Breakfast with the Melbourne Four

15 October 2022

The scrape box on the ledge at 367 Collins Street is really teaching us a lot about falcon behaviour this year — or about this particular couple, F22 and M22. To recap, the old mum, F17, was found injured in June and had to be euthanized. Cute little Dad M17 took another mate F22. Four eggs were laid. Then came a territorial crisis with old dad M17 last being seen in September. Since then Male 22 and Female 22 have been incubating and now feeding and brooding the offspring of male 17 and female 22.

The behaviour of the female and, in particular, her penchant for leaving the four eyases in the hot sun at mid-day has caused some concern. Little Dad has tried to shield them as best he could. Little Dad often does a lot of the feeding. Sometimes Mum feeds then broods and Dad comes and feeds again.

Today was peculiar – actually Sunday in Melbourne. Mum flew off at 0602 and returned with a freshly caught pigeon, unplucked. She considered plucking it by the scrape and feeding the chicks but, she changed her mind and flew off with it. She returned more than an hour later with a somewhat plucked bird and went about to feed the eyases and then changed her mind again and left. I wondered if Dad would have to feed them!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, Dad did arrive. He was empty taloned. He recognized that the chicks were ravished. He went over and first found a bone and went about getting anything off of it for them. He then dug around and found a bit more carcass and fed the wee ones. I am seriously starting to wonder if he doesn’t have more maternal instincts than the female.

Dad looked and found every morsel that he possibly could in order to feed the four eyases. In the meantime, they remained civil to one another . This has to be noted. Siblicide, sibling rivalry, beaking abuse, and food competition such as we are seeing at Port Lincoln is almost unheard of in falcon and hawk nests.

Finally, Mum arrives with a big pigeon. She gives a great plucking demonstration to the Melbourne Four who take it all in. I wonder if they thought she might take that bird away, too. But, no, this time, some three and a half hours after breakfast sort of began, the kids were fed. Goodness.

The four eyases were fed and Mum flew off. She has returned. I hope that she stays with the chicks during the heat of the day today.

‘A’ and I continually speak about the need for a shade over this scrape box like the one at the other end. It will surely protect the chicks from the elements as well as the heat of the sun if Mum continues to make it a habit. It would also help in the future. We have a few more days and these eyases will be able to run down the gutter to get in the shade if they are left.

Have a great day everyone. These four are quite full. Now if we can only get a good feeding into Little Bob. That would be a grand Sunday in Australia.

Thank you for being with me. See you soon.

Thank you to 367 Collins Street by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Manton Bay Sadness and other news in Osprey and Falcon World

11 May 2022

I want to start this newsletter with something that is pretty wonderful before we get on to the big story of the day coming out of Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Osprey nest.

Forgive me if I am wrong but it looks to me like Alden is feeding the two chicks at Cal Falcons! Why do I think this is Alden? and why is this such a big deal? Well the left foot has a problem or did something happen to Annie? or is this just nothing and I am seeing things? Annie likes to feed the kids so that is why this is a big deal. But Alden has been nervous and seemingly shy of feeding. So what is going on?

Well this looks like an experienced parent.

The time is 06:03 and I am confused. The adult behaves like Annie but I am confused by the left foot.

At any rate, the chicks are fine. Gosh, golly. Do we have a foot injury on Annie??????? or has Alden suddenly turned into a pro at feeding chicks?

Everyone watching the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya are simply at a loss for words. A large fish came on the nest and flipped from the side over to the top of the nest cup hitting both chicks and the third egg. Just as watchers were stunned so was mum, Maya. Ospreys are used to fish flapping. Indeed, one of the historic reasons that the males eat the heat is to ensure that the fish is dead when they deliver it to the nest. Of course, that is not always the case. It can be a tragedy when day old osplets are on the nest.

One of the chicks has survived. The other was still breathing but was left exposed for a period of time. At 13:17 Blue 33 (11) comes to check on Maya. With what we can only believe as his encouragement, Maya moves the fish out of the egg cup and to the side of the nest where she eats some fish. With the fish out of the egg cup, she gathers both chicks under her to brood. Am I crazy to hope that wee one will survive?

Is the little one stuck under a stick or something? I wonder.

By 14:35 the rain is pouring down on Maya. She has both chicks and the egg under her and is hunkered down. Send your most positive wishes to this Osprey family. Hope for a miracle for that wee babe to come around and for two healthy osplets.

It is 15:30 and the rain has stopped. That is really good news for this Osprey nest. Maya is feeding a chick and eating herself. The other chick is drying off and is still moving but, honestly, it would be a miracle if this one makes it. Still, I hope.

Its little wing was raised up and moving. It is in front of the egg towards us. Maya will cover up both chicks and the egg. Mum is looking a wee better. We must remember that Maya may have had fish flop around in the nest before but she has never had a chick fatally injured by one. She has little time for mourning but did appear stunned and very lethargic when the event happened.

More tragic news has come from the Dahlgren Osprey nest. The third hatch has died. That nest is located at the mouth of the Machodoc and William’s Creek in King George County, Virginia. It is the nest of Jack and Harriet. The creek has had very high water and has flooded in places causing murky fishing for Jack. It is not clear but as of the 8th of May the third hatch was getting little food. It died this morning.

Things are, however, continuing to go well on the Captiva Osprey Nest. Middle Little or Captiva’s Daddy Long legs fledgling has been flying on and off the platform with a very large fish. He is flying like a pro now. So good!

There he goes in the middle to the 8island to enjoy his late breakfast!

After the Ospreys, it is often reassuring to check on the falcons and the hawks.

Everything appears to be fine as the day starts for Annie and Alden and the two eyases at the U-California Berkeley scrape.

All five eyases are alive and either preening or trying to sleep at the Manchester, New Hampshire scrape.

The three chicks at St Mary’s Church in Andover, Hampshire, UK had a really good feed today and all are doing well.

The two at the Indiana & Michigan Power scrape are also fine!

These two are really losing their baby down.

There are still only two eyases at the Utica NY scrape. Both are doing well and with sadness on the nests overall, two energetic chicks is great.

Sadly, there has been a unexplained death of the youngest eyas at the Cromer Peregrine Falcon scrape in the UK. Both chicks were eating fine and developing well. There appeared to be no problem. Sometime between 1315-1430 yesterday the youngest on died. I was not expecting that news. The fact that the chick ate well does not indicate Avian Flu. The owners of the scrape commented on its pale egg and feet thinking that there was something the matter with the wee ones health all along. Condolences go out to all the individuals associated with the Cromer scrape who work so hard to reintroduce the Peregrine Falcons into the UK.

All is well at the Dolina Baryczy Peregrine Falcon nest in Poland.

The chicks ate for a very long time and it was recorded. They look healthy. They are losing their down around the eyes and you can see the feathers coming in on the wings and the tail.

All is well at the nest of Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus in Ithaca. the four eyases are growing like bad weeds, getting their feathers, and starting to spend a lot of time preening. Relief. They are sure taking up a lot of space along that ledge of the lightbox!

Thank you so much for joining me as I continue to monitor the situations at the Manton Bay and UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nests. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: LRWT Manton Bay, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Networks, I & M DNR, Utica Falcons, Sokoi D Baryczy Zdenka, and Cromer Peregrine Falcons.

Sunday in Bird World

8 May 2022

I had a lovely letter from a friend today. Like so many of you, she has tried to watch some of the nests and gotten attached to the birds only to have her heart pulled out when an older sibling shoves them out of the nest or, in other instances, they were starved or killed by beaking or both. It has been a tough year on the nests. Tough even for me.

My friend pulled back and has started watching Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the campus of Cornell and Annie and Alden on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. Her question this morning was simply to clarify that hawks and falcons do not practice siblicide. The answer is that the preponderance of siblicide occurs in eagles (some species more than others), egrets, boobies, herons, pelicans and, I am going to add ospreys to that list. There are lots of reasons, some explored in earlier blogs but, it is safe to say that if you wish to enjoy the birds on the streaming bird cams, falcons and hawks are generally a very safe choice as are ducks and geese. Because the chicks are precocial (are fully feathered, can walk and swim and eat on their own), the ducks and geese need those chicks to hatch all at once. They delay full incubation until the last egg is laid. Robins do that too and so do hawks and falcons. In this way, the older chicks are not that much bigger (normally) than the younger. The ducks and geese and even the raptors need their babies to fledge at the same time. So incubating them so they will hatch together really helps. It is called synchronous hatching (begins hard incubation after the last egg is laid) as opposed to asynchronous hatching where the parent immediately begins hard incubation immediately after the first egg is laid.

Annie makes a kind of chee-up sound when she is ready to put the food in the beak. The chicks learn this. Annie might well give the biggest chick the first few bites but she immediately moves around giving the youngest some. Today, the Peregrine Falcon Mother at the scrape in Oudenaarde, Belgium spent a whole hour making sure that all 5 of her eyases were fed and full. No one left the table hungry. The Mum at the Manchester NH falcon nest also has five eyases. Not one of them went to bed hungry tonight despite their size difference – the smallest had a big crop just like the largest. That is what hawks and falcons do!

A clump of falcons in a feather bed.

The wee one is piled on top of one of the siblings to stay warm.

Here is Annie feeding her two chicks brunch on Mother’s Day! Watch carefully how she feeds the big one several bites, then the small one and then goes back and forth. Annie is a pro. Both are well fed!

And Cal Falcons posted a second feeding just a short time ago. It is really cute. Alden checks in on the babies who see an adult and open their beaks. Alden is so cautious and nervous. He It very happy when Annie arrives with lunch he provided in her beak from the other side of the scrape!

Here is that feeding. It is so cute. Notice how the little one gets full and then gets back up for some more. Falcons eat everything. Nothing is wasted. Some of the first few bites were feathers.

It doesn’t get much better than the Red-tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur at Cornell. Little L4 is growing and surviving and well, I haven’t watched this nest 24/7 but I have not seen any tendencies by the oldest to interfere with the younger ones.

SF Bay Ospreys does not want us to forget about Rosie on Mother’s Day. I adore her and if there is an osprey nest in the US to watch that is stable – Rosie and Richmond in SF are it! —- Oh, and no. Ospreys are not prone to Avian Flu. They eat fish.

Someone dressed Spirit up. LOL. Good thing I don’t have the software to do this!!!!!!! I think Spirit is a Jackie in the making, too.

We all loved Kindness at Glacier Gardens. Many have been watching the nest cam and have been wondering where the eagles , Liberty and Freedom, are. Well, they have built a new nest! Here is the video reveal of that find:

The camera remains off line at the UFlorida-Osprey nest if you have been checking. It is unclear when it will be back on. If it is a mechanical issue it would be difficult since the chicks are older.

The Dale Hollow Eaglets have full crops and are drying off today. These two are doing very well.

Some nest renovations have been going on at the National Arboretum. I don’t think DC9 appreciated some of those branches.

At 2045 there is still no hatch at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Maya is certainly restless tonight.

If you are a fan of Lady and Dad at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest in the Olympic Forest, you will know that the couple have been working on the nest. We are about three weeks away from the first egg being laid.

Where’s Ervie? Looks like he still hanging around the barge area of Port Lincoln. Fine by me!

It has been a busy day at all the nests and throughout different regions as the migratory birds continue to move through. My garden was full of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows again today along with the usuals. The little Chickadee couple love to have a swim!

The Starling was not so pleased when Dyson came along and wanted some of the seeds.

Dyson is trying to try out for the local gymnastics team. Look at her stretch! She is losing her winter fur and the tufts on the end of her ears are gone. Ironically, her tail is much thicker. She is in really good health. Good to see.

I hope that each of you have had a wonderful day today and, hopefully, if you could, got to spend some time outside. It really is energizing – even for a few minutes sitting in the sun. Thank you so much for joining me today. It is a joy to have you here. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Falcon Network, Cornell RTH, Friends of Big Bear Valley, NADC-AEF, DHEC, Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the LRWT.

Early Sunday in Bird World

1 May 2022

Eggs are starting to hatch in some of the European stork nests as well as the falcon nests in North America and the UK. It is a really exciting time for bird lovers of all species. Even the White-bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE) are starting to work on their nest in Sydney, Australia. I cannot believe how fast time flies – like a falcon!

This morning, 1 May, at the nest of Wilma and Wilfried in Lindheim, Germany, the 5 White Stork eggs began to hatch shortly after dawn. Two hatched right away and a third is pipping. Hopefully, the other two will come quickly also. The previous male at this nest, Wilheim, lived to be 30 years old, disappearing in 2020.

Lindheim is a short distance north and slightly west of Frankfurt.

The countryside is gorgeous.

Here is a link to this streaming cam:

Bukachek and Betty have five White Stork eggs at their nest in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic, too. Soon there will be storks hatching everywhere! If you travel to Spain and Portugal you will also see storks everywhere- nests on top of all the buildings! I am told that this is true in parts of Poland – . Storks are symbols of joy and the promise of a bright future. No wonder they are looked after so well and welcomed.

Here is the streaming cam for Bukachek and Betty:

At the Black Stork nest of Karl II and Kaia in the Karula Forest in Estonia, Kaia shows Karl II their fourth egg this morning. Karl II is the banded stork with the transmitter. Kaia is so tiny. This is their second season together. Last year there were three hatches and each fledged.

This is the link to Karl II and Kaia’s streaming cam:

The White-tail eaglets in the Tucholskie Forest in Poland had a big feed resulting in huge crops and sound sleep.

This is the link to this camera:

At the Weissenburg Peregrine Falcon nest, three of the four eggs have hatched. The first hatch was on 12 April quickly followed by the second on the 13th and the third on the 14th. The fourth egg was deemed to be non-viable. The chicks will be ringed when they are older.

Oh, a little cuddle puddle.

This is the link to the streaming cam for the falcons:

That is a quick look at some of the nests in Europe that you may or may not be familiar.

Oh, goodness, you want to see little eyases in the US? There are three – one newly hatched – at the Manchester, New Hampshire scrape! So cute…There is one more egg to hatch but it might not. There is no pip. And sometimes only one out of three or four falcon eggs hatch. The smallest wee babe hatched during the early morning hours and is already dry while the others know to hold those pink beaks high and keep them open for food

Here is the link to the falcon streaming cam in Manchester, NH:

There are also two eyases at the falcon scrape in Utica. These two hatched on the 27th of April. You can see how quickly they have grown compared to the wee ones at Manchester. Cute.

Here is the link to the streaming cam at Utica, NY:

It is early morning in Captiva and Middle (Little) is waiting in his tree perch for Andy to bring a fish to the nest. Squint. It is the tree in front of the palm and Middle Little is at 3 o’clock. Just a tiny white dot.

Big Red and Arthur have already had a change in brooding. Gosh, Big Red must get ‘stiff’ hunched over those four wiggly eyases all night.

Just look at Arthur! Lots of people doubted if he would be able to cover all those chicks. Arthur, you look like a pro!

Breakfast for the Ls as the sun rises.

It is raining in many parts of the US and the three eaglets at the Pittsburgh-Hayes nest are positively soaked this morning.

Mum is trying to keep the two at the US Steel Irwin Plant nest dry – but the poor babies aren’t babies anymore!

It looks like it is a little wet at the Dale Hollow Bald Eagle nest where Big and Middle are waiting for breakfast to arrive.

It is raining at the site of the Minnesota DNR Bald Eagle nest of Nancy and ‘missing’ Harry. There is only one eaglet on the nest. Yesterday, E1 shoved E2 off the nest. Its injuries were such that it had to be euthanized.

The male, Harry, disappeared Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, Nancy caught a huge fish and brought it to the nest. Both of the eaglets were full as was Mum. She has, as far as I know, not been able to hunt since then. This means that E1 and Nancy have not eaten since Wednesday. There is an intruder that is stopping Nancy from leaving her eaglet. — This could turn into a very sad situation quickly for all.

Nancy tried to feed her only eaglet from the old bones in the nest yesterday.

She has found something this morning. Wet and continuing sadness, possibly.

The two surviving osplets at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest are getting their beautiful juvenile feathers. Both are eating and the tension at the nest does not appear to have returned.

If you missed the Ventana Wildlife Society’s Zoom chat a few days ago, they have archived that discussion about the California Condors. They are in the process of rebuilding the ‘pen’ at Big Sur after the Dolan fire two years ago. Redwood Queen has an egg that could hatch any moment and much more news.

This is the latest tracking received on our sweetie pie, Ervie. He made a visit to Boston Island on the 29th! Wow. Ervie still hangs around the hotel and his favourite tree in Port Lincoln most of the time. I wonder how that talon of his is growing and healing? Ervie, if you could pay a visit to the barge we might be able to check! It sure would be nice to see you.

And last for this morning but absolutely never the least – the Peregrine Falcon scrape at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. It is the home of Annie and Alden (and 2 eggs of Grinnell’s). Cal Falcons likes data and they are predicting, from past experience, when Annie’s eggs will hatch.

Now I cannot be there but if you live in the San Francisco area, why not join Sean and Lynne and all the other CalFalcon lovers on 6 May? It looks like fun!

The ground in southern Manitoba is soaked and the water in the rivers continues to climb. Deer are trying to find dry ground, many walking along the railway lines that are slightly higher, in search of a spot and some food. Some communities are completely flooded. So far we have managed to keep the bird seed relatively dry in the garden despite the rain. The migrating birds continue to arrive and this includes the Ospreys that were spotted yesterday.

Our mayor, Brian Bowman, posted some images from inside the floodway yesterday. Some individuals are having trouble with seepage and flooding – I am fine. Thank you for all of your concern but so far, so good! This is a view of our downtown area facing St Boniface, the wonderful French area of our City. That large building is the Human Rights Museum.

@Brian Bowman Mayor’s Office

If I missed your favourite nests, I will try and include them in the next report. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, MN-DNR, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Pix Cams, Mayor Brian Bowman FB, DHEC, Cal Falcons, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Bielik Online Bory Tucholskie, Storchennest Lindheim, Ziva Kamera Mlade Buky, Utica Falcons, Peregrine Networks, Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB, and Eagle Club of Estonia.

Early Tuesday in Bird World

26 April 2022

Monday the 25th: It is going to be a long nite for the eaglet, TH1, of Chase and Cholyn. The eaglet attached itself to Cholyn’s talons around 14:35 on Monday and fell – thankfully not directly into the sea but, luckily onto a tiny ledge on the cliff face. Dr. Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies is looking for someone to help him rescue the eaglet in the morning. It just needs to hold on. How easy this is to do is unknown to me. The ledge is not wide. It will also be a long night for all those worried for the eaglet. It is, however, in the best hands that any eaglet could have. Dr Sharpe will do anything for the birds that is in his power.

The wee one lasted through the night. Let us all send positive energy to help it hang on and not tire out until Dr Sharpe and his volunteer can reach it and do the rescue.

The eaglet is on the ledge directly above the word ‘Institute’.

The three at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta are fine. The chick that is clinging to the cliff is Chase and Cholyn’s at Two Harbours.

It has, indeed, been a long three weeks that awakens us to all of the perils that our feathered friends face. Grinnell, the male at The Campanile scrape and mate of Annie, was killed within a mile of home probably chasing an intruder, a juvenile female. The three Denton Homes eaglets most likely died of H5N1 on the 23rd.

iThe male adult has returned to the nest and is roosting on a branch above the remains of two of the nestlings. He looks to be in good health. The female consumed one of the carcasses. It is hoped that it has done her no harm.

Little Bit at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest died from starvation induced by siblicide sometime between 18:32 on the 24th and the morning of the 25th. Little or MiniO fledged or was fludged by wind gusts at Captiva on the 23rd and has not been seen since. The biological chick at the Pink Shell Osprey nest died from siblicide brought on by the addition of a larger foster chick to the nest. The third hatch at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest is small with two big siblings and is being (sometimes) kept from eating even when food remains on the nest (I have not included this nest in my blog). Siblicide is perhaps more widespread than is recognized. The list goes on and on with many, many more eagles, geese, ducks, hawks, and falcons dying daily of H5N1. It is easy to feel completely helpless.

We cannot, however, become complacent. First, we have to savour the good moments and appreciate the birds that are alive and we owe it to them and their children to create a better place. Each of us in our way can help. Perhaps you can help by getting barbless hooks mandated or if you know a fishing friend or family member, ask them to cut the barbs off. When I lived in England no one used barbed hooks. It really does help the fish from enduring pain and suffering. Organize a clean up – get some gloves or a picker and set out to clean up all the pandemic masks that have been tossed at a local park or in your neighbourhood. Remember we should cut the ear loops. Lobby in any way you can the use of lead in hunting and fishing equipment. Make it known how dangerous rodenticide is to domestic pets and raptors – get it banned. Find accurate information about the Avian Flu and how it is spreading. Consider eating less meat or eating locally raised chickens, etc as opposed to factory farmed ones. If you can afford it, drink certified bird friendly coffee. Feed the birds. Plant bird and insect friendly plants in your garden. Keep the cats indoors. The list is endless.

I have not brought recent news from some of the European nests so I want to do a hop and skip through many of them while I am waiting for tomorrow.

The White Storks at the nest in Armenia have at least four little storklets so far.

Here is the link to the camera:

Two things about this nest. There is some plastic sheeting that has been brought in that makes it difficult to see the storklets. Secondly, if it turns out that 7 or 8 storklets hatch or even 4 or 5 and the parents do not feel that they can adequately feed them based on the current availability of food, they do not let them have a prolonged starvation on the nest like Little Bit had to endure (along with the physical trauma that little osplet went through). No, the adult storks will pick out the weakest and drop them off the side of the nest. Death is instant. It often traumatizes viewers but, what is more traumatic? a chick being physically beaked, plucked, thrown about and starved for days? or this? I pick the stork method.

The RSPB has its first Goshaw streaming cam in Scotland. Hatch watch is the 23rd of May. Today, while the female was incubating her eggs, a Buzzard attacked the nest. It lasted less than 17 seconds.

Goshawks are beautiful creatures that live a rather solitary life in the forest. They are large hawks with rounded wings and a banded tail. The eyes of the adults are red. Their bluish slate coloured plumage is gorgeous; they have a dark crown. There is a bit of a white band and then a dark band extending from the beak through the eye to the back of the neck. No doubt this helps with glare when hunting. The raptors are quick often luring their prey into the forest.

The Goshawk returned to its nest after ridding its territory of the Buzzard.

Here is the link to this new RSPB nest.

Are you fans of Idris and Telyn at the Dyfi nest? Telyn has just broke the nest record for the laying of eggs! I adore this couple. In the past five years she has laid three eggs each season for a total of 15 eggs from 2018-2022. The previous record holder was Glesni who laid 13 eggs in a five year period.

At the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G, Mrs G has now laid her 60th egg. That is going to be a record very hard to beat. Mrs G is incubating and Aran is on the perch.

Mum and Dad have been coming and going to the barge at Port Lincoln.

I have not seen any mention of any Ervie visits lately. His tracking from the 25th of April shows him traveling to the marina and to an area known as Delamere.

It would seem that Ervie has found a very good area to fish and roost. So nice to know that he is alive and doing well.

There has been no more discussion at the Cornell Bird Lab about the pip in the 4th egg. Perhaps it did not make it. The three Ls are doing great and Big Red will not have to deal with trying to get four wee ones under her if the weather gets poorly.

These three are utterly adorable.

Send all good energy over to Two Harbours for strength for the little one and a quick rescue! Here is a link to that camera in case you do not have it.

One last thing before I go. If you go where there are ducks and geese – as at a park – please understand that the Avian Flu can be spread by both footwear and car tires. While this might pertain to factory farming of chicks where delivery trucks and workers go in and out, it is very appropriate to try and help. H5N1 is spread through feces and mouth droolings (or so I am told). It is now in the far western province of Canada where free range chickens have been dying off.

Take care everyone. I hope to be able to bring wonderful news about the West End nest soon. It is nice to have you here with us – with the good news as well as the challenging.

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors this morning. I have had to write this in a bit of a rush this morning.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures and video clip: RSPB Goshaw Nest, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Explore.org, Denton Homes, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, and NABU.

Everything is just fine

I just watched the Dad at the Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape trying to feed a huge piece of pigeon to “the four”. He tried several beaks to see if any of them could handle it and then ate some and tried again. Bingo! Then he did it again. Bingo! These two are just amazing – the parents. It is a lot of work to feed 4 instead of the usual 3. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when each one wants their own pigeon! Makes me tired thinking about it.

The eyases are able to eat larger and larger pieces of meat.

Ah, so sweet. Open wide.

Here are some pictures of a beautiful mom a few hours earlier. The eyases have doubled in size. It is getting more difficult to brood them.

Notice how careful Mum is raising her leg to get off of the eyases, turn, and get to the ledge to take a break.

Whew. Oh, just look at how big those the chicks are that are sitting straight. If Victor Hurley could get to the scrape box and weigh and measure the wings of the eyases next week, he might have a good idea which are female and which are male. This, of course, will not happen. He does not wish to disturb them in any way. But a Peregrine Specialist can from those two measurements differentiate between the males and females at that early age. For us, when they are about 24 days old we should be able to tell the males from the females. The females are approximately 50% larger. According to the research, even though the females are so much larger they do not substantially require more food than the males, just about 25% more.

Ah, you will often see them playing with one another’s beaks. Beaks of course mean food! They will not hurt one another. They are much stronger today than they were yesterday and you will continue to see significant growth and strength.

Cutie Pies.

And, yes, all four are there! It is 22 degrees C in Melbourne. That is 71.6 in F. A really nice warm day.

Mom is taking another break. Sometimes if you listen very carefully you can hear Dad calling her. She has to eat, too, and Dad is in charge of filling the pantry. She will often pick up the food for the chicks and bring it to the nest.

You will notice that the parents do not normally leave food in the nest. You will also see Mum eating bits of old food left in the scrape. She doesn’t want to attract insects or anything that could harm the chicks. That level of cleanliness has evolved for millions of years.

Mom has now been gone for 12 minutes (my current screen time). The chicks are nice and toasty stacked up on one another on a beautiful warm Melbourne Day. Rest assured, the adults are not far away. There is someone nearby at all times despite the fact that there really are no predators in the area.

The Port Lincoln Osplets had their first feeding at 9:00:06. It was a really nice fish and very one was stuffed, leaving the table with a nice crop.

Just look at that crop on the chick in the foreground. My goodness. By my reckoning that is Little Bob. He might have had a bit of trouble getting into the right spot yesterday but it certainly looks like he did well this morning.

A half hour later and the chicks are still working on that fish.

Right before 9:30, the fish is completely finished. There is nothing left. One of the older siblings is looking at Mom. You can see their nice crop, too. Little Bob is the one with its head near Mom’s tail.

The second fish of the day arrived on the nest at 12:02. It was entirely consumed and the feeding fished at 12:20. My goodness.

The chicks are all lined up nicely for Mum. Everyone will be fed and the feeding will end with each of the three having a crop. If you are just joining us and are wondering what the word ‘crop’ means, it is like a pre-stomach stomach storage area in raptors. They can ‘drop their crop’ when they need food and energy. It really helps because out in the real world, away from mom and dad feeding them, the birds might not be so successful at fishing or hunting. This way if there is plenty they can eat lots and kind of store it for when there isn’t.

Little Bob is in the middle. You can see the ‘dot’ on his head in the image above and the stripe down his back is not as wide as the two older siblings. The length of the copper-red feathers coming in on the head and neck appears to be the same length now on all three. The tail feathers of the older two are longer.

At the end of the feeding the three were still lined up as they had been. This nest is so civil. Just causes smiles, big ones.

Oh, this has been such a great year to watch. Last year this nest was the one that almost made me stop watching Ospreys altogether. I am mystified but overjoyed. The only explanation is the closeness in the hatch. No one of the osplets is significantly smaller than the other- or the reverse, none is significantly larger than the others. Not like Tapps and Solly. In this instance, Little Bob is also tenacious and has not let Big Bob’s occasional attempts at dominance rattle him in any way.

In this short blog, so far, you have read about two Australian Birds. The Guardian newspaper out of London, UK is holding its voting for Australia’s Bird of the Year. You do not have to be Australian to vote. I will post the link. Please note that the Peregrine Falcon is still in contention! There is no Osprey to vote for but the Galah is still in contention. There are many other birds and you might have a different one you like. It doesn’t cost anything and every day some birds are knocked out of the competition. You can vote every 24 hours til the end. Please take part. It is a bit of fun!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/sep/27/australian-bird-of-the-year-2021-vote-now-for-your-favourite

Also mark 9 October on your calendar. That is the big e-Bird count for the fall that helps in understanding where the birds are with regard to migration. Last year Cornell reported that 32,000 people from around the world submitted 80,400 check lists with 7, 128 species observed.

I am certainly curious about this year’s migration because today it was 28 degrees in my City today. That is a temperature that years ago we never even hit in the summer. It has become more normal over the past four years but not digging into October. So please do take part. Here is the information and instructions on how to do so.

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2021

It is hatch watch for the Orange Falcons, Xavier and Diamond. Diamond has been letting Xavier do some of the incubating today. I hope she is spending some time enjoying herself in the sun. These two parents are going to be really busy very soon.

Royal Albatross male, OGK, spent the night on Taiaroa Head waiting for his mate YVR to arrive for the 2021-22 breeding season. Oh, he is such a handsome but sweet male. The amount of time and care he gave to his daughter, Miss Pippa Atawhai, when she was the Royal Cam chick a year ago won the hearts and minds of anyone who saw them together. He never rushed when he came to feed her. Always doing more than a few skycalls, OGK would often sit with his chick for long periods of time preening her and chatting. Sometimes he would even sleep!

It will be a joyous occasion when the two are reunited after being apart since before Miss Pippa Atawhai – their daughter and the 2020 Royal Cam Chick – fledged last September. I think OGK is anxious for his sweetie to arrive. Send all the positive wishes for this amazing couple. Maybe the NZ DOC will decide to have OGK and YRK has the Royal parents again this year. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Take care everyone. It is getting late and I want to go and check out my book on duck ID. Thank you for joining me. Stay safe, watch the birds and be joyful! Vote for your favourite Australian bird and be sure to register for the big bird count!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC.

Incredible

The weather in Port Lincoln, Australia deteriorated further with winds blowing at 47 kph around noon with even stronger gusts. The humidity is 74% and it is 14 degrees C.

The little ospreys were fed at 7:00:33 and again with the same fish returned at 8:09:50.

Dad delivered a whopper of a fish at 11:20:11 for the third feeding. Just look at the size of that nice fish. Little Bob is staring. It looks like his eyes are going to pop out! I bet he is already calculating where to get in the feeding line. Right now it looks like Big Bob is eating first. That is Middle Bob kinda’ slumped over. He still has a crop from the earlier feeding and he looks like he would rather sleep than eat.

That is an amazing fish. Thanks, Dad.

Nothing has changed in those three seconds. Little Bob is still staring and Big Bob is still eating.

Well, you can see from the image below, taken 29 minutes later, that not only did Little Bob figure out where to sit at the table but he has already been fed enough to make a nice sized crop. Middle Bob seems to have woken up and is ready to eat, too. Of all the chicks, Middle Bob seems to be terribly laid back for a raptor.

Thirty-eight minutes later and the only one remaining at the table is – yes, you guessed it – Little Bob. This kid can sure pack away the food. And he doesn’t seem to stop when he is full but keeps on going if there is fish to be eaten.

Speaking of fish. Look! There is hardly any fish left. What a feeding.

It had to be difficult trying to feed the chicks in such wind gusts. Can you believe it? Little Bob is still at the table, still eating.

Little Bob has one of those nice big crops that looks as if it would feel rock solid if you touched it. Of course, Little and Big are still waiting to see if there is any fish left. Middle Bob is out! Meanwhile, Mom has also gotten to eat some good pieces. She needed fish. That huge fish fed the entire family very well.

Little Bob is certainly doing well and can hold its own on this nest as long as Dad keeps getting the food in. He is certainly growing.

Everyone is full. Mom is holding those babies down tight on that nest – as tight as she can. The trouble is trying to get them all under! Look at that tail and those big feet. These osplets are doing well.

Let’s keep their hatch dates in mind. Big Bob on 13 September 22:03, Middle Bob on 14 September 02:30, and Little Bob 16 September 00:51. Little Bob is 51 hours younger than Big Bob. Today, Big Bob is three weeks old.

As you can see the chicks are getting their feathers. The rusty-gold-coppery ones (I often call them peach) are coming in nicely on the head and neck. You can see in the image above, the feathers starting on the wings and the little tails. Those feathers are often called ‘blood feathers’. Feathers need blood to grow. The blood quills will disintegrate once the feathers push through that quill. The flight feathers on the wings and tail will be the last to appear. The chicks are already doing some preening and, indeed, will spend a substantial amount of their time cleaning those feathers. Some researchers say as much as 70% of their time is spent working on their feathers. Right now we are in a rapid growth period where the size of the chicks is continually doubling with the feathers growing and the muscles in the legs and the wings developing. They seem to change their appearnance almost before our eyes. Most times it is hard to differentiate one from another.

The Collins kids are doing well, too. Here is a good look at all four of them from this morning:

This is an image from their last feeding about a half hour ago. No worries here either. Eyes are all open, everyone keeps their head up nice and high for food, and Dad is really cutting down on the number of pigeons in the area.

It is early afternoon for these Australian bird families. It is late on the Canadian prairies. I always sleep better when I know that all of the ‘babies’ have eaten. Take care everyone. Continue all those powerful positive thoughts you have been sending to Port Lincoln during this period of bad weather. It is obviously working!!!! See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Fastest on the planet

The arrival of the fourth eyas at the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon nest took everyone by surprise. Looking carefully, viewers proclaimed a fourth head bobbing about – and they were right. I have no idea when during the night this little one entered the world but all are happy. Parents are busy brooding and feeding!

“Wake up everyone. You have to eat some more pigeon so you will grow big and strong.”

Wakey, wakey!!!!!!

“But, Dad, we just ate. That doesn’t matter darling. Your mother told me to feed you often so no one is hungry.”

“That’s right. Open wide.”

Some of the eyases have their eyes open today.

Ah, beautiful mom with her four babies tucked under her.

Those four little fluff balls will become the fastest animal on the planet. They can fly 390 kmh. The chicks will become ‘flying predators’. It is hard to imagine but before we blink, they will have fledged. Their parents feed them til they can hunt successfully. Then Mum and Dad will do what all birds of prey do – send the kids out on their own to establish their own territory. As far as Dr Victor Hurley, head of the Victorian Peregrine Falcon Project, knows, this couple is the only one in downtown Melbourne. Imagine.

Peregrine falcons were used for hunting in the medieval era. In England, they were called ‘falcon gentle’. Frederick II (1194-1250, Holy Roman Emperor, rated the peregrine falcon as being as good as the best gyrafalcon. Peregrine falcons are 35-51 cm long and have a wingspan of 79-114 cm. The females weigh 740 grams to 1.3 kilos while the smaller male is from 550-750 grams. English kings used the peregrine falcon for hunting herons, cranes, ducks, and rooks.

Here is a great video (8 minutes) about the falcons.

To test the speed of a peregrine falcon against a new generation of electric racing cars, a contest was set up. Have a look:

It is such a privilege for us to be able to watch these four chicks grow into masters of the skies. I love falcons!

Updating news on the Port Lincoln Ospreys. Dad brought in a late night feed yesterday at 18:24:55. He had another fish on the nest this morning early, at 6:09:52. Those three are doing just fine!

Thank you for joining me today. Why don’t you check in on the falcons? Here is the link:

Take care everyone! Tomorrow I will introduce you to some of the visitors to the garden today.

Thank you to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac where I took my screen shots.

Lots happening in Bird World and it is just Tuesday!

My goodness. Monday and moving into Tuesday in the UK turned out to be a blur. Mrs G officially had her and Aran’s first hatch at Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales at 00.08 18 May. Mrs G, with her great experience – this is her 47th hatch – removed half of the shell. Good work, Mom. You can see the little Osprey to the left of the white egg – that sweet little stripe down its back.

There is Aran coming to check out how Mrs G and Q1 are doing in the early morning. Mrs G told him it won’t be long til Q2 is here – there is a big crack in that egg.

Little Q1 wanting some more fish. Oh, goodness. Not even 24 hours old and look how strong!

Here is the link to watch Aran and Mrs G with what will soon be the two Qs.

NC0 had her first hatch ever! The little one just needs mom to nudge that shell a bit. It has a really loud cheep that can be heard on the microphone under the nest cup.

And here is the little one getting its first feeding! So tiny.

No one gives the Ospreys a manual and it takes time to get to know how to feed a bobble head. I remember aching every time I saw Anna feeding Kisatchie at the Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. Now Kisatchie is ready to fledge – it all worked out. Nessie (Blue NC0) is trying hard to connect with the little one to feed it and Laddie (LM12) seems to understand he is to deliver fish. Fingers crossed. I am certain they will have the feeding all sorted quickly before number two arrives.

Here is the link if you would like to check out this nest.

White YW (male) and Blue 35 (female) celebrate the arrival of the first hatch of 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria.

There is a lot of excitement at the Poole Harbour Nest and ironically, I was just reading through Roy Dennis’s account of when they were first setting up the nests at the most opportune locations in Poole Harbour in his new book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding our skies, woods, and waterways. It is very interesting how they use Google Earth to help pick out the best places for the artificial nests.

CJ7 flew in with a fish and lo and behold, there is a male. It is Blue 022. They have been seen mating on the camera pole. Late eggs?

Another nice view of female CJ7 with her catch. Oh, the folks at Poole Harbour would be elated if there was a new pair at this nest! Blue 022 is a 2019 translocated Osprey.

The Cal Falcons need a name and the folks at UC Berkeley have narrowed down the field from 650 suggestions. If you would like to vote to name Annie and Grinnell’s vivacious boys, please go to the link below. There they provide information on the names submitted and then you just choose three. Why now join in the fun?

https://calfalcons.berkeley.edu/names/

Here is Grinnell giving the three their morning breakfast. They were fantastic for their dad, all lined up and being nice. Sometimes they run all over the place when Annie tries to feed them later in the day. Nice, healthy falcons!

You can catch the action here when they are inside:

And this is the link to the outside camera:

Oh, those babies of Big Red and Arthur’s get more adorable every day – even with their pin feathers starting to show. Glad to see Arthur snagged a chipmunk for the gang. Did you realize there is a shortage of chipmunks in 2021? It isn’t just Ithaca – across the state of New York. I also wonder about squirrels. Did Arthur wipe out the colonies of squirrels and chipmunks last year when he delivered 2x the normal amount of prey to the nest? It has to take many more Starlings – and I understand that hawks and falcons don’t particularly like Starlings. Wish for a chippie!

They are sure growing but immediately you can still tell which is K1, K2, or K3. Oh, the little wings and tails.

The little ones at The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah Ospreys) are doing great. It is easy to tell them apart. The youngest one has a very dark breast. That one struggled for awhile but the feeding has levelled out and both are fed well and growing. This morning the youngest decided to try walking for the first time! Wow. What a milestone! These two have beautiful peach in their plumage.

Checking in on Iris, she brought in an amazing catch yesterday at 12:45 pm. She could hardly pull it into the nest and then she decided to fly off with it to the pole.

Iris already had a pretty full crop when she caught this one. She has to be the envy of everyone there on the river in Missoula.

Iris is such a beauty. I wonder if she remembers how nice it was to have Stanley for a mate? someone to share these precious moments with? to help her with the eggs and the chicks? Those are, of course, human questions but, you can’t help but notice when a chick is born how quickly the female wants to show it to the male. Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, is much loved – by tens of thousands.

Iris is not tied to her eggs. Thank goodness. She spent the night on the perch and did not go down to the nest til 8:44 am and was gone by 9:06. She is taking care of herself this year knowing that a single parent cannot raise a family of Ospreys. It is very interesting to me. I would love to have a coffee with Iris and hear what she thinks about Louis! Can humans learn Osprey speak? Probably not. It remains a great unfortunate in the Osprey World that Louis has two nests and that he doesn’t have the energy of Monty to try and keep both thriving.

It won’t be long until Tiny Tot fledges. He is getting a lot of good height and is exercising those wings.

Tiny and Diane are waiting for a fish delivery. The pair enjoyed a late night delivery the other day from Jack and were eating well into the night. It is hot and windy in St Petersburg today, 30 degrees C. Fishing might not be that good.

Tiny has grown into a beautiful osprey. Such joy he has brought to everyone who cheered this little one being clever and wanting to live. It is one of those good news stories from 2021 for sure.

Legacy is still with us! Samson brought in two fish today for her – two at the same time! This is really amazing as there is a high rip tide warning for the coast between Jacksonville and Georgia.

Samson waits and protects Legacy while he eats.

We are so lucky to have this extra time with Legacy. He has not strayed since he was missing for three days. That must have been very scary. Samson is doing a great job feeding Legacy and keeping him on the nest.

Thank you so much for joining me today. We are once again on hatch watch at the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G. If I look at the other potential hatches in the UK, things are getting busy. It is difficult to keep up.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, UC Falcon Cam, Poole Harbour, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Nest Hopping

We are getting some really good looks at the California condor egg in Redwood Queen’s nest tree in Big Sur, California. This is the same tree that Red Wood Queen raised Pasquale and Iniko with her long time mate, King Pin. King Pin is believed to have perished in the Dolan Fire in 2020.

Redwood Queen 190 and Phoenix 477 have been taking turns incubating the egg. We will be looking for a hatch in four days time – on April 24.

Did you know that on Easter Sunday in 1987 the last living California condor was captured and taken into captivity? Today, thirty-four years later condors are being released and living in the wild again. After the fire in 2020, there are 9 missing condor including Redwood Queen’s old mate, King Pin. There are 90 California condors living in Central California and 507 in total. Those numbers show the success of the captive breeding programme that Ventana Wildlife Society and the USFWS undertook three decades ago. Seeing Redwood Queen who was born in captivity lay another egg in her burnout Redwood Tree just puts a smile on your face!

Everything seems to be fine on The Landings Savannah Osprey Nest. The two little ones are growing and had crops this morning. As everyone knows, I am hoping that the third egg is not viable. These two are great and mom and dad can handle them easily.

Two little ones waiting for breakfast. 20 April 2021

The three little Peregrine Falcon eyasses of Annie and Grinnell’s are just adorable. They are growing and getting feisty. Grinnell has been very busy catching the local pigeons and turning them into raptors. Everything is fine on this nest. Watch for the hatching of the fourth egg tomorrow!

Cute. 20 April 2021

Open wide! Peregrin falcons make a ‘clicking’ sound alerting the eyases that it is time to open wide and eat.

Time for pigeon! 20 April 2021

The sun is going down on Loch Arkaig and, as yet, there is no news of Aila returning.

Louis continues to bring in moss for the nest. 20 April 2021

All of the nests in the UK that have eggs on them are doing great. NC0 is incubating at Loch of the Lowes – what a gorgeous place for a nest! Just like that of Annie and Grinnell who are in the penthouse of the Campanile at Berkeley.

NC0 and Laddie have three eggs! 20 April 2021

Over in Wales at the Dyfi Nest, Idris is showing off his amazing fishing skills to Telyn (Blue 3J). Wow. Apparently, Monty, Idris’s predecessor was also good at catching two fish at the same time. It’s great. Idris and Telyn can have dinner together!

20 April 2021. Idris landing with 2 fish!

Tiny Tot is enjoying the view and his nice full stomach from the feeding this morning. Or in my world, I am not going to start to worry about him again for another day or so – Tiny Tot is a miracle!

There he is looking out at the traffic below. His tail is coming in nicely.

Have a terrific day everyone. Take care, stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Florida, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest, Woodland Trust and People’s Postcode Lottery, Dyfi Nature Reserve, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Ventana Wildlife Society and Explore.org.