Ervie, Indigo…and more news in Bird World on Sunday

13 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

Saturday was one of those quiet stay-at-home days. It gave me a chance to think of the ways that those of us who live in wintery climates cope with the weather. As it is, the sow is dancing down right now. The European Starlings are eating suet and Butter Bark and Mr Crow cawed so much that I gave him high protein kitten kibble. Oops. The Starlings have found the kibble!

Inside the house, the candle holders have been cleaned and given new candles. An apple crisp is in the oven. So, instead of starting out birds today, we will begin with something simple to make your house cosy on a crisp day. Put 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon in a 2 litre (qt) pot. Leave the peel on – that is where the lovely oils are. Add a few bay leaves, 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks, a good tablespoon of cloves, and cover the whole with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer. You can add water as needed. I used to add tea bags to the brew. It is a lovely spiced tea but needs some straining. The other thing you can do is to take the peels of your oranges and lemons and use them. I always have bags in the freezer! It is part of a strategy to have zero waste.

Making News:

Our darling Ernie. Poster child of handsome beginning to do some moulting.

For the very first time successful fledges at Maine’s Hog Island Boathouse Osprey platform. Dory and Skiff are making the news! Congratulations to this Osprey couple who successfully fledged three osplets from the Hog Island Osprey platform this year. What an amazing family this was to watch.

Oh, so very grateful to Cilla Kinross for finding Indigo and showing us how this handsome lad is doing after fledging. Isn’t he a stunner?

Tweed Valley fledged three ospreys this year. Two of them have perished. The other, Glen, found himself on a couple of container ships before finally making it to Spain! Here is the latest on this youngster.

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ sent me some grand news. It is amazing what we can do when we get together to help benefit the environment and wildlife. A community joined together and raised 2.2 Million GPB to purchase a tract of land to enlarge a nature reserve. Just think – this could be a way of halting development in areas that are needed by the wildlife. Is there land where you live that is adjacent to a nature reserve that could benefit from such an endeavour? Keep this positive action in mind if ever you get a chance to work with your community.

File:The Ewes Water Valley – – 1538379.jpg” by James T M Towill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

You can read about this successful project here:

Australian Nests:

All eyes are on Port Lincoln. Ian Falkenberg was up at midnight finishing up the permit forms – that myriad of red tape that Port Lincoln has to do in order to ring the osplets on the nests. Fran and Bazza said that he was up again at 0600 getting ready. So, today, Big, whether you like it or not you will be weighed, measured, hopefully a sample of your blood is taken for DNA, and you will be given a sat pak. Big, we all know that you are one big cranky girl that won’t let any bird get in your way. You are now the only hope of Port Lincoln for 2022 – you carry a heavy responsibility. Please do not ever land on a hydro pole no matter how much you might want to.

Ian Falkenberg has made the call to postpone putting the tracker and ringing until later today or tomorrow. This cannot be done in wet weather. In addition, it really is now or never. In the UK, birds are not banded after 45 days because of the great fear of scaring them off the platforms and fledging early.

Mum and her ‘Big’ Girl crying out to Dad.

Dad brought a fish in around 0815. Big kind of rushed Mum once she had the fish. Mum got the catch anchored to her talon and flew around the nest arriving on the other side where she had control of the fish. It was headless so Dad has his share, too. Mum and Big had a nice chunk.

A small headless fish arrived around 1515.

The rain began. Mum and Dad had been perched together. Mum flew over to the nest to Big and Dad joined them at 19:44.

It appears that three of the Melbourne Four have now fledged. One remains at night and some of the others show up on the ledge for prey deliveries.

At Orange, Rubus is shedding many of the dandelions and is watching for Xavier and Diamond to deliver prey. They do not disappoint. Here was yesterdays recap from the moderators: RECAP 10 41 15 D w/ prey, Rubus takes; 11 25 12 X w/prey, D arrives/feeds: 13:31:22 X w/juv star, feeds, X takes: 16:30:10 X w/prey, feeds 18 53 31 Xw/prey, Rubus takes, D arrives , tug o war, D feeds.

There was a tug o war and lots of excitement. Just look at how much of the baby fluff is now gone.

Other Bird News:

One of the things that changes for me – during the winter – is that I do not travel on the roads as much nor do I go to the nature centre 5 days a week for a walk. Saturdays become very quiet and one of the joys is having Ferris Akel in the background doing his live stream around Wildlife Drive, Montezuma, Sapsucker Woods, and Ithaca, New York. We have a few ducks still in the City and a few geese were flying overhead this evening. Someone even has a Baltimore Oriole in their garden today – with the snow! I am, however, having duck withdrawal and Ferris does seem to find them this time of year! I really recommend Ferris Akel’s tours on Saturdays beginning about noon Eastern time. Ferris is humble always saying he doesn’t know this or that but, he does. I have learned so much for him. In fact his tour is often on in the background to whatever else I am doing. You can also check out some of the archived tours of Ferris by going to YouTube and entering Ferris Akel Live.

‘A’ said that she had learned to embrace ‘brown’ never realising that there are so many shades and hues. Fantastic! That brings me great joy. Most of the female birds are considered dull compared to the flamboyant colours of some of the male species. Here is a female Ruddy Duck. Just look at all those wonderful browns and tans, there is a touch of caramel and espresso, and that lovely sort of grey-brown.

All of the birds are at a great distance from where Ferris is streaming. The images are then quite soft. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy the few that I am including.

Just a slightly different angle.

A female Shoveler. You can never mistake a Shoveler for a Mallard. Just look at that bill. It is massive in comparison to the size of the head.

There were American Coots and I know that none of us will ever make the mistake of saying a Coot is a duck. It isn’t.

Oh, how I love Sandhill Cranes. They glean the farmer’s fields just after the seed crops have been harvested. There are many in Southern Manitoba in October doing this exact same thing. Gorgeous.

I don’t blame the Canada Geese getting out of Canada. Gosh, golly, it looks like much more fun in the pond at Sapsucker Woods than it is walking around in the snow in Canada and not finding any food.

What shocked me is precisely how much smaller the geese are when compared to the swans.

Just look at that. It makes the Canada Geese look like miniature ducks. Seriously. And I have always thought of them as large.

There was a juvenile Bald Eagle lurking about at Sapsucker Woods also.

Looking for some lunch?

No 6 The Red List: The Hawfinch

Ah, this is another one to pull out those shades and hues of brown. With its head the colour of rust or Corten Steel, its black bib and black eye surround, and heavy beak, this beautiful little bird, the Hawfinch, has a jaw and beak so strong that it can exert pressure of more than 50 kilograms on a seed! The strong triangular beak is black in the winter changing to a blue-black in the summer. Notice the rusty head in comparison to the grey-brown back and that intensive brick-brown eye. Both males and females are similar in appearance.

Hawfinch bill

Hawfinches like to live in woodland where they will feed off various hard seeds. Some, if you are lucky, can be found around gardens eating cherries. The male builds the nest out of dry twigs and grasses lining it with lichen. The female will take over in roughly a fortnight.

Today there are less than 1000 breeding pairs of Hawfinch in the UK. There are a number of causes. Nest predation by Jays and Grey Squirrels is one of these. In Wales, the culprit has been trichomonosis. Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite attacks the upper digestive tract, mainly the crop and esophagus making it difficult for the bird to eat. It can also impact the liver, lungs, and air sacs. The fourth hatch at Melbourne last year died of trichomonosis as did the Mum at the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland this past summer.

That’s it for today. I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend. It looks like it could be dry at Port Lincoln so maybe, at the age of 57 days, Big will be ringed and get that sat pak. We wait to see.

Thank you for being with me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which make up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Audubon, Cilla Kinross and the Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon FB, BBC, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Ferris Akel Tours.

Early Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

As is my usual routine, I am starting my blog for Sunday morning late on Saturday evening. That flu shot has had me a bit under the weather and I have not ventured out to check on the local duck populations. I hope to do that tomorrow with some new images for you. The number of birds in the garden is certainly dwindling. Instead of 40 or more Dark-eyed Juncos there are only a handful and the number of sparrows is about half. The squirrels continue to hoarde the peanuts at the dismay of both the Blue Jays and a single crow. All four of them are in the neighbourhood but, one family has taken to feeding them bread. Crows love bread – it is sweet and salty. It is junk food. And the ones that come to my garden would much rather have bread than healthy nuts, fruit, and protein. Drives me crazy! Angel Wing is why – when we went for a walk around the local duck pond on Thanksgiving, we found two Mallards with Angel Wing. They have since been taken to the wildlife rehab clinic. It is unclear if they will survive. People believe they are helping because the ducks come running for the bread. Sadly, not.

Have you ever heard of Angel Wing? It is a condition in waterfowl caused by a nutritional deficiency. The wings droop or are crooked. The birds cannot fly. It is normally caused by humans feeding bread to the ducks and geese! It can kill them. Feed only high nutrition feed such as wild bird seed OR do not feed them at all.

Making News:

The United Kingdom has been hit particularly hard by Avian Flu. Indeed, scientists now believe that this deadly disease for wild birds and commercial poultry farms will remain in the country year round. The plan is to require anyone who has poultry to move them inside — no more free range eggs or chickens. That is very sad and, well, it is known by Virologists such as Thijs Kuiken -who examines the spread of Avian Flu – that factor farms are the likely cause. I wonder if what is being done in the UK will spread to other European countries?

The finalists in the funniest wildlife shots of the year:

Do you like Chimney Swifts? Have you ever gone birding in Central Park? Are you wondering what the 33 year old Pale Male, the resident Red-tail Hawk of 927 Fifth Avenue is doing? (Yes, he really is 33. He hatched in 1990 and has his own Wikipedia page!). I urge you to check out the blog of Bruce Yolton. Yolton is an excellent wildlife photographer and knows Central Park and its surrounding area as if it were his own hand. He has recently changed his blog template and it is easy to search using the box on the right. There are recent YouTube videos of the swifts as well as one of Pale Male from the 1st of September. Yes, he is still alive. Just do a search using Pale Male on Yolton’s site to see the latest video.

‘H’ wrote and said she had just watched the film about Pale Male. With all that has gone on at PLO, it is sometimes easy to forget what brings one happiness. So, if you haven’t seen it or if you are like me and you need to watch something that clearly demonstrates just how people can influence a hawk’s life, check it out. It’s free and it is very heart warming and uplifting.

LGK (Lime-Green-Black) is one of the favourite male Albatrosses and is the father of Taiki, last year’s Royal Cam chick. LGK has returned to Taiaroa Head! Here is the announcement by Sharon Dunne:

Damon and Gabby continue to work on restorations on their nest. Just look at the huge stick Samson brought in!

Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest and rebounding.

Nest News:

The eyases at 367 Collins Street are simply having a fabulous time wandering up and down the gutter. It seems to cause some confusion in the adults still but everyone is coping well. Mum loves her perch and as ‘A’ notes, the pair of them don’t seem to fully understand their duties so both are hunting and bringing prey. I love it – cooperative parenting. In fact, Osprey Mums often start hunting when the ospreys turn 30 days. It really helps during then and fledge when more prey is required.

The Melbourne Four were fed 5 times yesterday. In fact, five seems to be the average feeding per day. I have not sat down to compare delivery times. Once I tracked a hawk family that delivered prey 7 times a day at almost the exact same times. It was like they had a food supply delivery! The four ate at 0628 for 20 minutes, then again at 1108 for 7 minutes (a snack), at 1209 for 22 minutes, at 1540 for 17 minutes and their last meal at 1915 for 16 minutes. Mum continues to perch above the scrape box.

This adorable video of Diamond feeding little Rubus and Indigo popped up on my screen. It is now 6 days old but, it just shows hot cute these two eyases are and how much they have changed. Indigo was a cotton ball then. Poor Little Rubus. I wondered if he would ever get any feathers. Rubus is quite the character, full of vinegar and mischief with as loud a voice as his brother, Izzy. ‘A’ says he is as loud as Yurruga, too!!! It is hard to imagine how much they have grown in 5 days. Just look. They are all white down with no pin feathers.

Meals are coming in on a regular basis for Indigo and Rubus. The pair of them are a delight. Like any younger sibling, Rubus wants to do everything that Indigo does. He has now migrated over to Cilla’s stones to stay with Indigo! And he is enjoying the camera.

The weather appears to not be so good at Port Lincoln. It is now 1439 and I have not seen a fish arrive on the nest since the large breakfast fish. It is entirely possible that Dad has not been able to catch anything. There is an image of Mum eating a fish by herself at 2016 (the clock on the camera is incorrect). She is the one that I worry about. She needs to eat – a bite for Big, one for Middle, and then one for Mum. That would be good! She does not require as much prey as Dad as he is actively fishing but, she has been out fishing and will probably continue to do so to supplement the takings.

If you have been watching the Port Lincoln nest and noted more deliveries to the ospreys on Sunday in Australia (when they wake up it will be Monday), please do let me know.

The cam operator did some really good close ups of the ospreys yesterday. You can see how their feathers are developing and once again, we get a look at those gorgeous amber eyes.


We have been following the Black Stork family of Karl II from Estonia to their winter homes in the central part of Africa. There has been no recent transmission from the female, Kaia. Her last transmission was from Chad on the 16th of October. There has been no news from Karl II. His last transmission was from Egypt on the 18th of October. It is likely that both of the adults form the Karla National Forest nest are out of range for transmissions. The two fledglings with satellite transmitters are Bonus and Waba. Waba flew 161 km and is now in Turkey near Antalya along the coast.

Bonus flew 106 km and is near the village of Gravita in Romania.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Wish for fish at Port Lincoln. All is well at the other nests. The Bald Eagles are busy building and there is word that an artificial nest might go up for Connie and Clive at Captiva as the trees are mostly destroyed – the ones good for Eagles. Take care everyone – see you soon! Please note that my check on breakfast feedings in Australia will be coming out late. Just wanted to let you know.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sharon Dunne aka Lady Hawk videos, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, AEF-NEFL, Looduskalender, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, BBC, Royal Albatross FB Group, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam.

Late Sunday in Bird World

3 October 2011

Hi Everyone,

I cannot describe what a beautiful fall day it was out in the forest. The wind was only blowing at 2kmh. Leaves – the most gorgeous yellow, red, and orange were falling gently. Seven Black-capped chickadees, a few American Goldfinches, a sole White-breasted Nuthatch, and that lovely Red Squirrel kept me company at the hide. Oh, they must be so happy it is not raining and it is not too hot or cold – just right at 21 degrees C. It could not have been more perfect for humans or wildlife.

It seems that everyone was after the peanuts. They are so good at getting them out of the shells!

This beautiful White-breasted Nuthatch spent about 10 minutes at the feeders before flying off.

The little squirrel was enjoying all of the nuts on the forest floor. These squirrels are very lucky. There are Oak trees and acorns everywhere!

There were more geese on the ponds today than when I went to view them at dusk. There were only a few up in the grassy areas resting on a warm day.

The colours are changing. Autumn is my favourite time of year…it would just be nice if it would last longer! You can sit on the bench, close your eyes, and open your senses up to the smell of the leaves and the geese honking in the distance. Magical. Just try to be grumpy after sitting there for a half hour!!!!!

This Mallard was having a great time splashing about. What a bath.

And then…there was no mistaking the ‘Little Duck’. It remains the tiniest duck in the entire pond BUT — look, all of the back feathers are now in place. This duck cannot be more than 45 cm (8-9 inches) from the tip of its tail to the end of its beak. It looks larger in the photo but, it isn’t – and that is how I knew it was the wee one. (I did come home to compare with the former images just to make certain that the head line and beak were the same before I made a complete idiot out of myself). This tiny gaffer is a Blue winged Teal. It is positively adorable. I sure hope it gets a good wind to carry it south with those itsy-bitsy wings.

Besides finding the little duck, one of the great moments of this afternoon was seeing ten Cormorants in a tree sunning themselves on a beautiful day. Sometimes the Bald Eagle couple are up there in that tree. It is on a peninsula jutting out and there is no way for humans to disturb them. What a beautiful site. When I was standing admiring them, a couple walked up and told me that twenty years ago you would not have seen a Cormorant here. I felt blessed.

Whenever I am outside and getting tired, it is simply nice to remember that I am so lucky to be able to walk in the woods and be outside with nature. I know that many of you cannot – so I am taking it all in for you, too.

In the Mailbox:

So many of you have written to ask me if I think that any more eggs will hatch at either the Collins Street scrape in Melbourne or Xavier and Diamond’s scrape in Orange.

I do not expect the fourth egg at Melbourne to hatch. Falcons and hatch practice delayed incubation. This means that they will not incubate the eggs 24/7 until most of them are laid. This is so the chicks will hatch close together and not have issues of siblicide and food competition like exists in eagles and ospreys.

If a second egg is to hatch at Orange, I would really expect this to happen today or tomorrow. That said, I am not completely hopeful of another hatch there. Xavier and Diamond tend to have one hatch per 3 eggs.

I just received 3 letters with questions about siblicide. I presume that this subject has been brought up on chat or FB somewhere today.

The answer to your questions depends on the species and the circumstances. There are species of eagles where siblicide is almost always 100% (Black, Golden, Imperial). The eldest hatch always kills the youngest. Always. No wishing or hoping. Always. Siblicide is rare in hawks and falcons with most studies showing less than 1%. The stats come from watched nests. The average siblicide from studies at the University of Oklahoma is 3.8-4% in Bald Eagles. It is presumed to be the same or nearly the same in Ospreys. Some nests are more prone to siblicide than others. A good example of a nest where siblicide regularly occurred until last year is the Port Lincoln Ospreys. There is a history below the streaming cam that you can examine. The % at this nest would be much higher.

‘H’ wrote about the torrential rain and high winds blowing along the NE of the US because of Hurricane Ian. She has sent an image of a bird that has landed on the nest. It is banded. I believe it to be a juvenile Peregrine Falcon but I could be wrong. It is ahrd to identify birds when they are wet. So I am posting it here if anyone has any other ideas. This is the shores of Delaware at Mispillion Harbour. Birds are being blown off course. This one has two fresh new bands. Does anyone recognize them? If so, please send me a comment.

Nest News:

So it is time to check and see what is going on in Australia- when we left everyone yesterday afternoon, the Port Lincoln kiddos all had crops, the three at 367 Collins Street had been fed, the Sea Eagles were looking magnificent with SE29 basking in being up on the parent branch, and Xavier and Diamond had one beautiful eyas. Has anything changed today?

Diamond and Xavier have already fed their wee eyas twice this morning (it is 16:44 on the Canadian Prairies). The first was around 0533 and the second

The three eyases at 367 Collins Street have also had a good morning feed. I think that we can all relax and enjoy this new family learning how to parent in Melbourne. The male has brooded, shaded the chicks, fed them, and is bringing prey for Mum and them. It is time simply to sit back and watch these marvelous falcons grow! In less than 40 days they will be full grow and flying! So hold on – it is a fast ride!

The osplets at Port Lincoln were waiting on a breakfast fish to be delivered.

The two eaglets on the Sydney Sea Eagle nest are still home this morning! They are also waiting for breakfast!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam duPont Centre and Delaware DNR, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Everything is just ‘ducky’

It was another beautiful day on the Canadian prairies yesterday. Tomorrow many of the migration events as birds move through out province from north to south. The Sandhill Cranes have covered the farmer’s fields in the south already and a friend noted that the nuthatches and chickadees were all over her feeders yesterday.

There are birds coming and going at one of the local parks but the Wood Ducks remain, waiting for the juveniles to be ready. The Canada Geese were there, too, and a few people were feeding the ducks and geese grain and corn. I will say it again – all the signs put up to say no bread or salted popcorn, etc. have worked. The pond is much cleaner and while the birds might be acting like they are starving they are healthier for the effort.

Female Wood Duck. 31 August 2021

This little female Wood Duck was such a sweetie.

I am a big softie for our Canada Geese. There were about 200 of them around the pond and several hundred more on the playing fields eating grass.

These male Wood Ducks are in various phases of molt. Some, like this one, are almost finished while others remain in the eclipse phase, halfway finished. By the time they fly the males will be there colourful selves!

Those red eyes are a certain way to know it is a male Wood Duck.

Did you know that Wood Ducks are a type of perching duck. They like to stand in trees and will, if there is a box available, make their nests high off the ground.

Some of the wood Ducks joined the Mallards and the Northern Shovelers for some wild birdseed a couple were tossing on the ground.

There were about 50 of the little female Wood Ducks out and about trying to get seed.

Ah, they are so sweet. The white teardrop around the eye lets you know this is a Wood Duck.

Isn’t she gorgeous? She looks like she has white goggles on. But that beautiful grey and rusty mottled chest is stunning.

My bird book says this is a female Northern Shoveler. They will dabble on the surface of the water for food but we watched them use their wings and feet to stir up the water to get food from the bottom to rise. This one has decided to try out the wild bird seed the couple are spreading on the ground.

This cute little female Mallard kept looking at me. I wonder if she thought she should charge to have her picture taken? Perhaps a handful of seed?

Mallards are dabbling ducks. They tip themselves so they can feed feed, rooting through shallow water and mud in search of plants and insects. She will also nibble along the surface and yes, she loves it when you feed her seed on land.

This juvenile male Wood Duck was having a great time with an acorn. At first I thought he was going to choke but no, he was playing a game.

He would pick up the acorn and then he would let it roll chasing it down the embankment and then picking it up again.

This little Mallard started imitating the Wood Duck. It was quite hilarious.

There were about 50 ducks coming up to find seed. Can you spot the female Wood Ducks? and the female Mallards?

It was lovely in the park. It was so good to see people feeding the ducks the right food. Those signs really worked. One man came over to talk to me – everyone is always curious when you are out with a camera and a long lens. He thought I had found something super special! He entertained me with Knock-Knock jokes. Then he offered me some advice, ‘You can get bags of wild bird seed at the Dollar Store. I bring two bags every evening.’ What a great guy. ‘Be sure not to throw the seed in the water!’ as he walked to his car. He is absolutely right. Only toss the seed up on the ground away from the shore.

In other bird news: Maya and Blue 33 have migrated from Rutland. Maya on the 30th and Blue 33 on the 31st according to Rutland’s announcement. Everyone has now left the Dyfi Nest with Idris the last to fly out on the 30th. Aran remains at the Glaslyn Nest waiting til the last either because of his wing injury or he is still protecting the nest or both. I have not heard if Z2 (Aeron) at the Pont Croesar nest has left or not. The WBSE continue to do well so everything is alright with them. They are stretching their long necks to see what they will do. There is no news about Iris having left the Hellgate Canyon area of Missoula for her migration. Someone believed they took a snap of her on her favourite tree down on the river this morning. There was still one egg on the Orange Peregrine Falcon nest but there could be another later today.

Take care everyone. I hope to find some pelicans today – are they hiding? And if not, I will go back and feed the ducks at the local park. Thank you for joining me this morning. Stay safe!