Glacier Gardens, Ervie on the nest, and other news in Bird World

19 May 2022

It has been a rather dreary damp day. The garden has been full of Orioles, Chipping Sparrows, European Starlings, and Harris Sparrows. They sure bring a lot of joy. At the same time, they let you know that your place is to fill the feeders and then get inside and do not disturb them. They can be rather loud about that. Little Red was about a metre from his new home. I do not know if he found it. Will continue to watch on and off. Fingers crossed!

Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle streaming cam is now live at the new nest of Liberty and Freedom! It is also a brand new camera.

Here is the link to the Glacier Gardens camera:

Big and Middle (known as Warrior by some) were both on the Dale Hollow nest this morning. Then Big left and Middle has been flapping his wings. Our time with them could be limited. So nice to see these two beautiful juveniles.

Yesterday it seemed that Big was up on a high branch. Middle kept looking up. If there is a fledge the camera might not catch it if they are up on those high branches.

Look how big Warrior is. After Big killed Little Bit, we did not know if Middle would make it. We can now rejoice that all is well and we can hope that he or she has an amazing and long life.

I have not seen a prey delivery today at the MN-DNR nest of Nancy. The weather is not great and it is unclear if there are any intruders about. Nancy has been up on the branch watching over the territory.

Nesting material is being delivered to the Barnegat Light Osprey nest in New Jersey today by both Duke and Daisy.

Lady and Dad both spent the night on the old Ironbark nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest where they raise their little White-Bellied Sea Eagles. Sea Eagles are the second largest raptor in Australia with the Wedge-tail Eagle being the largest. Lady and Dad normally have two eggs and fledge both chicks. That said there are birds in the forest that chase them far away so they cannot map the route to and from the nest in their GPS systems. This means the fledglings do not learn from the parents how to fish or have the opportunity to be fed on the nest and get their flying stronger. Last year WBSE 27 went into care twice and was finally trained to hunt and get their flying strong before release the last time. 28 is believed to have returned to the nest recently – to everyone’s surprise – but it was very gaunt. There can be some food competition.

If you have never heard the ‘Dawn Duet’ by the White-Bellied Sea Eagles you are in for a real treat. I taped it last year on 22 June – have a listen. The couple do this every morning at dawn to wake the forest. The chicks also join in!

Many have commented that it looks like the Manton Bay trio of Blue 33 and Maya grow right before our eyes. They are certainly moving from the soft fluffy new born nestling phase and will soon enter the dark wooly period. As the plumage changes the osplets do tend to get a little edgy. Those feathers must be really itchy and irritating. No worries – it is just ‘feather stress’ (that is what I call it). There will be no problems with siblicide on this nest!!!!!! Blue 33 has spent a lot of time on the nest with Maya and he has been feeding the chicks every once in awhile.

They are considered to be a Power Couple in the Osprey World. They are certainly very strong together.

Maya was first seen at Rutland in the summer of 2009. She is the only Rutland osprey to have a name. The letters for Maya come from Manton Bay (first and last two letters to form Maya). The Greek word ‘Maia’ means ‘coming of spring’. Maya successfully bred with 5R (04) from 2010 to 2013. They raised 11 chicks! At least five of those have returned to Rutland – if not more. I have not checked the last two year’s stats. Sadly, Maya’s mate did not return in 2014. She waited and then finally paired with 28 (10). She laid three eggs. But Blue 33 (11) wasn’t having it. He wanted both the nest and Maya as his mate and he persisted – finally kicking the other males eggs out of the nest!!!!! Blue 33 and Maya have been together ever since. They are utterly devoted to one another and with the exception of this year, have often arrived from their winter migration within minutes of one another. They first raised successful chicks in 2015.

So why are they considered a power couple within the Osprey world? In addition to the 3 chicks in 2015, there were 17 chicks from 2016-2020 including two years of clutches of 4 chicks raised to fledge!!!!!!!!!!! Two years of four chicks. Think about that. 2019 and 2020. In 2021, they fledged 2 making a grand total of 22 chicks fledged with three now in the nest. In total, Maya has fledged 33 chicks. Incredible. I love this nest. This year will make that 36 chicks.

Here is a video of Blue feeding the chicks. I should mention that Blue is quite different to other male ospreys; he likes to be involved in every process, spends a lot of time on the nest, sometimes feeds Maya and brings in a heck of a lot of fish!

I am a great fan of the California condors and have followed the trials, tribulations, and the victories of both Redwood Queen 190 and Iniko 1031. Everyone was waiting for Iniko to be reunited with her mother after they were separated because of the Dolan Fire. Indeed, if you do not know the story of Iniko – it is beautiful and it should give us hope that things do work out. Iniko was in the Redwood nest that her father, Kingpin and Redwood Queen shared, when the Dolan fire ripped through Big Sur in 2020. The fire raged around the nest tree. Iniko survived but was knocked out of the tree by Ninja 729. Redwood Queen came to the rescue! Iniko was taken into care at the Los Angeles Zoo supported by the Ventana Wildlife Society. Redwood Queen has a new mate, Phoenix, and they had an egg this year that was believed to be non-viable. Iniko was released on 4 December and this is the first time Mum and daughter have been seen together. Both females dive into the pack and get close to the carcass!

@Ventana Wildlife Society

The only surviving chick on the Dahlgren Osprey nest of Jack and Harriet has a nice crop at 1800 today. The heavy storms and rain caused the waters to rise and be murky. Not good if you are an osprey trying to catch a fish. The water is now clearing and let us hope everything stays on track with this one Bob.

It was nice to see Louis cuddled up with Dorcha at the Loch Arkaig Osprey nest in Scotland. The weather has been terrible – that along with a mess of intruders have really not made it a good start to the year for these two.

I can hear rain falling on Theo’s nest in Latvia and see that some work continues to be made on the nest but no Theo and no mate. Beautiful birds singing in the distance.

Black Storks are very, very rare in Latvia and Estonia. Because of this conservation status, they are much loved by the people – and many of us. Karl II and Kaia have four eggs on their Black Stork nest in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The first egg was laid on 24 April with the last on 1 May. We should be looking for a pip in what? Incubation is normally 32-38 days (varies by author). So we are at 25 days with the oldest egg.

Here is the link to Karl and Kaia’s streaming cam:

The Black Stork nest of Jan and Janika is also in Estonia in Jogeva County. There are five eggs. The couple are, according to the chat moderator, on day 34, 31, 31 and 30 (counted from laying). Here is the link to their streaming cam:

There was one Black Stork nest that was monitored in Latvia. It was the nest of Grafs and Grafiene. I have not been able to confirm any activity for this couple this season.

There was a scary moment on the nest of Big Red and Arthur when Big Red brought in greenery at 11:47 and L3 looked as if she would fall backwards off the nest.

There is tug-o-war with some prey and the inklings of self-feeding with bits of prey left on the nest. Too cute. L4 looks on and wants to join in the fun.

I checked on Ervie a few minutes ago and he was not on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Then ‘B’ checked after me and Ervie flew onto the nest and is now sitting in Dad’s cave!!!!!!! Oh, we are truly blessed. Thank you ‘B’. Now anyone can go to the Port Lincoln streaming cam and see our beautiful boy!

Seeing Ervie brings tears of joy! So happy for this third hatch. He is much loved and adored by so many. Thank you ‘B’ for taking the time to send me a note! It is much appreciated. Ervie might well bring a puffer back. He seems to find them around the barge.

Thank you for joining me today. It was a whirlwind around the nests. Too many. Too much going on. It is hard to keep up with them. Take care all. If you want to see Ervie, here is the link to his camera:

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or their FB pages: Ventana Wildlife Society, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Glacier Gardens, Cornell RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Latvian Fund for Nature, Friends of Loch Arkaig and People’s Post Code Lottery, Barnegat Light Ospreys, Sea Eagles @BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, MN-DNR, Dahlgren Ospreys, DHEC, and LRWT.

Condor 1030 Iniko – the miracle – set to be released

With the uncertainty and sadness surrounding little Yurruga and our deepest condolences to Cilla Kinross and the team at Orange, it is heart warming to know that miracles do happen in Bird World.

On 4 December at 09:30 PT, you can witness one of those. Condor 1031, Iniko, will be released into the wild!

As the Dolan fire decimated the beautiful Redwood Forest where Iniko’s nest tree was, everyone believed that the wee babe of Redwood Queen and Kingpin had perished. The streaming cam did not survive the fire and there was no way to find out until it was safe enough to enter the forest. I think that you can well imagine the astonishment on the faces of those that first saw the little condor alive on the small remote camera inserted into the tree.

Here is that video from the Ventana Wildlife Society.

This video shows that rescue!

Here is a link to Iniko’s bio and all of the videos since this amazing California Condor hatched!

https://www.ventanaws.org/condor1031.html

On Saturday, you can watch live when Iniko is released back into the wild of its Big Sur Condor Community. You need to sign up and the Ventana Wildlife Society will send you the link for the Zoom event. It is free! And, yes, we could all use some good news today.

If you want to watch the event life, go to this link and sign up:

https://www.ventanaws.org/zoom-chats.html

Today is also ‘Giving Tuesday’. No doubt you have had lots of e-mails from everyone who depends on donations to survive including those wonderful wildlife rehabbers who give our birds a second chance at life. Many have patrons that will match the total received. It is a good time to double the impact of your gift, if you are able.

Thank you for joining me. If you cannot make the release of Condor 1030 Iniko, the Ventana Wildlife Society will definitely be posting this event. It represents that miracle. I would like to think that maybe there might be a miracle for little Yurruga today.

Rising from the ashes – how the Basin Complex Fire and the Dolan Fire are threads that bind

Today was ‘supposed’ to be the day that I re-organized my books and my desk – plus dusting – but, several wonderful distractions came in the mail. Always happy to talk about our beloved birds than doing the dusting!

Ventana Wildlife Society in Monterey California and the condors at Big Sur are featured in an article by Joy Lanzendorfer in Alta Journal. I am going to post the link and hope that you are able to read it for free. It is joyous-an article that pulls at your heart strings as Lanzendorfer talks about witnessing the release of the first condors bred in captivity. Here is the link:

https://www.altaonline.com/dispatches/a35588538/california-condor-sighting-joy-lanzendorfer/

“California condor” by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

What also caught my eye was a story about the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. It reminded me of the Dolan Fire last year and baby Iniko – and now there is a thread that binds the tragic life of the birds of those two fires.

In 2008, the Basin Complex Fire burned through the Redwood trees.

“Finding Phoenix alive after such a devastating burn was truly a miracle, however, locating his nest tree and climbing that massive redwood took all the adrenaline I could muster, it was the toughest and scariest climb of my life! (Condor Recover Program manager Joe Burnett). Here is a very short video of that moment:

In 2020, the Dolan Fire began on 18 August and continued to burn until 31 December 2020. If the miracle of the Basin Complex Fire was the survival of Phoenix 477, then the miracle of the Dolan Fire was the survival of Iniko. Iniko’s father, King Pin 167, is believed to have died in the blaze but his mother, Redwood Queen 190 survived. Iniko was found in her charred nest tree alive.

Iniko fledged but was injured. She was taken into care at the Los Angeles Zoo and will be released into the wild this year. It is amazing.

The thread that binds these two fires is Iniko’s mother, Redwood Queen 190 and Phoenix 477 that survived the Basin Complex Fire. The two have formed a bond and have laid an egg together which they are incubating in Redwood Queen and Iniko’s nest tree.

Redwood Queen 190 calls to her mate Phoenix 477 on 4 March to show him the newly laid egg.

Here are the parents today incubating the egg. If the egg survives, it is expected to hatch at the end of April. Iniko will be a big sister!

Redwood Queen just leaving for a break. 15 April 2021
Phoenix arriving to incubate his egg. 15 April 2021

You can watch this miracle unfold here:

One of the reasons that I wanted to get this blog out quickly is a Zoom webinar scheduled for Wednesday, 21 April, 12:30 Pacific Time. Kelly Sorenson will be joined by Joy Lanzendorfer to talk about the return of the condors from extinction. It is free but you must register. Copy this link and you will see the information and the tab to register:

https://www.altaonline.com/events/a35951377/alta-live-california-condors-kelly-sorensen/

Thank you for joining me on this quick update on these magnificent birds. How can you not love a condor? And the story of Redwood Queen, Iniko, and Phoenix is a miracle. Let us all hope the little one arrives safe and healthy!

Thank you to Ventana Wildlife Society and explore.org for their streaming cam. That is where I picked up my screen shots today.

Amazing News. Redwood Queen and Iniko

Can you imagine living inside a large Redwood Tree with fire raging around you? and not understanding what is happening? That is what happened to little Iniko who was born on the 25th of April 2020. On 20 August the Dolan Fire at Big Sur consumed the area around its natal tree while Iniko was inside. Iniko was not yet four months old.

Some of you may remember the Dolan Fire. The fire at the Los Padres National Forest at Big Sur, California was first reported on 18 August 2020. It was not declared as being fully contained until 31 December 2020. The cause remains unknown although there are suspicions that it was arson. It was devastating to the entire area.

The impact on both human and non-human life was horrific. The fire destroyed 124,924 acres of Los Padres National Forest. The fire killed eleven of the condors (or 10% of the entire endangered population). #167 Kingpin, Iniko’s father and Redwood Queen’s mate is missing and is presumed dead; he has not returned to the area.

Condors have a long lifespan, approximately sixty years. The condors reach breeding age at five or six years and once they find a mate, they will be bonded together for life unless one of them dies.

California condors are the largest of the flying birds in North American with a wing span of up to three metres or ten feet. Like other large flying birds, the California Condor glides on thermals (air currents) and has been seen flying as high as 4.57 metres or 15,000 feet. The majority of the California condors life in California, Baja California, Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

“Flying California condor” by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The condors, vultures, are easily recognized. Their bald head is a bright red-orange colour when mature with a black body and white triangles under their wings. They are known to travel up to 240 kilometres or 150 miles to find carrion (dead animals). Many people call them the ‘nature’s clean up crew’. Their baldness allows them to stay clean and their unique immune system means that they do not get sick when eating dead animals

“Vermilion Cliffs National Monument – Condor Viewing Site” by BLMArizona is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Condors have nests inside trees. on the sides of cliffs, or in caves. They do not use nesting material but lay an egg, every other year, on the floor of the tree or cave. Both parents help with the incubation and feeding of the young who fledge at the age of five or six months.

Of the condors in the Dolan fire, Red Queen and her daughter, Iniko, made headlines when the firefighters could not reach the nearly four month old baby because the large Redwood tree Iniko was in was unstable. The name Iniko means ‘born in troubled times’ and it certainly was that.

Here is a short video summary of Iniko’s life. You can hear the fire around the tree and see the attack on the tree by a Condor named Ninja.

This video shows the rescue of Iniko.

Today, Iniko is in the care of the Los Angeles Zoo. She will be returned to the wild in 2021. Isn’t that amazing news?

Redwood Queen was born in the Los Angeles Zoo in 1998. She is condor #190 and was released into the wild in 1998. As a juvenile she was constantly harassed and was, according to sightings, the last one allowed to eat. Because of her low status she did not find a mate til later. Luckily, Kingpin #167 was attracted to her. Kingpin #167 was the most dominant male in the Big Sur colony, and Redwood Queen’s status among the group went from lowest to highest. Redwood Queen laid the first documented egg for a California condor. Kingpin and Redwood Queen fostered one condor and had five biological children- Kodama #646 (2012), Liberty #753 (2014), Princess #799 (2015), Pasquale #914 (2018), and Iniko #1031 (2020).

It was announced yesterday that Redwood Queen has found a new mate. He is Phoenix #477 and the pair have an egg in the Redwood tree where Iniko was born. Life is returning to the old Redwood forest with Redwood Queen who is twenty-three years old.This and the upcoming release of Iniko are bringing joy to all who worried about that deadly fire on the Big Sur California condor community. Here is the video showing Redwood Queen with her new mate and their egg.

Join with everyone in the celebration of this momentous occasion and have a fabulous Saturday wherever you are. Life is returning to the old Redwood forest with Redwood Queen who is twenty-three years old.

Thank you to the Ventana Wildlife Society who take care of the California Condors. If you like condors then check out their website! There is lots of information and updates. You can find them at:

https://www.ventanaws.org/

They also have several streaming cams including this one at Big Sur: