Wednesday in Bird World

16 March 2022

Wow! What the morning. The two surviving chicks at the Captiva Osprey nest chirping for fish and Grinnell – finally – bringing Annie a gift of prey!!! You know the only way it could get better is if the Ravens would leave both Jackie & Shadow and Thunder & Cheta alone and if Little Bit at Dale Hollow grew ‘a mile’ overnight.

Peregrine Falcons. If you are new to this species, the female – in this case Annie – expects the male to delivery her prey and prove that he can take care of her and the chicks before she is ever going to lay any of his eggs!!!!! Well, Grinnell finally did that this morning. He had better sweeten the pot with several more nice fat pigeons! I have a feeling that Grinnell was in Annie’s ‘dog house’ for some reason.

CalFalcons did a video of the first prey offering. All of this is part of the mating and breeding rituals of the falcons. Notice how Grinnell is bowed in submission to his mate, Annie.

There will be several more Peregrine Falcon streaming cams coming on line. One of those is The Wakefield Peregrine Falcons in the UK. Here is the link to the camera.

If you are familiar with Ospreys and Eagles you might find it odd that Falcons prefer shallow areas with gravel called a ‘scrape box’ to lay their eggs. The female will ‘scrape’ in the box making a slight indentation for the eggs. These scrape boxes – now on high buildings and skyscrapers – mimic the traditional cliffs where the falcons bred. They have adopted to the urban landscape and are doing well in most instances. There are many challenges for them including traffic, cars, rodenticide secondary poisoning, and windows that rural falcons do not have.

Oh, the two remaining osplets on the Captiva nest look really good today. Here they are with big crops and it is 16:08 nest time. Andy and Lena are decidedly having to adjust the fish deliveries now that Big is no longer with us. Andy came in with another Ladyfish this morning before I went for my walk and Lena had most of a Ladyfish left from an earlier feeding. Even so, both chicks and Lena were full and happy.

I am anything but an expert on H5N1, the highly pathogenic strain of Avian Flu. I have, however, observed younger eaglets die from the virus on the nest and those chicks were not hungry. So the fact that these two are joyfully eating gives me real hope.

Lena went for her spa and returned to feed Middle and Little. Have a look at Little’s crop. I know it is big in the image above but look now. He is going to pass out in a food coma momentarily!

Popping crops is what it looks like.

Yeap. He is out for the count.

That Little Bit at Dale Hollow is really tiny. The difference in size between it and the eldest is quite unbelievable. Little Bit is still alive and has energy to scoot all around the nest. I am having trouble catching River or Obey feeding the three today but the last capture I took of them, Little Bit looks good.

Big has become a ‘couch potato’ of sorts preferring to sleep on the new hay brought to the nest. Wonder what Little Bit sees in the distance?

Will Little Bit be the smallest male eaglet from the region? Have a look at this really short video of it flapping its tiny little wings. What a sweetheart.

Thunder and Akecheta have been taking turns brooding their three chicks at the West End Bald Eagle nest on Catalina Island. I have not seen any new prey on the nest today – just the remains of the Cormorant. It is still early there! 13:52. Plenty of time for several fish to be brought in to the nest. Thunder is brooding so maybe Akecheta is out hunting.

Akecheta is getting better and better at feeding the three and also knows that it is good to saliva feed them as well so they get more hydration. It is really hot on that nest on Catalina Island.

The wing tags were put on as part of a research project so the birds that were introduced to this region could easily be identified. Akecheta still has his; Thunder has lost hers. They are meant to fall off eventually. That project to reintroduce eagles into the area began in the 1980s.

Akecheta shading his chicks from the hot California sun.

Thunder getting a chance to brood her chicks.

The little eaglet at the Big Bear Valley Bald Eagle Nest of Jackie and Shadow has been fed 5 times already. The last feeding was at 13:05 and one fish has been delivered to that nest by Shadow. There are various other items of prey there as well.

I wonder if that little one is hot?

How cute. They all look different. This one is simply a little sweetheart taking care of its ‘eggie’ once in awhile.

It is a beautiful day at Big Bear Lake. Jackie is as gorgeous as ever.

Sad news from the Kakapo Recovery coming today. Lung infections are the major killer of these non-flying parrots. The area they live in is also very damp.

The ‘baby’ at Berry College, B15, is no longer a baby. This morning he completely ate a fish by himself. Missy brought in a squirrel later and fed him and now, late afternoon, she has returned and is feeding B15 some more squirrel. This eaglet is doing great. So nice to see.

Two really beautiful eaglets at the WRDC nest. It is good to remember back when R2 had a really difficult time and we were worried that it would not survive. Look at both of them today. Rita and Ron sure have two gorgeous kids!

The weather is so much better here. The temperatures are around +2 C. The snow is melting and today the light was ‘bright’. I went for my walk determined to triple the distance that I normally try to do. When I finished I had done more than I wanted and, by the time I got to my car, really felt it. There was something wonderful about being out in the woods in the silence broken now and again by the honking of returning Canada Geese.

The resident pair of Bald Eagles was across the lake. I did manage to get their silhouettes against that bright sky.

I wish I could do calligraphy like the beautiful lines of the old bull rushes.

Nature is a much better artist than I would ever be!

The board walk looked particularly lonely today waiting for the ice to thaw.

The nature centre has set up a ‘Winter Bird Feeding Station’ as part of a bequest. What a wonderful idea. There were several benches to sit on, different kinds of feeders, and an illustrative board showing the birds, their names, and a little information about them. It was a nice place to stop and rest but the Black-capped Chickadees did not like me there. They would not come and eat so I quickly departed. Maybe having benches for observers is not a good idea – just food for the birds.

There are other feeders nearer to the building where you enter. Today I only saw the chickadee and the nuthatch. But I want you to notice the cords hanging in front of the windows. I tried to describe them one day. The cords are on wooden slats that are attached to the outside of the windows. They do not bother the view from the inside but they definitely prevent window strike.

I went to check on Captiva and everything is just fine. Middle seems to be finding its way to being the biggest on the nest. He is a beautiful bird. The nest ‘feels’ peaceful. Perhaps Little and Middle are little boys.

You cannot see Little (or Mini)’s head; he is to the right of Lena. You can see its fat bottom and those lovely velvet-like pantaloons. Middle is sound asleep. Lena was calling Andy for another fish delivery before bed. Life on the Captiva nest looks good.

Wish for a lot of fish at the Dale Hollow Lake nest of River and Obey – add to that a tandem feeding by Mum and Dad so that each chick goes to bed full. That would really help Little Bit. The others have their thermal down but it does not have all of its and it really needs cuddling or brooding on the cold evenings.

Thank you for joining me this afternoon. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, West End Bald Eagles and Institute for Wildlife Studies, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Dale Hollow Lake Eagles, Kakapo Recovery, WRDC, and Berry College.