From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

Sadness and Joy

Everyone has been very saddened by the fact that there will not be four fledges from the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape in Melbourne. Everyone was both shocked and happy when Mum laid that fourth egg. It would have been a historic moment if all four had fledged. It is hard to lose a little one that we have come so close to – watching all of its antics.

Trichomonosis is caused by a parasite. In urban raptors, it is normally by the eating of an infected prey item. The neck and throat can swell and sores or cankers can appear. The birds cannot swallow and it is difficult to eat and breath. That is certainly not something we would wish on any bird. No one will ever know which of the prey deliveries carried this deadly parasite.

As one person said today – putting this loss in perspective – “we are lucky that we did not lose all of the birds.” They are absolutely correct. We have seen how prey items are shared and we now must hope and send warm wishes that none of the other family members succumb to this parasite. You can see in the image below how swollen the neck is of the little male in this image taken last evening. He is the one with the floof on his wings and back still. It is so sad.

Two of the siblings stayed with their little brother in the scrape box last night. The parents had been in earlier. I will disagree with anyone that says the parents and the siblings do not know what is happening with their family member. They do. They are just not afforded the luxury of having several days to mourn. They have to get on with their lives so that they survive.

In her book, The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman addresses (briefly) issues related to death and mourning in Corvids. The Peregrine Lady (Kate St John) who writes about the falcons in Pittsburg in her blog Outside My Window, has often commented that whenever one of the fledglings would die, the Mum falcon would go to her “mourning corner”. While she could not stay there for long because she had survivors to look after, it was a noticeable change in her behaviour when one of her own died and it was the only time she goes to that particular place. Kate St John’s blog is excellent and can be accessed at: birdsoutsidemywindow.org

Here is another article on mourning.

As Jennifer Ackerman states, “The jury is still out on whether birds grieve their own. But more and more scientists seem willing to admit the possibility.”

There is not a lot happening on the other Australian nests today, thankfully. The water is still a little choppy at Port Lincoln. Certainly not like it was yesterday when one of the nearby boats sunk. The three will no doubt be working on their hovering after getting some energy once that breakfast fish has arrived. And, yes, they could fledge anytime but I am counting on another week with these guys.

Yurruga is also waiting for her breakfast. She will be ready to fledge in a week but will she fly then? That is hard to imagine with all the floof still on her body! At that time the parents will continue to provide her with food and train her so that she can live a successful life as a falcon. Once she reaches that stage, they will invite her to leave their territory and find her own space.

Yurruga is adorable. Her name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori and she does certainly brighten up everyone’s day. Notice that she is standing on the rocks in the corner. She slept next to her Mum, Diamond, on Diamond’s rocks last night. Those rocks were put there on purpose so that Diamond would not be able to lay her eggs where they could not be seen by the camera. Yurruga only knows that Mum stands there and we get the benefit of seeing her beautiful face up close. What a darling.

Please do watch this beautiful family. Diamond and Xavier are fabulous parents! Yurruga is very vocal and right at this moment she is screaming for the parents to bring breakfast! I promise that Yurruga will delight you just as her brother Izzi did last year. Here is the link:

It is a very snowy day on the Canadian Prairies. A wonderful day to hunker down and read and drink lots of tea. If you have good weather and are heading out for a walk, enjoy it for me, too. This snow is like walking in a 15 cm or 6 inch Slurpee it is so heavy and wet. The birds are hiding in the wood boxes today, some of them.

Take care everyone. I so wish I had been able to have brought you good news about the little fellow. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.