Winter Solstice in Bird World

As all of you know, Daisy the Duck has occupied my mind for some 20 days now without much of a break. She has just arrived home to the nest – it is the Summer Solstice 22 December in Australia – and I am going to take some time to check in on the other nests that are normally watched.

It has been a horrible day for Gabby who is incubating two eggs on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest called The Hamlet. It is just outside Jacksonville.

Bald Eagles generally have 35 days of incubation. Gabby and Samson were really wise. They did not start hard incubation until the second egg was laid meaning that the two eaglets will be born close together with no older sibling advantage. They will just bop each other taking turns! This means that the hatch date is 19 January. Mark your calendars.

For me, this is great timing. Harriet and M15s eaglets are set to hatch in 3-4 days. We won’t be watching two bobble head nests at once. Oh, those high winds are really hitting Fort Myers. You can see Harriet’s feathers blowing.

It is a beautiful day over in Decorah, Iowa with the Decorah Bald Eagles. No eggs – it is winter! But the Eagles are around. The nest is at a trout hatchery – lucky raptors. Smiling. Everyone should have a source of fish for their Ospreys and their Raptors. Takes about 350-400 a season. Not bad for giving life to these beautiful birds and their family.

The Bald Eagles in Iowa generally lay their eggs in mid-February.

The Decorah Eagles are not to be confused with the Decorah North Eagles!!!!! It is home to Mr and Mrs North.

The camera is live at Duke Farms in New Jersey. No eggs yet. In fact, it should be about a month until we see eggs on this nest. I hope this Mum has better weather this year! She was encased in ice and snow most of incubation in early 2021.

Diamond is starting the day in the scrape box at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Both her and Xavier have been examining the new gravel that Cilla Kinross provided awhile ago. They have also had bad weather with torrential rains but it looks like they will have a nice day today. Fingers crossed.

Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in Big Bear, California are doing nestorations. It looks like they are going to have a white Christmas.

Last year Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Horned Owls, took over a young Bald Eagles couple’s nest on Farmer Derek’s property. They raised two owlets. The nest is currently unoccupied but one of the Bald Eagles did a fly by at 07:19 this morning. Will there be a battle over this nest?

The eagle is right at the horizon line with the blue sky. You should be able to see it.

Anna has taken over incubation duties of the two eggs on the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. This is her and Louis’s second breeding attempt. They fledged Kisatchie last season.

Clive is on incubation duty at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. Another storm is really starting to churn in that area. It will effect the eagles as well as the ospreys – and, of course, it is the same storm that is hitting Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers.

It is a beautiful winter’s day – perfect for the Winter Solstice – at Glacier Gardens. I wonder what Kindness is doing? She was such a special juvie.

Alaska is a perfect place for Bald Eagles, too. When Dave Hancock put the satellite trackers on the 7 or 8 fledglings in British Columbia that survived that horrific heat wave, all of them flew north to Alaska.

Lena is waiting for Andy to bring her some fish at the Captiva Osprey Nest. This couple was really hit hard – along with Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest – from the storms the other day. It is good to see that all had no problems. There is another storm brewing today.

Ervie got the morning fish and Bazza is not happy. Apparently, Ervie woke up in the middle of the night and kicked Bazza off the nest. I can understand why he is grumpy.

Ervie is doing a great mantling job. Third hatch turned out to be the ‘King Pin’. Wonder if Bazza remembers how he tried to treat Ervie? Do raptors have a memory like elephants?

Daisy is fine. Wishing for a quiet day for her.

This is a wee bit of a catch up with some of our other favourite nests. Cal Falcons raised $3500 through the sale of t-shirts to support Lindsay Wildlife for treating Grinnell. That is fantastic! There is no news of who Annie will pair with for the 2022 breeding season. Watching birds is all about patience. Sometimes I don’t have any!!!!!!

Thank you so much for stopping in to check on the nests. The birds will weather the current storms in Florida. They are used to them but, still, we worry. Wishing all of you a very happy Winter solstice. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF, SWFlorida and the Pritchett Family, Captiva Osprey, Captiva Bald Eagle, KNF Bald Eagles, Glacier Gardens, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Eagles, Duke Farms, the Raptor Research Project at Explore.org, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

The Biggest Adventure of their Lives

Chris Wood from Rutland described what he believes is Maya and Blue 33 (11)’s 2021 fledglings leaving home and starting their own journey. It was so poignant that I thought I would include it in its entirety here today.

No one home. Manton Bay, Rutland Water, UK

For those of you who do not know, Blue 33 (11) and Maya are the resident couple on Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Osprey Nest. They are normally the first to arrive back from migration and often within a half hour of one another. Imagine – 4000 miles and landing that close. Do they spend the winter together? No one seems to know. They are a Super Osprey couple, hatching and fledging 19 chicks as of today. This year the couple had 2 fledglings but they have had nests of four and it has not been a problem for either of them.

A video from a month ago. Maya is not ringed. The two fledglings are. In the image for the video, Blue 33 (11) is on the front left. Maya is looking at the fish and one of the chicks, now a fledgling, is in the back. Blue 33 always made sure that there was a fish on the nest first thing in the morning – right at dawn! Which is why his behaviour Yesterday was so unusual.

Chris Wood says:

“Yesterday at Manton Bay an extra shift proved to be quite eventful very early on. 095 had been very active early on in the morning, we get there for 6am, ok I was late yesterday, 6.45. She was flying around the bay, diving from the camera perch and from the air, skimming across the water as if to wash her feet and as usual plenty of food begging. But 33 wasn’t present, in fact we didn’t see him until midday, had he planned this? Around 9.10am, ten minutes into the extra shift 095 suddenly took to the air and started to fly across the bay, she started circling, round and round, gaining height slowly and gradually she passed over Waderscrape hide continuing on over the trees to the rear of the hide until we could see her no more, was she gone? Only 3 minutes later, 096, who had been sat on the far left perch all the time suddenly took flight and headed very purposely across the bay. He too headed towards the hide circling to the right and headed on past over the trees, he was gone. Had he seen his sister in the distance circling higher and higher heading away, south from the bay. Was he following, had they both left or was it just coincidence. Had 33 stayed away yesterday morning to encourage the youngsters to leave? All in all it was a spectacular sight if they had left, one tinged with sadness another with how fantastic to see two young Ospreys make it to migration and start the biggest adventure of their short lives, another great success for the Manton bay pair of Maya and 33(11).” Another person watching this, added, “Just before 095 left she also flew across to 096 on his perch – chipping at him – and Maya took to the air for the first time that morning as they left and circled upwards as if watching events.”

095 as she begins migration.
096 as he begins his migration 3 minutes after his big sister.

Oh, I wish those two had satellite transmitters.

Blue 33 is already doing some bonding with Maya before she leaves now that the kids are gone.

There has been no one home on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of Tiny Little at the times when the kiddos would normally have been there screaming for food.

Does this mean that they caught that same wind that draws our juveniles to start their own independent lives?

Someone who is home is Kindness, the fledgling Bald Eagle at the Glacier Bay Park in Juneau, Alaska. Kindness fledged on 21 August. Since then she has been enjoying short trips around her beautiful natal tree. So far she has slept on the nest but soon she will move to roosting on a branch.

Where Kindness is standing is called the ‘Bouncy Branch’. Oh, she looks so tiny next to those huge Pine Siskin Trees!

Kindness bounces and flies.

Liberty and Freedom always lure her back with a meal! And it works – Kindness has learned that if you leave food someone else will eat it. She is normally back on the nest within 3-5 minutes of a delivery.

This is precisely how fledging should go. Remember that and if you watched E17 and E18, Harriet and M15’s two fledglings from 2020 – that is a perfect example of a normal raptor fledge, the fledglings flying and playing with parents providing food.

When I last checked, the female peregrine falcon on the Collins Street nest was sure bulking up like she was going to lay that second egg today. Let me check!

Mom needed a break. Still only one egg at 4am 24 August. Sometime on the 24th for sure.

Another Australian bird, the Galah. Here is a very short video of an exchange between this fabulous pink and grey bird and some kangaroos. Try cutting and pasting. So cute! We need cute today. It is from the Kangaroo Sanctuary at Alice Springs.

https://fb.watch/7zJYVKBHM5/

Today there were some visitors to the garden in addition to the hundreds of various sparrows. The rain is coming down and it seems that they prefer the cylinder suet – fantastic. Even with domes the bird seed seems to still get wet. What a mess. Rain doesn’t stop the birds and squirrels from being hungry! The light was terrible and my laptop didn’t want to recognize the new card in the camera so I am attaching these even tho they are not the best images.

The image below is ‘Little Red” who has a life-lease for the garden shed penthouse.

Merlin identifies the bird image below as a Juvenile Male Ruby-throated hummingbird. If this is the case, the hummers are moving south on their way to winter vacations.

One of the resident Blue Jays who would love Little Red to get off the suet — or for me to go out and hang a new cylinder up in another place. He looks like he is doing a little moulting.

There is no word on Malin. Again, ‘no news is good news’. I am practicing patience or at least pretending that I am trying! We are all anxious for Malin and the youngsters of Grafs and Jan. Yesterday Grafs was in once and Jan twice. Better than nothing! And those storklings are starting to fledge. That feels like a miracle. I hope that they find the feeders.

I hope to have news soon on Malin. I am guessing that there are difficulties with the identification of the two birds – maybe neither is Malin. We wait.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone, see you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or found photographs: The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Alaska, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Chris Wood and the Rutland Osprey Project FB Page, and the Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac.

When is a fledge a normal fledge? or a forced one? Can you tell the difference?

What is the difference between a fledge? a normal run of the mill fledge? and a ‘Forced Fledge’? And how do we as individuals react to one or the other?

So first off, let’s begin with Kindness, the Bald Eagle juvenile who branched a couple of days ago. Kindness flew off the nest this morning at 10:01 am.

No one was there, Kindness flew off on her own. She was 86 days old setting a new record for the nest.

Here is the video, enjoy:

Later, Mama Liberty lured Kindness back to the nest with food! It was 12:30 pm. That is the way it is normally done. It is the same with Ospreys as it is with Bald Eagles and other raptors.

I wanted to get the opinion of an expert on Ospreys about Malin’s fledge. There has been a lot of disagreement over whether or not Malin just flew off normally like Kindness or if his flight was a ‘Forced Fledge’. So I went to a UK expert – someone that I trust that has decades of experience. I sent them the long footage of Mom alerting and then Malin flying off.

The longer version has the adult alerting for about ten minutes longer. This is the shorter version and you can still see mom, Marsha, alerting but imagine it ten minutes longer.

The expert asked me what the question was and I answered: Does it appear that the nestling fledged normally? or was it frightened by an intruder and flew?

The following questions and answers were exchanged:

  • Expert: Was that its first fledge? Answer: Yes
  • Expert: How long did it stay away? Answer: It Never Returned. Gone 2 days.
  • Answer from expert: Forced Fledge
  • Expert: Anyone looking for it? Answer: Person in charge said it was normal and Ospreys do not return to their nest after fledging.

The expert said that the average number of days that an Osprey fledgling spends on the nest after fledging is 36.

Here are two examples. The first is a normal fledge. The second is a forced fledged (different from Malin’s but close enough) but, the chicks returned to the nest.

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-evans/2013/08/25/clarach-and-cerist-fledge

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-evans/2015/07/21/three-fledge-one-morning

It is important to know the difference so that you are educated on what is and is not a normal fledge. As someone watching streaming cams then you will understand and respond appropriately. You will not be upset when it is a normal fledge and the bird returns and does more flying continuing to return and be fed by the parents. But you will also recognize an emergency, like Malin. In that instance, the minute he was forced off the nest there should have been a search party spread out on the property. They would need one expert to deal with Malin if found but ordinary people who care for birds could have spread out and looked in every direction from the nest for up to 300 metres. Do not get me wrong. People did look but it was at least 2 to 2.5 hours after the fact and it was getting dark. As I understand it, no one looked Friday. One person, a wildlife rehabber, returned to search today.

The reason that it is important to look immediately when it is an accidental or forced fledge like Malin’s is that the birds are vulnerable to predators. They will normally land on the ground. Additionally, they could require immediate veterinary assistance. This is the other reason that there should always be an emergency number easily found on a streaming cam or wildlife centre that will be answered! I am talking about a 24/7 emergency number. Alternatively, a moderator on a chat with a list of emergency helpers works fine as well. But you need to reach the boots that can get on the ground!

So educate yourself so you know what is what in the world of fledging. It could save the life of a precious bird.

Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations to Liberty and Freedom for the successful fledgling of Kindness and to all the folks at Glacier Gardens. Thank you for the boots on the ground looking for Malin. I have been told two chicks were found – one dead and one alive. I will let you know as soon as I hear the identification.

Thank you to the Glacier Gardens Park and the Collins Marsh Nature Centre for their streaming cam where I take my screen shots and videos.

What is better than a Peregrine Falcon Kiss?

Lots of people keep track of hurricanes and tropical storms. Most watch because they or their loved ones, or both, live in the line of the storm. Bird watchers also track weather systems. There are currently two systems that might impact our beloved Big Red and family as well as the birds that are migrating over Hawk Mountain, PA.

Henri is going to give some heavy rain and wind. Ithaca is west of the darkest green band but could get some rain.

Tropical Disturbance Fred will also give some heavy rain in the same area. There were flash flood warnings for Ithaca last night. It is 1:03 am Thursday morning in Ithaca and there are rain drops dripping off the metal supports of the light stand that Big Red and Arthur’s nest is on. The rain does not look heavy at the moment. There is also a peculiar corn plant growing out of the centre of the nest!

Heavy rain will impact the hawks ability to hunt. They would have felt the pressure system coming and hopefully caught more food yesterday.

This isn’t the beginning of the season. Hurricane season runs until 30 November.

Baby Kindness (I wonder if she would mind if I call her that?) is not worried about hurricanes. Today, she is 83 days old. Kindness branched yesterday and all she has on her mind is ___________________. If you said flying you are 100% correct. She has really been putting on a show for the people watching the live stream today.

Oh, she really gets some nice air under those wings going back and forth from the branch to the nest.

Wow. Look at those wings. Magnificent.

Kindness has spent a lot of time considering what is below that branch she is sitting on. Sometimes she gets the branch to bouncing a bit and that seems to unnerve her slightly and she flies back to the nest.

For several days, I have been talking about the migration of Ospreys in Wisconsin, like Malin, or those living in the United Kingdom or in Northeastern Europe. The Bald Eagles in Alaska do not migrate south of Alaska unless there is no food. In 1972, the State Legislature established a long stretch of the In Chilkat River as critical bald eagle habitat. The goal was to protect the birds, some 4000 of them, that move from the interior to the Chilikat River Valley where they feed on the Chum Salmon run during the late fall and winter. The juveniles normally eat spawned and dead salmon or the carcasses left behind by bears.

The Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is located in the Tongass National Forest just fifteen minutes away from Juneau. This is where Liberty and Freedom have their nest and where Kindness will fledge. There are meadows, forests, and glaciers. What a spectacular place to be a Bald Eagle!

“Tongass National Forest” by markcbrennan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
“Tongass National Forest” by markcbrennan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the features of the park is the Mendenhall Glacier.

“Mendenhall Glacier – Tongass National Forest” by jcsullivan24 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Liberty, Freedom, and Kindness are not far from the Chilikat River Valley and the Alaska Chilikat Bald Eagle Reserve.

In the spring, many of the Bald Eagles will head to areas rich with Herring and Eulachon. These include the Stikine River, Copper River Delta, Silka Sound and Kenai Bend. You can see some of those on the map below. The Copper River flows from Prince William Sound while Silka Sound is closer to Juneau on the far right bottom.

Kindness is fortunate to live in such a beautiful state with what we all hope are abundant resources for her and all the wildlife forever.

There are so many worries in the world. The birds bring so much joy to each of us filled with nail-biting anxiety and that bittersweet moment when our friends fledge to begin their lives off the nest.

Malin is beginning to feel the wind beneath his wings. For so long I did not believe that Malin’s feathers would develop and he would fly – but here he is preparing just for that. Joy.

Like other birds, Malin is doing much more wing strengthening flapping as fledge approaches. The energy from the fish he is eating gives rise to lots of exercising after a feed.

For tonight though, Malin is sleeping like a duckling dreaming of fish.

While Kindness and Malin are dreaming of fish and flying, Xavier and Diamond are constantly pair bonding while preparing for their 2021 eggs and hatches. After doing their courtship dance in the scrape box today, they sealed the deal with a kiss – peregrine falcon style.

Can you think of a better way to end this newsletter? I can’t!

Want to catch the adventures of Xavier and Diamond, here is the link:

Well, what could be better than a Peregrine Falcon kiss? Three Black storklings eating the fish that Urmas brought them. That is actually cause for a big celebration!

When the storklings woke up at dawn and found the fish gift from Urmas, they began to eat.

The feeding of the storklings is a success! Congratulations.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Have a wonderful Thursday. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project Charles Sturt University, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, Google Maps, Cornell Bird Labs Red Tail Hawk Streaming Cam, and the National Hurricane Centre.

Kindness Branched

Kindness, the daughter of Liberty and Freedom, in the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle nest branched at 9:39 am nest time in Juneau, Alaska.

Kindness spent quite a bit of time off the nest – playing with the nest and dismantling it a bit. She was rewarded with a really big fish by Mom on her return!

Kindness is 82 days old today. The average age for fledging at the Glacier Gardens nest is 89 days. It is an average of 80 days in Alaska.

Oh, Kindness really likes the feel of the air under her wings! GG4 left the nest 14 days after branching. GG5 left the nest 8 days after branching.

Kindness is GG6. Let us hope we have a little more time to spend with her. She is so sweet!

You can still catch a lot of action as Kindness works those wings. Here is the link to the streaming cam:

Oh, I love that picture on the streaming cam. Look how little Kindness was up against Mom Liberty!

It’s 4:42 nest time in Collins Marsh. The last time I peeked at Malin he was eating another fish delivery. That was at 2:16. There will most likely be another one before dusk. Gosh, Malin is growing. He has six clear bands on his tail and before long, he is going to be hovering around that nest.

Here are some cute Malin pictures to put a smile on your face.

Here is that 2:17 delivery.

Malin ate it all and laid down on the nest duckling style.

It’s been a great day for these two – Kindness and Malin. Congratulations to Kindness, Liberty, Freedom and all the folks at Glacier Gardens.

For those looking to get an Iris pen, I checked. Dr Greene has picked up another box of twigs that have been turned into pens. There are a few left. If you don’t remember how to order, send me a comment and I will give you the instructions Dr Greene left.

Thank you for joining me. We needed a good news story today and we have two of them. That is wonderful. I am hoping to wake up tomorrow and read that Grafs has found that gorgeous Grafiene 2 and is filling his kids with fish!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Alaska and Collins Marsh Nature Cam in Wisconsin.

Feedings and fires…Storks fall from the sky over Athens

Today is a gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. The rains helped to contain or put out many of the wild fires in our province and this morning, for a second day, we woke up to blue skies and white clouds! All of the plants are a vibrant green and the birds continue to sing. There was not enough to fill the dry creeks but the downpours we did get are a reminder of how much all life depends on water. The nestlings and fledglings would add ‘food’ to that list!

There is a constant worry that some of the late hatches are seeing dwindling food deliveries and that the parents might leave for their migration with young still on the nest. My friend, ‘S’ is concerned, as are many others, for the nestlings on two Black Stork nests – one in Latvia and the other in Estonia. Some others worry about the little osprey on the Collins Marsh Nature Centre nest that we have been calling ‘Malin’. (The official contest is underway for the official name).

Malin self-feeds from small Bullhead. 11 August 2021

Malin was receiving 5 feedings on occasion. Those were good days. The chick has not been fed well by the standards of other nests. This past Sunday, 8 August, Malin had no food. Yesterday, 10 August, he had two feedings. Today, there have already been 2 – one at 9:35 and the other around 11:42. Always these are small whole fish or pieces of fish. I have not seen a whopper on this nest.

Malin is hungry and several of us are trying to ascertain if the fish are ‘fished out’ or if the Dad has another nest – it really is unclear. A report by the Wisconsin DNR on the number of Bald Eagle and Osprey nests in the state indicate a drop of Ospreys in area 3, where the Collins Marsh nest is located, by -25.2%. While every other area saw an increase in Ospreys, Collins Marsh was only one of two that showed a decline. Does all of this reflect a growth in Bald Eagle Nests in the area? If you would like to read the report from 2019 (I have not found one for 2020), I am attaching a copy. A big shout out to ‘S’ who found this and sent it to me. Thank you.

The feedings for the nestlings of Grafs and Grafiene at the Sigulda Nest show a similar up and down pattern to that at Collins Marsh. However, there has not been a day without food to my knowledge at Sigulda.

‘S’ reports that on 9 August, the storklings had four feedings – which is considered low – but yesterday, they had only two. Today, there have been 2 deliveries by the female, Grafiene, and one by the male, Grafs. Grafiene is also like the female at the Collins Marsh nest, Marsha, who leaves for periods up to 24 hours at a time. The behaviour of these two females is very curious.

It is hoped that there is time for both the Black Storklings and the Osprey to fledge. ‘S’ advises that the minimum is ten days for the storklings. The Ospreys tend to migrate at the end of August or beginning of September in Wisconsin.

Malin is not ready to fledge. It is very worrisome for many reasons. I look at the development and growth of the Osprey fledglings in the UK and then compare this with Malin. Those in the UK have fully developed feathering and have really perfected their flying skills. They are self-feed with ease. Most have been fledged for a month. Will Malin have a month to further develop his body and skills? Will the storklings? The nest that is on the branch of the pine tree in the forest near Sigulda is so very narrow and has collapsed in the past. Will the hopping and flapping cause the little ones to fall?

The storklings are so excited when a parent arrives with fish that it does make you wonder if the could make the branch nest collapse. Grafiene covered the nest with little fish around 17:20. There was lots of food for each of the nestlings.

The storklings were eating and eating and had large crops. I wonder if a parent will bring another delivery before night?

I am including the link to the Black Stork Nest in Sigulda County, Latvia. If you wish to find the chat room or forum (with lots of information) please check the information under the streaming cam.

In Alaska, Kindness is not short of food. She has gone some days with few deliveries and other days, Dad not only leaves her food for self-feeding but today, he fed his baby girl. Dad just can’t help himself. He has an enormous soft spot for Kindness. The image below of Dad feeding Kindness is right after he had delivered prey 20 minutes earlier! Oh, Kindness, how lucky you are.

Did you know that Bald Eagles have a polarizing lens that helps them see fish in muddy waters? (Just like those who fish often wear Polarizing sunglasses.) That said Bald Eagles normally only feed in the top 15 cm or 6 inches. Their bare legs are designed to only go into the water 15 cm or 6 inches. Like the Ospreys and Sea Eagles, if they had feathered legs, they would get water logged.

You can watch Kindness here. The moderator on the camera chat is reminding everyone today that Kindness is 76 days old today. She is already flapping and jumping. The average act for fledge on this nest – not the whole of Alaska – is 89 days. (The whole of Alaska is 80 days). If she behaves like the other eaglets on this nest, you should be able to watch her until mid-September. Here is the link to that camera:

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Lady is feeding 27 and 28. Those little ones continue to look like white fluff balls but if you look carefully, their necks and wings are getting longer and there is a hint of ‘dark plumage’ underneath that natal down. The WBSE nest had a fright a few days ago. Dad showed up on the nest with a laceration on his leg and a cut near his throat that was bleeding. That seems to have subsided and Dad is busy catching fish for the family. (I am wondering about the small amount of salt water in the Parramatta River and its healing effects on Dad’s foot.)

27 and 28 do bonk but not much anymore. Some of the time it is instigated by the ‘little one’! They really are a good match for one another and unlike past years, viewers are remarking that they are really enjoying seeing the nest this year.

The egg tooth is disappearing as their beaks grow longer.

If you wish to watch then, here is the link to the cam:

There is some troubling news coming out in Bird World. ‘S’ informs me that the storks crossing over Greece where the wildfires are raging are being injured in large numbers as they migrate to Africa on the eastern routing. Various news agencies are reporting that people in Athens have been picking up dead storks off their lawns. This is more than sad. Here is a short news report by Reuters. I hope you can open it.

Here is a news article on the plight of these poor birds.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/9/disoriented-by-wildfires-migrating-storks-die-crossing-greece

A second is the number of raptors going into care. In the United States, there is an all out assault on plant life. Various levels of government are asking for and receiving permission to undertake ‘aquatic treatments’ using either Tribune or Harpoon. These are chemical herbicides and they poison birds!!!! At the moment, A Place Called Hope, has raptors in its care because of these treatments.

In Jacksonville, crews have been up doing maintenance on the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam. The presence of humans on ‘his’ nest brought Samson out from the trees and onto the nest yesterday. Wow. What a wonderful treat. Samson remains in the area and does not migrate while Gabby leaves early to travel north to cooler weather. Ironically – and sadly – this year it has been as hot in Ithaca, New York as it has been in Florida.

All three of the fledglings at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest were present yesterday. Poor White YW. Tiny Little Bob almost ripped his leg off trying to get at a fish delivery. Tiny Little! To steady himself, White YW had to put his talon on Tiny Little’s head. Gracious. It ended OK – no bird was injured.

For some reason all of the fledglings have been coming to the nest for fish. One will get the fish from dad, one will stalk that sibling, then they will get it and then White YW will arrive with another fish and confuse the entire situation. It is really quite hilarious. The fledglings are as big (or bigger) than Dad! You can watch them here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

Oh, wow. Tiny Little just snagged a fish from sibling 462. Fantastic.

Tiny Little is a ‘scrapper’ just like Tiny Tot. They both learned ‘street smarts’ to survive. Well done, Tiny Little! It was not that long ago that Tiny Little was shy. Her aggression will help keep her alive in the future.

News Flash. The female companion of Bucacek on the Mlade Buky White Stork nest in Czechoslovakia has been named Marketa.

Everyone reading my newsletter loves birds and animals or you wouldn’t be here. I was sent a delightful story – a view of rewilding through the eyes of a deer. Since we have so many deer in our city that have been displaced for ever more condominiums and roads, it really struck home to me. Perhaps you would enjoy reading it, too. Here is the link to ‘Rewilding is a Two Way Street. A letter from your neighborhood deer’.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/essay-wildlife-rewilding-is-a-two-way-street/print_view

Whew. That was a long newsletter. Sorry. Thank you so much for joining me. Send warm wishes to all the birds – for food and for the storks to survive as they travel from northern Europe to Africa. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Reserve, Glacier Gardens Park in Juneau, Latvian Fund for Nature, WBSE Sea Eagle Nest, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Late Wednesday and early Thursday nest check in

Kindness, the Bald Eagle nestling in the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest in Juneau, Alaska is 70 days old today (5 August). Bald Eagles are considered fully grown at 12 weeks. The average age of fledging on the Glacier Gardens nest is 89 days while the rest of Alaska is 80 days. Kindness had a quiet Thursday. It was misting rain. Mid-afternoon Dad brought Kindness a small live fish. She ate it all!

Kindness is very good at mantling.

Kindness was fascinated by the flopping of the tail of the live fish.

She is growing into such a beautiful juvenile.

Kindness is such a sweet little Eaglet.

You can watch her here:

The little osprey nestling, Malin, on the Collins Marsh Nature Cam, had at least five feedings on Wednesday. A big shout out to ‘S’ in Hawaii for counting those feedings! Malin’s tail and wing features are looking so much better.

It was nice to see Malin with a bit of a crop early Wednesday afternoon. Those feathers are really developing and that girl loves to use her eye liner. Can’t wait to see what Malin looks like when she has all of her juvenile plumage.

Malin’s crop got bigger. So happy to see this. When Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest needed food to really grow and begin to catch up, it arrived. Everyone’s warm wishes must be working for Malin! I do hope she grows feathers back over that shiny crop. I don’t think I have ever seen that in an Osprey chick, have you?

Malin is becoming quite the character. She is so happy when mom is on the nest. I wish I could sit in that yoga position like Malin does!

The Collins Marsh Osprey Cam is here:

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, it is all about the feedings. Unlike Kindness who eats more and requires less feedings, these little nestlings require lots of feedings with fewer bites. Lady and Dad have both been taking turns feeding and brooding. Lady does do all of the night time brooding. 27 and 28 can melt your heart. I have been told the bonking is minimal.

27 is 7 days old and 28 is 5 days old. These two are really sweet.

Lady just adores these little ones. She is so happy to be a mom again.

You can catch all of the action at the WBSE Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park here:

Hob Osterlund reports that Amazonia, the last of the Laysan Albatross Colony to hatch, fledged sometime between Monday and Tuesday off Kauai. For me, there are always a few tears when the birds fledge but no more so than for the Albatross who spend 4-6 years at sea before ever returning to land. What a leap of faith that first flight brings and how astounding it must be to fly. Take care H958. We hope to see you in Kauai in a few years with your sea legs on.

@ Hob Osterlund

There is troubling brewing down in Orange, Australia. Xavier and Diamond have been preparing the scrape box for the 2021 season. Izzi was officially 10 months old yesterday. There was a confrontation in the scrape box with Xavier. Neither bird was injured but it was Xavier that left the box. Most people feel that Xavier and Diamond will now have to treat Izzi like any other intruder – unless, of course, he wants to join in raising his siblings. It has happened – actually worked well – in the UK. We wait and watch.

Cilla Kinross posted a very short video of the unfortunate encounter:

It is a new day in the scrape box. Xavier arrives with a male Red-rumped Parrot as a food gift for Diamond around 11:20. He calls Diamond and she quickly arrives accepting the gift and fleeing the scrape box. Xavier waits and leaves after. This is good. I did not see anything of Izzi!

Diamond must have been so happy that Xavier brought a parrot than a Starling!

She grabs it quickly and goes out to enjoy her meal.

Here is the link to the camera for the Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University:

The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge laid her first egg of the 2021 season two days ago. Today should be egg#2. It wasn’t there at 12:32 on August 5 (nest time) but Mum looked restless and uncomfortable.

Still only one egg. Old timers tell me that there can be 4 days between eggs.

The 2018 hatch, Calypso, has been seen hunting just north of the barge. She was the first Osprey banded for a long, long time in Australia. She stays within 10 km of the barge – a real difference from Solly who remains up near Eba Anchorage, more than 200 km away.

Those beautiful Black Stork nestlings are doing very well. Everyone worries because these lovely nestlings hatched so very late. It is hoped their parents will stay with them and not leave for migrate before they can fly.

My friend in Latvia, ‘S’, also included a video that was made showing how the nest looked after last year’s season was ending. Wow, that nest is really narrow at the base. Have a peek!

The light in the forest changes throughout the day. There has been lovely misty rain in the early mornings with the sun bursting through later in the day. I must rewind the streaming cam today to find the parents returning to this nest to feed this trio.

There is still plenty of time before these beauties fledge. You can watch this rare Black Stork nest in Latvia of Grafs And Grafiene here:

Thank you so much for checking in with our birds today. It looks like everyone is doing fine except for Xavier and Izzi. We hope that is sorted and Izzi, the little cutie pie that no one wants to leave, is on his way to start his journey and find a mate! Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: The Latvian Fund for Nature, the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia and the Sydney Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange, and to Hob Osterlund for the photo of Amazonia on her FB page.

Happenings in Bird World 2 August 2021

It is a gorgeous day on the Canadian Prairies. The extreme heat of the past has dissipated and the sun is shining. There is no wind, every leaf is still. The only thing moving in the garden are the little songbirds waiting for the feeders to be filled. No wind means there is no smoke from the wildfires farther north. It is a nice change. We are all hoping for big downpours and, if the weather report is correct, that will come at the weekend.

A serious lump came in my throat this morning when I went to check on Tiny Little at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. No one was there this morning (nest time) and now the crows are picking at the nest. Normally, at this time of day, Tiny Little would be on the nest waiting for a fish drop. There appear to be no birds in the parent tree in the background. The Crows are a reminder that the days of seeing our Ospreys are precious ones.

I returned to the Foulshaw Moss nest several times. The last visit revealed Blue 464 – the first of White YW and Blue 35’s chicks to fledge – on the nest food calling. You could see the shadow of another bird on the camera at times.

There are some ‘late’ nests and some just starting in case you are having empty nest syndrome.

One of those nests is at the Collins Marsh Nature Centre in Wisconsin. So as not to confuse everyone, the constant watchers got together. Each felt the chick needed a name, even if it was just for us. ‘S’ from Hawaii suggested Malin which means ‘strong little warrior.’ It fit perfectly for this small chick. Voted for unanimously amongst our small but caring group! So from now on I will refer to him or her as Malin, just so you know.

The female was not on the Collins Marsh nest when I checked. She is absent for long periods of time. I want to think she is fishing and will be back to feed Malin or she is just resting. The male has made a fish delivery. This time it is headless. Malin is confused because Dad will not ever do any feeding. Malin is standing and walking much better than last week but he still wants to be fed by the adult.

Malin continues to try and get the male to feed him the fish but it is not happening!

Once Malin realized that he was being left to fiend for himself, he started self-feeding on the fish. Because this one is headless, Malin is making much better progress. This little one is trying very hard.

There is a concern about the feather growth of Malin. Unfortunately, the camera is not clear. Yesterday, ‘S’ took some screen shots that indicated some wing feathers near the tips could be missing. If you look carefully at the image below, you can see the green grass through both wings clearly. This could be a serious concern for this young bird.

Thinking about Malin’s development, a search through the FB pages of the nature centre indicates that three chicks hatched on this nest on 16, 18, and 20 of June. Historically, the smallest – the third – has died on this nest with the exception of one year. This year Malin is the only one to survive leaving us to believe that he was either the first or second hatch. That would mean that he is either 46 or 44 days old. From Osprey development charts, it appears that Malin is about two weeks behind the average in growth. This is most likely due to the low food deliveries.

Maris Strazds, from the Institute of Biology at the University of Latvia states that the availability of food determines the dates of fledging and also that the survival rate of chicks is better if they spend more time on the nest after fledging. Strazds is speaking specifically about storks but this is also known to be true in hawks and falcons and I would like to think that it also extends to Ospreys and Bald Eagles.

While the feather growth is being monitored by the Wisconsin DNR Biologist and a concerned Wildlife Rehabber of the area, access to the nest is a problem. The nest is situated on top of a wildlife tower that was moved to this site so that people could climb the stairs and view the countryside. Here is a close up view. It appears that a metal roof with a peak was fabricated to fit on top of the flat roofed water tower.

In this image the nest looks quite deep. This image was taken several years ago and it seems that the nest has been reduced in size – perhaps by strong winds. Photographic comparison of the nest cup now with the chick and a couple of years ago also indicates a loss of nesting material, perhaps substantial amounts, missing.

It is difficult to determine if there is a wooden support under the twigs. If you look at the images of the nest with Malik (above) it appears that there is something ‘square’ underneath a couple of layers of twigs.

My concern is that if the feather development on Malin is problematic, there is no emergency access to the nest from the observation box. In other newsletters I have indicated that there should be a means to access the nest without compromising the safety of the individuals trying to help the birds.

There is only one operational White-Bellied Sea Eagle cam in the world. It is at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park and the excitement there is just beginning. These two little ones, 27 and 28, appear to be getting along without food competition. Of course that can change but there has been plenty of Catfish Eels (or is it Eel Catfish?) on the nest.

Right now the sea eagles are sleeping. One little babe can be seen sleeping on Lady’s leg.

You can access this streaming cam here:

Tomorrow I will give you some information on other nests in Australia including two Peregrine Falcon streaming cams.

If it is Bald Eagles you love then the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest in Juneau, Alaska is not to be missed. Kindness is such a little sweetheart. Liberty and Freedom are helping her by trying to get her self-feeding skills honed. The eagles fledge later in Alaska because they are bigger in size than the ones hatching in the Southern US who are already off the nest. At Glacier Gardens, the average fledge is 89 days after hatch while the rest of Alaska is 80 days on average.

‘L’ also sent me the link to an Osprey nest that she has just discovered. The chick hatched on 23 June. It is a real little sweetheart ——- and the camera definition is excellent!

It is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Osprey Nest. There is only one surviving chick. The other perished on 26 June; the cause is not clear. This chick looks extremely healthy. The nest is on top of a platform at the University of Minnesota. Enjoy!

Because so many of you love storks, I want to mention two that my friend, ‘S’ in Latvia says are very special. One nest is in Latvia and the other is in Estonia.

The Black Stork nest in Latvia is very special. The birds are listed as critically endangered and it is rare to see them in Latvia even though the White Stork population is healthy. The male is Grafs. ‘S’ explains to me that the nest is late because Grafs was a bachelor and waited a very long time for his mate, Grafiene, to arrive. The three storklings hatched on 12, 14, and 15 of June. There are many challenges for this couple and their trio. The first is the late hatching date and the worry about whether or not the parents will remain with the storklings until they are developed and strong enough for migration. The storklings will be ready for fledging in 20 or more days. That puts it at the third week of August. As we know, storks are already gathering for their migration so watchers can only wait and hope and take the beauty of this nest a day at a time – as we always do with other nests. The second concern has been the dangerous heat that has hit nests all around the world causing a drop in prey delivery. The third is the nest itself. It appears to be unsafe despite the fact that other stork couples have fledged chicks in previous years.

I want to add that the chicks are very healthy – they are doing so well so I want all of us to be optimistic. This year I have seen miracles happen on nests – I only have to look at Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest and Tiny Little on Foulshaw Moss to know that positive things can happen if we all send warm wishes. Even the turning of the deadly storm cells away from the nest at Collins Marsh was another of those miracles or the safe return of the male at the Barnegat Light Osprey Nest in NJ after being missing for a day due to that same weather system. So, we wait, watch, and hope.

You can watch this beautiful nest here:

It is raining today on the nest. Oh, how I wish the beautiful storklings could send some of that moisture to Canada!

There is also a forum in English for this nest where you can go back and see the long history and discuss the nest. You can access it at

The second Black Stork nest is actually in Estonia. As in Latvia, Black Storks are loved in Estonia and are rare.

It is also raining at this nest today, too.

The parents are Jan and Janika. The nest is very stable so there are no worries with the structure. But because of the horrific heat that has impacted all nests, food deliveries have sometimes been problematic. Janika, like the mother on the Collins Marsh Osprey nest also disappears for long periods. These storklings will also have a challenge to be flight ready for when the migration begins. Again, we can watch with wonder at these extraordinary birds but we must be aware of some of the challenges that birds encounter. Life is not easy.

There is also a forum for this nest. It is here:

I really want to thank ‘S’ for bringing these two Black Stork nests to my attention plus sending me all of the information about them. They are such beautiful and rare birds and it is a real privilege to see them hatch, grow and learn, and then begin their journeys. In addition, I want to thank ‘L’ for sending the information on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Ospreys and ‘S’ for finding all the images of the tower at Collins Marsh and the Nest and the great name for the Collins Marsh chick – Malin.

And I want to thank you for joining me today. It is always a pleasure to have you here with all the other bird lovers around the world. Stay safe everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Eagle Club of Estonia, Latvian Fund for Nature, Collins Marsh Nature Center, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Osprey Cam.

Oh, Tiny Little…and other tales

More rain has come to the Canadian prairies and that is good. There are wonderful things happening at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, too.

Earlier today 462 was eating on the flounder that came in. Tiny Little wants some and she is doing her usual wing flaps and playing with sticks, even pulling on the tail of the live fish to get at it. What a character. The two older siblings have become very tolerant of the ‘little one’ that isn’t so little!

It is Tiny’s usual look towards the tail before getting back there and pulling on it. Gosh, these birds are gorgeous.

Tiny Little has been moving sticks getting back by the tail and pretending to give it an accidental yank once in awhile. Too funny.

Tiny Little takes over from 462 eating the fish. 462 flies off the nest and 464 is quietly waits in the wings.

Tiny Little is really doing a great job of that self-feeding. She has been working on that flounder for quite awhile.

White YW flies in and delivers another flounder to 464 who begins mantling and telling the parent how happy they are.

Of course, 462 sees all the action on the nest and decides to come and check it out. They don’t want to miss anything — especially a parent on the nest to feed them. Yes, even the older ones love to still be fed by mum. But mum is not doing it. This is tough love Osprey style.

Tiny Little will not be distracted! And 464 is holding on to its flounder as best it can. Gosh those heads are hard to open. Wonder if 462 will get this one later?

These kiddos are pretty polite. I am glad that White 35 has stopped rushing in to feed Tiny Little. That might sound cruel but TL needs to become really good at self-feeding to survive. These are terrific parents. 462 has eaten earlier and both TL and 464 along with 462 will have nice full tummies for nite-nite.

Earlier Tiny Little did some great hovering.

After Tiny Little finished all of the flounder she could eat, White 35 flew in quickly and took it to the parent tree. Those adults have to be watching everything these kids do – like a hawk! The removal of the fish inspired Tiny Little to do more great hovering. I thought she was gone! If not, tomorrow. Tiny Little is now inspired to self-feed and fly. The confidence is really growing.

Tiny Little also seemed to enjoy the hovering and looking down – the fear from earlier days seems to have dissipated.

I just checked and 464 is still working on its flounder. Tiny Little is staring 464 down and 462 is simply waiting. These three are so funny. Did I tell you that 462 actually fed Tiny Little some bites earlier she begged so much!? And if I told you twice, laugh twice. That is just a hoot.

No one is rushing 464 anymore. Tiny Little and 462 have decided to become ducklings and wait!

There is a lot of worry about the Collins Marsh Reservoir Osprey Nest in Wisconsin. It is hot there. They are now experiencing some of that relentless heat that hit the Pacific NW a couple of weeks ago and the Canadian Prairies last week. It is close to 45 degrees in the nest. That could easily account for the deaths of the other two chicks. The little one was fed at sometime. I rewound the tape. I could not see the mother protecting that chick from the sun. I really hope that this is not another Electra-Wattsworth scenario! There are some Osprey parents that are ‘the greats’ – Monty and his mates Nora and Glesni, Blue 33 and Maya are up in the super strata. There are others who are normal average and some who, are not good parents. Maybe they came from a nest where food was not brought in regularly. Who knows what is the difference. Some of us believe it is good DNA. The Cowlitz nest is an example of a nest that is not that good. If taking care of your family and fledging chicks who survive migration and return to breed is the measure, Cowlitz fails. Sadly, we cannot expect every nest to be like that of Blue 33 at Rutland. Maya and Blue even fledged a nest of four chicks in 2018. Some of the others can hardly keep up with two. Still. we all want to help if we can.

There have been any number of questions about intervention to save the chick at Collins Marsh. At the present time the archaic laws of the US – those of 1948 – do not allow for interventions unless it is something clearly caused by humans. Think monofilament line in the nest. That said I will go over some interventions this year. In the early spring, the two eaglets of E17 and E18 on Harriet and M15s Bald Eagle Nest got conjunctivitis. There were probably more than a 1000 people who called in about the eaglets and their eyes. Action was taken. CROW retrieved the eaglets with the help of Joshua Tree and they were off the nest for 5 days. They returned well. Conjunctivitis is not caused by humans. At the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest, CROW removed a monofilament line. However, when the two eaglets ate a rat that was brought to the nest that had eaten rodenticide, the youngest died and the oldest lived until they were flapping and jumping and broke a blood feather and bled out on the nest. Help did not come for the eaglets when the first one looked ill. Citizen watchers warned of the rat on the nest but there was nothing happened. It was extremely frustrating. Both of the eaglets died. This was not the fault of CROW. You need action by the bodies that govern the nests. Lately a number of chicks have gone to foster parents which is also an intervention. A chick was rescued that fell into a river. That is an intervention. Laws are applied differently by different people. The laws need to be changed and brought up to date. There should also be laws against lead in hunting and fishing equipment and Minnesota is taking that on. Every state should ban the use of these because that lead is killing the birds or making them severely ill. Every day there are examples on the rehabbers sites. Hawaii just passed a law banning helium balloons because the albatross get entangled in them. Then there is the entire issue of rodenticide – which kills wildlife as well as domestic pets. Research shows that raptors kill more mice and rats than poison. Perhaps the answer is to begin at the State level with copies of appeal letters to the Under Secretary of State for the Department of the Interior.

I checked on Kindness and her dad had fed her and within fifteen minutes he was flying back in with more food for his little girl. It might seem lonely but there are benefits to being an only child on a great nest. Freedom and Liberty are fantastic parents at the Glacier Gardens nest. It is a wonder Kindness did not pop her crop today.

I have really watched Tiny Little closely today and just popped in to the other nests. The only other news I have is that the Albatross is still at the RSPB Bempton Cliffs in the East Riding of Yorkshire as reported by Sally White on the FB page. Maybe that Albatross isn’t lost. Perhaps they know something we don’t!

Thank you so much for joining me. Great progress has been made at the Foulshaw Moss. It is wonderful to see Tiny Little getting some confidence. Our rain has stopped but everything is green! It’s a good day. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Reservoir and Neustadter Nature Center, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, and Glaciers Gardens Bald Eagle cam.

Late Saturday and early Sunday 17-18 July in Bird World

If you have watched Kindness, the Bald Eagle nestling at Glacier Gardens, then you might have caught her nipping at her mum’s beak. It looks like she is trying to kiss mum. A couple of days ago a video was made showing Kindness interacting with her mum. My goodness, Kindness, you are lucky your mum is so patient! Have a look.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, it looks like the final touches have gone on the nest renovations. The egg cup is now lined with very soft pieces of bark. Mom decides to try it out!

Dad flies in with something else on his mind! No eggs yet but mating is taking place. Season will begin soon!

As we approach fledging at all of the Northern Hemisphere Osprey nests and migration in a month to six weeks, if you fear Osprey withdrawal, here is the link to this nest. Just a warning. This nest has had instances of siblicide in the past.

The Port Lincoln’s eldest chick from the 2020 season, a female named Solly, was fitted with a satellite tracker. Solly is 301 days old and she is still hanging out at Eba Anchorage and Kiffin Island. It sure seems that Solly has found her forever home at Eba Anchorage. For those of you unfamiliar, the movements of Solly changed what everyone understood about Ospreys in Australia. It was believed that ospreys stayed near to where their natal nest was located. Solly travelled over 200 km to Eba Anchorage and Perlubie giving the researchers fresh insights to the behaviour of these ospreys.

To my knowledge there has been no sighting of DEW, her younger brother. He did not receive a tracker but he did get a metal ring and a Darvic colour band.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus again this evening. How lucky she was to get some great images of Big Red with a squirrel down on the ground – and it wasn’t raining. (Send the rain to the Canadian Prairies when you get tired of it, Suzanne!).

It was wonderful to see Big Red with prey that she was going to eat herself. She needs to build up her strength after laying eggs, incubating those eggs, and feeding and caring for the three Ks until fledge. Even now she is doing some prey drops and is busy training the Ks to hunt.

Big Red with Squirrel. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The Robins were giving Big Red a lot of grief. Could it be because Arthur has been up at their nest eating their babies? Or the fact that K1 caught a bird today and it was rumoured to be a young Robin?

Robins being rather assertive around Big Red. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

Big Red and her squirrel also attracted another visitor – a Turkey Vulture!

Would you mind sharing asks the Turkey Vulture. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The pair also attracted a human who was said to have tried to interfere with the situation. Both of the birds were fine. Big Red was eating and the Turkey Vulture appeared to be waiting to see if she left anything.

One of the things that I have learned is that hunting is difficult and prey is not abundant always. Raptors can wait for hours, half a day, or even a day to catch prey to eat. It is estimated that only 1 out of 3 juveniles live to the age of two years – mostly due to starvation. Humans should not interfere when a raptor is eating. As a result of the human intrusion, Big Red chose to fly away from the human who was interfering. This also caused her to leave part of her meal. The vulture did eat the rest – so in the end everyone ate- but it was a situation that should never have happened. Remember if you see a hawk hunting or eating, please leave them alone. Finding their meal is not that easy.

Turkey Vulture at Cornell. @Suzanne Arnold Horning

The scientific name for the Turkey Vulture – Carthartes Aura – means ‘cleansing breeze’. They are scavengers, eating mainly carrion. They have dark espresso coloured feathers, red legs and head, with a white beak. Like the condor, there are no feathers on their head. This is a great evolutionary trait so that pieces of the dead do not stick to them causing disease or parasites. The Turkey Vulture’s sense of smell is so great that they can find a fresh killed animal a mile away! The only raptors larger than the Turkey Vultures are the Eagles and the Condors. What I find interesting is that they are the only raptor that cannot kill their own prey. They simply do not have the right talons to do this – their feet are more like that of a chicken. That said they can tear through really tough hides with their beak. In other words, the Turkey Vulture was never a threat to Big Red.

As I prepare to settle in for the night, Tiny Little is waking up. The early morning fog over the marsh is just starting to clear. You can see the parents, or siblings, or both back on the parent tree. Tiny Little is still sleeping like a duckling on the nest. Good Morning Tiny Little! Let’s get that gear box into forward today.

Tiny Little is also checking the nest for any little tidbits of leftover fish. And just like Tiny Tot he has found some lurking under those sticks.

Tiny Little was doing some prey calling and looking up in the sky. The morning fog doesn’t seem to be clearing. What a beautiful colour it is – that sort of golden pink gradually fading into the grey-blue-green. Lovely.

Update: Tiny Little had a huge breakfast. It is now mid-afternoon and Blue 462 is working on a fish that arrived. 464 is standing next to that fish and Tiny Little, 463, is ignoring it right now. She is probably still full enough from the morning not to bother. Unclear if Tiny Little has taken a second flight today. I stayed up waiting! But had to give in to being tired.

This is the image of the afternoon line up for a fish! 462 is eating, 464 is pretending to be Tiny Little and bugging his big sibling. Tiny Little is over at the side duckling style. Tiny Little is full from breakfast and knows that Mum will come to the rescue later if she gets hungry.

There is a beautiful peachy almost coral sky as the morning begins at the Poole Harbour Osprey nest. CJ7 and Blue 022 are roosting elsewhere.

Golden diamonds are falling on the nest of Blue 33 and Maya at Rutland Manton Bay. No one is home. They are all perched elsewhere. Blue 33 does make food drops at the nest for the two Bobs.

A little later, Blue 095 flies into the nest and settles down and then flies out again.

Blue 095

Oh, wow. Just look at that sun coming up over the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn in Wales. It is so bright you cannot see the perch!

A very short video of Ystwyth fledging at 7:59 am on 17 July is here:

It is serene up at The Loch of the Lowes. No one is home but it sounds like there is a fledgling on the camera perch.

What you don’t see here is that later, NC0 is on the nest, spots a fish, goes out and gets it, and gives it to LM2.

Early Morning at Loch of the Lowes. 18 July 2021

The only thing you can hear at Glaslyn are either bees or wasps on the microphone! Oh, it is so beautiful and green. It has been hot at this nest, 26-29 degrees C – and the birds are staying cool in the shade of the trees. Even with the heat the landscape looks so lush. What a gorgeous way to begin the day.

Early morning at Glaslyn. 18 July 2021

Thank you so much for joining me today. I so enjoy hearing from all of you. Stay safe! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Byrwd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, LRWT and the Manton Bay Ospreys. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln Osprey Research Project and the PLO FB page where I took a screen shot of Solly’s recent tracking. And last but never least, I would like to say a huge thank you to Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to use her images on my blog. She holds the copyright on them so please do not use elsewhere. Thank you.