Sadness at Captiva … and other Bird World News

15 March 2022

There are so many things happening in Bird World that it is impossible to keep up with the nests. There are also so many nests that have not even been mentioned in my blog. I will try to cover a few different ones, once in awhile. Hopefully you will discover something different and interesting. But I have to start with some sadness that could potentially grow to the entire nest.

This morning it was discovered that one of the three chicks on the Captiva Osprey nest has died. It is not clear which one it is yet as I write. Lori has asked permission to go to the nest and have the body removed so that it can be tested.

All of the chicks were alive at 07:43.

A fish came in and Little who had been up moving sticks was eating.

From what I can tell, it is the Middle chick that I have been calling Middle Bob that has passed. He did not come up to eat as quickly as the others but did try to feed at 08:33.

Andy came in with sea grass to cover the body of his baby.

How sad this is for these two lovely Osprey parents. They will not know what happened to what appeared to be a fully healthy chick. These two have tried so hard and lost chicks to Ravens but to have one die mysteriously is so tragic. My thoughts go out to Andy and Lena. I hope that this is not the avian flu and that Big and Little will be fine and fledge.

However, if this happens to be H5N1 the highly pathogenic avian flu all of these beautiful osplets could perish. We wait to see.

CROW has been given permission to remove the body and is on high alert over Avian Flu. Permission still needs to come from the USFW service. This is such a sad day. Condolences go out to everyone at Captiva who worked so hard towards a successful nest for Andy and Lena this year.

I will admit to not being happy when the Great-Horned Owls took over the Savannah Skidaway Island Osprey Nest. Not happy. The female hatched one chick that is affectionately known as ‘Little Grey’. I have to admit that wee one is cute and is always so happy when the Mum appears on the nest. It will go running for a cuddle. Here is a video of the Mum bringing a Barred Owl to the nest for lunch. Watch Little Grey when it sees its Mum and runs to her. Enjoy!

Some of you will remember that I wrote about Isabella Tree’s book Rewilding and the move at Knepp Farm in Surrey to turn away from modern agriculture practices and return their farm into a place where nature thrives on its own accord. They have set up the only streaming cam for White Storks in the UK. The birds are not always on the nest so be patient. I am hoping to see some eggs soon! You can find this new streaming cam here:

https://www.whitestorkproject.org/live?fbclid=IwAR38_Hoj5djOymLqdGX8cCltvtfkrkMYCf1nFplBFLC6bK-aoH6izrZyquA

Are you a fan of the Dulles Greenway Eagles in Virginia? The nest is located in a wetland area. The first egg was laid on 1 February with the second on 4 February. Egg 1 hatched on 13 March at 08:18.

Oh, this little one is a real cutie pie.

Rosa is feeding the wee one some duck. What a beautiful nest.

There is no history of this couple at the nest. They arrive in 2021 and the information on the streaming cam suggests that Rosa is a first time mother this year. Whatever, congratulations Rosa and Martin on hatch 1! Hatch 2 should be happening soon.

Here is the link to their cam:

Normally Maya and Blue 33 are the first Ospreys back in the UK. To go along with that they usually arrive within half an hour of one another. The first this year was Laddie LM12 at Loch of the Lowes but, the second was Maya! She arrived officially on 15 March, today.

She is in remarkably good shape and begins immediately to work on her nest!

There is another female working with some fairly large sticks, too, and that is Rosie of Rosie and Richmond Osprey nest at the SF Bay Whirley Crane. The Ravens removed all of the twigs from their nest over the winter so there is a log of work today in California. Maya is a little luckier.

I started this blog last evening and to find one of the chicks at Captiva is dead is quite overwhelming. They were so healthy. It is not good to speculate what happened. There could be a number of causes. We normally think of birds having to come in contact with a sick bird or its feces. The chicks have only eaten fish. But, still, everyone is on high alert as this is a very contagious disease. Sadly, Andy or Lena might dispose of the body before it can be retrieved for testing. In the UK, studies have show that they take the body about 300 metres from the nest – if they do not leave it in the chick in the nest to become part of its history.

It is now after noon and Lena has stood over her chicks shading them from the sun including Middle. My heart just breaks for these parents.

On this very sad note I am going to end my blog this morning and watch the other two chicks and their behaviour.

Thank you for joining me. I am so sorry to bring you this sad news this morning. This was not the nest I was worried about! Dale Hollow is. I will check on it, too, later. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: LWRT Ospreys, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Golden Gate Audubon and SF Bay Ospreys, Dulles Greenway Bald Eagles, and Cornell Bird Lab.

Late Thursday in Bird World

24.2.2022

The Kakapo Recovery are having a t-shirt fundraiser. They posted the following information on their FB today:

There are male and female styles and sizes range from the smallest to 2 or 3 XL. Shipping from New Zealand is reasonable should you wish to help out!

There are lots of chicks and where there are infertile eggs they are being swopped with fertile ones so some of the mothers get a chance to rear a chick. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that number of 201 to climb! It looks like it could be a good year for our non-flying parrots.

The tracking for Ervie indicates that he did visit the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge sometime yesterday. He was most likely checking to see if Dad was there so they could have a visit. No one spotted him on camera so maybe he landed on the wheelhouse.

Early Friday morning, nest time, and the barge is full of pigeons hoping to find leftovers. They certainly do a great clean up job for Mum!

The Mum at Duke Farms gives everyone a peek of the fully hatched chick 1 at 14:28. What a little fluff ball. So tiny!

It has been a really good day at Captiva. It is 17:46 and Lena is waiting on Andy to bring in the dinner fish. The three osplets still have crops from the earlier feed. All is good!

Gabby and Samson continue to demonstrate branching to Jasper and to be named NE27. Today the two eaglets were kept full to more than full. They have grown so fast. Time seems to go by in a blink. Just a few days ago it seemed they were only tiny fluff balls like chick 1 at Duke Farms today.

Oh, I love that beautiful glow over the nest in Jacksonville, Florida as the sun sets on Gabby, Samson, Jasper and NE27.

NE27 is going to clean up every bit of that fish! Sweet eagle dreams.

Lady Hawk did a great video of Samson bringing in this large carp for the eaglets. Listen to them cheeping. So cute. Gosh these two are just darlings.

There is snow and sleet falling on the nest of Bonnie, the GHOW, whose nest is on Farmer Derek’s land. The area extending from there over the Mississippi River and into Ohio are set to get quite a bit of precipitation.

This is what the Mississippi River Flyway Cam is showing. Looks like snow to me! The snow is really blowing around creating what we call ‘white out’ conditions at times. A white out is literally when you cannot see anything in front and beside you but snow. Highways and roads disappear. People do try to drive on it. They often wind up in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. Not recommended. You cannot even see approaching cars.

The female, Nancy, at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Bald Eagle Nest near Minneapolis is getting snow as well. This nest fledged two great juveniles last year. Harry, the male, was only four years old and it was his first breeding attempt with Nancy. This year he looks much more like a mature Bald Eagle. Very handsome.

Checking in on the Iowa Bald Eagle nests, there is wet snow coming down on the Denton Home’s nest. No eggs there yet.

There is snow at the Decorah North nest of Mr North and DNF. If you look carefully you can see Mr North high up in the tree. What a beautiful sight.

When the city gets too much for me – as it often does – my mind moves to a cottage at the edge of a forest full of wildlife. This is so beautiful and serene. All you can hear is the snow falling and the wind. There is a creek in the background.

Mrs is keeping the eggs nice and warm and dry.

The other Bald Eagle nest with a streaming cam in Decorah also has snow. No eggs yet and no one on the nest. Right now I can hear lots of geese honking. My goodness they are super loud!

Here is the link to this camera. You might catch the geese flying in also at dusk.

The snow has not reached Pittsburgh but the wind is sure blowing at the Pittsburgh-Hayes Bald Eagle nest tonight. Mum is trying to keep those eggs warm and dry in that cold. With their 7000 plus feathers, the eagles are well equipped to ride out the cold, the snow, and the bitter winds. Regardless, I just ache for them.

The sound of those honking geese reminded me that Ospreys are moving north out of African towards Europe and the UK. A number were reported entering southwest France today. With all the snow here and in other places it is hard to imagine but the birds will be making their way home. In a month there should be Ospreys on a nest or two in the UK. I am counting on one of my favourites, Blue 33, and his partner, Maya, arriving at Rutland first. We wait to see!

In San Francisco, Richmond has been on and off the Whirley Crane nest in the shipping yards anxiously awaiting the arrival of his mate, Rosie. Those two are going to have a lot of work when she gets here. Just look at that nest. Maybe Richmond should take a page out of Louis’s book up at Loch Arkaig and start work before she arrives. Richmond, that would be a very sweet thing to do!

Dyson and Scraggles have been playing in the seeds and snow so they are both fine. The 50 or so European Starlings that visit the nest for food have been perching in my neighbour’s trees. Today they both got a gift certificate for two car washes. My goodness those birds can poop! Little Red has been busy. We did not see our chickadee today but it might have arrived, with or without its mate, while we were off for our walk. It felt good to get out in the fresh air.

Thank you so much for joining me. All the nests are doing quite well. It is comforting. Take care. See you soon. Saturday is pip watch for Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. Don’t forget.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB where I took my screen captures: Window on Wildlife and Captiva Ospreys, NEFlorida and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Kakapo Recovery Project, Denton Homes, Explore.org, Stewards of the Mississippi, MN DNR, Farmer Derek, Golden Gate Audubon, Pix Cams, and Duke Farms.

Late Monday in Bird World

It was not a particularly nice day in Ithaca, New York. In fact, it was 2 degrees C when Arthur arrived at the nest this morning at 08:16:35. He brought some twigs, tested the nest bowl, and looked around. Arthur has really been bringing twigs at an exhaustive pace recently. According to one of the founders of the FB group, Big Red did once lay her first egg on 13 March. Are we in for an early start this year? Or does Arthur know that bad weather is coming and realize that when it is good to restore Big Red’s nest he should waste no time? Arthur, you are quite adorable.

Arthur was still scurrying back and forth with sticks two hours later.

My very first love was an urban hawk – a Sharp-shinned Hawk that visited my garden one frosty January day. I ran out in my slippers and housecoat thinking that the hawk had killed and was eating the garden rabbit, Hedwig I. The hawk kept eating until I got within 15 cm or 6 inches of her. I have learned so much since that early morning and I would never ever go out and interfere with Sharpie having some breakfast or lunch now. She was not eating the rabbit but a sparrow. We looked into one another’s eyes for several minutes, not moving. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. And how blessed I was – looking into her eyes that morning changed my life. Thankfully, I quietly returned to the house and Sharpie finished.

As a result of this beautiful, close encounter, I have an interest in urban raptors that has grown over the years. Sharpie still comes to visit the garden. Of course, I now also know that Sharpie is a male! He is very cheeky – always pausing to see if I am watching from the window he will turn his head til our eyes meet and then he flies away. I always wonder where he roosts and how far his territory extends. It seems that the peregrine falcons are in the centre of the downtown area which is between 4 and 4.6 km away from where I live. So it would seem that their territories do not overlap. It is curious. I think he has a route and I know that he is ‘mad’ at me for removing a twenty-foot tall cedar tree. The little birds would get inside that tree filling it up. Sharpie would come ripping through a small space between my house and the neighbour’s making a sharp right angle turn into the tree. He was always successful at hunting – always. Sadly for all of us, we had a four year drought and no matter how much water the tree was given it simply was not enough and wasn’t the heavy rains that nature provides. It died and had to be removed. Now, Sharpie really has to work for his lunch. And if you are wondering, yes, I have thought about planting another large conifer for Sharpie! It isn’t a cat or dog that rules our house but the garden animals!

Sharpie was very puffed to stay warm on his last visit. It was -32 that day. He is sitting on his plucking post and if he raises his head slightly, he can see me watching him from the kitchen window. I do not go outside when Sharpie is hunting so all of the images are through glass – and he is fast. Not as fast as a Peregrine Falcon, of course, but fast enough for me not to be able to grab my good camera — unless, of course, he is eating lunch which takes about 35-40 minutes.

He glances back to me and is gone in a blur. Such a beautiful much loved raptor.

Robert Yolton writes a great blog on urban raptors. His focus for years has been the Red-tail Hawks that live in and around Central Park in NYC. While he writes about other birds in the area, I really enjoy this time of year when he begins to report on the hawks preparations for spring breeding season. On 16 February, five days ago, he has lovely images of the couple whose nest is on a balcony of a high rise apartment at 84th and East End Avenue. He wonders if they are merely working on the nest or if the eggs will be laid early this year. And that, of course, is what we are wondering about Big Red and Arthur. Yolton’s reports are always accompanied by beautiful photographs. One other recent one has images of hawks, Kestrels, and a Great Horned Owl in Central Park. I urge you to take a look at his blog: urbanhawks.com You will not be sorry!

I have checked in on the three Osplets at the Captiva nest in Florida on and off today. It was actually wonderful to see my daughter today which meant that I was not sitting and counting the bites Little Bob got in a feeding! Here they are all lined up from the eldest on the far end to Little Bob on the end close to us. They look like a choir. I hope this continues. It reminds me of the three Port Lincoln lads (until they fledged).

Speaking of Port Lincoln lads, if you missed it, Ervie visited the barge yesterday. He was there from 19:15-20:31. He missed seeing Dad who arrived half an hour after he left.

Port Lincoln has asked everyone along the north shore to kept an eye out for Ervie. This is his latest tracking in the area. The green pin indicates his position at the time of the tracking. Continue to notice that Ervie goes back to the nest on the barge. For several weeks I have said that I felt Ervie would continue to stop in. Let us all hope so! It was lovely to see him yesterday. He is in good form.

One of Ervie’s greatest fans is ‘A-M’. She believes that Ervie stopped by to see Dad and to tell him, “ I found a place, it’s cool. I need help moving sticks and nest stuff. Come visit and bring fish!” It brought tears to my eyes. This is the first time I have been able to watch the interaction between the adults and the juveniles after they have fledged other than the adult bringing a fish and getting out of the way quickly. There was something very heartwarming about seeing Ervie and Dad just sitting around the sticks, as if it could be a campfire, with one another.

So keep watching the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. You might catch a glimpse of our handsome Ervie.

After seeming to be missing in action for two days, the male GHOW at the Savannah Owl nest has returned. The Mum was so excited. His return is on video when he brings a nice fat rodent for her to feed the owlet. The sounds from the owls is adorable.

That is excellent news. With all the intruders at that nest, including that Red-tailed Hawk, it would have been almost impossible for the Mum to raise the owlet alone. Cornell did a very cute video of the female GHOW feeding the two-day old owlet Dad’s prey. Have a peek:

Gabby and Samson are doing a great job trying to entice NE26 and 27 to self-feed. Fish are brought to the nest unzipped and left for the two hungry eaglets. So far NE27 who learned to feed itself more than a week ago has done the best. After the eaglets work on the fish then either Gabby or Samson comes in and fills the two up! This nest is doing so well. No one is hungry.

That old saying is knock on wood. And that is what I am doing. It seems that the nests are doing well. If you are a fan of the National Arboretum nest, Lotus laid her second egg yesterday – the 20th of February – at 18:39. Bella and Smitty are both working on the NCTC nest. Another eagle has been seen soaring and both Bella and Smitty have taken to easing it out of the territory.

The couple at the new Bartlesville Oklahoma Bald eagle nest are incubating two eggs laid on 15 and 18 February. I grew up in Oklahoma and it will always hold a special place for me. I hope this couple are successful and have to great fledges. The link to the camera is:

Look closely at the image below. Do you see a ‘meadow muffin’ or a ‘cow pie’? Looks like the Oklahoma eagles have a unique item that they are going to line their nest with!!!!!!! Can I say ‘only in Oklahoma’?

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and FB where I took my screen captures: The Sutton Group, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Window on Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab, and NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF.

Encounters with a GHOW

As many of you know, there are problems for the Bald Eagles with the Great Horned Owls wanting to take over their nests. We saw Bonnie and Clyde be successful in stealing a young eagle couple’s nest in Newton, Kansas located on the grounds of Farmer Derek. Those two have visited the nest as recently as 2 days ago. Great Horned Owls have taken over the Savannah Osprey Nest and laid eggs so no more Ospreys there, sadly.

Those are two instances on streaming cam where the owls have been successful. It has to be more common in the wild. I imagine that you could also provide me with several more examples. We know that a GHOW has been systematically attacking M15 and Harriet on their nest in Fort Myers, Florida. Just a few minutes ago a GHOW flew and knocked the female adult eagle off the US Steel Eagle nest at the Mon Valley Works–Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA.

The camera operator for the USS Bald Eagle nests is panning around the area. It is not a search and they said that the panning does not imply a search is needed. They are simply looking to see where the GHOW might be. These are the time stamps for the events this evening according to the camera moderator: “18:52:20 GHO swipes USS female(?) off her roost, 18:55:42 USS male(?) reacts to nearby swipe, 18:58:07 USS male relocates, chatter from both follows through 19:01”. The eagles cannot be heard on the streaming cam. Previously you could hear them so they are probably roosting at a distance and are safe and sound.

This is a daylight view of the nest. It is a gorgeous area.

Here is a link to the USS Bald Eagle cam:

The situation in PA at the USS Bald Eagle nest is unclear. It is my understanding that neither eagle has been seen on the streaming cam this morning. Everyone is hoping that they will show up so that worries can be put aside.

I was reminded, by someone using a three letter code for the Great Horned owls, to provide you with a listing of the proper four letter Alpha codes for all birds. Great Horned Owls are GHOW. The listing provided by the Carolina Bird Club also discusses the origin of the codes. Have a look:

https://www.carolinabirdclub.org/bandcodes.html

Liberty (f) and Guardian (m) were on the nest doing renovations and checking out the nest cup at Redding today. This couple raised triplets last year: Honor, Glory, and Rebel. We should be looking for eggs to be laid mid-February. Wouldn’t Valentine’s Day be nice?

Here is a history of the nest from last year’s breeding season by Judy B on the Hancock Wildlife Forum:

“A new camera was installed at the Turtle Bay nest for the 2021 nesting season (big thanks to Terri/Eaglewoman and the Friends of the Redding Eagles!) – and happily the eagles chose to use that nest! They laid three eggs in mid-February, and the three eaglets hatched March 21, 22 and 24. They were named Honor, Glory and Rebel by a poll of viewers. All three fledged successfully, if a bit non-traditionally. It was very hot in late May/early June as the eaglets turned 10 weeks old, frequently going above 100F/38C. Oldest eaglet Honor (who had never branched) had a very intentional fledge on June 3rd (74 days old). The following day, youngest eaglet Rebel left the nest as well, possibly slipping while trying to branch (the angle of the cam made it hard to be sure); Rebel was 72 days old. Happily local observers found both of them on the ground with an adult perched above; they landed near the river, and were able to have a drink of water. Middle eaglet Glory apparently liked having the nest all to his/her self, staying there another two weeks before fledging on June 18 (88 days old). All three fledglings were seen together perched beside the river on June 22, and all were seen through July 5. Both adults and two fledglings were seen in the area July 18, and one fledgling was around a few days later (it might be Honor who left first, but not sure). A happy year in spite of the challenges of the very hot weather.”

Why did I bring up the Redding nest? Because on 7 November 2021 a GHOW comes to the Redding nest! The video below uses slo-motion, graphics, and a narrative to highlight the encounter between Liberty and Guardian and the GHOW. The video is very insightful into the behaviour of Bald Eagles in alert and attack mode – if they are experienced:

Here is the link to the Redding Eagles streaming cam:

As breeding season continues, we might see more GHOW invasions. While GHOWs look soft and cuddly and through children’s stories we learn they are ‘wise’ – often portrayed as teachers – they are formidable adversaries. Liberty and Guardian are older and more experienced than the young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas that gave up their nest easily to the owls. Better to be safe than injured or dead.

Harriet and M15 have been the constant targets of GHOW attacks. Just go to YouTube and search for GHOW attacks M15 and you will find pages of videos going back years to the more recent occurrences. Here is one good example just 8 days ago:

On different occasions, M15 has been hit and has fallen down into the nest with Harriet and either eggs or nestlings. If you are a regular watcher of this great eagle couple, you will have seen M15 with injuries on his head because of the stealth attacks during the night.

In other Bird World News:

The first egg was laid at the Venice Golf and Country Club Osprey Nest (VGCCO) yesterday at 08:45. I know that some of you really enjoy this watching this nest in California.

Here is the link to this nest:

Still waiting at Achieva:

Two Osprey cams in New York say it is way too early to be thinking about eggs! Are either of these on your list to watch? Oyster Bay and PSEG?

After the fright the other day, everything appears to be relaxed and back to normal at the KNF nest. I am hoping we get the list of three possible names for this adorable eaglet today!

The eaglets on the WRDC are nice and full. Their thermal down has come in nicely. R1 still has some dandelions on its head. Soon we will begin to see thee contour and flight feathers on R1 and R2.

There are still cute fuzzy nestlings at NE Florida! They are doing great, too.

And just look at the change in Harriet and M15’s ‘babies’! Wow. I love seeing the plumage develop from that light soft down still on NE26 and 27 to the juvenile plumage that is really coming on E19 and E20.

No checks on Ervie. PLO is offline. Warm thoughts going out to the USS Bald Eagles. I am sure this is not the first time they have had to deal with this owl or another. Still, there is always cause for concern. That was a particularly ‘hard hit’ yesterday. Waiting for the final 3 names so voting can take place for the name of the little eaglet at KNF.

Thank you for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: USS Steel Bald Eagles and Pix Cams, Redding California Eagles, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Achieva Credit Union, VGGCO, Oyster Bay Ospreys, PSEG Ospreys, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagles, Savannah Great Horn Owl Cam, and the WRDC.

Friday in Bird World

Just about the time I begin to think, and then say, that it looks like the parents at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge are slowing down with fish deliveries, they bring two nice sized fish to Ervie. There was a huge chunk at 07:34 and another nice fish arrived at 15:20. Ervie didn’t actually start eating it until 16:25. Ervie was the only lad about. Bazza was last seen on Sunday the 9th and Falky was last seen on the ropes with Mum and Dad at 19:40 on the 12th. Will Ervie stay or go?

Ervie is still full from the morning fish when the afternoon delivery arrives.

Ervie is still eating at 17:34! My goodness those were nice fish brought to the nest. Ervie finished off his fish and flew off the left side of the nest.

Will that be our last sighting of Ervie on the nest? No one slept on the barge last night. We wait.

Missy has been feeding the little one on the Berry College Eagle Nest. It appears to be doing fine. Everyone is watching for the second egg. Sadly that broken shell has really attached itself to that egg.

I believe this is Missy’s first eaglet to survive. She is figuring feedings out!

B15 is getting stronger. You can see the issue with the second egg clearly here. I cannot tell if the extra piece of shell is over the narrow or wide part of the egg. The eaglets pip on the wider end. Pip watch coming for that second egg.

The nest is empty this morning at Big Bear, California but everyone is on egg watch for Shadow and Jackie.

Anna let Louis brood the chick this morning! Last year she waited a long time and Lous is delighted to be involved with his chick. Both Anna and Louis have been on the KNF nest this morning and the eaglet is eating well. Lots of nice fish for everyone on that nest!

There seem to be two words used for Harriet and M15’s E19 and E20. They are ‘nice’ and ‘cute’. Look at the feathers coming on E19 and E20 and then look at Anna’s baby above. They change so quickly!

This is a great little film about the Kakapo. Since it is breeding season and we are looking at eggs, it seems like a good time to refresh what we know about this very endangered non-flying parrot and how they are cared for. The update on the numbers is that there are now 202 Kakapo down from 208 the beginning of last year.

Daisy the Duck has not returned to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest to lay eggs since she visited with her mate on 1 January. That was two-weeks ago. Fingers crossed she has found another spot and is successful. One of the women who visits the centre was to send us images of Daisy paddling but nothing so far. Maybe Daisy is away from the area of water around the Discovery Centre and the Duck Pond.

Great Horned Owls have been mating on the Savannah Osprey Nest and the GHOWs have been mating on the nest that was stolen from a young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas last year. The couple who became known as Bonnie and Clyde raised two of the cutest little owlets on this nest. When the eggs are laid, I will definitely let you know.

For the most part the Owls and the Eagles live cooperatively but I really don’t like the owls when they try to knock the eagles off or hurt their eyes and heads as at the WBSE Nest by the small BooBook Owls and at SWFlorida when it is a GHOW hitting M15 and knocking him off the branch into the nest, sometimes.

One thing I did not know is that there are no Great Horned Owls near the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade County. The Coot delivered yesterday, the second one to arrive as prey on the nest, is gone! They seem to love the taste of that waterfowl. My eagle expert tells me that the WRDC are thinking about putting up more nests like this one for the eagles. Fantastic. It seems to be a really good design and they can work out any kinks watching this nest.

R1 ate well and now Dad is making sure that R2 is full to the brim. Ron, you are a great Dad! You can see R1 passed out in a food coma and Ron has even moved across the nest to feed the youngest sibling. Fantastic.

Today is Day 40 for the eggs at Captiva Bald Eagle Nest on Sanibel, Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Clive. There is some chatter that the eggs might not be fertile. Let’s wait and see.

I haven’t seen any of Ervie’s tracking uploaded since 26 December. I will be checking on the PLO nest during the rest of the day to see if anyone returns to the barge at Port Lincoln. That wing of his could be our last sighting of the Erv until people along the coast send in images of him. There appears to be a huge interest ‘and caring’ for the Osprey in the region. That really helps!

Take care everyone. Have a great end to your week. Thank you for joining me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagles, Friends of Big Bear, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Forest, Captiva Bald Eagles, Farmer Derek Owl Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest.

Late Friday night smiles from Bird World

Just a few glimpses into some of the nests at the end of my Friday.

Over at Pittsburg Hayes Mom is bringing in sticks to work on the nest when the chicks take an interest.

The sun is setting over Durbe, Latvia. Milda is feeding her miracle chick and the sun is shining. Oh, it must feel good not to be soggy after yesterday’s soaker.

Annie has the eyasses cuddled up along with that fourth egg. She is brooding them. Oh, if it is viable we should be ready for pip and hatch.

Tiny Tot finally got a few bites of the catfish delivery that came at 2:50:37. Sibling #2 pretty much monopolized the entire feeding but Tiny did get some bites after 4pm. Not many but was fed this morning some. I wish that the parents would break up the fish in pieces so they could self-feed. Anyone have a meat saw?

And just look at those darlings over at the Savannah Osprey Nest on Skidiway Island. Nice full crops, standing up tall and behaving. And, no, that third egg has not hatched. Let’s continue to hope that it sits there unviable. Two healthy chicks to get to fledge is a big job. If Ospreys are like Red tail Hawks the more food they can eat and the longer they are on the nest the better their chances of survival. It is not a kind world out there – they need all the tools in their tool kit they can muster. Sounds like what I used to say to students when they asked for advice.

Phoenix has finished his incubation duties and we are waiting for the arrival of Redwood Queen back to the nest to have her lunch. There is the egg that everyone’s eyes will be on tomorrow! One more California Condor would be so welcome and it would surely be heartwarming for these two survivors to have a successful hatch. Stay tuned. If you want to keep an eye on this important event, I have posted the link to the camera.

Look high on the branch. The two Great Horned Owls born in the Bald Eagle Nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas are sitting on a branch with their mom, Bonnie. Tiger and Lily were born on March 7 and are branching. First flights could be anytime.

The single surviving eaglet in the Fort Vrain Bald Eagle Nest in Colorado is hoping for a bit of lunch.

It rained earlier today in Minnesota and Nancy is making sure that she keeps her two eaglets dry.

And those two precious eaglets on the Minnesota DNR nest are exploring. They have their beautiful charcoal thermal down and you can just see some of the white dandelions of the natal down hidden by the thermal. Harry our first time dad at the age of four and Nancy have done great. Wonder what they are looking at so carefully?

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis will know that I am extremely interested in the social behaviour of the birds in their nests. I am particularly interested in the survival rate of a third hatch on Osprey nests. Today, Tiger Mozone shared with me his favourite video of all time and it gave me such a smile that I want to share it with you. I don’t think Tiger would mind in the least. It is of the 2011 Dennis Puleston Osprey. You need to watch the entire video. It is short, 3:41 minutes. Keep your eye on the little one. Before you start, if you have been watching the Achieva Osprey Nest, think of this small one as Tiny Tot. Thank you, Tiger Mozone. This is fabulous!

May 8 is Bird Day in North America. That is when Cornell Bird Labs ask everyone to do a count in their gardens and at the parks. It is a way of collecting migration data. I will give you more details so you can participate next week. That is it for Friday. Have a fabulous weekend everyone.

Thank you to Tiger Mozone for sending me the link to that fabulous video. I laughed and laughed. We all need that these days.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen shots: MN DNR, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, X-cel Energy, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon, Ventana Wildlife, Achieva Credit Union Osprey, Explore.org, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, and the Latvia Wildlife Fund.

What a day in Bird World!

Did something happen in the universe today? Something that made miracles happen?

The White-Tailed Eagle nest in Latvia was the first today. Milda incubated her and her missing mate, Raimis’s eggs for eight days without eating after he did not return on 27 March. She had to leave to eat and experts felt that five hours at 43 degrees F would cause the developing eaglets to die. But, there was a pip and today a hatch. Egg #2 survived! Just look at that little miracle below. Milda was helped, in the end, by Mr C, Chips. And that is another miracle – it does not always happen that a male bird will want to raise another male’s chicks but Chips did. Let us hope that he turns out to be amazing father and mate.

Milda looks at the miracle!

Birds have feelings. They mourn their dead and they can also get fed up and angry and that is precisely what happened at 9:32:40 on the Achieva Osprey Nest. Tiny Tot was fed twice yesterday. This morning Tiny Tot had no food because of #2 who has intimidated and bullied him. Yes, 2 is a bird and he is also a monopolizer of food. How would it feel always having to eat scraps? not being able to eat? having someone scare you almost to starvation? The two older siblings had been flapping their wings this morning and when #2 was in front of Tiny Tot, Tiny bonked him like he is always beating on Tiny. It had to be a moment of sheer release for the little one.

I have had just about enough of you. 21 April 2021
There you go! 21 April 2021

Tiny Tot got some food with the arrival of a second fish that came in at 1:07:24. He was eating a few bites at 2:07:25 and then again from 2:38:47-2:46:16. Diane offered him the tail. It isn’t enough but he ate! And if this nest were organized, Jack would be bringing in another fish right away.

Tiny Tot finally gets some food. 21 April 2021

At the SWFlorida Eagle nest on the D Pritchett farm, the youngest of Harriet and M15’s eaglets, E18, fledged today at 8:52:46—–in the rain! Yes, you read that right. His wings were wet and he fledged. E18 jumped around on the branch and the flew to a tree, returning to the nest tree. Later he flew and joined his sib E17 on another tree. Well done and congratulations E18!

He had a very good landing!

There are still two healthy osplets on the Savannah Osprey Nest.

Two little cuties having some lunch and being nice. 21 April 2021

And Big Red and Arthur don’t seem to be able to get a break in the weather. Today it was raining down hail like snow.

Big Red is encrusted in a hail like snow. 21 April 2021

Louis is still waiting for Aila to arrive.

Lonely Louis. 21 April 2021

There is branching happening at the nest of Bonnie in Clyde, the Great Horn Owls who took over the Bald Eagle nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas. It looks like it is Tiger up on the branch near mom, Bonnie.

Branching is happening. 21 April 2021

Thank you so much for joining me. It was a good day in Bird World. I remain hopeful that Tiny Tot will have as successful a conclusion as Milda with the hatching of an egg believed to be unviable by everyone. Look at her in the image above looking at that little miracle in the nest cup.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Latvia Fund for Nature (Durbe), Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon Osprey Nest, Farmer Derek, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Achieva Credit Union at Dunedin, Woodland Trust, and People Postcode Lottery, and Cornell Bird Lab and Red Tail Hawks at Ithaca.

The race to save the African vulture

In the latest edition of BirdLife Magazine out of Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab, there is a compelling article on the race in Africa to save the African Vulture. It was very moving to read it so soon after discovering the women of the Hargila Army in Assam and their literal saving of the General Adjutant, a stork that also consumes carrion and helps keep disease at bay. The article stresses that vultures are the most endangered raptors in the world. While you might not be familiar with the African Vulture or the General Adjutant, you probably are aware of the California condor. Vultures exist in almost every country. They are crucial part of the food chain and play an important role in the environment. This is why conservation biologists around the world are screaming out for change to save them!

In Africa alone, seven of the ten vulture species are endangered. Many of the issues that threaten the vultures also impact other species. However, in India and parts of Africa, the vulture population dropped by as much as 99%. The author of the article noted that this is ‘apocalyptic’. We are familiar with causes such as habitat loss, electrocution from hydro poles, collisions with buildings and vehicles, the lead used in fishing and hunting equipment, scarcity of food, as well as egg collecting. There are several other threats to the vultures in Africa. One of them is rock climbing and disturbing the nests. Another is the trade in vulture body parts which are used for good luck charms in Africa. The head is believed to bring good luck in business while other parts are used as talismans. The birds are directly poisoned. The last is the impact of the veterinary use of NSAIDs. What is NSAID poisoning? Have you ever heard of it? I certainly knew about its use because I cannot drink milk or eat meat unless it is organic but, I was not aware of its impact on bird populations such as vultures. It is wonderful to learn something new each day! Although I prefer if it is something happier.

The image below shows the many animals and birds that compete for the small amount of food available in Africa.

“Environment of the Hyena Jackal Vulture Group” by Ryan Somma is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

NSAIDs are cheap pharmaceuticals given to cattle to relieve them of their pain and to increase their milk production. They are anti-sterodial. It has long been recognized that the industrial dairies in the US keep the cattle in small pens, standing all day on concrete that causes excruciating pain. These cows are also given treatments to increase their milk production. The life of the cow that never gets to explore and eat grass is traumatic and their longevity is significantly reduced.

The efforts in Africa to eliminate the use of veterinary grade NSAIDs as well as captive-breeding programmes are showing promise. Fencing and satellite tracking is gaining ground. Biologists say that it is time to think ‘bigger’. At the same time, the growth in traditional beliefs is spreading in Africa, alongside the use of more modern pesticides. The author states, however, ‘That for all the bad news, conservationists have taken heart from the fact that the decline in African vultures has been slower than the extraordinary rapid collapse that occurred in Asia’.

“African safari, Aug 2014 – 042” by Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Elsewhere in Bird World, life is good on this Sunday the 4th of April. Rising early to watch and hopefully see Tiny Tot (aka Lionheart, Braveheart, Tumbles, 3) have breakfast, the chatters on the Achieva Osprey site probably had their mouths open. A headless fish arrived at 7:22:22. There was some confusion on the nest as Jack stayed with the fish and Diane left for a break. Tiny had already positioned himself and Dad began to feed him. Jack is not the best at feeding the chicks – he is known for touching beaks with no fish – but this morning Tiny got bites. Neither 1 nor 2 seemed interested. They were very busy preening. Eventually 1 joined and Dad fed 1 a bite then Tiny a bite. Mom returns and Dad leaves at 8:01:17. Diane continues feeding Tiny. Tiny awoke with a crop from yesterday but he ate this morning til he could not eat anymore. At 8:12:07 he stopped. There was not a kerfuffle with the older siblings.

Tiny being fed at 7:59 am while older siblings preen. 4 April 2021

Look carefully at Tiny above (far left chick). His little tail is growing and his plumage is changing. A few more days of good feedings and he might be out of the ‘woods’ in terms of his survival.

Diane with her three growing osplets. 4 April 2021

In the image above, Tiny is in the back. You can see his crop. He is standing confidentially next to 2. What a joyous moment on this nest.

The two bald eaglets of Nancy and Harry at the Minnesota DNR nest are growing. Everything is fine on that nest. Harry has learned to feed them and he is a good provider. Nancy is a fantastic mom. Look at those cute little bobbleheads enjoying the warm sun with their mother.

Kisatchie is growing and growing. First time parents Anna and Louis have done really well. The nest is coated with pine to keep away the insects. Kisatchie is healthy and well fed. His plumage is changing every day as he rids himself of his natal down.

I am afraid to say little owlets anymore. Look at Tiger (left) and Lily (right). They are keeping both Bonnie and Clyde busy hunting, day and night it seems. They look like they are wearing beautiful mohair coats with hoods. In my neighbourhood, yesterday, we were reminded about how formidable a raptor these Great Horned Owls are when one of the ones living nearby tried to take off with one of the neighbour’s cats that had gotten out in the back lane. Remember. Great Horned Owls can carry three times their own weight!

And last but never least, my all time favourite bird mother, Big Red sitting on her three eggs in the Red Tail Hawk nest on the Cornell University Campus. Isn’t it lovely? She actually gets to enjoy some sunshine today!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Keep your eyes on what is happening in the Tampa area. There is rumour that 480 million gallons of radioactive water is threatening to push down a retaining wall. If so, this will be catastrophic not only for the people of the area but for the wildlife – including many Ospreys and Bald Eagles that we so dearly treasure.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: the Kisatchie National Forest and the USFWS, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Cornell Bird Lab Red Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca, Farmer Derek, and the Achieva Credit Union in St. Petersburg.

Credit for feature image: “In search of the Maltese Falcon #13 – White Backed Vulture, Malta Falconry Centre” by foxypar4 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Toxic wastelands threaten Bird World

In the course of a few hours today, a friend living in Pennsylvania sent me the news and a video from Twitter showing the nuclear waste being pumped into a holding area in Sarasota, Florida. Moments later, the Cornell Bird Lab e-mailed the latest edition of Birdlife Magazine with its story of the threats to African vultures from farmers using anti-inflammatory pain killers, dielofenae, on their cattle to stop pain and increase milk yields. Another reader sent me an article on the red algae along the coast of Texas and Florida that causes damage to the nervous and digestive systems of marine life and the birds that eat the fish. All of this information arrived on my desk just moments after one of the chatters on the Achieva Osprey streaming cam in St Petersburg brought up the fact that the male Ospreys in the area, there are reported to be thirty Osprey nests, have to compete with lots of motor boats in order to feed their families.

I sat staring at the screen remembering that eons ago, my father fished with a motorboat in Lake Texhoma. It was a time when no one considered their environmental actions. What I remember were not only the 31.7 kg or seventy pound catfish my father regularly caught but also that beautiful iridescence floating on the water around the boat. As a child I did not understand that the fuel and the oil my father mixed with it was poisoning the fish that we would eat – and neither did he. We know better today.

Humans are capable of cleaning up much of the mess that we have made to the planet. When I was a graduate student, my advisor, Dr Klaus Klostermaier, informed me the reason that there were no insects in Germany was because the massive pollution had killed them all. The industrial area around Dusseldorf cleaned up the river system. It took some time but it was accomplished I think, also, of the groundbreaking work that Rachel Carson did on the impact of DDT and her book, Silent Spring. Today, we still feel the impact of DDT, despite it being banned now for nearly fifty years. That poison still remains in the soil and the plants. Bald Eagles in certain parts of the world still have thin egg shells because of it. Regardless of how long it takes and how defeatist some feel about our ability to survive a sixth extinction, I believe, like Greta Thunberg that we have an obligation – each of us as individuals – to try and make a difference. It doesn’t have to be some great international effort. The women saving the General Adjutant in Assam began at home and so can the rest of us.

In Winnipeg, members of the Manitoba Birding FB group are considering how to best address the issue of feeding bread to the ducks and geese at the ponds in our two big parks – St Vital and Assiniboine. Bread is not good for any bird. Yes, it fills them up and they seemingly love it but it is empty calories. It would be like us eating junk food all day long every day, losing our taste for good nutritious food. I know, first hand, that parents do not necessarily know that bread is bad for the birds. This was something that I did with my parents. For many, taking their children for a walk at the park and bringing a loaf of bread is almost free entertainment for an afternoon. We delight at the geese scurrying across the water of the pond to grab the bread. It makes people feel good. However, the bread is not only bad for the bird’s health, it also deteriorates in the water causing algae growth which leads to the death of the pond and the plants that the geese and ducks need. No one wants to take away the fun that people have feeding the ducks and geese. It is hoped that through education people will choose to find food that is healthy for both the birds and their ponds. My plan is to write our City Parks and Recreation Department asking that their staff put up posters on the buildings near the ponds or have permanent signs made at significant sites around the ponds. There should then be a convenient place for individuals to purchase appropriate food at a reasonable price. An option would be to license a vendor to sell food at the ponds. It’s a beginning!

Please feel free to grab this poster and spread it through social media and if you are a teacher perhaps include this in a science lesson. And for those of you who find yourself with a glut of lettuce in your garden, those ducks and geese will sure love it. Chop it up before heading out.

For those of you that do not live in Winnipeg, it is very possible that you have this very same issue. Check it out and see what you can do. It is one way to help the local birds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate the messages and all of the information that you send to me. Next week I will be addressing the issues of dumping toxic and nuclear substances into the ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. For now, I just want to smile. Someone on the Achieva Osprey chat said that they had never seen a chick like Tiny Tot/Lionheart/Braveheart/Tumbles/3 survive such testing conditions in any Osprey nest. Diane really filled him up this afternoon and even though the fish brought in around 6pm was not enough to feed it, the little one still had a crop and its little bottom is getting some flesh on it. So I want to close with an image of Tiny Tot’s large crop and another of Tiger and Lily, the two owlets living in a nest stolen from a Bald Eagle near Newton, Kansas. My how they have grown! Some days we just have to not allow the massive environmental issues to cloud the joy and the love we get from the birds. My friend, Phyllis, would say put it in a container and leave it there for a few hours – it isn’t going away!

It is a strange angle. Tiny Tot is preening but that big grey beach ball where you would think his head would be is his crop. He is on the far left. Oh, how I love this little bird – like so many of you. His determination to live, to not give up, to figure an angle around to get fed is impressive. It is day to day. He is getting a cute little tail and well, we hope for several fish in a row, large ones, tomorrow.

Tiny Tot ate and ate. Thank goodness. He will have enough to keep him til tomorrow. 3 April 2021

Tiger and Lily are being left alone more and more by their mother, Bonnie. Butt, no worries, she is just on another branch on the tree. Look at how big they are and how well they blend into the environment.

Thank you to everyone who wrote and sent me links to information today. I really appreciate it. Anyone reading this loves birds and we are all in this together. The streaming cams give us a glimpse into their lives that we would never have otherwise. We share their joys and their sorrows. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thanks also to the Achieva Credit Union and to Farmer Derek for their streaming cams. That is where I took my screen shots.

It’s 3 for Big Red and 4 for Dahlgren

The Guardian ran a story, ‘All my eaglets: pandemic audience spellbound by saga of nesting bald eagles’ in its Wildlife section this morning. While the story focused on the growing number of people watching bird streaming cams during the pandemic, it chose to use the example of two nests. The sadness of Jackie and Shadow at the Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in the San Bernadino Valley and the joy of Liberty and Guardian and their three chicks at the Redding Bald Eagle nest. Richard Luscombe really caught the moment – the joy celebration, the sadness and loss. Jackie (9 year old female) and Shadow (7 year old male) are two of the most popular Bald Eagles on streaming cams and yet, their story encapsulates great sadness. For two years they have tried to raise a chick. This year in their second clutch there was a hatch. Heartbreak came when that chick died trying to break out of the shell. Jackie and Shadow continue to care for the second egg which watchers know will never hatch. Last year they sat on two eggs for sixty days before giving up. In contrast, Guardian (7 year old male) and Liberty (22 year old female) are raising triplets and Liberty has, in her lifetime, successfully fledged 22 and outlived two mates. Like human families and stories, every bird nest is different.

Over the past year, I have received (or seen) letters, comments, and testimonies about the birds. It is clear that the ‘bird’ families streaming into our living rooms have become ‘intimate’ friends whose daily lives we share – their joys and their challenges. One woman wrote to tell me that she knows ‘her bird family’ better than her own human family! She is not alone. From the infertile eggs to the cheeping of the hatching chick, people have watched the birds and their loneliness and pain have been diminished. Many of you have written to me to tell me how the birds have saved your lives, including several with stage 4 cancer and partners who have died from COVID. Caring for the birds has lessened the impact of the isolation and has given us something to focus on besides ourselves. ‘A distraction from our lives’ a woman from The Netherlands said.

When the pandemic ends, I hope that all of you will continue to watch the lives of your favourite bird families unfold. And I would encourage you to talk to your children and your grandchildren or the neighbour’s children so they will become interested in wildlife. They need all of us to help them have better lives.

Jackie and Shadow continue to incubate an egg that will never hatch. Many wonder if there is not DDT still present in the soil or something causing this lovely and entering couple so many issues trying to have a little one. Clearly the thinness of the eggs that have broken could indicate that. 1 April 2021.
The triplets at the Redding nest being fed. There is plenty of food and all are lined up nicely.

I received a very touching letter from a woman from New Mexico who commented on the tragic events unfolding at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. She was reminded of a news story where a family went into a cafe for a meal -the parents, a young girl, and boy. The parents fed the young girl and themselves. The boy watched the others eat while he was offered nothing. The boy appeared to be bruised as if he had been physically harmed to the wait staff. The waitress wrote on her hand ‘Do you need help?’ to the child who, eventually, shook their head yes. The waitress phoned the authorities and the children were taken into care immediately. The boy had been abused and food had been withheld for a long time. The woman from New Mexico said, ‘Humans do it, too’. As sad and angry as I am at the Ospreys in St Petersburg, for them it is a matter of having at least one healthy fledgling. The biology books stress the survival of the fittest! Someone who has filmed birds said to me and I have reiterated it many times, ‘If they cannot survive on the nest being fed, they cannot survive in the wild – it is brutal out there’. This morning a huge fish came in but the middle Osprey made sure Tiny Tot did not get anything to eat. Tiny was too weak to fight. I had hoped that his suffering would be taken away in the night.

UPDATE: Tiny Tot was fed at 9:27 this morning. His crop was about a third full. The saga continues.

After my tirade on birds laying too many eggs to care for if they all hatched – and hence, having the situation of the St Petersburg nest – Jack and Harriet of the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in Machodoc Creek in King George County, Virginia laid a fourth egg! You might not immediately recognize the osprey nest that I am talking about but if I said to you that Jack is the one that brings in the most toys to the nest, often covering it while Harriet has to keep busy finding space for them, I think you might know the nest that I am talking about. There was a toy shark or dolphin the other day. As it happens, the first egg is either lost in the nest or broke – there are three eggs being incubated despite four being laid. Last year the couple successfully fledged three and all of us join in hoping that happens this year! Unless there is a problem in the river, this couple has their nest in a prime location for fish!

And to add to the jokes that go along with April Fool’s Day, Big Red and Arthur not only woke up to snow this morning but also to their third egg.

Big Red is eighteen years old. She was ringed at Brooktondale New York, about eight miles from Ithaca. She has known this weather all her life and can deal with it. Her and her mate, Arthur, do not migrate but stay in Ithaca all year long. They have a prey rich territory and both work like a well oiled machine. Unless there is some strange surprise, I expect we will see three eyases fledging in June.

All is well over at the Great Horned Owl Nest on the farm in Kansas. Both Tiger, the eldest, and Lily, the youngest, are growing. To the delight of viewers, Bonnie brought in a very large rabbit to the nest in the Cottonwood Tree. Everyone wondered how she managed. Great Horned Owls can actually carry prey three times their weight – an advantage over Bald Eagles who can carry only 66% of their weight. Besides rabbit, the owlets have had a diverse menu. One food item that might not have been expected in such quantities has been snake. Farmer Derek probably had no idea he had so many snakes on his property! Using March 7 as a date for hatching, we should be watching for Tiger to fledge around 42-56 days which would be 18 April to 24 April. Tiger’s extremely soft feathers – they look like mohair to me – mean that he will be a formidable predator being able to fly without being heard. With his short rounded wings he will also be able to make tight corners and quick turns around the trees in the woods.

And down in Orange Australia at the Charles Sturt University, Peregrine Falcon couple, Xavier and Diamond, are in the scrape box having a conversation and bonding. The conversation might be about their cute little Izzi who fledged three times from this box. The first time Izzi was napping on the ledge and fell out. He was returned by the researcher, Cilla Kinross. The second time he did fledge but then flew into a window and was taken into care and returned to the scrape box. The third time he fledged properly. While most of the falcons would have left the scrape box to find their own territory by January, Izzi appears determined to live out the rest of his life chasing Xavier and Diamond and sleeping with Diamond in the scrape box. It is an unfolding soap opera that is delightful.

Izzi is adorable.

I will leave you with that adorable face. Peregrine falcons are the cutest. Thank you for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the birds.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my scaps: Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Bald Eagles, Friends of Redding Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab, and the Dahlgren Osprey Cam.