Legacy is overjoyed…Gabby comes to the nest!

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.

Kakapo and more

Everyone is talking about the Kakapo today because two of the 208 died. These events are always full of sadness.

Have you heard of Kakapo?

They live in New Zealand and they are parrots that cannot fly. Wings are only for balance and support. Some people think they look like an owl. In fact, they are nocturnal and only move around at night. Their plumage is a beautiful moss green with some yellow and black. Their feathers are very soft because they do not need them for flight. Their bill, legs, and feet are grey. Using those grey feet they run all over the ground and climb trees. They blend in perfectly to the forests of the small islands where they now live. These islands are designated nature reserves and only authorized personnel can go on them.

Before humans arrived on the shores of new Zealand, the forests were full of these amazing creatures. Many of the early settlers kept them as pets saying that they were as friendly as dogs. They are still friendly towards humans today. In the 1990s, only fifty existed. The predators of the adults were cats and stoats while rats were known to eat the eggs and the chicks. The New Zealand Department of Conservation undertook an amazing intervention in order to try and save the Kakapo. They literally gathered up the fifty that were alive and moved them to islands where there were no predators. In June there were 210. Sadly, today there are now 206. Every Kakapo has a radio transmitter whose battery needs to be changed at least once a year. They are carefully monitored and health checks are undertaken on a regular basis. Birds may receive supplemental feeds and eggs and chicks can be rescued and raised by hand. Because there are so few, the genetic diversity is extremely low and there is also a very low fertility rate. The Kakapo are managed on three islands and there is now managed mating using artificial insemination to help manage genetic loss. They are currently sequencing the genomes of all living kakapo to aid in their conservation. The females start breeding around five years but the males are not able to fertilize the eggs until they are about ten years old. They are said to only breed when the fruit of the Rimu trees bloom which is every 2-4 years. The males get off pretty easy. The females have to incubate the 1-4 eggs, feed themselves and their chicks, and also protect their nest and young. That is the reason that so many fell victim to cats and stoats in the past. They are strict vegetarians. Kakapo generally live to be ninety years old if they do not come to harm by predators or viruses.

They are so very cute. They love to hide from the Rangers when they come to change their transmitters but they also love their almond treats after!

If you would like to learn more about the Kakapo, this is a seven minute video that is quite good:

And if you are a teacher or you know someone who is and who might like to show their students this amazing non-flying parrot – that is so utterly sweet – head over to this site sponsored by the NZ Government:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-education/resources/kakapo-recovery/

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It’s time for updates:

That Great Horned Owl on the Bald Eagle nest near Kansas City is still there. The Bald Eagles have not evicted her. Poor thing. That snow is really packed around her. The flakes stopped coming down and while it has warmed up, it is still a frigid -4 F. Our owl (I was tempted to say little but they really are not little) is trying to sleep and keep those eggs warm. Her mate, Clyde (gosh that was my dad’s name- who would name their little son Clyde???????) is very good at bringing her prey during the night. Last mouse deposit was right before dawn broke this morning.

Bonnie took a break – less than two minutes off those eggs. Gosh she was fast! That got me to wondering how quickly that -5 temperature would impact those eggs.

It doesn’t look like any of the snow fell in over the eggs. I wondered if the warmth of Bonnie’s body would have made a bit of a crust??? Just a silly thought but, maybe.

The Bald Eagle sitting on the nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey at Duke Farms is getting some relief. The snow has stopped falling and is actually melting there. We can finally see the nest. Let’s hope she catches a break and doesn’t get hit by the system moving through on Wednesday. This poor mother has had snow for twice as long as anyone else with eggs underneath them. She should get some kind of endurance prize!

And there is some really good news on the nest of Gaby and Samson over at NEFL. Little E24 was having problems with its right eye. This morning it was completely closed again but later in the day it opened up. I could not see any discharge. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it just got a poke from some of that nest material. And give a hand to Samson who brought in five big fish. I wonder if he is expecting bad weather to set in?

Oh, just look. There is the little one’s tiny little foot close by its mom. How precious.

Samson can be my weatherman any day. He brought in such a big pile of fish earlier. Now you can hardly make out his silhouette as the rain pelts down at the nest near St. Augustine, Florida. There are also thunderstorms in the area but no tornadoes. Smart dad. That little one will be under its mother staying dry while she continues to incubate an egg that will never hatch.

It has been a beautiful day out at Big Bear. That snow and chilly winds are gone! How nice for Jackie and Shadow.

I am also very happy to report that there was so much food on the SWFL Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 that the bopping of 17 towards 18 was next to nothing today. In fact, I hope they are growing out of that behaviour. There is lots and lots of food. Indeed, hold on. Harriet even brought in some road kill today in the form of a grey tabby cat. So again, if you ever find yourself near someone who is saying eagles only eat fish, well they sure don’t on Harriet and M15’s nest. They are great opportunistic eagles. At the same time it is extremely worrying when the hawks, falcons and eagles land on the streets and highways to get the carrion and get hit themselves. It is also, of course, tragic when someone’s pet gets hit by a car.

And last, let’s check up on Solly to see what she is up to. To date Solly has re-written a lot of aspects of Osprey behaviour in Australia. That is fabulous news and supports putting satellite transmitters on birds for additional research and learning. Of course, the streaming cameras that I watch, like you, are invaluable as are the BOGs (Birders on the Ground).

Solly is 149 days old and she is still enjoying Eba Anchorage and flying over to Kiffin Island to find her dinner. Look at that seabird go!

And speaking of Ospreys, one of the Scottish Kieldner Ospreys Blue Y6, White EB’s youngest daughter, that hatched in 2016 was seen at Tanji Marsh Bird Reserve in The Gambia by bird guide, Fansu Bojang. This is just excellent news. You might recall that Avian Flu went through the Pelican population in Senegal and there was some worry for the UK Ospreys. This is just wonderful news! Last year was Blue Y6’s first year to raise chicks. She had two with her mate at a nest in Perthshire. Let’s hope she does it again this year.

There is lots of good news all around in the bird world. Even the Kakapo Recovery said that they are grateful for the growth in the numbers and with that also comes higher numbers of those dying.

The Ospreys will be making their way back to their nests across the UK and Europe soon. We wish them all safe travels. The hawks and falcons will be finding twigs for their nests and in a few weeks we will begin to welcome another group of baby eagles.

I am keeping a particularly close eye on that nest of Big Red and Arthur.

Stay safe and stay warm! Thank you for joining me today. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the Kakapo Recovery, the AEF for the streaming cams at Big Bear and NEFL, the SWFL streaming cam and the D. Pritchett family, Derek the Farmer’s streaming cam, Port Lincoln Osprey for the tracking information on Solly, Duke Farms streaming cam, and Kielder Ospreys.