Happenings in Bird World

Holly Parsons, the administrator for the Orange Peregrine Falcon FB group, has posted the following from Cilla Kinross regarding Yurruga:

I took some images of beautiful Diamond throughout the day.

We would expect the parents to visibly be supplying prey to Yurruga. Many of you will have seen the adults at 367 Collins Street bringing in prey. You might recall how the Dad tried so hard to feed the little male when he was too sick and could not eat or swallow anything. Just pause and remember the healthy chicks at that nest and the noise they made even prior to fledging when food was around. Then remember Yurruga and how he behaved when prey came to the scrape. The falcons are loud in their food begging just like the four lads at Port Lincoln. The little ones simply cannot go without eating and while they are learning to fly they are also being taught how to hunt. It is unclear how instinctive hunting is. For example, the adult Ospreys do not teach their fledglings how to fish. They simply are hardwired to do it. Peregrine Falcon parents spend much time passing prey around, dropping it for the wee one to catch, etc. Certainly Yurruga had at least a days training because he was seen flying around with the parents prior to the big storm. There would be several prey drops during a day. No one has anything confirmed after last Thursday in Australia, 9 days ago now. I know that each of us wants this outcome to be different and I would like nothing better than for someone a mile away to phone Cilla and tell her that Yurruga is on their roof or in their garden. The long sessions in the scrape together may be Xavier and Diamond bonding in grief. There is also the additional issue of the absence of the eggs. Diamond has spent an inordinate amount of time scraping where the eggs were. My heart really goes out to her.

Sad news is also coming out of California. The California Condor chick #1075 died at the Los Angeles Zoo on 12 November. He had sustained injuries from adult male condor #247 during a territorial dispute. I know that many of you watched that streaming cam. Their lives are so very very fragile and to have a death of a promising chick due to fights is extremely difficult to process. There seems to be a lot of territorial disputes. You might remember that California Condor #1031 Iniko who survived the Dolan Fire was actually injured when an adult male came to the nest tree. —— Which reminds me! Iniko will be released back into the community of condors where he hatched on Saturday along with two others. This is great news coming on the heels of grief.

We really need some good news in Bird World. Iniko’s release is, of course, one of those. I really hope it is OK to cut and paste this amazing story from that Valerie Webber posted on the Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB page. It is a marvellous tale of German Osprey Black 1FO seen in Portugal in Dec 2005/Jan 2006 and again in September 2021. So the question that is being asked is where has this bird been? It is more than 16 years old and this is truly remarkable – 3 sightings only in all those years. He really is a very handsome bird.

More good news come in the form of a Pacific Black Duck named Daisy who has now laid her first egg in the Sydney White-bellied Sea Eagle nest. An earlier blog today gave more images and some details. So nice to have her back! I am so excited about Daisy’s return that I can’t sleep! You can catch her on the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam. She laid her first egg today. She must have rushed to get to the nest OR she had made a nest elsewhere and predators came. We might not know. She will begin lining the nest with the down from her breast. That down will not only make it soft for her and the eggs but also will help cover the eggs when she has to go forage. She will also mix the down with leaves on the nest and cover the nest with those leaves. I hope there are lots of them!

Every one of the lads on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest has had a fish today. Port Lincoln also says that the three have been seen at the shore going for a bit of a swim or a bath. Fantastic.

The three are over on the perches and ropes near Mum. What a beautiful image. I wish that Dad was there, too. The fledglings are gradually spending more time on the perches and ropes and flying around. They are growing up and shortly might be off on their own. I need to check and find out when Solly permanently left the barge. That might give us some clue.

I know that many of you are familiar with the Welsh Ospreys, Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Nest. You might also know that one of Monty and Glesni’s sons, Aeron Z2, and his mate Blue 14 have their nest close by at Pont Croesor. Glaslyn has announced that the new hide is finished and visitors will be able to observe the nest of Z2 and Blue 14. That is great news.

That is it for me. I am sufficiently exhausted from the excitement of Daisy that I might be able to sleep. This is my Friday newsletter. I will bring updates later tomorrow (Friday the 3rd) evening.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB, Orange Peregrine Falcon FB, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sydney Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross.

Oh, for the love of Ervie

It is no secret that my long-term research project on third hatch Ospreys that survive can cause a whole lot of heart ache. The opposite side of that is the sheer joy in watching these ‘thirds’ come into their own. Some suffer much more than others. In 2021, one of the worst was Tiny Tot Tumbles on the Achieva Osprey nest in Florida.

There is Tiny Tot Tumbles beside sibling 1. I often called her ‘Big Nasty Sister’. She is the reason that many people do not like to watch the Osprey nests. That said, sibling 1 stopped a lot of the beating on Tiny Tot because sibling 2 started. That nestling would purposefully eat and eat and eat so that Tiny Tot had no food.

Beaten and starved. It was hard for anyone to imagine Tiny Tot Tumbles surviving. There she is all submissive, literally starving, while the others eat.

What a beautiful bird Tiny Tot Tumbles became.

Elegant. Tiny Tot Tumbles is one of the most striking juvenile ospreys I have ever seen. Before she left the nest, her plumage was super espresso with only the thinest of white scallop revealing she was not an adult. She was smart. She remained on the nest honing her flying skills, getting stronger, learning how to fight off intruders. It is a shame she is not banded but she has a very distinctive pattern on her crown.

At Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria, no one expected Tiny Little Bob to survive more than a couple of days. The weather was miserable and the two older siblings were 4x her size.

The size difference increased. That is how she got the name ‘Tiny Little Bob’ because she was just so small.

I love this image. Tiny Little Bob really wants some of the flounder that Mum, Blue 35 has. She has watched and waited til the older siblings are full. Then she will make her move. She exhibits all of the hallmarks of a third hatch survivor – patience, fortitude, and ‘focused watching’. They can read the nest.

I wish I had this video recorder earlier so that I could have captures Tiny Tot Tumbles ousting the intruders from the nest! Or more of Tiny Little Bob. I did get it in time to show you Blue 463 in the nest. It is the third week in August. All three of the Foulshaw Moss chicks have fledged. White YW is an incredible provider and he will stay until Tiny Little Bob migrates before he leaves. She will be the last one to leave. Smart girl. She really fattened up for that migratory trip. I only hope that she survived. Few British Ospreys have been spotted in The Gambia and Senegal. There are lots without bands along the coast of West Africa but not the ringed British. Where are they?

Tiny Little Bob is banded as Blue 463. She is the bird on the back of the nest on the right. She is food calling. I want you simply to notice how big she is. Tiny Little Bob became the dominant bird on the Foulshaw Moss nest for 2021. She could fight for the fish with the best of them. Most of the time she used her patience and ‘snake eye’ to get the siblings off their lunch!

At Port Lincoln, Bazza aka Big Bob, tried several times to dominate but, Ervie aka Little Bob wasn’t having it. If you have been following me most of the time you will know that when the three males were banded, Little Bob got the sat-pak because he was the biggest of the three. Unlike Tiny Tot Tumbles who missed 12 full days of meals in the first five weeks of her life, Tiny Little Bob made sure he was right up front by Mum’s beak. I don’t think he ever missed a meal and he would certainly stay til he was full. On the morning of the banding, Little Bob had landed the breakfast fish. That probably helped a lot with that weight in!

There is Little Bob in front with his beak wide open. Just look at those little wings. Oh, my goodness is there anything cuter than a recently hatched osplet?

The thing about the third hatch survivors is that they have lived out of sheer willpower and cleverness. I can almost hear Ervie say, ‘I am not taking anything from you, Bazza!’ They become kinda’ street wise. They watch, assess, and attack. Does anyone remember Tiny Little Bob staring down both of her big siblings? They were not going to get anything by her. You might also remember that Tiny Tot Tumbles took on any intruder protecting the nest. She was fierce. That is how they survive — and I believe that they are actually better able to cope out in the world of Ospreys far away from the nest than their siblings.

Ervie sure showed us what he is made of today.

Bazza had the fish and had been eating. Ervie really likes the back portion and the tail. So he is watching Bazza. I could have made this into a video but what I want you to do is focus on the ‘look’ on Ervie’s face and his actions.

Ervie is the bird on the right. Bazza is in the middle with the fish tail. Falky is on the left and is not interested.

Look at Ervie’s eyes and his open beak as he lands on the nest. He is telling Bazza he wants that fish tail now. Ervie means business.

Ervie is twisting his body. He is not looking at Bazza’s face. He is looking at the fish tail.

Ervie moves up and over pushing Bazza’s head. Ervie raises his wings.

Ervie is totally in front of Bazza. Notice that Bazza is not looking at the fish.

Ervie turns his head around. You can draw a line from his eye and beak to the fish. Ervie is completely focused.

He goes for it.

Ervie dives down to get the fish tail.

He has it. He turns his body and raises his wings. Bazza is being pushed out of the way so Ervie can turn.

He’s got it. Wow. Just look at the impressive wings of Ervie.

Ervie moves over to the other edge of the nest where he finishes the fish tail. The entire take over bid took 19 seconds.

Bazza does not seemed phased and Falky probably wishes he were somewhere else!

These three have just been a joy to watch. I wish each of them had been given a sat-pak so that we could watch their lives unfold. I hope that the hydro poles in South Australia have their protective covers placed on them just as quickly as it can happen. The loss of Solly was a tragedy in terms of understanding the dispersal and long term survival of these Eastern Osprey.

I hope that I have not bored you too much with these third hatches. Each is really a miracle and for me, remembering them helps honour the pain and suffering that they went through to live.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or my video clips: Achieva Credit Union, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Wednesday in Bird World

Let’s start off with what is on everyone’s mind: Has there been a confirmed sighting of Yurruga? Yesterday, Dr Cilla Kinross was inspired by a very quick prey drop at the scrape. Diamond flew into the trees. Cilla was in the trees looking half an hour later – she only saw Diamond. Diamond returned to the scrape with quite a large crop also. Some believed they had heard Yurruga calling but, Cilla is unable to confirm that. So the answer is – we simply do not know. Yurruga has not been seen since last Thursday when he was on a building during a storm. We can only wait.

My goodness that little one was such a cutie.

October 20. Yurruga and Diamond

Diamond was really beautiful this morning as the soft glow of the sun worked its way through the fog.

Both parents, Xavier and Diamond, have been inside the scrape – scraping. They also had some bonding moments this morning at sunrise.

My heart aches for them.

The second question of the day is what is going on with Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon of the Campanile, mate to Annie, that was injured by a male intruder that is trying to cosy up with Annie? Here is the latest news.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation rangers on Taiaroa Head are shutting down the streaming cam so that they can move it to the site of the Royal Albatross family for 2021-22. There are lots of guesses as to who the couple might be. The announcement is due tomorrow.

One of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Samson and Gabby, at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville have been putting the finishing touches on their nest. They are perfecting the Spanish moss lining the nest cup. Now all we need are some eggs!

Gabby doing some final inspections this morning.

The three lads at the Port Lincoln all had fish yesterday. Falky had more than Ervie or Bazza. Falky has become a master at slipping the fish out of Dad or Mum’s talons. A magician.

There is a lovely shot of the PLO Mum. She has done an extraordinary job raising these three boys to fledge this year (with Dad’s good help). Yesterday she even spent some time feeding Bazza. He is definitely a Mum’s boy!

Bazza can be a bit naughty. I know that the banders were certain that there were three males. Someone looking at Bazza’s legs and that beautiful necklace in the image below might mistake him for a lovely female.

Bazza and Falky sleep with their heads tucked under their wings – adult style – standing on the nest. Ervie is sleeping over on the perch or the ropes. They are all doing well. I continue to pinch myself. This Osprey nest really turned itself around this year to fledge all three hatchlings.

There are many articles coming out in international newspapers and academic journals on the effect of warming oceans on the seabirds including the beloved Osprey. I picked one of those for you as some are frustrating. They allow me to embed the article but then want you to subscribe to read it! That is a major irritant to me – like Subarus are to Ferris Akel!

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-threatens-survival-of-albatross-60906

It is a grey damp day, 3 degrees C. The snow is melting. There are lots of birds at the feeders. A large European Starling is sharing the peanut and bark butter feeder with some cute little House Sparrows.

The tiny suet balls called Bark Butter by our supplier are a really big hit since winter has set in. Junior has been around to get the corn while Dyson was busy elsewhere. Nice to see all of them.

One of my former students posted this today on FB. It is a perfect little giggle for all of us!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and NE Florida Eagle and the AEF for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

New Zealand’s falcon, the Karearea

It is almost the end of November and in about 25 days there will be at least one bobble head, if not two, on the Fort Myers, Florida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15. Bald Eagles are strikingly beautiful – the gorgeous pure white head of the adult with that large bright yellow beak, espresso brown body plumage and watery light blue eyes. The hatchlings are just as adorable with their light grey down. They are called ‘bobble heads’ because they do not have the strength

While we are waiting for those eggs to hatch in Florida, there is a new streaming cam focused on a small New Zealand falcon, the Karearea.

Wikimedia Commons

They are adorable. Thanks Sharon Dunne for mentioning this new cam. The chicks are delightful! Here is the link:

Here is a short video of the chicks trying to get settled in the nest cup.

The Kareara are indigenous to New Zealand. At present, they are very vulnerable. They believe that there are between 5-8,000 birds in the whole of New Zealand. Their threats are loss of habitat, cats, mustelids (they are like wolverines), and hedgehogs. Hedgehogs like their eggs.

The falcons have also been found on several islands but, the area with the highest population is the Kaingaroa Forest between Rotorua and Taupo on New Zealand’s central North Island. You can see Taupo on the map above. The Kaingaroa Forest is the largest forest plantation in New Zealand and is the second largest forest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is 190,000 hectares. The first trees were planted in the early 1900s. They are harvested for the construction industry.

“Kaingaroa Forest” by russellstreet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons

The adults are 40 cm and 50 cm in length. Like almost all raptors, the females are larger than the males.

Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the female can weigh almost twice as much as the males who weigh between 240 g and 350 grams. The females are between 410 g and 720 grams. They cannot fly nearly as fast as the Peregrine Falcons but the Karearea do reach speeds of up to 100 kmh. They are also capable of catching prey that is larger than they are. Wow! They do not eat carrion (dead animals). Their diet consists of mammals, lizards, birds, and insects. These small falcons hunt by watching from a high point flying fast, grasping the prey with their talons and then killing it with a bite to the neck.

Wikimedia Commons

Oh, I hope that you enjoy these adorable little falcons. It is a perfect time to watch them. The Port Lincoln lads will be taking the fish deliveries off the nest to eat them soon. Ervie has already tried fishing and last night he slept on the post not in the nest. He is growing up! No word yet on who will be the Royal Cam family and Cilla Kinross is planning to hunt in unexpected places for Yurruga. And one of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Gabby and Samson, have been working on their nest. Oh, they are a stunning pair.

Gabby on the left and Samson on the right. Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest, Jacksonville.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF and Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the D Pritchett family.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

PLO lads are being lads

Oh, goodness. Things can get a little rowdy on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. It is almost like the adrenalin is rushing at various times of the day. Today it hit mid-afternoon.

I first checked on the boys and they were still waiting for breakfast at 10:46. No doubt Mum and Dad are hoping that they will at least attempt getting their own fish. For the Western Ospreys that migrate, catching that first fish normally occurs after migration but with the Eastern Ospreys that do not migrate, the lads should be watching, learning, and trying. I know they are genetically hardwired to know precisely how to fish but it sure would help to follow dad and observe where he finds his good catches.

It is tiring just trying to keep up with what is going on so I just want to give you a snippet.

Bazza has a fish from dad at 14:37. At 15:16:36 Bazza thinks that Falky is getting too close to his meal and he shoves Falky off the nest. (Ervie is minding his own business out of the way).

I am thankful that they can all fly. Still a sudden plunge in the water could prove disastrous even now.

Bazza is quickly earning his nickname, ‘Big Bad Bazza.’ Bazza goes back to eating his fish after he gets rid of Falky.

At 15:18 Mum arrives with a fish. Bazza, not content to continue eating his own fish, decides that he wants Mum to feed him hers. Meanwhile, Falky who is looking on, has returned to the nest at 15:28. Mum is going to feed him, too!

Ervie is minding his own business eating a fish that Dad delivered at 15:23.

At some point, however, Ervie even crashed Mum’s party and wanted her to feed him! Then he went back to his own fish.

Poor Mum and Dad. Mum still wants to be motherly and they want to be mothered. Dad is just busy hauling in the fish. Indeed, the three are so loud with the fish calling that they might be heard all the way to Streaky Bay! I don’t believe that we have to worry about any of the boys. By the time they leave this nest for good, each will be more than capable of fending off any interlopers. I am just so glad they saved the rivalry til they were fledglings. It was that beautiful civil nest that allowed for each to thrive and fledge.

Thanks everyone for stopping in. This was just a quick check on this nest as it is one of the only ones with any action happening at the moment. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

25 November in Bird World

I hope that anyone celebrating Thanksgiving today had a wonderful meal with friends and family. All of us have so much to be grateful for – including our beloved birds – every day.

So, let’s start with the not so great news and move into the good, shall we?

Everyone has been waiting for Grinnell to step up to the plate and stay in the scrape box on The Campanile or on the ledge waiting for Annie. So far that has simply not happened. Today, however, it was the ‘new male’ that was there. Grinnell may still lack the confidence to engage with the intruder that injured him. Here is that video:

Port Lincoln has posted that the official autopsy on Solly, the 2020 fledgling of the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and the first Osprey in Australia to have a tracker, was, indeed and very sadly and unnecessarily (my words) the victim of electrocution.

Oh, just look at her. What a beauty. Her necklace would have been the envy of everyone. She reminds me, so much, of Iris. Stunning.

Port Lincoln also posted the following information on their FB page. I am delighted to see that they are going to use the information gathered by Solly’s tracking to understand where to put protectors on the hydro poles.

Thank you to all my readers who wrote to the South Australian Minister of the Environment and Water, David Speirs. You may remember that Speirs travelled to Port Lincoln to help band the chicks there and at Thistle Island. Ervie is named after the town in Scotland where Speirs was born. Every letter and every phone call does help. It is a tragedy and one that did not need to happen!

Blackland Prairie Raptor Rescue posted the following image of a hawk caught up in fishing line. Look closely at the outward damage that line caused and imagine the pain and suffering. This was in Lucas, Texas but it could be anywhere people fish and do not care to clean up after themselves. Please spread the word to anyone you know who fishes. And if you want to do something to help, put bags in your car and pickers (those tools people use to pick up litter) along with gloves. Go for a walk along a shore and clean it up. Take the family. The birds will thank you. They really will!

And now for some really good news.

Port Lincoln has a couple of items. The first is a posting about Port Lincoln fledgling from 2019, Calypso. It seems that she has been spotted a few times with a male. Could this be pair bonding?

And lastly out of Port Lincoln, Ervie is doing more flying and getting stronger. He even flew over houses! The trio – Ervie, Bazza, and Falky – are doing great. All are flying and eating and life is good on the barge.

Ferris Akel’s tour meant a lot to lovers of Big Red today. About a week or ten days ago I posed the question on the Cornell Chatter’s FB page: Has anyone seen Big Red since 16 October? No one had. News came on the Cornell Twitter Page that Karel and Bogette had seen Big Red on 21 November at Beebee Lake. There was a lot of worry.

Everyone on Ferris’s tour were overjoyed to see her back sitting on the building where her ‘throne’ is located.

Oh, she is a beauty and is so dear to everyone. Such joy she has brought to people from around the world. Indeed, at one time, she was said to be ‘the most famous’ Red Tail Hawk. I am certain she still is! Ferris also spotted Arthur so everything is right with the world in Ithaca.

Soon the NZ DOC will select the Royal Cam family for the 2021-22 season. I wonder who they will choose?

And remember to mark your calendars. #1031 Iniko will be released back into the territory where she hatched in Big Sur on 4 December. It will be so exciting to seeRedwood Queen and Kingpin’s daughter return to the wild after surviving the Dolan Fire in 2020. This is one of those events that will warm your heart. No one believed Iniko could survive that fire. Her father, Kingpin, is believed to have perished but the wee one lived. Jubilant is the word I am looking for – everyone associated with the rescue and the release will be jubilant for a long, long time.

Take care everyone. I am thankful for each and everyone of you because you love and care for the environment where our beloved birds live and hunt and raise their families. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB Pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Ferris Akel Tours, Blackland Prairie Raptor Rescue, and Cal Falcons.

Oh, Bazza Baby

The Port Lincoln Lads seem to always be up to something. This morning Falky was flying about and Bazza and Ervie were on the nest. They had to have been full because there was a lovely fish tail on the nest and neither one of them were paying any attention to it.

It was very windy and Bazza entertained Ervie for about half an hour trying to land and stay on the perch. Have a look.

Are you finding that sometimes you could just use a little bit of ‘cute’ as we wait for new bobble heads in the raptor families to be born? What about a Korora?

They used to be called Little Blue Penguins. They are the smallest of the New Zealand penguins. This little one will weigh about 1 kg and be about 25 cm tall when it is fully grown. Their population is in decline due to dog, cat, stoat, and ferret kills. This group of predators has arisen because of the destruction of the penguin’s natural nesting sites for development. Sad.

And I want to give a shout out to ‘TAS’ for introducing me to this cute little non-raptor!

WBSE 27 has been observed being hounded by the Pied Currawong. This report comes from Cathy Cook on the ground:

As is usual in the Reserve, SE27 found herself being escorted & swooped by Noisy Miners, Magpies, Currawongs and Ravens, from the time she hopped out of the carrier. We saw her take 4 seperate flights, with her finally being observed (by credible people in the wharf cafe) to cross over the Parramatta River, just a little west of River Roost. The last picture shows SE27’s individual flights within the first 40 minutes after her release — at Newington Nature Reserve, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cathy posted pictures and a short video. I hope she does not mind my including one for you.

@ Cathy Cook

The saddest part about being a juvenile Sea Eagle is that for the rest of his life, 27 will be hounded by the smaller birds who, as you already know, are very effective in driving the juveniles out of the forest. I hope that Lady and Dad return to the River Roost on the Parramatta River to find 27 so they can feed her.

For all of you celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends, families and/or other loved ones in the USA, have a wonderful day. For those in Canada who celebrated in October, tomorrow is just another day. Take care. Always be thankful. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for its streaming cam where I video captured Bazza and to the Sea Eagles FB Page and Cathy Cook for the update on WBSE 27.

Up Close with Ervie

Port Lincoln gave everyone a real treat today by getting up close and personal with Ervie when he was on the perch.

Alan Poole calls the feet the ‘business end of the osprey.’ You can see the rough sandpaper bottom of the feet that stops the slippery fish from falling off and that reversible toe that swings backwards to hold the fish taut. The hooked talons join the barbs on the bottom of the feet and that amazing reversible toe to give the Osprey or ‘fish eagle’ its advantage when diving for its dinner.

I have never touched an Osprey. Would I like to? Of course, if it didn’t stress them out. If I were to rub the feathers of an osprey, Poole tells me that they would feel oily. The layers of these waterproof feathers really helps this raptor that will be diving (if a male) many times per day during the nesting period to feed his family. Of course, the females fish, too. Some better than their mates.

Ervie has something caught in his beak. It looks like an old piece of fish skin. He has been rooting around in the nest for leftovers ever since Falkey got the breakfast fish. Hopefully that old skin will dislodge.

Ervie’s beautiful juvenile feathers will wear out and will need to be replaced. It is called molting. The osprey has adapted for the feathers to be replaced gradually without disrupting their ability to fly and fish.

As an adult, Ervie will not have that beautiful white tip to his back and wing feathers. The plumage on his head will remain in the same pattern. Sometimes the pattern on the crown of the head is so distinctive that an unringed bird can be identified simply from that formation.

There is Ervie on 4 October. He was only 20 days old. A perfect little reptile waiting for the fish. Ervie was always my focus because he was the third hatch. I believe, however, that is Bazza closest to your screen with Falkey out of view. Ervie loved his fish just like he does now and he always liked to have his breakfast first. He was not shy about getting in the line even if Bazza tried to dissuade him.

Today, however, Falkey seems to be the only one eating. He landed the 06:55 fish. Bazza then found an old piece of fish and Ervie took that (probably what was hanging from his beak). Dad came with another delivery at 09:21 and Falkey got that one, too. This didn’t sit too well with Ervie and it got him a little agitated. Ervie starts fighting with Bazza while Falkey eats away. Both Ervie and Bazza wind up on the deck again. Will this be their time out corner?

Ervie pushes Bazza out of the nest backwards.

These two have been very lucky that they did not go in the water.

Just look at Ervie’s eyes. Bazza may be his sibling, the one who picked on him when he was younger but, I don’t feel any ‘love’ between these two.

By 09:56, some 35 minutes later, both brothers are back on the nest.

Eventually Ervie flies over to the other side of the ropes, Bazza and Falkey are in the nest (surely Falkey cannot eat a third fish), and Mum and Dad are in the shed or man cave. Everyone is screaming at Dad for fish. It reminds me of Emyr Evans saying that Ceri would be screaming her head off at Monty wanting fish and she would be standing on one. Endless pits. These Dads sure need to be fit if they are going to do a good job of providing for these big chicks.

Ervie is no shrinking violet, that is for sure. I am surprised, however, that he struck out at Bazza and didn’t go over and take the fish from Falkey. The day is young. It is not even noon on Sunday 21 November. Lots can still happen. Maybe Ervie will decide to try fishing. Now that would be simply grand.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took these screen captures.

Caring for the Animals and Birds

There has been a real leap forward against animal cruelty. You may recall that several months ago, the home of Chris Packham in the New Forest had its gate burnt and a car set on fire. Packham has been leading the call for a banning of ‘the hunt’ on the grounds of animal cruelty. Today, trail hunting has been banned on all the land owned by Natural Resources in Wales. The amount of land is 362,456 acres or 146,681 hectares.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-59337295

Trail hunting is supposed to involve dogs and hounds following scent without actually harming, chasing, injuring, or killing a fox. It has been proven that this is not always the case and Wales said that they did not have the resources to police the land for those who do not follow the law so they are not outlawing the practice altogether. Recently, Packham demonstrated that one of the riders was unusually cruel to her horse – an incident filmed that went viral. In October, the National Trust in England outlawed trail hunting on its properties as well. This is a great move forward in outlawing any cruelty to animals.

Speaking of cruelty to animals, Animal Nation, has called for people to stop using doves and pigeons at memorial ceremonies. The birds are released and die or if they are lucky wind up in a wonderful centre to receive care. They are not bred to live in the wild. Please tell your friends. No wonder it was so easy for Dad to catch that dove and take it to try and feed his #4 chick at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne.

The text was too long so that I had to take two captures. If you know of anyone considering memorial doves or pigeons, please talk to them, respectfully, about the implications to the birds. This is tragic. Thank you.

Whenever it looks a little dark, there is always someone or a group of people doing a really good thing for the birds and animals. A Place Called Hope posted images of the new osprey platform going up in Branford, Connecticut. A pair of Osprey nicknamed the Pretzel Pair had a poor location for a nest and annual failures. The community hopes that this brand new platform on a telephone pole will attract the couple and that there will be fledglings next summer. How thoughtful!

Wow. A lot can be done when a few dedicated people get together to help our birds. The platform on the pole will be lifted into place tomorrow. Fingers crossed the osprey couple find this to their liking!

It is raining in Port Lincoln. The three lads are wet. This might calm their adrenalin. Falkey is eating the latest fish delivered after Mum retrieved an earlier fish that Bazza got from Dad and that Ervie managed to take later. (They both ate). It felt like a lesson that Mum was teaching them when she swooped in and grabbed that fish. Sadly, it is time to toughen them up for the real world – which I hope is not so full of ospreys that they do not thrive.

Little Yurruga is very interested in what is going on outside and below the scrape. She has given viewers today more than a little scare. It was only a year yesterday that her big brother, Izzi, fell out of the scrape!

For some time now, Cilla Kinross, the main researcher at this scrape box, believed Yurruga to be a female. Now with the fluffy down falling away, Kinross now believes Yurruga is a male. She showed images of Yurruga next to Diamond and said she would expect Yurruga to be much bigger at 41 days and she isn’t.

Do we really care? I think everyone wants a lively, beautiful, and successful falcon – male or female!

I have seen no news on Grinnell or on the release of the WBSE fledgling in Sydney.

Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week. Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cams. That is where I took my screen shots. I would also like to thank A Place Called Hope for the posting and images of the new osprey platform at Branford. That is where I took my information and images.