When feather loss is nothing short of beautiful!

6 August 2022

I am up writing this short blog after midnight. The weather has turned agreeable in a place where I desperately want to go and check out the shorebirds. I am not an early morning person like so many of my birding friends who rejoice in getting out to see the latest arrivals before 0600. Tomorrow, however, I plan to leave early for me which means…I need to check on our feathered friends on line sooner! I am also awake because of the worry over Poole Harbour and the attack. How is the family?

First of all ——– let’s have a shout out and a drum, roll. Stephen Basly understands that we will not be 100% certain that the fledgling photographs contain Little Bit ND17 without a clear view of THE BALD PATCH. It is only now that I want to thank ND16 because this is complete proof that our Little Bit is flying and is doing well. It is nearly three weeks since Little Bit was released. He is definitely eating – whether or not he is catching some of his prey or having it delivered is not clear and — is now utterly irrelevant. What a relief…Thank you Stephen Basly for keeping an eye out for this amazing juvenile for all of us.

I had a question and it refers to Finnish Osprey nest #4 but, in fact, it applies to all Osprey nests post-fledge. The reader was worried that neither parent had shown up on the nest with UNA.

We are going to begin to see the nests being empty for a lot more time than when they are occupied now. It is always worrisome. We do not know if something has happened to the parents and/or the chicks. More often than not everything is good. It is a natural progression. The adults initially feed their fledglings on the nest. Sometimes both parents bring food to the nest for the chicks…we have also seen this at the stork nests with Karl II and Kaia both feeding their four and also with Bukacek and Betty. At some point, the adults might begin feeding the fledglings ‘off nest’. Big Red prefers, after the eyases fledge, to only feed them off the nest. She first feeds them on a flat roofed building called Rice directly across Tower Road from the nest. Sometimes she gives in to feeding on the nest and Arthur likes to sneak food there! At some point the female disengages from feeding the fledglings. Dad takes over completely allowing the female to bulk up her weight and add some fat before she begins her migration. The chicks will continue to be fed by Dad. Then they will feel the call to fly and they will start a journey to a place they have never seen which will become their forever winter home. The males leave last – only once they are assured the fledglings have all departed.

The #4 nest is mostly empty now. I have caught UNA there a few times but no prey deliveries. The chick appears fine and can fly quite well. It does not appear that there is any cause for worry.

The absence from the nest might also lie with the fact that a Goshawk attacked it. Just as you will see that the Ospreys at Poole Harbour are stressed about returning to the nest – and have not so far.

Daylight is just coming to the Poole Harbour nest.

No one slept on the nest last night. None of the family members have been seen on camera since the attack including Dad, Blue 022, and the other fledgling, 5H1.

Here are two stills from the attack on the Poole Harbour fledgling who is eating a fish on the nest. In the first one you will see CJ7’s head and her talons extending in front of her from the top left. The fledgling kind of melts into CJ7’s image. You can see the intruder (dark shape) also on the left – at 0900 on the nest.

In the image below, from left to right: the fledgling 5H2, the goshawk staring at the throat of the fledgling. The goshawk appears to have at least one leg and talons in the side of the nest. Some people have thought that it had its right talon in the wing of the fledgling. That is not really clear from the image. That right foot might also be caught in the rim of the nest pushing the primary feathers of the fledgling outward. CJ7 is on the far right. It is possible that she has one of the talons on the left food catching the goshawk’s wing. The talons of CJ7’s right foot seem to be embedded in tip of the goshawk’s wing – but this could just be the camera angle. This attack takes place in a couple of seconds – not even a minute. Was the goshawk successful? That really is unclear. Everyone went tumbling from the nest. It is very hard to wait to find out what has happened.

MORNING UPDATE FROM POOLE HARBOUR: The fledgling 5H2 was located alive with an injury to its flank. It has been taken into care. Blue 022 and CJ7 were located and they are alright. They are monitoring for 5H1. Here are the announcements:

The latest news.

Camera glitches when the chicks are near fledgling cause a lot of stress. Thankfully the camera on the Boathouse Osprey platform is once again working. The change in the three osplets is remarkable. Dory looks so tiny next to Schooner, Slapjack, and Sloop. ‘H’ has reminded me that they are 49, 48, and 46 days old today. We are nearing fledge watch.

Soo and the chicks at the Osoyoos nest have weathered another day – thankfully not such a hot one but others are coming. The chicks have been fed and also practiced some self-feeding. We are some days away from fledge.

Fish deliveries continue on a nice pace at the Fortis Exshaw nest. The parents have been going on and off the perch today. If you watch eagles, you will know that ‘branching’ is the first step to fledging. I wonder if the adults are showing the osplets the perch for the same reason?

While Mrs G is both a grandmother and a great-grandmother, Glaslyn was so happy to announce that Mrs G current mate is now a grandfather. His female chick of the 2018 season KS1 (middle chick) has fledged two chicks this year at the Bolton Estate in Yorkshire with her unringed mate. Well done! Here is the official announcement:

What the announcement does not tell you is that this is the first time since 1800 that osprey chicks have hatched at Bolton! 222 years. Incredible. They made the news with photos of the two grand chicks.

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/environment/first-osprey-chicks-recorded-in-yorkshire-since-1800-hatch-at-wensleydales-bolton-castle-estate-in-landowners-dream-come-true-3795431?fbclid=IwAR2AJF2zV0GGoz3xTLz8-TwEqV77gAznHdTfS7sdCz8ehFRoPeV3EoWSzOQ

If you are waiting for the banding of QT chick on Taiaroa Head, it will now take place Tuesday August 9 – Australian dates.

The Mispillion Harbour Ospreys have been given names. The adult female is Della and the adult male is Warren working its way into the state where the Osprey nest is located, Delaware. The two chicks are Bay (eldest) and River (youngest) representing the Bay and the inlet where the two chicks were raised this year. Super meaningful names. Thank you ‘H’ for always going the extra mile to get this nest noticed – and the family loved.

Next year, ‘H’ is going to start a Facebook group for this wonderful Osprey family. So everyone remembers this nest – the Mum loves yellow! ‘H’ has dressed them up.

While Lindsay was resting on the ledge of The Campanile she had a visitor – Alden! Oh, how precious. Be sure to also check out moon_rabbit-rising Instagram’s account for recent photos of Annie hunting in the area.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Like so many of You I stayed up waiting for news of Poole Harbour. Wishing 5H2 a quick recovery! I am heading off to areas west to check on shore birds. I hope to have my regular report on Sunday. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam, Tweets, or FB postings where I took my screen captures: Mispillion Harbour Ospreys and ‘H’, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Notre Dame Eagles, Fortis Exshaw, Osoyoos Ospreys, Audubon Explore, Birds of Poole Harbour, Finnish Osprey Foundation, and Cal Falcons.

Goshawk attacks Poole Harbour osprey fledgling

5 August 2022

CJ7and Blue 022with 5H1 and 5H2 on 23 July 2022

Goshawks seem to wait until the osplets have nearly fledged or fledged to attack the nest. We saw this at nest #4 when Nuppu’s osplet who had yet to fledge was knocked off the nest and is presumed to be predated. We saw Goshawk attacks last year ending in the death of some adult ospreys and older chicks.

CJ7 and Blue 022 made history in Poole Harbour first by laying eggs, then hatching, and then fledgling two beautiful Ospreys – 5H1 and 5H2. Everything seemed to be going well.

Then the Goshawk attacked the nest a few minutes ago. CJ7 was perched on a nearby tree and flew in to engage the hawk intend on taking one of her chicks who was feeding on the nest. The fate of the chick, 5H2, remains unknown as I write this as does the fate of CJ7. It appears – in slomotion – that CJ7 had her talon in the goshawk and the hawk had its talon in 5H2. The nest is empty. It is hoped that they were able to get free and fly away safely.

Here is the amount of time it took to disrupt this nest by the predator. You absolutely can’t blink it is that quick. It began at 20:12:40.

Someone on chat asked who would win the fight. Unfortunately the Ospreys talons are not made for fighting but I am certain -since CJ7 waited so long to have a family -that she will fight viscously. We wait and hope.

Birds of Pool Harbour are on site and checking the situation. It is dark and there is not word on the Ospreys.


In other news, ‘H’ sent me a note that the camera at the Boathouse Ospreys is now working again. Thanks ‘H’.

Early Tuesday in Bird World

26 April 2022

Monday the 25th: It is going to be a long nite for the eaglet, TH1, of Chase and Cholyn. The eaglet attached itself to Cholyn’s talons around 14:35 on Monday and fell – thankfully not directly into the sea but, luckily onto a tiny ledge on the cliff face. Dr. Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies is looking for someone to help him rescue the eaglet in the morning. It just needs to hold on. How easy this is to do is unknown to me. The ledge is not wide. It will also be a long night for all those worried for the eaglet. It is, however, in the best hands that any eaglet could have. Dr Sharpe will do anything for the birds that is in his power.

The wee one lasted through the night. Let us all send positive energy to help it hang on and not tire out until Dr Sharpe and his volunteer can reach it and do the rescue.

The eaglet is on the ledge directly above the word ‘Institute’.

The three at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta are fine. The chick that is clinging to the cliff is Chase and Cholyn’s at Two Harbours.

It has, indeed, been a long three weeks that awakens us to all of the perils that our feathered friends face. Grinnell, the male at The Campanile scrape and mate of Annie, was killed within a mile of home probably chasing an intruder, a juvenile female. The three Denton Homes eaglets most likely died of H5N1 on the 23rd.

iThe male adult has returned to the nest and is roosting on a branch above the remains of two of the nestlings. He looks to be in good health. The female consumed one of the carcasses. It is hoped that it has done her no harm.

Little Bit at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest died from starvation induced by siblicide sometime between 18:32 on the 24th and the morning of the 25th. Little or MiniO fledged or was fludged by wind gusts at Captiva on the 23rd and has not been seen since. The biological chick at the Pink Shell Osprey nest died from siblicide brought on by the addition of a larger foster chick to the nest. The third hatch at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest is small with two big siblings and is being (sometimes) kept from eating even when food remains on the nest (I have not included this nest in my blog). Siblicide is perhaps more widespread than is recognized. The list goes on and on with many, many more eagles, geese, ducks, hawks, and falcons dying daily of H5N1. It is easy to feel completely helpless.

We cannot, however, become complacent. First, we have to savour the good moments and appreciate the birds that are alive and we owe it to them and their children to create a better place. Each of us in our way can help. Perhaps you can help by getting barbless hooks mandated or if you know a fishing friend or family member, ask them to cut the barbs off. When I lived in England no one used barbed hooks. It really does help the fish from enduring pain and suffering. Organize a clean up – get some gloves or a picker and set out to clean up all the pandemic masks that have been tossed at a local park or in your neighbourhood. Remember we should cut the ear loops. Lobby in any way you can the use of lead in hunting and fishing equipment. Make it known how dangerous rodenticide is to domestic pets and raptors – get it banned. Find accurate information about the Avian Flu and how it is spreading. Consider eating less meat or eating locally raised chickens, etc as opposed to factory farmed ones. If you can afford it, drink certified bird friendly coffee. Feed the birds. Plant bird and insect friendly plants in your garden. Keep the cats indoors. The list is endless.

I have not brought recent news from some of the European nests so I want to do a hop and skip through many of them while I am waiting for tomorrow.

The White Storks at the nest in Armenia have at least four little storklets so far.

Here is the link to the camera:

Two things about this nest. There is some plastic sheeting that has been brought in that makes it difficult to see the storklets. Secondly, if it turns out that 7 or 8 storklets hatch or even 4 or 5 and the parents do not feel that they can adequately feed them based on the current availability of food, they do not let them have a prolonged starvation on the nest like Little Bit had to endure (along with the physical trauma that little osplet went through). No, the adult storks will pick out the weakest and drop them off the side of the nest. Death is instant. It often traumatizes viewers but, what is more traumatic? a chick being physically beaked, plucked, thrown about and starved for days? or this? I pick the stork method.

The RSPB has its first Goshaw streaming cam in Scotland. Hatch watch is the 23rd of May. Today, while the female was incubating her eggs, a Buzzard attacked the nest. It lasted less than 17 seconds.

Goshawks are beautiful creatures that live a rather solitary life in the forest. They are large hawks with rounded wings and a banded tail. The eyes of the adults are red. Their bluish slate coloured plumage is gorgeous; they have a dark crown. There is a bit of a white band and then a dark band extending from the beak through the eye to the back of the neck. No doubt this helps with glare when hunting. The raptors are quick often luring their prey into the forest.

The Goshawk returned to its nest after ridding its territory of the Buzzard.

Here is the link to this new RSPB nest.

Are you fans of Idris and Telyn at the Dyfi nest? Telyn has just broke the nest record for the laying of eggs! I adore this couple. In the past five years she has laid three eggs each season for a total of 15 eggs from 2018-2022. The previous record holder was Glesni who laid 13 eggs in a five year period.

At the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G, Mrs G has now laid her 60th egg. That is going to be a record very hard to beat. Mrs G is incubating and Aran is on the perch.

Mum and Dad have been coming and going to the barge at Port Lincoln.

I have not seen any mention of any Ervie visits lately. His tracking from the 25th of April shows him traveling to the marina and to an area known as Delamere.

It would seem that Ervie has found a very good area to fish and roost. So nice to know that he is alive and doing well.

There has been no more discussion at the Cornell Bird Lab about the pip in the 4th egg. Perhaps it did not make it. The three Ls are doing great and Big Red will not have to deal with trying to get four wee ones under her if the weather gets poorly.

These three are utterly adorable.

Send all good energy over to Two Harbours for strength for the little one and a quick rescue! Here is a link to that camera in case you do not have it.

One last thing before I go. If you go where there are ducks and geese – as at a park – please understand that the Avian Flu can be spread by both footwear and car tires. While this might pertain to factory farming of chicks where delivery trucks and workers go in and out, it is very appropriate to try and help. H5N1 is spread through feces and mouth droolings (or so I am told). It is now in the far western province of Canada where free range chickens have been dying off.

Take care everyone. I hope to be able to bring wonderful news about the West End nest soon. It is nice to have you here with us – with the good news as well as the challenging.

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors this morning. I have had to write this in a bit of a rush this morning.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures and video clip: RSPB Goshaw Nest, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Explore.org, Denton Homes, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, and NABU.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

13 April 2022

The snow on the Canadian Prairies arrived later than expected – around 07:45 in my garden this morning. The wind roared and the snow blew and then, around 15:30 it calmed. We have been told that there will be several calm periods with rain and snow arriving again later tonight. The 27 European Starlings came. The woodpecker arrived for suet. Tens of dozens of Sparrows and seriously, I am not exaggerating, 350 Dark eyed-Juncos. We continued to clear paths on the deck and pour a line of millet and sunflower seeds – about 30 feet long – several times today. Everyone ate there or at the seed and suet cylinders and feeders. It felt good to help them. Many are arriving or returning to eat now that the snow has stopped. We received about 55 cm of snow. Thankfully the old snow had all melted. The whole of western Canada can use the moisture. We have had droughts for 4-5 summers. I hope that this lessens the wildfires during the summer.

The UFlorida Gainesville Osprey Nest was on ‘S’s list of top ten osprey nests to watch. I must find out more about this family from her. My interest is, of course, the fact that there are three little ones and how well this wee osplet can manage against the older siblings.

Little Bob at the UFlorida Gainesville campus Osprey nest is doing fine. He is growing. They all scramble about in the nest bowl and I really dislike the camera they are using but…all that matters is that he is doing well.

There is Little Bob on the far left.

The chicks at the Captiva Osprey nest are almost ready to fledge. They love to self-feed but, Lena being the great Mum that she is prefers to do it so that both get fish. Keeping it fair. I love it. Here are some images from today.

Chicks watching, totally focused. Such beautiful birds.

Lots of flapping. Look at those long legs! This osplet wants to compete with Idris at the Dyfi Nest for the nickname, ‘Daddy Longlegs’.

Those legs of Middle sure look a lot longer than Mum’s! Little continues to love looking out over the side of the nest rim.

Another nest on ‘S’s list is the osprey nest on the Narrow (Pettaquamscutt) River. Here is a view of the nest. No occupants yet! And a link to their camera in case you want to check later.

The Ferris State University Ospreys are also on ‘S’s list and there is an osprey on the nest but no eggs yet! The couple have been working on getting the nest in good shape.

Here is another view of the nest at Ferris State University in Michigan.

This is the link to their camera: https://osprey.ferris.edu/

In the UK, Louis has decided that he likes the nest that he shared with Aila better than the nest he had with Dorcha last year. As a result, Louis has convinced Dorcha to change nests. This is very interesting behaviour. It is such a gorgeous nest. Louis seems, by the move, to have accepted that Aila will not be returning. This will be her second season not to return from migration. Louis and Aila were an incredible pair. I am looking forward to watching Louis with his new mate this season.

The couple are settling in doing what Ospreys do when breeding season hits!

Dorcha is very dark and quite stunning. She reminds me of Mrs G at the Glaslyn nest.

Beautiful Iris has been on the perch and sitting in the nest today. It is a good place to get out of the wind. Gosh, she is gorgeous. Louis has, of course. been around doing what Louis does.

There always seems to be a train going through Missoula, Montana behind Iris!

Iris has a fantastic nest. In her time with Stanley she was a magnificent mother. No doubt, as I often say, she has earned the right to let Louis do his thing, lay the eggs, let the Crows get them, and then relax for the rest of the summer.

They are not friends to the Ospreys but, Northern Goshawks are incredibly beautiful medium to large-sized hawks. There are rare in my province. Those that live or breed head to the dense northern forests in the north. The adults have red eyes with a dark crown (the eye colour changes as they age). Their plumage is a gorgeous blue-grey slate colour with streaks on their pale breast and belly. They are known for grabbing chickens in farmer’s enclosures, rabbits, squirrels of all varieties, grouse, and Rock Doves. They have been known to lure Ospreys into the forest to kill them and to take their chicks- a sadddness which happened at the nest in Finland last year.

The numbers of nesting pairs has dropped considerably when there were 1000 couples to today when there are only between 400-600 pairs.

The images below are from a nest near Riga in Estonia.

This is some very interesting information about this nest and the hawk couple from Looduskalender:

“The nest of goshawks in this location in Riga has been known since 2016 – it is believed that the breeding couple moved here from another nest about 600 metres away. In the immediate vicinity of the nest there are both industrial objects, the sounds of which can often be heard, and private houses. The tree of the nest is located in a small wet area overgrown with weeds and shrubs. The nest is built in a black alder, which grows on the edge of a ditch. The goshawk has built his dwelling on the remains of a crow’s nest. The metal wires twisted in the nest still evidence that the crow was a supporter of durable building materials.

The nest was controlled during this time and the nestlings were ringed in it. This couple, and especially the female, is known among the ornithologists for their special character – she tends to behave particularly aggressively and attack people when they are just approaching the nest. On the other hand, birds are accustomed to people and equipment operating behind the fence in the nearby industrial facility and do not pay attention to them. Interestingly, at the time the female laid her first egg, very close, about 50 m from the nest, a crow couple were building their own nest. Crows are a common food item for Goshawks, but it happens that hawks do not touch other nesting birds near their nest, and they make use of this safety zone.”

This is the link to this Goshawk nest:

Mum is on the ropes at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge this morning in Australia. I wonder if Ervie will come and visit again today making it three days in a row? It is always reassuring and such joy when he visits.

Please help select the name for Annie’s new mate. He deserves a super name and Cal Falcons have narrowed the field down for you to select the finalist. (Go to the link for the names and their associations with UC-Berkeley)

This is just a quick glance at some new nests and a check in on the UFlorida triplets. Both of the eaglets, Jasper and Rocket, have now branched at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest. Avian flu continues to be a concern in many areas in the US and Canada.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, UFlorida Ospreys, Captiva Ospreys an Window on Wildlife, Angel, Twitch, Woodland Trust, Montana Osprey Project, RMC, Narrow River Ospreys, Ferris State University, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.