Sometimes there are very special birds that elevate our spirits higher than we thought could be imagined. This was the case with WBSE 26.
I received so much mail from individuals with terminal illnesses – some in hospital – and from others with physical challenges. Each spoke to the inspiration they received from this single little Sea Eaglet.
Today I was telling one of our readers about WBSE 26 and I wondered how many others do not know the story of 26. So, I decided to post an old blog in the anticipation that it will bring joy. Like Bowland Beth, those of us who know the story, know the ending and it still brings tears. 26 was a very, very special eaglet.
Friday morning started off fantastic with Tiny Little on the nest alone food calling. She was later joined by older sibling, 462.
What you need to know is that Tiny Little had an entire fish to herself a little earlier for breakfast! Just look at her enjoying that fish!
Tiny Little returned later and was joined by 462. Yes, I said that already! They waited and waited. All that waiting and food calling paid off! Both Tiny Little (or Bobbie to some) and older sibling got a fish – older sib gets the flounder, Tiny Little has something else (?). Dad, you are fantastic. This is the way to keep the kids happy and quiet.
Tiny Little is the fledgling on the right. She is a ‘big’ girl! I am just so delighted to be able to see her. She is growing and growing. Tiny simply doesn’t fit anymore!!!!!!
This is the link to the Osprey Nest at Foulshaw Moss managed by Cumbrian Wildlife Trust:
But there was more happiness. To top it off, the little Osprey nestling at Collins Marsh Nature Centre had two feedings before 9:30 this morning. If this pace keeps up Malin is really going to have a big growth spurt this week. Already the tail and back feathers are remarkably changed from last week.
And another feeding here. So happy to see these parents stepping up the food. Malin is really starting to present as a juvenile Osprey now. I keep looking at those little feet – wonder if we have a little boy here? Male or female it doesn’t matter. Malin is really a gorgeous/handsome.
The link to the Osprey nest at Collins Marsh is here:
One of my readers was asking about the nest for the Black Storks in Latvia. I was able to find some information and a couple of images so that you can see the beautiful forests in the area.
The nest is in a forest in the Sigulda region of Latvia. It is 53 km southeast of the capital, Riga. It is the orange area on the map below.
The area is home to Sigulda New Castle and the remains of a medieval castle built in 1207.
The image below is the New Castle.
Through the forest you can see the New Castle.
These are the remains of the medieval castle. It is a major tourist site and because of this, Latvia has stabilized some of the walls so it can be fully appreciated.
The nest in the forest is on a pine branch that extends about 1.8 metres from the trunk of the tree. So, in plain English, the nest is on a branch that is sticking out —- just a big branch! I know. Take a deep breath. It could make you nervous. The nest is 18 metres from the ground. Imagine these storks on such a branch! I kept thinking they could slide off the edge.
The youngest storkling is 53 days old today. It is flapping its wings and gets really excited. The eldest is 56 days old and the middle one is 54 days.
The adults, Grafs and Grafiene, have to be very careful when they come to feed their little ones now so they do not slide off the nest. It is getting a little crowded as the nestlings grow!
One of the moderators for the nest forum created a video of Grafiene coming to feed the storklings about one month ago. It is very short but shows us just how much these nestlings have grown in that time. Just look how tiny they were.
All of the storks meet to begin their migration. ‘S’ tells me that they land on the tops of all the houses, the hydro poles, and the trees. And then they begin clacking and this is the beginning of their long journey as far as South Africa. Everyone is a little sad when they leave.
The link to the Latvian Black Storks is here:
Don’t all babies look sweet when they are sleeping? The little sea eaglets are no exception. You would never know that they are so tired from all the mischief they cause when their parents aren’t watching.
They look like little angels.
Dad is making sure that there is lots of food on the nest.
Here is the link to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is the only WBSE nest in the world that is streaming live. One of the really neat things is just listening to the forest sounds when the streaming cam is on. You will hear many Australian birds. There are lots of YouTube videos of the birds and the sounds they make. Just do a search of ‘Australian Bird Sounds’.
There has been a lot of chatter about when the female ospreys in the UK will be leaving the nests and heading off on their migration. Blue NC0 is still up at the Loch of the Lowes working hard, along with Laddie, to feed LM 1 and LM 2. She is known to catch big fish and this morning she brought in a whopper. The sad part was NC0 worked so hard to get this fish out of the water and on to the nest and one of the kids let it fly off the nest. It happens but we all must appreciate the real effort these parents put into feeding these juveniles especially when they must be eating themselves, fattening up, to make their journeys.
NC0 has turned into one wonderful mom over the season. It has been such a joy to watch her develop from when the little ones hatched and we had no idea if she was going to figure out how to feed them!
The fledglings still associate the nest with food so you might still get in some good action. This has to be one of the most beautiful nest locations in the world. When I went to check, I could see the Ospreys flying around and food calling on the branches at the top left of the image below. So turn up your sound and look there when you check on this nest.
Here is the link to their camera:
I checked to see if the names had been announced for Louis and Dorcha’s chicks on the ‘other’ Lock Arkaig nest. There seems to be no mention or I have missed it. So hold on. Will let you know as soon as I hear anything! I am also waiting for the Collins Street Peregrine Falcon cam to come on live. You are going to be in for a real treat with that falcon nest! I promise.
Thank you for joining me today. I hope everyone is well. Tomorrow I am heading out to find the local hawk. Expect news to come in the late afternoon for all the nests. Enjoy your weekend. Stay safe.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cameras where I took my screen shots: The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Osprey Cam, the Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and Discovery Centre, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes.
The sun is bright but not too hot, the Hibiscus continues to bloom, and Tiny Little is on the Foulshaw Moss nest eating a large fish. That is a great beginning to the day.
This is actually ‘the tea time’ fish for our favourite little fledgling on the Foulshaw Moss nest. It is about 16:00 in Cumbria.
Tiny Little is so smart. She doesn’t waste her time and energy fighting with the mouth and eyes of the fish, she rips a part of the belly open and begins to eat the side and the bottom of the fish. She is ever mindful that there are also two hungry siblings lurking about.
Tiny Little ate off that fish for more than an hour. She got a lot of really nice fish Great work, Tiny Little!
After what appears to be an hour and a half, big sibling 464 arrives. I missed the hand off. Was Tiny Little finished or did 464 come in and take the fish? We will never know. 464 has been fighting with the front of that fish for over an hour now. Sibling 462 is waiting their turn! Tiny Little has flown off.
In the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park, Lady has been busy feeding 27 and 28. Oh, they are so cute! I love this stage. Lady is so gentle feeding them with her big beak. They look like two little snow people with arms.
The Only Bob or Bobette in the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest in Wisconsin has had a couple of feedings this morning and perhaps more by now; it is now 13:33 on that nest. The fish that are being brought to the nest by both parents are quite small. I wonder if all the fish are that small? or are the bigger fish lurking around in deeper water?
The chick is being watched for feather development. It is hoped that the ‘blood’ feathers will grow fully and, at the time of fledging, the chick will have a full set of juvenile plumage.
In the image below, you might want to look at what some people call the quills on the left wing. As the feathers grow, those quills break open and eventually fall off. This is what we are watching.
Yesterday I reported that Bonifac, one of the male storklings cared for by the people of Mlade Buky had been electrocuted just like its mother. The other male, Servac had not been to the nest but was seen flying with other storks. Pantrac has been to the nest to be fed. There were no storks on the nest so far today. This is not unusual! The storks are beginning to gather for their migration to Africa. Yesterday might well have been the last day for them in Mlade Buky.
Before the age of Immarsat M and GPS, the only way to study the migration of the storks was if they were ringed. In 1933, a short entry in Nature Magazine (30 September, p 509) says that ‘Storks nesting east of the River Elbe have been found to use the Asia Minor route when migrating, and those nesting west of the Elbe are stated to take the route through Spain.’ Today those similar routes are simply called the Easter and the Western. The western is through Spain and the Straits of Gibraltar while the eastern has the birds flying through Egypt following the Nile. With Satellite tracking, the birds are now known to winter in Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Senegal, Nigeria and the Niger River Basin.
The observations of the success of the migration and the concerns in 1933 are similar to those in 2021. It is a two month journey for the Danish storks – anything can happen between the time the storks leave and arrive. Even with laws protecting migrating birds, these lovely creatures have been known to have been shot down in France, Malta, and in parts of Egypt. There are many other things that impact this hazardous journey – changing climates, lack of food and water can all contribute to the loss of the birds.
Because we are talking about European laws, it is essential that the countries that make up the European Union – and many who do not- work together to ensure that the killing of migrating birds in European states is halted. There also need to be uniform protections in the territories where the birds migrate. As the world changes, following the SARS Covid-19 pandemic, countries in African that have been devastated by wars, famine, droughts, and epidemics need to understand that ‘birding’ can be an economic success story. People will begin to travel. Bird Tourism can bring vital monies into these struggling economies.
There is, however, another very troubling trend. As the climates change some of the storks are not migrating. Traditionally, they travelled to Africa where food supplies were plentiful during the winter when they were not in Europe. One troubling occurrence is that many of the European storks who take the western route are now stopping and living in garbage dumps in Spain and Portugal during the winter. There are groups that are not happy with the storks being there year round. One of them is called ‘Stop Storks’. A discussion of the issues is in an article, “European Storks become Couch Potatoes and Junk Food Junkies” in Environment.
Speaking of storks, one of the nests that I have, embarrassingly not mentioned for some time, is that of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia. The camera was broken during a severe storm on 25 June and was not operational again until 15 July. Oh, those wee babies sure have grown. Their parents are Karl II and Kaia.
The trio was ringed on 9 July. You can see the bands. Those bands contain Kotkaklibi transmitters. To my knowledge this is the first instance this type of satellite tracker has been used on the Black Storks. The band numbers are as follows 716U for the oldest chick, 716P for the middle, and 716T for the youngest. Names are pending.
In the image below you can see both the banding ring and the transmitters on the legs a little better. Hopefully reports will come back on a regular basis so that we can follow these three as they undertake their first migration.
Here is the link to the streaming cam of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia:
Thank you so much for joining me today. Please go and see those lovely Black Storks. We are now at 1 August and they will not be with us for much longer. I hope everyone is well. Take care. Enjoy.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Osprey Cam, the Mlade Buky White Stork Cam, and the the Eagle Club of Estonia.
Please Note. I have very strong opinions and will always advocate hard for ways in which to protect birds. My son sent me an article with some videos on a troubling conspiracy theory in the United States. It is the ‘Birds are Not Real’ group. They believe that birds are equipped with transmitters and are actually drones that are for surveillance. Those beliefs would cause the killing of innocents. If you know of someone who believes this, please have a gentle conversation with them. If you want to check out their beliefs and what is happening, please Google: Birds are Not Real.
In a 2014 article in The Smithsonian Magazine, Rachel Neuwer asks why there is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in a Renaissance image of the Virgin and child, Madonna della Vittoria. Rebecca Mead examines the image by Andrea Mantegna, painted in 1496. You can see the painting of the Madonna and child with saints in the article below (sorry, it has a copyright so I can’t show it). The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is above the Virgin’s part in her hair a little to the left.
Each writer considers how the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo made its way from AustralAsia all the way to Italy focusing on the initial discovery of the bird in the painting by Heather Dalton, a British historian living in Australia.
The Mantegna is not, however, the first time that a parrot is included in a picture. Parrots show up in the murals of Pompeii, the Italian city buried by ash when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. They are also the subject of floor mosaics in the region. Indeed, exotic birds (not just parrots) appear as subjects in many mosaics and frescoes in the Roman domus.
Alexander the Great’s army went as far as parts of India before stopping on their eastern expansion of his empire. Their presence on what is today the Indian subcontinent heavily influenced the art of the Gandharan region. In turn, Alexander acquired a parrot from the Punjab in 327 BCE. If parrots were in Italy 1700 years before the Mantegna, one might begin to ask what is all the fuss? The Barber Institute of Fine Art in Birmingham, England hosted an exhibition solely on parrots in art in 2007. They were exotic, they were status symbols, and it appears that they were present in the art of the Italian Peninsula for some 2400 years to today. Of course, they were not all Sulphur-headed Cockatoos and that could well be the reason for the continuing discussion about the Mantegna. Other species of parrots came from the southeastern coast of Africa and from the region of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos originate in Australia and the islands of Indonesia and it was surely the trade through the islands of Indonesia that spirited the bird all the way to the port of Venice along with black peppercorns and other spices.
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are extraordinarily beautiful and are the largest of the white parrots. I have never seen them in the wild. Indeed, it was not until I watched the White-Bellied Sea Eagle streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park that I heard them before I saw them. It sounded like someone being murdered in the forest! Seriously. One of the moderators answered the question, “What is that?” Later, these lovelies were seen climbing all over the old Ironbark Tree.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are nut, root, and fruit eaters and live for up to eighty years. They make their nests in tree hollows where the female lays one to three eggs. Those eggs are incubated for thirty days. The little ones remain in the nest being fed by the parents for a period of approximately sixty-five days after hatch. The breeding season for these parrots is August to January in the Southern Hemisphere.
Why am I talking about these parrots today? It is because of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE), Lady and Dad. The two eggs that Lady has been incubating will be hatching in approximately two weeks. There is a live streaming cam that is on day and night, 24/7 year round except for maintenance. If you like birds of Australia, you can often see them coming and going around the Sea Eagles nest. The birds are either curious as to what is going on in the nest or they would like the Sea Eagles to leave! The streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park is the only one in the world that observes the second largest eagles in Australia.
It is in the middle of the night. This is the WBSE nest in the Ironbark Tree in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park.
The Rainbow Lorikeets are curious. They come as a group climbing all over the branches of the tree. They are easy to spot!
Every once in awhile the Galahs come to the Ironbark Tree. I think they are adorable. One of the WBSE chatters from Australia said that if anyone visits Australia and someone calls them a ‘Galah’, it is an insult meaning the person is not very smart. I have no idea how the Galah got that reputation except that I have seen several in the talons of Peregrine falcons in Australia.
The Noisy Miners are definitely heard before they are seen. They are a constant in the forest around the WBSE Nest.
The Pied Currawong flits around the WBSE nest all the time. I do not like them! Once the nestlings have fledged the Currawongs gather and try to chase them out of the forest. They did this on the first try with WBSE 25 last year and during the re-fledging of WBSE 26.
Then there is the smallest owl in Australia, the BooBook. Isn’t it cute? This owl, like all others, flies silently and it can see very well in the dark. It comes in the night hitting the WBSE has they roost for the night. They fly low over the nestlings trying to hit them and make them leave. One attack injured Lady’s eye last year. Despite their size they are to be taken very seriously. The BooBook often has a nest in the forest the same time as the WBSE so it is very protective and wants the eagles gone for fear they will eat its young.
Here is a compilation video of Lady and Dad after the first egg was laid through the 23rd of June. It shows the actual labour of the second egg and a changing of the incubation shift from Lady to Dad.
Here is the link to watch the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park:
Be sure to check out the time difference. One of the most beautiful moments of the day is when the adults do a duet at sunrise. It is an amazing way to start the day. It wakes up the forest but it is also a continuous bonding method between the birds. The nestlings will join in with their parents when they are older. It will warm your heart. Here3 is a video clip I made after Lady laid the first egg. She leaves the nest and joins Dad on the branch for the singing.
Thank you for joining me today. It is now three days since Tiny Tot was at the nest. We are all having Tiny withdrawal. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the WBSE Streaming Cam, BirdLife Australia, and the Discovery Centre and Twitch TV where I took my screen shots and video clips.
It has been a day for extreme weather. 44 degrees C in the Pacific Northwest and a snow storm on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, home to the Northern Royal Albatross colony and their chicks. It is 38 degrees C – and ‘boiling’ my friend living at the base of the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia said. It is 24 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida where Tiny Tot lives and 27 degrees C in Ithaca, NY where the Ks live. It is 27 degrees where I am on the Canadian prairies with the temperature climbing to 36 degrees C in a couple of days. We will fill extra bowls of water and try and find a sprinkler for the birds as well as keeping their feeders topped up.
Our local crow colony displayed some interesting behaviours in the late afternoon. First, two were on sentry duty on the telephone poles nearby. Each was making a different alarm. Then four other crows flew in and over our house. They were quickly joined by another five or six until 19 crows were in our front tree. We did not see the Great Horned Owl that lives over on the golf course coming to check if there are any nests it could raid. So we are still left wondering what was going on.
Crows defend their territory by summoning friends and relatives to help them annoy the intruder enough so it leaves in our neighbourhood. As things settled down, Mr Blue Jay flew out of the trees to come for his 5pm bath and food but, something alerted him and he decided he would wait. I don’t blame him. Those crows were really in a dither! The intruder remains a mystery.
All of this got me to thinking about Electra. Electra, if you do not know, is the mate of Wattsworth at the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest in Longview, Washington. Electra hatched two chicks this year. The nest is notorious for not having sufficient food and the chicks dying. This year there was one siblicide and yesterday, a chick with promise -if enough food came in- died of heat stroke. It was the first known Osprey death due to the extreme heat in the region but it is very possible that it will not be the last. Electra was out fishing since Wattsworth seems incapable. Believe me I have a lot I could say about him! But, right now I want to pull my human heart out of the equation and look at Electra’s behaviour in light of Aran’s present to Mrs G today. So, I want to rewind and I needed to go for a walk to think this through.
Electra leaves the nest to go and fish for her and the remaining chick. When she returns, that chick has died due to the extreme heat on the nest. Electra has a fish that was for her and the chick. Wattsworth arrives at the nest. Electra refuses to give Wattsworth any fish. Then Electra stays on the nest, fish in her talon. There is no need to brood a little one. It is dark and is unsafe for her to fly. Some Ospreys are known to fish in the night – certainly Louis at Loch Arkaig would fish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed Aila and the three chicks last year. But Electra is going to hold tight on the nest until dawn breaks. She then leaves the nest taking the fish with her. Electra’s motherly duties are over. It is unclear what the nest actually signifies to Electra now that the chicks are dead. We know that Aran brings Mrs G a fish today as a means of bonding. Iris returns to her nest to renovate. But what, if anything, this place is to Electra right now is not known.
Electra returns to the nest with what I want to call a ‘fish tail’ later. It certainly wasn’t the big hunk of fish she had with her last night. It could be what remains of it. There is no one to feed on the nest. So why is she up there with a fish? She could eat it on a tree branch in the cool shade of the river, right? That would have been the smart thing to do to do in this heat. She is horrifically hot, panting hard to try and cool herself.
I know of two male Ospreys who like to steal the fish from their mates – you possibly know many more! But I am thinking of Louis and Iris and now Wattsworth and Electra. I am also beginning to consider the need to bond after a tragedy. We see that with Aran and Mrs G. The need for Aran to be able to provide for Mrs G and for her to accept the fish from him.
Electra is looking and calling while she is on the nest with the fish. I now believe that she was calling for Wattsworth. I also believe that she was going to give the small fish piece to him. It doesn’t matter what I think of Wattsworth. Electra needs to bond with her mate after the death of her last chick. It is precisely what is happening on the Glaslyn Nest. Aran and Mrs G are bonding, too. This is just another way to look at the behaviour of Electra. The reality is we will never really know. We all wish her well.
The big winner in the fish category today had to be Tiny Tot over on the Achieva Credit Union’s Osprey Nest. My goodness, gracious. Jack came in with a fish for Tiny Tot at 6:41:16 and it was a whopper. I wish we could have seen Tiny’s eyes – they were probably popping out! But never fear. Tiny Tot learned its lesson months ago – you sit there and eat that fish as fast as you can because someone might come along and want to steal it. And you never ever leave anything on your plate!
Tiny Tot must have thought she had won the lottery. Jack has certainly been very good to make sure that Tiny gets fed. I would like to think that he is making up for when Tiny Tot was starving to death but, that would be putting another human spin on things. Obviously, Jack likes Tiny around. She protects the nest and he isn’t in any hurry for her to move on or he would stop bringing fish. It is a sweet deal for both of them. Jack doesn’t have to worry about getting injured fighting off an intruder. He can spend his time down by the water fishing and bringing Tiny Tot a few fish each day. Tiny is getting heaps of real life experience. Personally I am glad that he is feeding Tiny Tot. If she is to be the survivor of the chicks on this nest (the average is only one out of three), then the longer she is fed and the longer she stays on this nest, the better equipped she will be if she ever leaves the nest. Tiny is a bit like Izzi, the Peregrine Falcon juvenile, of Xavier and Diamond. Izzy is still around the scrape box and she should have left for his own territory long ago. But that is another story for another day. There should be no worries about Tiny being able to fish. It is embedded in them. Jack doesn’t have to teach her. That is ingrained into her and every other Osprey and has been for 65 million years. Now she might not be as good a fisher as an osprey more experienced but she knows the moves and just has to find fish. I loved the stories of Bellie in Belle’s Journey, the way she honed her fishing skills. Tiny will do that, too.
Look at those legs and that little bottom. I think that the chicks on Cowlitz really got to me because of what Tiny Tot went through early on. But, as those who watched the Achieva nest, things turned one day. Diane brought in fish and I quit calling Jack a ‘dead beat dad’. They began to be a team and they succeeded in fledging three chicks. Amazing.
When I think of those super male Ospreys that get wall murals or the ones people talk about decades after they have passed, it is always the praise for providing for their family. Yes, people talk about Blue 33 and Idris’s fishing abilities and the whoppers – but it is always tied to them bringing those to their family and how healthy their chicks are and the pride in counting the children and the grandchildren in the family lineage.
So we go back to the survival of the fittest, perhaps. Wattsworth’s DNA is not being passed along but Monty’s, Blue 33s, and Idris’s is. And I hope Tiny Tot’s!
It was raining in the Sydney Olympic Park today. The beautiful canopy of leaves on the old Ironbark tree where the nest of Lady and Dad, the resident White-Bellied Sea Eagles, is located kept Lady from getting soaked. Lady is incubating two eggs. It is awhile until we will be on hatch alert. I will let you know when that happens so you can join the fun.
The rain finally stopped in Ithaca and the Ks were quite happy. K3 is eating again! It is nice to see the sun come out so they can dry off. It is even nicer to see the pair together on the nest safe and sound.
And, last I am showing you an image of the nest at Loch of the Lowes. I will also try and find the short videos that someone took of NC0 fishing in the loch. She is good! In this image the nest is getting a little crowded with the wingersizing of these two big osprey chicks. Safer for NC0 to get out of the way and sit on the perch, for sure! I was fascinated in the camera set up. That is why I am including this image. It is rather amazing. There is also a microphone in the nest so that you can hear the chicks when they are peeping in the egg right before hatch.
Here is NC0 fishing:
A snow storm and high winds have put out the cameras on Taiaroa Head in New Zealand where the Northern Albatross and their chicks are. They will love it. These birds like the cold. The staff of the NZ DOC (Dept of Conservation) have sprinklers to cool off the chicks. That camera should be back on line along with the weighing of the chicks. The chicks are weighed weekly, unless there is an issue and they might be weighed more. Supplemental feedings by the staff are given if the weight of the chick is not where it should be. That could come from parents not returning, being injured and delayed in their return, etc. NZ looks after their wildlife and accepts that humans have impacted it. There are not the complications with intervention like there are in the US.
Sad news coming out of Canada and the Osoyoos Osprey Nest. It appears that two of the three chicks have died to the incredible heat in the area in the same way that the chick on Cowlitz did. The other chick will require lots of fish but it is not looking very well this morning. A former student and close friend of mine now lived on the edge of the water at Osoyoos and really enjoyed seeing the Osprey family fish. They were forced to move because of the smoke from the wildfires that hits the area every summer. Prayers for all the birds. The heat wave is spreading across North America.
Thank you for joining me today. There will be a big nest catch up later today.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Scottish Wildlife and Loch of the Lowes, and Sea Eagle Cam Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre.
Featured Image is Lady incubating her eggs in the Ironbark Tree in Sydney Olympic Park.
The weather at Rutland Water calmed down enough that the two chicks of Maya and Blue 33 (11) could be ringed. Some people call this ‘banding’ but in the UK the common term is ‘ringed or ringing’.
What are Darvic Rings? The Darvic rings are a plastic ring that is fitted to the Osprey’s leg. Normally you can see them from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope. Different countries use different colours. In the United Kingdom, the bands are blue with white lettering. Scotland places the Darvic ring on the left leg while England and Wales put it on the right. In Spain the Darvic rings are yellow, in Germany they are Black, and in France they are orange. Over time the amount of numbers or letters has changed but there are registries of every bird that is ringed.
The birds are also fitted with a metal ring. It has a unique number and address and is more durable than the plastic ones which can, after several years, break.
Birds are ringed before they are 45 days old. The reason for this is so the specially trained banders do not frighten the birds and cause them to fledge prematurely. Also, the leg will have grown to its adult size. This prevents the ring from getting too tight and injuring the bird. Ringing often takes place when the Osprey chicks are in the 30s – such as 36 days old, etc. At the time of banding the chicks are weighed and measured. Indeed, everything about them is measured!
The two chicks at Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Nest were ringed this morning. The oldest, chick 1, has the number Blue 096. Chick 1 is a male weighing 1540 grams and having a tarsus thickness of 13.6mm. Chick 2 is a female and is Blue 095. She weighs 1650 grams and has a tarsus thickness of 15.6 mm.
Just try getting a good image of the two birds showing both of their bands at the same time! It seems like it has been impossible. Here you can see one of the bands of the chicks – look carefully you will see 095 – chick 2, the female.
Other exciting news is that Lady at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in the Ironbark Tree in the Sydney Olympic Park laid her first egg on the evening of the 19th of June. Hundreds of people cheered watching.
She seemed very uncomfortable and then after the reveal she joined Dad on the branches of the tree.
The White-Bellied Sea Eagle is the second largest raptor in all of Australia. Their wingspan is from 1.8 to 2.2 metres. Females are bigger than the males – reverse sex size diamorphism. She will weight from 2.8-4.2 kg while the male will weight from 2.5 to 3.7 kg. The adults have a white head and belly which you can see in the image above with the most beautiful blue grey wings and beak.
You can see the nest. It is extremely large with an egg cup in the centre. It is made out of twigs which are carefully restored by the eagles every year. Lady and Dad have been working on getting the nest ready for several months now. This nest in the old Ironbark Tree is close to the Parramatta River where the sea eagles fish.
Lady will lay one more egg – what old timers call the ‘insurance’ egg in case something happens to the oldest chick. That will be in 2 or 3 days. She will do all of the incubating at night and Dad will help her during the day. Hopefully, both eggs will be viable and there will be two healthy chicks. Last year both chicks fledged. The oldest, WBSE 25 fledged first and did not ever return to the nest. WBSE 26 fledged, returned to the nest to rest, and then was found on the balcony of a 22nd floor condo after she left the nest for the second time. Right after hatch 26 had its leg broken and it did not heal properly. At the time no one thought she would be able to stand but encouraged by its older sibling, 26 did everything and fledged. Sadly, it was too injured to live in the wild and the veterinary surgeons thought any measures to ‘fix’ 26 would only result in endless pain for the bird. Sadly, 26 was euthanized but not after this gorgeous bird touched thousands of lives.
You can watch the action of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles here:
Ah, quite exciting. Hatch will come in about 40 days.
The White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in Sydney, Australia is the only streaming cam following these beautiful birds in the world. They live along the coast of Australia and can even be found in the Singapore harbour.
They are such beautiful birds.
Thank you so much for joining me today. The action will be gearing up in Australia with the Peregrine Falcons and the Ospreys as well. Lots to come. Take care. Have a great Saturday wherever you are.
Thank you to the LRWT and the Sea-EagleCAM@BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.
I wanted to check in with all of Daisy’s fans to let you know that she is such a brave little mother. From the last posting, you will know that Lady, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle who lays her eggs on this nest and who raises her little sea eagles, showed up this morning at 5:37:11. Previous to now, it was mostly ‘Dad’ that came to check on the nest. Once in awhile, Lady would join him. I was always worried about Lady. Dad is, well, older. Someone familiar with the nest told me that he is nineteen years old. And he is laid back. As long as the bird laying their eggs on his nest is not a threat to him, I don’t think he cares. But Lady is different. She takes on the mantel of really being the person in charge of the nest. And maybe she hasn’t been happy with the way that Dad has been unable to evict “the bird” whose eggs are on her nest! It also seems that until today, the sea eagles had not actually caught sight of the the culprit, the owner of the eggs. But this morning Lady saw Daisy. Lady’s arrival and Daisy’s urgent departure meant that they almost crossed feathers! It really was that close. And Lady was mad. She had her whole chest puffed up. Lady became frustrated because she could not pick up the eggs in her beak. And then she began to tear the down from the top of the nest. But, sea eagles do not like duck down! There is no way around it. It is a foreign material to them. They are used to sticks. Down has no weight and it sticks to the beaks. That simple fact stopped Lady from doing any more damage. She tossed the down and, in doing so, covered up the eggs so the Ravens and Currawongs wouldn’t see them. What a nice thing to do for our little duck!
This morning Daisy did not go into hiding. She is getting near to hatch and she has much more invested in the eggs. She did flybys around the nest quacking all the time. The sea eagles left and within twelve minutes, Daisy was back on the nest brooding her eggs. Within a few hours, she had moved all of the down back to the nest and positioned it to warm the eggs. Other than really strong gusts of wind and a few song birds come to visit, the day, until now, has been uneventful. It is nearly 2pm in Sydney.
If the sea eagles are at their roost on the Parramatta River, one or both of them will probably come again today to check on the nest. But the high gusts of wind might discourage them. We can only hope. Right now they are more of a nuisance that keeps Daisy for incubating her eggs but they do not appear to be destructive. Daisy is not a threat to them. If, however, they stayed for five or six hours and the eggs cooled off, this would be disaster. Or if they moved the covering, the other birds might come and try to break or eat the eggs. So, once again, it is much better for Daisy if the day is simply boring and uneventful.
The image below was in the earlier post. It is a picture of Daisy arriving back at her nest with her lovely down scattered all over the twigs and leaves.
This little duck is so marvellous. She goes about what needs to be done. It doesn’t take her long, using her bill, to rake the down that Lady has tossed all about, back on to her nest. In the image below Daisy is tucking it around the edges so none of the cold air gets in to chill the eggs.
Daisy is being tossed about and rocked in the wind and the old Ironbark tree is creaking.
Did you know that Daisy talks to her ducklings? She is constantly rolling the eggs and tucking in and the down and all the while she is clacking away at her little ducklings. She does not know if any of these eggs are viable but she carries on talking to them. Hers will be the first voice that they hear and the first face that they see. They will imprint on their mother, a Black Pacific Duck.
If all goes well, Daisy will jump from the seventy-five foot nest in the Sydney Olympic Park and her ducklings will follow. They will jump out, spreading their wings to slow their landing, and bounce like a puff ball on impact. They will straighten themselves and get behind their mom and follow her to water where they will forage for food.
I have mentioned the many obstacles that Daisy could face getting the ducklings to water. I understand that is about a kilometre to the nearest water. A very knowledgable friend of mine told me that she had seen ducks take their ducklings through parking lots and schools if need be to get them safely to a river where they will immediately be able to paddle about. Isn’t it marvellous? One day old and they can do everything for themselves. Daisy keeps them warm and safe at night. Amazing.
It is nearing 14:00 at the nest and there is a gentle rain. Daisy’s feathers are waterproof and the drops collect on the surface of the feathers. When Daisy preens she uses oil from an oil gland to coat and restore her feathers. In fact, you might have seen birds spending most of their time preening. Their feathers protect them from cold and heat but also allow them to fly and swim.
The rain stays on the surface. And, besides, Daisy is used to being wet – she’s a duck!
Besides the oil that helps to condition the feathers, the feathers overlap. Look at the image below. In addition, ducks have angled barbs on each side of the central shaft of the feather. Each barb has tiny, tiny little hooks help hold the feathers together. Someone told me that it is like velcro on each side. This means that Daisy is covered with a lightweight shell of feathers that protect her and also allow her to float in the water.
It is now approaching 14:45 on the nest and Daisy is showing no signs of leaving for a break. It is extremely gusty with occasional rain. While the rain does not hurt Daisy and it would roll off of eggs, I imagine that Daisy would much prefer to keep her eggs warm and dry. The wings might blow the feathery down clear from the nest and the nest cup might also get soaked if the showers increased in their intensity.
For now, our little duck seems just contented to let the nest rock and roll in the wind.
I want to thank Daisy’s increasing number of friends from around the world in joining us. It is wonderful to know that so many people who speak many different languages and live in varying different cultures, come together to watch the brooding of a little Pacific Black Duck who dared to make her nest in the tree belonging to the White-Bellied Sea Eagles.
We will look forward to having you with us tomorrow. It will be Day 17 of incubation! And so far, the little duck remains on the nest.
Thank you to the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Center for the cameras from which I took my screen images.