Tiny Little Bob eats most of the flounder at Foulshaw Moss!

Oh, those third hatches that have been beaten down and abused by their big siblings can be so clever – if they survive. They also learn how to read their environment by being patient, looking, listening, and working their way in to get the food. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest was not afraid to walk the rails of the nest siding to try and get food or, in desperation, eat the old meat off a bone. Louis helped Aila feed the chicks at the Loch Arkaig nest and JJ7 fondly known as Captain thrived. Then there was Z1 and Congo. The list is growing. But today, a quick look at Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest near Witherslack in Cumbria. The parents are White YW and Blue 35. They have been bonded mates for 8 years and in that time they have raised 18 chicks. That is a fabulous record!

The Bobs were born on 18 May, 20 May, and 22 May. Little Tiny Bob was so very tiny compared to the other two. There he is stretching really hard to get a bite of fish.

Tiny Little is still very tiny compared to its two older siblings.

White YW brought in a flounder at tea time and Tiny Little really wanted some of that fish. But Great Big Bob was wanting to eat first and saw Tiny moving towards mom and walked him back to the edge of the nest. Great Big Bob did not peck Tiny Little, she just let it be known that she eats first.

There is Tiny Little Bob staying out of the way of Great Big Bob and Middle Bob. Great Big Bob will go and begin eating the flounder.

Tiny Little Bob slowly moved along the nest railing to get out of view of Great Big Bob who was eating. He is watching what is happening closely and trying to figure out how to position himself to get some fish. He has no crop and he is really hungry.

Tiny Little raises his neck so that he can better see what is going on with the feeding. You can see his flat crop. There is still lots of fish left.

Tiny Little Bob waits until he thinks that Great Big Bob has had enough to eat that he will not mind Tiny Little Bob having some of that nice fish. Remember to survive all of these little pecked ones have to be extra clever, extra patient and very observant. They don’t want to get into a situation where their head and neck are being pecked and shaken.

Tiny Little Bob decides to move in for some fish. He has assessed the feeding situation and has figured out where he should go to be successful. Here is what happens:

Oh, Tiny Little Bob is ever so clever! Wonder if he will be able to eat all that flounder without the big siblings deciding they want some more????

At the end of the day, the big sibs were hungry again. Blue 35 has them all lined up to eat but guess who is still getting most of that flounder? If you said, Tiny Little Bob you are absolutely correct! He is in the perfect spot for mom to feed. Smart kid that one.

This is just the best way to begin a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. There are two cameras at the Cumbria Osprey Nest. Here is the link if you would like to watch this family. But just a note. The cameras do not have a rewind feature. That said I think their images are clearer and more detailed than many of the other cameras with a rewind feature.

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

No fledges yet on the Red tail Hawk nest at Cornell but the birds are antsy and Arthur and Big Red are tempting them again today. K3 almost fludged this morning. K2 is hanging in there. I hope these other two fledge so that she can get some medical attention.

Fledges normally take place in the morning or evening. I will keep you posted if you are not watching. If you want to watch, here are the links for the two cameras:

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. Keep cheering on Tiny Little Bob. He is quite the character!

Thank you to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust Osprey Cam where I took my screen shots and video clips.

Here a fish, there a fish, everywhere a fish!

One of the things that I have learned but which I continually have to remind myself is this: birds are individuals. They may have instincts that have developed over 50 million years but, at the same time, they definitely have their own character. One of the first times I noticed this was with the Royal Albatross Family in 2020. The Royal Cam chick was Atawhai (Pippa was her nick name). Her parents are OGK (orange-green-black) and YRK (yellow-red-black). OGK hatched in 1998 and he was 22 years old last year when Atawhai hatched. YRK hatched in 1994 and was 26 years old when Atawhai hatched. They have been a bonded pair since 2006 and 2020 was their seventh breeding attempt. They have four children and one foster chick as of 2020. So they are not ‘new’ parents. OGK would fly in to feed Atawhai. He loved to sit next to his baby girl and have the most animated conversations. OGK was never in a hurry to leave. Atawhai adored him and would go running when he would land. Sometimes he would even spend the night with Atawhai. In contrast, YRK liked to feed her daughter and leave! Then there are the adults that I call over providers. A case this year was Louis, the partner of Anna, at the Kisatchie Forest Bald Eagle Nest. They were first time parents of Kisatchie. At first I didn’t think that Anna would ever figure out how to feed her wee chick. The parents try to look straight at their chick and keep their beak straight and vertical but in fact, because of the way the raptors see, the mother needs to angle her beak. Anna figured it out – thankfully. Louis was the envy of all the people fishing on Lake Kincaid. One day there were eighteen fish piled up on that Bald Eagle Nest – 18! He had enough food for all the Bald Eagle nests in the southern US. Unbelievable. And then there are those nests where you just sit down and weep. I said I was not going to watch the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest but one day I peeked. How bad could this dad be? I know that I often called Jack at the Achieva Osprey Nest a dead beat dad and for several weeks he was but I didn’t think it could get worse than Jack. Oh, but yes it can! Wattsworth. I only have to say his name and those that watch the nest know precisely what he does and doesn’t do. Wattsworth gets caught not bringing in fish but if Electra catches one he is right on the nest expecting her to give it to him! Meanwhile the two barely living chicks – those poor little things – have barely enough food to live. They certainly don’t get enough food to thrive. And Electra is worn out and ever so hungry, too.

Can a nest be an indication of the success the couple will have with their nestlings? I know it sounds like one of those really stupid questions. The day that Louis landed on the rim of the nest at Loch Arkaig, the nest he shares with his mate Aila, he began to do nestorations. He repaired the walls of the nest, brought in new seaweed from the loch to dry and got everything ready for Aila’s arrival. As the days passed and Aila didn’t show up, Louis continued to work on the nest in case she was really late. Have a look at this nest. There has been snow, lots of rain, and some pretty windy storms but the nest is more or less the way Louis left it when Aila did not return this year.

From the moment Iris arrived at her Hellgate Missoula Montana nest she began to repair it. Iris had a lot to do. Last year she went on a rampage when a squirrel climbed up and tried to get in the nest cup. This was after the raven had eaten her egg. There wasn’t much left of the walls. So in 2021 it was almost like starting from scratch. One of the people who belong to the FB page of the Montana Ospreys commented on how Iris was still doing her best even though Iris knows that the outcome in 2021 will not be any different than previous years. The key is that she is doing her best, regardless.

Even CJ7 and 022, who are currently bonding on the Poole Harbour Nest but will not have chicks this year, are working on their nest!

Just yesterday one of the two chicks on the Cowlitz Nest almost fell out of the nest. There is no wall on the far side! You can see it plainly in the photo below.

Is this because there are no sticks to bring to continue building? or there are so many intruders there is no time to secure the nest? or is it indifference? or is Jack just lazy? or does he have another family or two? If anyone knows the answer, write to me – I would sure like to know!

How can you tell if a raptor has food in their system? We all know by looking to see if they have a crop but is there any other way? I happened to catch Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest tonight doing his ‘ps’. That white streak ends between the C and the H in the Achieva logo below. The PS left Tiny Tot’s body like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. The point of all of this is that Electra had such a tiny ps yesterday that you knew her system was almost entirely void of food. The same for those babies. They fight now – they each want to live. It is sad because that clobbering one another uses up their precious energy.

Tiny Tot doing a PS. 15 June 2021

The Cowlitz kids had feedings from two fish today and Electra was eating too. We can hope that all of that small fish will go to Electra and the babies and not into the talons of Wattsworth who was waiting to claim it! Wattsworth certainly gets the Dead Beat Dad award for the past two weeks!

Speaking of Dead Beat Osprey Dads. I have to give Jack a gold star. He has really turned around. Every day he brings at least one fish to Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest. One day – was it Sunday? – he even brought in four – FOUR – fish for Tiny. Jack has not forgotten his little one protecting the nest!

Here comes Jack with that fish for Tiny at 7:05:17.

White YW and Blue 35 on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest have also been working on the nest. White YW is getting much better at bringing in fish to the nest for Blue 35 and the three chicks, too. My concern is really only Tiny Little Tot. Oh, he is starting to get clever like Tiny Tot did when he was starving and being picked on by the bigger siblings. One of the FB friends of the nest said it well today, “Little One saw the fish coming in and made sure he was in pole position!” Her observations were absolutely spot on. Tiny Tot got right in front of mama so that she could see him clearly and Tiny Little Tot didn’t move. Not only did he not move but he also took bites meant for one of the bigger siblings. Oh, I just adore this little sweetie. He could go on that list of third hatches that survive and thrive!

That was just brilliant! And the older ones didn’t even seem to mind. What a relief. Tiny Little Tot had a really good feed.

Speaking of crops, have a look at the crop of Little Bob on Loch of the Lowes. Looks like everything has straightened itself out on that nest as well. Both Bobs are really thriving.

Today’s winner of provider of the day goes to Idris, however. Sorry Laddie! Just look at that whale that he hauled in for Telyn and the Bobs. He didn’t even eat the head!

Oh, thanks so much for joining me. It is always a pleasure. I will be checking in on Big Red and Arthur and the Ks first thing tomorrow. Fledge watch is truly on for that Red tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Nest, Achieva Credit Union, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest, Scottish Wildlife Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Woodland Trust and Friends of Loch Arkaig.

Tides…and Fledging

I went to check on the Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Nest last evening. When I looked there was water flooding the area. For a second, panic hit. You might recall that this Osprey Nest in Spain has already had one historic event – the hatch of the Albino chick – and one tragedy, its death. I could only imagine the water so high washing away the nest.

And then, I was taken back several years ago. We had moved from the Canadian Prairies to the coast and one of the things that was such a joy was going to the beach! Often the 8 year old neighbour boy with go with us and our son. The first day we had such a great time that I told Brandon we would pick him up the next day at the same time. When we got to the beach though, there was no water! People that live inland do not know about tides!!!!!! And guess what? That was precisely what was happening at Urdaibai. The high tide was flooding the marsh area below. The camera angle made it look like the water was going to wash that nest away – my heart sunk. So have a laugh on me – a big giggle. I was so relieved.

You can see from the sequence of the tide coming in below.

There are the two little osplets this morning of Landra and Roy’s. They are just starting to enter the Reptile phase. You can see the copper feathers coming in on their head and neck and they are becoming ‘darker’ in colour.

And here is their beautiful mom, Landa. I do not know who she is named after but Roy is named after Roy Dennis of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust. It was Dennis who helped translocate the ospreys from Scotland to Urdaibai to try and establish an Osprey colony here.

You can watch this Osprey family at the Urdaibai Biosphere here:

For some reason all of the streaming cams seem to be set on a ‘soft’ setting or are slightly out of focus. Last night Tiny Tot was sitting on the perch at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Tiny had four fish – FOUR – yesterday. He should have been about to pop! But how nice for this juvenile that has consistently kept the intruders off the nest. Look closely. See how long his feathers are getting. Tiny Tot is such a magnificent bird and to think there were days when we did not even know if he would be alive the nest morning. Just so happy for this little one.

Speaking of feathers, the bars on the tail of at least one of Big Red and Arthur’s Ks is now five. Laura Culley says they need five for fledge and it is better if there are six. Look below. You can count them.

That same K has been standing over on the fledge ledge this morning right where Big Red told her to take her first flight!

You might want to watch Big Red and the Ks. Fledge watch is really on. One of the clues is when Big Red leaves them alone at night. She left them alone last night so we are getting close! Big Red is so smart.

If the weather gets bad and Big Red believes that their flight will not be successful, her and Arthur will bring lots of prey to the nest to keep them full and happy. Wet feathers do not help! It is one reason that the Royal Albatross have to get all of that fluffy down off of their bodies before they fledge. We will be watching for that in September!

If there is nothing – like a thunderstorm -that would compromise the fledge, Big Red and Arthur are often flying around, across the street, tempting the little ones to ‘take the leap and realize their potential as birds’. Gosh, us humans can only sit back and want to flap our wings and jump and take off!

There are a couple who work at Cornell that have live streaming, Karel and Cindy Sedlacek. Once the Ks fledge, these two will find them on campus and show us what they are doing. I will post the link so you can watch all the action. It is really quite interesting to watch Big Red and Arthur teach their kiddos how to hunt. But even seeing Arthur fly like he is a Peregrine Falcon to catch a squirrel is incredible.

So what should you expect after the Red-tail Hawks fledge? During the first 3 to 6 weeks, the Ks will be learning to control their flight. They will be practising landing and taking off. Big Red and Arthur will still be feeding them. We can expect that they will be catching bugs. They have to learn to control their flight before they can catch things that run away! The first three weeks their activity levels double. They will do what is called perch to ground forays trying to catch things – that means leaving a branch where they might have been hiding and going to the ground to try and catch prey. They sometimes learn to hold things in their talons by playing ‘soccer’ with pinecones! After that they will be perfecting their hunting and flying skills. They will discover thermals and soar – and then, it will be close to the time they leave Big Red and Arthur’s territory and go out on their own.

Additionally, Big Red and Arthur move them around the Campus. First they will be across the street around the Fernow Building and Rice Tower. The adults will gradually add to the territory until such time that they are out by Holy Cow and the fields. It is all very organized!

I so wish someone would take on a research project so these kiddos could be banded. How far away do Arthur and Big Red’s chicks go from the natal nest? Do they migrate? or do they stay in the area over the winter like Big Red and Arthur? Did they survive? We know that Big Red travelled about seven miles from her nest in Brooktondale to Ithaca but Arthur, like other males, stayed closer to his natal nest. He just went about a short way – I think Arthur’s parents nest is over by the cemetery – to find Big Red and woo her. That territory of Arthur’s parents is adjacent to Big Red and Arthur’s. It is hard just to watch the juveniles soar into the sky one day and never see them again.

Thank you for joining me today! Have a giggle on me about the tides and then remember that if you are ever caught in the same situation. Join us as we wait for Big Red’s chicks to fledge. It is so exciting. At Cowliz, Electra and the chicks are still waiting for fish. Tiny Little Tot on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest has had a good feed and it looks like most of the nests are doing just fine on a Monday.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, and Urdaibai Biosphere Park.