Zoe flies more, rare Albatross incubate their egg…and more news in Bird World

24 November 2022

Good morning to everyone and the best of Thanksgiving to those celebrating in the US today.

It has been wonderfully warm on the Canadian Prairies. I do not know if it is atypical for this time of year but, it certainly feels like it. The birds in the garden had some of their feeders rearranged and thanks to a lovely friend I swopped out some old feeders for some she gave me yesterday. One of the visitors today was a beautiful Starling. It’s an immature non-breeder. Note all of the white spots on his breast and it has yet to get its oily black head. The males and the female Starlings look alike. Did you know that? One difference is that the beaks of the males are a deep blue while those of the female are a pink colour. This then looks like an immature non-breeding male.

Look closely and you can see their rose coloured legs. It is also a pair of non-breeding adults. They are really loving this soft suet.

The Starlings will not perch on the metal. I do not know why. They want to lean down from the branches to get to the suet. You can see this behaviour in the image above also. So the feeder below was moved so they could more easily reach it! Who says I am a softie?

Junior was grateful for a bowl of corn today.

One of many varieties of the Sparrow family that visit the garden. They are particularly enjoying the Butter Bark Balls on these damp days.

The kittens have had great fun watching the birds and the squirrels. They continue to find places in the house to get into mischief. And they do not always come when they are called setting in a panic that they have miraculously gotten outside in the cold. Of course, they are somewhere laughing (do cats laugh?) while I panic!

Missy has discovered a Rodney Mott sculpture that is just perfect for hiding in. Lewis is in the overturned basket not even showing a whisker.

At the Australian nests, Zoe took off for her first flight of the day at 0901. It was an absolutely perfect take off and her landing at 0907 was spot on, too. She is a very strong osplet. I do hope she gets some nice fish. It has been 24 hours since she last had some food.

While the camera was down for a couple of yours, Dad brought in fish. We are only seeing the tail of the fish but I hope that Dad had some nice fish – the entire head – and that it was big enough for Mum and Zoe to also have a good feed. This family would really enjoy a day with several deliveries but, I am grateful to know that there was a delivery mid-afternoon.

Zoe had a nice crop.

At the scrape in Orange, things were decidedly low key. Xavier and Diamond in and out of the scrape box and Diamond enjoying sleeping in the box all by herself at night. They have busy days chasing after Indigo and Rubus. Little Rubus is, apparently, doing more flying and getting much better.

This was the news from Orange: “Rubus and Indigo both seen within the last hour. Rubus is exploring the campus, going from building roofs to trees etc. He fledged on 20th November. Indigo is way ahead getting flight training from parents, visiting the box etc. He fledged on 11th November at 41 days.”

If you haven’t checked out the FalconCam site in a few days, I urge you to do so. Someone is really adding historical data and you can go back to 2007 to see earlier chicks and read about the big events at the scrape. Here is that link if you lost it.

https://science-health.csu.edu.au/falconcam/home

Oh, it is stormy up near Jacksonville. Samson and Gabby have been on the nest today working despite the wind and the bad weather that looks like it is moving in.

I put this image in not so you could peer at the fluffy bottom of a big Bald Eagle but, rather, for you to see the colour of the legs and feet of Gabby. Then look at their beaks. This is a bright chrome-yellow. This is a very healthy bird.

Harriet and M15 are sleeping at the nest and so far no eggs, just like at NEFL.

At the E-3 nest in the Kistachie National Forest, they have their second egg today. Congratulations Andria and Alex.

There is also news coming out of the Midway Atoll about a very rare pair of Albatross.

As we give thanks for all the birds that bring our lives joy, remember that we are the cause of much of their suffering. Please spread the word to anyone you know – or where you work – that there are solutions other than using rodenticide to get rid of mice and rats. Also teach them about secondary poisoning. It could be their dog or cat but, it is often one of our beautiful raptors.

At small islands in New Zealand, Dr Digby and his team care for the rare non-flying parrot, the Kakapo. In 2016, they hand-raised more than a dozen of these precious little birds. Today they continue to do that work when it is required. The work that Digby and his team do to restore the health of these birds and to keep them safe and try and increase their numbers is remarkable. So thankful.

No 13. The Red List. The Marsh Tit

At first I thought these were out Black capped Chickadees. The Marsh Tit is small, it is mainly shades of a soft grey-brown or taupe with a shiny black cast, a black bib, and a pale ivory underbelly. The bill, eye, and legs are black. They are not plain by any means, look closely at the plumage patterns. Simply lovely.

The woodlands of the United Kingdom – and elsewhere – are changing and that it causing a huge decline in the number of this very small song bird, the Marsh Tit. The woods are more fragmented now, separated by grazing pastures, a growing number of introduced deer. Marsh Tits, according to Mike Toms, “favour woodlands with a complex understory and require surprisingly large patches of suitable habitat in order to breed successfully.” And they’re like their woodlands to be “wet”. Climate change has meant that they are now laying their eggs at least ten days earlier than they were 50 years ago. This change has had a decided impact on available or peak food supplies for the chicks which is also contributing to a decline in population numbers. The Marsh Tit is also known to visit older gardens, copses, and parks, and has sometimes been seen on feeders.

Marsh Tit” by Vine House Farm is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

They feed mostly on insects, seeds and berries, and often cache food over winter if they find a good supply. They nest in existing tree holes, rather than excavating their own, and produce seven to nine eggs.

Their song sounds like a sneeze “pitchoot”.

Here is their range.

Thank you so much for being with me today. I hope that each of you had a wonderful day no matter where you are — or will have a great day if you are just waking up reading this. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, NEFL-AEF, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, KNF, Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, A Place Called Hope, Kakapo Recovery and Dr Digby Twitter, Openverse, and RSPB.

Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.

Harriet and M15 weather Nicole together…and other news in Bird World

10 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. The kittens are very active this morning. The Starlings have discovered the Butter Bark! And the Blue Jays are eating peanuts and what better entertainment for the kittens than watching birds safely behind glass!

Lewis is a charmer.

Oops. Turn your head! Missy is sideways smelling the orchids and moved quickly to see the Blue Jays.

They are adorable and are tied at the hip to one another. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, they must be together – eating, sleeping, and being a poopinator.

Late Wednesday, Nicole was upgraded to a Hurricane. As she went over Florida last night, Nicole was again down graded to a Tropical Storm. These are the latest images.

I will be posting my blog when it is approximately 1000 Thursday the 10th of November. This system will not be moving out of the region of Samson and Gabby’s next until much, much later in the day. Harriet and M15 got a right soaking. Continue to send your good wishes to all in this region.

_________________________________________________________________

The real news of the day is ‘waiting’. Waiting for fledging in Australia and waiting for Hurricane Nicole to pass in Florida. Yes, Nicole is now upgraded to a hurricane from the previous tropical storm. Winds and rain are increasing across the state of Florida.

Before I go any further, we all love Harriet and M15. They are weathering Hurricane Nicole together – in the nest! Talk about love and devotion. They have rebuilt after Hurricane Ian and they are staying together Wednesday night as Nicole approaches. Send them all the love you have! These two are amazing.

It is starting – the winds are swaying the nest. Harriet and M15 are both still in the nest together. Oh, my heart just goes out to them. They need that nest to hold. It will not be long until Harriet is laying eggs.

Early Thursday morning. Together and wet. Oh, did I tell you? Harriet is 28 years old!

In the News:

I am so happy. The wildlife rehabbers who cared for the Pitkin County Osplet did not have staff to deal with messages after the osplet came into care. Pitkin County gave me their name and I wrote to them a couple of days ago and now they have posted the information for the public. This is really important. I want each of you to remember because pre-fledge osplets really do well in care! They survive and they have a second chance at life. The image of the beautiful osplet below is the evidence.

Birds of Prey in Colorado has two waiting for release in the spring. Let us all debunk this urban myth.

Last June, the female at the Pitkin Open Spaces and Trails pulled her two osplets off the nest accidentially. One died, this one went into care and is waiting to be released in the spring.

I have been slowly gathering up evidence of successful treatments for pre-fledge Ospreys or any Osprey that has been taken into care. If you are aware of any ospreys in care or that were in care and released, would you please contact me with any details that you know. It will really help make my case to Port Lincoln that there is good evidence – hard evidence not anecdotal – that pre-fledge ospreys do well in care. By poking a hole right in the middle of the rumour that has spread and established itself as fact, it is possible that ospreys like Middle can survive. For Little and Middle, let’s work to change this to: Pre-fledge Ospreys do as well in care as do Post-fledge Ospreys!

Let’s take another look at Coots. Do you have Coots in the ponds or wetlands where you live? Sometimes called the ‘black duck’, the author of this article fell in love with them when he was a wee child.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/09/birdwatch-coots-gadwall

Why is Bird Flu so important and, what happens if it mutates causing another pandemic?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/09/bird-flu-mutation-h5n1-virus-strains-pandemic

The Melbourne Four, those precious babies, made the news!

3 Red List Bird:

Roseate Terns” by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Roseate Tern is the most rare of all the sea birds that breed in the UK. There has been a lot of interest in the migration of the Roseate Terns from the UK and from Ireland. Satellite trackers have discovered that they migrate to the West African coast and spend their winter in the Gulf of Guinea. Those Roseate Terns from North America also have an impressive migration. They travel to the eastern part of Brazil. These journeys are more than 15,000 km return made across the open seas.

They are such beautiful sea birds. They are called Roseate because of the pink tint to their gorgeous plumage. Their beak is slender they have a long forked tail, a white cap with grey wings and white under belly. Their legs are longer than other Terns. This means that they can walk through higher and thicker undergrowth and this is where they make their nests so they are not in competition with other terns.

The Roseate Tern is globally threatened. One of the greatest challenges these beautiful birds face is the human disturbance of their nesting sites and the collecting of their eggs. Climate change, flooding, and frequent storms are also major contributing factors in the decline of the species.

The following contains information on the threats to these amazing sea birds.

Roseate Tern

http://roseatetern.org/threats.html

Australian Birds:

The camera turned and all of the Melbourne Four were still home! Gosh, if you didn’t know it, at a glance, these look like fine full grown Peregrines.

Hot in Melbourne. Some are looking for shade!

It is raining in Melbourne and ‘A’ tells me that it is not a good day to fledge now and won’t be for a few days more. Hopefully the Melbourne Four will stay put!

According to my eagle-eyed and ears friend ‘A’, the Melbourne Four were on the ledge when Mum brought a prey item in at 181203. They ran down to the other end where the 4th eyas was.

A small fish came on the Port Lincoln Opsrey barge. Mum took control and then gave it over to Big. I think Mum was hoping for the tail but Big took it, too.

Big is as big as Mum now. Look at those legs. Here the pair of them are prey calling Dad who is on his way with breakfast.

Big is not going without food. Dad brought in the small fish this morning and then, seeing Dad over on the ropes, Mum decided she best get out there and bring in the afternoon meal. Big might have thought she would get the whole thing to herself but Mum had other ideas and started out feeding her girl. She managed to get some bites. Big will take the fish and would take all fish if left to her own now.

Dad will bring in another fish. There were three delivered on Thursday in Port Lincoln. Those times were 09:33, 15:01, 19:22.

If the weather is good, Big will be banded, measured, and named sometime between the 12-14th. That is a few days away. I hope to find an announcement with the specific day for you.

Lots of Starlings and other prey coming into the scrape. Both Indigo and Rubus are excellent self-feeders. It is wonderful to see. Indigo continues to look out at the world beyond and poor Rubus, he still has so much flu that it will be a bit of a wait. Don’t worry Rubus, Mum and Dad will feed you – they won’t forget!

Indigo is adorable.

It is just after midnight on Thursday and this is the recap of Thursday up until late afternoon at Orange: RECAP 6 02 26 D w/grebe, Rubus takes; 08 45 13 X w/juv starl, leaves; 10:17:16 X w ER, Indigo takes; 10:24:23 D in, feeds Rubus; 14:50:29 X w/prey, Indigo takes.

At one point, Indigo was running around the scrape flapping her wings and chasing Rubus. Remember. Indigo does not have the room that the Melbourne Four have to run off some of the energy and to really get the wings and legs going.

Rubus had no idea what on earth was going on with Indigo. There was a piece of prey stuck between her talons. Was that the cause of all the restlessness? or is it that Indigo will be fledging soon?

Indigo was able to get the piece of prey out from her talons and she settled. Look at Rubus watching everything that she is doing. He will miss her when she flies. If she does what the others have done, she will fly down to the trees where she sees the parents. They will also lure her with prey items and begin teaching her how to hunt. They will do this for 4-6 weeks until Indigo leaves their territory. Now that I say that we must not forget that Izzi did not leave home until Diamond would no longer let him in the scrape many, many months after she should have left.

Indigo will not fly back to the scrape box. She is not strong enough to undertake that steep upward flight yet but, she will get those muscles really going once she is down chasing after Diamond and Xavier.

Rubus will either love having the prey all to himself or miss Indigo or both.

In other news:

Continue to send your best and most positive wishes to the nests in Florida. Ron and Rita’s human designed nest on the grounds of the Miami Zoo is really beginning to rock and sway. You can see the movement of the palm trees caught in the image below. There are so many, many nests in Florida and it is the wintering grounds for some of the birds from the north.

Gabby and Samson’s nest near Jacksonville is really blowing and rocking. It is in one of the areas that is expecting the highest winds.

The record snow and wind has caused power outages at Big Bear Valley. The cameras for Jackie and Shadow are offline at the moment. We will wait and see if they are up tomorrow. Thursday. The camera is up over the valley but the nest camera remains offline. The storm has passed. Yippee.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures ‘A’ and ‘H’ for their eyes and ears on Collins Street, National Hurricane Centre, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails, ABC News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, WRDC, and NEFlorida-AEF.

Sunday Morning in Bird World

6 November 2022

Good Morning All!

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It is lovely to have you here. I want to say, right off the top, how inspiring each of you are to me. Osprey season, for me, begins in Australia and it has been a particularly devastating start after the great breeding year of 2021 that produced Bazza, Falky, and Ervie. Fortunately, I did not share that sadness alone and I thank you again for being such an empathetic and caring community.

As migratory season winds up in Manitoba, the wetlands and estuaries that were teeming with ducks, geese, swans are silent. There are no skeins of geese flying over my conservatory and already, I am missing their loud honks. Soon our time will ‘fall back’ and it will be dark by 1615. It appears, however, that the Blue Jays and Crows are staying on. Today, one of the Crows was able to tap hard enough on the bird bath to get some water. I must now find the water heater for them. It is very important to have water when you are giving seeds. Here, during the winter, the birds and squirrels will eat the snow but, they do not get the quantity needed so a heated source is very helpful.

It is 5 degrees. There are European Starlings in the trees in the back. Last year they came and ate and filled up before moving South. This year I wonder if they are intimidated by the Blue Jays. The weather report is for snow to arrive in three hours. It has been falling north of the City for hours.

Lewis and Missy are never apart. You would think they were litter mates. I just looked down and each was eating out of their hard food dish with Lewis straddling the water bowl so they could be parallel with one another. I have not seen kittens behave like this. It is literally like they are joined at the hip.

In the Mailbox:

‘C’ sent me a very long discussion with lots of good links from the Looduskalender English Forum about siblicide or cainism. I have skimmed some of the contents and have several parts thoroughly. The information provides good definitions and also alerts you to species that practice ‘obligatory’ siblicide. It is extremely stressful to watch a nest with two healthy chicks that have hatched knowing that the eldest will kill the youngest. If this troubles you, then please avoid those species or wait to start watching.

It is, perhaps, too early to read about this particular type of avian behaviour having lost Middle but, put the link aside and educate yourself.

Making News:

This late summer, we were blessed with a Great White Egret in our City – indeed, eight or nine of them on a single tree at dusk. Here is a lovely story coming from the UK about walking in the marshes and discovering this amazing bird.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/nov/02/a-walk-on-the-wild-side-explore-the-avalon-marshes-somerset

It is unclear if was fireworks that frightened F22 at the 367 Collins Street scrape last week but, something loud that sounded like fireworks echoing between the tall buildings of the CBD in Melbourne, scared this first time Mum off her perch.

Today, The Guardian is carrying an article demonstrating how fireworks causes geese to become stressed.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/03/bonfire-night-fireworks-cause-major-distress-to-wild-geese-study-finds

Many are choosing to use drones to light up the sky but, has anyone looked into the direct damage hundreds and hundreds of drones might have on birds? If you see anything, please let me know.

Sharon Dunne has posted some information about the new season at Taiaroa Head. It is getting off to a great start!

Pentobarbital Poisoning. There is at least one Bald Eagle in the US struggling for its life because it found a euthanized prey. It laid unresponsive but not dead and was taken to a rehabber who is posting information and working hard. How did this eagle get in contact with the euthanized animal?

https://www.knowledgefun.com/pdf/secondary_pentobarbital_poisoning_of_wildlife.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3xBTkh1FlmePDXANfrSQAljI8f08LCDAwxsq-_qj83gPgjq0px38JXzVA

Here is an article about Bald Eagles surviving eating euthanized cats. Are the vets not responsible for properly disposing of the animals?

https://archive.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/bald-eagles-recover-from-eating-euthanized-cats-ns5ah7v-150542725.html/?fbclid=IwAR1vtNBYxADyL7PhOOTOGELhRLvPIISvcthjOSQnpbqmCqA2myfsk9137PY

Australian Nest News:

So far, it has been a relative quiet day in Bird World. Every nest had prey deliveries in Australia and the last time I checked there were still four eyases on the Collins Street ledge.

At the Orange scrape of Xavier and Diamond, it appears that Cilla Kinross has changed her mind and believes Indigo to be a male. Is this size? legs? lack of aggression? I have not seen her statement and only noticed this latest information when one of the chat moderators included it today.

An unplucked Starling was dropped off inside the scrape box. Indigo began plucking it. It appears that Indigo’s very active plucking frightened little Rubus for a few seconds. Rubus ran and stood on the Cilla stones and then, watching and well, Rubus is always hungry, s/he begins to think about helping.

Rubus decides s/he will go and help.

The chicks made a good effort. Indigo was very good at plucking and little Rubus helped her by holding down a part of the Starling with the talons. But they did eventually give up despite their early morning hunger.

Rubus was really working on that Starling’s head.

Rubus twisted and turned and pulled getting some bites.

Looks like Diamond came and saved the day! Both chicks reasonably aggressive but, squealing Rubus slightly more so.

When I finished watching 367 Collins Street today, there were still four eyases on the ledge.

Oh, this one wants to fly so much!

They have been watching the adults fly. It is to lure them off that ledge. ‘Hey, look, you are a bird. Flap those wings and fly’ – Mum and Dad are telling them. ‘You can do it!’

It is 12:21 and all of the Melbourne Four are accounted for – there is one that is blending in well with the scrape box and one in the gutter looking like a piece of prey!

Sometimes Mum – who is now slim and trim – can look like one of the eyases. To tell the difference between an adult and a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, look at the bars on the chest. If they are vertical, the bird is a juvenile. If they are horizontal, they are an adult.

All present and accounted for at 1417. Just look at how much the youngest one has changed. You can easily see which one or ones are hungry. See the sunken crop of the one on the ledge and the full crop of the one in the gutter. Falcons do not need to eat every day and…of course, all of us want them to have banquets but, a day will not harm them. These four have learned how to pluck and are preparing for what they are meant to do – fly! So proud of these first time parents. They overcame so much to be able to fledge these four healthy eyases – and that fledging will be soon. I hope they all wait and fly off together.

Here is a very short video of a pigeon delivery to the Melbourne Four. They are sooooo loud. Once you know that sound you will never mistake it for anything else! Poor parent. Besieged.

Mum and Big have been eating. All of the nests have had food – at least one prey drop or more.

Big is big.

Big had a monster sized crop.

Big is very aware of her surroundings and around 1322 pancaked in the nest. A few minutes later she was looking around as if there was ‘something’ or ‘someone’ about.

Mum got a chance to eat some fish on her own — in the middle of the night while Big slept. Thank goodness. Big will eat everything unless the fish is huge. We are now within 5-7 days of banding.

Brief Eagle News:

If you are a Decorah North fan, Mr North and DNF were working on their nest this morning! There is hardly a Bald Eagle nest in the US that is not now going through nestorations.

Muhlady laid her second egg. Pepe was there at the Superbeaks nest in Central Florida giving support. Muhlady was the first Bald Eagle to lay an egg this breeding season. She will have the clutch finished before most even consider an egg!

Migration News:

Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile River while Bonus remains in Turkey. There will most likely not be any transmissions from Kaia or Karl II as they were already at their wintering grounds. This is typical. In past years there has been no transmission from Karl II until he began his return journey to Estonia. This is the first year that Kaia has a transmitter.

Thank you for joining us today. I hope that your weekend has been good. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, articles, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: Raptor Education, Royal Albatross Cam and Sharon Dunne, The Guardian, Looduskalender Forum, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Decorah North, and Superbeaks.

Peace at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and other news in Bird World

26 October 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

Oh, gosh, golly. Tomorrow I will be telling you what a wonderful day it is but today, it is another grey, cloudy, and miserable day. The joy is seeing all of the birds in the garden this morning. There is a row of lilac bushes about 13 metres long. Every branch is moving a little. If you look long enough, you can see the birds. (There are still leaves on those bushes). So happy that you could be with me and the birds.

Little Red and I hope that you have a fantastic day today!

Making News:

Lori Covert posted an image of the new Osprey platform for Lena and Andy. Oh, my goodness. Isn’t this wonderful! Thank you Lori and Connor at Windows to Wildlife.

There she goes!

It is always nice to have a really good news story and this is one of those. Thinking back on the eaglets from last spring, you might well remember the eaglet from the US Steel Nest, that ‘fludged’. Rosie was taken into care and on the 21st of October, after being in care for 5 months, this beautiful eaglet was released into the wild. Read the full story here:

https://triblive.com/local/shes-a-big-girl-now-rehabbed-steel-mill-eagle-rosie-released-with-a-7-foot-wingspan/?fbclid=IwAR1_oN5Jh-Lolusjh8w3fT–bsAPgl597KbzTHy5OGx_NdH-x63SkqtEhCI

https://www.observertoday.com/news/latest-news/2022/10/audubons-bald-eagle-liberty-dies/?fbclid=IwAR0mVfXhkw59mBB1xiw3a68JL63yA40RVVTbDcK431cB95pMfa4d9qBDvRA

The Audubon Centre’s beautiful Bald Eagle ambassador, Liberty, has died. She is going to be sadly missed by all the visitors and the staff she has delighted for decades.

Here is her story:

Liberty, Audubon’s Bald Eagle has passed

One of the things that I am looking forward to, when I next visit the UK, is a murmuration. There are many places to travel to see these amazing images of Starlings (and others) – hundreds if not thousands – flying and changing direction is a distinct coordination. A murmuration will take your breath away the first time you see one. Check to see if there are any local happenings near you!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/22/country-diary-a-vast-murmuration-of-lapwings-and-starlings

If you are unfamiliar or just want a refresher on murmurations, here is a very good to the point short article by The Woodland Trust.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/11/starling-murmurations/

I would add Gretna to that listing.

Australian Nest News:

Checking on the Australian nests later in the day, another nice fish landed on the Port Lincoln barge at 12:04:11. Oh, I thought Big was going to be a bit grumpy but, she wasn’t. She always demands to be fed first and Middle began his snatch and grab and eating – he is behind Mum – about half way through the fish. Oh, Middle is getting so smart! He is now eating very well in part because Big has calmed, there are big fish arriving on the nest, the pair eat more at a sitting but require less feedings…and also Middle being clever. He can really read the environment and he watches and listens and knows when to stay out of Big’s way!

Middle is behind Mum enjoying the last half of that fish. Big will, like usual, want some late fish but there is lots.

Big decides she wants another bite!

Mum gives Middle some fish scrapes but she also gets to eat a few bites herself.

There is absolutely no discord. All is going well. Dad brought in a bedtime snack late in the day. It was 1953.

The cam operator took some lovely close ups of Big and Middle earlier.

If you have been avoiding Port Lincoln for fear of further beaking, now is the time to return. The nest is very harmonious. These two are getting their beautiful juvenile plumage and they are beginning to be much steadier on their walking. They will be measured, weighed, banded, given names and their genders will be revealed at a time to be determined from the 12-14th of November. Here is the link to their streaming cam:

At Orange, Diamond picked around through the scrape finding tidbits of scraps to feed to Indigo and Rubus around 1050. At 10:54:36, Xavier arrives with what looks like a well prepped parrot. Indigo got the first of many good bites but, then, all of a sudden, Rubus, who had been standing on the Cilla stones, decided he was famished. My goodness is Rubus aggressive when there is food around!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a cute video of the 1530 feeding at Orange yesterday. There are some great images of Rubus! It is nice to hear the sounds and see the eyases moving and wanting food!

This video was shot from the side cam but ‘A’ is telling me to make sure we look at the ledge cam often as it covers the corner that Indigo and Rubus are liking for sleeping.

Melbourne’s pigeon population is dwindling — OK. I doubt if the number of pigeons will even be noticed but, normally, on an Osprey nest with three chicks, anywhere from 450-500 food items are eaten. I wonder how many on a Falcon nest? Five feedings a day?? Yesterday was an interesting one. At 0834, there was a tug of war and a small prey item was taken and the eyases were self feeding.
After breakfast, there was another pigeon delivery at 1013:07 and then another one at 13:51. The 1013 feeding lasted 10 minutes with Mum and Dad feeding the eyases. The 1351 lasted 18 minutes.

Food is such a great motivator. The eyases will, eventually, get themselves up out of the gutter where they have been running and sleeping for that lovely pigeon.

The Melbourne Four will have another two meals before the day is over. At 1437 there is a terrifically short feeding of two minutes with the longer evening meal lasting seventeen minutes at 1849. Thank you to ‘H’ for providing those feeding lengths and confirming my times.

Just look at those wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This image is from that self-feeding frenzied moment earlier in the day.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, posts, and videos that make up my screen captures: Liz M and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Lori Covert Instagram Post, Observer Today News, Tribilive, Port Lincoln Ospreys and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.


Breakfast with the Aussie nests

24 October 2022

It is another dreary day on the Canadian Prairies. Geese have been flying low overhead and there are now more than 20 European Starlings roosting in my back tree. They are not coming to the feeders despite the fact that I filled a larger cylinder with Meal Worms and Butter Bark. Are the Blue Jays keeping them away? In the spring when the Starlings stopped on their way north, they filled up the lilacs. Then there was only Junior. He did not bother them. The only thing that has changed are the number of Blue Jays and Crows and the Crows are not about today. It is causing me to be very curious. What is so very nice is that the Black Capped Chickadee is flitting around getting seeds and flying right by me. They are so adorable.

Black-capped Chickadee” by DaPuglet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The first nest in Australia to have breakfast was 367 Collins Street. This couple is a riot. Mum is obviously ‘very’ independent. So this morning after Dad surviving a false alarm and getting mobbed by the Melbourne Four, he flew off. Then Mum arrived with a nice fat pigeon and within seconds Dad arrived with another one. He decided to fly off with it! These two really do need to coordinate their efforts!!!!!! Of course, two pigeons first think in the morning might be fantastic as these four grow. But it reminds me of having two cooks in the kitchen, one making coffee with a French Press and the other with a Drip Machine.

Here comes Dad! This new couple is so cute. Dad definitely doesn’t want to see the eyases go hungry!!!!!!!

The Port Lincoln Osprey barge was the next to have breakfast. It was 07:16:51. I could not tell you how large the fish was for this morning’s delivery nor can I tell you precisely who ate the most bites. Mum had all of this obscured with her back to the camera! However, Big had a ‘wee’ crop and Middle’s crop was larger.

Middle has walked away from the table and Middle continues to get fed.

Middle has a great big wing flap and stretch with its numb up in the air. Very nice pantaloons.

Now to wait for the next arrival. That fish was all finished in less than 20 minutes. I do wonder how big it was and if Mum got any.

It was a very foggy morning in Orange. Xavier arrived with breakfast at 0830. Oh, the eyases were so hungry. They were quiet when he arrived on the ledge with prey but when they realized what was happening they immediately began squeeing and jumping up and down. Feed me, feed me!

Everyone has had their breakfast in Australia. That is a huge relief and a great way for them to start the day and…for me to end mine.

In the US, the Bald Eagles continue to be the story with streaming cams coming on line and the huge Apex raptors working diligently to get ready for breeding season. I wonder if they will chose to use a papadam chair like Ron McGill did at the Miami Zoo for Ron and Rita to replace and help Connie and Clive with their destroyed nest at Captiva???

Harriet and M15 are working super fast to get their nest built.

If you live in the UK, check out the schedule for BBC4 and the Ospreys! Only 5 more months until they return from their winter vacations…..oh. I cannot wait. Wonder who will be first? My money is on Blue 33 and Maya at the Manton Bay Osprey Platform at Rutland.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, BBC4, and SWFL Bald Eagles and D Pritchett.

Fish and more fish…Ernie sighting and Middle could pop his crop!

24 October 2022

It is just past 2300 on the Canadian Prairies on Sunday evening the 23rd of October. Within the hour we are supposed to have the beginning of thunderstorms that are forecast to last through all of Monday. We could use the moisture. It is always good when the trees and shrubs get a really good soaking before the ground freezes.

And we did. The thunder boomed throughout the nite and everything is soaked this morning. The wind is gusting and there are few birds at the feeders. The only ones that appear to be nonplussed by it are the Blue Jays. What a change from yesterday when the sparrows and finches were splashing about in the bird bath. Today they are hiding at their roost.

It is always great to get a picture of Ernie, everyone’s favourite Port Lincoln Osprey. This image was taken by Pam Hewstone and posted on Fiends of Osprey FB page. His tracking indicates that Ernie continues to hang around the Main Wharf and the ‘silos’. This image was taken at Delamare Beach where Ernie and Dad like to fish together. Oh, he looks so good. Can’t see how that talon is growing back in but, it looks like Ernie is having no problem catching good sized fish. He already has a nice-sized crop.

Friends of Ospreys have been erecting Osprey platforms. You might recall they put in place one on Turnby Island for the bonded couple whose eggs were always predated when they laid them on the ground. Sadly, the two eggs the couple laid this year are now 45 and 46 days old and deemed unviable.

Monday was a really good day at Port Lincoln. What a joy to watch Middle be able to enjoy a meal without once being beaked by Big. Ironically, if you just started to watch this Osprey nest and knew nothing of the background and what happened a little over a week ago, you will talk about how calming it is to watch the ospreys fed by Mum. Big is 36 days old and Middle is now 35 days old.

So far there have been three feedings on Monday at Port Lincoln. There will be more at all of the nests as Canada slips into evening and darkness.

They came at 06:57:57. That was a flat striped fish. The second fish was at 0908. Middle Bob got the lion’s share of that fish and waddled away with a big crop. The third fish landed on the nest at 13:07:52. It was a huge fish. Mum and the two ospreys are going to eat well. So far Middle is doing well and the last I checked he was already getting a nice crop. Just brilliant.

Middle is the chick closest to the viewer. Notice that nice crop. Just look at how much of that fish is left. Everyone is going to have a good feed — including Mum! Thank goodness.

Seriously. Did you think you would ever see Middle with a crop like the one he has on display?? And just look at Mum. The two ospreys full and she is finally getting to enjoy a fish lunch, too.

For two days now this nest has been calm. It took Big 33 days, not 28-30 to settle but, in the end, she did. Grateful.

Middle and Big are at the age that Mum can now roost over on the ropes if she wishes.

Middle and Big do a lot of preening all day long keeping those feathers that are coming in good shape. Oh, didn’t you love it when they left that Reptilian stage and got this gorgeous plumage that is coming in. ‘R’ and I decided awhile ago that the juvenile Osprey plumage is much prettier than the adults.

Rubus and Indigo have had their second feeding. Xavier flew in with what looked like a Rainbow Lorikeet to me – and I will happily change that. It is the closest I could come to identifying that multi-coloured prey item that Xavier brought to the scrape at 092921. Oh, Rubus was ravenous. I have no idea where this eyas puts all of this prey but this wee one sure has an appetite! Xavier does a great job feeding his babies. Diamond doesn’t arrive for 12 minutes- the feeding is almost over. Xavier fed both Rubus and Indigo nice big bites.

A nice big pigeon arrived at 11:40 – all part of a crash landing by Dad (?) into the scrape box. Everyone had their fill and immediately starting working on those leg and wing muscles. ‘H’ notes that Dad fed them for 12 minutes while eating himself for about 25% of the time.

There was once again 5 feedings at the 367 Collins Street scrape yesterday. They came at 0634. That feeding lasted 18 minutes. A second feeding was at 1120 for 16 minutes then the 3rd hot on the heels of the second at 1140. Then there was a break with the 4th feeding at 1707. The Melbourne Four ate well. Then Mum came in with a pigeon at 1859 and looked around and only fed for about 1.5 minutes. ‘H’ thank you for the times and the notes. Mum and Dad need to coordinate their delivery times!!!!!!!!

It is now past midnight. The day is halfway over at our Australian nests. Everyone is doing fantastic. The Melbourne Four are growing faster than any good weed in your garden! Rubus continues to bug Indigo by following her everywhere. Such a sweet character. Most of all Middle is a confident Osprey. That nest is just so satisfying to watch now. I do hope that it continues. The banding of Big and Middle will take place in about 3 weeks.

In migration news, there are no new transmissions from Karl II and Kaia. Last time we heard from them Karl II was near Aswan in Egypt and Kaia was in Chad. I can also not find any new information on Bonus who has spent much time in Romania. The real news has come from little Waba who was in Turkey, flew near to Beirut and is now in Israel and has been feeding at some fishponds there.

While it is expected that there will be little transmissions coming from certain areas in Africa, I really do hope that we hear from Bonus soon.

The Bald Eagles are continuing to do their nest building. For those who watched Little Bit ND17 at the Bald Eagle nest in St Joseph’s Park in South Bend, Indiana, both Mum and Dad have been working on that nest. They are making slow progress. Harriet and M15 are doing a terrific job. Both couples lost their nests – Harriet and M15 in Hurricane Ian and the nest at Norte-Dame just fell apart. It is amazing what eagles can do in a short period of time. An adult has been on the perch at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. I could not see its head to determine any markings. That nest is going to need a lot of work. In Redding, California, Liberty and Guardian are also working on their nest. Liberty has been using this nest for 18 breeding seasons. She has fledged 26 eaglets and has had 3 mates. Liberty is 24 years old and Guardian is 9 years old. Bald Eagle season is not far away!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Osprey and Pam Hewstone, Port Lincoln Osprey, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Looduskalender, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

The loneliest scrape…and other tales from Bird World on a late Thursday

20 October 2022

It is 16 degrees C. The sky on the Canadian Prairies is mostly cloudy. While the Blue Jays and Crows remain and the squirrels continue their feverish collection of nuts for their winter cache, it appears that most of the Dark-Eyed Juncos have departed. Oh, I will miss them flitting about with that touch of white on their tails as they move. There are still some Canada Geese in the City feeding on the grass and, tomorrow, I hope to get out to count geese and ducks. It didn’t work for today but, tomorrow should prove to be another light-jacket day. How grand!

In the Mailbox:

‘H’ asks: Do falcons hunt at night?

The answer is yes! This may be particularly true for urban falcons. Most observers of falcon streaming cams were first introduced to the night hunting with Alden, the new mate of Annie at the U-California Berkeley Campanile scrape box. It was thought that Alden used the light of the city to help him hunt for prey. It was also noted that the smaller birds that the falcons feed on are active in the dark and it would make it easier for Alden with the challenge of one of his legs. Sean Peterson also believes that it is safer for Alden to hunt at night, away from the eyes of other large predators (save for owls). This breeding season we have seen M22 bring prey in before dawn at the 367 Collins Street scrape.

From the Bookshelf:

I took Helen Armitage’s Lady of the Loch with me to several appointments this morning to read while I was waiting. I am going to go back and put a highly recommended star by this small packed volume. If you want to learn about nesting behaviour, this is an excellent read. If you want to learn about some of the myths about Ospreys that were debunked by Lady, it is a good read. At the time, scientists believed that Osprey females could only lay a total of 20 eggs! Lady laid more than 58!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Making Waves:

The floofs from the 367 Collins Street scrape have moved!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the smallest one capable of stomping (‘A’s word and a sound she loves to hear) up and down the gutter, the Melbourne Four have packed up their bags and headed to the scrape at the other end of the ledge. This scrape is protected from rain and from the sun. They will no longer wonder if they are being roasted. Of course, we will have to rely on sounds and it would seem from yesterday that feedings also took place at that end of the building’s ledge. In the past there was great reluctance to move the camera during the breeding season. This is why, I believe, that Mirvac will be installing a second camera so that we can enjoy the eyases wherever they are until they fledge.

Of course, that does not help us observe them now but the policy has been very clear. The falcons will not be disturbed in order to change the camera for public viewing. That would go against all of the State wildlife laws.

So, at present, let us hope that those little fluff balls run back and forth to get their legs strong!

At 0606 you could hear kew-kew-kew coming from the ledge. The eyases were obviously enjoying their breakfast.

Nest News:

Deb Steyck made a video of Harriet and M15 working on their nest yesterday. Enjoy!

‘H’ caught the pair of Bald Eagles on the Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest again! This time they are removing a nice big stick. Replenishing their own nest for breeding season? I had no idea until ‘H’ told me that some of the Bald Eagles stay in Delaware, on the coast, for the winter. I know that we have one couple in our City and a single male downtown that stay year round. It has to do with food availability not necessarily weather.

Thanks ‘H’.

It was good to see that Middle had some of the late fish. I was extremely impressed when Big moved away from eating and Mum waited, watched, and then physically moved the fish over to Middle and fed him. This meant that Middle did not have to walk up to the fish and have Big turn around and beak him again. Middle had already been subjected to many attacks yesterday. I wonder what today will hold for our osprey nest on a barge in the marina at Port Lincoln?

Yesterday, it was very interesting watching Rubus and Indigo at the scrape in the water tower at Orange. I don’t know if it is just me or if it is the timing of the Starling deliveries, but these two eyases seem to much prefer Crimson Rosella’s, Rainbow Lorikeets, and ducklings compared to Starlings — like their mother, Diamond.

Diamond was up and out of the scrape at 060657. The day is waking up at Orange. Rise and Shine Rubus! Serenade us with your very loud voice.

Rubus and Indiigo had a leftover breakfast at 070557. Then…

Xavier arrives with a King Parrot at 074247. Rubus and Indigo are delighted!

Look at Rubus. Isn’t Dad going to feed us this morning? Xavier is a wonderful feeder. Maybe later, little Rubus.

Big is known to usually wake up in a good mood at Port Lincoln. That mood seems to change later. I am hoping that the whooper of a fish that came in at 064931 will just keep Big happy. Maybe Dad will find another one. he ate the head – Dad has to be as hungry as Mum at times. Keep them coming!

It is almost impossible to see who is eating until around 0717 when you can see Middle gets bites. I cannot tell you who got the most of that fish with confidence. I hope that Mum was able to feed them rather equally with some for herself.

Mum is beautiful and so are the two osplets. Just look. Little angels. Oh, I hope it stays that way from now on. Middle is closest to us. The black line on the top of its head is smaller. What a beautiful beard, Middle.

Middle looks like it has a crop forming. You can certainly see Big’s crop! Oh, I hope this nest has a good day today.

Oh, wish for fish for Port Lincoln!

Thanks for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Deb Steyck and SWFlorida Eagles, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

It’s not all about Raptors…

19 October 2020

Hello Everyone,

The first feeding at Port Lincoln was a good one, save for Mum. She has two big osplets that could sit and eat fish all day. It went well. Smiling. And it is warming up on the Canadian Prairies. It is 11 degrees. Tomorrow is going to be beautiful. It will be a good day to get outside!

In the Mailbox:

‘D’ writes:  You often mention some of the visitors to your garden. Today the squirrels were included again. I’m interested to read that you have greys & reds visiting. As you know, the greys in the UK are a threat to the reds, I wondered are yours a different species?

A Eurasian Red Squirrel in the Scottish Cairngorms. Photo by Dani Connor Wild.

I did not know the answer to ‘D’s question right away although I knew that Little Red looked different than the Red Squirrels in Sweden and the UK that Danni Connor photographs. First, the Grey Squirrel is native to North America. It was introduced by the aristocrats of Victorian England as an ornamental species. It is very invasive and there are currently issues with it and the native Red Squirrel in the UK. In my garden, Dyson is the matriarch of all the grey squirrels. She has been visiting for several days now along with her babies from the summer. One of the young ones prefers the shelled peanuts and will spend hours eating on the deck in the warm sunshine. Dyson will eat anything – as all of you know – but she much prefers the solid seed cylinders with the nuts and cranberries.

There are 3 species of Red Squirrel: the North America species is the one that lives in my garden in Canada. It has no ear tufts and has a single cache of winter food. Previously, Little Red used the garden shed but now he stores his nuts in the wood box. Eurasian Red Squirrels live in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia. They have tufted ears and spread their cache to multiple sites. Gosh, I loved that question. It made me look closer at my own garden animals and it reminded me of Dani Connor Wild. I wonder what she has been up to?

Well, Dani has made a trip to Scotland to see rewilding and reintroduction measures. Wow. So today, it isn’t all about raptors…but imagine, in these Scottish Highlands, in the spring, the call of the Osprey!

Making News:

Arthur was caught on camera this morning at the Cornell Red Tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower. He delivered a single stick at 083726. It sounds like Big Red has chosen which nest to use for the 2023 breeding season. Arthur looks good!

Here he comes!

I am so fascinated at how they fly so fast, talons first and pull back their wings so they are not ripped off as they go through the metal bars.

Well, hello Arthur. It is really nice to see you!

The streaming cam at the nest of Southwest Florida Eagles Harriet and M15 is now operational again after Hurricane Ian. You can watch the nest building progress.

Australian Nests:

It is sometimes not easy watching raptor nests. We love the little gaffers and take them to our hearts. Most of the time all is well but, there are times when it isn’t and we lose one. Many of us still want to honour Little Bob in some way. We are discovering more and more about the legislation and who is responsible for permissions. When ways to help ask for intervention permissions are discovered, I will certainly let everyone know.

This was the day that the beaking began – 26 September. Little Bob was so tiny next to Big.

This is a video put together by Bart who is one of the moderators on the PLO chat that is beside the streaming cam. Difficult but best to watch to the very end.

I had so hoped that Big would settle and let peace reign on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. That happened until it didn’t. Let’s hope that today is different.

The first fish of the day, a whole fish, arrived on the nest at 063037. This is early and very promising. So far Middle has been able to have bites without being beaked…although he is visibly cautious of Big. Middle is the furthest away from the screen.

Oh, it’s a nice big fish. Middle is so hungry and he is getting so good at the old snatch and grab. Every once in awhile, if you watch it live, you will see Middle jerk over to the right with its head and shoulders – trying to get his head out of the way if Big goes for him. But so far, so good. Big has ‘leaned over’ to try and remind Middle she’s the boss but Middle is so hungry he is doing a great job at snatch and grab. Hopefully Big will be friendly all day long but she tends to get grumpy…let’s just blow the grump out of her!

Now Mum needs some fish. That was a great feeding. Back and forth between the two. Middle finished with a really nice crop. So happy. The feeding was over at 064511. Fifteen minutes to vacuum down a big fish with its head. Gracious.

Pigeons are arriving early in Melbourne. Mum waddled down the ledge with the breakfast offering before the lights in the CBD had come on. It was 05:42:33. That pigeon was finished and Mum flew off with a couple of bones at 06:06:22. Gosh, just stare at the eyases with their thick white down and the feathers beginning to appear. Many are beginning to look like that cartoon hero The Hulk or maybe a member of the Australian Rugby team as they try to stand and use their wings for balance.

Just look. One trying desperately to stand and the other all fluffy with a nice tail. They are changing before our eyes. The thermal down will be beneath their feathers when they finish getting their plumage before fledge.

Everyone looked like they were full.

At Orange, the kids are awake. Diamond has been restless and Rubus is starving! No surprise there. It is shocking how much prey that little one can hold. And here I must admit something. I think that Rubus is one of the cutest eyases I have ever seen. He is such a character. They are waiting for breakfast to arrive.

Xavier flew to the ledge with a freshly caught unplucked Starling at 055658. The kids got a lesson in plucking. Rubus was so excited to see prey that the little gaffer was happy to have a mouth full of feathers.

Xavier was visually delighted that Diamond was not in the scrape and he got a chance to feed Rubus and Indigo.

It is 1536 on the Canadian Prairies. The sky is cloudy but it is warming up. The Juncos are busy eating Millet off the red garden carpet, their favourite. What a nice way to close the blog with the garden birds happy and all the chicks in the Australian nests fed. It is such a relief that Middle got a good feed this morning first thing.

Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that made up my screen captures: Dani Connor Wild, SWFlorida Eagle Nest and D Pritchett Family, Cornell Bird Lab, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

The Migratory Bird Acts – do they really protect the birds?

It has been a little over a week since the furor erupted at a local park in our City when a public utility company was clear cutting trees near a Cooper Hawks Nest. The outpouring of anger by residents and concerned citizens paused the clear cutting until fall when there would be no active nests. A victory for the birds!

Several of us were pretty certain that the migrating birds were protected under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 – an act originally passed in 1917 and updated in 1994 and 2005. But, we were wrong. Raptors are not protected under the federal act. They are protected by the Wildlife Act of Manitoba!

As Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project reminded me:

The original Act was written to protect birds that migrated between Canada and the US and  were either a) beneficial (songbirds eating agricultural pests or waterfowl which were hunted) or b) harmless to humans (puffins for example).  Birds of prey – dead or alive, whole or their constituent parts – are generally protected under provincial and territorial Acts.  In Manitoba all vultures, eagles, ospreys, hawks, falcons and owls are designated as protected species under the Wildlife Act – the Act protects them, their nests and habitat.

As I sat reading Tracy’s words, I began staring at two books on my shelf. The first one was Rosalie Edge. Hawk of Mercy. The Activist who saved nature from the Conservationists and Winter’s Hawk. Both paint a picture of wanton killing of birds, not protecting them. Rosalie Edge will use her influence and money to establish a protective area in the United States called Hawk Mountain. She will take on Audubon and all the men she knows who love sport hunting and the bagging of raptors. What a woman. Hawk Mountain is the site where the thermals are so good and birds migrating from eastern Canada and the US pass through to get to their winter grounds. You can visit Hawk Mountain and you can go there and help count migrating raptors. Google it.

Rosalie Edge was a very special woman. She was not afraid of going against the establishment. Rachel Carson has often been given the credit for sounding the early alarm against DDT in her book, Silent Spring. In fact, it was Edge that was raising concerns fourteen years before Carson. Edge was a leader in seeing the need to really conserve the birds and protect them against humans.

The book is a good read. It shows the real attitudes towards birds at the turn of the century – the impact of sport hunting. Edge had the strong constitution to take on some of the most powerful men at the time and win. Hawk Mountain remains today a place of refuge for the migrating birds and, of course, my dear raptors. I am actually including provincial wildlife acts of Canada at the bottom of today’s blog. If you wish to read The Migratory Bird Act of Canada (MBAC) it can be accessed by Googling.

So lesson learned: When demanding protection for raptors in your province, you need to go to the provincial wildlife acts which I have included below!

I went to check on Little Tiny Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria. He has been getting stronger and growing the past few days. He also appears to have gained some confidence – a very good thing. We saw that in Tiny Tot as he began to get so clever in order to get food. Blue 35 has been doing really well feeding the trio. I am really proud of her and White YW keeps the fish coming in.

All of the Bobs were full. Little Tiny Bob just wanted to go to sleep and there was enough fish for mom to have a good meal, too. Any food insecurities seem to be dissipating on this nest. Yes! That is a good thing on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Tiny Tot was waiting on the nest and hoping for a fish drop early this morning. Jack did not disappoint. He arrived with a fish at 7:40:36.

“Thanks, Dad!”

Jack took off and left Tiny to his fish. Tiny continued mantling. He knows there is an adult intruder in the area and he doesn’t want to loose his fish.

Sadly there has been no fish delivery at the Cowlitz PUD nest. Those babies have gone through all that food they ate yesterday. They were starving. They are once again food begging. Electra called out to Wattsworth for a long time. She left the nest and I thought she was returning with a fish for the babies but she wasn’t gone long enough – she came in with bark. Of course, Wattsworth had to come sniffing around. What a lazy Osprey! I guess Electra will have to leave the babies and go fishing again today if they are going to survive.

The babies were cold and crying for food.

No sooner than Electra had that piece of wood on the nest than Wattsworth appears thinking it was a fish. Does he have another family? Is he just a lazy osprey? Yes, I do believe that birds have individual characteristics. Or is he just completely inept? Reminds me too much of Louis and the way that he treats Iris on the Hellgate Nest. Thankfully the Ravens took Iris’s eggs this year before there could be any starving chicks.

While it is true that this nest needs some rebuilding on the sides, it surely needs fish to keep the babies alive so they actually need the crib sides!!!!! Wattworth – go fishing! You make me disappointed.

I always check on Tiny Tot, Little Tiny Tot, and the Ks every morning. This time I took a deep breath. I could only see one of the Ks at the very far end near a good spot to fledge. My mind was racing telling me that they are not ready to fledge yet. I had counted the rings on K1s tail and concluded that and yet, where are they??!!!!!!!!

At that moment I remembered that there is a second camera at the Cornell site. Well, it made me feel a little better. There all three of them were but one of them is over where Big Red has been standing – on the fledge ledge. It is going to be soon. Better watch these kids while there is time!

Thank you for joining me today. Send warm wishes, as always to those wee ones who need warmth and food – the Cowlitz Kids.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH. Thank you to Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery for pointing out the difference in the wildlife acts.

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Here is the wording for the Canadian provincial and territorial laws:

Birds in Canada are protected under provincial and territorial statute in addition to the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Please consult the legislation of the relevant jurisdiction before making any decisions regarding the protected status of a bird species in Canada. The following links are provided for convenience, but may not be current.

This table provides information on legislation of other jurisdictions regarding migratory birds in Canada.

Province/TerritoryLawURL
British ColumbiaWildlife ActBritish Columbia – Wildlife ActDesignation and Exemption Regulation: Schedules A and C
AlbertaWildlife ActAlberta – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulation, Schedule 4
SaskatchewanWildlife Act, 1998Saskatchewan – Wildlife Act (PDF; 155 KB)The Wildlife Regulations, 1981 (PDF; 216 KB)
ManitobaWildlife ActManitoba – Wildlife Act: Schedule A
OntarioFish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997Ontario – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997: Schedules 3, 7 and 8
QuebecAn Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of WildlifeQuebec – An Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife
New BrunswickFish and Wildlife ActNew Brunswick – Fish and Wildlife Act
Nova ScotiaWildlife ActNova Scotia – Wildlife ActGeneral Wildlife Regulations
Newfoundland and LabradorWildlife ActNewfoundland and Labrador – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulations: Schedule B
Prince Edward IslandWildlife Conservation ActPrince Edward Island – Wildlife Conservation Act
NunavutWildlife ActNunavut Wildlife Act: Subsections 6(2) and 6(3)
Northwest TerritoriesWildlife ActNorthwest Territories – Wildlife ActBirds of Prey RegulationsWildlife General Regulations: Schedule General
Yukon TerritoryWildlife ActYukon Territory – Wildlife Act : Schedule H