Harriet and M15 have second egg, Tropical Birds and more…

3 December 2022

Oh, I continue to marvel at the flowers, the beautiful sky and the green grass — and the birds on this small island!

There are Hibiscus of every colour.

It is a gorgeous view. This is a far cry from the wind chills of -30 in Manitoba!

The Tropic Mockingbird was eating fruit off of one of the trees.

In Grenada no one likes the Carib Grackles. They are always around when people are eating, taking their food. Is it because they are hungry? Well, my breakfast companion was a Carib Grackle. You see, I don’t really eat a big breakfast but it is the same amount for coffee and fruit than for everything piled up 3x over. So, — sorry. You will never take me out to breakfast with you! I turned my camera so that the women working at the breakfast buffet could not see. Then I fed the Grackle. It felt good.

In return, that same Carib Grackle, I assume, brought me a gift – feather. He left it right in front of me on the table. How sweet. I have heard of Crows leaving trinkets for people who feed them but, not a Grackle. The colour is washed in this image from my phone. It is small – about 10 cm or 4 inches long – and black. Probably from a Grackle!

After breakfast, we went to the mangroves near Mt Hartman to check on the egrets and herons. Nothing there but some cattle and goats along with a huge termite nest. Will check again early in the morning on Tuesday.

I am really surprised with all the mud around the edges of the ponds that there are not more Shorebirds, like the Greater Yellowlegs out and about. Maybe they come earlier – or later – in the day. Maybe tomorrow.

There were no Ospreys today at St George’s University but, there were some Cattle Egrets in the distance on an island, some more Grackles and Mockingbirds, and then….the fisher cleaning his fish threw the heads into the water. Well, some big birds began to fly in. Apparently the fishers do this everyday – clean the fish and give the birds the parts they do not want. Can you imagine Mum and Dad at Port Lincoln if this were to happen? or Ervie?!!!!!!!

The sea birds after the fish parts were Magnificent Frigatebirds. The image below is the female. She has a beautiful white collar.

The Magnificent Frigatebirds are from 95-110 cm or 37-43 cm inches in length. The male is all black and the female, as mentioned earlier, is all black with a white collar. They soar and swoop on the surface of the water getting fish using a wing span of 2.5 metres or 98 inches. They make their nests in trees and shrubs and laying their eggs from October through December. Unlike Ospreys and other sea birds, the Magnficent Frigatebirds never land on the water as they would not be able to pull themselves out like eagles or ospreys.

This is a juvenile. Its white head and chest will turn black as it reaches adulthood. It is off finding fish with Mum. Being trained like Indigo is.

Their tail reminds me of a scissor tail flycatcher. Notice the beak. It is like an albatross.

You can just see the Cattle Egret flying by the island. They are the smallest of the ‘white’ egrets on the island. The other two are the Greater or Common Egret and the Snowy Egret.

The sweet little Zenaida Dove was around with the Tropic Mockingbirds over on the SGU Campus where the Frigatebirds were.

Look closely at the photo below. See the white eye ring and look above the beak and around the eye at the pink-violet colouring. Just beautiful.

Zenaida Doves grow to be approximately 30 cm or 12 inches in length. It is a grey-brown bird with cinnamon or pink areas appearing around the neck and breast. There are two eye lines, lighter towards the black beak and getting darker towards the nape of the neck. There is a tinge of violet kissing the area around the eye with a blue-grey ‘cap’ on the head. It has white tipped outer feathers. The inner wing feathers have two black spots, while there are also blue-grey feathers going ombre into beige-grey. It feeds mainly on seeds and fruit. The Zenaida Doves lay their clutch of two eggs between February and August in a flimsy nest – sometimes on a palm leaf!!!!!!

This dove is not injured. Their legs and feet are red. Also it closely resembles the Eared-Dove but that bird does not have white around the wing tips.

I thought it was a good day because included in the sightings was a Grenada Dove. I have no photo. They are very quick and live in the back trees – some thorny trees that remind me of the Mimosa growing in my parent’s garden when I was a child. But I did see one! Yippeeee.


Seriously, we all know that the members of the Corvid family are brilliant but here is a new study that just emphasises that even more!

And a new study on the level of self-awareness in crows.

Gabby has not given in to the uninvited guests at the NEFL Bald Eagle Nest that she shares with Samson. Our beautiful Gabby is waiting and we are waiting with her – and hoping just like she is.

That head is not pure white yet or he has had it stuck in suet somewhere. I don’t think he could attract our girl.

Just to remind everyone, Bella had quite the time early last season. She was injured and bleeding and was absent for 21 days while she healed so that she could come and boot any female intruders away from Smitty! This year Smitty and Bella are working on their nest together. Hope for Samson and Alden.

Highlights today from the scrape at Orange. Indigo is quite the character! Diamond and Xavier have very vivacious offspring!

Also in Australia, the Rare Honeyeater is still learning its breeding song even if there are so few they might never find a mate and breed. If I am not mistaken, one of the adults at Orange brought in a Honeyeater this year. If I am wrong, please let me know!

In Port Lincoln, at 11:20:37 Dad brought in a fish. Mum was once again too late. Zoe got it! She spots him flying in and starts doing that famous talon dance.

I think Dad needs fish. It looks like Mum has a good crop.

Zoe is doing well and so is Indigo. This is good news. I do not keep up with their feedings now…Zoe might soon start to do her own fishing. We wait.

Last but not least, Harriet and M15 have their second egg of the season which means that hard incubation will begin. Congratulations to Harriet and M15 (remember Harriet is 28 years old), the Pritchett Family, and all who love SWFlorida Eagles.

This is not a long newsletter today but I hope that you found something of interest and also learned something new. That is the most important thing. Tomorrow I am getting up at 0400 to head north to Levera National Park and Lake Antoine. I cannot find a decent map to show you so, fingers and toes crossed there are some nice birds for Sunday morning!

Thank you for being with me today. Take care everyone. Send best wishes to Samson, Alden, and Rita. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: My Modern Met, Port Lincoln Ospreys, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett Family, abc.net.au, D Steyck and the NCTC Bald Eagle Cam, Falcon Cam Project and Elaine, Big Think.com and Manitoba Birding and Wildlife Photography, NEFL and SWFL Eagle Cam and Watchers Group – and to my son, Cris, who chased birds all over for me today. It was great fun.

Tropical Mockingbird, Rita’s update and more…in Bird World

2 December 2022

Good morning everyone from the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada. It is 29 degrees C – a real shock from the snow, ice, and blowing winds of Canada! It has rained – it is the wet season – and all of the trees, the grass, and the flowers are bright and beautiful. The forecast is now giving us so many good days. On Saturday it will be an all day birding trip starting at 0530. I am excited. The island is home to many species but I especially hope to see the Cattle Egrets, the Green Herons, and the Tri-Coloured Heron out in the mangroves as well as the gorgeous parrots, shorebirds, and songbirds of this island. And, of course, the Caribbean Ospreys. Fingers crossed.

Grand Anse Beach is pure white sand. It is one of the longest white sand beaches in the world. Looking to the right of this beach is an area of the island above the Lagoon known as Springs. There is always a mist and it rains a lot. The area has some of the nicest gardens. Even though it is such a small island there is another area near the airport that is completely dry!!!!!

My first bird came into view as the light was leaving us…It s a Tropical Mockingbird. Oh, its song was incredible. Tomorrow I am going to sit right under the tree where several seemed to be perching. They must be very used to the human presence along the beach. Indeed, they will eat human food along with spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, seeds, small fruits and berries, mangoes — there are a lot of mangoes on the island in the spring. There are so many falling on the roads that the cars slide around on those that get slimy from being run over. The Mockingbirds also eat lizards as well as other small bird and lizard eggs. They have been seen consuming seed from bird feeders just like Dyson!

Many of you will have seen and heard the Northern Mockingbirds in North America. This is the Caribbean equivalent. The Tropical Mockingbird lives in open or semi-open areas. In this instance they are living in the trees along a major tourist beach area.

They lack colour but if that is a problem their song certainly makes up for it. They have a black beak and legs, a striking bright ebony eye with a black eye stripe. The top of their head is a medium grey fading into a lovely silvery white which continues along the throat, the breast and underparts of the bird. The wings are a symphony of grey and black with white wing tips. The tail is a dark charcoal verging on black with a white tip and underneath area. You can hear their song here:

‘H’ kindly sent me the most recent announcement about Rita, the mate of Ron, the bonded pair of Bald Eagles from the Miami Zoo. Thanks, ‘H’. Here it is:

 Yesterday, “Rita,” the bald eagle had surgery performed to help repair her severely fractured right wing. The surgery was performed by avian veterinary specialist, Dr. Don Harris, assisted by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and the Zoo Miami Animal Health Team. The surgery was successful inserting a metal pin to align and support the fractured bone. However, the prognosis for successful healing is extremely poor due to the lack of circulation in the wing as a result of the devastating trauma. At this time, it is unfortunately unlikely that the wing can be saved and even more unlikely that she will ever fly again. Having said that, we are not giving up hope! She is receiving daily drug therapy, laser treatments and acupuncture along with her wound care and dressing changes. She has already beaten tremendous odds by surviving the trendous trauma from which she would have certainly died from had it not been for the intervention of all of the involved parties. We are all praying that she can provide us with a miracle and continue on a positive path.

Wildlife Rescue of Dade County FB, 1 December 2022

American Eagle Foundation LIVE Nest Cams is reporting on Samson’s absence:

Still no news to report. No sightings of Samson. No visitors to the nest. Gabrielle continues to perch at the nest throughout the day and at night keeping watch.

(c) 2022 American Eagle Foundation eagles.org AEF-NEFL

Gabby waits patiently for dear Samson to return. Continue with your positive wishes.

This story is from several years ago but was posted today on the NEFL-SWFL Bald Eagle FB group. It reminds us, like the time with Bella and Smitty this year, that eagles can be gone for some time and return. This eagle was missing for 3 weeks! I live in hope for our beloved Samson.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/missing-bald-eagle-returns-to-dc-nest-after-a-weeks-long-departure-experts-say/2019/02/27/a06bf238-3acb-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html

My holiday is not just a chance to spend time with my son and his wife, or eating amazing Caribbean food, or find new birds but it is also a time for a battery recharge after all that has happened during the last month.

Like all of you, I need some good news and I know you do, too. Well, here it is coming from Lori Covert in Captiva. You will remember that Captiva and Sentinel, the barrier islands off the coast of Florida, were the hardest hit by Hurricane Ian. The ospreys and bald eagles lost their nests. Well, smile when you read this!

I just checked on Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Dad brought in a very small fish at 0925. Mum probably didn’t even get a chance to see it. Zoe is very quick when she wants her food!!!!!!!!!

Zoey doing her talon dance.

Dad lands and Zoe has it before Mum even gets there. I do hope that Mum and Dad have some fish to eat at other times. This is worrisome sometimes.

Yesterday there were 2 fish brought in by Mum and 2 brought in by Dad. Zoe even tried her wings. Here is her tracker information for 2 December.

Diamond has been spending time at the scrape box at Orange. This morning she seemed very interested in the stones. My friend ‘A’ has observed that the falcons prefer to eat only the white stones. Do any of you know why this is the case?

We know why the birds eat stones. Here is the standard Goggle answer:

Birds eat stones to form gastroliths that grind against food when they contract their gizzards. The grinding action of gastroliths aid in the digestion of fibrous food in birds. When the gastroliths begin to smoothen over time, birds eat new stones to replace the older ones.

But why do they prefer white ones?

Giving Tuesday has just passed – where donors often match what funds are given. Now…there is December and if you are thinking about ‘giving’ for the holidays, stop and think of your local wildlife rehabber — or a rehabber that you respect for all the hard work they have done this year. We watch our beautiful birds and many times they go into care and we are cheering for them to be taken in and made well and released. So remember the wildlife clinics and give. Our Wildlife Haven listed the costs associated with surgery — think dear Rita! The antibiotics after. These items are extremely expensive. So help if you can!

In Australia ABC news did an article on this very topic.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. At the time of publishing this blog, I have no new news on any of the missing birds or Rita. Keep sending all your good energy to our missing birds and to Rita as she continues to fight to fly — I would love to see her be the exception to the rule (ie lack of circulation in the wing). Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: Lori Covert Instagram, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, WRDC, NEFL-AEF and the American Eagle Foundation.

Rita is standing up! Zoe screams for fish, Anna laid an egg…and other news in Bird World

1 December 2022

I can see the lights from the Toronto airport. It was snowing and blowing in Winnipeg and now raining here. Strange to see everything ‘brown’ instead of ‘white’. It is quite ‘strange’ being in an airport! One word of advice: if you can travel with a small carry on, do so. It is a nightmare at the larger airports with the new self-baggage check in. Huge line ups and the same for security. But, I feel privileged to be able to have a short holiday in a wonderfully warm and beautiful place with birds and see my son and daughter in law. It has been far too long!

Speaking of ‘white’, before I go any further, have you ever seen a white eagle? Well, the folks in Oklahoma, where I grew up, are certainly checking their eye sight!

I want to thank everyone that sent me notes so I had them when I landed. First up was ‘H’ and ‘S’ with the good news that Rita has had her surgery and she is standing up!!!!!!!! Now seriously. Standing up. What a strong eagle she is! I am sure we can all shed a few little tears or break out into a huge smile. By, gosh, we need some good news in Bird World. She is still in guarded condition but the surgery itself went well.

The Orthopaedic surgeon said the surgery could not have gone any better. Tears. This is fantastic news at a time when we sure need it!

Tonya Irwin has been keeping a log and it seems that Louisiana is still ahead of Florida in terms of Bald Eagle eggs laid. Today, Anna added to that list with the first of the season’s eggs at the E-1 nest in the Kisatchie national Forest near Alexandria. Congratulations!

At the time of writing this blog, this is the latest news on Samson from the AEF.

There has been no sighting of Alden either but, there is other good news. Annie and Grinnell’s daughter, Sequoia, has a mate at the San Jose City Hall and guess what? They have a streaming cam. Is it possible that we will get to see Annie and Grinnell’s ‘grandeyases’ hatch and fledge? Wouldn’t that just be amazing? When everything seems so dark, there is always light trying to get through.

There is a lot of news coming in but, before I go any further, there has been a question from a very worried watcher of the SWFlorida nest of Harriet and M15. ‘R’ would like to know why Harriet is not incubating her egg? That is such a great question. What Harriet is doing is called delayed incubation. She will lay her second egg in 3 days from the first. If she started ‘hard’ incubation immediately when the first egg was laid, the first hatch would have an enormous advantage over the second hatch. By waiting to start hard incubation until the second egg is laid, the eaglets will hatch much closer together in time – sometimes within an hour or two of one another -and while they will bop one another, it is not usually deadly. They hatch and are closer in size.

In addition, Harriet and M15 do not have to worry about the egg freezing in the Florida sunshine and they have a stocked pond for prey and it appears that there has not been a time of food scarcity at this nest (please correct me if I am wrong).

There are advantages to starting incubation immediately. David Hancock of Hancock Wildlife in British Columbia, Canada has consistently given two reasons why immediate incubation might be practiced. They are: 1) to protect eggs from predators such as Crows, Ravens, Raccoons, etc.; and 2) the eagles want to ensure that at least there is a chance of one surviving during a time of food scarcity. The idea Hancock says is that it is much better for the eagles to have one chick survive than no eaglets at all.

Do not worry. Harriet and M15 know precisely what they are doing. As I said, their eaglets will cause us great grief during the ‘rock ’em, sock ’em’ days but, in the end, the pair normally develop into best buddies. In fact, most of us will grieve for their going off to find their own way in the world probably to never see one another again.

That amazing fledgling Osprey from the Tweed Valley, Glen, is just getting more and more news coverage. If you are trying to figure out where you have heard his name, well, let me remind you that Glen also landed on two different cargo ships and took rides, he flew through a large area of hydro lines and landed on a the roof of a fruit factory in Portugal where he was believed to be dead. But, nope. Not Glen. He flew out over the Atlantic Ocean for 36 hours solid flapping his wings until he found a small island to land on. He is now in Morocco. Glen deserves all the news coverage he can get. What an adventurous life this young man has had and he isn’t even near a year old!

If you do not know about Glen’s adventures on the two fishing trawlers, please start your reading here. You will be delighted you did!

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-62967646

So grateful for all the coverage of this amazing young Osprey. Sacha Dench is going to have to add more segments to her programme, Flight of the Osprey, for the BBC. This chap might even deserve his own show! I honestly don’t think I have gotten so excited about the migration of a male Osprey since Ervie didn’t migrate!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Dad brought Zoe a nice little fish at 10:00:13. ‘A’ says that she can always tell when Dad is coming because Mum ‘does her talon dance’. I watched for that – she does, back and forth on the talons, wings flapping, moving out of the way so Dad can land. Well, Zoe is perfecting or has already perfected that talon dance along with her fish prey screaming. My goodness she is loud. I bet Fran Solly can hear her across the lagoon without having the sound on the streaming cam. Zoe start about a minute and a half before Dad lands with the fish.

We will continue to grieve for little one, Rubus. At the same time, we must also celebrate the falcon fledgling that Xavier and Diamond are working so hard to train so it can have a full and productive life like Sequoia.

Indigo certainly as a ‘voice’! He flew in and chased Xavier out of the scrape a few minutes before returning with his breakfast. Here is a short video clip of Indigo coming into the scrape with prey at 0700.

This is the latest update from Cilla re Rubus. So very sad but, reassuring that the little fella did not suffer.

Thank you so very much for being with me. Send all your good wishes out to Rita as she recovers, to Ron who may or may not know what is going on, to Gabby who waits for Samson and to Annie who might not yet know Alden is missing. So much is happening — and here I thought there might be a lull until eaglets start to hatch at the end of the month. Bird World is always full of surprises. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their messages, posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clip: ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘G’, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Conservation without Borders, BBC, Raptors without Borders, Sharon Pollock and SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Tonya Irwin and Kistachie National Forest Eagle Cam Fans, Gretchen-AEF, Salsa Bird and Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and Birds, Holly Parsons and Orange Australia Falcons, and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Harriet lays her first egg of the season! and more news in Bird World

30 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I want to thank everyone who sent an e-mail or who made a comment about the loss of Orange’s dear darling Rubus. It was extremely difficult for everyone not least of all those wonderful people at Orange. We all loved the feisty little eyas. What joy he brought!

It would be helpful if there were an international protocol in place that everyone agreed on and knew. If a raptor is grounded and does not flee when a human approaches, it should be placed in care for an examination. No guessing, no regrets. Just a clear protocol. If the raptor requires care, it can receive it. If it doesn’t, it is released where it was found or at its nest, if known. Perhaps protocols could be put in place in memory of Rubus.

Meanwhile, Indigo is doing very well and thriving. Wonderful news. This is him yesterday eating a huge prey item! So glad he is visiting the scrape.


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo” by NathanaelBC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It is not about raptors but, after the week we have had and now with Harriet having an injury from the GHOW hit last night, we need a laugh. We seriously need a laugh just to take us away even for a few minutes. This Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo will certainly help.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-30/cockatoo-video-dropping-pot-plants-melbourne/101710478?fbclid=IwAR2dBBKdcL_6wP-BBMZYqu9IC3iaThR1hi0dMv1wI_hkPV5nwOpS_Pn2sjk


“G’ sent me a great article on Glen, the only surviving Tweed Valley osprey fledgling. It is a great article and you realise how miraculous this bird’s adventure has been – almost blown out to sea, having to flap its wings for 36 hours over the ocean! And finally finding a small piece of land to rest for 11 hours. Thanks, ‘G’. Glen deserves a long and safe life.

Here is the link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-63795390

Congratulations to M15 and to Harriet for their first egg of the 2022 season! The time was 18:09:34. M15 was there with Harriet during her labour.

Sharon Pollock posted a video of the happy moment:


At the nest of Pa Berry and Missy, Pa has had to deal with a GHOW strike like Harriet did the night before she laid her egg.


Many of you will have seen Tiger Mozone’s name on the PLO chat. Tiger runs a FB group re Ospreys and is encyclopaedic when it comes to the history of UK Ospreys. Tiger and Chloe Baker have a web site with much information on the UK Ospreys – magicats. He also has a Twitter account. Check him out.

Tiger and I have been chatting today about the state of the fish at Port Lincoln. I have been – well, almost, pulling my hair out over the lack of fish. Is it because of commercial fishing? flooding and silt? changing water temperatures due to climate change? Dad’s age? You have probably asked yourself the same thing. So far no one seems to have come up with an answer but Tiger and I talked about practical or possible solutions. I have always maintained that fish must be provided. But how do you provide fish? Well, large commercial-like tanks such as the ones that the Ospreys in South America steal from is one solution. Tiger thinks a fish pond or stocking the lagoon where the barge is located. I wonder how many regulations there are for doing this? Are there any more than all of the permissions required for intervention?

Zoe is wide awake and wanting fish. Dad will deliver early today. I wonder if she spotted him flying off.

Did you know that there is a river that was created and stocked just so photographers could take images of Osprey fishing? Yes. It is the River Gwash and Tiger told me about it today. So if you can build a river in the UK and stock it so Ospreys can fish and charge people to photograph them in a hide doing just that then, why not stock the lagoon where the barge is and – from a safe distance – allow people for a charge to photograph them? Why not? It might bring more tourism to the area, too! That along with Osprey Excursions.

The Gwash River runs through Rutland, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire.

Other places stock ponds and lochs for the osprey such as Rutland and Keider. It is time that everyone considered this as humans have mismanaged our planet so much. We owe it to these beautiful birds.


Alden has still not been seen. A video clip of Annie reacting to the visiting male.

Dear Gabby waits for Samson’s return. If you did not see my correction, Samson was not injured. There was a posting on FB showing what appeared to be an injury to Samson’s head; I carried that information in a blog. The AEF wishes for everyone to know that he was not seen injured when he was at the nest. I had posted the update in a later blog but it seems some did not see it. Apologies for any confusion.

This is the latest announcement from the AEF on FB at the time of writing this blog:

We know that Bella returned to her nest after three weeks and there is a story surfacing out of Hanover of the resident female returning to her nest after being absent for a week. It gives me hope that Samson will return!

https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2018/04/09/hanover-nests-resident-female-eagle-returns-fighting-expected/497774002/

Jackie and Shadow always put a smile on my face and here they are working on their nest at Big Bear. Adorable. I received a note that Shadow had been away since the 24th returning today, 5 days later (the information is second hand but comes from a trusted source). So, let us all take a deep breath and believe that Samson just took a wee break before it all begins, too.

The Southern Royal Osprey are a delight to watch and I know that many of enjoyed watching Lillibet, the 2022 Royal Cam chick grow and fledge and the marvelous care that YRK gave to her daughter after OGK went missing in May. There is a new Royal family and Dad, GLY, is incubating that precious egg. Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) has published a video of the new family and some visitors.

Migration News:

Waba is still in the Sudan.

Bonus is still in Turkey but he has started moving South! Well done, Bonus.

There is a silver lining in today’s news with the arrival of the first egg at the Bald Eagle nest of M15 and Harriet in Fort Myers, Florida.

Please send your best wishes to Rita so that she is strong enough for her operation. ‘H’ wrote this morning to tell me it is scheduled for 1500 Eastern time today. Send good wishes to Alden and Samson wherever they are please come home if you can, and to everyone at Orange and all those who loved little Rubus. He is much missed.

Thank you for being with me. This is not a very long blog but I hope there is something good in there for everyone. I am now ready to try and start packing! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ and ‘G’ for their notes, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and S Pollock, Berry College, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, NEFL-AEF, River Gwash Ospreys, abc.net.au, York Dispatch, FOBBV, NZ DOC and Sharon Dunne, and Looduskalender Forum.

Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.

Sunday News in Bird World

20 November 22

Greetings from a wintery wonderland on the Canadian Prairies. We have snow – thankfully not like what has been landing in the Great Lakes area of the US. Just lovely snowy drifting down giving everything a crisp clean Hallmark card ‘look’.

Before I go any further, Rubus and his fludged-fledge has been located in a tree near to Indigo by Shines. Later Indigo flies up to the scrape but has difficulty due to the very strong winds getting the landing perfect. It was like Rubus who had little control with those winds as he exited the scrape but greater control near the ground. Both are safe and sound. We can all breathe a little lighter! Zoe remains on the nest as I write this. So everything is, so far, alright at both of the Australian nests we have been watching. Only one fledge to go, Zoe, the Port Lincoln osplet.

If you missed it, here is Rubus’s start to his great adventure:

Thanks to ‘B’, who sent me this link, we can see Rubus and Indigo perched in trees! Thank you so much ‘B’.

This is the feeding recap for Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge up until 1500. ​06:14 Dad with partial fish. 06:14:12 Zoe steals fish from Mum.8:24:50 Partial by Dad. Zoe self feeds. 9:10:50 Zoe finishes the tail.

Making News:

Paith, the third hatch at the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn of 2022, has been spotted in another country. Emyr Evans needs permissions for all the details, etc. but this is fantastic news. Oh, tears. Need these third hatches to do well!!!!!!

The Melbourne Four make the news again and they are right. Who needs Netflix when we can have Nestflix?

https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/bird-s-eye-view-who-needs-netflix-when-you-can-tune-into-nestflix-20221116-p5bywe.html?fbclid=IwAR2MHVlDtBYcr46mtwCPkpd9gkSg7bJDEqoFy_7MiTjJu6XQcAoFQbneNiE

There was also just an amazing season tribute to the Melbourne Four that included ‘Old Dad’ (M17). Thank you for this! It came on a day when we needed some really positive news with Rubus fledging/fludging.

The Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon was thought to be extinct. It was last seen in 1887. It has been found in New Guinea.

The very first egg of the season at the Kistanchie National Forest nest has been laid on Nest E-3. Congratulations!

Big Red was spotted on the Cornell campus along with one of the juveniles. It is always great to see Big Red, the international star of all Red-tailed Hawks! She is all flooded up to keep warm. Big Red had been spotted earlier out hunting – and it was successful. There is great comfort in knowing that she is alright. It seems that L4 is also still around the campus. That is also wonderful news.

No 10 The Red List: The Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)” by gilgit2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

I have never heard of a Tree Pipit. As far as I know, we do not have them in Manitoba. Ed Douglas describes them this way, “Pipits are often regarded as dreary-looking birds, the avocado bathroom of the avian world. That only makes me love them more, but telling these flecked brown birds apart visually is a task of tooth-grinding attention to detail.” The Tree Pipit is a bit bigger than the other Pipets and its beak is thicker. “The Tree Pipit has a touch of swagger, strutting across the ground, tail pumping rhythmically, like a wagtail, as it hunts for insects.” The birds also breed on the ground laying a clutch of approximately six eggs in the grasses beneath the trees. Indeed, the birds like the woodlands and the fringes at the edges for raising their families. They flutter through the air in a way not dissimilar to a Black Capped Chickadee.

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)” by gilgit2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Personally, I do not think they are Avocado Bathroom at all. The colouring is marvellous. Stop for a second and examine the range from a soft silvery white to the creams, the darker ash blonde, moving into the very dark blond and on to that deep 70% chocolate. They are stunning! Notice the white eye ring and the very subtle eye line.Move on to the wing and the teardrop pattern with the dark espresso lined by the white. Incredible. Striations only on the upper breast. This melody of brown and its hues is all topped off by velvety light rose legs and beak. I expect this little one to be wearing a matching light rose velvet hat with feathers carrying a matching handbag!

There are parts of the world where the Tree Pipit is of least concern but in the UK, its song and it are in dramatic decline. They migrate annually to Africa and when in the UK, their diet consists of insects gleaned from the woodland floor and old rotting trees. Declines can also be attributed to the use of insecticides and herbicides both in the UK and in Africa – to kill the insects which are then eaten by these small birds causing them to die. Secondary poisoning.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/13/country-diary-the-song-of-the-tree-pipit-is-a-rare-pleasure?CMP=share_btn_link

Migration News:

Little Waba is still in the Sudan fishing at the Nile River near Nori. She is obviously doing very well. The temperature in the area today was 26 degrees C.

Bonus is also in the same area in Turkey in Konya Province. It is considerably cooler there at 13 degrees C. Bonus also landed on a transmission tower today and everyone was very, very concerned because of the deaths from electrocution. He left, thankfully!

Oh, the time just flies by. It is hard to believe that we have our first Bald Eagle eggs in Florida and in Louisiana now and that we have only one more raptor to fledge in Australia, Zoe. It is a good time of year to take a deep breath, to remember those lovely feathered friends we have lost, and to be ever so grateful for those that survived.

Thank you for being with me today. Please take care of yourselves. Looking forward to having you with me again soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Looduskalender Forum, OpenVerse, Suzanne Arnold Horning, Cornell Bird Labs, US Forestry Service KNF Bald Eagle Nests, CTV News, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Age, Ospreys. Ringed Birds and Sightings (UK), and 367 Collins Falcon Watchers.

Harriet and M15 weather Nicole together…and other news in Bird World

10 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. The kittens are very active this morning. The Starlings have discovered the Butter Bark! And the Blue Jays are eating peanuts and what better entertainment for the kittens than watching birds safely behind glass!

Lewis is a charmer.

Oops. Turn your head! Missy is sideways smelling the orchids and moved quickly to see the Blue Jays.

They are adorable and are tied at the hip to one another. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, they must be together – eating, sleeping, and being a poopinator.

Late Wednesday, Nicole was upgraded to a Hurricane. As she went over Florida last night, Nicole was again down graded to a Tropical Storm. These are the latest images.

I will be posting my blog when it is approximately 1000 Thursday the 10th of November. This system will not be moving out of the region of Samson and Gabby’s next until much, much later in the day. Harriet and M15 got a right soaking. Continue to send your good wishes to all in this region.

_________________________________________________________________

The real news of the day is ‘waiting’. Waiting for fledging in Australia and waiting for Hurricane Nicole to pass in Florida. Yes, Nicole is now upgraded to a hurricane from the previous tropical storm. Winds and rain are increasing across the state of Florida.

Before I go any further, we all love Harriet and M15. They are weathering Hurricane Nicole together – in the nest! Talk about love and devotion. They have rebuilt after Hurricane Ian and they are staying together Wednesday night as Nicole approaches. Send them all the love you have! These two are amazing.

It is starting – the winds are swaying the nest. Harriet and M15 are both still in the nest together. Oh, my heart just goes out to them. They need that nest to hold. It will not be long until Harriet is laying eggs.

Early Thursday morning. Together and wet. Oh, did I tell you? Harriet is 28 years old!

In the News:

I am so happy. The wildlife rehabbers who cared for the Pitkin County Osplet did not have staff to deal with messages after the osplet came into care. Pitkin County gave me their name and I wrote to them a couple of days ago and now they have posted the information for the public. This is really important. I want each of you to remember because pre-fledge osplets really do well in care! They survive and they have a second chance at life. The image of the beautiful osplet below is the evidence.

Birds of Prey in Colorado has two waiting for release in the spring. Let us all debunk this urban myth.

Last June, the female at the Pitkin Open Spaces and Trails pulled her two osplets off the nest accidentially. One died, this one went into care and is waiting to be released in the spring.

I have been slowly gathering up evidence of successful treatments for pre-fledge Ospreys or any Osprey that has been taken into care. If you are aware of any ospreys in care or that were in care and released, would you please contact me with any details that you know. It will really help make my case to Port Lincoln that there is good evidence – hard evidence not anecdotal – that pre-fledge ospreys do well in care. By poking a hole right in the middle of the rumour that has spread and established itself as fact, it is possible that ospreys like Middle can survive. For Little and Middle, let’s work to change this to: Pre-fledge Ospreys do as well in care as do Post-fledge Ospreys!

Let’s take another look at Coots. Do you have Coots in the ponds or wetlands where you live? Sometimes called the ‘black duck’, the author of this article fell in love with them when he was a wee child.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/09/birdwatch-coots-gadwall

Why is Bird Flu so important and, what happens if it mutates causing another pandemic?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/09/bird-flu-mutation-h5n1-virus-strains-pandemic

The Melbourne Four, those precious babies, made the news!

3 Red List Bird:

Roseate Terns” by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Roseate Tern is the most rare of all the sea birds that breed in the UK. There has been a lot of interest in the migration of the Roseate Terns from the UK and from Ireland. Satellite trackers have discovered that they migrate to the West African coast and spend their winter in the Gulf of Guinea. Those Roseate Terns from North America also have an impressive migration. They travel to the eastern part of Brazil. These journeys are more than 15,000 km return made across the open seas.

They are such beautiful sea birds. They are called Roseate because of the pink tint to their gorgeous plumage. Their beak is slender they have a long forked tail, a white cap with grey wings and white under belly. Their legs are longer than other Terns. This means that they can walk through higher and thicker undergrowth and this is where they make their nests so they are not in competition with other terns.

The Roseate Tern is globally threatened. One of the greatest challenges these beautiful birds face is the human disturbance of their nesting sites and the collecting of their eggs. Climate change, flooding, and frequent storms are also major contributing factors in the decline of the species.

The following contains information on the threats to these amazing sea birds.

Roseate Tern

http://roseatetern.org/threats.html

Australian Birds:

The camera turned and all of the Melbourne Four were still home! Gosh, if you didn’t know it, at a glance, these look like fine full grown Peregrines.

Hot in Melbourne. Some are looking for shade!

It is raining in Melbourne and ‘A’ tells me that it is not a good day to fledge now and won’t be for a few days more. Hopefully the Melbourne Four will stay put!

According to my eagle-eyed and ears friend ‘A’, the Melbourne Four were on the ledge when Mum brought a prey item in at 181203. They ran down to the other end where the 4th eyas was.

A small fish came on the Port Lincoln Opsrey barge. Mum took control and then gave it over to Big. I think Mum was hoping for the tail but Big took it, too.

Big is as big as Mum now. Look at those legs. Here the pair of them are prey calling Dad who is on his way with breakfast.

Big is not going without food. Dad brought in the small fish this morning and then, seeing Dad over on the ropes, Mum decided she best get out there and bring in the afternoon meal. Big might have thought she would get the whole thing to herself but Mum had other ideas and started out feeding her girl. She managed to get some bites. Big will take the fish and would take all fish if left to her own now.

Dad will bring in another fish. There were three delivered on Thursday in Port Lincoln. Those times were 09:33, 15:01, 19:22.

If the weather is good, Big will be banded, measured, and named sometime between the 12-14th. That is a few days away. I hope to find an announcement with the specific day for you.

Lots of Starlings and other prey coming into the scrape. Both Indigo and Rubus are excellent self-feeders. It is wonderful to see. Indigo continues to look out at the world beyond and poor Rubus, he still has so much flu that it will be a bit of a wait. Don’t worry Rubus, Mum and Dad will feed you – they won’t forget!

Indigo is adorable.

It is just after midnight on Thursday and this is the recap of Thursday up until late afternoon at Orange: RECAP 6 02 26 D w/grebe, Rubus takes; 08 45 13 X w/juv starl, leaves; 10:17:16 X w ER, Indigo takes; 10:24:23 D in, feeds Rubus; 14:50:29 X w/prey, Indigo takes.

At one point, Indigo was running around the scrape flapping her wings and chasing Rubus. Remember. Indigo does not have the room that the Melbourne Four have to run off some of the energy and to really get the wings and legs going.

Rubus had no idea what on earth was going on with Indigo. There was a piece of prey stuck between her talons. Was that the cause of all the restlessness? or is it that Indigo will be fledging soon?

Indigo was able to get the piece of prey out from her talons and she settled. Look at Rubus watching everything that she is doing. He will miss her when she flies. If she does what the others have done, she will fly down to the trees where she sees the parents. They will also lure her with prey items and begin teaching her how to hunt. They will do this for 4-6 weeks until Indigo leaves their territory. Now that I say that we must not forget that Izzi did not leave home until Diamond would no longer let him in the scrape many, many months after she should have left.

Indigo will not fly back to the scrape box. She is not strong enough to undertake that steep upward flight yet but, she will get those muscles really going once she is down chasing after Diamond and Xavier.

Rubus will either love having the prey all to himself or miss Indigo or both.

In other news:

Continue to send your best and most positive wishes to the nests in Florida. Ron and Rita’s human designed nest on the grounds of the Miami Zoo is really beginning to rock and sway. You can see the movement of the palm trees caught in the image below. There are so many, many nests in Florida and it is the wintering grounds for some of the birds from the north.

Gabby and Samson’s nest near Jacksonville is really blowing and rocking. It is in one of the areas that is expecting the highest winds.

The record snow and wind has caused power outages at Big Bear Valley. The cameras for Jackie and Shadow are offline at the moment. We will wait and see if they are up tomorrow. Thursday. The camera is up over the valley but the nest camera remains offline. The storm has passed. Yippee.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures ‘A’ and ‘H’ for their eyes and ears on Collins Street, National Hurricane Centre, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails, ABC News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, WRDC, and NEFlorida-AEF.

Puffin…Puffin…and other tales from Bird World

9 November 2022

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone is well.

Oh, it is the gloomiest of days. Wet and cold. The snow was forecast to turn to rain. And it did. The garden birds do not like the damp. They do sooooo much better if it is a dry snow.

Is it possible to lure any of the European Starlings into the lilacs to feed? There are 57 of them roosting in the back trees. The owner of the bird seed shop mentioned that maybe there is still enough food out in the fields for them. I paused and then realised that their big feeding frenzy began in January. Perhaps she is right.

Mr Crow and Junior were very happy when a new bag of peanuts arrived. Did I mention they sort through the peanuts for the heaviest ones? No sense carrying off a shell with nothing in it! So smart. So gorgeous.

The hanging light makes Junior’s feathers look more intense.

Even with their favourite suet they are not budging. The squirrels are happy, the Blue Jays have come for peanuts and corn, and the Crow has been in for peanuts and to yell at me because the water is frozen in the bird bath! He gets right on top of the conservatory glass roof and caws as loud as he can – like he used to do when the cats were in the garden. Speaking of cats, it seems once the weather turned bad their owners are keeping them inside. Of course, it does appear that all of the Hedwigs have met their demise because of the cats according to the neighbour. I am certain that he is right. I have not seen the rabbits since the summer and it is unlike them – all three of them – to be away for so long. With everything at Port Lincoln, I have convinced myself not to think about it.

Day 2. The UK Red List: The Puffin.

Puffin with his catch.” by ohefin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Their name means ‘Little Brother of the North’ and they are, by far, one of the most beloved sea birds around the world. Did you know that they can dive up to 60 m in depth? This really helps when they are feeding their young 24 times a day! Yes, seriously, 24 times a day. Think twice an hour if you take 12 hours off to sleep. Do Puffins sleep? But, there is a problem. Changing sea temperatures and pressures from yes, you guessed it – those big trawling fishing boats – is causing a food shortage for the Puffins. As Beccy Speight says in her article on the Puffins in Into the Red, “If the food shortages don’t get them, pollution events and ground predators (Rats, Mink, Cats) will. If we want our Puffins to be more than jolly pencil case illustrations, then sustainable fishing, protection of feeding grounds, considerate placing of offshore wind farms, a reduction in marine pollution and preventing ground predators from reaching nesting colonies are what’s needed” (90).

Saltee Puffins” by JohnFinn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

How cute and yet, how tragic that these beautiful sea birds are so vulnerable. Here are a couple of articles discussing the challenges that the Puffins face and it is not just in the UK.

This is an article from an academic press discussing the Puffin chicks dying of starvation.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2656.13442

Many of the issues facing Puffins can be mitigated. Two serious ones that need immediate attention are over fishing (because if we have the will we can do something about this) and nest predation. It is not too late to help in these areas.

Do you remember this poem about Puffins? Here it is with sound!

In what seems like another life now, I wrote about the work of Montana ceramic artist, Julia Galloway. Ms Galloway made a series of porcelain ginger jars. Each had a motif of an endangered species on it from the New England area of the US. One of those was the Atlantic Puffin. She notes, “The Atlantic Puffin has been listed as globally endangered due to climate change, pollution, overhunting, invasive predators, and gill nets, among other factors. Climate change has caused sea temperatures to rise, and this causes a decrease in the puffin’s abundance of prey and habitat.” Of course a lack of sufficient prey causes all manner of problems with breeding and the sufficient raising of offspring. What I did not know is that motorists are asked to check under their cars during the mating season and young puffins take shelter under the vehicles because they become disoriented by the lights. Galloway does acknowledge some of the efforts in the NE US including hunting bans and conservation efforts to cut back invasive plant species that are harming the Puffin’s nesting area. Decoys have also been placed on good nesting islands to lure these quite social birds to other areas to establish new colonies.

Like so many others, Galloway believes that art and literature might be the most effective means of encouraging people to stop, look at the natural world, and then, get mad and do something to help make our planet a better more biodiverse place for the wildlife.

In the Mailbox:

I have been sent quite a few links to videos on YouTube the past couple of days. I will spread them out. Today, ‘A’ sent me a compilation of events from Middle’s life at the Port Lincoln nest. She warned me to get a tissue and suggested that I turn off the music – which I did. You can also save it and watch later!

Australian Nests:

The scrape box located on the old water tower on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange was full of prey this morning. It looked like the remains of a Starling plus two other birds. At one point, there was even a live bird in that box! Seriously. Apparently Xavier delivered it. Thankfully, Indigo lunged at the poor little thing and it took the opportunity to fly out the window.

Dad brought an early fish to the nest on the barge at Port Lincoln. Mom gave Big bites and took some good sized ones for herself, too.

Mum had a spa moment. I am so glad she is taking some time for herself. It has been a difficult season for this family.

I want you to have the link to the Friends of Osprey website. It is here that you can track our favourite South Australian male Osprey, Ervie! Here is the link and here is a good photo of Ervie with his tracker and some of his latest tracking.

Handsome Ervie.

Is it possible that Ervie is one of the best known Ospreys in the world? It sure seems so!

Is Dad safe from the eyases on the perch?

Off he goes!

Eagle Nests:

Note: Tropical Storm Nicole is set to make landfall in Florida. From the map below you can see that the nest of Samson and Gabby in the NE area near Jacksonville is going to get hit hard as this storm increases in intensity. SW Florida the home of Harriet and M15 will get a lot of rain and, of course all of the other nests such as Super Beaks in central Florida will be impacted (Superbeaks is a private nest). It could get really bad. Please send all our feathered families your most positive wishes as they ride out this storm system.

Samson and Gabby continue to work on their nest near Jacksonville, Florida. What a gorgeous couple! You can tell by their size and also their white head. Gabby is always slightly ruffled while Samson’s is normally slicked down as if he had been to the stylist before arriving on camera.

The winds and some precipitation have started at Samson and Gabby’s nest this morning. It will intensify as Tropical Storm Nicole gets closer. The nest is rocking although you cannot tell it from the still image and the rain has begun.

Thunder was perched over on the cliffs near the West End nest she shares with her mate, Akecheta.

It was raining at the nest site where the couple raised The Three Amigos last breeding season – Kana’kini, Sky, and Ahote -on Tuesday.

This morning it is simply beautiful there. Oh, it would be so nice to see the Three Amigos again. If you need a ‘Three Amigo Fix’ check out the highlights that play often on the West End Bald Eagle nest.

This still does not give you any impression of the wind and the freezing rain pelting down on the nest of Shadow and Jackie in Big Bear Valley, California.

This was the scene at Big Bear last night. The camera seems to be offline now. You still cannot get good sense of the snow coming down.

The Decorah North Eagles are around the nest. Gosh do they ever blend in with the fall look of the Iowa landscape.

Louis and Anna have been working on their nest in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. There have also been some intruders coming around the nest! If only they would find the vacant E-2 nest. There is another couple Alex and Andria on the E-3 nest. It also has a camera and great sound system.

Ron and Rita have been working on their next in the Miami Zoo and – were having a meal there the last time I checked. It is safe to say that if you go to an eagle streaming cam and rewind you might be able to see the raptors there at some point during the day.

Migration News:

Waba has been feeding on the Sudanese side of the Nile River while Bonus has been feeding in Turkey. Neither have made any effort to leave their area to go further south into the center of Africa. There must be enough food and they must feel safe. We will check back in with them in a few days but, they might have found their winter homes. No news from Karl II or Kaia as is expected. Send good positive wishes for the four members of this family.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. It is so nice to have you with us! Take care everyone. We hope to see you soon.

Special thanks to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: earth.org, There Once Was a Puffin YT, Julia Galloway, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Friends of Osprey, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, NOAA, NEFL-AEF, IWS and Explore.org, FOBBV, Raptor Research Project and Explore.org, KNF Bald Eagle E1 Nest, WRDC, and Looduskalender Forum.

Let’s Talk, Darling Starling

8 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I was a little ahead of myself. The banding at Port Lincoln does not take place until the 12-14th (Australian time).

I have been trying to lure the European Starlings back into the garden. Last January there were 58 eating snow and hard seed cylinders along with butter bark and meal works. Nothing seems to bring them to the garden currently and this is troubling me.

The pictures below were taken in my garden on the 26th of January 2022.

This evening I was thumbing through and reading different entries in the two books – collaborations between writers and artists – that form the fundraiser on the Red Series by the British Trust for Ornithology. How disgusted was I when I found the Starling. So my plan is to introduce you to a different bird every day between now and the end of the year that is vulnerable. Today we are talking Starlings.

“Nowadays you can count them, when at one time they were literally countless.” Scientists think the causes of the decline involve farming practices that have poisoned insect prey with pesticides and chopped down grassland habitat. Other farmland bird populations too are reeling from the impacts.”

This report on the decline of Old World House Sparrows and European Starlings is excellent. It is long and it is thorough, some 244 plus pages divided into sections dealing with each species. It is not for bedtime reading but, even skimming through some sections and pausing to read bits and bobs will underscore the challenges that these two species face. These are two birds that I often hear people complain about at their feeders – there are so many of them. And yet, there aren’t. It is a delusion. If we cannot protect the Sparrows and the Starlings, what birds can we help?

Diamond doesn’t like them but they must be easy prey for the Peregrine Falcons in the rural areas of NSW Australia. Indigo is frightened by them and Rubus just gets down to business and eats them.

Some of you might have seen the recent YouTube video of the Starling that has learned to talk and sing but, did you know that this was common knowledge during the time of Shakespeare? In his entry for the Starling in Into the Red, M.G. Leonard begins with Henry IV and the entry where Hotspur declares that he will teach a Starling to repeat the name ‘Moritimer’ over and over again to drive the King mad since he declared his brother-in-law a traitor. Leonard is fascinated that a Starling would be a proper gift for a King, and that over 400 years ago it was well known how intelligent they were and how they could be taught to speak.

Leonard continues with Mozart who purchased a pet Starling in 1784 and taught it to sing. Mozart trained his pet Starling to sing his concertos. It was well-known that he loved his Starling more than anything in the world. The bird is said to have died a week before Mozart’s father. Mozart did not attend his father’s funeral. Instead he staged an elaborate memorial for his beloved bird.

In order to create a European landscape full of birds and plants, a German brought and released 60 Starlings- along with every other species mentioned by Shakespeare- in New York City in March 1890.

We think of murmurations and we think of Starlings.

Leonard ends blasting humans — “What monsters must we be, that we have reduced it to sit on the Red List.”

I agree. My heart is broken.


Australian Nests:

I have been thinking about the Melbourne Four. Risking getting egg on my face, I am going to come out and say that I think that the ‘Four’ will fledge within close proximity of one another on the same day. They have been very busy today watching the flying demonstrations that Mum and Dad have been doing. And one of them is ‘loafing’ like Alden. ‘A’ says Alden’s stance has gotten all the way to Australia!

Loafing.

Loafing and flapping. There are hardly any dandelions left on these beauties. They have the great DNA of old Dad and the new Mum and the love and care of new Dad. How fortunate.

That must be some aerial display – like 2 Stealth Bombers at an Air Show but for the private viewing of their kids…it is hard to imagine these four a month ago!

‘A’ has alerted me to a storm hitting the Melbourne area causing thunder and steady rain. It is not a good day for the eyases to fledge – and also. Look at the one on the ledge. The size of that crop dictates that bird will probably want to stay put and go into a food coma any moment!

At the nest of Cornell University’s Red-tail Hawk Big Red, she will always fill the eyases up to the brim if she doesn’t want them to fledge.

My goodness, I don’t know how that one eyas can stand she is so full. Gracious. It looks like she swallowed a small beach ball instead of a pigeon. Now, I wonder. Did she eat all of the pigeon leaving only scraps for her siblings??? Sure looks like it!

‘H’ reports that 5 prey items were brought to the Melbourne Four by both Mum and Dad. One of those was eaten almost entirely by Mum who took away the scraps. Thanks, ‘H’.

A super nice fish was delivered to Mum and Big by Dad around 1034. The winds will be gusting up to 30 mph and well, Dad is a great fisher but, he, too, can have difficulties. This is a lot of fish and should keep Big til later in the day. In the real world, a fish this size might be the only prey of the day.

‘A’ sent the observation board from Port Lincoln also. To recap, Big is 52 days old today. Mum and Dad brought in fish – Dad brought in 2 and Mum brought in 1. Those times were: 10:34, 13:15, 19:23. Thanks ‘A’.

I wonder how many more mornings we will wake up to Indigo looking off the ledge to the world beyond? She can fly. Rubus can’t.

Indigo is doing the same exercises that Diamond did in the morning – great stretches.

What a beautiful falcon Indigo is. She is watching carefully as the adults fly around the tower. They will begin to lure her with prey. Many on the chat do not realise that Xavier and Diamond will provide prey for about 4-6 weeks while they teach Indigo to hunt and be independent. Cilla Kinross says she does not monitor them after they fledge but she sees them in the trees about 400 m from the tower.

Rubus is not nearly ready to fledge.

‘A’ sent the days feeding recap for us at Orange: RECAP: 06 56 59 prey, left for chicks; 7:25:02 prey, Rubus takes; 9:17:05 X w/juv starl, leaves with chicks; 9:22:42 D w/GST, feeds; 13:25:17 X w/juv star, leaves with chicks; 16:48:25 pigeon, D feeds. In other notes, one of the prey had a blue leg band and Diamond ate it! Oh, goodness.

Other Nest News:

A major storm, one of the worst to hit the Big Bear Valley, is arriving today. Jackie and Shadow are getting prepared. Please send your positive and warm wishes to them.

Everyone has their favourite species of bird and within that species, most of us have one or two favourite bird families on the streaming cams. I have my own favourites and then I have the nests that I recommend to others to follow. Those nests are steady as you go and reliable and they include Harriet and M15 at SWFlorida, Samson and Gabby at NEFlorida, and Liberty and Guardian at Redding. The Channel Islands Bald Eagle nests have their challenges. The parents are incredibly amazing but, eaglets found themselves clinging to the sides of cliffs last year. It can literally put a hole in your heart while you wait to see if Dr Peter Sharpe will arrive in time to save the baby. So that is why West End and Two Harbour are not in those top 3. Fraser Point is a great nest, only about 2 metres off the ground, and is the home of Mama Cruz and Andor. I do not and will not recommend Dale Hollow which is on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. The male is currently injured and last year there was siblicide at this nest. There is also a strict no intervention policy by the people that run the cams and that includes if fishing line is on the nest. The Captiva Bald Eagle nest has had its issues and it remains unclear if Connie and Clive will have a successful clutch this year. The last two eaglets to hatch on the nest, Peace and Hope, died from rodenticide poisoning. Glacier Gardens is a great nest but the visibility of the nest is not good. So, if you are starting to make a list and have limited time and want colourful characters and steady as you go then Harriet and M15 along with Samson and Gabby and Liberty and Guardian are your nests. I personally love Shadow and Jackie at Big Bear – talk about characters – and so do about 6000 other people. They did successfully raise one chick last year -Spirit – and that eaglet was amazing. I will be watching them again. Another good nest is the KNF nest 1 of Anna and Louis at the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. Louis is an incredible fisher. One year he had 20 fish on the nest – 20 – for a recently hatched eaglet. They have fledged 1 eaglet for each year of the past two years. There are many, many others but if you want safe and secure for beginning eagle watching head to those three mentioned above.

That storm has hit Big Bear Valley. The winds are horrific and you can hear the rain and/or ice pellets alongside the howling wind. I will continue to check on this nest for today and the next couple of days. The eagles at Big Bear are used to harsh winter weather and, as we saw in Florida, they survived a hurricane. Looking forward to seeing Jackie and Shadow back on the nest when this is over.

Samson and Gabby are making their nest very comfy. Look at the reeds and moss that are coming in for lining. Fantastic. For those of you who do not know this nest, Samson hatched on this very nest. It belonged to his parents Romeo and Juliet. Samson and Gabby have fledged Jules and Romey, Legacy, and last year, Jasper and Rocket – success for the three years they ahve been together. Let’s see what year 4 brings.

Of course, after mentioning Harriet and M15, it would not have been fair to not have included some images. This couple, whose nest was entirely destroyed by Hurricane Ian, have rebuilt and has many of you note and ‘A’ reminds me, Harriet is now giving M15 ‘the foot’ to remind him it is time to fertilise some eggs.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care wherever you are. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams and for their notes: ‘A’, ‘H’, BTO, SWFlorida, D Pritchett and Lady Hawk, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, NEFL-AEF, and FOBBV.

Anything you can do, I can do it, too! and an update on SE29 and other tales in Bird World

28 October 2022

It has simply been an extraordinary day on the Canadian Prairies. Here it is 2113 and the temperature is +10 C. Earlier it was 13 C. There were individuals walking around with their summer flip flops! Fall is such a harbinger of the cold, cold winter that well, it is nice to have a break. I am starting the news for tomorrow because it is happening right now in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to get out early and find some Snowy Owls in the fields north of where I live. Perhaps a Northern Harrier or two and might there be a duck?

Snowy Owls arrive in Manitoba when the temperature begins to drop. You can see Snowy Owls on the utility poles, hay bales, and in the fields of Southern Manitoba. They rarely venture to the center or the north of our province. They blend in perfectly – their beautiful white plumage with its dark flecking – with the snow covering the land. Their eyes are a bright yellow as are their legs. They feed on grouse, lemmings, rabbits, and weasels in the winter. Any that remain here in the summer live off of voles and mice in the fields. We always think of owls as hunting from dusk to dawn but, the Snowy Owls hunt during the daytime. They range in size from 50-70 cm with reverse sex size dimorphism (the female is noticeably larger than the male).

This beautiful image is “Snowy owl (female)” by Marie Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Making News:

Update on the status of SE29. Oh, my goodness, a broken leg above the talon. Sweet baby. So glad 29 is in good care!

Missing Annie and Alden? They were bonding in the scrape box yesterday!! ‘H’ caught it!

Progress is being made on the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle’s nest that collapsed. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Parents working very hard to get it ready for the upcoming breeding season.

Australian Nest News:

Friday on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge has simply been ‘interesting’. The day arrived with a small fish and deep breaths as I wondered whether Big would attack Middle. Or would Middle decide to give Big a peck again? ‘H’ calls what Middle got last night as ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – it certainly was! But, today both have been civil. That said, something else is happening.

If one of the chicks does something, the other immediately does the same thing. Now seriously bear with me. This meant that both of them stuck their little bottoms in the air and did a PS in the window of 1030 and 1031. I kid did you not.

Big was sleeping and Middle was looking out over the water with a really nice crop.

Middle begins flapping his wings.

Then Big stands up and flaps her wings.

Middle raises up its fat little bottom with its head bent down low and gets ready. At the same time Big begins to lower her head and raise her bottom.

Middle goes first. Just look at that incredible ps. This chick has been eating well…if we did not know it we could ascertain that from the volume and the velocity of this incredible perfectly white ps. (There are some sticks there as well, check above or below so that you can tell what is ps. Middle has strong legs and a fat bottom and is growing like an incredibly bad weed.

Nine seconds separate the ps of each osplet.

Then Big decides to do some wing flapping.

Then Middle! The one good thing about their method is that it allows room for both to flap on the nest. I sure wonder what Mum thinks when she watches these two.

Then they both quiet down.

Dad arrives with another fish. It is 1232.

Gosh, I couldn’t see the size of that fish but Mum was still feeding the osplets at 1300. Big appears to have gotten the largest share. In the image above you can already see the crop that is large and — it will continue to grow!

At 1301 Middle had to stop eating and have another ps. Then he went back to the table probably hoping to get some more good bites which he did get. Now will he get that important fish tail?

Then – all of a sudden – the two osplets look up and there is Dad landing with another fish. Can you believe this?

Dad lands with a very small fish. A good practice fish for self-feeding. Mum ignores him and continues to feed Middle. She also gives some bites to Big who seems to always be able to find room for more.

At 1315 Dad takes his unwanted little fish and I presume goes over on the ropes to have his own lunch.

Dad returns empty taloned. He is looking closely at the fish that Mum is still feeding Middle and Big. Mum has been feeding the two and herself for over an hour. That was a BIG fish!

Incredible. At 1350 Mum is just finishing up that fish. Happy to see her eating well today, too.

Middle and Big had another meal at 1945. Wow. Dad is having some excellent fishing days.

Rubus and Indigo are adorable. Indigo ran off the Cilla Stones this afternoon to join Rubus in the corner. Oh, these eyases are so cute! That cuteness comes in part from their behaviour – their facial expressions, their interaction with one another and with Xavier and Diamond and their environment inside the scrape.

Rubus has been playing with the feathers. Is he looking for food scraps?

Indigo is over on the Cilla Stones watching her little brother as he intently stares at a feather.

Wow. That was a bit of a leap. Has Indigo been secretly going to gymnastics classes? I wonder how many points she would get for that landing?

Indigo is so curious as to what Rubus is doing and finding in those stones in his corner of the scrape.

Ah, two little sweeties! ‘A’ tells me that Cilla is certain that Indigo is a female as she is already as large as Xavier and still growing but, will not declare gender of Rubus for a bit. Four days younger and he is growing and growing. I have always called Rubus a ‘he’ and said ‘little brother’ but, in fact, Rubus could be a little sister for Indigo.

‘A’ notes that Indigo is losing all of her cotton fluff and will be looking much more like a falcon as Rubus continues to copy everything she does and remains a ball of cotton. From the time stamps that ‘A’ sent me, these two had a few good meals yesterday. Looks like there were five – that is appearing to be the daily average for the scrape at Orange.

The Melbourne Four seem to have relocated – for part of the afternoon – to the other end of the ledge.

The eyases are running up and down and then resting. All is well. No need to panic! ‘H’ caught them doing their famous gutter stomp heading to the other end for prey!

The weather report from ‘A’ for the eastern coast of Australia is rain and more rain. Storms put out power and pumps were working over time. This could inpact hunting for the Melbourne adults. We wait to see.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care of yourself. See you soon! (Please be advised if the weather is grand, I could well be out birding until late Friday. There might not be a late evening newsletter going out after this one. If that is the case, I will see you Saturday morning!).

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ for her video clips of Cal Falcons and the Melbourne Four, ‘A’ for her over view of the nests, the Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.