Late Monday in Bird World

It was not a particularly nice day in Ithaca, New York. In fact, it was 2 degrees C when Arthur arrived at the nest this morning at 08:16:35. He brought some twigs, tested the nest bowl, and looked around. Arthur has really been bringing twigs at an exhaustive pace recently. According to one of the founders of the FB group, Big Red did once lay her first egg on 13 March. Are we in for an early start this year? Or does Arthur know that bad weather is coming and realize that when it is good to restore Big Red’s nest he should waste no time? Arthur, you are quite adorable.

Arthur was still scurrying back and forth with sticks two hours later.

My very first love was an urban hawk – a Sharp-shinned Hawk that visited my garden one frosty January day. I ran out in my slippers and housecoat thinking that the hawk had killed and was eating the garden rabbit, Hedwig I. The hawk kept eating until I got within 15 cm or 6 inches of her. I have learned so much since that early morning and I would never ever go out and interfere with Sharpie having some breakfast or lunch now. She was not eating the rabbit but a sparrow. We looked into one another’s eyes for several minutes, not moving. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. And how blessed I was – looking into her eyes that morning changed my life. Thankfully, I quietly returned to the house and Sharpie finished.

As a result of this beautiful, close encounter, I have an interest in urban raptors that has grown over the years. Sharpie still comes to visit the garden. Of course, I now also know that Sharpie is a male! He is very cheeky – always pausing to see if I am watching from the window he will turn his head til our eyes meet and then he flies away. I always wonder where he roosts and how far his territory extends. It seems that the peregrine falcons are in the centre of the downtown area which is between 4 and 4.6 km away from where I live. So it would seem that their territories do not overlap. It is curious. I think he has a route and I know that he is ‘mad’ at me for removing a twenty-foot tall cedar tree. The little birds would get inside that tree filling it up. Sharpie would come ripping through a small space between my house and the neighbour’s making a sharp right angle turn into the tree. He was always successful at hunting – always. Sadly for all of us, we had a four year drought and no matter how much water the tree was given it simply was not enough and wasn’t the heavy rains that nature provides. It died and had to be removed. Now, Sharpie really has to work for his lunch. And if you are wondering, yes, I have thought about planting another large conifer for Sharpie! It isn’t a cat or dog that rules our house but the garden animals!

Sharpie was very puffed to stay warm on his last visit. It was -32 that day. He is sitting on his plucking post and if he raises his head slightly, he can see me watching him from the kitchen window. I do not go outside when Sharpie is hunting so all of the images are through glass – and he is fast. Not as fast as a Peregrine Falcon, of course, but fast enough for me not to be able to grab my good camera — unless, of course, he is eating lunch which takes about 35-40 minutes.

He glances back to me and is gone in a blur. Such a beautiful much loved raptor.

Robert Yolton writes a great blog on urban raptors. His focus for years has been the Red-tail Hawks that live in and around Central Park in NYC. While he writes about other birds in the area, I really enjoy this time of year when he begins to report on the hawks preparations for spring breeding season. On 16 February, five days ago, he has lovely images of the couple whose nest is on a balcony of a high rise apartment at 84th and East End Avenue. He wonders if they are merely working on the nest or if the eggs will be laid early this year. And that, of course, is what we are wondering about Big Red and Arthur. Yolton’s reports are always accompanied by beautiful photographs. One other recent one has images of hawks, Kestrels, and a Great Horned Owl in Central Park. I urge you to take a look at his blog: urbanhawks.com You will not be sorry!

I have checked in on the three Osplets at the Captiva nest in Florida on and off today. It was actually wonderful to see my daughter today which meant that I was not sitting and counting the bites Little Bob got in a feeding! Here they are all lined up from the eldest on the far end to Little Bob on the end close to us. They look like a choir. I hope this continues. It reminds me of the three Port Lincoln lads (until they fledged).

Speaking of Port Lincoln lads, if you missed it, Ervie visited the barge yesterday. He was there from 19:15-20:31. He missed seeing Dad who arrived half an hour after he left.

Port Lincoln has asked everyone along the north shore to kept an eye out for Ervie. This is his latest tracking in the area. The green pin indicates his position at the time of the tracking. Continue to notice that Ervie goes back to the nest on the barge. For several weeks I have said that I felt Ervie would continue to stop in. Let us all hope so! It was lovely to see him yesterday. He is in good form.

One of Ervie’s greatest fans is ‘A-M’. She believes that Ervie stopped by to see Dad and to tell him, “ I found a place, it’s cool. I need help moving sticks and nest stuff. Come visit and bring fish!” It brought tears to my eyes. This is the first time I have been able to watch the interaction between the adults and the juveniles after they have fledged other than the adult bringing a fish and getting out of the way quickly. There was something very heartwarming about seeing Ervie and Dad just sitting around the sticks, as if it could be a campfire, with one another.

So keep watching the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. You might catch a glimpse of our handsome Ervie.

After seeming to be missing in action for two days, the male GHOW at the Savannah Owl nest has returned. The Mum was so excited. His return is on video when he brings a nice fat rodent for her to feed the owlet. The sounds from the owls is adorable.

That is excellent news. With all the intruders at that nest, including that Red-tailed Hawk, it would have been almost impossible for the Mum to raise the owlet alone. Cornell did a very cute video of the female GHOW feeding the two-day old owlet Dad’s prey. Have a peek:

Gabby and Samson are doing a great job trying to entice NE26 and 27 to self-feed. Fish are brought to the nest unzipped and left for the two hungry eaglets. So far NE27 who learned to feed itself more than a week ago has done the best. After the eaglets work on the fish then either Gabby or Samson comes in and fills the two up! This nest is doing so well. No one is hungry.

That old saying is knock on wood. And that is what I am doing. It seems that the nests are doing well. If you are a fan of the National Arboretum nest, Lotus laid her second egg yesterday – the 20th of February – at 18:39. Bella and Smitty are both working on the NCTC nest. Another eagle has been seen soaring and both Bella and Smitty have taken to easing it out of the territory.

The couple at the new Bartlesville Oklahoma Bald eagle nest are incubating two eggs laid on 15 and 18 February. I grew up in Oklahoma and it will always hold a special place for me. I hope this couple are successful and have to great fledges. The link to the camera is:

Look closely at the image below. Do you see a ‘meadow muffin’ or a ‘cow pie’? Looks like the Oklahoma eagles have a unique item that they are going to line their nest with!!!!!!! Can I say ‘only in Oklahoma’?

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB where I took my screen captures: The Sutton Group, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Window on Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab, and NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF.

Looking good…Little Bit

Samson delivered a fish and immediately NE26 was over eating. It was a large fish and every thought that went through my head ended with the big sibling getting all that food. Then suddenly Samson alerted and jumped off the nest. While the adult was gone Little Bit aka NE27 went over to the fish and started feeding itself! This little one is just progressing so well and making sure that it gets some food. Then suddenly, Samson returns to the nest and Little Bit is in the ‘sweet spot’. Samson feeds Little Bit almost that whole fish. NE26 was looking off from the nest not interested. No bopping, nothing. Are we back to normal on NEFlorida? It looks like it!

Samson feeds 26. 27 looks on.

27 goes into submission. He is still cautious. 26 could do some real damage. Best to protect that head and neck. There is plenty of fish for everyone.

Samson abruptly leaves the nest. 26 moves over to the other side of the bowl while Little Bit goes over to the fish and starts pulling off bits, eating them.

This little one is learning. He is even holding the fish steady with his talons.

NE27 you are very handsome and smart! We are all very proud of you.

When Samson returns, 27 is right up by the fish and 26 is looking out of the nest.

Samson feeds Little Bit the fish. NE26 doesn’t even move from where it was.

Now who has the biggest crop?!

Little Bit’s confidence is growing day by day. 27 will also grow and grow in size with all the good fish it has been getting. Relief.

Oh, what a perfect morning on the NEFlorida nest. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. It looks like things are truly turning around. Send good wishes!

Thank you so much for joining me as we check in on Little Bit. Take care all.

Thank you to the NEFlorida and AEF for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

Big Red and Arthur were doing a late afternoon check on their nest on the Cornell Campus at Ithaca today.

Oh, Big Red, you are gorgeous. 19 years old and the Queen of the Red-tail Hawks.

We could just be 4 weeks away!!!!!!!!

For anyone who doesn’t think they will enjoy watching hawks raise eyases, I want to urge you to watch this couple. Big Red is often encased in snow, almost blow off the nest by winds, wet to the bone and she keeps those eggs and her babies dry! Everyone eats at Big Red’s table. Here is a link to the camera. There are two of them and one has an active chat with hawk experts at specific times of the day.

There is a new beer being launched in Scotland that will be supporting Scottish Ospreys! Now that is an idea.

https://www.bellfieldbrewery.com/blogs/news/osprey-platform-ipa-launched?fbclid=IwAR01zn5vD2Qjl9BH3b3J9jSsaTURzjvpNjPS7flDq0N-rGHwZJVBiTl5bME

So far, it seems to have been a pretty good day on the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest. I won’t say it is a grand day but Little Bit got fed and is clever at figuring out how to do an end run around big sib. The intruders have been coming for more than a week. Parents are on constant alert and that certainly impacts the amount of food brought to the nest. But…both eaglets are fine!

Lady Hawk posted a video of Gabby giving NE27 a private feeding last night. Here it is:

It always warms our hearts when the little one is fed and happy!

There is a hatch happening at the Captiva Osprey Nest. The landowner is unclear whether to take the camera down or not. Right now it is up and running. All we can do is wish Andy and Lena our best – that this year will be their year with a successful fledging of all the chicks!

Rimu Fruit. Do you know what that is? and why it is important?

“Ripe rimu fruit” by Department of Conservation 

Kakapo chicks are hatching. The food that they require is Rimu Fruit. Dr Andrew Digby who is one of the leads in taking care of the eggs and chicks announced today that the Rimy Fruit is ripening. The fruit that you can see – dark purple – is high in calcium and vitamin D. Oh, this is fantastic. It means that the chicks have a better chance of survival this year!

Many of us followed the Love Trio Bald Eagles on the Mississippi Flyway near Fulton, Illinois and enjoyed how Starr worked with Valor I and II to raise three healthy eaglets to fledge year after year. This year there will be no trio. It was confirmed that Valor I is with a new female named Jolene at their own nest. Starr and Valor II remain together!

My daughter seems to have a rabbit that likes to sit under her bird feeder. Indeed, she says that this time of year she is feeding squirrels and the rabbit. So proud of her. All of the wildlife is hungry and they struggle during the winter where we live.

Thank you for sharing with us!

Today during my walk people were leaving handfuls of bird seed around the English Gardens for the squirrels and the chickadees that are currently there. We had a lot in our pockets, too!

It feels like the end of a long day. The sun is shining and there is so much snow no one knows what to do with it! It is also getting very cold. Down to -32 C in a couple of hours.

That is it for today. The Port Lincoln Camera was going on and off. Last time I checked Ervie and Dad were both on the barge in the shed and a few minutes later, our dear Ervie was up in the nest and Dad was gone. Is he going to get Ervie breakfast? I wonder. Ervie, you know that you are really lucky, right? Dad is doing an amazing job of taking care of you his big boy.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FP where I took my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, NEFlorida and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey, and Cornell Bird Labs.

Saturday in Bird World

Yesterday I took a walk in the English and the Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens. They are part of the larger Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. In the summer, these areas are full of people walking and looking at the flowers, of people clamouring to see the latest hummingbird arrival, or me – sitting on a bench hoping to see the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks again.

There was not a single bird in this area of the park yesterday. The wind was bitter against your face. The only remnants of the birds were the nests, sometimes two to a tree. As I looked for nests I also notice this colossal Blue Spruce.

And another one full of Spruce cones. We planted a Blue Spruce in our garden. I am hoping that one day it will be full of cones like this for the Red Squirrels to eat.

There are a few snow flakes falling in the garden. Dyson & Co were up early eating off the suet cylinders and the square hanging feeder. Each had a spot – 3 civilized squirrels all having breakfast. Close your eyes and imagine it! By the time I had the charged battery in the camera they were off, chasing one another in the Lilac bushes.

I checked on Ervie first. The camera has been on and off at Port Lincoln due to the storm. One of the chatters posted a fish arrival time stamp for Ervie yesterday afternoon and thankfully, I could still rewind and find our beautiful boy.

Dad arrives with a nice fish. Here he is flying off. Ervie has it in his talons.

Ervie spends the next hour eating that fish – it was a nice sized one.

I wonder what has happened to Ervie’s feathers on his left wing?

It was just so nice to see Ervie and see him eating that I could have stopped checking on the birds right then! How much longer will we see this incredible Osprey on the barge? Every day is a gift.

It is good to see Port Lincoln posting updates. That means that they survived the big storm as well. Here is the latest tracking for Ervie from yesterday. Yes, he is traveling further afield! So glad he has a tracker!

Port Lincoln also posted information on Calypso. 2019 hatch. Here she is! What a beautiful Osprey!!!!!!

The little chick at Berry College is so adorable. You can see the dark thermal down coming in replacing the soft light grey natal down. Soon our wee one will be able to thermoregulate its own temperature. For today, however, it wants to be close to Mum to stay warm.

A great comparison is the plumage of E19 and E20 yesterday but first, look at that crop. Harriet and M15 have been keeping these two full and I have not seen any of the rivalry when I have been watching them that we did in early days. (Feel free to correct me!)

The thermal down layer now covers E19 and E20. There are a few dandelions of the natal fluff left. You can now see their contour and flight feathers coming in.

The image below shows the juvenile Bald Eagle at the Osceola Florida nest. Notice that it is a dark espresso brown/black. It will not be that long and E19 and E20 will look like this beautiful only Eagle.

The little eaglet is growing and growing at the KNF nest. It is out of its ‘hole’ that Anna had made for it and is up sleeping by the eleven fish and the turtle that Louis has in the nest. The pair have been busy moving Spanish Moss around covering much of the pantry at times.

Look at the size of that leg! You can see the thermal down coming in on the Anna’s baby. Soon there will be only dandelions, faint hints of it as a wee babe. It seems like it has doubled in size overnight.

The eaglets really grow fast. Samson and Gabby’s wee babes are some of the only ones now with natal down. They are darling. Samson seems to have been in some kind of contest with the number of fish on the nest with Louis. As someone reminded me, Samson has 2 to feed, not 1. Regardless, Louis and Samson are two of the best prey providers. Incredible what they bring to the nest.

These two appear to be getting along. They are both doing very well.

The two are not really that much difference in size. The camera angle and 26 having its neck pulled all the way out makes it look much bigger. Gosh they are cute.

The nicest thing about this year in terms of hatching is that the nests vary so much in the age of their nestlings. It is fantastic to see all the stages of development including their plumage!

It was reassuring to check on the WRDC nest and see that R2 (in front) and R1 (eating) both have crops albeit R1 is going to have the larger. The wind is very brisk at the nest. In fact, there is a wind advisory for Miami with a temperature of 13 C (or as you see on screen at 57 F).

There is a cold front moving through all of the Eastern US.

It is much colder in Ithaca. Indeed, Ithaca is -11 C which is precisely the same temperature as we have in Winnipeg today. Crazy. It is difficult to imagine that in less than 8 weeks we could have Big Red incubating eggs on this nest!

Except for the extreme wind and cold temperatures, everything seems to be just fine with all of the nests. Most of all it was wonderful to get a good look at Ervie and know that he has eaten in the midst of all the horrific weather in South Australia the other day. Good news continues to come out of Senegal. The Osprey count along the coast for the month of January was 1206. That is simply amazing Jean-Marie Dupart.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you tomorrow!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF Bald Eagles, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Berry College Bald Eagles, WRDC, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, and the Osceola Bald Eagle Nest.

Monday Updates in Bird World

The snow and rain persisted in the North East longer after bringing bitter cold, rain, tornado warnings, and ice in the SE. Last night those white flakes piled up on Big Red and Arthur’s nest at Cornell University. This afternoon rain is falling in Ithaca.

There is still about 9 weeks before Big Red thinks about laying eggs. Suzanne Arnold Horning caught Big Red preening in the snow this morning. Big Red is always beautiful, no matter the weather.

The sun has come out on the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita. Hopefully this will make R1 nicer. Even Rita tried to stop his nonsense with R2 yesterday.

The behaviour of R1, more aggressive than normal during the day of the storm, was mirrored in E19 who was entirely unpleasant to E20 on Harriet and M15’s nest in Fort Myers. These two have been called the ‘the most sweet’ and ‘the most caring’ of all of Harriet and M15’s eaglets and yet, yesterday brought out the aggression.

The cameras at SWFlorida are having problems this morning. The IR remains on and they are all on different times. The camera should, at this moment, be reading 12:30. Those eaglets are fine. Hopefully today will calm E19 down.

The one nest that I have been concerned with is that at Berry College. Missy did real well during the storm yesterday. It appears that the chick attempting to hatch in the second egg has failed. As one of the chatters said this morning, ‘we are thankful for one feisty chick’. Agreed. Let Missy get some experience with this one! Fingers crossed that this little one, B15, will grow and thrive.

I checked on Missy late last night and was thrilled to see the precipitation had stopped.

What I would like to see is a pile of fish on that nest! Pa Berry, let’s go fishing.

No egg at Duke Farm but the nest continues to be restored by the pair of Bald Eagles that gave us those two magnificent fledges last year.

It is breezy and sunny at Hilton Head Island Trust Eagles Nest, home to Harriet and Mitch and their two eaglets. It certainly isn’t hot there and the forecast indicates that the temperatures will plunge on Thursday. Right now the babies are full of fish and sleeping.

Lori Covert at Captiva Bald Eagles has announced that the two eggs of Connie and Clive are either unfertilized or non-viable. No eaglets for Connie and her new mate this year, sadly.

There was a late fish delivery to Ervie on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. I am not quite certain of the delivery time but Ervie was working on it after 20:00. At one point, Mum came over to see if she could get that fish off Ervie and he promptly booted her off the nest. Ervie!

Ervie did not finish that fish. He seems to have saved some of it for breakfast. He is sleeping on it!

Before signing off – I am late in feeding the garden birds and animals – a quick check on Anna and the little one. Louis has the pantry full – typical Louis -and this baby continues to delight. It is so strong. The Kisatchie National Forest nest is quickly rising like cream to the top in terms of my favourite Bald Eagle nests.

I know that there has been a lot of chatter about Louis being able to feed lots more chicks. Yes, he could. He could supply Berry College easily and keep Anna and babies full. That said, my preference will always be for one very healthy chick at each nest – always. Anna is a young Mum. This is only her second breeding season. Ease her into larger clutches gently! If ever.

This eaglet is the cutest! Seriously.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. They all seemed to have survived the storms well. Such a relief. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Berry College, WRDC, SWFlorida, Hilton Head Island Trust, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab, and Suzanne Arnold Horning for the image of Big Red today.

Monday in Bird World. 10 Jan 2022

I was so very excited last evening that I could barely sleep. It really is marvellous to be able to look into the lives of wild birds without harming them – watching them from egg to fledge. What an honour it was to see Falky catch a fish off the Port Lincoln barge yesterday. As far as I am aware, it is the first time a fledgling has been seen on camera catching a fish at the nest. Here is that incredible moment again:

Several hours later, with the camera focused on Falky’s perch, the sunlight playing on the water seemed to agree that Falky was a star.

Falky had another fish at 20:26:33 that he brought onto the ropes and ate. From the background noises, it would appear that this was a delivery to the nest.

Bazza has not been seen on camera since the 9th. At that time he had a nice crop indicating that he is either catching his own fish or is being fed off camera. He could be anywhere on the barge nest and we cannot him or he may have decided he wanted to move on to find his own territory ahead of Falky and Ervie. Right now Ervie is enjoying having fish deliveries. The lads are still sleeping. It is Tuesday, January 11 in Southern Australia. Wonder what will happen today on the Port Lincoln barge?

I continue to check on the three or four Bald Eagle nests I monitor for pipping. So far, I have heard nothing but, it is entirely possible that I missed something! Which reminds me. Thank you to ‘A-M’ for sending me a comment about Falky catching the fish. I am incredibly grateful. Luckily I had been watching and seen the catch but, if I had not known…well, thank you for the alert, ‘A-M’. It was an incredible moment. Still smiling.

The Kakapo Recover Project in New Zealand reported that the non-flying parrots had started breeding on Christmas Eve. This information was posted on their website yesterday.

R1 and R2 continue to do well on the Wildlife Recovery Nest of Dade County in Florida. Ron is keeping the pantry full of fish today and both of them have been feeding the eaglets.

The two eaglets of Mitch and Harriet on the nest at the Hilton Head Island Trust in South Carolina are really growing and doing fantastic.

Just look at the full crops on those kids!

The second egg for Lena and Andy 2 at the Captiva Osprey Nest on Sanibel Island is due tomorrow.

If you ever want to recommend a Bald Eagle cam to anyone, especially a first time streaming cam viewer, you cannot do any better than Harriet and M15 at the SWFlorida Nest. Experienced parents – and that makes a huge difference! Cool headed. Both help one another. Everyone gets fed at Harriet’s table.

E19 and E20 are really beginning to change their feathers and are moving into the next phase of their growth period. Both are having lunch and both have nice crops. One has stopped eating and is resting on his ‘cropillow’.

Hopefully there will be some pip or hatch news from some of the Bald Eagle nests for this evening and I will continue to monitor the lads at Port Lincoln during the day.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for your alerts and also thank you for your research into raptor cameras in Japan, ‘A’. I will include that information in my next report. Much appreciated.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB Pages where I took my screen shots and my video clip: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Kakapo Recovery, Berry College Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Hilton Head Island Trust Eagle Cam, WRDC Bald Eagle Cam, and the Captiva Island Osprey Cam.

Captiva Ospreys have their first egg and other Bird World News

Calling all Osprey fans. We have lift off. The new couple at the Captiva Osprey Nest have their first egg. Meet Lena and Andy 2. (The previous pair were also Andy and Lena).

Lena 2 laid her first egg at 10:04:08. From her actions, it appears that she could be a first time Mum from her reactions to the egg. She was very cautious which is a good thing and seemed a bit unsure about incubation at first.

Just imagine laying an egg for the first time!

The wind was really blowing. The weather station says it is 18 kph but, the gusts have to be much more than that. I have to remember that the breeze would feel good in southern Florida where the nighttime temperature is currently 24 C.

There is our proud Mum. Isn’t she lovely?

Oops. A big gust caught Lena when she was trying to incubate the egg and almost sent her flying off the nest.

Hang on, Lena!

Ahhh, nice and settled.

The nest is on the same property as the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. The land is owned by a Canadian, Lori Covert.

The first Andy and Lena laid eggs on this nest before. Sadly, the Corvids in the area come to the Osprey nests once the chicks hatch and eat them. As a result, Andy and Lena 1 did not fledge any chicks.

There is currently a discussion about having a poll to see if watchers want the cam left on if the eggs do hatch or have it turned off so that if the Crows come, we do not see what happens. The ultimate decision is, however, with the land owner.

This couple arrived early and laid their egg a month ahead of most. Hopefully that will help them with the Crows as well as any issues with the red tide that can occur in this area. Currently there is no red tide. If you would like to know the impact of the red tide, here is some very good information:

https://www.mysanibel.com/Departments/Natural-Resources/Protecting-Our-Water-Quality/Sanibel-H2O-Matters/Red-Tide-Information

Oh, let’s send this young couple positive wishes. You can watch Andy and Lena 2 here:

My intention was to report -again- on the Port Lincoln lads but it was so exciting to check on this nest first and find an egg had just been laid. Oh, I sure hope they do well.

It is quite clear from happenings on the Port Lincoln Barge why Ervie and Falky don’t have enduring brotherly love for Bazza. But, before I begin, this morning both Ervie and Falky had fish delivered which they ate on camera. Ervie got the first fish from Mum at 07:08 and Falky got a fishy shortly after from Dad at 07:23:25. When I went back to look at Bazza he had a nice crop so he has eaten off camera. I expect that one of the parents made a delivery to him but, it is possible Bazza was fishing and caught it himself.

In the image below, Bazza is on the bottom right perched on the yellow and black ropes. You can see he has a crop. It looks nice and full to me.

A few minutes earlier an incident between Bazza and Falky occurred. Please watch carefully as Bazza attacks Falky shoving him into the water. You will see Falky floating in the water below the ropes. Falky will make three attempts to get out of the water.

Falky kept his cool and did not panic. He managed the situation really well. That said, it is possible that Falky might have drown. I know that I have been watching the dust ups between the three brothers but there are instances when it can go very badly. It was such a relief to see Falky flying free of the water.

Ervie remained on the nest all day. Mum delivered a small fish to him at 15:29:44. Port Lincoln provided some really nice close ups of Ervie.

He’s a lovely juvenile.

There is a rare Stellar’s Sea Eagle that is making its way South. It was up around the Atlantic coast of Canada not that long ago and bird watchers, especially those working on Life Lists were ever so excited!

I want to leave you with a smile on your face. Have you seen anything cuter today than Harriet and M15’s babies, E19 and E20? It is getting much more difficult to tell them apart! They are adorable with their clown feet and big wings. They both have crops and enjoyed the ‘mystery’ meal that Dad brought in.

We could have pips Sunday morning from Captiva and the KNF Nest. Stay posted. We are also monitoring Berry College. So much going on.

Right now there is snow falling on Missey at Barry College. My goodness she just survived a hail storm and incredible winds. Now snow.

Take care everyone. See you soon! Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Window to Wildlife Osprey Cam, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Late Monday in Bird World

It has been a wonderful day in Bird World. It is a good time to reflect on how much joy the birds bring into our lives, how much they teach us as we observe them and, as always, what else we can do to enrich their lives like they have ours. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been like. First was the feeding of the songbirds in our garden and then there was the arrival of Sharpie’s mate. All of that was followed by watching Red-tailed Hawks in New York City and in Ithaca on the streaming cams. Years later the pandemic hits. Two years ago we had barely returned from a trip to Quebec City to celebrate my retirement and the first discussions of a deadly virus were swirling about. It was not long until we learned about the cases in PRC and, of course, all of that is now history. The first hawks that I watched in New York City are no longer with us (secondary rodenticide poisoning) but Big Red is still going strong up in Ithaca. She gave so many a reason to get up in the morning and, at the same time, reasons for us staying up all night as well – worrying. The birds taught – and continue to teach – me many things including empathy and patience.

Today, the Hilton Head Eagles, Harriet and Mitch, had their second hatch. The nest was discovered in October and the Hilton Head Trust held a contest for names for the couple while also setting up a streaming cam. Harriet is named after Harriet Tubman, nurse and spy for the Union army, and Mitch is for Civil War General, Ormsby Mitchel. Tubman actually led 700 slaves to their freedom, 100 of them to Mitchelville, a community established by the General for formerly enslaved persons. Thus, the names have a connection to one another and also to the community where the nest is located.

They are just adorable – littl eaglets with their soft grey natal down and spiky hair. Look how strong they are in the image below. It is so reassuring when they hatch and are strong and ready to go! Have a look:

I have been watching M15 and Harriet and the hatch of E19 most of the day. If you missed it, I updated my earlier blog identifying M15 as the adult on the nest when E19 hatched. That hatch was at 12:43:04. Harriet saw her baby for the first time at 14:46. The couple have each had turns feeding their first hatch of the 2021-22 season.

Look how wide E19 is opening its mouth. Harriet is pleased.

M15 stands guard over his nest with mate Harriet, E19, and yet-to-hatch eaglet, E20.

All of these eaglets will spend 75-85 days in the nest, depending on where they hatched. Here are the three standard divisions of the eaglet’s development. The first stage, 35-40 days, is called ‘structural growth.’ This is when the eaglets rapidly gain weight. They seem to be eating all the time. They are building bones and muscles as well as their tissue, toes, claws, etc. The second stage is related to the eaglet’s future ability to fly. The eaglets are born with natal down. Next is thermal down, then their juvenile feathers come in, and over the course from fledge to the time they are five years old, they will go through stages of feather development resulting, finally, in an adult with a beautiful white head, gorgeous brown body and yellow legs and feet. The thermal down will begin coming in around day 10. Juvenile flight feathers begin growing between 24-27 days. You will notice the eaglets doing wingercizes which help them develop the muscles in their wings. Right now these eaglets do not have much control over their heads and beaks. They will, as their neurological coordination increases, begin to stand on their feet instead of scooting around on their tarsi. They will learn to tear food, holding the prey down with their feet and pulling with their beak. Instead of being clumsy unfocused bobble-heads, they will turn into beautifully focused chocolate feathered raptors.

Within the last hour, another GHOW strike has happened at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest. These attacks are occurring much more frequently. Several nests including one Osprey one at Hog Island employed lights and clothed dolls to thwart the GHOW attacks. Thank you for that information, ‘L’. Maybe it is time to consider lights for Harriet and M15.

The Kakapo Recovery posted the cartoon of their infamous bachelors about two weeks ago.

Well, the staff no longer have to wait for breeding season to begin on Whenua Hou Island. The Kakapo kicked it up into high gear starting on 24 December. Oh, let there be many baby Kakapo!

Over at Port Lincoln everyone is eating well. Bazza found a fish before day break on the floor of the barge, then Bazza received another fish. Did I say I think Bazza will never leave home? Ervie has been over on the ropes eating a fish that it appears he caught and when he couldn’t eat another bite, Falky took over. Wow. Sibling sharing. How nice!

Ervie is at the top and Falky is eating the rest of the fish Ervie caught on the ropes near the bottom of the image.

Diamond slept on the Cilla Rocks last night. It is comforting to see her sitting on the ledge of the scrape at first light.

As I approach the end of the day, the sun is waking up on the deserts of Africa. The little birds are flitting about the bore hole in Namibia getting drinks. What a beautiful view. So peaceful. So warm compared to the cold snowy weather of Manitoba!

Good Night everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida and D Pritchett Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Nambia Cam, and Kakapo Recovery FB Page.

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.