Friday Happenings in Bird World

Congratulations to Eve and Eerik on the hatch of White-tailed Eaglet #2 at the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It looks like this little one joined its older sib around 10:47 am on 30 April (but I stand to be corrected). At that time, there is the most gentle look into the nest cup. The eggshell is clearly visible inside the cup.

This last image (below) was taken at 16:44 during a feeding. You will notice that the eggshell has been moved over to the edge of the nest now. What a beautiful image – the gentleness of these large eagles with their enormous beaks feeding their little ones. Two little bobble heads. How sweet.

You can watch this nest here:

Just as Eve and Eerik are welcoming their little ones, Samson and Gabby continue to call out and search the skies for Legacy. The last ‘for sure’ sighting of Legacy was at 9:53:51 on the 28th. Gabby was on the nest calling loudly for Legacy this morning at dawn, the 30th, along with Samson.

There is an individual, Gretchen Butler (apologies if this is spelled incorrectly), who monitors this nest and has done so for many years. It is my understanding that there are now ‘boots on the ground’ looking for Legacy. We all hope she is found and there is nothing seriously the matter. Hearts go out to Gabby and Samson today. They must be really missing their beautiful Legacy.

At 2:04 EDT, Gabby is still there on the branch scanning the horizon hoping that her Legacy will appear. It is heart wrenching.

30 April 2021. Gabby stares off over the tree tops hoping to see her beautiful Legacy.

There were two fish deliveries at the Achieva Osprey nest this morning. The first one came at 7:48.

The second fish arrived at 10:18. Look who has a crop left from the first fish and who is right up at the dinner table ready for more – it’s ‘Biggie’ Tot. And I am not surprised. S/he is growing leaps and bounds – just look at the size of those wings now. ‘Biggie’ Tot is catching up!

It is calm on the nest and my mind and heart are finally at ease. This little one is going to make it and fledge! And because s/he learned to be a scavenger to live, I am certain s/he has more than a best chance to survive out in the wild.

Some do not even recognize #3 or Biggie Tot but there s/he is standing looking out from the nest with sibling #2 who has the most copper at the back of their head just now.

Big Red and Arthur are not giving any secrets away. The weather has switched and it is windy in Ithaca, New York and this beautiful couple are dried out from the soggy weather on Thursday.

The eggs were laid on 26 and 29 March and 1 April. Big Red averages 38-41 days between the date the egg was laid and hatch. If she were to stay consistent, the first egg would hatch in 3-6 days. However, if we took 35 days which appears to be a general average for all hawks, then today would be the day. Oh, Big Red I wish you would give us some hints! You were talking to those Ks the other day!!!

At eighteen, Big Red is in incredible shape. She is simply an amazing mother and raising hawks is so different to watching the eagles especially when the clutch fledges. Big Red will make sure they learn to hunt while they are building up flight muscles.

Arthur is five years old. He is an amazing mate for Big Red. You will be shocked when you see the amount of prey he brings to her and the eyasses. What a hunter!

You can join the fun and watch this nest here:

The solar camera has just come on the California Condor nest at Big Sur. Eyes remain on that egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix.

It is 1 degree C in Estonia on the White-tail Eagle nest but it is 31 degrees C on the Skidaway Island Osprey nest and the two little ones are hot. They are under Mom hoping to stay cool! Can you see them?

For those of you that watched the Loch Arkaig Osprey Nest last year along with the 400,000 others, sadness now surrounds that empty nest. Last year Louis and Aila raised three osplets to fledge. Their daily lives brought hope and joy to everyone. This year Louis fixed up the nest and waited for Aila’s arrival from Africa. She has yet to return. No one knows if she is injured and being cared for in a rehab clinic or if she perished during her migration. Poems and tributes are starting to come in and this one by Sue Wallbanks appeared on The Friends of Loch Arkaig FB today. I hope that Sue does not mind my sharing it with you.

Thank you to everyone for joining me today in Bird World. Congratulations to the people of Estonia on the hatch of the second White-tailed Eaglet. I will continue to monitor and post any news of Legacy and we will watch for hatch at both Big Red and Arthur’s nest and Redwood Queen and Phoenix’s nest.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society and explore.org, Cornell Bird Lab RTH Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF, and the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thank you also to the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB group and Sue Wallbank for the tribute to Alia.

Late Thursday updates in Bird World

Last year, the streaming cam viewers of Loch Arkaig Osprey nest went from its norm of 60,000 viewers to over 400,000. People from around the world watched Louis and Aila raise three – Dottie (male), Vera (female), and Captain (male)- Ospreys to fledge. As the pandemic moves into its second year, each one of those viewers and more are holding their breath, biting their finger nails off, pulling their hair out, or pacing back and forth for the arrival of Aila. Louis has now been home from his winter migration to Africa for five days. He is working hard to get the nest ready for Aila’s arrival. But where is she?

Loch Arkaig. Louis waits. 15 April 2021.

Late this afternoon, there was a spotting of an unringed Osprey passing over Arran heading due North. Could it be Aila? Depending on how the Osprey flies it is 80-100 miles and if it is Aila, she should arrive tomorrow! It is going to be one sleepless night with devotees getting up early to fix their eyes on the screen! One woman said it very well, ‘They saved my life last year during the pandemic. I want Aila home safe!’

The Osprey nest on The Landings Golf course on Skidaway Island near Savannah, Georgia is expecting its second hatch soon. The first is getting around nicely after hatching on 13 April.

Just look at those beautiful baby blues. They will change to an orange-yellow and then when this little one is an adult, they will turn to that bright yellow distinctive iris of the Osprey.

Now are you going to be nice to your little sibling?

At the Lesser Spotted Eagle nest in Latvia, Andris is bringing nice presents of prey to Anna. They are both working hard on preparing the nest. Look at all that beautiful pine.

Also in Latvia, Milda took several breaks from incubation. She was looking around but I did not see Mr C trying to incubate eggs today (let me know if he did). She just might have given him the boot. There has sure been a lot of drama around and under this nest with White-tailed eagles fighting. Very disturbing for Milda who, sadly, is probably incubating unviable eggs.

At 7:14:44 pm Diane is calling to Jack to bring food to the Achieva Osprey Nest in Dunedin, Florida. Tiny Tot is asleep. Fish was delivered at 3:21:46 am and again at 11:55:01. Tiny Tot had a good feed on the early fish and had a good crop. He did not get any of the 11:55 fish despite being up close. If the weather forecast is correct, this nest can expect thunderstorms beginning around 4am Friday morning. It says 40%. I hope they are wrong. The temperature is cooling to 23 or 24 right now.

7:16:00. Diane is calling Jack to bring fish. 15 April 2021

Tiny Tot is hungry and he is starting to call Jack, too. He’s there calling on the far left.

7:43:37. Hurry up with the fish dad! 15 April 2021

Now the two larger osplets are up and calling for dad, too. Unless this is a whopper – and I do mean a HUGE fish – Tiny Tot might not get any food tonight. He ate his fill this morning when the other two weren’t that interested – and yesterday, too.

7:58

And there it is. The third fish of the day, if you count the middle of the night delivery, lands at 7:59:14.

And who got the fish?

It looks like 2 mantled the fish and has it. You can see her in the middle. Tiny is to the far left keeping himself down. Dad quickly leaves. But thank goodness, Diane steps in and takes control of the food delivery! That is all Tiny Tot needs – the older stealing the fish! That fish is not that big.

Diane feeds 1. Tiny Tot is between Diane and 2 who is watching but not being aggressive.

At 8:05:09, 2 has walked around and behind 1. There was no attack on Tiny Tot. Meanwhile, Diane continues to feed 1. It is unclear if Tiny Tot is getting any bites of fish. There are no tell tale signs of his body moving slightly up and down but I cannot be certain, one way or the other.

And then 2 who is so aggressive to Tiny Tot just gets up and turns and goes the other way. By this time there is only half of the small fish left. Is it possible that Tiny Tot will get a little of this fish?

8:05 Diane is feeding 1. Cannot tell if Tiny Tot is getting any fish. 15 April 2021

A few minutes later, 2 turns around behind Diane. The behaviour is quite odd because if food is involved, 2 is always threatening to Tiny Tot. Yesterday 2 was not hungry. I thought it was trying to pass a pellet or it was just the heat. This is perplexing.

And then 2 flaps its wings and goes towards the rim of the nest looking back.

Then 2 walks behind Tiny and raises its neck like it is checking on the fish.

But nothing. 2 turns around and goes to the rim of the nest. Meanwhile, less than half the fish is left and 1 is still eating. At 8:11:49, 1 walks across the nest and, once again, comes up behind Diane settling under her tail. How odd.

But just as quickly, 2 backs up and sort of looks off the rim of the nest, again.

At 8:16:05, 2 is back up by Diane and she feeds it a bite of food.

At 8:17 Diane is still feeding 1. 2 is behind under between her legs and Tiny Tot is at the rim at the far edge of the nest watching. He will move up closer to Diane and the feeding. But as the light dims it is very unclear whether or not there was any fish left for him. It looks like 1 might have eaten the entire delivery. Still, around 8:30 it appears a slight shift in angle and height and perhaps, just perhaps, Tiny got the last bites by the tail. Tiny had a crop at 12:04 from the big meal earlier and while it is preferable that he eat more food more often, he will be alright. What is strange about this entire feeding is the behaviour of 2. And that is why I have detailed it so closely. Is 2 struggling to cast a pellet? Or is something else wrong?

The Great Horned Owls have amazing plumage and they are starting to get the distinctive tufts of feathers for their ears. Here they are, Tiger and Lily, looking like they are standing and having a chat. Some will think that they are ‘so cute’ but these owls are deadly. In Europe, there are more incidents of GHOWs killing entire raptor families than I want to think about. We have seen them hurling Harriet and M15 off their Bald Eagle nest in Fort Myers, Florida or the much smaller Boo Book Owl in Australia knocking WBSE Lady and injuring her eye. They travel at night while the other birds are sleeping and they fly silently with the help of their soft rounded feathers. The increase in their numbers, the loss of habitat and stated another way, the loss of large trees for nests is causing problems. These two should be branching and fledgling shortly.

15 April 2021

Over at the UC Berkeley campus, Grinnell is having a very difficult time trying to get Annie to get off the eggs. Hatch watch starts on Saturday and Annie is always reluctant not to be right there when it starts!

While the Peregrine Falcons are on the verge of hatching, fledge watches are also going on around the globe. In Taiwan, the Black Kites ‘Pudding’ and ‘Brulee’ were born on 3 and 5 March, respectively. They were banded on 2 April – Orange K2 and K3. The average amount of time for Black Kites from hatch to fledge is 42-50 days. Pudding is 44 days old and Brulee is 42 days old.

Both are getting their wings stronger by flapping and flapping. And look at that magnificent tail. The fledglings generally stay in the nest perfecting their flying and hunting skills for another 42-56 days until they are self-reliant. The parents supplement their food.

Once the nestlings are older, they will sleep with their head tucked on their back. It is not under their wing although their beak might be. Did you know that sleeping this way allows the bird to relax its neck?

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

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: the Taiwan Black Kite Cam, Achieva Credit Union, Farmer Derek, UC Berkeley Cal Falcons, Latvijas Dabas, Latvian Fund for Nature, Cornell Bird Lab, and Woodland Trust and Post Code Lottery.