Wednesday up and downs in Bird World

Wednesday started off with the sudden death of EE2 at the White-tail Eagle Nest in Estonia. The little one was up, bright and cheery at 4:04 and then gone. There has been a lot of speculation. A heat wave went through the area with temperatures doing from 1 to 26 degrees C in a day. Those dramatic changes can put stress on wildlife. Eve and Eerik had plenty of food and the eaglets were, as far as I could tell, growing and filling up the egg cup. Yes, there could have been a toxin and for sure, everyone has been watching EE1 closely. It could also have been a tragic accident of some sort. We won’t know because the body of the little one will not be taken – so I am going to stop speculating myself and hope that EE1 thrives and fledges. EE1 was fed five times between 13:22 and 19:14 and appears healthy.

The three eyases of Annie And Grinnell were banded today. The chick on the left has been banded. The one whose wings are back and looks totally frightened is just getting ready to be banded. It looks a little frightened.

The eyases receive two bands. One is metal and has a 9 digit aluminum band. There is a second coloured band with four digits that is unique to Peregrine Falcons in the SF Bay region. No gloves are used in the banding process so that the banders can handle the birds safely. Banding helps with studies in survival and movement. It does not hurt the birds.

The three are all males.

The banding was an on line event with two people from the centre answering questions as they discussed the process. You can see the whole procedure here and listen to the questions being answered:

Can you tell which of the two ospreys on the nest is Tiny Tot?

Oh, my, that bird has grown! Someone looking over my shoulder said, ‘The one with the beard!’ Well, if those feathers were smoothed down, it sure would be hard to pick Tiny out because Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Tiny Tot needs to grow some more feathers for flight. Look at sibling #2 at the back. See the length of the wing tip feathers? And the next layer? It would be really good if Tiny got all that feather growth before setting out on its own. Hopefully Tiny will hang around the nest, as #2 has done, to get some more flight training and to let the parents, Jack and Diane, feed it.

Sibling #2 is on the perch post eating a fish and Tiny Tot has just acquired the 3:47 pm fish delivery. No doubt s/he is going to be really full! Look at the size of that fish!

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are doing fine. K3 really is a corker. Poor thing. I watched it yesterday when it got behind siblings 1 and 2 and wasn’t getting any bites. Oh, that little one – not scared at all – pecked at that big sib. I was rolling with laughter. It was like a comedy routine. Early this morning, for the first feeding, K3 was up front. It takes a few days to figure out the strategy but those little ones have spunk and drive. No one needs to worry about getting fed on Big Red’s nest!

This nest has a lot of different food items for the Ks. Believe it or not, at this age, they are already imprinting those birds and mammals so that when they are older, they will know that it is OK to eat them. The eyases have to pack a lot of knowledge into a few short months.

Big Red goes off for a break. It is a nice warm day. Arthur delivers a grey squirrel and then returns with a Starling! Everything is fine on the nest of the Ks.

I did a quick check on the little osplets on the Savannah nest. They had nice crops – both of them – around 13:30 – left over from the earlier feeding.

The second sibling is getting a nice feed from mom. That is nice to see. There remains some rivalry that can be unpleasant at times.

The image below was taken yesterday, 11 May. It is Iris and for those of you who do not know, Iris got her name from the specks in her right eye. You can see them clearly below. So, even without any band, everyone knows that this is Iris!

Iris did not incubate the eggs in the nest last night nor did she spend the night on the perch. In fact, she left her nest in good time to go and get herself a good fish dinner and did not return until this morning.

Iris had a nice fish breakfast before heading over to the nest nearby.

Iris returned to the nest at 6:42. She had been away at least twelve hours. Iris is taking care of herself.

As the graduate student at the UC Falcon Cam said today when asked if Annie and Grinnell would remember the banding every year. He said, “Birds have memories.” There is no doubt in my mind that Iris is chained to her hormones during the breeding season. She migrates to Montana and begins working on her nest. She lays eggs regardless or not of mating. She has some urge to incubate them BUT no doubt, over the past four or five years she remembers what has happened. Perhaps she remembers and isn’t caring so much this year? I cannot answer that. Perhaps she knows that both of those eggs are not fertile. ——- I just want to continue to enjoy seeing her. She is an amazing Osprey.

Legacy at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam in Jacksonville was waiting for a food drop this morning.

Isn’t ‘he’ gorgeous? He, you ask. The reasoning is in part because of the ‘flat’ head but more important the mandible – the yellow portion of the beak/mouth does not extend to 90% of the back of the eye. I hope that makes sense. Instead, the bright yellow area below stops almost level with the front of the eye. Take your finger to see – and then notice how much longer it would be if it extended to the back of the eye. Are you a boy, Legacy? Of course, there is never 100% certainty unless a DNA test is taken or you see Legacy lay an egg but, it is a good indicator.

Samson came in with a fish delivery at 2:11:32 and he got out of Legacy’s way fast!

Wow. By 2:31 – twenty minutes later – there is hardly anything left of that fish! Good work, Legacy. You are a pro at self-feeding.

I want to close with a look at a power couple in the Osprey world: Maya and Blue 33 (11). Blue 33 (11) has brought a fish to Maya so she can feed the two Bobs.

There was mention about Blue 33 (11) and this nest at Mantou Bay at Rutland. Tiger Mozone said something very ensightful: “Blue 33 (11) not only wanted the nest but Maya, too.” Right on. As Tiger pointed out, Maya had first been paired with 32 (05) who was shot. Then she was with 5R (04) but he didn’t return in 2014. In 2014, Maya paired with 28 (10) who Tiger calls Wonky Wing – Blue 33 (11) made short shift of him evicting him from the nest. Maya and Blue 33 (11) did not breed that year but they started in 2015 and have since had twenty-one chicks!!!!!!!! Blue 33 (11) knew a good female as well as a good nest.

Look at those healthy Bobs. I cannot think of a better way to end the day than seeing these two strong future ospreys.

Thank you for joining me today. It is nice to have you here with me.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LRWT, NEFlorida Eagle cam and the AEF, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcons, and the Eagle Club of Estonia.

K3 has hatched and other news in Bird World

All of the Ks at the Red-tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower on the campus of Cornell University have hatched. Big Red and Arthur welcomed K3 sometime in the wee hours of the morning. K3 has its big sibs for bookends today. Arthur is prepared. There is lots of prey of all kinds around the nest. I promise you those furry creatures will grow in dimension to line the nest bowl and fill the pantry at the same time!

K1 is wanting to make sure that the other two siblings know it is the oldest. Big Red has her own way of dealing with this. If the eyasses don’t line up nice and eat quietly, she will sit on them! Normally she feeds the biggest and loudest first but in a week you will begin to see K3 figure out how to get up to the front of the line. So nice to see some sun coming out in Ithaca, NY.

Kistachie, the sole occupant of the Bald Eagle nest in the Kistachie National Forest in Central Louisiana branched this morning. The official time was 6:08:12. Anna and Louis are his parents and he was rewarded with a nice fish from Kincaid Lake.

Boy those talons sure can grip! He is going straight up! Wow
Kisatchie can really climb that straight branch! 6 May 2021
Kisatachie has a nice fish breakfast
Kincaid Lake where Louis fishes

Legacy really enjoyed the squirrel that Samson brought in around 5:30 last evening, 5 May.

Legacy is staying really close to the nest tree but it doesn’t mean she is out of danger. At 6:44:29 this morning Legacy was knocked off her branch by a hawk! Yes, she recovered and it is one of the issues of being at the top of the food chain. Crows, Blue Jays, Hawks – all want the big birds out and away. Go!

Thank goodness Legacy was alright. She got back up on her look out branch. Let’s see if Samson brings her dinner around 5:30 again. I think that they are training her to come to the nest tree for food and also because she has no sibling, Gabby is being a surrogate sibling – as is Samson – trying to train Legacy to survive in that big world out there.

Legacy is simply stunning. She is such a beautiful juvenile Bald Eagle.

The news from the UK Osprey nests is all about the weather. The rain is still pitching it down in Wales and Telyn, Mrs G, and all the other females are simply soaked to the bone. At the Loch Garten nest there is snow!

This is the scene just the day before. The male is AX6. The female is unringed. Oh, these poor birds. What a freak snow storm they are having today!

It is a little dreary in Estonia for the White-tail Eagles, Eve and Eerik and their two little ones. Still, look closely. Eerik has the nest full of fish for these two who are moving into a fast growth phase. Oh, they are doing so well!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is soooooo beautiful. This afternoon he has busied himself watching the traffic below the nest tower.

Yesterday afternoon, Tiny took the opportunity of an empty nest to really flap his wings and get those wing muscles strong. Look at that tail. Those feathers are really coming in nicely. So happy for this little one to get to live and be a fish eagle!

Tiny has not been hungry for a couple of weeks now and the energy from that food is really showing in its feather growth and the body fattening up. I no longer log every bite that Tiny Tot takes but suffice it to say that he had at least two fish yesterday in total. Not bad! Diane brought in a catfish late – in fact she brought in two fish in the evening. Both Tiny and #2 were full and Diane also go to enjoy some fish.

Thank you for being with me today. That is a quick check in with some of our favourites in Bird World. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. I get my screen shots from those. They are: Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and the AEF, KNF, Friends of Loch Garten, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Cornell Bird Lab RTH.

Wednesday Nest Runs

Congratulations to Richmond and Rosie. Their second hatch for 2021 arrived on the nest on top of the Whirley Crane at the Richmond Shipyards in San Francisco on 3 May.

In the image below, Rosie and Richmond’s first hatch of 2021 is right beside the egg that is pipping. You can see the end of the beak and the egg tooth breaking up that shell.

Rosie is really excited to show Richmond the second hatch!

Here we are dad! Can we have some fish, please?

Legacy stayed around her natal nest today. As I sat and watched her, I was reminded of an incident with one of our cats, Melvin. At the time, cats were allowed outside and Melvin loved to roll around in the grass and dirt in the garden. He was content not to leave the yard and never wandered away. One day he didn’t come when we called him. We searched high and lo at all hours of the day and night. Then about four days later, in the middle of the night, we heard him yowling at the door. Melvin ran into the house and went under the bed. For the next 15 years of his life he rarely left that one room. We will never know what happened to him while he was away, but it scared the wits out of him. There were marks on his paws where the fur was gone and holes. We wondered if he had gotten caught in a trap or barbed wire.

Looking at Legacy I have a feeling that she was lost. Of course, I could be all washed up! This evening Samson brought in a fish for Legacy at 4:52:41. It was 32 degrees in Jacksonville and it was windy.

Legacy started mantling when she saw her father coming in with that fish. She was also squealing very loud.

Legacy held on tight to the fish. Samson had eaten the head so it was easy for Legacy to self-feed. She did it like a pro!

Legacy ate every last bite of that fish. When she got to the tail she wasn’t quite certain what to do with it. She tried to pull it off like skin. If the parents were watching they would have been very proud. Good work Legacy!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot on the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida is the most beautiful bird. Tiny is a survivor. As the sun is setting Tiny had not had any of the last fish. He spent some of the time when he was alone on the nest chewing what fish was left on that bone in the middle of the nest.

At 7:59:46, there was a fish delivery and Tiny mantled it. ‘Mine!’

Tiny had not moved. He was still working hard on that fish as the sun set even more. Good night, Tiny!

Diane, #2 and Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot are ready and waiting for breakfast on 5 May. If you are wondering, #1 sibling has not returned to the nest. It is unclear if she is being fed elsewhere or what her status is.

You might recall my concern over The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest. The aggression from the oldest sibling was amping up as the food deliveries were irregular. That aggression continues. However, this morning the youngest got a nice big feed and it was a delight to see. They are still in their reptilian phase.

The oldest is getting fed and the youngest is cowering (on the left) afraid to go over to mom.

But like Tiny Tot, the youngest is waiting and watching for an opportunity. It moves around the long way once the biggest is full. If allowed, these little ones that are bonked/abused become quite clever. We have seen what an amazing bird Tiny Tot is. It is interesting, speaking of Tiny Tot, that the Achieva Osprey nest became peaceful the instant the oldest sibling fledged despite the fact that the eldest did not directly attach Tiny Tot after the third week in March. It became the duty of #2. Sorry – the behaviour of the birds is very interesting. I bet you never thought their lives could be so complicated?

There is number 2 – the darkest plumaged of the osplets – getting a nice big feed from mom. How wonderful!

Oh, goodness. Over at Big Red and Arthur’s Red Tail Hawk nest, K3 is coming!

It is a very soggy morning at the Fernow Light tower nest and here are K1 and K2 waiting for their little sib! It won’t be long and the entire K clan will be with us! There will be bonking bobble heads for a couple of days til their eyes focus and they realize that it is mom’s beak they need to connect with not their siblings!

I have checked on many more nests this morning but this blog would go on for a kilometre. Suffice it to say that Kistachie at the KNF Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana is doing a pretty good job self-feeding. He is not branching yet and Anna helps when he has trouble eating. Blue 152, a female, has landed again on the Loch Arkaig nest. Maybe a new male will appear! This morning Li’l and Big at the Duke Farms Nest were doing great. Mom was feeding both of them and that silly squirrel continues to bug the Pittsburg Hays trio. The last notice for today is 8 May is Bird Count Day. This is the day that people around the world stop and count the birds that they see. It is a major migration study and is how we know if populations are declining, growing, or if there are environmental issues impacting them. You, too, can take part. In fact, I urge you too. I will give you that information tonight.

Take care and thanks for joining me today. K3 is coming!!!!!!!!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell BirdLab and Skidaway Audubon, Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, NE Florida Eagle Cam and AEF, and Achieva Credit Union. I get my screen shots from these cameras.

Owls, Eaglets, and Ospreys

Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:

Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.

E17 and E18 getting treated for AC at CROW, Fort Myers, Florida. @CROW FB

The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.

This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.

Breakfast for E17 (left) and E18 (middle). 16 March 2021. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:

They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.

16 March 2021. E17 (left) and E18 (right) looking out at the world of possibilities. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!

This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.

16 March 2021. Legacy (left) and her mother Gabby. NEFL Eagle Nest, Jacksonville, FL. @AEF and NEFL Eagle Cam

You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.

It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?

The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.

Older one at Duke Farms pecking and deliberately keeping little one from eating. 16 March 2021. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.

Yippee. Older going into a food coma. Little one eating. Well done. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.

16 March 2021. Breakfast for the trio. @Achieva Osprey Nest

I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.

And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!

Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!

So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.

N24 is really improving

This is just a really quick update. The sun is quickly setting over the NEFL Eagle Cam. Little N24 is growing and growing and eating and eating. We are now in the official stage of accelerated growth. Which also means less but bigger meals and very large crops. You can see that N24 went to bed with quite a large one today.

As we had all hoped, it ‘appears’ (I am using that word cautiously) that the lesions on the left side of its face, on the lower part of the beak/mouth are drying. If this is the case, this is very good news. This is day 12 after the then suspected Avian Pox was noticed, later confirmed. Specialists say that the lesions can persist from 1-4 weeks.

Knock on wood. It would appear that N24 had a very mild case of AP. It will be immune for the rest of its life. That is the good news, too. The lesions will continue to dry and will fall off. There appears to be no damage to the beak at all.

Everyone is relieved and just very, very happy. If this beautiful eagle family could, I am certain that they would thank you for your outpourings and your positive thoughts.

Gabby was doing some nestorations while N24 slept with its huge crop. @NEFL Eagle Cam and AEF
4 March 2021. N24 sitting on his friend, Eggbert, with a full crop @NEFL Eagle Cam and AEF
Pin feathers and drying lesions. N24 sleeps by Eggbert. 4 March 2021. @NEFL Eagle Cam and AEF
N24’s AP lesions ‘appear’ to be drying. @NEFL Eagle Cam and AEF