Early Friday in Bird World

25.2.2022

For more than two years, the birds that we adore have given us solace and brought joy when there was no joy to be found. Like today. I hope that we can, one person and one step at a time, make the environment better for them so that they thrive. Their gifts to us cannot be measured.

I wrote and thanked ‘B’ last night for sending me a message saying ‘Ervie is on the nest’. I want to thank her again as so many of you have told me that you checked my blog before checking the nest and were so thrilled to be able to see our magnificent Ervie. Oh, how we hoped he would connect with Dad. Maybe Ervie will soon. It really does seem that he is coming to the nest at least every other day – it is a matter of catching him. Ervie came to the nest, left, and returned with his puffer yesterday. He flew off again and returned at 14:48:16. He was drying off and what a handsome lad he was once those feathers were all fluffed. He will stay on the nest until 15:40:58.

Ervie must have not seen an adult as he was not calling. H also seemed to have a bit of a crop which made me wonder if he had another successful fishing trip. Near the end, Ervie made some sounds and flew off. I wonder what he saw? who was he calling.

Stop for a minute and look at how large Ervie’s wing is!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the latest tracker download from PLO on the 25th of February. Because it reads that it was loaded to the FB page 21 hours ago, I believe that this is Ervie’s earlier trip to the barge, the day prior.

The snow finally arrived in Ithaca at the nest of Big Red and Arthur. After all the work yesterday, they have been at the nest this morning for more than an hour each of them working hard. If you want to see the morning visit live, check on the streaming cam from 10:30-11:30 nest time.

Big Red is just as beautiful as always.

She hatched in 2003. It is believed that she probably had her first clutch in 2005. Cornell did not have a streaming cam on her and her nest until 2012. We know that between 2012 and 2021 Big Red incubated 27 fertile eggs. Out of those she fledged 26. The only one not to fledge was K2 last year who had an issue with her beak and had to be euthanized.

It is possible that between 2005 and 2021, Big Red fledged 48 juvenile hawks. Incredible. She is, after all, the ‘rock star’ of the Red-tail Hawk World with an international fan base of thousands.

Big Red busies herself with arranging some twigs around the edge, the cradle rails, if you like.

I wonder if her and Arthur will return today? We are definitely on the countdown to egg laying! Two to three weeks. Oh, joy!

The winds have started to pick up in Ithaca and the nest of Big Red and Arthur is rocking. It is 5 degrees C and the wind warnings for the area will last until 15:00 today.

Richmond is waiting on Rosie. Oh, I do hope she appears soon. It ‘feels’ late for her arrival from her migration to me. Richmond has not been on the nest but he has been close according to the Golden Gate Audubon FB page.

But wait! There has been an unidentified female coming to the nest but one of the watchers just posted on FB this image saying they believe Rosie has just arrived – an hour ago! Well, this would be so reassuring if it is her!

There was a nice big feeding at 11:28 on the Captiva nest. Dad brought in a Sheepshead.

Lena goes to the mangrove tree under the nest to get the fish from Andy leaving the trio alone. Do not worry. Both her and Andy are close at hand.

Lena and Andy both return to the nest where Lena prepares to feed the chicks. Andy is on high alert!

All lined up for their second meal of the day. How comforting is it to just look at those three being fed?

Here are a few images of that early morning feeding at 06:45. I love the colour of the landscape and the stillness of the water as the sun rises on the nest. It looks like a glaze colour called celadon with a hint of blue. Just gorgeous.

Everyone is fed well. There are no great calamities with Big or Middle Bob having to go first shutting Little Bob out.

It is so peaceful- just like Port Lincoln was this year with the three Bobs. They were all fed and had a really nice sleep between morning and the arrival of that second fish at 11:28. Well done Andy and Lena.

There are 2288 people watching Jackie incubate her and Shadow’s two eggs at Big Bear. In the background you can hear Ravens. They know there are eggs there and they will also know when the chicks hatch. These two eagles have to be so careful. They have made it this far and, as you can tell, they are two of the most popular eagles on the internet. Pip watch begins tomorrow. Send all your positive wishes to these two who have tried so hard to have chicks the last couple of years. Eggs have been stolen, broken because the shell is to thin due to residual DDT in the area, and chicks have died trying to hatch. The couple even had two clutches last year but to no avail. This year we are all very positive that it is ‘their’ year for successful hatches and fledges.

You sure are beautiful, Jackie!

A quick check on Duke Farms. That little bobble that hatched yesterday at 14:28 is getting its first food. So if you are missing bobbles, head over to Duke Farms as you wait for Jackie and Shadow. This little one is soooooo cute.

It is time to feed our garden gang. Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me today. It is sunny and mild in Manitoba – a good day for a walk after the gang is fed. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen capture: Cornell Bird Lab, Window on Wildlife and Captiva Ospreys, Golden Gate Audubon, Friends of Big Bear, Duke Farms, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and SF Bay Ospreys.

Late Sunday in Bird World

The other day, Jean-Marie Dupart took photographs of a Scottish Osprey in the Saloum Delta in Senegal. The band on the leg, slightly obscured, could read JJ2 or JJ7. JJ2 was believed to be a female at the time of banding. JJ7 was believed a male at the time of its banding.

Here is the photograph Jean-Marie Dupart took of the Osprey in question:

The Woodland Trust and People’s Post Code Lottery put out the following announcement today:

I had so hoped it was JJ7 but, in the end, it is wonderful to see a healthy Scottish fish eagle that hatched in 2019.

In a sadder note, the H5N1 highly pathogenic strain of Avian Flu that killed the two white-tailed eaglets in the spring of 2021 is striking again in the UK. First swans were culled and now the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Yorkshire.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-60188953

Ervie has been waiting on the nest hoping that Dad would either bring him a fish or that he would catch one as he focused on the beautiful waters of the cove. And then, at 8:20:39, Ervie finds an old fish tail on the nest. He did several double takes when he saw it a few seconds earlier. What a delight! An old dried up fish tail for our lovely boy.

Ervie really enjoyed that old piece of fish.

Ervie had been standing fish calling to the parents missing that piece of tail down by his talons. In the image below you can see that this is not a big piece of fish but for Ervie, it must have felt like he had found gold in that nest.

Gosh, Ervie is a handsome Osprey.

Ervie is still working on that old piece of dry fish. He is not giving up.

And he is still working on it…

You can see from the time how long Ervie has been pulling this dry fish. He is making good progress. Ervie would love to share some of the fish from the KNF nest! But he is not going to give up until he eats every single scrap of this tail. That is why you are a survivor, Ervie.

While Ervie is dreaming of having a big fish soon, the eaglet at the KNF nest in Louisiana has been filled to the brim by Anna. Look at that crop. Incredible.

Anna is making up for missing the feedings yesterday afternoon but, at the same time, Louis did a fantastic job taking care of the eaglet. The baby was never hungry and always had a bit of a crop. Louis was extraordinary – just like Samson was when Gabby was away for 24 hours before NE26 and 27 hatched.

Diamond did not seem to spend the night at the scrape but she is on the ledge early this morning. I wonder how much the hot weather impacted her and Xavier? As you know, many Peregrine Falcons wound up in care from dehydration.

Last breeding season the Mum at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest spent most of it buried in snow. This year is starting off the same way. Whether it is extreme heat or extreme winter storms, our feathered friends are being impacted.

Mum will keep the eggs warm and dry. These eagles are amazing.

I wanted to do a last check on the WRDC eaglets, R1 and R2. They are doing fine. R2 is being fed at the moment which must mean that R1 is full! You can tell the difference between the two because R1 still has a big drop of light natal down on its head.

If you are a Pittsburg-Hayes eagle fan, the couple were just mating on the tree. Eggs are not normally laid til 15 February or after. I wonder if they will be early this year? Looks like they have a nice egg cup created. Last year this couple raised triplets. Yes, three eaglets. 3.

Thank you for joining me today and for all your letters and comments. I really enjoy hearing from you. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: WRDC, KNF Bald Eagles, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Duke Farms, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Friends of Loch Arkaig Ospreys, and Pix Cams.

Late Sunday in Bird World

Oh, what a day in Bird World it has been! The weather at the nest of Pa Berry and Missy clocked in at 3 degrees F. That is -16 C. As a comparison, it was only -5 in Winnipeg today. Poor Missy. The snow and sleet were coming down, she has a hungry baby – and she is hungry herself – and there is a chick trying to hatch! My heart went out to her. There were a few tiny breaks in the weather for Missy. She jumped up and ate ferociously and then quickly fed her baby. The bad weather is due to continue til at least Monday afternoon. I was almost afraid to check on her but, then I did.

Pa Berry had brought in another fish. He looks pretty dry compared to Missy, ironically. Missy worked hard to get some food into her little one before she had to brood and try to keep that baby warm and dry.

Missy took lemons and made lemonade with it. She ate and so did her baby. It was fast. She could not afford for the wee one to get soaking wet, cold, and die. I was impressed. Whatever will happen at this nest with all the horrible cold and wet weather will not be this Mum’s fault. She was trying as best she could.

There were tornado warnings and 60 mph winds down in Miami-Dade County at the nest of Ron and Rita. That nest held. I caught some of it on a video clip. Rita works really hard trying to get the two babies under her so they will not get wet and chilled.

R1 has been brutally aggressive today to R2. Indeed, Rita had R2 begging for food and twice she did not feed until R1 came up to the front. At the end of the day, R2 was fed three times today. I cannot confirm the amounts or if there was a big crop like R1s. You might have noticed. But R2 did eat.

Harriet was soaked but she took great care of E19 and E20 during the storm. The heavy rain actually hit Fort Myers well before it started in Miami hard.

None of these issues – extreme weather and/or sibling rivalry -are happening down at the Kisatchie National Forest nest of Anna and Louis. Louis is bring ever more fish onto the nest and that little one is just a sweet little roly-poly.

I can count the remains of one Coot and six fish.

You will think I am nuts continually talking about this kiddos cute tail but it is cute. I have never seen such a cute tail on such a young eaglet. It looks like a soft little ball, so sweet.

Both eagles were on the nest at Duke Farms working on the egg cup. There are expectations that an egg will be laid soon. This couple is in line for some of that storm as well.

Mum is on the nest and the snow has started. Last year she spent almost her entire incubation period encased in snow and ice. I ached for her.

The winds are picking up at the Hilton Head Island Trust, the home of Harriet and Mitch and their two eaglets. The gusts are blowing at 31 mph but there is no indication of rain or snow hitting the nest.

Here is the tracking of that storm as it moves NE as of 9:23 pm on CNN. It is out of Florida. Mt Berry Bald Eagles are in the purple area of Georgia near Atlanta. Pittsburg-Hays, Duke Farms, and even Big Red and Arthur are in the area of winter weather advisories. Continue to send your warm thoughts to everyone here and in all the extreme weather systems moving about the planet including those with the tsunami earlier today.

Snow has been falling in Pittsburg.

Snow continues to be heavy in the Ithaca and Finger Lakes area of upstate NY. This is Big Red and Arthur’s nest.

Meanwhile, in the UK, everyone is getting excited. It is only two months until the expected arrival of the Ospreys. The BBC did a short programme on CJ7 and her nest at Poole Harbour in June of 2021. CJ7 found love this past summer and it is hoped that her mate will return and there will be chicks on this nest for the first time in 200 years! Wow. I am showing it again as the anticipation is bubbling over. It is short and it will also get you excited for the arrival of some of the North American returnees as well.

In New Zealand, OGK, the Royal Cam Dad, returned to incubate his egg and let his mate, YRK, go and feed. That egg is due to hatch on the 27th of January give or take a day or two. Lady Hawk caught the return and the cuddles of this sweet couple.

We hold our breath and wait for the storms in the US to pass and wish all of the nests the best in handling the weather.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or video clips: WRDC Bald Eagle Nest, Berry College, KNF Bald Eagle Nest, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Duke Farms, Hilton Head Island Trust, Pix Cams, Cornell Bird Lab, and CNN.

Late Saturday in Bird World and — Ervie is 4 months old

As this big weather system moves through the United States Midwest over to the East coast, a multitude of raptor nests are in its wake ranging from those at Decorah, Iowa to Berry College and Duke Farms.

There is snow on the Decorah North Bald Eagle Nest in Iowa. Not expecting egg watch for about six weeks – sure glad the eagles are missing all the snow! — Yes, I know they can handle it but it is difficult feeding just borns in the cold and wet. Better dry!

There is snowing covering the Denton Homes Bald Eagle nest in Iowa also.

The Pittsburg-Hays Bald Eagle Nest looks like it could get some of this nasty weather. Right now the adults are roosting on a tree above the nest. Not looking for eggs here for a bit. Last year this couple raised three to fledge! Amazing.

Right now at Berry College, this is the weather forecast:

B15 is doing great and B16 is trying to hatch. As you know, I am often rather out spoken. B15 is Missy’s first to survive little one and her and it are doing nicely. If B16 doesn’t hatch, it might be for the best. Let this young mom find her way.

There remains no signs of rodenticide poisoning with Ron and Rita’s two, R1 and R2. R1 is a real stinker to R2 lately and, in part, this is why I say let Missy raise one strong eaglet. The experienced Mums have ways of sorting out the rivalry issues such as gentle taps on the beaks or getting the assistance of their mate. Even so, it is not easy even for them. I want to see some success on this Berry College nest this year and right now, things look good with B15.

Duke Farms is in Hillsborough, New Jersey and it is set to really get hit by this storm as it gets to the eastern sea board. They are on egg laying watch there. Oh, I hope that egg can wait! Many of you have set through night upon night worrying about the Mum on this nest who was incubating eggs covered in snow for weeks. She is quite amazing. She is not on the nest tonight,.

The high wind warnings continue for the Kisatchie National Forest area. Anna fed the baby some Coot and hopefully the little one will sleep through the wind!

As night settled on the forest, the winds picked up. It is now 34 degrees F at the nest of Anna and Louis.

It is a little breezy at the Osprey nest of Lena and Andy on Sanibel Island, Florida. Lena is sleeping blissfully incubating those three eggs of hers.

The only hope left for the Captiva Bald Eagles, Connie and Clive is if the second egg is fertile. Egg #1 is 42 days old today.

Today is Ervie’s birthday. He is precisely 4 months old. How incredible. As many of us know, we held our breath when he hatched hoping beyond hope that #1 sibling would please leave the little one alone. What we didn’t know at that precise moment of hatch was the robust character that #3 was going to turn out to be. Today Ervie has been flying around the barge and might have even been up on the wheel house. Of course he is screaming his head off to be fed —— if he wasn’t, we would think something was wrong with the Erv. What a magnificent bird you have turned out to be #3.

Let’s hope that Ervie gets some extra fish today for his birthday. So happy with this Osprey. Send out positive wishes to all the people and the birds – not just our beloved raptors – in the path of this storm. Keep them in your thoughts as the wind and the snow and ice plow through the Eastern side of the US. I hope that Big Red and Arthur are hunkered down.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me on this quick report.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Decorah North and Explore.org, Captiva Osprey Nest, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF Bald Eagles, Berry College, WRDC Bald Eagles, Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eagles and Pix Cam, Duke Farms, and Denton Homes Eagles.

Winter Solstice in Bird World

As all of you know, Daisy the Duck has occupied my mind for some 20 days now without much of a break. She has just arrived home to the nest – it is the Summer Solstice 22 December in Australia – and I am going to take some time to check in on the other nests that are normally watched.

It has been a horrible day for Gabby who is incubating two eggs on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest called The Hamlet. It is just outside Jacksonville.

Bald Eagles generally have 35 days of incubation. Gabby and Samson were really wise. They did not start hard incubation until the second egg was laid meaning that the two eaglets will be born close together with no older sibling advantage. They will just bop each other taking turns! This means that the hatch date is 19 January. Mark your calendars.

For me, this is great timing. Harriet and M15s eaglets are set to hatch in 3-4 days. We won’t be watching two bobble head nests at once. Oh, those high winds are really hitting Fort Myers. You can see Harriet’s feathers blowing.

It is a beautiful day over in Decorah, Iowa with the Decorah Bald Eagles. No eggs – it is winter! But the Eagles are around. The nest is at a trout hatchery – lucky raptors. Smiling. Everyone should have a source of fish for their Ospreys and their Raptors. Takes about 350-400 a season. Not bad for giving life to these beautiful birds and their family.

The Bald Eagles in Iowa generally lay their eggs in mid-February.

The Decorah Eagles are not to be confused with the Decorah North Eagles!!!!! It is home to Mr and Mrs North.

The camera is live at Duke Farms in New Jersey. No eggs yet. In fact, it should be about a month until we see eggs on this nest. I hope this Mum has better weather this year! She was encased in ice and snow most of incubation in early 2021.

Diamond is starting the day in the scrape box at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Both her and Xavier have been examining the new gravel that Cilla Kinross provided awhile ago. They have also had bad weather with torrential rains but it looks like they will have a nice day today. Fingers crossed.

Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in Big Bear, California are doing nestorations. It looks like they are going to have a white Christmas.

Last year Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Horned Owls, took over a young Bald Eagles couple’s nest on Farmer Derek’s property. They raised two owlets. The nest is currently unoccupied but one of the Bald Eagles did a fly by at 07:19 this morning. Will there be a battle over this nest?

The eagle is right at the horizon line with the blue sky. You should be able to see it.

Anna has taken over incubation duties of the two eggs on the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. This is her and Louis’s second breeding attempt. They fledged Kisatchie last season.

Clive is on incubation duty at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. Another storm is really starting to churn in that area. It will effect the eagles as well as the ospreys – and, of course, it is the same storm that is hitting Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers.

It is a beautiful winter’s day – perfect for the Winter Solstice – at Glacier Gardens. I wonder what Kindness is doing? She was such a special juvie.

Alaska is a perfect place for Bald Eagles, too. When Dave Hancock put the satellite trackers on the 7 or 8 fledglings in British Columbia that survived that horrific heat wave, all of them flew north to Alaska.

Lena is waiting for Andy to bring her some fish at the Captiva Osprey Nest. This couple was really hit hard – along with Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest – from the storms the other day. It is good to see that all had no problems. There is another storm brewing today.

Ervie got the morning fish and Bazza is not happy. Apparently, Ervie woke up in the middle of the night and kicked Bazza off the nest. I can understand why he is grumpy.

Ervie is doing a great mantling job. Third hatch turned out to be the ‘King Pin’. Wonder if Bazza remembers how he tried to treat Ervie? Do raptors have a memory like elephants?

Daisy is fine. Wishing for a quiet day for her.

This is a wee bit of a catch up with some of our other favourite nests. Cal Falcons raised $3500 through the sale of t-shirts to support Lindsay Wildlife for treating Grinnell. That is fantastic! There is no news of who Annie will pair with for the 2022 breeding season. Watching birds is all about patience. Sometimes I don’t have any!!!!!!

Thank you so much for stopping in to check on the nests. The birds will weather the current storms in Florida. They are used to them but, still, we worry. Wishing all of you a very happy Winter solstice. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF, SWFlorida and the Pritchett Family, Captiva Osprey, Captiva Bald Eagle, KNF Bald Eagles, Glacier Gardens, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Eagles, Duke Farms, the Raptor Research Project at Explore.org, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Sunday Nest News

It looks like there could be a pip on the nest of Mrs G and Aran at Glaslyn. The first egg was laid on 10 April for the 2021 season. Mrs G is the oldest breeding Osprey in Wales. She hatched, from all that can be ascertained, in either 2000 or 2001 making her ten or eleven years old this year. Aran and Mrs G have been together since 2015.

You can watch Mrs G and Aran raise their chicks here:

The two eaglets on the Duke Farms Nest fludged today. Li’l was up higher on the branch and was followed by Big. They both began flapping and well – one of them knocked the other off the branch and they both went flying off to the field. That happened at 9:17:46. Neither have returned to the nest.

Li’l could not figure out a way to get around Big to go down. Li’l flaps. Big doesn’t move.

At 9:17:46, flapping and falling and both fludge.

The pair have not returned to the nest. It is now after 19:00. Perhaps the parents can lure them to return to the nest with prey.

Iris has been on and off the nest. One time she was followed by Louis. I wish he would bring her a fish if he comes calling. Geez. It is easy to understand, watching Louis land for mating, one reason why the female raptors have to be bigger than the males.

Iris has two eggs in the nest that she has been taking care of on and off again. She will never have another mate because Louis will not allow another male in his territory. So let us all hope that the hormones calm down shortly, the eggs aren’t viable, and Iris can enjoy her summer sunning herself and having some nice fish.——— My personal wish is that Louis would just stay home with Starr!

Big Red and Arthur’s chicks are growing like crazy. It seems even faster this year.

The clown feet are already coming and if you look under the white furry down, they are getting grey and speckled. My goodness.

Normally we would see a nest full of chipmunks but I wonder if Arthur cut that population down last year. This year the nest seems to be full of Starlings.

Legacy is still with us. The sun is setting and Samson brought her a fish in the morning. She is so gorgeous. Legacy, you can stay on the nest as long as you like. Samson likes bringing you fish!

Legacy ate that entire big fish!

And it is always a good day when Tiny Tot is still on the nest. Did anyone ever believe that little osplet, running around the rim of the nest begging for some fish, would grow and turn into this beautiful Osprey? Well, she has thrived – most of remember the day this nest turned around. Diane brought in a catfish and that day she fed Tiny to the brim and she never stopped feeding Tiny again! Something clicked that the little one was going to be a survivor. Below in the image is the evidence. Beautiful Osprey. Such a happy ending! Diane and Jack will fledge three this year, it would appear. Always brings tears to my eyes – tears of joy!

Sibling #1 returned the day after she fledged and has not been seen since. Sibling #2 stayed around the nest getting fed and getting its flying better. #2 was last seen at the nest around 10am on 15 May. Someone asked if the Florida Ospreys migrate. That is a great question – no, they do not. They stay in Florida year round.

They are there. You can barely tell them from the dry Spanish moss on the nest. The two osplets on The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island, otherwise known as the Savannah Ospreys, are doing fine. Both are growing and each has some distinct dark rusty brown markings. Beautiful babies this year. Let us hope they both stay safe!

Sadly, one of the four Winchester Cathedral peregrine falcon chicks has died. Let us hope that it is a one off and not rodenticide poisoning that could impact the entire clutch.

Meanwhile, Annie and Grinnell’s three boys are getting stronger. Their feathers are coming in quickly and they are now venturing beyond the scrape box.

Thank you for joining me. We might have some new ospreys tomorrow. Will keep you posted! Take care and stay safe.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab, Montana Osprey Project, Duke Farms, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Osprey, and the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Babies, Branching, and Bittersweet

It is all too quick. One minute they are little chicks bonking and bopping like the three Ks of Big Red and Arthur and then they are branching and fledging. It is all bittersweet.

Arthur has already begun to line prey up around the egg cup at the Fernow Light Tower nest in Ithaca, New York. Look at the crop on K1. I never get tired of watching these little eyasses grow. Arthur and Big Red are such devoted parents.

6 March 2021

Adorable. Simply adorable.

Oh, look at those little cutie pies. The Ks. 6 May 2021

Annie and Grinnell’s eyasses are a little older than the Ks. Their pin feathers are really growing in and they now spend their time preening, sleeping, or eating!

Look, you can see their little tail feathers starting to grow! People say the feather growth makes the eyasses itchy. How would a human know what it feels like to grow feathers? Birds are the only living thing on the planet that has them.

They are starting to get to the clown foot stage, too. Oh, they love that pigeon Grinnell is feeding them.

It is raining in Estonia and Eve is very careful not to get the little ones wet. Until they have their contour feathers they are not protected. Thermal down will help them against the cold but for now, they have to rely on mom to keep them both warm and dry.

I included the image below for two reasons. The first is the distinctive white tail feathers of the White-tailed eagles. Aren’t they gorgeous? And the second reason is to have a look at the feathers. Each of Eve’s feathers has a central shaft with tiny barbules that lock together like Velcro. They lay flat and make the bird waterproof. Feathers grow out of skin follicles.

White-tail eagles are the largest apex raptors in Europe. They also have the largest average wing span of any eagle in the world. Their wings span averages 2.4 metres or 8 feet. Did you know that they are on the coat of arms of Germany? They are Germany’s national bird just like the Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States.

Today, both Kisatchie at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle nest and one of the pair of the Bald Eaglets at Duke Farms branched. Kisatchie had no one to cheer him on but the eaglet that branched below got a high five from its sibling for a job well done. It won’t be long til the sib is jumping up on that branch, too!

We are still on hatch watch with Maya and Blue 33 (11) at Rutland Mantou Bay. Tomorrow the first egg laid will be 38 days old (May 7).

And, of course, the bittersweet. In a month or so, E17 and E18 along with Legacy will leave us to make their own way out into the world. And sooner than I want, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot will fledge.

Legacy is waiting for Samson to bring her the evening meal. It is nearly 7:30 and he normally visits the nest around 5:30 with a food drop.

Legacy is not starving. Remember, Gabby and Samson are trying to teach her about what life will be like outside of the nest. Food is not always plentiful and eagles do not eat every day in the wild. Legacy had a squirrel yesterday and a big hunk of fish the day before. It is nearly 8:30 p, in the image below and it seems Legacy might have to wait and hope for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is having some nice fish. Diane seems to really enjoy feeding Tiny. Often they are on the nest together as #2 sibling flies around and lands on the perch pole. There has been no sighting of #1 sibling. She fledged, returned to the nest once and is MIA. Normally, the raptors depend on their parents for food from 4-6 weeks after fledged (an average overall – some stay longer). They eat at the nest and strengthen their flying muscles. Sometimes the parents feed them ‘off nest’. It is not clear what is happening with #1 sibling and because she is not banded, we will never know.

I am clearly going to miss Legacy and Tiny Tot when the fledge. Unless there is some very distinctive marker – like the dots in Iris’s left eye or the tear in the wing of WBSE 24, unringed birds are simply not that recognizable, one from the other.

And the last news of the day, Iris, the oldest living Osprey in the world laid her first egg of the 2021 season at her Hellgate Nest in Missoula, Montana today at 18:04:31. I would like to hope that if nature intends it, Iris would get to be a mother again. Her last successful hatch with Louis was in 2018. As you know, I wish this day had not come but it has and now we wait to see how the season will twist and turn.

There is a new director for the Cornell Bird Laboratory, Dr Ian Owens. In an interview that came out in the latest edition of Living Bird, Dr Owens remembers the bird that changed his life. He was fifteen and the bird was an Eurasian Marsh-Harrier. Dr Owens will take charge in July.

Like Dr Owens, there are many of you reading this that will recall the first time that a bird influenced your life. Mine was over four and a half years ago when I met Sharpie’s female mate. I haven’t seen her for awhile but Sharpie stopped by today. I rejoice in seeing him – whether it is for a few minutes or an hour. They certainly changed my life and I will be forever grateful. It is just like the joy that all of the birds give us each day.

So take care everyone and remember – March 8 is Bird Count Day. I will remind you tomorrow with the link so you can submit your count. It helps everyone understand the perils of migration. Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Achieva Credit Union, The Eagle Club of Estonia, UC Falcon Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, and LRWT Rutland.

Eagle Tales and an update on Tiny Tot

It seems like it was almost yesterday when the female Bald Eagle at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey was encased in snow.

And then, there were two! The first eaglet hatched on 26 of February while the second one made its way out of that hard shell on 3 March. They were nicknamed ‘Li’l’ and ‘Big’ by the chatters on the Duke Farm streaming cam. And many worried that ‘Li’l’ was not getting enough to eat.

4 March 2021

Here they are precisely two weeks later. Look who is in front!

18 March 2021 A feeding after the rain.

And here they are today with juvenile plumage. Very beautiful and healthy eaglets! When they are banded, one or both of them will be fitted with a satellite transmitter. Rumours say it is EagleTrax brand.

“20180220-Duke Farm color” by Gary 光原 Liu is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Duke Farms is not new to banding or tracking and I really applaud them for this. On 1 May 2019 they banded the younger male E/88 and fitted him out with a satellite tracker. They wanted to know where the juveniles went after they fledged. This is a question many have been begging to find out about the eyasses of Big Red and Arthur, the Red-Tail Hawks whose nest is on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Where do they go? do they survive? The eaglet was named ‘Duke’. Duke went on line on 17 September 2019. He made several trips to Pennsylvania, several back into New Jersey and settled in Maryland on the Susquehanna River in the Upper Chesapeake Valley. He returned to New Jersey in early November 2020. On 24 November 2020 he was photographed eating a deer carcass with an immature female in a field. On 19 January 2021 he was actually at the Millstone River in New Jersey, close to his natal nest.

“Millstone River – Ricoh FF-9 1:3.5 f=35mm Compact 35mm Film P&S (1988) & Fuji 400 ISO Film” by Logos: The Art of Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you want to see images of ‘Duke’ please go to this site:

http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/blog/category/duke-farms-eagle-cam/

Achieva Osprey Update: There has been a lot of fish delivered to this Osprey nest in Dunedin, Florida today. I have actually lost count. At least 5 or 6 and Jack just came in with a big hunk of fish and left because Diane still had fish she was feeding, The issue is: Tiny had only a few bites all day. It is an extremely sad situation. Tiny had a few bites today while the others ate and ate. There was a delivery at 4:53:28 and this one hot on the heels at 6:56:30. Tiny has managed to get between the mother’s legs and is getting some bites – some were nice size. It is 7:30. But Diane moves away and takes the fish and the two big ones are now resting on the nest and eating! Tiny gets some food around 8pm but Diane is feeding one of the big ones at the same time.

The light is going away. Tiny has managed to grab some bites. This was a really big fish. There should have been lots for him. You can see the tail to the left of Diane’s feet.

Diane has moved the fish again and is feeding Tiny and one of the big ones. The big one leaves and Diane is getting some food too. Tiny gets some bites. It is unclear how much of the fish is left or how much Tiny will get. The fish was moved again and Tiny started eating again around 8:19. It looks in the poor light that he might have a crop. Oh, my. How grand.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope the weather is nice where you are. The snow is still coming down on the Canadian prairies.

Thank you to the streaming cams at Duke Farms and the Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Florida.

Rain and blowing winds

It’s raining outside. The sky is a heavy grey and the flame willow’s bark is a bright reddish-orange in this light. It is gorgeous. But where are the robins who should be pulling worms from the soil around the flame tree? They are no where to be seen. And the Dark eyed Juncos have not arrived en masse either. We wait.

The branches turn green in the summer but in the winter the Flame Willow is a bright red-orange.
“American Robin” by nicolebeaulac is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is no life in the dreary damp garden except for two BlueJays flitting about. In half an hour it will fill up just when the feeders are being replenished. Sometimes I think the sparrows have an alarm clock set – they are that punctual.

The last couple of days there has been a sadness hanging over the Bald Eagle community. Indeed, it hangs heavy today just like the grey drizzly skies that surround me. Jackie and Shadow on the Big Bear Bald Eagle nest in Big Bear, California lost their first clutch this year. Their nest is about 44 metres or 145 feet up in a Jeffrey pine tree with a view of Big Bear Lake. It is incredibly beautiful. Jackie is thought to be nine years old and Shadow is around seven; neither are banded and both so want to be parents. A Raven ate their first egg and the second broke. They tried again. Sadly, the first chick died during hatch as thousands of people watched anxiously along with Jackie and Shadow on 18 March. They could hear its chirping and must have been so excited. The second egg is now 38 days old. The normal for BE hatch is 35. Last year they incubated their eggs for sixty days and when they finally stopped the ravens came – the eggs were empty.

So we hope and wait. I really hope – beyond hope – for this nest to be successful this year.

And, of course, there are the on going issues related to the Great Horned Owls and Harriet and M15 on the Pritchett Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. The GHOW nest is 274 metres or .1 of a mile away from the eagle’s nest. This has caused nothing but undue problems for the eagles this year. Last night’s attack was one of the worst. The GHOW knocked Harriet off the branch and into the nest but a then off the nes! You can hear the cries.

Lady Hawk’s video shows this from several angles. You can watch the first and get the idea.

Eagle and Great Horn Owl populations have recovered since the time of DDT. Now, there are several issues both related to human activity – the loss of habitat -meaning space – and also the lack of trees adequate for nests that impact the lives of both. There is more and more competition for resources.

E17 and E18 are both self-feeding and they really are the best of buddies. Twins born within hours of one another. E18 might be the Queen of Mantling but both still love to be fed by their parents. They are so big. One of the best ways of telling which is which is if you can see the tip of the tails. The one with a white band, on the left, is E18.

For those who worry about aggressive behaviours, it is now easy to forget that many were horrified at the bopping E17 gave 18. E17 even had to go into time out at CROW clinic! It all evened out. E18 grew and became not so intimidated. That is a good thing. They will hopefully both thrive in the wild. As Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) reminded many on one of her videos yesterday, if the birds cannot survive in the nest being fed by parents they will never be able to survive in the wild. As it stands, less than half the bald eagles that fledge live to see their first birthday.

Look close. The white band is on the eaglet on the left. That is E18 with E17 on the right.

I continue to tell people that GHOWs are fierce competitors and they are dangerous. There is nothing cuddly about them! Speaking about Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles, the two owlets of Bonnie and Clyde are really growing. The oldest is always ready to try and hork down the mouse that Clyde delivers. In this early morning shot, you can see Clyde, Bonnie, and one of the eaglets. Everyone is doing fine on that nest. Only time will tell if the owls become permanent occupants of what was a Bald Eagle nest.

The daughters of Farmer Derek named the owlets Tiger (the eldest) and Lily (the youngest). In the image below Clyde is on the left, Bonnie is in the back and if you squint you can see one of the owlets, probably Tiger, in the nest. Sweet names. I wonder if they knew that GHOWs are sometimes called ‘Tiger’ owls?

21 March 2021. Clyde, Harriet, and one of the owlets.

The young father, Harry, is incubating the two eggs on the Bald Eagle nest at the Minnesota DNR. You can tell it is Harry and not Nancy because of the dark patch at the end of his beak. Remember – this young father has not fully changed to his adult colouring – he is only four years old! That tree is really twisting and the wind is howling and blowing. Those eagles have had all kinds of weather to contend with, too. But now we should be thinking about a pip! Their second egg was laid at 2:54 pm on 20 February with the first on the 18th. That means that egg 1 is 31 days old. If the rule of 32 days for a hatch applies this young father should be getting excited. I hope that the weather smartens up for them and they have a successful hatch!

Very young father incubates eggs at MNDNR awaiting first pip. 21 March 2021.

The rain and the wind that is keeping the Minnesota nest soaked and twisting left the Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville soaked as well. Gabby did a great job of keeping Legacy covered up and Samson even brought in provisions during the windy storm.

One of the things you will no longer see on the NE Florida eagle nest is ‘eggie’. Samson came in on the 17th of March and while Legacy was self-feeding, he aerated the nest. As he was punching holes in the base of the nest cup, Samson kept checking that Legacy was busy eating. Then he buried ‘Eggie’ in one of the holes and covered it with Spanish Moss. There seem to be no adverse effects. Some of us thought we would have to strap a backpack on Legacy so she could take Eggie and pinecone with her when she fledges. It’s hard to believe that it was not so long ago when Legacy had Avian Pox. She survived it well. In the image below Gabby has brought in a fish for Legacy. Legacy mantles and feeds herself. ‘Look, I am all grown up, Mom!’ They are all growing way too fast.

21 March 2021. Legacy is self feeding.

And the rest of Bird World seems to be in a holding pattern today. The trio at the Achieva Osprey nest have been fed. They all had good full crops last night and there was not so much commotion this morning when the first fish was brought in at 7:59.

21 March 2021 From left to right: 2, Brutus, Tiny Tot

The people on chat have named the eldest Brutus because of the way that it treats the other two. And, Brutus, was particularly nasty to both Tiny Tot and 2 last evening. Still, they got food and that was really what mattered. Brutus has not been able to stifle their will to survive. You can see all three of them standing up to be fed this morning. I did do a wee bit of a giggle. For many, Brutus is a male name and is associated with male aggression since the time when Marcus Junius Brutus was one of Julius Cesar’s assassins. In this instance, it is, however, highly likely that Brutus is a big female. Watching the Port Lincoln Osprey cam showed me that like GHOWs, you do not mess with a big female Osprey when she is upset. Best to just stay away.

Big and Li’l are doing fine on the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest. Both of them had a nice crop this morning. There was even a tandem feeding with Mom and Dad.

21 March 2021. Both parents feeding at Duke Farms eagle nest.

Someone remarked at how big Li’l is getting – that is what happens when you get enough food, you grow!

And last but never least – the ‘Brutus’ of the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Solly, is thriving. She is 183 days old today and she has mustered the strength and the courage to cross the entire bay at Streaky Bay. Well done, Solly!

Thanks for coming to check all the characters in Bird World today. The birds bring us so much joy – and sadness, sometimes. And, yes, uneasiness when we worry about them. Most of us sleep better when we know they have had a good meal. So today, let us send warm wishes for Jackie and Shadow – maybe a miracle will happen. It is too bad we can’t slip an orphaned baby eaglet in their nest for them. I am sure they would adore it.And let’s begin to get excited for the young father up in Minnesota. I hope it is a nice warm day tomorrow for their hatch.

And thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey and their Satellite Tracker, the streaming cams from Duke Farms, Achieva Osprey, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Farmer Derek, the Minnesota DNR, and Big Bear Eagle cam.

UC Berkley Falcons and quick Friday updates

The University of California Campus at Berkeley is ‘falcon crazy.’ They even named their basketball team the Falcons. Indeed, the feathered pair nesting on top of this beautiful building are ‘stars’. Everyone knows about them and gets excited – how grand is that?!

“The Campanile of UC-berkeley” by ChanduBandi is marked with CC0 1.0

The Campanile was designed in the Gothic Revival style and was completed in 1914. The tower, reminiscent of the Campanile di San Marco in Venice, is ninety-four metres or 308 feet hight and has four bells. It is the most recognized building on the University campus.

This is the view from the roof:

In 2016, a pair of Peregrine Falcons began to roost on the roof of the Campanile. Their scrape box is two floors up from the bells and to everyone’s amazement the bell concerts do not seem to bother the raptors. If it did, we can imagine that they would have left quickly. Most of the time it is a safe place to raise their young but they have had, like other nests, intruders checking out their prime real estate.

In 2017, the same pair returned to raise eyases. They were given the names Annie and Grinnell in honour of the founder and first director of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Annie Grinnell. Annie is not banded and her history including how old she is remains unknown. However, Grinnell was banded in 2013 as a nestling near Martinez, California. All of their chicks are banded in the nest.

If you have read most of my blogs you will know that I am a great proponent of banding. The amount of information that can be discovered is significant. And for Birders on the Ground it is an opportunity to take part. It takes a village to chase after falcons and check their bands, photograph them, and then find the right person to contact to tell them of the sighting.

If you have never seen a nestling banded, here is your opportunity. This is a short video of Poppy, Sequoia, and Redwood being banded in the scrape box in 2020 along with a Q&A:

Annie and Grinnell made their first nest on a sand bag on the roof of the Campanile in March of 2017. Poor things! But they had nothing else. In the wild, Peregrine falcons make their nests on a the edges of cliffs with a sandy base or in gravel.

In the image below, Grinnell is incubating the eggs in the permanent scrape box. Notice that it is a simple enclosure, with a single opening at the front. Wooden rulers have been fixed to the frame of the door and the corners so researchers can check the height of the young. Simple pea gravel or small river stones line the bottom. This is the ‘nest’. No other materials will be brought in. The falcons will rub their breast into the gravel to make a hollow for the eggs.

When two of the eggs of Annie and Grinnell’s first clutch rolled off the sandbox and broke, the University decided to install a temporary scrape box. Annie and Grinnell accepted the box and fledged their first babies – two eyases- from the Campanile. They were a male named Fiat and a female named Lux. The names were derived from the University motto, Fiat lux, which means bringing knowledge to light. Fiat survived but Lux was killed by window strike.

The following year the University installed a permanent nest box for the pair hoping that they would return and lay their eggs again. In April of 2018, Annie and Grinnell had three eggs hatch. Named after three elements discovered at Berkeley the chicks were a male named Berkelium, another male named Californium, and a female named Lawrencium. All three fledged. Lawrencium is the only one of Annie and Grinnell’s chicks that has been spotted. She is nesting on the island of Alcatraz.

In 2019, the exploits of Annie and Grinnell were streamed to the world. That year two chicks hatched and were successful fledges. One was named Carson after Rachel Carson. Hers is a name that you should know. Carson is the author of the book Silent Spring that led to the banning of DDT. Cade was named after Tom Cade, an Ornithologist recognized for his efforts to both protect and reestablish Peregrine Falcon populations after they were wiped out by DDT. Cade was the founder of the Peregrine Fund. He died in 2019 at the age of 91.

In 2020, Annie and Grinnell fledged three – a female named Poppy, a male named Sequoia, and another male named Redwood.

It’s 2021 and Annie and Grinnell are incubating four eggs! The first was laid on 10 March, followed by the second on 12 March, the third on the 14th and the final egg on St. Patrick’s Day.

In the image below, Grinnell has arrived to partially incubate the first three eggs. The eggs can actually range from a cream colour to red but here you see that Annie has laid three lovely red eggs.

While it is known that falcons sometimes lay five eggs, it is rare. And this brings me to why I love falcons so much and it isn’t just their very ‘cute’ plumage. It is because of delayed incubation. Annie and Grinnell can hatch four eyases but I am not up worrying all night when one didn’t get fed or the eldest was aggressive – it would be rare for that to happen but I am aware that it does.

Grenville on hard incubation duty, 19 March 2021.

The embryos inside eggs only develop when they are warm. Peregrine falcons, Red Tail Hawks and other raptor species (other than Ospreys and various species of eagles) want their eggs to hatch at roughly the same time. That way there is not a significant difference in development. To achieve this synchronization, the early eggs are only partially incubated until all are laid. Then hard incubation begins. Annie and Grinnell will take turns incubating the eggs. After hard incubation starts the eggs will hatch in roughly 32-33 days after the last egg was laid. The eyases use their ‘egg tooth’ to help them get through the thick shell which can take from 24-48 hours. Pip watch should start about 19 April! I am so excited!

UPDATES: Speaking of pip watch, Jackie and Shadow can hear one of their little ones chirping in the shell. Big Bear Eagle fans are on hatch alert!

Maya and Blue 33 have both arrived at the Mantou Bay Nest at Rutland in the UK on 19 March. Blue 33 (11) came in at 12:29 and Maya was right behind him at 12:56.

Maya and Blue 33 (10) arrive at the nest in Rutland on 19 March 2021.

So far it appears that Blue 25 (10) is still waiting for her mate at Rutland.

The three on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida have now been fed to the relief of everyone. The storm caused Jack to bring in only a small fish last evening. Brutus, the eldest, was very aggressive towards the smaller two and they went to sleep without any fish. (Brutus is the name given to the eldest by the chat group). First fish this morning was also small and caused aggressive behaviour. However, Jack went and brought in a nice sized second fish right away and everyone ate and were congenial.

Both were fed at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle Nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey so all is well on that nest.

Solly, the Port Lincoln Osprey, is 181 days old today. She spent the night at the Streaky Bay Hospital and has been out and about looking for fish. She loves this area. I hope it keeps her safe and is her forever home.

It’s nearly 4pm on a beautiful sunny day on the Canadian prairies. Let’s hope it stays that way so that everyone can get out for a walk and check on the local wildlife in their area.

Thanks to UC Berkeley Falcons, Duke Farms, Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Big Bear for their steaming cams and Rutland Wildlife where I took my scaps and to Port Lincoln Ospreys and the PLO researchers for the satellite tracking for Solly.