Early Saturday in Bird World

05 March 2022

Weather wise it is a horrible morning at the Big Bear Valley nest of Shadow and Jacket. Snow or ice pellets are flying through the air. Yes, literally, the wind is terrible. On top of all of that, a sub-adult Bald Eagle has been trying to land on the nest tree and Shadow has had to move it out of the territory.

Some believe that the intruder might be Simba, Jackie and Shadow’s 2019 fledge. The problem with all intruders is that the responsible parent for the nest can get injured. I wish they would stay away!

That is Shadow escorting the sub-adult out of the territory at 08:44.

The wee babe had its first feeding at 07:45. You cannot tell – it is a ‘still’ image- but the wind is really whipping the adult around trying to get to the prey for the baby’s first feeding of the day.

This little one will be fed quickly and then back under the adult so as not to get a chill.

This is Shadow giving the baby its first feeding for the morning.

Jackie will feed the baby at 09:57.

I have simply not been able to take my eyes off this little one. It is incredibly strong. Just look at it sit up straight. It knows precisely which way to go to line up for a feeding. It is not 48 hours old yet. A beautiful healthy eaglet. For Jackie and Shadow this is a miracle baby. I have to admit that I have not thought much about the other egg instead focusing on the needs of this one and how well it is doing.

Little ones have been fed and are wiggling around the nest and out of the egg cup at Dale Hollow Lake, home to River and Obey.

At first, when I only saw the one, my heart sank.

There they are. Everyone is moving to get into the shade provided by River.

Little cuties. The third hatch appears to be doing well despite its small size in relation to the twins.

There is an issue with the nest and three eggs of Jack and Harriet at the Achieva Credit Union’s Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. There is no certainty as to what has occurred – did squirrels get the eggs? did they fall down a hole in the nest made by squirrels so that they cannot be incubated and are now unviable? did a predator take the eggs? Whether or not Jack and Diane will try for a second clutch is unknown at this time.

So far, there have been two feedings at the Captiva Osprey Nest. The first came after 08:00 but before the 08:34 listed by the chat. The second was at 10:08:07. All are doing well but, like Shadow and Jackie, Andy and Lena are having to deal with several intruders in their air space this morning.

There is Little Bob up front eyeing that fish just like our precious Ervie. Everyone seems to have a bit of a crop left from the earlier feeding. Let us hope that Andy is able to do some good fishing this afternoon so that these babies can have full tummies and crops for bedtime.

Ferris Akel’s tour turned up a Northern Harrier right away. As we were watching it, you could hear the Canada Geese overhead migrating to the north. They are coming home!

Northern Harriers are often the easiest of the hawks to spot because they fly low over the ground. Like owls, Harriers can also hunt by sound because of their large parabolic facial disk. You can see that easily in the image below. They eat small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

What a beautiful hawk. They are large hawks standing from 43-58 cm high with a wingspan of 97-122 cm.

We see them on the Canadian Prairies hunting low.

The Canada Geese are in formation which means they are migrating. I always love hearing them in the sky. It is a good sign that spring has returned to the Canadian Prairies.

Ferris also saw five Hooded Mergansers and now has spotted a group of Red-wing Blackbirds. Oh, I loved seeing those at our wetlands centre last year. They are not common in the urban area where I live.

The snow is melting in the Finger Lakes area of New York and making areas of water for the waterfowl as well as revealing any grains left from the harvest.

There are ducks, swans, and geese landing to rest and feed.

The sounds of the waterfowl vocalizing is beautiful.

There were hundreds of Snow Geese flying in to feed and rest.

What a beautiful sight. Thousands of these birds settle on the farmer’s fields here on the Canadian Prairies as they begin to arrive for spring. They breed in the far north, in the tundra, of my province on Hudson’s Bay. They will feed on waste grain and new sprouts coming up. In the image below they are taking advantage of the grains and vegetation that have been covered by snow. They are large waterfowl, 60-80 cm in length with a wingspan of 1.3-1.5 m.

Their arrival in northern New York, near the Canadian border with Ontario, gives me hope that spring is, indeed, coming.

Thank you for joining me this morning. It is a beautiful cloudy but albeit warmer day here and I hope to get in a good walk today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear Valley, Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagles, Achieva Credit Union, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, and, of course, Ferris Akel Tours.

Late Saturday in Bird World

It has not been a great day for Lena on the Captiva Osprey nest. She has had only 2 fish for her and the hungry osplets and no break to go down and get that yucky fish juice off of her. In other words, she is loudly calling Andy as the sun sets desperate for a break and to fill those babies up for bed. If the last feeding was at around 13:30 they will be ravenous by the time the fish lands on the nest in the morning.

While Lena might be rather upset, everything seems really good over at the Dale Hollow Lake Eagle nest. Obey came in to see what he needed to bring to the pantry around 17:00. He then helped River with a tandem feeding of the youngsters while also eating some of the pantry himself. This really is a fabulous nest!

I honestly cannot believe that I had never heard about this nest until today. It is wonderful. Very experienced adults and healthy twins. Still one to hatch. Those little eaglets are tucked under River sound asleep. Happy Eagle dreams!

Ferris Akel found both Big Red and Arthur who were sitting on top of Bradfield enjoying the view. Arthur is on the left with his gorgeous scapula V plumage and Big Red is on the right. She is much darker than Arthur.

Arthur is such a cutie pie. I often just want to cuddle him!

Big Red was doing a lot of preening and simply didn’t seem to want to look at the camera.

So gorgeous. Both are busy bees working on their nest on the Fernow light tower on the campus of Cornell University.

There has been an update about HH3 – the eaglet who fell out of the nest at the Hilton Head Island nest.

There has also been an update on the Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB on Ervie’s tracker. It looks like he is extending his travels over to the right of North Shields and the airport.

Ervie always seems to roost at the same spot. I wonder if PLO knows where this is?

Early this morning the cam operator gave everyone a great view of the Calypso Star as she set out for the day. It is a good thing to remember that the Port Lincoln Osprey Project sponsors our camera view of the barge and the barge out of the earnings from the Calypso Star. They take no donations. So, if you visit Port Lincoln, take a tour with them as a way of thanking them.

At the nest of Jackie and Shadow, Mum is being very limited in her movements and allowing us any view of the eggs. She has been aerating the nest cup which improves the softness of the nest cup as well as providing oxygen during hatching and brooding. Is there a chick pipping under there? The answer could be just maybe there is!

The Quarry Track Royal Cam Chick aka QT is really too large for the adults to brood. They must be thrilled that the little one is out of the nest so they can actually rest their legs! I promise you this is one big boy. If not, I will make a donation to the Albatross Centre!

In the image below, YRK has to stand all the time in order to brood the chick. In the image above she is able to lay down! It must be quite nice. I wonder when they will have the contest to name the chick? And when the parents will stop staying with QT only returning to Taiaroa Head to feed their ever growing chick?

If you are in need of more Osprey nests, the male at the Williamsburg Landing has returned to the nest early – on the 23rd of February. He is working feverishly on this nest.

This Gloucester Point, Virginia nest can be viewed here:

This is an overview of a view of the birds that I do not always cover. I really hope that Andy brings in a huge fish for the Captiva nest very early in the morning. Speaking of Captiva, Connie and Clive were working on the Bald Eagle nest at Captiva this evening together. Will there be a second clutch? We should know tomorrow if Jackie and Shadow have a pip! Life is good except when eagles are falling out of nests. Will continue to monitor the Hilton Head situation for everyone.

Thank you for joining me. I hope Ervie visits the barge today! What a treat that would be. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Captiva Osprey and Window on Wildlife, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Eagles, Ferris Akel Tours, Williamsburg Landing, Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagles, Friends of Big Bear, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

The Dale Hollow Eagles

I am so delighted to have found this Bald Eagle nest on the Dale Hollow Lake in Kentucky. Why had I not heard of it before?

The nest is located along the shore from the Dale Hollow Marina on Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee. The resident eagles are River, the female, and Obey, the female. I asked how old they were and was told they are at least 18-20 years old, perhaps older. In other words, they are very experienced eagles just like Harriet at SWFlorida and the Dad at Duke Farms who is 23 years old.

In the 1800s, it was believed that there were 100,000 Bald Eagle nests in the United States. Those numbers declined rapidly with the destruction of the habitat as cities grew and also because of hunting. In 1940 the US Congress passed a bill to protect them. However, the introduction of DDT after World War II, those numbers went into a tail spin. By the time the impact of DDT was known, in the 1960s and 70s, there were only around 400 breeding pairs left in the US. They were placed on the endangered species list. The eagles had recovered so much that by 2007 they were removed from the list.

In Tennessee, in particular, the eagles suffered from infertility and thin egg shells due to DDT. In the 1980s and 1990s, translocation projects to reintroduce eagles from Alaska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota was undertaken. Forty-four eagles were reared and released around Dale Hollow and Iron Creek in the hope that when they were adults they would return to where they were released. That process of translocation is known as ‘hacking’. Today there are approximately 200 Bald Eagle nests in Tennessee. Of course the threat to eagles continues and their numbers are declining. One of the most serious is lead poisoning – secondary poisoning from the shot left in the innards of deer and other hunted animals which the eagles ingest in the woods. Today, there is the added threat of habitat destruction as well as avian flu.

One of those successful nests is the one of River and Obey. They laid three eggs. Two hatched yesterday within an hour of one another – twins! The other is now believed to be pipping as I write this.

Here is the first feeding of the two eaglets that hatched within an hour of one another on 25 February 2022.

Here is the first attempt at feeding the wee ones by River. Obey had brought in a lot of food.

This is a more recent feeding by River.

I really urge you to add this nest to your watching list. It is easy to overlook for the more well-known nests like Harriet and M15, Samson and Gabby, as well as Jackie and Shadow. This is the link:

This is an image from the most recent feeding of DH14 and DH15:

Fantastic family!

It has been a good day. The Captiva Eagles were enjoying a nice fish at 14:51. Those kids were once again really hungry. Big Red has been working on her nest and Ferris Akel is entering the Ithaca area in search of Big Red. There were a lot of raptors on the tour today. Our snow is melting and tomorrow I will add some before and after images. Hopefully the melting will slow down a bit! The day will be perfect if Ervie decides to show up at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Grinnell arrived at The Campanile this morning. He has to be one of the most handsome Peregrine Falcons I have ever seen. Good to see you looking so good Grinnell. You were busy keeping other falcons out of your territory!

il

Thank you so much for joining me for this close up look at the Dale Hollow eagles. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Dale Hollow Bald Eagle and Cal Falcons streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

Ervie and the fish

Before I begin, I want to thank ‘A-M’ for alerting me that Ervie had caught a fish and brought it to the nest yesterday. I was not watching at the time and in my excitement to tell you, I forgot to thank her. My sincerest apologies. I always appreciate all of the news you send me, especially when I can only be in one place at a time! Thank you ‘A-M’.

Yes, Ervie caught a fish and brought it to the nest yesterday. It was magnificent and happened at 13:37:14. Ervie had to be so excited.

Ervie was so proud of his fish and rightly so. Indeed, he was so happy that he wasn’t paying full attention. And the fish was still alive. Yes…if you are thinking fluttering fish on nest, you have it. Ervie was a bit shocked when the fish started moving away and fell into a hole at the top right of the nest!

There is Ervie looking down that hole in amazement. It ate his fish!

Everyone had faith that Ervie, the chick who could dig out old fish tails from the nest, would be able to retrieve his fish ——- and he did!

Well done, Ervie. Today you gained some confidence and you learned a lesson – pin your fish down hard while you eat it!

The very curious thing is that Ervie, who was obviously hungry, did not gobble up his fish. He also walked around the nest like something distasteful was stuck to his foot. One of the knowledgable chatters suggested that it was a ‘toadfish’ and that maybe he didn’t like the taste of it.

So what is a toadfish? The Common Toadfish grows to approximately 15 cm or 6 inches in length. The fish is actually covered with some prickles which could account for why Ervie didn’t like it stuck to the pads on his feet. They are found along the coasts in shallow water and sometimes bury themselves in sand with only their eyes showing. The fish is toxic to humans who, if they consume the fish can die of respiratory failure. It carries the same neurotoxins in its tissue as the Blue-ringed Octopus or the Pufferfish. Those toxins are Tetrodotoxin.

I asked a biologist if this could harm the transfer of information from Ervie’s nerves to his muscles and they were unclear as to the impact. Perhaps the toxins do not harm the sea hawks like they do humans. Still, as my grandmother would say, it is a good thing Ervie did not like the taste of the fish and didn’t finish it just in case. Over time, Ervie will discover the fish that are good to eat and those that aren’t.

“Tetractenos hamiltoni Common toadfish has a deadly secret #marineexplorer #underwatersydney” by Marine Explorer 

Dad watched his son closely. At 17:52, he brought Ervie a nice fish to eat. Thanks, Dad!

Dad has a nice crop. It looks like he made sure that the fish was dead by eating its head before delivering to our sweet boy.

Ervie has spent the night in Dad’s shed hanging on to Dad’s favourite blue rope sleeping.

Other Bird World News: The Ravens came to attack the nest of Jackie and Shadow. Shadow was not home. Jackie defended the nest of two eggs valiantly. This will not be thee last time they come. They know there are eggs in there and Jackie and Shadow are going to have to be vigilant! It is believed that E20 at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 has officially started self-feeding. Jean-Marie Dupart has counted 220 Ospreys at the Langue de Barbarie Park in Senegal. This is a record! Ferris Akel will be hosting his birding tour of the area around Ithaca today starting around 1pm Eastern time. Go to YouTube and Search for Ferris Akel Tour Live. For those fans of E19 and E20, they are some of the feature wildlife that are in CROW’s 2022 calendar. The calendars are now 50% off. Here is the link to order: https://bit.ly/2022CROWCalendar There is no news on Bella at the NCTC nest. She has not returned to the nest since the last time she was seen injured on 1 February. The search party was not able to find her. The new female and Smitty have been exchanging fish on the nest. We are on egg watch for the Redding Eagles. Lots and lots happening. The poor weather seems to have moved out of the nest areas!

This is Pittsburgh-Hayes a few minutes ago. We are on egg watch there, too.

The sun is shining down and the snow is melting in Ithaca for Big Red and Arthur.

Not-so-little Kincaid has a big crop this morning at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. The thermal down is coming in nicely and just look at those big feet! Oh, you are growing way too fast Kincaid.

It is a cloudy day on the Canadian Prairies. No snow warnings and it is now a balmy -15 C. Someone asked me how we stay warm. For the most part, the houses in Canada are well insulated with double or triple pane windows. Central Air is pretty standard. We pay very high heating bills (very high) in the winter even if our homes are insulated well and have great windows if the extreme cold weather lingers for several weeks. Smart persons really bundle up before going out in -35 degree weather. Coats, boots, ski pants all rated to -35 or -45 help tremendously along with gloves and toques (knit hats). I prefer the dry snow over the wet – that makes you cold to the bone!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay safe. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Pix Cameras, Cornell Bird Labs, and the KNF Bald Eagle nest.

What keeps us busy while NE26 hatches?

Samson has come to the nest to check on the progress of the hatch and to see if Gabby wants anything. Samson is more than anxious for NE26 to hatch – just like the rest of us.

Samson comes in to check on Gabby. Do you need anything, sweetie?

26 is using his egg tooth to chisel away at that shell. At 08:20 this was just a tiny hole.

Looks like a nice hole!

You can see that egg tooth chipping away.

Hello, NE26

Samson is back again, just checking on progress.

Samson decides to redo the rim of the nest and add and move sticks while he is waiting.

Waiting is hard!

Gabby has rolled the eggs. Look carefully you can see some cracks underneath the branch on the egg.

Samson is as anxious as the rest of us. He keeps jumping down on the nest to see how 26 is doing.

What a great portrait of our NEFlorida couple.

Look at the progress! Wow. This little one is getting that egg open quickly. I am really impressed with the progress. It won’t be long til 26 can give a karate kick and be free!

Come on NE26! We want to see you.

Progress!

Thank goodness for Ferris Akel. I was getting a little bit like Samson wondering how things were going with the hatch and the notice popped up that Ferris was on his tour. So between Ferris and the garden birds it is helping to pass the time while we wait for N26 to hatch! There is heat shimmer on the images and some were at a great distance.

It has been a great day to see raptors on Ferris’s Tour especially in the Montezuma area. There was an American Kestrel, a Rough-legged Hawk, and a Red-tail Hawk mixed in with Starlings and Horned Larks.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk

This is one gorgeous hawk!

Rough-legged Hawk

There were a pair of them hunting. The light one above and a darker plumaged one.

Rough-legged Hawk

This is such a beautiful dark Red-tail Hawk. Look at that amazing patterning on the scapula, the ‘V’ formed on the back when the wings are folded.

Red-tail Hawk, Adult

Horned Larks do not really have horns. They normally show two little feathered tufts on their heads. Horned Larks are the only true species of lark in North America. There is one other lark, the Sky Lark, that was introduced to Vancouver Island.

The Horned Lark is larger than a sparrow. The pattern is striking. Notice the yellow under the beak and then the dark brown/black line across separating the head from the breast.

Horned Larks
European Starlings

All of a sudden there was open water and there were Mallards, Black Ducks, and a female Red-breasted Merganser plus an array of Canada Geese.

Ferris took us to see some amazing water falls on the way to Ithaca. They are Taughannock Falls at Ulysses, New York. Incredibly beautiful. They are 8 miles away from Ithaca and if you are ever in the region, this would be a great place to visit.

Having promised myself to take images of a wasp nest hanging over the street in the tree canopy, it seemed like a good time between the falls and Ithaca to do that.

This nest is so fragile looking. It was in tact, like a tight round ball, until our snow storm the other day.

I will go out during different lighting conditions to document the change in the nest as winter progresses.

This little Black-capped Chickadee kept itself busy getting seeds and moving around the many European Starlings.

It seems like they would use more energy retrieving the seed and cracking it than the energy contained inside. But what do I know? I am just a silly human.

One brave sparrow sat with a sea of European Starlings today.

This fellow decided it was easier to knock the seed cylinder down and eat on the ground! The Chickadee thanked him.

Ferris is trying to find Big Red and Arthur. NE26 continues to work itself out of that shell. All of the other birds are doing well even with the cold temperatures in areas such as Louisiana.

Dad delivered a fish for Ervie. It was a bit of an appetizer. Ervie has been away from the nest. Maybe he is out fishing!

Ervie knew that day was coming before we could see him. Ervie flew into the nest and started prey crying.

Ervie is great to flap his wings and call for food at the same time. He can also stand on its tippy-toes.

There is Dad. Mum watches from the perch.

It is a flurry of wings and feet. Thanks, Dad!

Everything seems to be fine in Bird World. So far Ferris has found lots of Crows but not Big Red and Arthur. What in the world is going on? The Crows are flying, in the trees, just moving about.

They are also on the roof of Barton Hall at Cornell University. Is the beginning of hundreds of Crows gathering together? Researchers believe that they gather at dusk to share food sources and to find breeding partners in the spring.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care. Just think tomorrow there will be a new eaglet in the world. Yes!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Ferris Akel Tour, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida and the AEF.

Tuesday in Bird World

The snow that began last night is continuing to come down in the garden. It is gusty and blowing and the birds are having a difficult time finding a place to get out of the wind. I would love for someone to contradict me but, I do not recall this much snow in 15 years. Thankfully, there is no reason to get out, not even for birdseed. We have at least another two weeks on hand! There are times that I think the garden visitors eat better than their caregivers! It is the running family joke.

You might have felt that I am a little ‘shy’ of that WRDC nest of Ron and Rita’s. This is a new Bald Eagle couple to me. It is really difficult to see if R2 is getting much food. Clearly R1 is a bit of a brute. R3 would not have had a chance. The adults often stand in front of the camera so the view is restricted or, else, I can only see R1 bonking the little one. There is lots of food. Ron is a good provider.

I want to imagine that I am terribly wrong and that the adults are feeding R1 until it passes out in a food coma and then are making sure that R2 is full to the brim. If you have seen this please let me know! I would be delighted.

Some good news. There is no sign of Daisy the Duck on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Continue to send your positive energy to our little duck so she finds a safe place to hatch some eggs!

The bad news – unless you are a GHOW fan – is that Mrs Hootie laid her first egg on the Savannah Osprey nest of Scarlett and Rhett. Where will this longstanding Osprey couple lay their eggs?

The snow is melting in Ithaca, the home of Big Red and Arthur.

The Clark Fork River is open in places near Missoula, Montana. It is hard to imagine but in 9 weeks Big Red should be laying eggs and in 10 weeks we will be looking for Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, to return to her nest at Hell Gate Canyon.

There is some snow in Latvia and like here in Canada, I expect that they will see more. Milda’s nest is waiting for her albeit there have been intruders.

The eaglet at the KNF nest was stretching its little wings this morning. It is 6 days old and is energetic, curious, healthy, and happy. What more could you want?!

Anna and Louis are quickly becoming one of my most favoured Bald Eagle couples!

Pa Berry fed B15 til it passed out in a food coma. I had missed seeing him brooding or feeding so this really put a smile on my face. B15 is a little character. Full of life! So happy.

Pa Berry was really aerating the nest this morning!

R15 is so cute. I wonder if R15 will get attached to ‘eggie’ like Legacy did last year?

The two eaglets of Harriet and Mitch are doing fine at the Hilton Head Island Bald Eagle nest. Have a close look. That second layer of dark grey down is covering them and there are feathers peeking through. Soon they will look like E19 and E20.

E20 looks on as E19 is eating at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest. It will wait til E19 is finished and then will go and have food.

Ferris Akel posted a very short video of the Canada Geese and the Snow Geese from last Sunday’s tour. I had not seen so many since our migration in September-October here in Winnipeg.

Ervie is on the nest and will, no doubt, be ramping up the volume screaming for a fish once the dawn breaks at Port Lincoln. Oh, Ervie. Are you going to be another Izzi? We do adore you and we wouldn’t mind! On the other hand, you did get the sat-pak! Will the conclusion be that at least one male Eastern Osprey likes to stay at the natal nest? Oh, Ervie, you do put a smile on our faces.

Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WRDC, KNF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Trust, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Berry College, Cornell Bird Cam and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Savannah Ospreys, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Saturday in Bird World

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you will know that I am tracking the Port Lincoln Osprey lads in terms of ‘who is on the nest’. Ervie and Falky have been alternating. Ervie spent the afternoon and evening and slept on the nest. He is on there right now.

Ervie is fish calling to Dad.

Bazza has been shut out and yesterday he attacked Ervie when Ervie was on the nest. If you missed it, here is that dust up.

We are on hatch watch this weekend for three Bald Eagle nests. That is Captiva, Kistachie National Forest, and Berry College. The eggs for both Captiva and KNF were laid on 4 Dec and 7 December. One of the KNF eggs was broken. Eggs at Berry College were laid on 5 Dec and 8 December. You might remember that it was the female at Berry College, Missey, that survived that horrific hail and wind storm. I hope those eggs are alright. This is a new female for Pa Berry – their second season together. If you were a fan of Ma Berry, she was seen having a spa day at the end of January 2021. Yes, birds do get divorces.

This is the Kisatchie National Forest nest of Anna and Louis. Anna is incubating now.

Here is the link to the KNF Bald Eagle Nest.

This is the Berry College Bald Eagle Nest.

Here is the link to the Berry College streaming cam:

https://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

This is the link to the Captiva Nest. This is Connie and Clive. I hope that they have a very successful year. This is probably the most narrow Bald Eagle Nest in the world!

R1 and R2 at the WRDC nest are doing just fine. Rita did some clearing of the nest yesterday and some new grasses were brought in. The nest looked amazing but after several hours, little eaglets wandering around and food can cause it to look messy again. Rita used the grass to go to the edges and sticks are still being brought in to this new human made nest for the sides.

Little eaglets full to the brim. The weather is good. It is 24 degrees. They do not need Rita to brood them in that temperature.

Ferris Akel is streaming live as I type. I love to lurk because he finds some amazing birds on his Saturday tours of the Finger Lakes area of Upper New York State. So far today there have been lots of hawks – Northern Harriers and Red Tails. The Harriers are really difficult to photograph.

The Ducks below are American Black Ducks, females. They might look like Mallards but their bill is tinged more green than the orange of the Mallard and their feathers are darker. They are virtually the same size and shape of a Mallard.

This is a female Hooded Meganser looking for food – going in and out of the water flapping her wings.

There you can get a good look. This looks to me like a first year female. Mergansers like to live in forested swamps but today they are in the wetlands. They nest in tree cavities and will also use nest boxes, unlike our favourite little duck, Daisy! They winter in the estuaries and creeks in the eastern United States and along the Mississippi Flyway.

Ferris found a Red-tail hawk hoping to find some lunch. Many of the Red-tail Hawks around the area of Ithaca do not migrate but remain in the region because the winters are not too harsh and there is plenty of prey. Indeed, the one thing that does determine over winter areas is the availability of food.

There continue to be lots of Canada Geese in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

Today, there were also some swans.

Swans feed by submerging their heads into the vegetation below the surface of the water.

These are young Tundra Swans with an adult. The Tundra Swans are smaller than the Trumpeter.

Aren’t they beautiful? We have so many waterfowl in Canada but it was not until Daisy the Duck in Australia that I really began to appreciate the ones around me.

There were also Mallards and Redheads mixed in with the Tundra Swans who are searching for vegetation to eat.

Just look at all of the Redheads!

The GHOWs are becoming a real problem for the health of the Bald Eagles. There was another owl strike at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest of Harriet and M15. Lady Hawk has it on video. Additionally, there are GHOWs attempting to take over the Minnesota DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy, the Savannah Osprey Nest, and, as we know, a GHOW named Bonnie and Clyde took over the nest of a young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas last year and raised two owlets to fledge.

I am beginning to not like GHOWs at all!

The temperatures on the Canadian Prairies warmed up and we got more snow! It can stop now. The birds have already been fed and it looks like a great day to stay in and read and watch for those pips.

Over the past month I have become very fond of DanniConnorWild. She is a young wildlife photographer who has taken up residence in Northern Sweden. She is living her dream. That is fantastic! She is very keen on squirrels. Indeed, the squirrels in this video are eating spruce cones. I have never seen this. She is earning a living through her videos and photographs so there are ads but, just don’t mind those. I am posting her video from the end of the year that includes squirrels, Reindeer, and beautiful Northern Lights in case you want to have a look.

Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Ferris Akel Tours, Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Bald Eagle Cam, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Cam.

New Year’s Day in Bird World, late edition

New Year’s Day started off wonderfully with the uniting of Annie and Grinnell. Cal Falcons posted a note that the interloper that had injured Grinnell and sent him into rehabilitation on 29 October has not been seen in the past two weeks. It appears that our little Grinnell watched, got stronger, and got rid of him! That is a good thing. Grinnell is far too experienced a mate and knows how to take good care of the eyases – that is invaluable to Annie. I only wish Daisy had a mate half so invested in the eggs and nestlings!

10,600 people have watched Annie and Grinnell ring in the New Year together! Look closely at the image. Notice just how much bigger Annie is than Grinnell. That is reverse sex-size dimorphism – in raptors, the female is normally 30% larger than the male.

These little falcons like to live on the highest buildings so they can have a great view if anyone larger than them should want to arrive at their scrape box. Thousands of years ago they lived on the highest cliffs (some still do in certain geographical regions) but, like other birds they have adapted as humans take over their space. They have adapted to our skyscrapers like this perfect building on the University of California at Berkeley, The Campanile.

Oh, what a beautiful sight first thing in the morning. So happy. This is just such a relief.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles were up on the branch together to sing the morning duet. They had a rough night of it. They were chased and harassed by the Pied Currawong first. The Curra are the birds that injured WBSE 27 – gathering in a group to fly and hit its head. The Curra are also the birds that chase the eagle fledglings out of the forest before they have learned from Lady and Dad how to fish and survive. I really do not like them and their numbers have grown in the forest over the past few years. They are more than a nuisance. They can be deadly.

As soon as the Curra were in bed, it was not long until BooBook Owl and its mate started their silent attacks. They spent five full hours harassing the WBSE. They are also dangerous. One injured Lady’s eye last year and she could have been blinded.

Here is a video of the attacks with the eagles falling off the branch.

To my knowledge, the WBSE do not eat the hatchlings of either the Curra or the Owls. These little birds just want the big Apex raptors out of the forest and they will do everything they can to accomplish this.

The pair sang The Duet and promptly left the forest. I wonder if there is another nest location for them? The old nest of Dad’s collapsed but there could be other suitable sites.

I made this video clip a few months ago in mid-September. I love the beauty of Lady and Dad singing their song to wake up the forest. Scroll your mouse or tracker over the left hand corner and then click on the arrow to play.

I have never liked this nest because of the Currawongs and now Boo and his family are older and bolder. It is not good for the eaglets who hatch or for Daisy. My eyes in that area tell me that the Ravens have also been coming to the nest to check for eggs every couple of days. So sad. If Daisy does return, I have no hope for her eggs hatching. I just do not want her to get injured if a large number of Ravens would come at the same time.

This morning on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge Bazza was on the nest when the fish arrived at 08:09. Falky flew over from his perch hoping to get it but Bazza was the clear winner and kicked Falky off the nest! You will remember that yesterday Bazza flew in and took the fish right when Dad brought it in. Bazza is going to be called Bold Bazza for sure. He is getting street smart for sure – all good survival skills.

Here comes Dad with the fish. Bazza can see him and he is prey calling louder and louder.

Bazza is starting to mantle the fish (on the left side of the nest). Mantling is when a raptor spreads their wings over the food item so that others cannot get to it. It is almost like hiding it. Falky is on the right edge of the nest. Ervie is up on the perch and Mum is on the ropes.

What interested me was not Bazza getting the fish or Falky trying to take it but, Ervie’s behaviour. Ervie did not move off the perch. He did not care. He was not hungry. This tells me that Ervie had already been out fishing for his morning breakfast. He will continue to get more and more independent.

E19 was being a bit of a stinker today. His attacks on E20 were frequent and sometimes brutal.

So what do Harriet and M15 do when this happens? Well, often, they will ‘sit’ on the chicks but, at other times, they will do a tandem feeding. That is precisely what happened today. M15 stepped in to help Harriet with the cantankerous two.

Just lovely. Both eating at once. They will learn, over time, that everyone gets fed. No one goes hungry in Harriet and M15’s house.

Ferris Akel held his tour today. Viewers were treated to the sightings of five Snowy Owls at the Finger Lakes Airport.

Snowy Owls are moving south from their home in the Arctic to find food. They mostly eat rabbits, grouse, mice, weasels and small waterfowl and marine birds. Open fields, golf courses, or small airports like this one are perfect for them to find food.

Not far away were what seemed like a thousand Sandhill Cranes. Some were feeding in the fields, some were in the marsh, and some were flying from the fields to the marsh. There seemed to be Sandhill Cranes everywhere!

The adults have grey bodies with a distinctive crimson red cap. Their long legs and necks immediately tell us that these are ‘wading’ birds. They stand 90-122 cm tall or 36-48 inches. They have long pointed beaks for finding food in the muddy waters of wetlands. They also have a ‘bustle’ or tufted tail. You can see those tufts on the cranes in the image below.

The Sandhill Cranes migrate during the winter leaving their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic and Northern Canada in large groups. They will gather in the thousands in staging areas.

With their long beaks they probe in the waters feeding on plant tubers, roots, seeds, and small invertebrates. In the image below you can see how their long legs and neck really assist them in finding food.

Oh, these cranes are so gorgeous. Sandhill cranes have been the subject of Japanese art for centuries. They are a traditional symbol of immortality because it is believed that the cranes live for a thousand years.

The panel below is called Cranes in a Winter Landscape. This is clearly a good wish for longevity.

The screen below is part of a series of two six-panelled screens done in the 1700s. Typically the backgrounds would have been painted gold. Both the old twisted pine and the crane signal immortality or wishes for a long life. These would have typically folded and divided rooms.

Thank you so much for joining me. Stay warm, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: SWFlorida Bald Eagle cam and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, UC-Berkeley Falcon Cam, and Ferris Akel.

Boxing Day in Bird World

If you live in the Commonwealth you are celebrating Boxing Day today. Centuries ago, all people working in the manors and upper-class homes were given the day off after Christmas as a holiday. Small gifts from the wealthy would go to their help and the tradespeople who worked for them during the year. The tradition might have begun during the Roman-Christian era when alms boxes were outside the churches for the poor.

We lived in a wonderful small town when I was a student in England. Boxing Day was lovely – visits from good friends, small exchanges of food items. Most prized for someone who never loved mincemeat were the tarts with the orange pastry shells made by Jane. If you liked or needed to, you could begin paying for your Christmas dinner and all the treats in January. The milkman arriving with the electric float had a small catalogue. You paid by the week. The meal with all the trimmings was delivered when Christmas came. I was most impressed with the focus on being together as a family and sharing a meal – not on presents. Typically, children received a new bike and a sock full of treats and candies. We were extraordinarily fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbours and acquaintances. I can close my eyes and return to our living room on Gorse Road – magical.

Today, I hope that you have been able to be with a friend, friends, or loving relatives – in person or virtually.

Ferris Akel is having a wonderful tour today. He was at the Finger Lakes Regional Airport where there were two, perhaps three, Snowy Owls.

There were also Bald Eagles.

There was a male and a female Hooded Merganser.

Male Hooded Merganser
Female Hooded Merganser

There were ducks and geese paddling around the partially frozen water.

The ones with the white breast are Northern Pintails.

There were so many ducks.

I wished that Daisy was there with them paddling around and eating. The image is not clear but Ferris believes that the ducks below are Black Ducks (similar but different to Daisy).

There were Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans flying about.

Canada Geese in formation.
Trumpeter Swans

Ferris also found a very interesting goose. Is it a pale Canada Goose? or is it a hybrid? It is smaller than a typical Canada Goose. Mind you, we see various sizes here in Canada – the small geese pair up with the same size, the larger with the larger ones. Ferris believes this to be a hybrid – a Canada Goose and a Snow Goose.

There were also Sandhill Cranes.

Ferris is on his way to Ithaca – hopefully he will catch sight of Big Red and Arthur!

Meanwhile in Hilton Head South Carolina, Harriet, named after Harriet Tubman, and Mitch, named after General Mitchel, either have their first hatch or are close to it. There is no rewind function for the camera but the images are crisp and beautiful. More than 400 individuals sent in names for the pair. Great choice!

Here is the link to the camera.

https://www.hhilandtrust.org/eagle-cam?fbclid=IwAR2ncSAkZt2o_OXyTxtRDwpDj3Zgp1aNFHKD8ybz4b1-RZvdIEQ5BogeMFc

There will be twins again for Harriet and M15 with both eggs pipping this morning! The Pritchard family set the time as 09:55:54 on 26 December. Tears, Get your worry beads out. It will be rough and tumble in a couple of days!

M15 has had food in the pantry for Harriet who normally will not leave their eggs at this stage – no matter how persuasive M15 can be!

I am so excited. Harriet and M15 are amazing Bald Eagle parents and the Pritchett family has provided them with everything they need – including a stocked pond – and care when required. Here is the link to the camera. You will not want to miss these two!

It is very hot on the nest. Harriet is panting to regulate her temperature. She is used to the weather in Fort Myers so no worries. The eaglets will be listening to one another and that will give them momentum to hatch.

Last breeding season I believe there was only four hours difference between E17 and E18. Remember those two? How could we forget, you are thinking.

Not a week old and they go into care with CROW for conjunctivitis. The image below is after a couple days of treatment. Lucky eaglets, Thanks CROW. Thanks Pritchett family for insisting these kiddos got the care and treatment they needed.

E17 got time out in the peach towel because he was being too aggressive to 18.

Besties.

Thank you for joining me today and for going back to look at these two wonderful juvenile eagles, E17 and E18. The time between when they hatch and fledge will pass as if you only blinked your eye. I urge you to stay tuned and watch this marvellous family go about their every day lives – feeding babies and protecting one another in Fort Myers, Florida.

Thank you to the Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and the D Pritchett family for their streaming cams and Ferris Akel for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots. I also want to thank CROW for their FB Page where I took the images of E17 and E18 in care.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 18

At 03:43 in the morning I was waiting for Daisy to return home, like a parent waiting for their teenager to the first time they borrow the family car. My math wasn’t good at all. So, let’s go back and get this right. Daisy laid 8 eggs. She began hard incubation (perhaps on Day 7) but for sure on Day 8. That is 11 days. The duck eggs require 26-30 days of incubation. So, as of today, we have 15-19 days left.

Daisy is, of course, starting to drive me a little bonkers. She was so careful with the timing of her foraging trips until a couple of days ago. During that time, Daisy left the nest after sunset and took her morning break before sunrise. That guaranteed that she would miss the Ravens and the Sea Eagles. They are diurnal – daytime hunting birds. Now, she is gambling. She left for her break last evening at 15:30 – two and a half hours before sunset. She was simply lucky that those Ravens did not fly by and see her gone.

Daisy returned at 19:11:56. The beautiful glow of the setting sun makes Daisy and the nest look ‘rose gold’.

Isn’t she gorgeous?

This morning, sunrise was at 05:40. Daisy did not leave to go foraging until 05:43:21.

Daisy put considerable effort into concealing her eggs underneath that thick layer of down.

She walked around the nest several times tucking and poking.

Certain that everything was to her liking, Daisy flew off for breakfast.

You can just see her flying out of the right hand side, middle ground.

Seconds after Daisy left, the camera went offline. The wind is blowing at only 10 km/h and the current temperature is 21 degrees C. It will go up to 29 C today in the Sydney Olympic Forest. The time is 07:23. I hope our darling Daisy has returned or will return soon. The Ravens do tend to come in the morning.

Daisy is home! Whew!

The Rainbow Lorikeets have flown in to say good morning. They are so colourful and what a nice voice they have.

It looked like there were 7 or 8 visitors. Several seem to be curious about the Ringtail Possums hole on the right side of the nest below the top of it. There is a Lorikeet close to the entrance.

They come in a ‘migraine’ (that is what a group of Rainbow Lorikeets is called) and leave together just as quickly moving on to other areas in the forest.

Daisy looks really comfortable in that fluffy down nest.

Daisy removes some down.

It is 09:10 on the nest and for the moment, everything is fine! That is a good thing.

But at 09:31:11, Daisy raised her head from a sound sleep. Her head shot up! She is alert. Is there a predator around?

Whatever it is, is now gone and Daisy is back in her relaxed mode.

So, as of now, everything in Daisy’s world is calm. It is often very tense watching Daisy – that is because we know that anything could happen at any moment. Right now thought – everything is fine. Daisy is safe and so are her eggs. Can hour at a time.

Other Bird World News: Ferris Akel’s Tour located a large group of Sandhill Cranes and Red-breasted Mergansers. The images are quite ‘soft’ but I think you can see the beauty in the birds. The cranes flew and went to an area of water after feeding on the fields.

There were also Red-Breasted Mergansers. I have never seen them. I checked my Waterfowl book and they say that the Red-headed Mergansers will often completely jump out of the water when they are diving. At other times they slip straight under the water without even making a splash. They are known as the ‘wolves of the water’ – they ‘cruise the water’ in packs in an effort to catch fish. There are two males below and a female. The males have the dark head, red bill, and the lovely white collar. The females have warm brown heads and grey bodies with a red bill. They are found in various locations in North American and Asia but they really like the coastal waters and lakes. Known for their elaborate courtship rituals, unlike other ducks, they do not mature until they are two years old.

It has warmed up. It is only -5 C on the Canadian Prairies but it is a wet cold that goes all the way to your bones. Daisy is now 24 degrees C going up to 29 C this afternoon for our little duck. She will be happy for that evening swim. No storms and no rain forecast. Yippeeee.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I will continue to monitor Daisy throughout the day and report any issues if they happen. If it is quiet you can expect to hear from me tomorrow. Take care. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Ferris Akel Tour and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Forest.