorida nest of Samson and Gabby have pin feathers! They continue to work on self feeding – particularly NE27. In fact, Samson dropped a fish in the nest to see what would happen. NE26 looked at it, NE27 had a go at eating. Then Samson jumped back in the nest and fed both of them. We are over the hump of worry and can look forward to lots of activity in this nest once they start working those wings.

You can see the pin feathers coming in on the wing of the chick on the right.

Adorable. They are both very interested in what is happening off the nest and the comings and goings of Gabby and Samson.

The chat moderator at the Kistachie National Forest (KNF) nest of Anna, Louis, and Kincaid got in touch with Lady Hawk and told her about the 20 fish deliveries . Tonya said she twisted her arm to make the video when she gave Lady Hawk all the time stamps for the 20 deliveries. I know that it is difficult to believe but I have been saying all along that Louis is the best pantry filler I have ever seen! Once I giggled that maybe he was in competition with Samson but he has blown all of the males out of the water with this last barrel of fish. Twenty fish in one day – during daylight hours only. Here is the proof. Have a look:

It is time to check on Iowa. It is now reported that the number of Bald Eagles in Iowa has risen. The Des Moines Registrar states: “Stephanie Shepherd, part of the Iowa DNR’s wildlife research staff, estimates the average number of bald eagles in any given winter to be about 3,500. But that number has increased to nearly 6,000 this year, the National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey says.” Wow. Where did they come from? are they moving further north because of the weather? It is curious. Certainly other birds are moving farther north.

As of yesterday, 19 February at 16:15, there were two eggs in the nest at Decorah North home to Mr North and DNF (Decorah North Female).

Wow. Look at that beautiful straw and corn husk nest. Gorgeous. You don’t see that in Louisiana or Florida!

There are no eggs on the Decorah Bald Eagle nest (not to be confused with Decorah North). How lucky can you be with a trout fishery right across the road!

It is the 7th or 8th year for the Bald Eagles at the Denton Homes nest. They are named the Majestics. No eggs yet but this nest is currently on egg watch. Becky has been jumping around the nest for the last few days.

We are all holding our breath for Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. Their first egg was laid on 22 Jan and the second on 25 Jan. Believe it or not we will be on pip watch for Jackie and Shadow on the 26th. Everyone is wishing this much loved Bald Eagle couple success this year.

Doesn’t Jackie look gorgeous as the sun rises over Big Bear Lake?

Here is the link to their streaming camera. Do check in and send all your positive energy to these two fabulous eagles. Maybe this year will be a golden one for them! Thousands and thousands will be crying with joy if it is. Like Captiva, the nest has been plagued by predators and thin egg shells from the DDT that is still in the region after 50 years. We keep our fingers crossed.

Smitty has been bringing in some grasses to the NCTC nest that he will hopefully share with his mate, Bella. I have not seen her this morning nor have I seen the new female (NF). Fingers crossed that there is no horrid confrontation between the two females and one gets injured – again. It had to be difficult for Bella when she was hurt on 1 February and had to leave her nest. Positive thoughts.

All of the nests seem to be doing well today. It is hard not to just watch those little osplets at Captiva and ignore everyone else. They are so cute and we all know that they will grow fast. It is a consolation to have them when we are all missing Ervie so much. Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Window on Wildlife, Friends of Big Bear, Explore.org, Denton Homes, NEFlorida and the AEF, and Port Lincoln Osprey Cam and FB page.

Friday in Bird World

Where is Ervie? I cannot tell you. Yesterday he spent the day with Dad. Right around 17:25, Dad left the barge and flew out to fish.

Ervie moved up to the nest to receive the fish from Dad about a minute or so before he lands. Fabulous eyesight!

There’s Dad. The day before he brought Ervie 3 fish – yesterday, as far as I know, it was only one.

That was a nice fish and Ervie was still eating quite awhile later.

Ervie was still on the nest and had a nice crop as the sun was setting. The camera has tipped and at the time of my writing this blog, it was positioned so you could not see anything but part of the barge.

Ervie does not expend much energy sitting. That nice big fish would do him just fine – our home-body boy.

Just had to check. The Port Lincoln Nest is up and running and there were a few really good close ups of Ervie on the nest. He has flown off of it and I bet he is down in the cave with Dad.

The snow is really hitting the nests in PA and NY. Big Red and Arthur’s Red-tail hawk nest on the light stand of Cornell University has had a lot of snow. They were even in a snow fall warning area. That snow is due to taper off in the next hour. It is currently -7 C in Ithaca.

Yesterday I kept checking on Pittsburgh-Hays and US Steel Bald Eagle nests. They had lots of rain and now that has turned to snow.

It looks pretty peaceful at the US Steel Nest. One of the eagles is looking out over the territory.

We are still on egg watch for the Pittsburgh-Hays nest. No Eagles seem to be about.

In Hillsborough, New Jersey, the female at Duke Farms is incubating two eggs. It is rainy with some sleet.

In contrast, Missy and B15 are having a not so bad day!

The two eaglets at the Hilton Head Island Bald Eagle Cam are really changing. Those juvenile feathers are quickly coming in on top of that dark thermal down. Both had huge crops. It is not a great image. There is no re-wind on that camera and it is difficult to get good images. .

These two have changed so much since I last checked on them! They are also walking around – not completely steady but getting there. They are adorable. You can see that the one standing has many more dark feathers coming in than the smaller, younger eaglet being a duckling.

Speaking of growing, NE26 and NE27 are changing. Look closely and you will see that they are no longer round fluffy balls. Enjoy them while you can!!!!!!!

Gabby and Samson are both experts at feeding the babes. A bite for you and one for you. Things have been very civil on this nest and the pnatry is kept full. Devoted parents. And the weather is grand. It is 27 C in Jacksonville, so warm on the nest. Quite a contrast with Ithaca, NY!

I decided to check into a few of the nests without eggs. There was snow on the Denton Homes nest in Iowa.

There is still snow on the nest at Decorah Eagles also. Iowa has been hit with a lot of storms this year. Thankfully, it is not time to be thinking about eggs on these nests – not just yet. Soon enough.

The male Bald Eagle is on the Dulles Greenway Nest at the moment. They are anticipating the second egg will be laid there today. We are now over the 72 hour mark from the laying of the first egg. The weather looks good.

Here is the link to this Bald Eagle streaming cam in case it is not on your list.

The Bald Eagle community is saddened by the continuing deaths of the eagles by lead ammunition. Lead ammo is outlawed for waterfowl why not just outlawed? Those that keep track of Bald Eagle numbers anticipate a drop because of the large number of deaths. The hunters could take the entire carcass with them and dispose of it instead of leaving the innards with all the lead shot in the woods. Or they could by all of the various non-lead ammunition. What humans do not realize is that the lead actually gets absorbed through their skin by handling the bullets and the lead expended at sport shooting ranges gets absorbed into the ground – the spent ammo is, apparently, never cleaned up!

Raptors are also dying because there are people who actually shoot them. Someone just shot and killed a Bald Eagle in Iowa. Here is the notice on the Bald Eagles Live FB Page:

I want to leave you with something a little more light-hearted. Can you figure out where Grinnell is and what he is doing? That is Annie on the ledge.

It is a bright sunny cold -27 C day on the Canadian Prairies. I am happy to report that for some reason the Starlings were away from the garden for quite awhile. They have just returned but this gave the Sparrows and the Chickadees a chance to feed in peace. Oh, and yes. Dyson. Dyson was complaining that the large suet cylinder needed replacing. I must go and do that right away! I hope to get some good images of him and the other birds this weekend.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Explore.org, Pix Cameras, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College, Hilton Head Island Bald Eagles, Dulles Greenway, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Labs, and Bald Eagles Live Nest FB.

Hawklet on Decorah North Bald Eagle Nest

Around 2pm, Mrs Decorah North of the Bald Eagle Nest in Decorah, Iowa, brought two hawklets onto the nest. One was plucked and eaten (it was already dead on arrival). The other one was alive. Mr North arrived within half an hour and noticed that the hawklet was alive and began brooding it.

You can see the second hawklet hunkered down behind the legs of Mrs Decorah North. It must be a little stunned.

There – it is alive, peeking out.

After she feeds DN 13 and DN 14, Mrs North leaves. The two eaglets are curious about that white ball of fur.

Mr North lands on the nest and sees what is causing the curiosity.

Mr North walks all around the fuzzy white ball in the nest cup.

He stands over the hawklet as the eaglets look on.

And then…Mr North’s instincts kick in and he broods the hawklet! He is indicating to D13 and D14 that the hawklet is NOT food.

DN 13 and DN14 are only 7 weeks old. They are not hunting or killing for food yet. Dad’s behaviour indicates that the hawklet is not a food item.

Wonder what will happen?

Mr North leaves and the hawklet is alone. It is chirping for food.

The little hawklet goes to the edge of the nest and looks out. It is chirping for food. Will Mr North return and feed it?

There is, of course, the success of the Sidney Bald Eagle nest with hawklets brought in as food with one of them being raised by parents with the eaglets. The situation was different in that the eaglets were much younger than those currently on the Decorah North nest. It is unknown how this will unfold. However, Mr North indicated the hawklet is not food and the beaks match for feeding – unlike the crowlet that got into the BE nest.

Dad has just brought in a pheasant. Will wait to see if he feeds the hawklet.

You can watch this unfolding story on YouTube. Search for Decorah North Eagle Nest. This will not let me embed the URL today for some reason.

It has been a day full of dramatic nest events: the post-mortem collection of the eaglets in Estonia, the fish that almost killed The Bobs twice, and now a hawklet in a Bald Eagle nest! Surely that is enough drama for one day.

Take care everyone. Thanks to Explore.org and the Raptor Resource Project for their streaming cam where I grabbed these screen shots.

NOTE: Update. I believe the hawklet might have died of internal injuries. The juveniles did walk on it but only when they were curious. It has been by the rim of the nest and did not cheep when the pheasant was being eaten.

Happy Earth Day from Bird World

There are some days in Bird World where I just need to sit and appreciate the joy and magic that these feathered creatures bring to my life. Whether it is the hundreds of birds that are eat from my feeders every day or the ones on the streaming cams hundreds or thousands of kilometres away – each and every one has brought me great joy.

It is Earth Day and I want to think about what else it is that I can do to make their lives easier. I hope that you will join me in considering every way that you can to ensure a safer planet for all of the wildlife that enrich our lives. Perhaps make a donation to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or to a streaming cam. Maybe spend some time picking up litter from a highway or cleaning up around the shore of a river. Put up a bird feeder and keep it stocked with healthy food for birds. Write a letter to someone who can help push for ridding hunting and fishing equipment of lead. Write a letter to rid the world of hazardous poisons like rodenticide and sticky paper traps. Tell a friend it is OK to have balloons but don’t release them. Take them home and cut them up good! Plant flowers for the bees and the butterflies. There is so much you can do – the list is endless. Even putting out bowls of water for birds will help them so much.

Nothing brings a smile to my face bigger than a chick with a nice big crop, tho! Look at those happy eaglets. It looks like they have swallowed balls and look at their chubby little tummies. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to look like that today.

Decorah North Eaglets. 18 April 2021

This is the Decorah North Bald Eagle Nest in Decorah, Iowa. It is the home of Mr North and Mrs DNF. DN 13 is 27 days old (right). It hatched at 7:21 am on 25 March. DN 14 is 25 days old having hatched on 27 March (first time this one was seen on camera was at 7:21 am) (left).

The eaglets have their layer of dark charcoal grey thermal down. It is thicker than their natal down and gives them really good protection from the cold. At this stage their metabolism is developing that will help them be able to thermoregulate their temperatures. The thermal down grows out of a different follicle than the soft baby down. In fact, the thermal down just covers the baby down. You can see some of the dandelions. Eventually contour feathers will grow out of the baby down follicles.

They are adorable. The video below shows the eagles entertaining themselves in the nest with their great big crops. It is about 11 minutes long.

Legacy is such a beautiful eagle. She is exploring all of the branches of her nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida. She gets amazing height jumping up and down on the Spanish Moss lining of the nest. Soon she will fledge. It can happen any day now. She has given so many people such joy this year. We will miss her terribly.

Legacy. 21 April 2021

Legacy spends a lot of time playing with the branches and pinecones in her nest – pretending they are prey items!

And it seems every time I check on the two eaglets in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nest they have grown much more. It is hard to imagine that Legacy was once this small – and despite using the term ‘small’, the eaglets are actually quite large. The young 4 year old Bald Eagle dad, harry, has done a terrific job along with his mate, Nancy.

21 April 2021
21 April 2021

In San Francisco, Grinnell is busy catching pigeons for the three little ones. Hatch watch tomorrow for the fourth eyass at the UC Berkeley campus.

More food please! 21 April 2021

Jackie and Shadow have given up any hope of having a family this year at their nest at Big Bear, California. Their first hatchling in the second clutch died trying to get out of the shell. The second hatchling stopped developing. When the egg broke the other day you could see an eaglet form. The Raven took the rest of the egg away. So sad for these two devoted eagles who tried twice to raise an eagle this year. We can only hope that next year will be better.

Jackie and Shadow will try again nest year. 21 April 2021

Meanwhile, the three eaglets are really keeping the parents busy on the Pittsburg Hayes Nest.

The nest is full with the trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest. 21 April 2021

And news from Wales is that Seren and Dylan on the Clywedog Osprey Nest have their third egg. Seren laid it at 8:45 pm.

Seren just finishing a snack. 22 April 2021
Middle of the Night on the Clywedog Nest. 22 April 2021
Dawn is rising. Dylan is with Seren on the nest. 22 April 2021

Tiny Tot update: There were three fish today. The first arrived at the Achieva Osprey nest at 8:27. Tiny Tot did not get any of that fish. The second fish came in at 1:07:24. Tiny Tot got to eat a little of that fish – for about six minutes. Diane offered it the tail. Diane left the nest and might have caught a big fish. She brought it to the nest around 8:50. Because of the light it is really hard to tell who got what. At 8:52:20 Tiny Tot was up by Diane and the fish and sibling 1 and might have gotten a little fish. Mostly it was 2 eating as far as I could tell. There simply is not enough fish coming on this nest and for Tiny Tot to really benefit, the fish need to come in closer together. Get 2 full and then Tiny Tot has a chance to eat. All in all it was not a great day for Tiny Tot getting food. But, Tiny Tot did well yesterday. Poor thing. Today he attacked 2 twice bonking him. Of course 2 took it out on Tiny – really going after Tiny’s neck. And I don’t buy the term ‘survival’ that is tossed about. 2 is monopolizing the food when the benefit for the nest at this stage -where the older sibs should be hovering and thinking about fledging – is for all to survive and fledge. Today 1 and 2 are fifty days old. The USFWS says that Ospreys in the US normally take their first flight at around sixty days. That is ten days away. But it doesn’t mean that Tiny Tot is alone on the nest to eat all the fish. Oh, no, the older sibs will return to the nest to be fed by the parents, too!

And just a correction to the location of this Osprey Nest. It is not in Dunedin but it is in St Petersburg, my original location. Here it is on Google Maps. There are some fresh water areas and Tampa Bay for fishing. It is the Credit Union location, red $ sign, nearest the top.

Thank you for joining me today. Happy Earth Day to all of you! Stay safe and wish for an abundance of fish on the Achieva Osprey Nest – it is all we can do.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Clywedog Nature Reserve, Achieva Credit Union, MN DNR Bald Eagle Nest, Pittsburgh Hayes Bald Eagle Nest, Decorah North and Explore.Org, UC Falcons, Raptor Resource Project, NWFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Friends of Big Bear.

Bird World – Monday Updates full of joy

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) has a new couple on their nest. Harry, the male, is still sporting some of his 4 year old Bald Eagle plumage. Nancy is the female and all we know is that she is older – precisely hold old or how many eaglets she has raised is unknown. The couple welcomed little E1 on 26 March and E2 was born on 29 March at 3:24pm.

Harry is just starting to figure out what his duties are. I had a giggle when E1 was born. Harry tried to roll the little fluff ball – and he is not the only one to do that! It will be a real delight to watch this couple raise these little ones in what should be a prey rich area.

Harry wanted to feed the little ones this morning but he is still flummoxed by the entire experience. Nancy will make sure he figures it out! Best he goes out fishing and fills the pantry.

It has been pitching down rain in Wales but Aran has arrived safely home from his winter migration, He is on the perch to the left. Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in Wales, is on the nest with a morning fish. She is one of the best fishers in the country and often hauls in whoppers to the nest. There will be cheers all day throughout Wales. It is such a relief when both mates arrive home safely from their winter vacations.

Aran arrives home. 29 March 2021

Over at the Loch of the Lowes Nest, Laddie and NC0 got right down to business at the break of dawn. Or did they? Maybe Laddie just did a landing sans fish??

Look at that gorgeous view. Just stunning with the apricot and pink over the water from the glow of the morning sun rising. What a wonderful place for a nest.

At the Great Horned Owl Nest on the farm near Newton, Kansas, Bonnie has been going out hunting. The owlets had mostly snake today. Bonnie joined up with Clyde and the image below shows her bringing in a vole. She helps orient the head so that little Lily has an easier time horking it whole. These two are growing and growing and demanding more and more food.

At the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, both Diane and Jack brought in fish late in the day. Mom actually left the nest to go fishing when it appeared she had given up on dad. It made for a lot of confusion. with the trio. Look where Diane has that fish! Tiny Tot got right up on the rails. These are really hold your breath moments because those twigs that make up the outside of this nest are not all that secure. By getting up there though, Tiny ensured that it got food while the other two were still full from eating earlier. And it’s a good thing. It is noon on this nest on Monday, 29 march. Not a single fish has arrived all morning. Diane found some scraps in the nest and fed Tiny Tot a few. If I could strangle a bird it might be Jack!

Diane feeding Tiny Tot. 28 March 2021.

I received the most wonderful letter from a lady in Iowa who stressed that they were the home of the ‘Decorah Eagles’. When my parents were still alive, there were many trips where we would drive through Iowa on the way to see them in Oklahoma. But, I have to admit that while I had heard of the Decorah Bald Eagles it was not a nest that I was following. This lovely woman’s letter tweaked my interest and if you don’t know the nest, it is really a wonderful one to follow. Little DN13 was born on 26 March followed by DN14 on the 27th. They are so cute and the parents are beam with pride.

Here is the link to the Decorah Explore streaming cam:

And last but never least, Big Red laid her second egg of the 2021 season this morning at 10:10am. And, if she lays three, we can look for the last one on 1 April! It is colder in Ithaca this morning at 5 degrees C or 41 F than it is here in Winnipeg where it is 8 degrees C or 46.4 degrees F. It has stopped raining and the sun is finally coming out in Ithaca.

Yesterday, Arthur did most of the incubating and he was on the nest before Big Red flew in to lay this egg. They are a great pair that often work like well designed Swiss watch.

And here is the link to the Cornell Red Tail Hawk cam with Big Red and Arthur:

As many of you know, I am one of a growing number of individuals calling for the ban of lead in fishing and hunting equipment and designer rat poisons. I am working on a story about the Black Kites in Taiwan and a man who worked to get rat poison banned in that entire country.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my scaps: Cornell Bird Labs, Decorah Eagles and Explore, Achieva Osprey, Farmer Derek, MN DNR, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the Bywd Gwylit Glaslyn Wildlife.

Let’s make their future better

I have watched Harriet and M15 and E17 and 18 very closely since those kiddos came back from CROW with their eyes all healed. What I have observed is that M15, the dad, seems to intuitively know when E18 wants to eat but won’t because of E17. Yesterday, M15 filled E17 up and then he turned to E18, on the other side of the nest, and started feeding him. The little fella was full to the brim. And, for whatever reason, Harriet has turned a lot of the feeding duties over to M15 lately. She is a great mom but M15 you get my gold star of the week!

M15 feeding E18, 10 February 2021. SWFL Eagle cam with D. Pritchett.

Today has been a very sad day due to some avoidable deaths in the Bald Eagle family. I so needed a laugh and there it was. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) does a lot of videos from the footage at the eagle and albatross cams. This time she did a bit of a funny one. We all like to cheer for the underdog. So here it is, one and a half minutes of slap stick comedy at the expense of E17. She does deserve it, at times. One and a half minutes. Just so you know who you are looking at, E18, the little underdog is on the left. His older sib that causes all the mischief, E17, is on the right.

Make sure you get that red line back to the beginning. You might want to put it on full screen. Enjoy.

Now, let us quickly move over to that nest up at St. Augustine, Florida – the NEFL one with Samson and Gabby. The little one there, E24 is enjoying some nice fresh fish brought in by dad.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think the second egg will make it. And, you know what? Maybe that is OK. We have one healthy eaglet on this nest that would be much older. I think you can imagine what that might be like. E18 was born within hours of E17. This one would be many days younger. Sometimes Mother Nature takes care of things.

And this little one is a fluffy little butterball. Round and healthy, clean eyes. And look, there is a wee bit of white on that rear end where we will see a tail emerge. And those tiny little wings. Precious.

A friend told me once that the second egg is the ‘insurance egg’ if something happens to the first. In their lifetime, Bald Eagles will hope to be able to replace themselves in the numbers. That is how treacherous it is out there for them.

Gabby feeding E24 fresh fish. 10 August 2021. NEFL Eagle cam.

There has been quite a bit of sadness in the last few days in the Bald Eagle world. It is difficult enough for the eagles to survive hatch. You are witnessing that. We have seen so many loses. But beginning with hatch, just the slightest thing can cause a left egg shell to go and slip itself over the second egg. That eaglet might not be strong enough to get out of two shells! Then there is surviving intruders, avian flu and pink eye and well, a drought that brings no food, floods, or even bad parenting. Living to be two years old is extremely difficult never mind making it to adulthood for a Bald Eagle, a bird that is extremely protected by laws, is a real feat. And anything I say about these beautiful eagles is as easily applied to our hawks and falcons.

Several beautiful eagles were taken into care in the past three or four days. Each one was suffering with high levels of lead poisoning. One eagle was actually shot by someone! Yes, shot. Others ate carion and ingested the lead shot. We have made the world of the birds toxic! Some have died or had to be euthanized. Today, I am bringing you the story of two. One older eagle and one beautiful juvenile and some ideas on how you might help.

The Wildlife Service of the State of Virginia provided the following description. It is good and will answer a lot of your questions: “Lead is a soft, pliable heavy metal and fragments easily. Historically, lead ammunition has been frequently used in big game hunting, including deer, elk, and moose hunting. Even when a lead core bullet passes all the way through its intended target, as much as a third or more of the bullet’s total weight will be broken away and remain inside the animal. A normal practice for hunters is to remove the internal organs of the shot deer or other game animal, and simply leave the “gut pile” in the fields after removing the body of the animal. Nearly all of the gut piles contain tiny shards of the lead ammunition”.

There is something that you can do to help. Talk to people or write to someone with influence to make it illegal for lead to be used in anything that has to do with hunting and fishing. There are viable alternatives that do not poison the wildlife or the water. And they are available. So if you want to do something and you have a few minutes one day, write to your political representatives. You can use the same letter, just change the name. In the US make sure you write to the people in the US Fish and Wildlife Services, the Department of the Interior, your congressperson and your Senator. In Canada, write to your MLA and your MP. You don’t even need a stamp. Do it on line.

If you know a hunter, find out if they will consider taking measures to bring the gut pile home to dispose of it properly.

The Migratory Bird Act protects all eggs, nests, birds, feathers of all birds except house sparrows, starlings, and pigeons. They should then be protected by our human inventions such as lead weights and lead shot. If you know of someone that hunts or fishes, maybe you could also talk about how lead impacts wildlife – and give them a packet of heavy rubber weights or stainless steel shot in exchange for some of their old gear. The lead shot and weights would then be taken to the same depot that would receive other harmful items such as paint.

Notice how the injured beak has healed so that the eagle can hunt.

CT Environmental Conservation Officer Michael Curran found the male eagle in the image above hardly able to move. He recognized it because a local reporter had photographed the Bald Eagle in October with a severe beak injury and posted the image in the local paper. No one knew if this beautiful adult would survive. Most thought it would not. Well it did. Curran discovered the male eagle a couple of days ago starving, with swollen feet in the cold, and covered in mites. The eagle could barely stand for more than a few minutes. That eagle was lucky. Someone found it who cared. Curran knew where to take the eagle and that was to ‘A Place Called Hope’ where it was given round the clock care. At the end of 24 hours this bird still had the will to live so a routine lead toxicity test. The level was found to be 48.9. While no level of lead poisoning is safe, this is a horrifically high level. The wildlife rehabbers at A Place of Hope have started this wonderful, strong-willed ‘I want to live bird’ on chelation therapy. They have not seen an eagle survive with this high of toxicity but this bird is a fighter and they said they will be there to fight with him.

And then there is this beautiful juvenile.

The beautiful juvenile eagle above is Decorah Eagle, D35. She was found dead on 29 January on the banks of the Iowa River just south of Iowa City. An examination on site revealed that she was well fed, had excellent feather condition, and there was no damage to her feet and talons. D35 had a transmitter and it was working. No one could understand why such a healthy eagle would be dead. SOAR (Saving our Avian Resources) did a full necropsy including x-rays. She died of acute lead poisoning. There were high levels of lead in her blood system, #6 lead shot in her stomach, and her stomach acids had worked on other lead shot causing it to break down and be even more toxic. There were also high levels of lead in her liver and fat reserves. She didn’t have a chance. It would have been an awful death.

These are only two of the eagles that have been impacted in the last few days. There are more. I could create pages. One beautiful juvenile bird that was healthy in every other way died and one older one who lived through a massive beak injury is now fighting for its life. You don’t hear as much about these levels of toxicity and deaths in the spring and summer because they happen during the fall and winter’s hunting season more often than not.

And if lead toxicity isn’t enough – something created entirely by humans – then there are balloons. You can also help with this. Spread the word. I am attaching an image that has been circulating on social media to make the point:

Every type of bird from Pelicans to Eagles, tiny little song birds to great big hawks get tangled in balloons. One slogan that is also going around shows a bird’s legs all wrapped in the string of a balloon. It said, “Balloons don’t go to heaven, they tangle bird’s feet”. Fireworks might be fun but they terrify wildlife as well as domestic pets. Balloons are beautiful and we used to let them go full of wishes and hopes. No one knew the damage they would cause. We now know. So we can stop the practice and find another way of celebrating.

I want to close on a high note. These little ones are healthy and strong. We want to protect the future of their parents and them so that one day we can watch E17 feed her babies, see E18 bring in the fish for his kids, and E24 set up their nest. How wonderful that would be.

Samson has lots of fresh fish on deck and E24 loves a nice big feed before bed.

Dinner time at the NEFL nest.

There is a lot of fresh fish on the SWFL nest, too. Dad just brought in that small catfish. Earlier there had been two more fish and a squirrel. Lots of food, thanks M15! Harriet fed them well and they are in their own corners, Harriet in the middle to stop any nonsense.

And I want to leave you with an image of E17 and E18 and Harriet. Look how big they are! Great view over their territory. Gosh, aren’t they lucky. Twenty gold stars for the Pritchett family who maintain the cameras and the nest their dad started. Amazing.

Thank you for joining me today. Remember, ask about those lead weights. I don’t know the regulations in Europe and South American or in China where so many reading my blog live but check. I intend to write Cabela’s and Canadian Tire today to see what lead products they stock and find out who to ask about stopping the practice. Maybe one of the owners of these companies will want to be a hero for our wildlife. You never know.

See you tomorrow. Stay bundled up. Be safe.

Thank you to NEFL Eagle cam and SWFL Eagle cam and the Pritchett family for their streaming cameras where I get my screen shots. Thank you to Lady Hawk for her great video and to SOAR and A Place called Hope for the images today.