Considering Electra

I have been thinking about Electra all day…and have spent several blogs trying to gain some insight into her behaviour on the Cowlitz PUD nest since her last chick died of heat stroke. She has spent more time at the nest today than yesterday when it was deathly hot. She food calls when she sees Wattsworth. She stands like a sentry. She spent the night at the nest.

I have been given examples of raptor behaviour when the eggs have been broken and the female continues in incubation mode because of her hormones. Many of you have also seen other raptors incubating eggs for long periods of time when they are unviable. That is one behaviour. But, I am going to go out on a limb and say that the behaviour displayed by Electra is different.

There are no eggs to hatch. How does an Osprey mourn? While I believe that Electra ‘understood’ the death of the first by siblicide, she returned to find her second chick had died – a chick with a crop and seemingly healthy. This just took me back to the situation on Captiva Bald Eagle Nest on Santibel Island this early spring.

Some of you will remember that traumatic event. Joe had brought a rat to the nest and had fed baby Hope and Peace. Peace died almost before anyone could realize how ill she was. Hope grew and only died when one of her blood feathers broke and she bled out. It was the rodenticide, the rat poison that did not allow her blood to coagulate. The father, Joe stood over the body of Peace in the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest in Santibel, Florida. Joe stayed with his baby until the corpses of both Peace and Hope were removed for autopsy. In the end, Joe was so traumatized by the events on the nest that his role as dominant male was usurped.

Joe is not the only male that has shown a response to trauma. Another good example is Romeo on the NE Florida Nest. When Juliette was injured by an intruding female and did not return, Romeo tried to take care of the nest. When he went to get food for the eaglet the intruder returned and took the chick. Romeo left and never returned to his nest.

What I am saying is that I do not think that we can always put behaviours of the birds down to ‘hormones’ or instincts. What Electra is doing is different than incubating and she is not brooding the chicks. She is standing over them, like Joe at Captiva.

We will never get into the mystery of precisely how Joe or Electra are feeling. My thoughts on this behaviour are simply my own observations based on deaths at other nests. I do not know how Electra has responded to the death of her chicks in the past and if this current behaviour is any different.

Other females have lost Osprey chicks and left the nest completely not to return. Landa did not, as I recall, return to the Urdaibai Biosphere Park in Spain after her last two chicks died of hypothermia this year. Others like Mrs G moved her dead chicks to the edge of the nest and she now spends time eating fish and being on the nest with Aran. Mrs G and Aran also accepted the community fish and those were brought to the nest. At other times an only chick dies and the mother has to continue to care for other little ones.

The response to tragedy is not always uniform and predicted.

Tiny Tot has had to deal with an intruder today. Jack owes Tiny lots of fish! There is also concern as Tropical Storm moves from the Caribbean to Florida early nest week. It should be dissipated enough to only cause 34 mph winds. I will keep you posted.

I want to close with leaving you something beautiful to watch. You might never have seen it before. It is a sight not seen in Poole Harbour, England for 200 years. Imagine. 200 Years. It is an Osprey doing a sky dance. This is two year old male 022 trying to impress CJ7. They will not raise a family until next year but 022 is extremely earnest in his desire to bond with CJ7 at the Poole Harbour Nest!

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the COWLITZ PUD for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots of Electra and the chicks.

Driven to Brood? What is up with Electra?

The extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest have caused many of us to worry about the female ospreys who have lost chicks these past couple of days. There has been particular concern over Electra, the female at the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest in Longview, Washington.

I have had many questions or notes from individuals who care and worry about Electra. Those have prompted me to consider every aspect of this horrific week on the Cowlitz nest. But, before I begin, I want to go to the writing of Nan Shepherd. Have you heard of her?

Nan Shepherd was born in 1893 and lived her entire life around Aberdeen, Scotland, in her childhood home in West Cults.

“File:Gate, West Cult – geograph.org.uk – 440270.jpg” by Richard Webb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Shepherd died in 1981. She lectured in English at what is now the Aberdeen College of Education. Shepherd was also a writer and an avid traveller. The book of hers that I am reading is The Living Mountain. Shepherd ‘knew’ the Cairngorms of Scotland as if they were spots on her tired hands.

“Cairngorm Plateau” by Mr Moss is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Cairngorms” by chuckrock123 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Shepherd describes in one chapter watching two large stags at dusk fighting. Their horns were interlocked so that neither could get away. The falling, the pushing, the sounds.

“Cairngorm Reindeer” by Robin McConnell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Shepherd went back the following day to ‘see what had happened’ to find nothing. No dead buck, no blood, nothing. And because of that, she would never know.

Shepherd believed that we need to allow ourselves to accept that there are mysteries of nature that we will never understand. She tells many stories to make that point and, so it is, that I once again return to the mystery or non-mystery of Electra.

For those of you that do not know who Electra is, she is the mate of Wattsworth at the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest. This year two chicks hatched on the nest. The first chick died due to siblicide and the second died of heat stroke. Electra had left the nest to get fish and the chick could not regulate its temperature. Both chicks were undernourished and that fact alone hastened the second’s death due to the extreme heat from the sun on its little underdeveloped body for its age. This nest does not have a good track record in terms of fledging chicks. We can only speculate that if Wattsworth had been bringing sufficient fish and helping with the care of the babies, this nest might have fledged two chicks. But, that was not the case and the mystery of why Wattsworth is such a poor mate will remain.

Each of us has tried to understand if Electra is mourning, trying to re-bond with her mate after the death of her chicks, or driven by hormones to still feed and brood her baby. I say ‘baby’ because there appeared to be a clear understanding that the earlier chick had died. The fact that Electra has returned to the nest where the bodies of her two chicks are in the extreme heat of the Pacific Northwest is troubling to many. It is the worry over Electra’s welfare that has driven so much concern for her. That concern has been intensified with the death now of the middle chick at the Osoyoos Osprey Nest. That nest lost all three babies. So many we know and many more we don’t know about have sadly perished in the extreme heat wave in the area.

Here are three images taken in the last couple of hours of Electra at the Cowlitz nest.

As Nan Shepherd stresses – there are mysteries of nature that we as humans will never understand. What any of us believe about Electra is based on our experience with Ospreys and other large raptors – watching their behaviour. But not one of us will ever be able to ‘get into the head of’ these amazing birds.

One of my readers, ‘S’, has closely observed Electra’s behaviour including watching her brood the chick yesterday. I also observed Electra brooding the first chick that died with the surviving one under her tail the day it died. I took everyone’s observations and formulated a question on one of the Osprey FB groups hoping to get a response from Tiger Mozone – and I did. Tiger likes data and he has been following Ospreys for a long time. His memory is acute and encyclopedic. Generously, Tiger answered my question with an example and, of course, that example got me to thinking about other Ospreys and Eagles. Tiger’s response was “I would think that the reason is that the female is strongly in brooding mode and this does not happen immediately (he is referring to her stopping going to the nest). His supporting example was of the female on the Loch Garden Osprey Nest in 2015. The eggs were lost because of intruders and in the absence of eggs, Tiger says, “EJ brooded an eggshell.”

Tiger gave me the timelines of the issues at Loch Garten that led to this. Please do read the entries. Chloe B and Tiger Mozone’s files are very educational.

https://www.imagicat.com/LGstats2015.html?fbclid=IwAR0fbpRpzfsovmOZxt1cLxtV5ZcH2QH9mAgCB_djt1-pkpdwJ-2F4xljTNE

Many of you will have followed other Osprey nests or the nests of other raptors. You might remember that Gabby at NE Florida Bald Eagle Nest this year incubated an unviable egg for several months. Indeed, little Legacy learned to roll and incubate the egg and care for it, too. Samson finally got fed up with ‘Eggbert’ and buried it in the nest. At the Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest, Shadow and Jackie incubated eggs for months – almost all one summer – that were not viable. The urge to incubate unviable eggs eventually goes away as live chicks get bigger and older. But to a female that has lost chicks in the nest like Electra, the urge to brood and care for them remains strong. EJ continued to incubate her eggshell for eleven days til she stopped, the urge and hormones having passed. So these are examples of females incubating unviable eggs. It is assumed that the brooding behaviour is, thus, as strong if not stronger.

I wonder now if the mother at Osoyoos will return to the nest and brood her chicks? I do not know precisely when the last chick at this nest passed. The female was still trying to shade the baby at 18:30 when I took this screen shot but it could have already died.

You can see that the mother is extremely hot. She is panting heavily and her eyes are drooped. She flew off the nest at 19:08. I have no doubt that it was at least 47 degrees C on that nest. Both of these females – Electra and the mother at Osoyoos – need to cool off in the water by bathing and hydrate themselves by eating if it is possible to catch fish in this heat and with the glaring sun on the water. Their survival instincts will kick in. Still, they may return to the nest for many more days.

Thank you for joining me as we try to see into some of the mysteries of what is driving Electra to remain on a nest in such heat. Tomorrow there are a lot of nests to check on. Fledge alerts will be sounding at Rutland and Richmond and Rosie’s nest on the Whirley Crane for sure. Please take care of yourself. Stay cool. Be safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the Cowlitz PUD for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and also to the Town of Osoyoos and Fortis BC for their streaming cam.

Some good – and some worrying – news in Bird World

After the extreme heat and the death of the second and last chick on the Cowlitz Osprey Nest due to heat stroke, we all need some good news to come out of Bird World and we have it! Thank goodness.

The fantastic news comes from the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales. In early June, in the midst of storms that had force 11 winds in the area, Aran, the mate of Mrs G, the oldest osprey in the UK, injured himself. The damage was to his primary wing feathers and was caused by battling intruders. That incident meant that Aran could not provide fish for Mrs G and the three chicks and, subsequently, those three chicks died of starvation despite the community gathering to bring in fish for the family on a feeding table. The fish donated by the community enabled Mrs G and Aran to heal. Still, everyone worried that Aran would not be sufficiently fit and healed for the late summer migration.

The couple are being monitored closely by the staff and volunteers. Today, at &:35 am, Aran brought Mrs G a fish! Now that might not sound like much of ‘anything’ but this is a really big deal. It is the first time that Aran has provided Mrs G with a fish since his wing injury occurred. It is also a significant step towards Aran’s complete recovery. There were tears in Wales but – they were tears of joy!

Here is that historic moment:

Mrs G is delighted and quickly accepts Aran’s gift. It isn’t just the food or Aran’s healing, it is also the bonding of the couple.

Now only was she delighted, but Mrs G was waiting at the nest until late still hoping that Aran would bring her another! Just lovely.

The camera is so hazy but I can tell you that Jack has been bringing in fish for Tiny Tot today. So everything is OK on the Achieva Osprey Nest.

Cute little K3 was over on the Cornell Red tail hawk nest had a prey drop.

K3’s self-feeding is getting much better and that is a good thing!

Don’t worry. A short time later K1 got some prey, too! Here she is eating as the rain begins to fall.

And it began to pour. It is 16:00 nest time and there are two very wet Ks. Both have eaten and really, everything is right in the world. Both are safe and sound sitting out the rain.

Sadly, Electra has returned to the nest where the bodies of her two chicks are. She has brought the same piece of fish she had last night – or that is what it looks like. Is she driven to want to feed the little one? Is it those same hormones that keep her tied to the idea that the male brings the fish keeping her here in her duties as mother to feed? I think she understood the death of the first chick. But, last evening she went out to get fish to feed her seemingly well chick that had a crop from an earlier feed. She returns and that chick is dead. How could she process that it was the heat that killed her baby?

Electra is panting and it has to be over 100 degrees up on that nest. Let us all hope that she leaves the nest and goes down to cool off in the water. I cannot tell from the camera angle if Electra has a crop of if her chest is extended from the heavy panting she is having to do. I am worried about her if that is the same fish. It would have been hot last night on the nest when she returned after 9pm. She stood looking out in the distance keeping the fish in her talons for some seven hours. She did not eat anything. If she has not eaten today yet – and it is around 1pm nest time – I wonder what kind of physical (and mental) state Electra is in. It has been a very traumatic year for this nest and the heat is not going to help. Electra has to be exhausted. ——— I recall being in India when it was 46 C. If humans do not stay hydrated they can become disoriented and confused also. Is this happening to Electra?

I just went to check on Electra again. It is now approximately 13:40 nest time. Her condition appears to be worsening. Her eyes do not look right and she is panting heavily. This poor mother. Will the heat get to her before her own survivor instincts kick in? or is she already damaged from the heat yesterday that she is simply not responding appropriately.

We know that Mrs G and Aran lost all three of their beautiful chicks. Mrs G processed that. She had rain and cold to deal with but what is this heat doing to this fish eagle?

UPDATE: 2:22 Cowlitz Nest Time. Electra has flown off the nest with the fish. I do not believe it is the same fish from yesterday or it was the tail section. I hope the large crop is from eating the other fish. Electra needs to heal. However, the important news is that Electra is no longer in the heat of the nest. Will keep you posted.

Because of the heat I went up to Juneau Alaska to check on Kindness on the Bald Eagle Nest in the Glacier Gardens. Everything is fine there. It has been hot and the eagles have been doing a lot of panting along with Kindness but the fish deliveries are constant and consistent. They will be fine.

This morning I was looking at the drying up of water and it sent me to check on Iris. Sometimes Iris, actually quite often, is on her nest. She is constantly doing nestorations and this year she has had a lot of intruders. Today was no exception. An intruder came to the nest about 11:35:31 this morning.

Note to everyone: Look at the beautiful nest that Iris has been constructing even after her eggs were taken by the Raven. She has brought in soft moss and built up the sides. I really do wonder if the state of the nest says something about the mental state of the Osprey mother??? I know it sounds out of left field but I always wondered about Electra and the state of the nest at Cowlitz. Birds have memories. Iris certainly has memories of lost chicks and hope. Raises so many questions! But, nevermind, I am rambling off in another direction.

About 1.5 or 2 minutes later, Louis flies in to help Iris.

This is not the first time that Louis has heard Iris and come to assist her with intruders. While he might not be a good mate to Iris and I have called him lots of names, he has shown himself in the last month to be willing to come and protect that nest. Is he protecting Iris? or is it the nest in his territory?

There he is below, facing towards the front. Iris is at the back. her wings still in the mantling/alerting position. For now, things have calmed down.

I am not sure how the heat is impacting the Bald Eagle and Osprey Nests in British Columbia. They are being impacted by it also. Will try and see if I can find out some news.

Thank you for joining me. It is wonderful to see Aran’s improvement! That should give us all a bit of a glow. Send all your warm wishes to Electra. She is confused and the heat is not helping her. Hopefully she will go and get in the shade and have a bath in the water to cool down. Sadly, no humans will go up and help her even if they understand that the extreme climate change has been caused by us. It is beyond sad.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagles, Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Ospreys, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Second Osprey chick dies at Cowlitz

It took me a moment, shaking my head. The Cowlitz camera was not focusing. The temperature is 44 degrees in the area and it has to be much hotter on the nest.

There is the poor little tyke with its full crop looking for its mama. Getting hotter by the minute. The best I can figure is that the chick died around 6pm nest time. One minute he is looking for Electra walking around the rim of the nest and then he collapses.

Electra returns with a big headless fish. It appears that she is confused and doesn’t understand that her little one is dead. The poor thing could not regulate its temperature in that kind of heat and despite having some fish, it did not have enough to hydrate it. Even then it might not have made it on the nest in the blazing sun all alone.

Wattsworth, of course, came to try and get the fish but Electra did not give it to him.

Electra has been standing for hours holding on to the fish.

It is always sad when chicks die. These two wee little ones never had a chance. Born onto a nest that repeatedly does not have enough food and now with these temperatures, it would have been next to impossible for these babies to survive. Electra knew that her and the baby needed food. She went to get fish for them not realizing that the heat could kill the little one, too.

Fly high baby!

It is always difficult to post stories like this one. These two poor little babies, undernourished, both dead. One of siblicide and starvation and the second by dehydration/sun stroke.

Thank you to the Cowlitz PUD for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Bird World Happenings, Late June 25

There is good news. K3 is alright. The little one was blown off the Red tail hawk nest on the Cornell Campus today. K3 is the third hatch of the 2021 season. Suzanne Arnold Horning who takes beautiful images of the hawks has located both K3 and K1 and says that Big Red and Arthur are fully aware of where their kids are. This is wonderful news. That little K3 is going to give us all quite a few worries it seems! So glad he is OK.

It has been a very sad week in Bird World. The death of Alma and one chick in the Finnish Osprey Nest today is a tragedy. My friend T thinks that the Raven, had it been able to get to the fish tail under the chicks, might have taken that food and left everything alone. But that was sadly not to be the case. The surviving chicks are now in the care of a foster mother. Then there was the death of the chick on the Cowlitz Nest and the announcement that K2 had to be euthanized due to a severe beak injury. The week ended badly.

There are still, however, many things to celebrate in Bird World so let us hop through the nests and see what has been happening.

Little Tiny Bob and Middle Bob were eating a good sized fish on the Foulshaw Moss Nest this evening. Great Big Bob was over wingersizing. It is always nice when she is preoccupied so the other two can eat in peace. Look closely. Little Tiny Bob looks like an osprey! There he is with his juvenile feathers on the right. Mom is busy giving them both bites. These two are not competitive and get a long really well. That is so nice.

Mom and Dad have been on the barge in Port Lincoln, Australia and things will be ramping up there soon. In the image below, Mom is still on the nest and you can see Dad’s ‘man cave’ lower down. This nest is known for siblicide. When things begin to happen, I will post a link so you can watch if you like.

During the 2021 season, the third hatch, little Tapps, was so so tiny compared to the other two and there was clearly not enough food for Mom and three babies. Tapps died when he was 18 days old. It was hard to watch. Solly, the eldest and a female, received a satellite tracker. Dew was the middle chick. We have been able to follow Solly and she is changing the understanding of how far Ospreys go when they leave the nest. Dew was ringed but has no tracker. To my knowledge there have been no sightings of Dew.

Solly is 278 days old today. Let us see where she is staying.

Solly really does love that area around Eba Anchorage. Maybe this will be her forever home. She has shown no interest in returning to Port Lincoln.

Tiny Tot had two nice fish meals today compliments of dad, Jack. The first came at 11:26 and the second was at 4:56. Spaced out nicely!

This image shows the last fish delivery. It is quite a big fish and if you look carefully you will notice that Tiny Tot still has a crop from the morning’s meal. Nice.

There was a big storm near the nest of the Black Storks in Estonia today. The trees were swaying in the forest but oddly, the nest wasn’t. It was an odd sensation. The rain was just beginning to come down when I took these images.

Look how much the storklets have grown. Their beautiful juvenile plumage is starting to show through.

The Black Storks are fine. There continue to be three and that is such good news. Karl II and Kaia are very good parents!

The White Storks at the Mlade Burky nest in Czechoslovakia are really growing, too. The community really worked together to make certain that this family thrived. Just look at these beautiful storklets today.

I am, however, just hoping that it is the angle of the camera and the light outside that is causing the stork’s left leg to appear grey or black – the one at the back on the right. Could that band be too tight? Otherwise they seem impressibly healthy. Hats off to everyone in the community for their kindness!

The remaining chick on the Cowlitz nest had some fish today and has a bit of a crop. Whether there was enough for the chick and Electra is unknown. I did not watch this nest that closely today. I was happy, however, to see the baby ate. So small and so undernourished. It is supposed to be extremely hot on this nest on Saturday – it is the heat wave that is hitting that part of the Pacific Northwest. This chick is going to need lots more fish! Electra, please forget about Wattsworth. Go and get the fish yourself – unhook 65 million years of hardwiring that tells you to stay on the nest and feed the babies the fish Wattsworth brings. Just go. You can fish.

Idris brought in a late day fish for Dysnni and Ystwyth on the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. When he arrived Telyn was not on the nest. Ystwyth was hungry. So what does any good dad do? He feeds his chicks! And that is precisely what Idris did – great guy.

By the time Ystwyth was finished, Dysnni decided he would like some fish, too! Way to go Idris!

And someone at the Falcon Cam Project on the UC Berkeley Campus, put together a compilation video of the Fifth Season of Annie and Grinnell and their chicks – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek.

Gosh, by the time the chicks fledge you have forgotten what it was like at the beginning when Annie and Grinnell were just thinking about chicks. So this video is a bit of fun! Not sure about the choice of music but you can mute the sound if you like. Enjoy.

The Muscovy Duck has returned to her eggs and seems to continue building up the nest higher and higher using the bark mulch. Glad to see the bamboo fence to protect her did not frighten her away.

Thank you for joining me today. So glad to hear that K3 is safe – and K1. We can all rest a little easier tonight.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Parkland Florida Duck Cam, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dyni Osprey Nest, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Mlade Buky, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Achieva Credit Union, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln FB Page for posting the images of Solly’s satellite tracking.

Fledging is tiring – and other catch ups in Bird World

I am going to start off with an answer to a common question: How is K2? The last update was from the Cornell Bird Lab on the 22nd. It takes time for test results to come in and it is hard to wait when you are worried. Many of you will have watched the adorable eaglets, E17 and E18, at the Fort Myers Nest of Harriet and M15. You will remember that they had conjunctivitis and were taken into care by CROW. Let me say it for the 1000th time – I am so grateful to the Pritchett Family and CROW for getting a permit and getting those two babies into care. They were in the clinic for five days. Still the test results were not back but the staff was so knowledgable that they treated them for conjunctivitis because that is what they believed was the issue. And they were right! E17 got feisty enough to have to go into its own ‘time out towel’. Those two were so cute and inseparable. So we have to wait and trust that K2 is getting the best of care. The minute I hear anything I will let you know!

Here is the video of K2s retrieval:

K1 and K3 are absolutely flat out pooped. Fledging is hard work. They have to solve problems – physical ones – that they are not used to. Seriously it is so nice to be on the nest and be taken care of by Big Red!!!!!! It is scary out there. They might even decide to stay with mom a whole lot longer!!!!! K3 and K1 have been on the nest together since around noon. I just checked on them at 18:38 and they were both still there. Love these kids. Glad they feel like staying home.

Earlier….While K1 hunkered down and slept, K3 is back in the trees over by the Fernow Building. He looks pretty cute there in that tree.

@ Suzanne Arnold Horning

K1 sleeping on the nest. You can tell it is her because of the wide white terminal band on her tail and the clear black lines on her tail.

Now K3 is back and K1 is off the nest. K3 is listening and looking at K1 upstairs.

Big Red or Arthur left at least one chippie on the nest in case someone was hungry. Remember – Big Red’s kids never go hungry for long – if they ever do!

Resting in the sun.

Adorable K1.

K1 24 June 2021

There are so many who would love to see a photograph of Big Red when she was banded. The only thing I could find out was that she was banded on October 20 in 2003 in Brooktondale. Maybe someone reading this will know a student who had a project or the bander in the area at that time. I would love to know if they took a photo of Big Red. Many banders do take photographs of the juveniles they ring. OK. But that brings me back to the picture below of K1. To me she looks exactly like a juvenile Big Red would look. Isn’t she just adorable?

So the Ks are fine and the minute there is word on K2 I will let you know. K1 and K3 might just decide to stay on the nest all night.

Over in Wales, the two chicks of Idris and Telyn on the Dyfi Osprey Nest were banded and given their names today. Chick 1 is a male. He weighed 1600 grams and his ring number is 490. His name is Dysnni. It is pronounced Duh-suh-knee and is a river in mid-Wales at Gwynedd. Chick 2 who is four days younger than chick 1 is a female. She already weighs more than the male – she comes in at 1690 grams – and she is a full 4 days younger so they know she is going to be a big girl. Her ring number is 491. And goodness, her name is going to take some time. It is Ystwyth and it is also a river valley in Wales. I was told you take the ‘Aber’ out of Aberystwyth and that is how you pronounce her name. Wow.

Here is beautiful Ystwyth with her new bling! I might just call her Blue 491.

Well, here is the ‘Only’ Bob on the Clydewog Nest of Dylan with mum, Blue 35 Seren. Now this is one – can I use all caps – BIG – chick. Just look at her. This bird has to be a female. Oh, I do hope they get around to ringing her! These parents had lots of food and really took care of their only little Bob. The other two eggs which are still on the nest were nonviable.

Oh, I had to close my eyes when I went to check on Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest. There had been a huge rain storm with big winds and Tiny was holding on for dear life on the edge of the nest. Of course my mind went back to the tornado that cut through the lakes in northern New York State with the Osprey nests. Hang on Tiny!

I have found it hard to check on the Cowlitz Nest. I thought the little one that was dying had died around noon on the 22nd. But it suffered through the afternoon and did not die until close to 6pm nest time. Some big fish came on that nest that day but it was too late for that little one. Yesterday I only saw one small fish – there could have been more- I didn’t see them and I do not see any significant growth in the remaining chick, sadly. Today the other chick had a fish this morning and must have had something to eat later as its crop was bigger. Electra has not moved the body of the other chick off the nest. She may not. The female at Port Lincoln left the little one there and it became part of the nest. If the chicks are bigger they need to be removed so they do not decompose in the nest. This takes a human and a permit.

This chick is so far behind for its age. But I hope that it survives and does well otherwise the death of the other one was just futile. I am still baffled by this Osprey Nest. This is not the first time that Electra has lost chicks. Is it really down to Wattsworth not bringing in fish? does he have another nest? or is it that there are just not enough fish? It reminds me too much of what Iris went through trying to raise chicks with Louis. [And note- Louis is good to Starr and their chicks. They have 2 this year.]. Is it the same situation? If you have any insights please write to me.

I just checked in on the Achieva Osprey Nest and the wind and rain have stopped. Tiny Tot is not on the nest. K1 and K3 are getting a little antsy. Big Red and Arthur like to do prey drops across Tower Road on the Rice Building. Maybe they are trying to lure them for a meal? Hard to say.

That’s a wrap for now. Tomorrow I hope to introduce you to a mother duck who has decided to use a person’s flowerbed for her nest! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Osprey, Cowlitz DUP, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dyfi Osprey Project, and Carynx Wild. I also want to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning for posting the image of K3 in the tree on the Cornell Red Tail Hawks FB page. That reminds me – go to the Cornell Red Tail Hawks FB Page and sign on. You can see lots of wonderful images there!

Featured image is K3 on 24 June 2021.

Nest Hopping on the Summer Solstice

Today in the Northern Hemisphere we are celebrating the Summer Solstice. In the Southern, it is the Winter Solstice. My friends in Australia are finishing up their gardens, eating the last of the tomatoes and clearing up the vines, enjoying the first of the cabbages. It is even time for them to light the small fires that keep them warm. For the rest of is it is the beginning of summer officially. A time for school to be over in Canada and people to start thinking what they will be doing to enjoy themselves for the second summer of the pandemic, living under various restrictions.

There has been a lot of action in Bird World this past week – some good and some tragic. We lost the two seemingly healthy Ospreys chicks at the Urbaidai Biosphere Nest. The staff believe the cause was hypothermia. There had been lots of rain and the nest was wet. It is so sad because those chicks were quite large and doing so well. Now at the Golden Eagle Nest in Bucovina, Romania, the beautiful little Golden Eaglet has not had a good meal since the 16th of the month. Today it was so hungry that it had to eat one of the leg bones from the deer brought on the nest. The father had been helping with prey – hunting and then doing an exchange with mom. I wonder if something has happened to him. The female brought in only a small bird since the 16th. It is so frightening because this nest is beginning to feel like a repeat of the absolute horror at Spilve’s nest in Latvia last year. Spilve’s mate died and then her beautiful Klints, almost ready to fledge, starved to death. Spilve could not get enough large prey for Klints to survive. That said there is a difference. A human frightened the male provider while putting up a camera. Spilve’s mate was injured or died. Think about it. This is the reason that no one should go near an active nest once the birds are there. The question is this: does the individual who put up the camera have a ethical obligation to provide prey for the Golden Eaglet?

The eaglet had a crop but I believe it is only from the eating of the bones. I want to be wrong. My friend T sent this picture to me and we both hope he had some real food.

Just now the mother has brought in a very small bird for the eaglet. It is 17:28 nest time in Romania. Eaglet had seen her and started food calling. Oh, I hope that nothing has happened to the father so that larger prey can come on to this nest!

There has been a lot of sadness at various of the nests this year. K2, the middle hatch of Big Red and Arthur, is having some issues. No one knows specifically what the matter is. The beak appears to be layered with dried food that did not get cleaned off. The eye issues could be compounded by the chick’s scratching. It was a good day for a fledge for K1 and K3 but that did not happen. Big Red fed all three chicks on the nest tonight – including K2 who ate well. Big Red knew that heavy rain was coming and she kept those babies on the nest. Oh, she is such a wonderfully experienced mom!

K3 is the one facing towards the street standing in front of the light box. If you look carefully you can see the accumulation of dried prey on the beak. I am hoping that is all that is the matter with her beak and that antibiotics, fluids, and TLC will have her fit to release. I say her. I actually believe K2 is a he. If K2 goes into care they will surely do a DNA test and we will find out – boy or girl.

Around 9:26 this morning Arthur brought in prey for Big Red and the Ks. These parents are being very attentive to their three hawlets as the time comes closer for them to fledge. Already this morning K3 has taken the spot on the fledge ledge. It will be 80 degrees and sunny. A nice day to fly for the first time!

There were three fish deliveries that I am aware of on the Cowlitz Nest today in Longview, Washington. That is wonderful. There continues to be food insecurity and competition on the nest. The smallest chick is very feisty, just like K3, and does take advantage of that when feeding time arrives. I do not know how soon this will stop but I do hope that Wattsworth will bring more fish to the nest so that these two can begin to grow and thrive. Chick 1 hatched on May 27th making it 23 days old and chick 2 hatched on May 29th making it 21 days old today. They are physically behind in their development but that might not be a bad thing unless they are not ready for migration when August or September arrive. It would be like having a child who is either small for their age that they are at the bottom of the chart or, likewise, one that is really big for their age. I was happy to see crops on both the chicks today and also to see a pair of fat little bottoms. Hopefully they will be fine but they need consistent fish brought to the nest for that to happen! Wattsworth!!!!!!!

You can just see the coppery colour starting on their heads. They still have the white stripes on their back and their dark charcoal down as infants. It looks like their spider legs are beginning to fill out a bit but the little bottoms today – at least – are plump and round. These kiddos have been a bit of a worry because there is no rhythm to this nest. All you have to do is look at the nest where the chicks are thriving and see the dad bring in a fish first thing in the morning – it is there just as dawn is breaking – and at tea time or before bed. And, of course, in between. Wattsworth is not regular. It makes for so much insecurity – and hunger – which leads to rivalry.

There they are those sweet little kiddos with their little tails coming in. Oh, you keep every morsel of positive energy you have going the way of these two. They cannot help who their father is – I just hope that for them Wattsworth will continue to provide more and more fish. They can get over it. Just look at Tiny Tot! But they are going to need lots of fish as they should be entering their biggest growth period.

Jack brought in two fish to Tiny Tot at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest. The first of the day was actually the tea time fish at 4:52:33 and the last was at around 7:50. Tiny gets so excited when he sees fish coming in – he food calls and starts mantling – always backing up on the nest so that dad has a place to land.

It was a really quick hand off. Tiny is great – can you tell in the image below that he has a fish in those talons? I couldn’t for the longest time.

In the Karula National Forest in Estonia, the Black Storklings are thriving. Karl II and Kaia have done a wonderful job parenting the three of them. This is the nest where Karl’s former partner typically laid 5 or 7 eggs and then would toss the smaller chicks off the nest. I am hoping that Kaia only lays three eggs every year so that all can survive – providing there is enough food. Food insecurity triggers the elimination of the smaller chicks.

So much on these nests – every nest no matter the species – depends on a regular supply of prey. Any nest can change in an instant if something happens to the amount of prey or the weather turns cold and damp.

Aren’t they adorable?

I do not know if the community is still feeding the storklings in Mlade Buky. You will recall that their mother was electrocuted and Father Stork was going to have difficulty protecting the little ones and getting food for them. The community chipped in little fish and various other small mammals for both Father Stork and the storklings, feeding them three times a day. Those generous caring people made it possible for these three to grow strong and fledge. When I check now, it is Father Stork who is feeding them.

Here is father stork feeding them just after 10pm last night in Czechoslovakia.

And today you can see how big those storklings have grown.

It is morning in Scotland. There is a beautiful golden glow falling on NC0 and the Two Bobs. Look how big they are? At one time I worried so much for the Little Bob and NC0’s feeding ability but she has proved herself to be an excellent mother.

There is a bit of mist as the sun breaks in Wales at the Dyfi Nest of Telyn and Idris.

Let us all hope that the golden glow that falls so beautifully on NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes will bless all of the nests this week so that everyone is well.

Thank you for joining me. You stay well, too!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Mlade Buky, Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Bucovina Golden Eagle Cam.

It was..and then it wasn’t a good day to fledge

The Red tail Hawks and, especially Arthur, have been giving aerial demonstrations for their three eyases, the Ks, today. The weather was lovely and the winds were fantastic. K3, the youngest was really getting into having that wind go underneath his wings.

Some, much more experienced than me have shared their wisdom with me. Large female birds take longer to get their feathers. The females are already larger than the males. As a result, it takes longer for the feathers of the female to come in and for her to be ready to fledge. This certainly was correct last year with J1 who fledged last and was determined to be a ‘she’ at her autopsy. The youngest, J3 fledged second with J2 fledging first. Ironically, J2 was the second to hatch but the first egg laid if I remember correctly. Now we will see what happens this year.

There is a bit of a spanner in the works because of K2. There is something wrong with K2’s beak area and eye on the right. She has been scratching it today which is not making things any better. No one knows what is wrong but if K1 and K3 fledge then an attempt will be made to take K2 into care.

For now, though, K3 is really having a bang up time jumping, flapping, and watching Arthur do his aerial stunts. I did short videos to show you the action.

In the first one you can see K3 watching Arthur flying around the nest and getting excited. At one time he tries to go upon the light box. That is, in fact, the way that J2 sort of fludged last year – climbing on the light box and being forced to fly off as he fell off it.

In the second, K3 really gets going with the wind under its wings and jumping high. Just look at those great legs and that little one go!

Stop and count the dark lines on K3s tail. You will see if you look carefully that there are six! K3 has enough tail length to fly nicely.

And then, as quick as a wink, the rains came. Fledging will have to happen another day. No one wants these Ks trying to take their first flight with heavy wet wings across that road!

If you want to watch all the action of Big Red, Arthur and the Ks as fledge gets closer, here are the links. There are two cameras.

This is the normal camera which can be moved and zoomed in by the camera operators:

This is the Fixed Camera. It looks down towards the fledge ledge.

In other news, Tiny Tot has been defending his natal nest in St Petersburg today. Jack has brought him or her a fish. The Cowlitz kids were eating the last time I checked on them and sadly, if you did not see my earlier news, all three chicks on the Urdaibai Biosphere Park Osprey Nest have now died. It is a very sad day for everyone celebrating the success of the translocation project. And in Australian news, Lady has laid her first egg at the White Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Another one will be laid in 2 or 3 days.

Thank you for joining me. Take care. Enjoy your weekend.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the streaming cam at the Red Tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus. That is where I took my video clips.

Fishy Friday or is it Fish Friday?

My son lives in the West Indies. On Fridays, there is a fish dinner up on the coast in one of the fishing villages. Every kind of fish you could want cooked many different ways along with all of the sides and homemade strawberry ice cream. Oh, yum. The barbecued Red Snapper is so tasty! When I think of all the Ospreys eating fish on Friday it reminds me of those dinners on the island. If my memory serves me correctly almost all of the islands have a Fish Friday at one place or another. If you wind you there, check and see. And then get ready to enjoy.

Most of the time when people are watching nests not much is happening. Everyone gets excited when a fish appears and there is some action and completely distraught when the chicks are hungry. Well, it is Friday and it looks like everyone is being fed.

So far today, Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest has had two fish. Jack brought in one around 8:41 am and a second before bedtime at 8:25.

Thanks, Jack! Tiny has been guarding the nest for you!

Tiny is really good at mantling. No one is taking his fish.

The poor little munchkins over on the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest had two fish deliveries today, too. One was small with the late afternoon tea time one a little bigger. It sure would help both the mental and physical state of this nest if Wattsworth would get 4 fish on that nest every day – and not twiddlers either. The kids fight because they are hungry. Getting enough fish to exist but not really thrive. Right now both of the chicks have a crop. Thank goodness.

And you may not see the fish but when you see a PS like the one in the image below, you know that those Two Bobs on the Loch of the Lowes Nest have eaten well! Laddie and NC0 are nothing short of terrific.

It seems like Idris at the Dyfi Osprey Nest has entered some kind of local fishing contest. He continues to bring in whoppers. Yesterday it was the largest mullet ever recorded at the nest. Today it was another big one. Here is the image of the one yesterday if you missed it. They figure that the fish weighs more than Idris which I find interesting because most people state that these fish eagles cannot weight carry that much. Idris you might be changing our thinking on that. It is the largest mullet ever seen on the Dyfi nest.

Idris might have heard about that wall for Monty and figures he might have a chance at one too if he is a great provider. I guess time will tell. He sure is a cutie! Look at those big yellow eyes.

Idris is up on the post and Telyn is feeding the two Bobs. I believe that these two Bobs will be ringed in the next couple of days. Super!

Idris and Telyn are over on the nest perch keeping watch over their babies while they sleep. Hopefully it will be a quiet night at the Dyfi nest.

Dylan keeps bringing in sticks trying to build up the wall on the nest for the Only Bob at Clywedog. Meanwhile, while he is thinking about that, Seren is feeding this little cutie. You can hardly see the nest. Only Bob is a pretty good aim with that PS! There must be a bullseye on that camera.

It was very sad to lose the little albino chick on the Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Nest, the other two older siblings are doing really, really well. Like all the others they are also enjoying their Friday fish.

Between the condensation and the PS on the camera it is really hard to see the Two Bobs at the Manton Bay Nest at Rutland Water. It has been raining all day. They are hoping to ring these two Bobs but it cannot happen when the weather is bad. They have a couple more days. Fingers crossed. The rain doesn’t seem to bother Blue 33 (11) – he gets the Fish for Friday up on the nest.

All of the babies are fine and I hope you are, too. Take care of yourself. Thank you for joining me. It is always a pleasure to see so many bird lovers.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, Urdaibai Biosphere Park, Achieva Credit Union, Clywedog Osprey Project and Carnyx Wild, Cowlitz PUD, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes.

Awww…..Thursday in Bird World looks like it will be a good day

Sometimes it just feels like it is going to be a good day the minute you click on a streaming cam to check on the birds and you see the little ones are being fed. That is what happened when I went to peek on the Cowlitz Osprey Nest. Wattsworth had brought in a fish. I did not stop to see how big it was because both chicks were up being fed by Electra. It is just all good. Of course, 3 more fish today or – how about 4? – would be magnificent.

Oh, and a fish had just been brought in by White YW to the Foulshaw Moss Nest- was I ever lucky. There is no rewind on their camera.

Just look at Tiny Little Bob’s face when White YW brings in that fish. You can almost hear him screaming, “Hurry up Dad before the big guys notice there is a fish!”

For the first time Tiny Little Bob’s eyes look great. I was so worried that Big Bob had damaged his eyes but just look at them popping out today – and that crop. Doin the happy dance.

Notice how Tiny got right up there in the sweet spot for the food. Oh, this little one is clever. I am also seeing that the big ones are not being aggressive towards Tiny Little Bob anymore. I don’t know what Blue 35 did but she did something to get those two big ones to stop tormenting Tiny Little Bob.

And look, Tiny Little Bob is getting some fat on his cute little bottom and his wings are filling out. This is all good news. Such a relief. I think he might be another one of those tiny little third hatches that goes on the list of survivors who turn out to do great things.

Wonder if they are going to band these three – surely they will. Must check!

And the other Tiny Tot is doing really well. It is always a good day when he turns up on the nest just to say ‘hi’. I suspect from looking at him that he has been fed off nest sometime this morning. He had quite the time with the intruders yesterday. Hopefully the nest will be quiet today.

The fledge watch on the Red tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus remains. Little K3 seems to like to live on the wild side going around and almost falling off the nest. Arthur made a quick chippie drop this morning and got out quick. It is a warm summer day but even as the three walk around on the grate no one seems quite ready to fly.

K3 really wins the award for cute hawk poses! Look at that adorable face.

The other good news is that K2 is eating well and seems to be looking better this morning. She could not close her beak yesterday and appeared to have issues around her eye. Warm wishes for getting everything sorted before fledge! Last year J2 fledged first. J1 was a big beautiful female. She actually fledged last – on the same day as J3 but after. I wonder if she was not as confident a flyer? or at least felt she wasn’t? It always bothers me that such an elegant bird broke her neck flying into Weill – a building on the Cornell Campus that should have window treatments so birds do not hit them! Seriously.

Idris caught another whopper today. The two Bobs on the Dyfi Nest and Telyn are full from the top of their crop to the tip of their talons!

These two are really looking nice and healthy. Awww Idris, you are amazing. You keep this up and in years to come you might get a wall with a perch, too, just like Monty, Telyn’s former mate.

You can watch all the action at the Dyfi Nest here:

One of the birds that we have not checked on lately are those parrots that do not fly, the Kakapo. I was reminded of this today when the post arrived and there was the adoption certificate for Rangi.

Many of the not for profits or various government agencies have adoption schemes to help fund the work they do. For example, the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre has certificates and photographs of Aran and Mrs G and their chicks last year if you adopt the family. The money goes directly towards what is needed at the centre. Everyone is a volunteer. There is no big board of directors getting funds. The volunteers are still helping to feed Aran and Mrs G in Wales.

As for Rangi, my adopted Kakapo. He is a bit of a character.

@ Kakapo Recovery Twitter Feed. 2019

He was transferred to Whenua Hou in 1987. The minute he was out and free Rangi went and hid. He was not located again until 2009. Twenty-one years they couldn’t find him! Thank goodness these flightless parrots live for about 90 years if they are not harmed by pests or disease.

Today, visits are made by researchers and conservation officers to change the batteries in the satellite GPS trackers of the birds. They are given health checks and moved off island if necessary to a wildlife clinic in Dunedin, New Zealand (normally).

The Kakapo are only found in New Zealand and they are critically endangered. These non-flying parrot like birds exist only on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, Anchor Island and Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island. There are only 204 Kakapo in the world. According to the Kakapo Recovery Information Page:

The history of kākāpō is a story of drama, despair and hope. Before humans arrived, kākāpō were abundant throughout New Zealand. Population numbers dropped swiftly due to hunting, introduced predators and land clearance. Conservation efforts began in 1894, but by the mid-1900s, kākāpō teetered on the edge of extinction.

The biggest threats are infertility, genetic inbreeding, pests and vermin such as Pacific Rats and cats, as well as diseases. Here is a great coloured document giving the history of the Kakapo, the threats, and the hope.

Each wildlife centre, streaming cam, and conservation group has different adoption and donation plans. One day I want to write about them in an effort to try and sort out the individuals who monetize the birds for their own personal gain and those that really do help to conserve and protect. It is like a minefield out there! That said, it is really beneficial to give to those organizations that run on donations such as the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre, Foulshaw Moss (Cumbria Wildlife, etc). You might want to begin thinking about a way to help the birds and also have a gift to give to your grandchildren – or yourself! I am in awe of all the fundraising that The Friends of Loch Arkaig FB group undertake. Their last big project was a drawing turned into a print. The gorgeous detailed drawing was donated by Laura Grady – quite a talent. She did a great job capturing Louis and Aila.

So there are small groups working hard to help the various birds and their nests. Foulshaw Moss estimates that it costs 11,000 GBP to run their streaming cams. They also depend on donations.

But before you donate please do some checking. If you are wanting to help a bird that has been injured with the vet bills, for example – check and make sure that the vets are not donating their own time and expertise to the project or check to make sure that you are donating to the right agency. Send them an e-mail and ask! I am aware that a number of people wanted to help with the vet bills of a particular bird and donated to the streaming cam by accident a couple of years ago. It can happen so please check. Many groups also issue tax receipts so ask about that also!

Tomorrow is World Albatross Day!

Thank you for joining me today. I hope the weather is nice where ever you are and you can see some of your local birds or at least hear them. Take care. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen captures: Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and the Dyfi Osprey Project.