Dad brought in a whopper

At 8:56:34, Dad brought in a massive fish (despite having eaten his fair share) to the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest.

The image below shows the size of the fish a little better despite much of it hidden under mom. Imagine that the top part is up at her beak where she is feeding one of the chicks to get an idea. Little Bob is in the middle. You can see the white lace on his cere and the black circle on top of his head.

Dad returned at 9:11:33 to see if Mum was finished feeding the chicks. She wasn’t and she did not let him take the fish.

The trio lined up again. Big Bob, who had eaten first, is full and is moving away from the feeding line. She is letting the two younger siblings have their share.

Middle and Little are right in there. Their feathers are growing so quickly. Look along the edge of Little Bob’s wing. They are beginning to look like fringe.

Oh, goodness. Dad is rather anxious this morning. He returns a second time at 9: 28:20.

Mum is still feeding Middle and Little Bob. Oh, and look. Big Bob is waking up again. Is he ready for another round of fish?

You can see that there is still lots of fish left. The chicks have now been eating for 34 minutes and it looks like half the fish is left. Dad is really having a close look. Mum does not give the fish to him, again. She seems to have decided that he is not going to rush her today.

Ah, Big Bob is back up at the end of the line wanting some more. This is such a polite nest. Big Bob does not push his way to the front of the line, she waits.

By 9:29, Mum decides to move the fish around to the other side. Maybe she thought Dad was going to take it. She continues to feed the chicks and herself.

Despite the fact that the chicks have moved so that they can pass out in their respective food comas, Mum continues to feed Little Bob.

Little Bob is ‘stuffed’ and has turned away from any more bites of fish. Mom is doing a good job eating that nice fish near the tail. She needs to eat, too! Dad seems to have nodded off waiting! In the end, I do not think Dad even got a nibble of the tail. We have to remember that he did have a big chunk before he brought the fish to the nest.

The trio and Mum finished off that extra large fish in 47 minutes. Amazing.

Dad brings another fish to the nest at 13:29:38. Everyone is fed and it is not even the middle of the afternoon. This is a good example of how the feedings change. When the three were wee, they needed more feedings with less fish at each one. Now they will eat much more fish but, there will be less feedings. They are really, really growing. Little Bob is 24 days old today while Middle and Big are 26 days old.

Xavier watches from the ledge of the scrape box as Diamond feeds their wee babe. So far there appears to be no pip or crack on a second egg. It is unclear if there is even a pip.

It is the middle of the afternoon and Xavier is again resting on the ledge. He was seen limping and he is probably resting that leg. Instead of Starlings and Parrots, Xavier has been bringing in pigeon which is a much larger prey item. He might have strained his leg when he was hunting.

I also wonder if he can hear the second chick? or if he just wants to be there with Diamond in the scrape? or wants to brood the chick and incubate the eggs?

The waiting must be frustrating for these two. Big Bob (or Only Bob) is poking its head out from under Diamond to the right of the egg. Cute.

At the nest of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles in Sydney’s Olympic Park forest, a Pied Currawong will not leave WBSE 27 and 28 alone. It has been harassing them on and off all day. It is the Pied Currawongs who are intent on chasing the little sea eagle fledglings out of the forest. Normally, eagles fledge and return to the nest for the parents to feed them while they strengthen their flying skills. Many will return to the nest for feedings for up to a month. If they are rushed away, the ‘map’ or return to the nest might not be imprinted in their memory.

27 and 28 are smart. They can hunker down duckling style and watch but the Currawong cannot harm them. These birds can knock them off if they were standing on a branch or injure them if they were standing up.

These two will be branching so soon and then fledging. They can walk and stand and both are self-feeding. We are entering the 11th week. From hatch to fledge for the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagles is 80-88 days. The median is 83.1.

Here is a video of WBSE 28 stealing the prey from 27. Fantastic!

At the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape, Mum has left the scrape box and is off for a break and to retrieve prey for the eyases. Look at how much room they take up today!

They look like a large white Persian cat if you squint.

Time for your mid-afternoon pigeon everyone!

Dad had it prepared and ready for Mum to bring and feed the youngsters.

Yummy.

The oldest two are getting more hawk like in their appearance.

Except for the Pied Currawong’s harassment, all of the nestlings are doing very well. It is, indeed, a pleasure to be able to watch them grow from hatch to fledge. How fortunate we are!

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 365 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Saturday in Bird World

There is still time for you to put in your count for the October Big Bird e-Bird Count. You have until midnight as far as I know. In one hour we had 37 Dark-eyed Juncos, 3 Blue Jays, 3 Harris’s Sparrows, 1 American Robin, and a host of House Sparrows. There were also 3 grey squirrels and 1 red and then Little Woodpecker came when the new suet cylinder went up. I wonder if they sit and watch? or how good their noses are.

Everyone of them seems to know the minute the feeders are full and once the suet cylinder is finished when a new one is put in place. It is much cooler than it was a few days ago and the sky has been a light grey all day. I wonder how long the Dark-eyed Juncos will be with us?

There is, as far as I know, only one hatch at the Peregrine Falcon scrape box in Orange. The little one has been fed several times already. It gets full with 3 or 4 nice bites of prey.

And then it will pass out quickly in a food coma! It is quite frightening the first time you see this happen, especially with a newly hatched chick.

Yesterday I made a video clip of one of the feedings at the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon Scrape.

The Collins Street Kids are really growing. The two larger ones now jump a bit to get up to Mum’s beak for the prey.

There was a beautiful golden glow on Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge this morning. Viewers got a treat. The cam operator showed the Calypso Star I taking clients out for shark cage diving. You might know it but it was that business that allowed the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and streaming cam to come into existence. Thank you Calypso Star!

It is 8:23 just now and the kiddos are still waiting for breakfast. They will certainly not starve! Never. Last night when they went to sleep their crops were bursting.

Once of those funny crop shots when they lean back to preen. Look how big that is. Each of them was the same.

Here’s Little Bob! Look at that crop and then look at his feet!!!!!! I love Clown Feet Time.

I am learning just to keep quiet on bird chats. A couple of days ago, a dear woman, who has been quite ill and is recovering, was more than put down because she suggested that birds have emotions. There is a lot of research on this subject. For the next week or so, I will post some academic/scientific papers on this topic. Some will be shorter and some longer. The one today concerns two particular emotions: fear and frustration. It is titled, “Avian Emotions: Comparative Perspectives on Fear and Frustration.” It was published in Frontiers of Psychology in December 2018.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6344452/

I grew up in Oklahoma (home of the Five Civilized Tribes before it became a state) where there are strong beliefs about animals and birds. They serve as messengers of the Spirits of the Indigenous people. Some offer warnings – others are there to help. Here is an interesting article birds as symbols.

We are looking for a hatch for Xavier and Diamond today. It might not happen. If it doesn’t, it is just fine. Those who watched their scrape last year certainly came to love their only hatch, Izzi. He was quite remarkable.

Thank you for stopping in today. Remember to turn in your bird count if you haven’t already. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

PLO rock

It seriously does not get better than this: I take a break to check on our federal election results and turn around to check on the chicks at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest and they are being fed —— again!

The whale of a fish that Dad brought in this morning still has some left even after the last feeding. I have genuinely lost count of the feedings but we are up to at least five and I think maybe six. The last one began with Dad bringing the remaining fish to mom at 12:14. The kids ate and it is now 12:36 nest time. They will be fed at least three or four more times before they tuck it in for the night. Fantastic. Like the little songbirds in their nests whose parents fly in and out continually, this trio of osplets are thriving with more frequent feedings at this stage in their development.

It was time for a nap. One of the chatters was worried about Little Bob being out from under Mom. You can also see the heads of Big and Middle Bob sticking out. Little Bob was too warm or he would have been under. And if he got chilled, he would push to get under mom. If she was worried she would have scooped him up. She did look and check on him several times.

There is still some fish remaining that you can see at the bottom right. The chicks were full when mom finished feeding and got them settled again.

Less than an hour later, Dad is back on the nest. Just look at mom’s eyes. You can also see one of the wee babes with its head out.

Mom feeds the babies again! I don’t even know if they were hungry.

Everyone is fed and tucked. Dad is over on the ropes and I bet mum is wanting to catch a little sleep. It looks like the whale of a fish was finished.

During my walk today, I noticed a lovely pine tree. It had three Black capped chickadees on the branches. Then I stopped at another yard and saw no less than 15 bird feeders and various bird baths and watering containers. At the corner was the house with the pollinator garden. Long before it became a stylish phrase ‘I have a pollinator garden’, my neighbour was doing just that. People reported him to the city authorities because, well, his boulevard and yard looked a mess. Today, the flowers are growing in the pots hanging between the trees and the rest are native plants helping the environment. I don’t think anyone looks at that garden with disdain any longer. I mention this because I got a note this evening from a reader asking me what are all the things they can do to help the birds. Gosh, I didn’t know where to start there is so much to be done. So let’s start with the basic principle that everything is connected. Here are a few ideas and we will add to them on a regular basis.

  • Shrinking your lawn is one of the first one that comes to mind. In their book, Planting in a Post-Wild World, the authors suggest that we think of turf or lawn as an area rug, not the whole floor. Use the grass areas to draw attention to something. Most eco-gardeners suggest having no more than 50% turf. It is suggested that you set your mowers to 3 inches or 7.5 cm. You will not kill your grass by cutting it too short and you will also not kill the turtles or little bunnies that hunker down. Do not mow at sunset as many species come out at that time of day.
  • Do not treat your turf with anything. No matter how green the companies claim their products to be, if they kill something they will also kill other things. You can also save a lot of money.
  • If you are doing some fall planting, use native plants and pollinators. These will be good for the insects and small birds.
  • Plant a native tree.
  • Do not rake your lawn. Leave it. Just leave it alone. If you must, rake the leaves into areas and spread them being as gentle as possible.
  • Locally we are recommending leaving out hummingbird feeders. The little ones are still staying in some of our more northern areas. They are migrating through and really can use the energy.
  • The small songbirds migrating have really been eating my suet cylinders. That fat and those specialized seeds and insects give them fuel also.

I will stop there. There is so much we can do from supporting bird friendly coffee and building bubblers (small fountain areas) and little ponds, window decorations to stop bird strike, etc. A friend of mine wrote to me today and they had been in an area where there were no birds. They said that it was ‘eerie.’ Can you imagine a world without birds?

Thank you so much for checking in with me. It is going so well for the family at Port Lincoln. What a joy! Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Updates in Bird World…plus Tiny Tot just got a private 45 minute feeding. Yahoo.

There was a hatch on the Savannah Osprey nest on 13 April. The pip happened at 20:58:42 the night before. There is the cutie looking for some fish!

14 April 2021

NC0 laid her second egg on the Loch of the Lowes nest today, 14 April. The first was laid on the 10th. What a gorgeous view! NC0 was apparently very quiet and took everyone by surprise.

NC0 looks out over her territory. Loch of the Lowes. 14 April 2021

In the changing of shifts, you can see the two beautiful reddish eggs. The couple had one chick last year – will they try for three in 2021?

You can see both eggs at Loch of the Lowes! 14 April 2021

Louis is still waiting for Aila to arrive at the Loch Arkaig nest.

Louis waiting for Aila. 14 April 2021

Telyn or Blue 3J was busy rolling her egg over at the Dyfi Nest in the middle of the night. Might we expect a second egg eminently? The first was laid at 9:55 am on 12 April! Some are not leaving the streaming cam as Telyn is breathing rather heavy in the middle of the night.

Rolling the egg. 14 April 2021 Dyfi Nest, Wales.
Telyn rolling the egg laid on 12 April 2021. 14 April 2021

Telyn sure is a beauty! Did you know that she is the daughter of unringed Maya and Green 5R from Rutland? She was born in 2013. No wonder she is so gorgeous.

Is Telyn laying another egg? 14 April 2021

What a beautiful sunrise at Clywedog. No eggs for Dylan and Seren yet! Dylan was back on 24 March and Seren on 29 March. Fingers crossed as the middle of April approaches.

15 April 2021. Sunrise.

The second egg was laid at Foulshaw Moss on the 13th with the first coming on the 10th. The image below shows Blue 35 doing her incubation duties. She is the mate of White YW.

Blue 35 incubating eggs. 14 April 2021

Maya is blissful incubating her three eggs at the Rutland Mantou Nest. Her mate is Blue 33 (11). The eggs were laid on 30 March, 2 and 5 of April.

Maya incubating her three eggs at Rutland. 14 April 2021

Wonder what is happening on the nest of Mrs G and Aran? Will there be another egg? The first for this much loved pair at the Glaslyn Nest came on 10 April, the second on the 13th and we are expecting the third on the 16th!

Mrs G (front and left) and Aran (right). 14 April 2021

As I was typing this, a fish came on to the Achieva Osprey Nest. Thank goodness. It has been incredibly hot there. There was speculation that something might have been wrong with one or the other of the parents. Was Jack’s leg hurt? Why wasn’t Diane fishing like she did yesterday? There was also worry that since the two older ones had not eaten they would be very aggressive. Tiny Tot grabbed that fish and wanted it but, as usual, he had to wait. Now the older sibs just weren’t that interested. Could it be that they ate so much yesterday they both need to cast a pellet and Tiny will get ‘fed up’. Diane fed him privately for 45 minutes. Bravo!

In the middle of the feeding of Tiny Tot. 14 April 2021
14 April 2021. Tiny Tot at the end of the 35 minute feeding. Nice crop!

And last, some news from UC Berkeley’s Peregrine Falcon Nest. There is now communication with the eyasses and expected hatch is 17 April. Splendid! Annie and Grinnell are amazing parents and there is nothing short of delirium watching a peregrine falcon nest. And no worries about siblicide!

You can join in the peregrine excitement here:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Oh, I can’t wait for these furry little falcons to hatch. What a riot it is when they figure out how to eat. You will love it! And I am relieved, like so many, that Tiny Tot got fed today. Don’t care what time just that he was fed. If another fish doesn’t arrive, he is fine til tomorrow. Tiny Tot has taught us that.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcons, Achieva Credit Union, Woodland Trust, Post Code Lottery, Friends of Loch Arkaig, Rutland Water, Scottish Wildlife, Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Dyfi Osprey Project, and CarnyxWild Wales.

Here is a great shot of Tiny Tot after that good feeding. Food coma will come shortly!

Milestones

Birds have developmental ‘milestones’ just like humans. Right now there are so many Bald Eagle nests where eaglets are already two or four weeks old. In others, the parents are incubating eggs. And there are others where the parents are only beginning to start working on the nests. You can see every stage of a Bald Eagles growth from the female laying the egg to their fledging from the nest on the many streaming eagle cameras. Every eaglet is different, just like people and their development will not happen on a single specific date.

Within the overall umbrella of bird development, you might remember Daisy the Duck (see previous blogs for more information on this remarkable little duck). This Black Pacific Duck laid her eggs in the Sea Eagles nest. We knew that the ducklings would jump from the nest 24 hours after hatching if we actually got to hatch – which, sadly, we did not. Those ducklings could see, forage, swim, and take care of themselves without help from the parent. Daisy would, still, gather them up and protect them during the night. Fully independent of their mother, those ducklings would have been ‘precocial’. In contrast, the eaglets are not fully developed, nor are they able to feed themselves, or fly down from their nest. Indeed, they are covered with fluffy down but are unable to regulate their temperature.

It takes from ten to thirteen weeks for eaglets to fledge whereas the ducklings do this at twenty-four hours. Eagles as well as all other hawks or raptors are ‘semi-altricial’. This means that they will be dependent on their parents for everything they need until fledge. Even after fledging, the parents will teach them to hunt and will provide prey supplements for them.

Until the onset of streaming cams, there was very little quantitative information on the development of Bald Eagle Nestlings. Today, there are cameras, often more than one, on nests around the world. You can, at any time of the day, watch Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles etc. at your leisure. The growing community of citizen birders has impacted the knowledge of avian development and behaviour considerably. We are, indeed, continuing to learn every day. Advances in satellite transmitters means that birds can now be studied after leaving the nest providing much information about foraging, distance from natal nest to establishing their own territory, etc. This blog today is general and non-scientific in its terminology.

Many look at the development of Bald Eagles through three stages: structural growth, feather growth; and behavioural growth. Others attempt to combine feather growth with behaviour and structural development into weekly goals. In fact, I have pondered over this blog and how to approach it for several days because there are different factors that impact development. One of those is gender. There are also studies that have shown that the levels of salt in the diet impact growth while others have examined the amount and quality of prey. We know from studying Red Tail Hawks that if you double the amount of prey and the eyases remain in the nest for several days beyond the average, they are better equipped to fly and hunt. Their overall condition is much stronger. For the purposes of our discussion, I have used evidence from the NEFL Bald Eagle nest in 2021 and the SWFL Bald Eagle nest in 2021 and 2017 (E9). There is one eaglet on the NE nest and two on the SW nest in 2021. The parents on the NE Florida nest are Samson and Gabrielle. Samson was born on this nest on 23 December 2013. He is a little over seven years old. We do not know the age of Gabrielle. At the SW nest, Harriet is in her mid-twenties and M15 is 11 years old. Both nests are located within close proximity to a city – Fort Myers and St Augustine. The Fort Myers nest is unique in that the D Pritchett family has a working farm on the land where the nest is located. They also stock a pond in close proximity to the nest specifically for the eagles. This means that there is always food available. Still, the parents bring in road kill as well as fish from the pond. The NE nest does not have this advantage but nest observations reveal that there is an abundance of food although the variety might not be the same as the SW nest.

Both E17 and E18 were born on 23 January 2021. N24 was born on 8 February.

The first week of their lives, eaglets are covered with fuzzy down. The proper term is natal down. They can sit up but it is difficult to support their heads and focus. You can see the white dot indicating the egg tooth. This will disappear later. They use the egg tooth to break through the thick shell. This is often called the ‘bobble head’ phase. Their heads are big and they do not yet have the neck strength to keep them upright at all times. Their eyes are adjusting to focus. Sibling rivalry might already have started. As the days progress, the eaglets will get the strength to hold up their head and balance it. They will also be able to focus with their eyes so they do not look like they are using their beak like a dart but with a moving target (often their sibling). While the bobble head stage is very cute, it is often a relief when the eaglets are more stable.

SWFL nest 2021. Sibling rivalry began immediately. E17 is on the right and is only two hours older than the twin, E18. This rivalry persists but has dissipated to being only occasional and directly related to feeding.
The egg tooth is clearly present on the eaglet to the left.

By week two, the eaglets will be observed crawling out of the nest bowl. They are not walking. They are crawling. N24 is using its feet and wings to help it get out of the nest cup and up to the pantry. It is five days old! Food is a great motivator! Samson has the little one ‘working’ for its dinner. This helps to strengthen its wings and legs. In the Captiva Florida Eagle nest, Peace climbed out of the nest bowl towards the food on day 2. The inclines of both nests are different. The parents present the eaglets with challenges to help them develop their strength such as stretching their necks, grabbing and holding food, working their legs and wings. It’s like having your own personal trainer!

N24 crawling out of the nest cup on 13 February 2021, 5 days old

The beak will begin to grow and the little ones should begin shooting the ‘ps’ out of the nest bowl by the end of week one or beginning of week two.

N24 doing a great pose to get that PS clear of the nest. Watch out mom!

The eaglets are more observant of their world. They will have doubled in size from the day they hatched and their eyes and beak continue to develop. You will begin to notice that pin feathers are growing in at their wing tips. They will start to stand keeping their balance with these wing tips.

N24 12 days old. Notice the feathers coming in on the wing tip (left side)

More feathers begin to appear on the shoulders and the back and the wing feathers are getting longer as the days progress. They are starting to wing flap and they will try picking up food.

N24 wing flapping, 12 days old

N24 is twelve days old in the picture above and the one below. In the one below, you can also see the pin feathers right at the tip of the wing starting to come in. N24 is also standing for several seconds, getting its balance, and flapping those wings.

N24, 12 days old. Wing flapping.

During the third and fourth week, a pattern of accelerated feedings and growth begins. Head and chest are still showing signs of some fluffy down but more dark feathers are starting to emerge.

E17, SWFL Nest, Age 31 days

The eaglets are actively preening those feathers to help condition them as well as to help stop what some say is an itching as the feathers grow in. There is more wing flapping and the eaglets stand with confidence and stability. During this time you will see attempts at standing and walking. They begin to make some effort at self feeding. They are eating much more at each feeding often lunging at the parent to take the food out of their beak. Many observers say that their crops appear like they could burst! These big feedings often result in the eaglets sleeping immediately after a feeding. This is a ‘food coma’. The enlarged crops are extra storage spaces where food is held before being ‘dropped’ to the stomach. Sometimes people call this accelerated growth period the ‘clown feet’ era because the feet seem to grow way out of proportion to the rest of their body. They will also cast pellets. Pellets are food that is undigested such as fur and bones. Pellets are compressed into a hard shape and regurgitated. This often involves coughing and sometimes the eaglets appear not to want to eat the day the pellet is cast. This level of peak energy demands appears to begin to wane after about five to six weeks.

E18 has its wings dropped while sitting (eaglet on left). Crop is full. 23 February 2021.

Beginning around week five to eight, the eaglets often sit with their wings drooping (getting heavy). Hopping and flapping wings occurs more often. They are very interested in what is happening outside the nest. By the end of this period, they will begin to have more of their juvenile plumage colouration. They will be able to hold food and tear bits. They will begin to mantle food. Mantling is the covering of food with the wings in order to have the prey item to themselves. They will stand for longer periods of time and are able to walk easily by the end of the period.

From week nine to fledging. The feathers will become more defined over their entire body and they will stand for longer periods of time upright. They can stand easily on one leg. The hopping, jumping, and flapping of wings accelerates. They are self-feeding but the parents will also continue to feed them. They will now spend their nights sleeping upright like their parents with their head tucked under their wing. They can easily perch on the edge or rim of the nest and will be branching, hopping up to a branch and back down into the nest. Branching tends to occur from seven to ten days before fledging, generally.

Juvenile feathers are not all in. E9, 2017.
E9 Branching, 2017.
E9 trying out a thinner branch, 2017.

It is always exciting to see the eaglet hatch and sad when they fledge. Unless there is a transmitter or bands, they fledge and there whereabouts often goes unknown. Once they are wholly independent of their parents, the juveniles need to find their own territory and source of prey. Sadly, fifty percent of all first year eaglets perish while ninety percent of all year two eaglets tend to survive. The average age of maturity for Bald Eagles is five to six years although there is a young sub-adult male who is incubating his first eggs with his mate in Minnesota right now.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay safe. Be well.

Thank you to the Eagle streaming cams at NEFL and SWFL as well as the D Pritchett family. The scaps came from their streams.

Hatching

It is nearly -40 now and will be in the -50s with the wind chill in parts of Canada for a few more days but, when I looked at the map the deep blue desperately cold area dips way, way south. It includes the Bald Eagle nests on the Mississippi River near Fulton, Illinois, the Bald Eagle Nest in New Jersey, and it will touch on the nest of my favourite Red Tail Hawk family in Ithaca, New York. Thankfully, Big Red has not laid any eggs yet. Six more weeks to go! There is barely a spot that is not going to be well below normal. Perhaps the eagle nests in Florida have escaped this. Oh, I feel so sorry for all of the birds and the animals and despite the fact that I know they are extremely smart, I still worry about them. And, also, of course all the people including the many homeless in all of our communities.

In the past couple of days we have talked and seen those eggs cracking and new little fluff balls appearing. Instead of talking about it again, I am going to post a short little video by Dr. Christian Sasse. He lives in British Columbia. You might know of his magnificent photographs of the Bald Eagles around Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Oh, you can tell just looking at them that he loves those raptors. He made a very short video of the last moments of hatching. It is something that most of us will not ever be close enough to see. I do hope you enjoy it!

You already know that the first little eaglet has burst out of its shell at the Northeast Florida nest of Samson and Gabrielle. That other egg was really split but by 5pm 8 February (Monday), the eaglet had not hatched. You can see the crack in the egg and the grey fluff of the little one in the aerie. Gabrielle is working on the nest. You will see them venting and airing the nest. The adults may bring in greenery to help minimize insect issues. Nothing like having some rotting fish in a nest open to the sun and it is 30 degrees C. Can you imagine what that smells like? Whew.

NE Florida Eagle Cam, 5:02:24 pm 8 February 2021

Gabby’s little one, whose fluffy head you can see next to the egg of its sib, is very strong. It is standing up and eating great big bites of fish.

Oh, fish is good! NEFL Eagle cam, 9 February 2021.

Awwwwwww. Cuteness! I am so happy for Gabby and Samson. This is their second try this season. They, too, were the victim of a raven grab when Gabby needed to leave the nest and Samson wasn’t around. He is being super diligent this time!

The second egg is not showing any big changes to me. It is possible that it is not viable. There is a huge problem coming for the eagles. After 1970 when they were all but wiped out, there are now so many that there are not enough trees for them to nest in. That is the biggest reason we are seeing intruders in nests. I wonder if they will adapt to sharing like the Trio?

Gabby and Samson’s cutie pie. NEFL Eagle Cam, 9 February 2021.

Are you familiar with the word ‘carion’. No, I am not talking about a video game or a wood wind quartet, carion as in ‘road kill’. I joked with you yesterday but, in fact, I guess it isn’t a joke. People who love raptors talk about dead animals. And that brings me to the picture below. That is M15, the father of E17 (the little terror) and E18 (the sweet cutie) of the Southwest Florida Eagle nest on the property of the Pritchett Family.

I recall, not that long ago, having a discussion with someone about prey. They told me in no uncertain terms that eagles only eat fish. Now, let’s think about that. Didn’t we just see a bunny on the SWFL nest? and a possum up at Gabby and Samson’s place? The White-Bellied Sea Eagles even brought in a fox cub so that they could have a family feast with 25 and 26! That fox cub was carion, road kill. Oh, and Dad even brought in a turtle last year. The sea eaglets had no idea what to do with it but Lady did. Must have been very tasty. She did not offer Dad a single bite. The live streaming cams are certainly changing what we know about all of the birds. Things that everyone believed are being tested. Remember Solly from yesterday’s posting? Remember she flew inland and was 200 kilometres away from her nest. She is breaking records and we are learning something every day. Just like we do on the eagle nests.

Today, M15 has found ‘something’. The image is too grainy and he was way too far away for the cam operator to focus. But he fought with ‘it’ for awhile. At one time I really thought it was another large dark bird. It is definitely too big to get up to the nest whole. Maybe tomorrow M15 or Harriet will be able to rip off a piece of it so that we can see what they have found. One year Harriet brought an Anhinga into the nest. They are large birds with long sharp beaks that stab fish underwater. They are sometimes called the devil bird. I don’t think that is what M15 has but, who knows?

M15 around 5pm in West Pasture with carion. 8 February 2021. Thanks to SWFL Eagle cam and D. Pritchett.

Harriet caught a fish in the morning. Between her and the eaglets, it didn’t last long. Not a flake left! It was a really not day and that fish gave the little ones much needed hydration.

Harriet went fishing in pond and brought home a nice one.

But look where E18 got himself. At first I just held my breath thinking he would get his leg caught and would not be able to get out. Or he was going to fall out of that nest. But this was a great move. 18 has the perfect location to be fed without any bother from 17. There is even a pokey stick between them.

I would just as soon they didn’t try to get up on the rim of the nest though. It is pretty nerve wrecking watching.

When Harriet finished, they both passed out in food comas. Keep them full and happy.

A great close up. Looks like their eyes are all healed without any relapses. Fantastic! And the egg tooth seems to be gone now.

Is it possible for a raptor’s talons to be cute?

Ah, and they are so sweet when they are sleeping. Best buddies. Makes my heart melt.

What a great way to close the blog today with this cuddle puddle!

Cuddle Puddle

Stay inside if you are in the area of the Polar Vortex. Call for help if you need it. Which reminds me. Keep your phone charged! I will check in on the nests in the area of the cold later today and give you a short update.

Thank you for dropping by. It is so wonderful to know there are so many people who love birds.

And thank you to the NEFL Eagle Cam and the SWFL Eagle Cam and D. Pritchett family for the streaming cameras where I took my scaps.