Many reading my blog will have had a routine at bedtime – either as a child, or with your children or grandchildren, or both. Perhaps someone read you a story or there was milk and cookies. Something that would mark the transition from the day time activities to night and quieting down. In a similar way, there seems also to be a nest rhythm. Where there are little ones that need to be fed more often that the bigger ‘babies’ – and where prey is available on the nest – the mothers always make sure that the little ones have been fed before they are tucked in.
It is nearly 8:40pm in Estonia and Eve is getting ready to feed the little ones their last meal for the day. This meal will have to last them until the sun comes up in the morning.
Eve has been keeping the two warm all day. Notice how she is stretching her left leg and wing. She will also do that with her right – birds get ‘stiff’ from sitting in one position for hours just like humans it appears.
White-tail Eagles roost at night. So Eve will be settling in with the little ones and needs a relaxation break for a night of brooding the eaglets. Look at how big they are!
The older sibling might be looking off in the distance but the little one is already for some fish before bedtime. It is stretching its neck to try and get the first bite. That stretching also strengthens the neck muscles.
As the sun set in Jacksonville, Florida, Gabby and Samson made sure Legacy had a nice fish so that she would have a full crop before bed just like Eve did with her two little ones.
There is always a flurry with those deliveries. Samson doesn’t always get his legs and talons out of the way fast enough.
Gabby watches over Legacy as she eats her fish. Indeed, Gabby and Samson have been very attentive since Legacy returned to the nest. They may know that the owl and the hawk have been intruding and that their attacks could actually injure their eaglet.
Legacy was still working on that fish tail when the IR cameras came on. Nite Legacy, sweet eagle dreams!
I remember, with great fondness, the many meals my Asian friends shared with me when I was visiting them. One of their traditions was to eat around 10pm when the heat of the day had dissipated. Today it was more than 30 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida. Tomorrow my weather report says it will be a stifling 33 degrees. Tonight, as the IR cameras came on and it had cooled to 23, Diane was sharing a fish with Tiny Tot and sibling #2 had its own piece. The low light didn’t seem to be causing them any problems and I wonder if birds enjoy eating when it is cooler rather than when it is super hot.
As the sun set on Skidaway Island near Savannah, Georgia, there was a nice big fish on the nest for the two little ones before they settled in for the night. I have been worried about the second osplet because the oldest has been fairly aggressive. #2 went to bed with a fully crop tonight. No worries at all.
#2 had to wait but mom made certain that it was full to the brim and more. There will still be some fish for her, too.
The little eaglet in Fort St Vrian in Colorado went to bed with a really full crop tonight, too. The appetizer was fish followed by ‘a feathered’ something or another main course.
It has been wet and cold in Ithaca, New York. 6 degrees C and rain and more rain. Big Red did not catch a break to feed her little ones before bedtime. Normally their little crops are stuffed. She knew that she had to keep the Ks warm and dry. The forecast says that the heavy rain will stop on Monday morning around 6am.
The rain stopped for a few minutes around 14:00 and Big Red took a relaxation break from the brooding and even took time to bring in another rail for the nest. Let’s hope that it is warmer tomorrow and the nest, the Ks, and mom get a chance to completely dry out.
Big Red’s Ks made up for not having their bedtime snack with several breakfasts. Everyone is just fine. It’s cloudy and should go up to 11 or 13 C today, 10 May, in Ithaca.
Thank you so much for joining me. Have a great Monday!
Thank you to the sponsors of the streaming cams where I get my screen shots. I have credited them under the images today.
There are so many bird babies around the world today thankful for their great moms that I thought we would stop in and check on some of them – and take a look back in some cases. I apologize if I didn’t include your favourite.
Thanks Mom Bonnie and Dad Clyde for finding us a beautiful nest tree and then stealing it from those Bald Eagles.
We did well. Look at us! Lily Rose and I fly all over the farm but we love to come back to the nest for you and dad to bring us some food.
You kept us really warm and full with all those mice when it was snowy and cold.
Thanks Mom. Look at how big we are – #1 Daughter and #2 Son.
Thanks Mom Gabby. I inherited your and Dad Samson’s stunning beauty and also your loud squeal – not sure Dad Samson likes it when I chase him! You and Dad have taken such good care of me.
Thank you for keeping me on the nest and teaching me all those lessons after I got lost!
Mom, it’s Mother’s Day and I really thought I would be a great mom like you are. But there are people looking at the beak line and my eye ratio and the length of my hallux and they are saying I am a boy!
Thanks Dad Jack for coming to help Mom Harriet feed us this morning! And thanks Dad for not bringing in anymore toys so Mom can find us to feed us.
Look, Mom Anna. We did it! I grew up – your first baby ever. Thank you for keeping me safe when that other juvenile came to steal my fish the other day.
Boy, Dad Louis sure kept that nest full of fish. Good thing we can’t smell very well, right Mom Anna? Do you remember?
Thanks Mom, Annie. You are always fair when you feed us. Look how big we are growing. And just look at our pretty pantaloons!!!!!!!!!
Look how much we have grown! Thanks for taking such good care of us and feeding us all that pigeon.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I hatched just in time! Can I have some fish please?
Aren’t I gorgeous? Just like my mom Lime Green Lime. My mom travels thousands of kilometres to find food for me. Then she flies back to Taiaroa Head to give me my squid shake. I don’t have a name yet. People are voting and I will know soon. Stay tuned.
Yeah, the sun is out and the wind is warm and our mom, Big Red is drying out just like we are. Isn’t she the best? She takes good care of us even if it is snowing or raining and flooding everything. Big Red is the best mom ever.
Mom Big Red. You endure any kind of weather to keep your little ones safe!
Thanks Mom for yelling at dad to bring in more fish so we both can eat. We are growing really big. And I promise to try not and be so bad to my little brother, Mom.
Thank you Mom for staying with me when I get scared. It is lonely in this nest sometimes. You were so great at keeping me warm when it got really cold here in Colorado. But, today, what do you think of the new hair style?
Thank you Mom Eve for keeping us warm and being fair with the feeding. We both get fed and we both grow the same! You and dad Eerik keep the nest stocked with food so we never are hungry.
Thanks Mom for not giving up on us when you were buried in snow for a month. We are going to get our satellite trackers soon and you can follow us wherever we go after we fledge! And also Mom, thanks for not letting Big get all the food!
Thank you Mama Lucy. It’s just me so far and that is OK. You are a great Mom.
Lucy and Ricky have a beautiful place and a new platform in 2020 to raise their little ones. The couple arrived in the area in 2013. Since then their nests have been destroyed by storms. Hope this wonderful new Osprey platform survives.
Mama Harriet, we had to go away and get our eye infection taken care of by CROW. Mom, I am sorry I had to have time out because I was so bad to my little brother, E18. I promise we will be the best of friends in the future.
Mama Harriet, I kept my promise. E18 and I are the best of mates now that we are growing up.
You did good, Mom. We only fight over food drops now – just like we did when we were at CROW. Sorry!
Tiny Tot: “Thanks Mom Diane for bringing in all that extra fish. It was literally life and death for me. I promise to grow into a great mom. You will be proud of me.”
Thank you for joining me today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Bird Moms and to each of you that has inspired, raised/reared someone or something else. It takes a village!
Thank you to all the streaming cams listed under the images. That is where I captured those screen shots.
Legacy arrived on her nest tree at 10:41:31 on the 1st of May. She had been missing in action from the streaming cam for three days since she flew off the tree on the 28th of May at 9:53:51. When she returned to her nest tree yesterday, it was unclear if the parents knew she was there. They had been checking for the past three days – Samson even staying for more than eight hours waiting for his beloved little one. On the 29th he brought a fish at 11:09:45 but no Legacy. On the 30th, there was a flyby by Legacy under the nest with Samson arriving 47 seconds later. They just missed one another!
Legacy waited all day on 1 May for her parents to arrive with food. She called them from the nest and the look out branch. At one point her voice appeared to be hoarse. We ached for Legacy as nightfall came and she was still on the lookout branch. To add insult to injury, as they say, an owl came and attached Legacy during the night. Legacy valiantly defended herself and her nest. The owls are becoming increasingly problematic to the eagles and the Ospreys. The damage that they can inflict can be enormous. Sorry, but I do not think owls are cute and cuddly. They have wrought much damage in my neighbourhood with birds not even near their nest.
It was so sad waking up and finding Legacy still there with no parent and no food on 2 May. By this time there were questions: where are the parents? did they leave on their summer migration? could this really be happening? will Legacy starve? Some believed that it was a parental lesson: food is not always readily available. We will never know the answer nor will we know if the parents were feeding Legacy off the nest tree. I wish Legacy could tell us the story of her adventures those three days.
At 11:16:39 Legacy picks up the volume control on her calling and sure enough, a parent comes flying into the nest tree. Gabby arrives at 11:18:02.
Legacy is sooooo excited. She mantles immediately – this is my nest!
Gabby lands on the Lookout Branch but she brings no food. Legacy goes up the branch mantling and food begging.
Then Legacy returns to the nest.
Gabby leaves. Where is Samson?
Gabby returns to the nest at 12:06:31. They are both waiting for Samson to come with a food delivery for Legacy.
It is reassuring to see Gabby has Legacy waiting in the nest tree and not leaving.
As I mentioned yesterday late, one of my eagle experts tells me that the fledglings have to imprint their environment – making mental markers in their brain so that they can return to the nest. It is one of the reasons that they take shorter flights in and out of the nest adding distance til they are fully capable of living on their own. It is entirely possible that Legacy ‘had lost’ her nest and only found it yesterday. Whatever happened there is great relief in bird world. Samson cannot just go to a fish shop and buy a fish for Legacy. It takes time and fishing is easier some days than others – or finding any prey for that matter. Bald Eagles do not just eat fish like Osprey. Legacy will be assured of a meal some time today. Just stay put Legacy!!!!!!! It is windy there and the water will be very choppy as grey skies float in but Samson will work hard for Legacy!
In other Bird World news, all eyes are on the three eggs in the nest of the Red Tail Hawks, Big Red and Arthur, at the Fernow nest on the Cornell Campus in Ithaca, New York.
Arthur is on incubation duty and he is checking those eggs!
There will be lots of late night news. Thank you for joining me. I knew you would be waiting to hear about Legacy. It was a long day yesterday waiting with her but so happy Gabby has her at the nest tree. That is such a huge relief.
Thank you to the NEFLorida Bald Eagle Cam and the Cornell Bird Lab Red Tail Hawk cam for their streaming cameras. That is where I get my screen shots.
This morning at 10:41:31 Legacy, the fledgling of Samson and Gabby at the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam came home to her natal nest. Joy rang out through the community.
Legacy is calling out to her parents who, on any other day, would have been waiting for her at the nest tree! She is tired and hungry. What a relief! Samson is going to be over joyed to bring Legacy a fish!!!!!!! Legacy is calling and calling. She is ready for a snack. I hope Gabby and Samson are nearby soon.
Deb Steyck put together a video of the return. Here is the link:
It is 2:48pm EDT on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville. Legacy continues to call for her parents. Oh, how I wish I knew bird calls better! There are lots of songbirds but a few unusual calls and Legacy seems to have settled in to wait for the arrival of a parent. I was so afraid that she was going to leave. Hopefully – for all of us – she is tired and hungry and will stick to that nest til Samson or Gabby appears. Oh, what a relief to have our girl home!
As we celebrate the great joy and relief it is to see Legacy, in north Wales today people are wondering what is happening to the care and kindness for wildlife. The Lyn Brenig Osprey Nest was destroyed by an individual or individuals arriving in a boat in the dark. The mated pair from last year did not return and the community was so excited when a new couple came to the platform and laid an egg. Now that egg and nest are completely destroyed. The Ospreys that were there are, hopefully, not traumatized and will relocate to a nearby nest in which a dummy egg has been placed to entice them. How sad for everyone. The person or persons responsible would have know the area well. Indeed, they might even live on the lake and for reasons of their own decided to rid the lake of these wonderful birds that Wales is trying so hard to reintroduce. The North Wales Police are out in force to find the persons responsible for this destruction.
And the continued well being of Tiny turned ‘Biggie’ Tot continues on the Achieva Osprey Nest. The first fish delivery was at 11:23:06 and it looks like Biggie Tot got the majority of it. This is nothing short of a miracle. This little one survived three days without food several times – and in total – 12 full days without food. Tiny is now growing and putting on weight. So good to see. Tiny is truly a survivor.
The other news on the Achieva Osprey Nest is the fledge of sibling #2. It was a magnificent take off with a crash landing right on Tiny Biggie Tot.
There she goes! It is 6:57:10.
Oops. The return was at 7:04:43. I don’t think Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot was impressed.
Take care everyone. I will be checking in on the nests later today. Thank you for joining me.
Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union and the NE Florida and the AEF streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots. Thank you also to the North Wales Wildlife Trusts for the images of the destroyed nest at Lyn Brenig. Truly a tragedy for the community.
It’s raining outside. The sky is a heavy grey and the flame willow’s bark is a bright reddish-orange in this light. It is gorgeous. But where are the robins who should be pulling worms from the soil around the flame tree? They are no where to be seen. And the Dark eyed Juncos have not arrived en masse either. We wait.
There is no life in the dreary damp garden except for two BlueJays flitting about. In half an hour it will fill up just when the feeders are being replenished. Sometimes I think the sparrows have an alarm clock set – they are that punctual.
The last couple of days there has been a sadness hanging over the Bald Eagle community. Indeed, it hangs heavy today just like the grey drizzly skies that surround me. Jackie and Shadow on the Big Bear Bald Eagle nest in Big Bear, California lost their first clutch this year. Their nest is about 44 metres or 145 feet up in a Jeffrey pine tree with a view of Big Bear Lake. It is incredibly beautiful. Jackie is thought to be nine years old and Shadow is around seven; neither are banded and both so want to be parents. A Raven ate their first egg and the second broke. They tried again. Sadly, the first chick died during hatch as thousands of people watched anxiously along with Jackie and Shadow on 18 March. They could hear its chirping and must have been so excited. The second egg is now 38 days old. The normal for BE hatch is 35. Last year they incubated their eggs for sixty days and when they finally stopped the ravens came – the eggs were empty.
So we hope and wait. I really hope – beyond hope – for this nest to be successful this year.
And, of course, there are the on going issues related to the Great Horned Owls and Harriet and M15 on the Pritchett Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. The GHOW nest is 274 metres or .1 of a mile away from the eagle’s nest. This has caused nothing but undue problems for the eagles this year. Last night’s attack was one of the worst. The GHOW knocked Harriet off the branch and into the nest but a then off the nes! You can hear the cries.
Lady Hawk’s video shows this from several angles. You can watch the first and get the idea.
Eagle and Great Horn Owl populations have recovered since the time of DDT. Now, there are several issues both related to human activity – the loss of habitat -meaning space – and also the lack of trees adequate for nests that impact the lives of both. There is more and more competition for resources.
E17 and E18 are both self-feeding and they really are the best of buddies. Twins born within hours of one another. E18 might be the Queen of Mantling but both still love to be fed by their parents. They are so big. One of the best ways of telling which is which is if you can see the tip of the tails. The one with a white band, on the left, is E18.
For those who worry about aggressive behaviours, it is now easy to forget that many were horrified at the bopping E17 gave 18. E17 even had to go into time out at CROW clinic! It all evened out. E18 grew and became not so intimidated. That is a good thing. They will hopefully both thrive in the wild. As Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) reminded many on one of her videos yesterday, if the birds cannot survive in the nest being fed by parents they will never be able to survive in the wild. As it stands, less than half the bald eagles that fledge live to see their first birthday.
I continue to tell people that GHOWs are fierce competitors and they are dangerous. There is nothing cuddly about them! Speaking about Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles, the two owlets of Bonnie and Clyde are really growing. The oldest is always ready to try and hork down the mouse that Clyde delivers. In this early morning shot, you can see Clyde, Bonnie, and one of the eaglets. Everyone is doing fine on that nest. Only time will tell if the owls become permanent occupants of what was a Bald Eagle nest.
The daughters of Farmer Derek named the owlets Tiger (the eldest) and Lily (the youngest). In the image below Clyde is on the left, Bonnie is in the back and if you squint you can see one of the owlets, probably Tiger, in the nest. Sweet names. I wonder if they knew that GHOWs are sometimes called ‘Tiger’ owls?
The young father, Harry, is incubating the two eggs on the Bald Eagle nest at the Minnesota DNR. You can tell it is Harry and not Nancy because of the dark patch at the end of his beak. Remember – this young father has not fully changed to his adult colouring – he is only four years old! That tree is really twisting and the wind is howling and blowing. Those eagles have had all kinds of weather to contend with, too. But now we should be thinking about a pip! Their second egg was laid at 2:54 pm on 20 February with the first on the 18th. That means that egg 1 is 31 days old. If the rule of 32 days for a hatch applies this young father should be getting excited. I hope that the weather smartens up for them and they have a successful hatch!
The rain and the wind that is keeping the Minnesota nest soaked and twisting left the Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville soaked as well. Gabby did a great job of keeping Legacy covered up and Samson even brought in provisions during the windy storm.
One of the things you will no longer see on the NE Florida eagle nest is ‘eggie’. Samson came in on the 17th of March and while Legacy was self-feeding, he aerated the nest. As he was punching holes in the base of the nest cup, Samson kept checking that Legacy was busy eating. Then he buried ‘Eggie’ in one of the holes and covered it with Spanish Moss. There seem to be no adverse effects. Some of us thought we would have to strap a backpack on Legacy so she could take Eggie and pinecone with her when she fledges. It’s hard to believe that it was not so long ago when Legacy had Avian Pox. She survived it well. In the image below Gabby has brought in a fish for Legacy. Legacy mantles and feeds herself. ‘Look, I am all grown up, Mom!’ They are all growing way too fast.
And the rest of Bird World seems to be in a holding pattern today. The trio at the Achieva Osprey nest have been fed. They all had good full crops last night and there was not so much commotion this morning when the first fish was brought in at 7:59.
The people on chat have named the eldest Brutus because of the way that it treats the other two. And, Brutus, was particularly nasty to both Tiny Tot and 2 last evening. Still, they got food and that was really what mattered. Brutus has not been able to stifle their will to survive. You can see all three of them standing up to be fed this morning. I did do a wee bit of a giggle. For many, Brutus is a male name and is associated with male aggression since the time when Marcus Junius Brutus was one of Julius Cesar’s assassins. In this instance, it is, however, highly likely that Brutus is a big female. Watching the Port Lincoln Osprey cam showed me that like GHOWs, you do not mess with a big female Osprey when she is upset. Best to just stay away.
Big and Li’l are doing fine on the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest. Both of them had a nice crop this morning. There was even a tandem feeding with Mom and Dad.
Someone remarked at how big Li’l is getting – that is what happens when you get enough food, you grow!
And last but never least – the ‘Brutus’ of the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Solly, is thriving. She is 183 days old today and she has mustered the strength and the courage to cross the entire bay at Streaky Bay. Well done, Solly!
Thanks for coming to check all the characters in Bird World today. The birds bring us so much joy – and sadness, sometimes. And, yes, uneasiness when we worry about them. Most of us sleep better when we know they have had a good meal. So today, let us send warm wishes for Jackie and Shadow – maybe a miracle will happen. It is too bad we can’t slip an orphaned baby eaglet in their nest for them. I am sure they would adore it.And let’s begin to get excited for the young father up in Minnesota. I hope it is a nice warm day tomorrow for their hatch.
And thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey and their Satellite Tracker, the streaming cams from Duke Farms, Achieva Osprey, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Farmer Derek, the Minnesota DNR, and Big Bear Eagle cam.
Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:
Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.
The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.
This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.
For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:
They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.
Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!
This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.
You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.
It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?
The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.
So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.
Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.
I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.
And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!
Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!
So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!
Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.
Several environmental and wildlife researchers believe that if you give a specific bird a name, people are more invested in its welfare. They will, therefore, transfer the caring from the named bird to wanting to create a more sustainable environment for them and, thus, all wildlife.
I am not totally convinced that a ‘name’ makes a difference (but if it does, I am all for it!). Those who watched White-Bellied Sea Eaglet 26 (WBSE 26) hatch, grow, and overcome her physical challenges to fly would not have cared any more for her if she had a name. It has been six months since she died and all it takes is for one of ‘our bird group’ to simply say ’26’ and we ‘see’ her. Maybe it is when she was with Maggie the Magpie honking at the Pied Currawongs. Or perhaps it is the little bobble head with WBSE 25. Maybe it is the last image of her with the sun gently caressing the side of her face. I will argue that it would not have mattered more if 26 had a name and not a number. The donations and the strong feels of wanting to help in some way came regardless.
Many successful birds are known by a number or band colour or a name or – all three. Followers of Wisdom, the oldest banded Laysan Albatross in the world, know she wears a red band with the number Z333. They also know her by her name. It is equally true that we might not know the other Laysans whose nests are near to Wisdom’s on the Midland Atoll and that is because Wisdom or Red-Z333 is special. She is the oldest living banded bird in the world and at the age of seventy, she just hatched another moli.
If you have any thoughts one way or the other, I would love to hear from you.
One of the ‘Name the Bald Eaglet’ contests has just ended. At the time of its birth, the eaglet born to Samson and Gabby in 2021 on the Northeast Florida nest was given a number – N24. Today, N24 received a name —- Legacy.
The public were invited to submit potential names. Out of those the list was narrowed down to six. Then members of the American Eagle Foundation voted for their favourite name on the list. 266 people voted for Legacy over the other five names. It is a good symbolic choice for this nest. Legacy is the grandchild of Romeo and Juliet. That mated pair were first seen on this very nest on 3 September 2009. The couple raised nineteen eaglets to fledge – they were 100% successful. During the 2018-19 season, Juliet was injured by an intruder and left the nest area. Romeo was ultimately unable to do the work for two even though he tried very hard to succeed. This included incubating the remaining egg, hunting for food to feed the one that hatched and himself, and the protection of the nest. When Romeo was away hunting, on Christmas Day 2018, a female intruder snatched the just hatched eaglet from the nest and ate it. Romeo consequently left the nest area. Neither Romeo or Juliet have been seen since and it is presumed, by many, that both are dead.
Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. He was born on this same nest on 23 December 2013. Samson returned to his natal nest on 26 August 2019, taking over the territory his father, Romeo, once ruled. Samson was ‘courted’ by many females but he chose his current mate, Gabrielle or Gabby for short. Their first breeding season was 2019-20. The pair fledged N22 and N23 – Jules and Romy – named after the grandparents. This year only one of two eggs was viable. The eaglet was given the number N24. N24 carries on the legacy of Romeo and Juliet. It is a sentimental choice but a very good one out of the other possible six choices.
The other news is that Legacy has overcome Avian Pox. The lesions are almost completely dried up. Pin feathers are coming in all over the little one’s body and it spends much of its time preening. Those feathers must be awfully itchy!
Another sweet little eaglet is waiting for a name. This one resides in the KNF – Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana. The public submissions of names is now closed. A committee will narrow down those to a list of three. I understand that a number of individuals have suggested names associated with Caroline Dormon, the woman who led the reforestation of the area after all of the trees had been cut down for timber early in the twentieth century. Voting for the final name will take place from 11-16 March with the announcement of ‘the name’ on St. Patrick’s Day.
This little eaglet has grown like a bad weed. Once the chick was no longer bobbling its head and learned to grab food hard with its beak and once mom figured out how to hold her beak (sideways), there was nothing stopping this little one from growing. That growth is helped by a dad who simply cannot stop catching fish and delivering them to the nest. Someone counted twelve today! Twelve fish. Not just for the baby – mom likes to eat, too! There must be a fabulous source of food nearby for this lucky family.
This is just a really quick update. The sun is quickly setting over the NEFL Eagle Cam. Little N24 is growing and growing and eating and eating. We are now in the official stage of accelerated growth. Which also means less but bigger meals and very large crops. You can see that N24 went to bed with quite a large one today.
As we had all hoped, it ‘appears’ (I am using that word cautiously) that the lesions on the left side of its face, on the lower part of the beak/mouth are drying. If this is the case, this is very good news. This is day 12 after the then suspected Avian Pox was noticed, later confirmed. Specialists say that the lesions can persist from 1-4 weeks.
Knock on wood. It would appear that N24 had a very mild case of AP. It will be immune for the rest of its life. That is the good news, too. The lesions will continue to dry and will fall off. There appears to be no damage to the beak at all.
Everyone is relieved and just very, very happy. If this beautiful eagle family could, I am certain that they would thank you for your outpourings and your positive thoughts.
Tonight Gabby and Samson have both been on the nest looking at their little one.
Observers over the last few days have mentioned how attentive the two parents have been since it was discovered that N24 has Avian Pox. Lesions were first noticed by AEF monitors on 20 February. The lesions became more noticeable and by 27 February many citizen-birders were reporting them in FaceBook posts and videos.
Gabby and Samson look at their baby who was born on 8 February. It is 23 days old. Little N24 is full and sleeping with ‘its egg’.
Little N24 has a very good appetite. And that is such a positive thing. Yesterday, despite a late delivery of food, he ate really, really well. And today, he has another fantastic crop. The crop stores food. The eagle can do a crop drop when its stomach is empty. The crop is like a holding area for additional food.
The lesion that was on the left side of the mouth appears smaller today than it was yesterday.
I tried and tried to get a proper close up and just kept missing the opportunities. The nest has several cameras and the best one to get the left side of N24’s face has had some condensation on it. So, it is not easy to compare because of the angle, the distance, and the lighting but it does seem like the right side of N24’s mouth has made some improvement in healing. It takes 1-4 weeks for the lesions to dissipate.
You can still see N24’s crop at 6:48pm when he is watching some interior decorating happening in the nest. N24 is alert, moving around the nest, eating well, and growing. Let us all continue to send warm wishes to the little cutie pie with ‘its egg’ for a complete recovery.
Flight feathers are starting to grow on N24’s wing tips. The itchy stage is coming.
In the image below, the little cutie pie is sleeping, sitting up like Gabby, its mom, with its head tucked under its wing. They are both incubating ‘the egg’.
It is impossible to keep track of everything going on in all of the nests. As Bald Eagles around North America lay eggs or eggs start to hatch, there is a lot of activity. The hawks and falcons are renovating nests and the Ospreys are migrating home. One thing for sure – there are going to be a lot of bobble heads within the next 4 to 6 weeks.
At the Duke Farms nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey, chick 2 hatched at 1:03 am on 2 March. Both of the little ones are doing fantastic. Aren’t they cute? Eaglet #1 got a chance to have eel for dinner the other day. Looks like it is fish in the pantry today. All of these fathers are great providers.
If you would like to keep up with these two (and maybe a future three), here is the link to the Duke Farm’s streaming cam:
The Great Horned Owl that borrowed the Bald Eagle nest near Newton, Kansas is still incubating eggs. Some are expecting there to be a pip watch in the coming days.
Bonnie’s mate, Clyde, often stays on the branch above the nest to protect her and is busy at night furnishing her with ‘Mouse Take Away’. Bonnie and Clyde are fierce predators especially during nesting season. Remember that they stood their ground with the Bald Eagle and did not relinquish the nest once Bonnie had laid her egg. We still do not know how many eggs Bonnie is incubating. There could be any where from 1-5. Bonnie has not given any secrets up! Her owlets will be born with whitish-grey down with a little bit of brown. As they mature, they will become more brown.
Did you know that the tufts (they are not really horns) of hair on the Great Horned Owls are thought to break up the profile of the head to improve their camouflage abilities? Their short curved feathers mean that they are silent night fliers. Indeed, these large owls are notorious, as of late, for knocking Bald Eagles off their branches in the night. Just the other evening, a GHOW knocked Harriet off her branch at the SWFL Eagle Nest and into the nest bowl! GHOWs will hunt large raptors such as Ospreys, other owls, and Peregrine falcons for food. They are equally happy to have reptiles for dinner as well as mice, fish, insects, worms, and rats.
And so happy to report that the mother and eaglet at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest are also doing fantastic. It has been raining alot and this mother is a really good ‘mumbrella’. Both of them have figured out the feeding and the little eaglet is growing.
And another really good news story. The ‘Old Warrior Eagle’ that had broken its leg and had its beak injured early last fall was down, emaciated, and full of lead toxins. If you are any raptor and have that many problems, the best place to be found is near A Place for Hope in Connecticut. The Old Warrior has been on Clemation Therapy to get the lead out of his system. When he came in, the levels were over 48. Look at the levels today:
He is going to be so excited to be outside in the aviary!
Look at that face. And those beautiful big eyes of this Peregrine Falcon. He was attacked by a cat. And, lucky for him, he is there in the same clinic with the Old Warrior. Get well soon! You are adorable. I could just scoop you up and take you home. Would you like to live in Canada?
Take care everyone. Thanks for dropping by and for caring about all of the wildlife.
Thank you to A Place Called Hope for the images on their FB Page. Thank you to the KNF Eagle Nest, Duke Farms, NEFL and the AEF and Derek the Farmer for their streaming Cam. Those streams provided the screen captures.
Just some background before breaking into the good news.
Avian Pox (AP) is a slow-developing bird disease caused by a virus belonging to a subgroup of poxviruses, the Avipoxvirus. There is no cure. AP is an international problem for every species of bird. One of the first ways of noticing that a bird has AP is the appearance of lesions on the non-feathered areas such as the face, feet, mouth and beak area, as well as the upper respiratory tract. Sometimes these lesions resemble warts and other times they look like blisters. Birds catch AP from mosquitoes, by eating infected prey, or being in contact with other birds or surfaces contaminated by AP. Researchers believe that the disease ranges from mild to severe but that it is rarely fatal (Wrobel et al. 2016). Birds are more likely to die if the virus impacts its respiratory tract. Additionally, secondary infections can be fatal. The USFWS found that the number of cases occurs less frequently in dry climates while the highest number are in hot and humid climates such as Florida and Louisiana. Those climatic conditions are perfect environments for mosquitoes.
One of the biggest issues is that there has not been a large study of Avian Pox in the Bald Eagle population. The study conducted by Wrobel et al found that the frequency of raptors having Avian Pox is far greater than the outward signs such as lesions would suggest. Of the 142 raptor specimens in their research project, ten were Bald Eagles. Of those, 30% had antibodies related to Avian Pox. The researchers admit that their study, which focused on urban and suburban raptors admitted to a Central Illinois clinic, had more small raptors such as Kestrels and Barred Owls. What they did learn is that 50% of all of the raptors had antibodies indicating that they had, at one time, Avian Pox or Conjunctivitis (effects the eyes such as we have seen on SWFL E17 and E18). That is a far higher amount than the scientists expected and their results indicate that the number of raptors exposed to either or both AP and Conjunctivitis is far more prevalent than anticipated. The researchers said that the free living or wild birds in the study indicate that most raptors are able to ‘mount a full adaptive immune response against these pathogens’ (291). This, of course, is excellent news for our raptors if it is correct.
As you are aware, if you have been reading my column or following the NEFL Eagle Nest, the eaglet N24 was observed by individuals of the American Eagle Federation to have Avian Pox on 20 February. On 27 February, the lesions were noticed by many people. Some posted videos expressing concern on YouTube such as Lady Hawk. I mounted a campaign in support of N24 in case an intervention became absolutely necessary. Neither Avian Pox or Conjunctivitis are caused directly by humans. The eaglets at the SWFL Nest, E17 and E18, had Conjunctivitis and were treated by CROW. Their eyes fully healed and they were returned to the nest. It was hoped that little N24 could receive similar help should it respiratory system become compromised.
The good news today, 2 March 2021, is that N24 has a very good appetite. N24 cast a pellet at 6:32 am. It is now 6:40 pm on the nest. There have been at least two feedings. (Pantry was bare til first feeding) The first was around 10:36. Samson brought a fish and started feeding N24. Gabby took over at 10:50 with Samson leaving and returning with another fish. The parents have been very attentive to the little one over the past few days. And, yes, of course. They knew he was sick! All parents know when their kids are not feeling well.
The second feeding began around 4:21pm.
A third feeding began around 5:46. A few minutes earlier Gabby offered fish but N24 did not appear interested in getting out of the egg cup to eat. He is leaning on ‘the egg’. Around 5:47 Gabby begins feeding the eaglet stretching to reach it in the nest. N24 has a large crop.
I can see no further lesions on N24’s face or mouth area. In fact, it appears that the lesion on the left of the face is reduced. Can you see me jumping up and down?
I am not a vet or a wildlife rehabber. Every research paper that I can find on AP indicates that the lesions can persist for 1-4 weeks. It has been ten days since the first lesions were noticed. I am hopeful that N24’s immune system is really working to heal this lovely ‘cutie pie’ whose permanent name will be Uno, Scout, Kendi, Storm, Journey, or Legacy. Voting for AEF members ends on March 5.
Just to give you a laugh and to thank you for joining me today, ‘the egg’ became quite an amusement today. N24 leaned on it for a feeding, brooded it in the nest while eating, and even Gabby wasn’t sure what to do with it all the time.
E. Wrobel et al, ‘Seroprevalence of Avian Pox and Mycoplasma Gallisepticum in Raptors in Central Illinois’, The Journal of Raptor Research 50 (3): 289-294.
Field Guide to Wildlife Diseases: General Field Procedure and Disease of Migratory Birds, US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Publication 167 (1987): 135-141.