Thursday Happenings in Bird World

It has been a very difficult time for all of us since the Ravens destroyed Daisy’s nest. Things had gone so smoothly that most of us began to believe that those eggs would hatch. Sadly, it was not to be. I so wished that the male Pacific Black ducks had the instinct to go to the nest and relieve their mates! Daisy was quite distraught, understandably. A friend that is around the Discovery Centre has offered to take a photo for me of Daisy paddling around the canal after the holidays. There are not that many ducks there so she is confident she will recognize her again this year. Before I move on to other bird news, I am reminded that Daisy rushed to the big WBSE nest to lay an egg. She did not prepare the nest and it is possible that she had a nest elsewhere and something destroyed those eggs and, as a last resort, she came to the WBSE nest. There might well not be a safe place for our Daisy and that could account for so few ducks in the water there. If a duck hatches a normal clutch, it is normally 47 days before the pair mate again and this will only happen twice a year. If the eggs are broken, it can be as few as 10 days, a reliable source tells me. I hope that we do not see Daisy again – as much as I would like to see her and know she is safe! The WBSE are often at the nest in January and it would be wonderful if later Daisy was seen with little ones in the canal. We wait.

I needed ‘something lighter’ and that turned out to be the boys at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. It seems that Bazza picked off the first two fish deliveries. At some time Ervie got mad at him and kicked him off the nest. Falky continues to perfect his diving skills hoping to catch that elusive fish one day. They are so lucky that they have parents that continue to provide these big strapping lads with food!

Here is Falky diving off the ropes and coming out of the water in sequence:

No fish but, Falky tried! If you look at the time stamps you will see how quick that dive was. This family is just doing great. That is a wonderful thing! Falky is really trying.

Ervie’s satellite tracker indicates that he has been visiting the local boat ramps. The owner of PLO is wondering if Ervie has discovered places where he can get fed! Here is Ervie’s latest tracking:

Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page posted some great shots of Ervie and Falky. They were taken by Bazz Hockaday. I hope they don’t mind my sharing them with you. You can see how stunningly handsome and – well, these are just great Osprey fledges. A success story this year that gives us a lot of hope. I understand that Falky followed Ervie to the beach. Bazza stayed on the nest and cleaned up on all the fish. I am certain that Bazza will never leave home!

Ervie
Falky
Falky
Ervie

Port Lincoln also posted a picture of the barge from the other side. It really helps us visualize where the nest is.

This is dad delivering a fish dinner to the nest. What an amazing shot! Thank you Port Lincoln!

The hatching and fledging of the three males at this beautiful barge with its Osprey nest made history for this mated pair. For years they have had issues relating to siblicide and they have never fledged three. Everyone was cautiously optimistic and it happened. It is one of those great moments of 2021 that no one will forget!

I urge you to check in on this nest and also the Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page. You don’t have to be a member of anything to find out what the lads are doing. And this is such a happy site – we need it, we truly do.

There are lots of mothers incubating eggs. Two of my favourites are Harriet and Gabby.

Harriet and M15 have been taking turns at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest. It has not been easy for the male, M15. He has continual strikes by the Great Horned Owl whose nest is 900 metres away. M15 had an injury the other day. The GHOW also strike Harriet on the nest and will do the same to the hatchlings. Sad.

Samson and Gabby have been taking turns incubating their two eggs in the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. They have had a sub-adult intruder but nothing like the issues with the owls that Harriet and M15 have endured. As nests and trees become more precious – with growing numbers of eagles and owls – these fights for territory could come more often and many times the owls usurp the eagles from the nest. I continually remind everyone that they might be cute – the owls – but they are a formidable Apex predator.

Gabby – you can always tell the ‘shag look’.
Samson with his slick backed head.

Hatch watch for Harriet! Bobble heads coming real soon. I can’t wait.

I want to leave each of you with something that is just full of joy! Perhaps you have discovered this wonderful girl that loves squirrels. If you haven’t, then you are in for a real treat. Please enjoy -.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for all the letters and comments about Daisy. It was a very difficult time for the community of people from all over the world that loved her. I hope that we get a picture soon of her paddling away and that if she should lay more eggs, we don’t see them but they hatch and we get news of Daisy on the canal being a Mum. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for the streaming cams and their FB pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, and NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF. I also want to thank Bazz Hockaday for those amazing images of Ervie and Falky.

Saturday in Bird World

Sometimes you don’t need any words to go with the images. It was 13:30 Saturday 20 November at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yurruga is 44 days old.

Some of the volunteers at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital are on the grounds around UC-Berkeley in case there is a falcon that needs to go in care. So far nothing. Annie has been seen soaring with the intruder that injured Grinnell. Despite Grinnell returning to his and Annie’s territory there is no certainty that he will be successful in winning his mate back or keeping his territory. Will bring all news to you when I hear it.

Bazza ‘finally’ got a portion of a fish at 12:36 yesterday. Here is a parent delivering.

The boys and their wings.

You can see Bazza’s red leg band – he has the portion of fish. Good job, Bazza. Look at Dad’s nice crop. My goodness. He has delivered so many fish to this nest I wonder if he had any portions for himself. We know the answer now.

It is so funny. Falkey is mantled like he has a fish too. Ervie is full and doesn’t care. Bazza enjoyed every morsel. Now – everyone has eaten and it is only the middle of the day. Dad has brought in at least three fish in 6 hours. Gold star.

Falkey will go on to get the 17:15 delivery from Dad. Falkey is really getting good at grabbing those fish. He seems to have ditched his nickname ‘Mellow Yellow’.

At 19:13 Bazza is going to steal what is left of Falkey’s fish right from under him. Good work, Bazza. He’s catching on. That is grand.

Bless his heart, Dad brought in yet another fish at 19:50. Bazza and Ervie fought for it. Lost it and then Ervie found it. Dad is really taking care of his boys. Thanks, Dad. If you are wondering, Bazza has hovered but has not done any flying other than the day he had the fight with Ervie and landed on the deck of the boat in Dad’s area.

Other News:

For those of you wondering about the Cornell RTH camera of Big Red and Arthur, there is a power outage at the Alumni Fields that is affecting the camera.

Poole Harbour Osprey Friends will be holding a free on line talk about the importance of bird life. Here is the information:

https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/osprey-project-talk?fbclid=IwAR0E886G-XBU-n5Q20cVXARlKaUNeaAxSsneJslHavl1Wjuza_EkqjSY1SQ

Bruce Yolton who writes the blog Urban Hawks and takes amazing images of the raptors in New York City, has been looking at the 86th Street Peregrine Falcons. Have a look.

I have been lucky to have stayed in Southeast Asia many times. I am particularly fond of Cambodia and Laos. The rice farmers in Cambodia have started planting a new type of rice to attract the birds back to their fields. It is a good little read.

It has been a great morning. We have not seen the garden rabbit, Hedwig, for some time. We were afraid that the construction of new condos about three blocks away destroyed the rabbit burrows. Perhaps the rabbits have moved. I was delighted to see him. He must have been under the feeders eating seed for some time because I didn’t have time to get my camera before he left.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. Enjoy your Saturday. I am going to step back and listen to Ferris Akel’s Tour until it is time to feed all the birds.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Diamond is so patient

Little Yurruga has really been shaking it up – or should I say ‘off’? Those fluffy white down feathers, so soft and so cute when she was younger, must be driving her crazy. Underneath what is left is going to be a lovely bird, just like her Mum, Diamond.

There is no doubt that Yurruga can be loud and she certainly almost claims those eggs as her own in the video above. She can also persuade the parents to go to the ledge or leave entirely. But, Yurruga feels like a much gentler soul than Izzi. Diamond is simply a patient observant Mum and after a bit, Yurruga stops with the prey calling when she sees that nothing is coming. Rather nice.

A few minutes later, Yurruga was running around with a Starling beak. What a character!

There have been several fish deliveries at Port Lincoln. Ervie got the first fish and left a little for the brothers. That came in at 6:50:24. There was another delivery at 12:11 and another at 14:25:11. I could not tell who got the last fish but, Bazza picked up the noon delivery. Maybe Falky got the last one. Ervie didn’t. They are all getting fish to eat and no one is hungry despite the scramble for the latest delivery.

Port Lincoln posted Ervie’s flight path yesterday. He is definitely exploring around the barge.

Falky continues his flying and landing exercises and Port Lincoln adds that Bazza seems to figure if he stays on the nest, he has the best chance of getting a fish! One of the chatters wondered if he was too ‘heavy’ for lift off. Bazza will fly when Bazza is ready. We don’t need to urge him on. I am certain Ervie and Falky are very capable of doing that.

I am continuing to read and enjoy Emry Evans Monty more and more. I am on my second reading of parts of this marvellous book. While it is about the foundational male of Welsh Ospreys it is also about this wonderful species and insights into their behaviour. I was particularly moved by the essay on Monty’s mourning the loss of his daughter, Ceri, and the links drawn to all of the studies that demonstrate that animals not only experience ranges of emotion but also pain and suffering and to Dr Marc Bekoff’s writing as well as to that of Jane Goodall. One of those is The Ten Trusts.

Those trusts, according to Goodall and Bekoff are: 1. Respect all life; 2. Live as part of the Animal Kingdom; 3. Educate our children to respect animals; 4. Treat animals as you would like to be treated; 5. Be a steward; 6. Value the sounds of nature and help preserve them; 7. Do not harm life in order to learn about it; 8. Have the courage of your convictions; 9. Act knowing that your actions make a difference, and 10. Act knowing that you are not alone.

Because of the unnecessary death of Solly, the 2020 hatch at Port Lincoln, on the power line at Streaky Bay, I am particularly interested in #9. Each of us can make a difference and I note that in Wales, all that had to be done to keep the Ospreys off the power lines where they love to eat fish was to place two diagonal rods. How simple is that?! The South Australian Government could do this with all of the power lines near the coasts where the birds fish and eat.

There is an update on Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon who was injured in a turf war. Of course, everyone hopes that Grinnell is super fit and able to take on his assailant who is now courting Grinnell’s mate, Annie. This was 19 hours ago:

https://hoodline.com/2021/11/celebrity-berkeley-falcon-in-avian-love-triangle-close-to-recovery-after-injury/

It is a another grey day with the promise of more snow. Meanwhile everything seems to have a crust of ice on it or, in the case of walkways, several centimetres of ice making it nearly impossible to walk. The birds are very inventive. They have been burrowing tunnels in the snow and then standing in the holes – it is like having one’s on private igloo.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB groups where I took my screen captures and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project Cam and FB Page, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Seeing Double?

If you are starting to wonder what is going on with the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, you are not alone! Early this morning there was only one falcon (I believe a female) left on the ledge of the building to fledge. She was pretty frantic early in the morning looking up and acting like there was a bird – maybe on the next ledge. She ran back and forth excited stopping to look. Then an adult brought in prey, she ran down to the other end of the ledge away from the camera to eat.

She was quite excited seeing the other bird.

Something really interesting happens after 11am. It has started to rain and the eyas on the ledge is quite dry. She is not agitated like she was a few hours earlier leading me now to believe that it was an adult with prey trying to lure her off the ledge as opposed to a sibling. Without another camera, we will never know for certain.

What we do know is that around 11:00, the lone eyas on the ledge began to look around. It is raining in Melbourne. You can see it on the ledge of the building and in the distance.

It is fairly dry – this ledge is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Something has her curiosity.

Ah, maybe it is just time to see if there is any leftover prey in the gutter.

After exploring, she gets very close to where the camera is and acts like she is going to run to the other end.

She does a pivot and runs back.

She finds an old piece of bone with some feathers in the scrape box and begins playing with it.

Then she stops and just looks out over the horizon very calmly.

Our girl cannot believe her eyes. Look at who is running down the ledge – a sibling!

People wondered if she might be lonely. It would certainly be different going from four to being the only one left and seeing the others flying about.

She turns her head really funny to see the sibling in the scrape.

Within a couple of minutes they are both sitting on the ledge, trying to stay dry. Whether or not they are enjoying one another’s company is anyones guess.

Yes, you are seeing double. People always wonder whether or not the falcons will fly back to the location of the scrape box. You now have an answer: yes, they will.

With hawks, the fledglings might continue to come back to the nest to be fed, sometimes they sleep on the nest or perch, and in other years, they never come back to the nest preferring to roost in trees or buildings. So, the answer is it varies from year to year and nest to nest. It sure is nice to see another one though, isn’t it? It just confirms that at least two of them are safe and sound. One fledgling, one nestling.

Maybe this returnee will encourage the nestling to fledge – after it stops raining. Falcons know that it is much easier flying with dry feathers than wet ones!

For those of you that might have been wondering what is going on, I thought I should let you know that there are two on the ledge. It could become more. Funny. The one that fledged has more fluffy down still stuck to its juvenile feathers. There is a tiny little mohawk on the crown.

Take care all. See you soon. Thank you so much for joining me and thanks again to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip.

Checking on the birds

Oh, how they have entertained us. How we waited to see if that fourth egg would hatch. How we watched as Dad was incubating during the earthquake. It has been quite the season with the Melbourne Peregrine falcons. Today, there is another nice article on the 367 Collins Street Falcons today. I have attached it in case you missed it!

We are so lucky that the four of them have decided to come out so that we can see them. Those downy feathers are disappearing quickly and they look like grown up falcons capable of taking on the skies of Melbourne -for awhile – til Mom and Dad boot them out. Certainly Mom and Dad have been doing flying demonstrations trying to lure them into thinking about taking the leap! They are a little over 5 weeks old today. Forty days and onward is approximate for fledging.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/for-melbourne-s-falcons-and-their-fans-a-new-domestic-drama-20211001-p58who.html?fbclid=IwAR1bgeKR4w2H622TETCdcJ0r0bgzLtVEE9BoK_35wrlcuWA4b0BzJ9VC0JI

Over in Orange, or should I say ‘up’ in Orange, Yarruga was one hungry chick waiting for supper that did not arrive. S/he had two feedings yesterday so she is going to be ravenous when breakfast arrives. There is no need to worry, though. She had a nice crop, larger than Diamond’s and Yarruga will not starve. In the world of raptors there are days of plenty and days of naught. Little ones need to learn that, too. Yarruga is 28 days old today. Four weeks.

Diamond was seen putting her entire weight on her right leg in the middle of the night to clean her talons. This is very good news. She has moved over to the ledge to grab some sleep before dawn and Diamond seems to be doing much better. How grand.

The Port Lincoln osplets are sound asleep. Little Bob is 50 days old today – while the two big siblings are 52 days old. We will be keeping an eye on those numbers because last year Solly fledged at 65 days (in the Northern Hemisphere it is 49 days onward). Solly was banded at 47 days and DEW at 46. On Monday, 8 November, these three will be banded, named, measured, and at least one will get a tracker. They are just wonderful – the three of them. I am surely going to miss this nest – perhaps the most civilized brood I have ever seen.

There is sadly some commotion going on at Taiaroa Head. Our beloved OGK may have realized that his mate, YRK, is not returning. He tried to mate – rather vigorously – with BOK who is also waiting for her mate to return. Being the gentleman that he is, OGK, returned to apologize in the Albatross way by doing a sky call with BOK later.

If it happens that YRK, Pippa Atawhai’s mum, does not return, it will not be from old age but from being caught in the lines of the fishing trawlers. I hope that you will think about our beloved Pippa and what a horrible death that would be – and it is entirely preventable! I feel rather gutted because these are all useless deaths that never have to happen. An albatross does not need to be decapitated every 5 minutes! The fixes are really easy. They include setting the lines at night, line weighting, and bird scaring lines. Some organizations are supplying these measures for free to the boats. The deaths are preventable. There needs to be international laws. Every country needs to stand up and demand that the fishing factories take these simple steps or not be able to fish. Write letters, phone your political representative – do it for Pippa. Then check out what the RSPB is doing. They are working alongside the Albatross Task Force to help end bycatch. Check out their website, ask who to contact. And remember – writing e-mails does help. Public pressure helps.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/

The Bald Eagles are really busy working on their nests in the US while the ones who came to Manitoba for their summer breeding are very slowly making their migration. Images of 30 or 40 along the river in my City have been posted locally the last few days but are not available to share beyond the Manitoba Birding and Photography FB page. I still have a few Slate Grey Juncos and today that meant a trip to the seed seller to get some more Husked Millet for them. The day is just starting in Australia and New Zealand so no telling what will happen. I long for YRK to fly in and just land on OGK’s head! That would be a rather dramatic entrance fitting for this very patient male who has been working on a nest for about six weeks now. No doubt Yarruga is going to be screaming for breakfast! I will post the updates on Grinnell tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, thank you for joining me and take care everyone.

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

Time with Tiaki

It is 6 September in Australia and the Royal Cam chick, Tiaki, is 225 days old. She is the daughter of LGL (Lime Green Lime) and LGK (Lime Green Black). They have been together as a couple since 2017. Their very first chick was also a Royal cam chick. Karere hatched in 2019 and successfully fledged. They laid their egg this season on 4 November 2020 and Tiaki hatched on 24 January. It looks like they will also have a successful fledge this year! Congratulations LGL and LGK!

It is early morning. Tiaki is not at her nest. She is looking out at what is happening around her. It is going to be a gorgeous day with lots of wind.

Tiaki has been really exercising her wings and has hovered quite high on several occasions.

Lady Hawk caught Tiaki’s first hovering – 3 weeks ago – in a short video.

Here she is today spreading those magnificent wings. There are only little pieces of the baby down left.

Her ultimate destination – the sea.

If the average age at fledge is 232 days then it is possible that in a week, Tiaki will begin her big adventure. She will remain on the open seas only returning to Taiaro Head in 5-6 years. It will be wonderful to welcome back and to watch her do all those amazing courtship dances with the other juveniles. For those of you that adore this lovely little albatross, stay tuned to the screen. This gal really wants to fly.

It is 15:32 and Tiaki is away from her nest. It is so windy. I wonder if a parent will arrive to feed her?

Dad, LGK – Lime Green Black- had been at sea for quite some time. He has now returned on 3 and 5 September to feed his squealing daughter. I love this video that Lady Hawk posted of LGK’s visit and the feeding. Note the sky calls! And also keep on the lookout for the neighbouring chick, SSTrig. This little corner is quite the soap opera!

I just went to check on Tiaki again and look – someone is flying in. Is it LGK or LGL, the mom?

It’s Dad.

Here comes Tiaki calling to Dad so he won’t leave without giving her that wonderful squid shake. She is moving as fast as she can.

Tiaki acts like she has eaten in weeks. She is so excited and you could hear her whee, whee for quite a distance.

Tiaki gets a nice short feeding – and she always wants more and more. Dad tries to oblige her.

Tiaki doesn’t want Dad to go. Since 3 September, LGK has been in three times to feed his daughter. That is a good record.

I wonder if he knows that his time with her is growing shorter and shorter. Perhaps he will fish close to the nest and maybe fly in when mom is there, too. Wouldn’t it be grand to have a family reunion one more time? Absolutely.

Dad has stopped for a rest a little ways from Tiaki. Tiaki is in the middle of the photo and LGK is the head to the right of Tiaki. It is almost impossible to just sit with Tiaki now. She gets excited and wants more and more food. Sometimes LGK returns to do a second feeding after he has rested but, since he was just here yesterday maybe he has fed Tiaki all the squid he has.

Perhaps he will wait awhile and see if the strong winds bring Mom in?

Several times, LGK, Dad, flapped his wings at the edge of the cliff as if to show Taiki that it was a good place to fledge.

A few times I thought he had left but Tiaki would still be doing some clacking. Then dad’s wing would appear. It was hard to know precisely when he took off there were so many birds flying around.

Oh, my. Look what is happening. Is this the other parent flying in? I was not able to confirm the leg band but the camera followed the bird and we could see a chick being fed. I sure thought it was Tiaki. Hopefully someone else will be able to confirm all of this. If it was LGL then her and LGK missed one another by minutes.

The parents will not know when Tiaki fledges – unless of course they are there. I wonder if this has ever happened? They will return a few times to feed their chick and then when they cannot find her, they will take off. The couple will spend the next 14 months on the open sea building up their energy and feeding themselves. They will both meet here on Taiaroa Head in November of 2022 to begin another season in the hope of having a third chick that survives to fledge.

It is near the end of the season on Taiaroa Head. To date there have been no fledges but they will begin soon. You can still join the action, here’s the link:

I know that so many of you love the Albatross. Did you know that 15 of the 22 species of Albatross are facing extinction? It is because of the long haul fishing trawlers. Albatrosses feed on the surface of the ocean. You can see them flying about the fishing vessels who put out fish head and guts as the process the fish on board. This attracts the Osprey who get caught by the cables and are dragged under the boat and drown. The Albatross also get caught on the baited hooks of the boats. It is horrible and it doesn’t have to happen. Please check out the information on the Albatross Task Forde to fead all of the information and the solutions. There are things you can do to help!

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/#:~:text=The%20Albatross%20Task%20Force%20%E2%80%93%20an,the%20deadliest%20fisheries%20for%20albatrosses.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay well, see you soon.

Thank you also to the Cornell Bird Lab and the New Zealand Department of Conservation for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Sadly, no word about Malin

I want to thank everyone that took the time to write to me and tell me how much Malin meant to them. My inbox was overflowing with letters expressing love and concern for Malin. Everyone wanted to know if there had been any word. Mom and Dad have both been on the nest with fish and today Marsha (mum) was there around 13:00. She did not have any fish that visit. During her morning visit she called out for Malin. So far there has been no sighting of Malin.

After going through the FB postings of the Nature Center, we were able to determine that Malin was the middle hatch. The youngest just disappeared from the nest and the eldest died in the middle of June leaving Malin, the chick that hatched on 18 June, alive. Malin was then the middle hatch of 18 June. Malin then was 63 days old at fledge. The average age for ospreys to fledge in Wisconsin appears to be 55 days. That would make Malin’s timing within range. Most ospreys spend at least 2 weeks flying and letting their parents feed them. Many stay much longer. Two examples that I give are Tiny Tot and Tiny Little because they were both hatches that suffered from lack of food. Tiny Tot stayed on the nest for a total of four months or 120 days. That is more than twice as long as Malin. Tiny Little remains on the nest in Cumbria. She will probably fledge before Tiny Tot’s 120 days – but she could be on the nest for 90 days.

There is disagreement over whether Malin simply flew or whether or not Malin was frightened off the nest by an intruder. Experts on both sides see that exit differently. It is unfortunate. The result is the same – Malin has not returned to the nest. The reactions to looking for Malin are different depending on which you believe. If Malin just flew because he wanted to then no one would go and really look for him. If one believed that Malin was frightened off the nest, they might worry that he was injured and look harder. Something that has to be kept in mind is that Osprey feed their fledglings on the nest – it is preferable. They do sometimes feed on a branch but I haven’t found an Osprey expert that has ever seen an Osprey parent feed their fledgling on the ground. In fact, if a fish falls off a nest they will not go and retrieve it. Have you ever seen an Osprey eat or feed its chick on the ground?

The research continues to stress that the more food and the longer fledglings stay on the nest the higher the success rate. That is the reality. This nest is really empty. Malin defied the odds – he survived and thrived. We hope that the name we gave him carries him on into his life and that he is somewhere safe eating a fish.

Collins is looking down like he might be seeing Malin.

One of the last times the entire family was together on the nest. It was a real privilege to watch little Malin survive and then – thrive. Let us all continue to send this family positive energy.

19 August 2021. Malin, Marsha, and Collins.

It is about 7am in Latvia and Estonia as I write this. The Black Storklings are waking up and like all birds are a little more energetic than they are at mid-day.

The two images below are from Grafs and Grafiene’s nest near Sigulda, Latvia. At least one of the storklets has fledged. Perhaps today they will all fledge and find the feeder area with the beautiful Grafiene decoy.

It is now just after 9am in Latvia and there is only one storkling on Graf’s nest near Sigulda. This means two have fledged just like my source had indicated. The second fledge is the oldest at 7:43 am. He is 70 days old today. The youngest fledged at day 66 after hatch.

This was not the smooth flight of the youngest. The oldest hit the branch on the other side of the tree. There is concern about the condition of that wing. I will update you as soon as there is any information. Send your strong and positive wishes. I hope it looks worse than it was. How terrifying for this young bird to have that happen.

Even so, I hope that both of the storklings are at the feeder filling themselves with fish – just like we hope Malin is doing the same.

There is now only the middle hatch. Perhaps it will go today. They are 68 days old.

When I checked on Jan and Janika’s storklings in Estonia’s Jogeva County, no more fish have been delivered to the nest. It looks to me like every scrap of the old fish has been eaten – I thought that yesterday. Perhaps one really packed down in the nest is there, the one the storkling on the left is pecking at. All of the birds need food.

Hopefully all of them will fledge and find the feeder set up for them, too.

They are so beautiful with the sunlight filtering through the trees. The storks are 67 and 68 days old today. The average for fledging is 68-72 days. I wonder if Urmas will deliver some more fish?????

Do you watch the peregrine falcons, Xavier and Diamond? If you do, then you will know that part of the pair bonding ritual is Xavier presenting a prey item to Diamond. Diamond is not that particular but, she does not like Starlings. She cannot stand them. She has turned Xavier away when he had a Starling for her. They must taste terrible!

Well, today, Xavier hit the jackpot. Diamond was completely excited about her lunch – although some of you might not be. Xavier had a Superb Parrot for his beautiful Diamond. Make sure your sound is turned up.

Superb Parrots are also known as Green Leek Parrots or the Barraband’s Parakeet. These little beauties are native to southeast Australia living in the dry woodlands of New South Wales and Victoria. They were once considered vulnerable in terms of conservation and have been listed as Least Concern since 2012. Loss of habitation due to timber logging might well see this bird back as being vulnerable.

They are medium sized, growing up to a little over 15 cm or 16 inches in length. The bird in the image below is a juvenile. How do I know that? It has brown eyes while the adults have yellow-orange eyes. The adult male has a bright yellow face and throat while the female looks like the plumage that the juvenile has below. They eat fruits, berries, insects, as well as grains and nuts.

Awww. What a sweet face.

WBSE 27 and 28 continue to charm the socks off of everyone. That beautiful fluffy white down is in transition. They look a little like old terry cloth towels sleeping in their nest this morning in Sydney.

Look closely along the edge of the wing of WBSE 28 on the left. You will see the little pin feathers coming.

The pantaloons are growing too.

Just look at that sweet baby, WBSE 28, looking up at its parent. How adorable.

They are so young and yet, both of them know to pancake when there is an intruder near the nest. They hear their parents alarming and down they go. Look at the concern shown in the eye of WBSE 27 on the left. You can also see the black pin feathers coming in on both in this image better than the other one. But look – their cute little tails are growing!

You cam almost see them growing right before your very eyes.

Tiny Little still makes my heart skip a beat. Oh, what a wonderful bird you have turned out to be. You were so very tiny with that big older siblings but just look at you waiting for your breakfast to arrive.

Oh, you have that ferocious look like Mrs G. I have said that a couple of times but you do, Tiny Little. I hope you live as long as Mrs G and have lots of successful hatches. You really are quite amazing, Tiny Little.

Tomorrow is Saturday but there is no Ferris Akel tour this week. I was hoping to catch up with what is happening with Big Red and her family. It was raining yesterday but the Hornings were able to spot all four of them so we know that K1 and K3 are still with us – how grand, the 21st of August.

I am researching ‘Climate Driven Evolutionary Change’. If you know of bird arrivals or departures that are earlier than normal or later than what has been the norm, please let me know. It is much appreciated.

It is so nice to have you here with me. The rain is still falling – and that is a good thing. Please continue to send your positive wishes to Malin and all the bird families. Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip: The Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross. Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, The Eagle Club of Estonia, The Latvian Fund for Nature, and the Sea Eagles Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre.

A surprise visit to see the Ks

I was not expecting to see a notification that Ferris Akel was on the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca this evening. What a wonderful surprise! The reason that everyone wants to see Big Red and her family is not to see spectacular things but, really, it is just to know that each and every one of them is safe and well. After the worry of Hurricane Elsa and the nests along the southwest coast of Florida, this was simply a joyful treat.

Ferris found K1 on a window ledge. How she got there is anyone’s guess. My goodness she is so cute. Whoever said that she is a mini-Big Red is so right. Her plumage is such a deep brick red and she has a full red-feathered belly band, too, with lots of peach on her chest.

Look at the image below. Notice the feathered area that extends above K1’s eyelid. It starts at the beak and goes to the back of the head. It is called the supercilium. The supercilium helps keep the glare out of K1’s eyes! It is often simply called a bird’s eyebrow.

Hawks can turn their heads 270 degrees. Sometimes it looks like they can do the complete 360 but they can’t.

You can see in the image below, despite it being blurry (rain at started), the peach on the chest and the low very dark feathers of the belly band.

The cere is the area around the nostrils above the beak. You can easily see it in the image of K1 above and below. It is light yellow. Notice that the eyes are a green-gray. When K1 is an adult they will be brown getting a deeper brown the older she gets.

Last year, Big Red and Arthur’s fledgling, J3, was born with deep brown eyes.

Ferris did some close ups of K1’s back so that we could see the scapular ‘V’. When both wings are held tight to the body it is the ‘V’ on the upper back. Examine K1’s scapular V. It has its own pattern. Some people use this along with the tail and the belly band to try and identify hawks that are not banded.

You can think of the scapular V as being the way the hawk’s back looks when the wings are closed.

K1 has a white terminal band on her tail feathers. In fact, it is rather wide. Notice the dark bands. When hawks fledge, we want them to have five, preferably six dark bands, so that they get lift and control and will be successful. K1 now has at least eight dark bands. We know that she is also an excellent flier.

The tail feathers help the hawk to do controlled manoeuvres. This is why it is so much better if they are longer at the time of fledge. The wing feathers – you can see the tips of them in the image below- are the most useful for flying. Did you know that the wing and tail feathers of the fledglings are actually longer than those of the adults? This is to assist them when they are learning to fly. After their first moult, they will grow in the standard length of an adult hawk (return to a normal length). Another interesting fact is that at the time of fledging, the feathers actually weigh more than the bird itself!

At the beginning of their second year, when they moult, the fledglings will get their red tails. When Big Red and Arthur bonded, Arthur did not yet have his red tail! Lots of people questioned Big Red’s intentions. She had many suitors but I think we can all agree that Big Red knew best. She has a wonderful mate in Arthur.

Ferris found K3 in one of the pine trees near to Rice Hall’s parking lot. What gave K3 away? Robins vocalizing!

K3 is looking at something intently.

K3 was doing a lot of preening. The preen or the oil glands are at the base of the tail. These oils reinforce or condition the surface of the feathers. Just like the oil you put in your car, the preen oil changes composition during the year. This oil, once it is exposed to sunlight, has been found to contain vitamin D.

Big Red was over on the ledge at Bradfield. I almost did not recognize her. In the summer when Big Red begins to moult, she starts becoming Big Blond. It looks to me like this process is starting.

But why do hawks moult? Feathers are made out of keratin, just like human fingernails. But unlike our fingernails, feathers do not continually grow. Once they are fully formed, they stop growing. Over time the feathers get damaged. This damage comes from normal wear and tear, the sunlight, parasites, and from injuries. These feathers have to be renewed. Hawks do not moult or change their feathers all at once. They would be unable to fly or function and would die. Moult is a gradual process. Big Red does not begin her moult during breeding season. It is too hard on her. The birds deplete their calcium producing eggs and Red tail hawks can lose approximately 20-30% of their body weight by the time the chicks fledge. Big Red will spend the summer and fall getting back into condition and replacing her feathers.

Feathers help the birds fly, they offer camouflage, and they also keep the birds dry.

Arthur was on ‘the throne’ on Bradfield. Neither Big Red nor Arthur moved from their locations during Ferris’s visit. Both Ks appeared to have a crop and neither were food begging. The crop is the first stage of digestion. It is like a pouch under the beak and the mouth. The crop expands with the food. The undigestables are rolled around in the crop to form a casting which the hawk throws up or ‘casts’. The rest of the food that can be digested enters the digestive system proper. The only raptor that does not have a crop is the owl. Owls have gizzards. If you watch Ospreys you will have looked to see if the chicks have crops. That way you can tell if they have had food recently.

It was an absolutely wonderful surprise. There is nothing nicer than spending the end of the day with Big Red and her family. I hope you enjoyed seeing them, too.

This is a great shout out to Ferris Akel. Thank you Ferris for taking your time to go and check on ‘the family’. It is wonderful to know that they are all fine and well.

The Migratory Bird Acts – do they really protect the birds?

It has been a little over a week since the furor erupted at a local park in our City when a public utility company was clear cutting trees near a Cooper Hawks Nest. The outpouring of anger by residents and concerned citizens paused the clear cutting until fall when there would be no active nests. A victory for the birds!

Several of us were pretty certain that the migrating birds were protected under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 – an act originally passed in 1917 and updated in 1994 and 2005. But, we were wrong. Raptors are not protected under the federal act. They are protected by the Wildlife Act of Manitoba!

As Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project reminded me:

The original Act was written to protect birds that migrated between Canada and the US and  were either a) beneficial (songbirds eating agricultural pests or waterfowl which were hunted) or b) harmless to humans (puffins for example).  Birds of prey – dead or alive, whole or their constituent parts – are generally protected under provincial and territorial Acts.  In Manitoba all vultures, eagles, ospreys, hawks, falcons and owls are designated as protected species under the Wildlife Act – the Act protects them, their nests and habitat.

As I sat reading Tracy’s words, I began staring at two books on my shelf. The first one was Rosalie Edge. Hawk of Mercy. The Activist who saved nature from the Conservationists and Winter’s Hawk. Both paint a picture of wanton killing of birds, not protecting them. Rosalie Edge will use her influence and money to establish a protective area in the United States called Hawk Mountain. She will take on Audubon and all the men she knows who love sport hunting and the bagging of raptors. What a woman. Hawk Mountain is the site where the thermals are so good and birds migrating from eastern Canada and the US pass through to get to their winter grounds. You can visit Hawk Mountain and you can go there and help count migrating raptors. Google it.

Rosalie Edge was a very special woman. She was not afraid of going against the establishment. Rachel Carson has often been given the credit for sounding the early alarm against DDT in her book, Silent Spring. In fact, it was Edge that was raising concerns fourteen years before Carson. Edge was a leader in seeing the need to really conserve the birds and protect them against humans.

The book is a good read. It shows the real attitudes towards birds at the turn of the century – the impact of sport hunting. Edge had the strong constitution to take on some of the most powerful men at the time and win. Hawk Mountain remains today a place of refuge for the migrating birds and, of course, my dear raptors. I am actually including provincial wildlife acts of Canada at the bottom of today’s blog. If you wish to read The Migratory Bird Act of Canada (MBAC) it can be accessed by Googling.

So lesson learned: When demanding protection for raptors in your province, you need to go to the provincial wildlife acts which I have included below!

I went to check on Little Tiny Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria. He has been getting stronger and growing the past few days. He also appears to have gained some confidence – a very good thing. We saw that in Tiny Tot as he began to get so clever in order to get food. Blue 35 has been doing really well feeding the trio. I am really proud of her and White YW keeps the fish coming in.

All of the Bobs were full. Little Tiny Bob just wanted to go to sleep and there was enough fish for mom to have a good meal, too. Any food insecurities seem to be dissipating on this nest. Yes! That is a good thing on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Tiny Tot was waiting on the nest and hoping for a fish drop early this morning. Jack did not disappoint. He arrived with a fish at 7:40:36.

“Thanks, Dad!”

Jack took off and left Tiny to his fish. Tiny continued mantling. He knows there is an adult intruder in the area and he doesn’t want to loose his fish.

Sadly there has been no fish delivery at the Cowlitz PUD nest. Those babies have gone through all that food they ate yesterday. They were starving. They are once again food begging. Electra called out to Wattsworth for a long time. She left the nest and I thought she was returning with a fish for the babies but she wasn’t gone long enough – she came in with bark. Of course, Wattsworth had to come sniffing around. What a lazy Osprey! I guess Electra will have to leave the babies and go fishing again today if they are going to survive.

The babies were cold and crying for food.

No sooner than Electra had that piece of wood on the nest than Wattsworth appears thinking it was a fish. Does he have another family? Is he just a lazy osprey? Yes, I do believe that birds have individual characteristics. Or is he just completely inept? Reminds me too much of Louis and the way that he treats Iris on the Hellgate Nest. Thankfully the Ravens took Iris’s eggs this year before there could be any starving chicks.

While it is true that this nest needs some rebuilding on the sides, it surely needs fish to keep the babies alive so they actually need the crib sides!!!!! Wattworth – go fishing! You make me disappointed.

I always check on Tiny Tot, Little Tiny Tot, and the Ks every morning. This time I took a deep breath. I could only see one of the Ks at the very far end near a good spot to fledge. My mind was racing telling me that they are not ready to fledge yet. I had counted the rings on K1s tail and concluded that and yet, where are they??!!!!!!!!

At that moment I remembered that there is a second camera at the Cornell site. Well, it made me feel a little better. There all three of them were but one of them is over where Big Red has been standing – on the fledge ledge. It is going to be soon. Better watch these kids while there is time!

Thank you for joining me today. Send warm wishes, as always to those wee ones who need warmth and food – the Cowlitz Kids.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH. Thank you to Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery for pointing out the difference in the wildlife acts.

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Here is the wording for the Canadian provincial and territorial laws:

Birds in Canada are protected under provincial and territorial statute in addition to the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Please consult the legislation of the relevant jurisdiction before making any decisions regarding the protected status of a bird species in Canada. The following links are provided for convenience, but may not be current.

This table provides information on legislation of other jurisdictions regarding migratory birds in Canada.

Province/TerritoryLawURL
British ColumbiaWildlife ActBritish Columbia – Wildlife ActDesignation and Exemption Regulation: Schedules A and C
AlbertaWildlife ActAlberta – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulation, Schedule 4
SaskatchewanWildlife Act, 1998Saskatchewan – Wildlife Act (PDF; 155 KB)The Wildlife Regulations, 1981 (PDF; 216 KB)
ManitobaWildlife ActManitoba – Wildlife Act: Schedule A
OntarioFish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997Ontario – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997: Schedules 3, 7 and 8
QuebecAn Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of WildlifeQuebec – An Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife
New BrunswickFish and Wildlife ActNew Brunswick – Fish and Wildlife Act
Nova ScotiaWildlife ActNova Scotia – Wildlife ActGeneral Wildlife Regulations
Newfoundland and LabradorWildlife ActNewfoundland and Labrador – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulations: Schedule B
Prince Edward IslandWildlife Conservation ActPrince Edward Island – Wildlife Conservation Act
NunavutWildlife ActNunavut Wildlife Act: Subsections 6(2) and 6(3)
Northwest TerritoriesWildlife ActNorthwest Territories – Wildlife ActBirds of Prey RegulationsWildlife General Regulations: Schedule General
Yukon TerritoryWildlife ActYukon Territory – Wildlife Act : Schedule H

Sunday Evening Nest Hopping in Bird World

The three storks on the nest with their dad in Mlady Buky are doing so well. If you do not know, their mother was electrocuted and the people from the community are feeding the family three times a day so that they will survive. The dad has the same issues as a single mom. He cannot go and hunt for food and protect the nest. So everyone is helping him!

Aren’t they looking good. The community continues to supply straw, too, so the storklets do not get damp and cold.

The three storklets on the nest of Karl II and Kaia in Estonia are also doing really well. It looks like most of the chicks on the nest today are being well fed no matter where I look.

Kaia is preening her first ever babies.

And here the three are with Karl II their dad.

Jack flew in and delivered Tiny Tot a fish at 4:30:42. There were no intruders at the time. Tiny really enjoyed that fish. It was well earned after defending the nest in St Petersburg Florida twice today.

Laddie has been delivering fish and NC0 has two Bobs that are in their fast growing period. They are hungry all the time!

Laddie is a nice looking male Osprey. He seems to enjoy bringing in the fish but I have yet to see him feed them. Once the little ones thought he was going to when NC0 took a break but Laddie was a bit nervous and waited for his mate to return to do the honours.

NC0 has learned to make sure that both Bobs get full – not just the Big one. So proud of her.

Big Bob is full and it is time for little Bob to fill that crop of his.

NC0 will not eat until her two Bobs are full.

At the Cornell Red Tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur, K1 is getting really good at self-feeding. My goodness they catch on fast. It was just a couple of days ago that K1 was pecking. Now she knows how to hold down the prey and eat.

Big Red left that chippie there on purpose. She knows precisely when they should start feeding themselves!

Is it really two weeks to fledge? There will be some hints from Big Red as to when fledge will start as well as some changes in the plumage of the Ks. First they need at last 5 dark lines in their tails before they are long enough to fly. If there are 6 it is even better!

Look at the tail in the image below. What many dark lines do you see on a single feather? If you said 2 dark lines you are correct.

Also Big Red will stop sleeping on the nest with the Ks as fledge approaches. Often the prey delivery dwindles, too, as Big Red and Arthur try to lure the Ks to the top of the Rice Building across the street for prey drops. If the weather is going to be bad, Big Red will fill the Ks up on the nest – she did this last year – to try and delay fledging until the weather was clear. Having a first flight in pouring down rain is not very smart!!!!!!! Big Red is amazing.

Idris and Telyn are also keeping their two Bobs full, just like Laddie and NC0. On 4 June a mesh bag made its way to the nest. The staff are monitoring the situation closely as it could have dire implications. If all is well it will be removed when the two Bobs are banded. If there is an emergency, it will be dealt with prior to banding.

Just like NC0, Telyn does not eat – unless it is to take the head off the fish – until the Two Bobs are fed.

It is a beautiful sunset at the Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest in Cumbria. Dylan has been busy brining in trout today and I think this is the second or third one for little Bob who is fast becoming Big Bob! He has had a full crop all day.

Seren is really beautiful in the sunset.

Other quick notes: The three osplets of Richmond and Rosie at the Golden Gate Nest on the Whirley Crane at the Richmond Shipyards were banded yesterday. They were weighed and measured and it was determined that they are all males. Gosh. Just down the road Annie and Grinnell had three male peregrine falcons this year. Is it a year of all males on nests? That could present some problems in future years as it is the males that return to their natal nest area to raise their families. The Pittsburg Hayes eaglets are branching and hopping. It won’t be long til they will want to fly. The two osplets on The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island (the Savannah Ospreys) are getting some air under their wings, too. It always scares me when they begin to hover and we are at that point. I did check on the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest. Electra drives me crazy. Those babies need to be fed until their crops are fuller. She will eat the head off the fish, cover the little ones, and let Wattington take the fish away. Don’t get me wrong. She has fed them but often she eats the head and then broods the Bobs without feeding. I am always wondering what is up with Electra.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope that you had a nice weekend wherever you are.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: Mlade Buky Stork Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and Red Tail Hawks, Achieva Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, Carnyx Wild, and the Dyfi Osprey Project.