Late Saturday and early Sunday in Bird World

26-27 March 2022

It seemed that Saturday started out to be a rather good day. And then it didn’t. The little hatchling at the National Arboretum Nest has died. There is one other egg for Mr President and Lotus. Perhaps it will survive. This is a very detailed explanation of the uncommon tragic accident that happened to this chick trying to hatch.

Big and Middle had the fish that had been left on the nest overnight and then Obey brought in another sucker. That second fish was finished by 11:30ish. Both Big and Little Middle had big crops. No other prey came to the nest during the afternoon. When River arrived -like an alarm clock – at 19:02:13 – she was empty taloned. Not good. Big began to attack Middle Little for no apparent reason at 07:03:12. Little Middle went into submissive mode. Neither eaglet was fed and there is no food on the nest. The eaglets are 26 days old.

At the Big Bear Valley nest of Jackie and Shadow, the eaglet is 23 days old. If you look at it physically you can see the resemblance to the developmental stage of the Dale Hollow eaglets.

The body is covered with thermal down almost completely but the head and a few dandelions on the neck and wing.

Jackie and Shadow’s feeding schedule until 15:20 today, the 26th of March, as posted on the rolling camera chat. There will be at least two more today but if those didn’t happen, there would have still been six feedings beginning at dawn.

Like children, nests need stability and regularity for security. It is Sunday morning. Obey brought a squirrel in prior to 08:00. The feeding was continuing when I opened up the streaming cam. Little Middle got none of that first prey item that I could see. Big had a crop.

A sucker came in at 08:46:16. It is a nice sized fish.

Big attacks Little Middle at 08:46:44 despite having eaten the squirrel and having a crop.

The parent begins to feed Big with Little Middle into submission.

At 08:51:02 Little Middle has moved to the other side of the parent and is being fed. Yeah Little Middle!!!!!

Little Middle got to eat until 08:56:46 when the parent abruptly flew off – perhaps to get rid of an intruder.

Little Middle is very hungry and pecks at the flesh of the fish watched by Big.

There is lots of fish left. Little Middle goes to the rim of the nest.

River returns to the nest at 10:19 alerting. Little Middle is cheeping and moves up to eat when River goes to fish. At the onset Big did not bother. Then at 10:25:28 it wants to go and eat. Big attacked Little Middle at 10:25:30. Little Middle moved to rim of nest. Big was still eating at 10:31.

Big just can’t stop with the beaking.

Little Middle had a crop but being clever, he is watching and waiting.

At 10:33, knowing Big has moved, Little Middle goes back to the fish. River begins feeding her youngest.

At the end of this feeding, Middle is going to have a bigger crop! It is now 10:36 and he is still eating! This is fantastic. Little Middle, despite the dominance posturing and some beaking, is getting quicker at its return to the feeding. Well done Little Middle!

Little Middle ate well. Look at this beautiful crop. Life is good!

There was a chat open at the Dale Hollow nest this morning. Because of that I was able to find out some information that would really be helpful under the streaming cam. The original nest of River and Obey was discovered in 2009. It fell with the two fledglings in 2020. Both survived. Prior to this year, River and Obey fledged 24 chicks. The nest on the cam is now one year old. There are 28 Bald Eagle nests around Dale Hollow Lake.

Akecheta continues to be ‘Super Dad’ at the West End nest that he shares with his mate Thunder and the triplets. They are doing incredibly well! There is still no discord between any of the three. They are well fed, sometimes tandem fed, and shaded during the heat of the day. It is nothing short of a fabulous nest to watch.

Here is a very short video of the four eaglets of Lisa and Oliver being fed at the PA Farm nest on 26 March. Warms your heart. These parents are going to be extremely busy!

Parents are doing a tandem feed at the PA Farm nest to ensure that the smallest one of the four gets fed. This is Saturday at noon.

You may remember that there was to be a rescue attempt at the WRDC nest in the Miami Zoo to retrieve R2 to remove the fishing line that the eaglet had tangled around its leg. As the rescuers were there, R2 fledged. Luckily it broke the fishing line. There is apparently a small bit of fishing line on its toe.

Sadly, this is why intervention is not normally done at this late stage unless the eaglet is ill or cannot fly away. They are hoping that R2 will return to the nest and with good fortune the remainder of the fishing line removed. There is an update by Ron Magill. He was able to get R2. The rest of the monofilament has been removed. R2 is fine other than having some flea lice. Great news!

There are more osprey arrivals in the UK. Blue 5F Seren arrived at the Llyn Clywedog Nest. Look at that nice fish she has brought in and look at that beautiful landscape – a perfect place to raise Ospreys. Seren shares this nest with her mate Dylan. They fledged one osprey – the largest male Osprey hatched ever in Wales last season.

Seren has to be strong. That is a huge fish. There is no footage of her getting it out of the lake but there is a video of the haul into the nest!

The Canada Goose on the Decorah unused Bald Eagle nest has laid her third egg!

There is also a pip at the Decorah North nest in egg for DN16. That was at 09:52 this morning.

The two sweet babies at the Redding Bald Eagle nest of Liberty and Guardian are just getting fed as I close this blog. How adorable.

Life feels rather good as I close this blog. Little Middle is getting much more clever and quicker to get down and eat so the parent doesn’t leave thinking they are not hungry. Big has turned its beak on Little Middle at least twice this morning but nothing like the violence on the 23rd of March. Little Middle continues to grow! As far as I can tell all of the other nests are doing OK today. There are some significant ospreys that have yet to arrive including two of my favourites Idris and Telyn at the Dyfi Nest. We are also waiting for Aran, Louis, and the Foulshaw Moss couple plus CJ7 and Blue 022 if he returns to Poole Harbour. Hopefully there will be more to arrives this evening.

Thank you for joining me this morning. I hope that you have a beautiful Sunday. Take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: CarnyxWild, Explore.org, Dale Hollow Lake Eagles, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Redding Eagles, WRDC, PA Game Commission, West End Bald Eagles and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, and the NAE FB Page.

Late Thursday 2.17.22 in Bird World

Wow. There are a lot of weather systems moving about that have the ability to really impact not only people but also, wildlife. The UK has been hit many times this season with named storms. The latest one, Eunice, looks like she could bring more devastation to the large trees that serve as nests for the Ospreys and the Eagles as well as the owls and other raptors.

Wales is in the Red Warning area and it is home to some of our beloved Osprey couples including Mrs G and Aran and Telyn and Idris. All train travel has been suspended in Wales. Tiny Little Bob’s nest in Cumbria is in the orange area along with Kieldner Forest and the Scottish nests are, for the most part, in the yellow. Hearts go out all who face extreme flooding and downed trees amongst other catastrophes.

There are various tornado warning areas and a system is moving through the US that will certainly impact Bald Eagle nests in Pennsylvania along with my friend, R. It also looks like bad weather could hit the Berry College nest and Big Red and Arthur’s. Arthur was working ferociously on the Fernow light stand nest today. Birds can tell when bad weather is coming.

Kansas City – right in the middle of the US – has had a record snow fall today! That sleet and snow as falling on the nest of GHOW’s Bonnie and Clyde at Newton.

If having tunnels of snow as high as I am tall in my yard isn’t enough, there is more coming! At one point we had set the 1997 snow record but we surely must have tossed that aside by now. The winds will be really bad also. The birds in the garden stayed a little later but when they were here today they did not stop eating. One of the nut and bug solid cylinders is almost gone thanks to Dyson!

This bad weather really makes my heart break for all of the animals. This huge amount of snow makes it very difficult for them to get prey.

The two Osplets at the Captiva nest are doing very well, indeed. It is the first day but already Andy and Lena seem to have the feedings, the delivery of fish, and security almost under control. The little ones are so healthy. Fat and plump little bottoms. There has been no discord!

I hope that the third egg does not hatch. These two are just perfect. They are almost the same size. Their development seems to be about the same. The most recent images of the nestlings are at the top.

Isn’t it adorable that wee baby with its arm around the egg? Sure makes a good prop!

Andy has been good to stand guard when Lena is feeding the little ones.

Once today my heart sank when the wee ones were on the nest alone! I am going to keep telling myself that an adult was right there.

Everyone is tucked in tight and Lena is catching some sleep, too. Babies keep you busy.

Little Bit continues to thrive on the NEFlorida nest. Another fish came in and Little Bit ate most of it. Samson really filled that eaglet to the brim.

If Little Bit keeps getting fed this much, we will soon have to start calling him Big Bit! That is a very nice crop. Indeed, Little Bit has spent the day eating more and more always ready for more even if its crop is bursting. Well done Little Bit! You are certainly learning some good survival skills including eating everything you possibly can even if you are full. In the wild, you will not know when prey items will be available. Meanwhile, NE26 sleeps.

I am always amazed at how clever the ones who are bopped become out excelling their older siblings. It is fantastic.

Everyone is tucked in tight at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest, too. Just look at Little Bit! Looks like he swallowed a beach ball. You can now see clearly that they have both been to the stylist and have lovely black nails in the latest pointy fashion.

So sweet. They are trying to sleep sitting up like Samson and Gabby with their heads tucked. What darlings.

Hatch watch is on for the Savannah Skidaway Island Great Horned Owl Nest.

Audacity laid her first egg of the 2022 season yesterday on the Sauces, Santa Cruz, Channel Islands nest.

That nest is in a really beautiful location. Here is the link to the camera. There is also a chat with very informed moderators.

Eggs are coming faster than I can keep up. Mr President and Lotus have their first egg of the 2022 season at the National Arboretum Nest at 17:05 today, the 17th of February. This is the couple’s first season together.

The couple were in the nest together about 45 minutes prior to Lotus laying her egg.

Lotus really puffed her feathers prior to the egg’s arrival.

Once it was hard, Lotus rolled the egg.

Lotus is tucking the egg so she can incubate it.

Everything appears to be quiet.

Here is the link to the streaming cam of Mr President and Lotus:

Port Lincoln has posted Ervie’s tracking for yesterday. Someone said on chat that Ervie had been seen catching a fish near the Marina. How brilliant!

At this very moment Ervie is on the barge yelling at Dad to get him a fish!

Thank you so much for joining me for this late report. I admit to not being able to tear myself away from the little osplets at Captiva. They are adorable. I am certain you would join me in shooing away the crows so these two have a chancer at a full life. Take care. If you are in the areas of bad weather, please stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Window on Wildlife, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Labs, NEFlorida and the AEF, Explore.org, National Arboretum and the AEF, Farmer Derek Owl Cam, CNN Weather Tracker, BBC Weather, and Environment Canada.

How often does an eaglet eat?

Ever wondered how often an eaglet eats? At lots of the streaming cams there are individuals who are conducting research or others, for their own interest, are collecting data. This could include the times of day the nestlings eat and what they are fed. It could be the times when the parents change shifts, the weather, the wind, and anything else of interest.

After doing a quick scroll to see how the KNF eaglet had fared today and where the Razor-backed Musk Turtle had moved, I began to note the feedings of the eaglet. It seemed if I blinked Anna or Louis were filling its crop. This really does account for the fact that you rarely hear this little one crying for food despite the excellent sounds system!

I only have times after 11:00am. There would have been several feeds before then extending back to right before dawn.

The times I noted were: 11:12, 12:52, 13:52, 14:58, 15:29, 15:57, 16:35, and 17:27. Those are time stamps when the eaglet is being fed, not the start or the end times. So the 8 day old baby is being fed approximately every hour and perhaps more as bedtime approaches. Anna and Louis are excellent parents. While it is true that this nest could have fed two other eaglets, it is very satisfying to have one super healthy and strong nestling. These frequent feedings will begin to change when the eaglet can consume more food at a sitting.

Anna looks over at the pantry. Note where the turtle is. Anna has just moved it there. The turtle is still alive. It will make its way to the edge of the nest and get under some moss. Last year there was also a turtle that escaped from this nest!

For the first day or two, Anna and the eaglet worked out their system of eating and feeding. It was a little bumpy but not now. The little eaglet, hungry or not, promptly steps up to the edge of the egg cup by the pantry and waits to be fed. It knows precisely where to stand. Louis knows where to lave the fish, and Anna has the feeding all sorted.

Some of these images may look like duplicates but they aren’t. I just snapped a single image during each of the feedings.

At 10:18 the eaglet is not being fed but it already has a nice crop so it was fed prior. The images just won’t go back so I can’t see it actually eating but it would have been close to this time from the other time stamps.

Notice that Anna is moving the turtle with her beak. The eaglet is going into a food coma. Another indication of a recent feeding.

Apparently the eagles prefer these Razor-backed turtles because they are easier to pick up than the domed-shaped ones.

The turtle gets busy and moves while Anna is occupied feeding the baby.

You can just see it now off the side of Anna’s left shoulder.

Open wide!

The eaglet just sits. It often doesn’t even open its beak til Mum gets the food down near it. What an amazing system they have worked out. A perfectly contented nestling. I am impressed.

Can you see the eaglet’s crop?

At Anna’s table it is always, ‘just have one more bite!’

This baby is full to the brim. It will sleep nice and snug under Mum as she keeps it warm from the cold. Yes, it is cold in Louisiana today!

Have you submitted a potential name for this cutie? If not, you have until the 30th of Jan. Name suggestions should be sent to nameknfeagle@gmail.com Please enter! Show the rangers down in the Kisatchie National Park how much we appreciate their efforts with the camera, the sound, and the great informed chat. Show them your love! Pick a great name for this eagle.

Oh, at 17:42, the turtle is out of sight. It might also hope it is out of the minds of the eagles and finds a way to get itself down to the ground!

It is a bit silly but I wanted to share this with you. There is a reason this eaglet doesn’t cry for food – it is always full!!!!!!! Simply a sweetheart! Thank you for joining me. Take care.

Thank you to Cody and Steve and the KNF Bald Eagle streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Bedtime Snacks

Many reading my blog will have had a routine at bedtime – either as a child, or with your children or grandchildren, or both. Perhaps someone read you a story or there was milk and cookies. Something that would mark the transition from the day time activities to night and quieting down. In a similar way, there seems also to be a nest rhythm. Where there are little ones that need to be fed more often that the bigger ‘babies’ – and where prey is available on the nest – the mothers always make sure that the little ones have been fed before they are tucked in.

It is nearly 8:40pm in Estonia and Eve is getting ready to feed the little ones their last meal for the day. This meal will have to last them until the sun comes up in the morning.

Eve has been keeping the two warm all day. Notice how she is stretching her left leg and wing. She will also do that with her right – birds get ‘stiff’ from sitting in one position for hours just like humans it appears.

Eagle Club of Estonia. 9 May 2021

White-tail Eagles roost at night. So Eve will be settling in with the little ones and needs a relaxation break for a night of brooding the eaglets. Look at how big they are!

Eagle Club of Estonia 9 May 2021

The older sibling might be looking off in the distance but the little one is already for some fish before bedtime. It is stretching its neck to try and get the first bite. That stretching also strengthens the neck muscles.

Eagle Club of Estonia. 9 May 2021

As the sun set in Jacksonville, Florida, Gabby and Samson made sure Legacy had a nice fish so that she would have a full crop before bed just like Eve did with her two little ones.

NE Florida Eagle Cam 9 May 2021

There is always a flurry with those deliveries. Samson doesn’t always get his legs and talons out of the way fast enough.

NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF. 9 May 2021

Gabby watches over Legacy as she eats her fish. Indeed, Gabby and Samson have been very attentive since Legacy returned to the nest. They may know that the owl and the hawk have been intruding and that their attacks could actually injure their eaglet.

NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF. 9 May 2021

Legacy was still working on that fish tail when the IR cameras came on. Nite Legacy, sweet eagle dreams!

NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF. 9 May 2021

I remember, with great fondness, the many meals my Asian friends shared with me when I was visiting them. One of their traditions was to eat around 10pm when the heat of the day had dissipated. Today it was more than 30 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida. Tomorrow my weather report says it will be a stifling 33 degrees. Tonight, as the IR cameras came on and it had cooled to 23, Diane was sharing a fish with Tiny Tot and sibling #2 had its own piece. The low light didn’t seem to be causing them any problems and I wonder if birds enjoy eating when it is cooler rather than when it is super hot.

Achieva Credit Union. 9 May 2021

As the sun set on Skidaway Island near Savannah, Georgia, there was a nice big fish on the nest for the two little ones before they settled in for the night. I have been worried about the second osplet because the oldest has been fairly aggressive. #2 went to bed with a fully crop tonight. No worries at all.

Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon. 9 May 2021

#2 had to wait but mom made certain that it was full to the brim and more. There will still be some fish for her, too.

Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon. 9 May 2021

The little eaglet in Fort St Vrian in Colorado went to bed with a really full crop tonight, too. The appetizer was fish followed by ‘a feathered’ something or another main course.

X-cel Energy. 9 May 2021
X-cel Energy. 9 May 2021

It has been wet and cold in Ithaca, New York. 6 degrees C and rain and more rain. Big Red did not catch a break to feed her little ones before bedtime. Normally their little crops are stuffed. She knew that she had to keep the Ks warm and dry. The forecast says that the heavy rain will stop on Monday morning around 6am.

Cornell Bird Lab. 9 May 2021

The rain stopped for a few minutes around 14:00 and Big Red took a relaxation break from the brooding and even took time to bring in another rail for the nest. Let’s hope that it is warmer tomorrow and the nest, the Ks, and mom get a chance to completely dry out.

Cornell Bird Lab 9 May 2021

Big Red’s Ks made up for not having their bedtime snack with several breakfasts. Everyone is just fine. It’s cloudy and should go up to 11 or 13 C today, 10 May, in Ithaca.

Cornell Bird Lab. 10 May 2021
Cornell Bird Lab. 10 May 2021

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a great Monday!

Thank you to the sponsors of the streaming cams where I get my screen shots. I have credited them under the images today.

Ever wonder what it is like to be a first time bird mom?

One of the wonderful things to come out of the pandemic is the number of people who started watching streaming bird cams. Testimony after testimony speaks to the transformative power of the birds. They have brought joy to so many of us. The birds have taken away the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic. Together we have marvelled at how a Bald Eagle can shake the snow off her wings but never get a flake on the eggs she is incubating. We have held our collective breathes when Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk at Cornell, was blown off her nest.

We cried with joy when Ms Pippa Atawhai literally ran with her webbed feet to get to her dad, OGK, when he returned after being at sea. We smiled when they fledged wishing we could just hold on to them for a few more days. They touched our hearts.

Pippa (left) with OGK (right). @Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC

Since the end of January there have been many Bald Eagle hatches. There are many pip watches on the horizon and eggs are being laid around North America. In fact, the Bald Eagles in Canada’s most western province, British Columbia, have recently laid eggs, the earliest in the history of the nest at Surrey. Some of the parents are older and very experienced and for others, this is their first time to lay an egg, have it hatch, and have a tiny little eaglet to care for. It cannot be easy. They have no manuals. Their mothers or grandmothers are not there to help the young mothers understand how to feed their baby and care for it. And, yet, they do. The term ‘bird brain’ is misdirected. Study after study speaks to the genius of birds in terms of their communication, navigation, and their use of tools. An excellent book on this topic for the lay person is Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds.

Along with using tools, communicating, and the migrating birds navigational system to get them to their favourite feeders in the summer, birds instinctively know that they must cover their babies in the snow and pouring rain when they have only natal down. The chicks, eaglets, eyases, or ‘babies’ as I often call them know to raise their little bottoms and shoot their ps out of the nest. They learn so fast! But wonder what it is like to be a first time ‘bird’ mother?

RTH hatchling J1, 2020. @Cornell Labs RTH Streaming Cam

At 11pm on the 23rd of February, the single eaglet on the Kisatchie National Forest nest hatched. Its parents are, as far as anyone knows, first timers. The nest is located in Central Louisiana. From the food deliveries, it appears that the area is relatively rich in prey, especially fish, which, of course, Bald Eagles love. The father understands his role as providing food to the nest, sometimes incubating the eggs, brooding the eaglet, and defense. The other evening when he took over brooding duties, out of habit he rolled the eaglet thinking that it was still an egg! The eaglet is fine but having rolled eggs for more than a month – it seems it might have become a habit, at least for the dads. The mother, in her enthusiasm, tried first to shove large bites of food in the eaglets mouth. It wasn’t working. It also was not working that she was holding her beak straight and vertical. Oh, when that poor baby got only one or two bites and the mother was ready to get back to brooding, I became the ‘auntie’ trying to explain to the young mother what to do through the screen. It didn’t work! Somehow the little thing managed grab enough of the big pieces that it survived. I admit to having my doubts for a couple of days. But then magic happened! On 1 March, the whole feeding process changed. Let me show you in a few images. I am so proud of both of them. Gold stars all around.

The chick is peeping and the mother responds by getting up from brooding. She moves to the pantry. The little eaglet is looking out of the nest bowl in the opposite direction from under its mother’s tail. This isn’t looking very hopeful.

Then the mother repositions herself.

OK. Mom is ready but, seriously. The little one is now in a different spot but still not aligned for a feeding.

The mother steps into the nest bowl, leans her head and tempts the little eaglet with a small piece of fish. She is teaching it to stand nearer to the pantry.

The little eaglet turns its head! And its beak aligns perfectly with its mothers. A nice bite of fish!

The mother continues offering bites, sometimes trying to hold her head differently. The little one continues to grab the fish. This is the longest and best feeding I have seen at this nest for this six day old eaglet. It is also getting stronger and can stabilize its head. I cannot even imagine what it is like trying to feed a bobble head.

It was almost a four minute feeding. The little one had a nice crop and it is now time to sleep and grow! For now the frequent feedings and smaller amounts are perfect. In a week we will see some longer feedings with larger bites. It is so wonderful to see these two figuring this most essential part of parenting and survival out. Fantastic!

Did you wait for a little one to be fed and then you said to yourself that it was alright for you to do something else or go to sleep? Everything just felt alright with the world. Well, today I smiled in relief. These two are going to be alright. If you would like to watch the little chick as it grows up at the KNF nest, please go here to watch the streaming cam:

Thank you for joining me today. It is almost spring…less than three weeks. Yippee.

Hatching

It is nearly -40 now and will be in the -50s with the wind chill in parts of Canada for a few more days but, when I looked at the map the deep blue desperately cold area dips way, way south. It includes the Bald Eagle nests on the Mississippi River near Fulton, Illinois, the Bald Eagle Nest in New Jersey, and it will touch on the nest of my favourite Red Tail Hawk family in Ithaca, New York. Thankfully, Big Red has not laid any eggs yet. Six more weeks to go! There is barely a spot that is not going to be well below normal. Perhaps the eagle nests in Florida have escaped this. Oh, I feel so sorry for all of the birds and the animals and despite the fact that I know they are extremely smart, I still worry about them. And, also, of course all the people including the many homeless in all of our communities.

In the past couple of days we have talked and seen those eggs cracking and new little fluff balls appearing. Instead of talking about it again, I am going to post a short little video by Dr. Christian Sasse. He lives in British Columbia. You might know of his magnificent photographs of the Bald Eagles around Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Oh, you can tell just looking at them that he loves those raptors. He made a very short video of the last moments of hatching. It is something that most of us will not ever be close enough to see. I do hope you enjoy it!

You already know that the first little eaglet has burst out of its shell at the Northeast Florida nest of Samson and Gabrielle. That other egg was really split but by 5pm 8 February (Monday), the eaglet had not hatched. You can see the crack in the egg and the grey fluff of the little one in the aerie. Gabrielle is working on the nest. You will see them venting and airing the nest. The adults may bring in greenery to help minimize insect issues. Nothing like having some rotting fish in a nest open to the sun and it is 30 degrees C. Can you imagine what that smells like? Whew.

NE Florida Eagle Cam, 5:02:24 pm 8 February 2021

Gabby’s little one, whose fluffy head you can see next to the egg of its sib, is very strong. It is standing up and eating great big bites of fish.

Oh, fish is good! NEFL Eagle cam, 9 February 2021.

Awwwwwww. Cuteness! I am so happy for Gabby and Samson. This is their second try this season. They, too, were the victim of a raven grab when Gabby needed to leave the nest and Samson wasn’t around. He is being super diligent this time!

The second egg is not showing any big changes to me. It is possible that it is not viable. There is a huge problem coming for the eagles. After 1970 when they were all but wiped out, there are now so many that there are not enough trees for them to nest in. That is the biggest reason we are seeing intruders in nests. I wonder if they will adapt to sharing like the Trio?

Gabby and Samson’s cutie pie. NEFL Eagle Cam, 9 February 2021.

Are you familiar with the word ‘carion’. No, I am not talking about a video game or a wood wind quartet, carion as in ‘road kill’. I joked with you yesterday but, in fact, I guess it isn’t a joke. People who love raptors talk about dead animals. And that brings me to the picture below. That is M15, the father of E17 (the little terror) and E18 (the sweet cutie) of the Southwest Florida Eagle nest on the property of the Pritchett Family.

I recall, not that long ago, having a discussion with someone about prey. They told me in no uncertain terms that eagles only eat fish. Now, let’s think about that. Didn’t we just see a bunny on the SWFL nest? and a possum up at Gabby and Samson’s place? The White-Bellied Sea Eagles even brought in a fox cub so that they could have a family feast with 25 and 26! That fox cub was carion, road kill. Oh, and Dad even brought in a turtle last year. The sea eaglets had no idea what to do with it but Lady did. Must have been very tasty. She did not offer Dad a single bite. The live streaming cams are certainly changing what we know about all of the birds. Things that everyone believed are being tested. Remember Solly from yesterday’s posting? Remember she flew inland and was 200 kilometres away from her nest. She is breaking records and we are learning something every day. Just like we do on the eagle nests.

Today, M15 has found ‘something’. The image is too grainy and he was way too far away for the cam operator to focus. But he fought with ‘it’ for awhile. At one time I really thought it was another large dark bird. It is definitely too big to get up to the nest whole. Maybe tomorrow M15 or Harriet will be able to rip off a piece of it so that we can see what they have found. One year Harriet brought an Anhinga into the nest. They are large birds with long sharp beaks that stab fish underwater. They are sometimes called the devil bird. I don’t think that is what M15 has but, who knows?

M15 around 5pm in West Pasture with carion. 8 February 2021. Thanks to SWFL Eagle cam and D. Pritchett.

Harriet caught a fish in the morning. Between her and the eaglets, it didn’t last long. Not a flake left! It was a really not day and that fish gave the little ones much needed hydration.

Harriet went fishing in pond and brought home a nice one.

But look where E18 got himself. At first I just held my breath thinking he would get his leg caught and would not be able to get out. Or he was going to fall out of that nest. But this was a great move. 18 has the perfect location to be fed without any bother from 17. There is even a pokey stick between them.

I would just as soon they didn’t try to get up on the rim of the nest though. It is pretty nerve wrecking watching.

When Harriet finished, they both passed out in food comas. Keep them full and happy.

A great close up. Looks like their eyes are all healed without any relapses. Fantastic! And the egg tooth seems to be gone now.

Is it possible for a raptor’s talons to be cute?

Ah, and they are so sweet when they are sleeping. Best buddies. Makes my heart melt.

What a great way to close the blog today with this cuddle puddle!

Cuddle Puddle

Stay inside if you are in the area of the Polar Vortex. Call for help if you need it. Which reminds me. Keep your phone charged! I will check in on the nests in the area of the cold later today and give you a short update.

Thank you for dropping by. It is so wonderful to know there are so many people who love birds.

And thank you to the NEFL Eagle Cam and the SWFL Eagle Cam and D. Pritchett family for the streaming cameras where I took my scaps.

Oh, it’s cold out there

It was so cold today, -14. It meant that my friend, Sharpie pretended he was a Peregrine Falcon and not a Sharp-shinned Hawk and tore between the houses and into the garden like a Stealth bomber. He first flew into snow on top of the back wood box and out, down between the houses and back again. I blinked and if I had done it again, I would have missed him. He certainly wasn’t after the European Starlings. They had been sitting on the tips of the Lilac bushes and then decided to eat the frozen grapes on the vines, instead of the bird seed, and were tottering all over the place when Sharpie arrived. Silly things! It’s like eating Ice Wine candies. Maybe Sharpies, like Peregrines, don’t particularly like the Starlings. I wonder if they are tough? Must be something. He totally ignored them.

Sharpie comes to visit and is puffed up it is so cold.

Sharpie doesn’t cooperate, too fast for me and the camera. This is a photo from a couple of weeks ago just so you can see what the little guy looks like. Oh, he is tiny. I think the plan is to get a camera and have it constantly running using solar power. That way I don’t frighten him peeking out the windows. I haven’t seen Sharpie’s mate for a little over a year. And, if you are wondering, yes, it is unusual for these hawks not to migrate with the other birds. We first noticed them in January 2018. There is a Polar Vortex heading our way for Saturday and the temperatures will plummet very quickly. I hope Sharpie is tucked up nice and warm somewhere.

UPDATES: The Threesome are working on their nest on the Mississippi River near Fulton. Valor I, II, and Starr moved a few big sticks around this morning. There is a blizzard and extreme cold temperatures headed for their area and the trio were not seen at the nest after 9:30 am.

Birds are incredibly smart as all of you know. And I am certain if they could figure out how to handle the computers and the green screens, the CBC would be wise to hire them as the weather forecaster. Seriously, it is so rare that the get the forecast right here. If you listen you might hear it is sunny but if you look out the window, you can see the rain coming down. Does this happen anywhere else?

The Threesome Nest on the Mississippi River, 4 February 2020. Image @2021 Stewards UMRR

E17 and E18 were improved at 4pm on Thursday. These little muffins. My goodness, they have grown, changed colour, and are getting better. They can’t go back to Harriet and M15 until they are completely clear of the ‘pink eye’. But the news today is optimistic.

And look, they are feeding themselves out of the little dishes. Wonder if they prefer fish or these nice tender, cut just right morsels of quail and rat?? E18 is on the left. He is a little whiter than E17 on the right E17 is still having to go to the time out corner. As she continues to feel better, she is taking it out on her little brother at meal time. And doesn’t E18 just look so sweet? I had so hoped they would have grown out of this phase. It makes me ache when one is bopping the other. Seriously, there is enough food to go around. You two are lucky. Your patron, Pritchett Real Estate, has a stocked pond full of fish just for you.

E18 (left) and E17 (right) enjoying their 4pm snack. Image courtesy of CROW.

And now on Friday morning, CROW has been able to return the pair to their nest. It is 24 degrees so warm. The little ones can pant to regulate their temperature and they are cheeping. But so far, neither Harriet or M15 have come to the nest. It has been several hours and I have to admit that I am getting a little anxious. And, of course, E17 already needs another time out!

It is a bit windy. The camera operator has moved it looking for the parents who appear to be at a distance hunting.

The image below is not great but it will give you an idea of the area around the nest. Dick Pritchett owns the land that the nest tree is located on and does have a fully stocked pond for the eagles. It looks they are flying around in the thermals.

CROW has permission for immediate rescue if the parents do not return to the nest. I am anxiously watching and will bring an update as soon as I have one.

It is Friday. For those of you out there working or working from home, it must feel really good to see a weekend coming. And since it is Friday, it is time for some cuteness overload. And where better for that than the Royal Albatross Centre in New Zealand.

Lime-Green-Black (LGK) is so proud of his eleven day old chick. It is so sweet how gentle he is. His eyes tell us just how proud he is of this little furry bundle. And how happy he is to be there in the warm sunshine rubbing his bill.

LGK teaching his chick to tap bills to stimulate feeding. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

Oh, and what a beautiful smile!

Hello! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

It sure didn’t take long for this little fella’ to figure out precisely how to fit that tiny bill inside dad’s great big one so that he could have some squid shake. Nature is truly amazing.

Great Feeding! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

With the little one safely tucked in between his big paddle feet, LGK does some of his morning wingersizes. I wonder if birds get ‘stiff’ from sitting in one place for too long, like humans so?

LGK stretching in the morning. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

And since it is the weekend, I have a recommendation for you. Now, I don’t always suggest movies to people because each of us has our own likes and dislikes. The little girl down the street left me a note today in my mailbox. “There is a movie that you have to see and it will make me cry”. And then one of the FB members of the Crow, Raven, and Corvid group recommended the same flick. So, I decided to put everything aside and watch it. It is on Netflix and the movie is Penguin Bloom. The woman on the FB group said:

Penguin Bloom, is the story of a woman who has had a catastrophic injury and endures depression related to her inability to lead a “normal” life with her husband and three rambunctious young boys. One of the boys finds an injured magpie, brings it home to care for it, and well, saying more would give away much of the story. It’s a charming movie, well done, probably not an Oscar contender, but the magpie’s (named Penguin) interaction with the family makes it worth a watch”.

The New York Times had a good review of Penguin Bloom. I hope that you can open this and read it.

You will need a box of tissue if you watch the movie.

I was very interested in this movie for two reasons. One is because WBSE 26, with its wonky leg, overcame so many obstacles to fly. So many people told me how inspirational she was to them. Several with physical challenges and who were not working as hard as they should said that if 26 could do it so could they! Secondly because, just the other day, one of Daisy Duck’s very good friends from Poland sent me a note to tell me that she had found and nursed an injured Raven back to health. It was in terrible shape with the feathers on top of its head all pulled out and, of course, it was starving. She took the Raven into her home and cared for it for five months til it was ready to be re-wilded. Little tears came down my cheeks. People can be incredibly kind and loving. My heart melted when I read her letter. I hope to bring you more about her story shortly.

Birds are magical if you let them into your heart.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join me. Stay safe. See you tomorrow!

Oh, what a day!

I wanted to check in with all of Daisy’s fans to let you know that she is such a brave little mother. From the last posting, you will know that Lady, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle who lays her eggs on this nest and who raises her little sea eagles, showed up this morning at 5:37:11. Previous to now, it was mostly ‘Dad’ that came to check on the nest. Once in awhile, Lady would join him. I was always worried about Lady. Dad is, well, older. Someone familiar with the nest told me that he is nineteen years old. And he is laid back. As long as the bird laying their eggs on his nest is not a threat to him, I don’t think he cares. But Lady is different. She takes on the mantel of really being the person in charge of the nest. And maybe she hasn’t been happy with the way that Dad has been unable to evict “the bird” whose eggs are on her nest! It also seems that until today, the sea eagles had not actually caught sight of the the culprit, the owner of the eggs. But this morning Lady saw Daisy. Lady’s arrival and Daisy’s urgent departure meant that they almost crossed feathers! It really was that close. And Lady was mad. She had her whole chest puffed up. Lady became frustrated because she could not pick up the eggs in her beak. And then she began to tear the down from the top of the nest. But, sea eagles do not like duck down! There is no way around it. It is a foreign material to them. They are used to sticks. Down has no weight and it sticks to the beaks. That simple fact stopped Lady from doing any more damage. She tossed the down and, in doing so, covered up the eggs so the Ravens and Currawongs wouldn’t see them. What a nice thing to do for our little duck!

This morning Daisy did not go into hiding. She is getting near to hatch and she has much more invested in the eggs. She did flybys around the nest quacking all the time. The sea eagles left and within twelve minutes, Daisy was back on the nest brooding her eggs. Within a few hours, she had moved all of the down back to the nest and positioned it to warm the eggs. Other than really strong gusts of wind and a few song birds come to visit, the day, until now, has been uneventful. It is nearly 2pm in Sydney.

If the sea eagles are at their roost on the Parramatta River, one or both of them will probably come again today to check on the nest. But the high gusts of wind might discourage them. We can only hope. Right now they are more of a nuisance that keeps Daisy for incubating her eggs but they do not appear to be destructive. Daisy is not a threat to them. If, however, they stayed for five or six hours and the eggs cooled off, this would be disaster. Or if they moved the covering, the other birds might come and try to break or eat the eggs. So, once again, it is much better for Daisy if the day is simply boring and uneventful.

The image below was in the earlier post. It is a picture of Daisy arriving back at her nest with her lovely down scattered all over the twigs and leaves.

Daisy arrives after the sea eagles leave.

This little duck is so marvellous. She goes about what needs to be done. It doesn’t take her long, using her bill, to rake the down that Lady has tossed all about, back on to her nest. In the image below Daisy is tucking it around the edges so none of the cold air gets in to chill the eggs.

Daisy uses her bill to tuck in the down.

Daisy is being tossed about and rocked in the wind and the old Ironbark tree is creaking.

Did you know that Daisy talks to her ducklings? She is constantly rolling the eggs and tucking in and the down and all the while she is clacking away at her little ducklings. She does not know if any of these eggs are viable but she carries on talking to them. Hers will be the first voice that they hear and the first face that they see. They will imprint on their mother, a Black Pacific Duck.

Pacific Black Duck and her ducklings

If all goes well, Daisy will jump from the seventy-five foot nest in the Sydney Olympic Park and her ducklings will follow. They will jump out, spreading their wings to slow their landing, and bounce like a puff ball on impact. They will straighten themselves and get behind their mom and follow her to water where they will forage for food.

I have mentioned the many obstacles that Daisy could face getting the ducklings to water. I understand that is about a kilometre to the nearest water. A very knowledgable friend of mine told me that she had seen ducks take their ducklings through parking lots and schools if need be to get them safely to a river where they will immediately be able to paddle about. Isn’t it marvellous? One day old and they can do everything for themselves. Daisy keeps them warm and safe at night. Amazing.

It is nearing 14:00 at the nest and there is a gentle rain. Daisy’s feathers are waterproof and the drops collect on the surface of the feathers. When Daisy preens she uses oil from an oil gland to coat and restore her feathers. In fact, you might have seen birds spending most of their time preening. Their feathers protect them from cold and heat but also allow them to fly and swim.

The rain forms droplets on the feathers but doesn’t penetrate them.

The rain stays on the surface. And, besides, Daisy is used to being wet – she’s a duck!

Besides the oil that helps to condition the feathers, the feathers overlap. Look at the image below. In addition, ducks have angled barbs on each side of the central shaft of the feather. Each barb has tiny, tiny little hooks help hold the feathers together. Someone told me that it is like velcro on each side. This means that Daisy is covered with a lightweight shell of feathers that protect her and also allow her to float in the water.

The beautiful overlapping feathers on Daisy.

It is now approaching 14:45 on the nest and Daisy is showing no signs of leaving for a break. It is extremely gusty with occasional rain. While the rain does not hurt Daisy and it would roll off of eggs, I imagine that Daisy would much prefer to keep her eggs warm and dry. The wings might blow the feathery down clear from the nest and the nest cup might also get soaked if the showers increased in their intensity.

For now, our little duck seems just contented to let the nest rock and roll in the wind.

I want to thank Daisy’s increasing number of friends from around the world in joining us. It is wonderful to know that so many people who speak many different languages and live in varying different cultures, come together to watch the brooding of a little Pacific Black Duck who dared to make her nest in the tree belonging to the White-Bellied Sea Eagles.

We will look forward to having you with us tomorrow. It will be Day 17 of incubation! And so far, the little duck remains on the nest.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Center for the cameras from which I took my screen images.

Incubation Day 13 or the hottest day in Sydney

Daisy has been on the nest quietly but alertly brooding her eggs. She took a very early morning break from 4:13:44 to 5:16:34. Possibly a bathroom break for a duck or a chance to grab a quick breakfast and cool off in the water before one of the hottest days on the nest. It is 14:06:40 and our cute little duck is panting quickly in order to regulate her temperature despite the fact that there is now shade on the nest.

There is finally shade on the nest but it is still very very hot for our favourite duck.

Someone asked me about the ducklings. Is it safe for them to hatch and jump from a nest in a tree 75 feet high? Yes, it is perfectly safe. The ducklings are not harmed because the down on their body absorbs the impact. In fact, I am told that they actually bounce. It is hard to imagine! Last year a pair of Canada Geese laid their eggs in an Osprey nest in Minnesota. The goslings were recorded leaping down to the ground to everyone’s amazement. Some geese are known to build their nests on cliffs 150 feet high to be away from predators. No harm has come to the goslings when they have left from those nests.

Here is a video of a Wood Duck whose nest was in a very high tree. It is only 1.33 minutes long. Have a look. This is what Daisy’s ducklings will do. She will leap down to the forest floor and they will jump! Enjoy.

Wood Ducks Leaping from a very high nest in a tree.

Of course, there are many fears for Daisy. Remember, she is effectively a single mother in an environment that is unusual. Her ducklings will hatch and immediately start peeping. This will draw attention to the nest. It is only twenty-four hours after hatch that they take their ‘leap of faith’ jumping off of the big nest on the Ironbark Tree. But first, before they can do that, they have to survive any predators and somehow make their way through all those twigs to the rim without getting their little paddles caught up in them. And then there are the predators on the ground. I have often wondered why WBSE Dad has not damaged any more eggs. Is he just dropping by to check, waiting for them to hatch? Him and Lady are well known for bringing in the Silver Gull chicks to the nest for their eaglets. And then there is Mr. Raven and all the Pied Currawongs and last, but never least, the foxes. I am told that they have been removed from the park. I hope so. That would be one less thing for Daisy to worry about. But for now, we will just simply rejoice in every hassle free day that Daisy has. We are now half way in the incubation period to hatch watch: February 6-10.

It is now late afternoon in the forest. The sun is back shining on Daisy’s head and the nest cup. It is so hot that there are no sounds of any birds. Everyone is trying to keep cool.

Daisy begins to tuck the down in around her nest along with pulling leaves closer to her nest. Then she sees a shadow of a bird cross the nest and she stops! She waits and listens. Five minutes later she resumes her preparations for concealing her nest and heading to the water to eat and cool off. She flies off the nest to the left, to the closest water source, at 15:11:10.

Daisy moves her quickly to tuck in the down and pull leaves towards the nest.
Daisy finding some last plant material to conceal her eggs before leaving.

It was so hot yesterday and it is even hotter today. If Daisy follows her pattern of late, she will return to the nest between 19:45:00 and 20:00. And if the Sea Eagles are being typical, if they are coming in to check it will be around 17:00 and Daisy will be gone!

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Daisy wants to say hello to all her friends in Poland and she welcomes her new viewers from China. Thank you for joining us on Daisy’s journey.

Thank you to Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for providing the camera for my scaps.