Sunday in Bird World

8 May 2022

I had a lovely letter from a friend today. Like so many of you, she has tried to watch some of the nests and gotten attached to the birds only to have her heart pulled out when an older sibling shoves them out of the nest or, in other instances, they were starved or killed by beaking or both. It has been a tough year on the nests. Tough even for me.

My friend pulled back and has started watching Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the campus of Cornell and Annie and Alden on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. Her question this morning was simply to clarify that hawks and falcons do not practice siblicide. The answer is that the preponderance of siblicide occurs in eagles (some species more than others), egrets, boobies, herons, pelicans and, I am going to add ospreys to that list. There are lots of reasons, some explored in earlier blogs but, it is safe to say that if you wish to enjoy the birds on the streaming bird cams, falcons and hawks are generally a very safe choice as are ducks and geese. Because the chicks are precocial (are fully feathered, can walk and swim and eat on their own), the ducks and geese need those chicks to hatch all at once. They delay full incubation until the last egg is laid. Robins do that too and so do hawks and falcons. In this way, the older chicks are not that much bigger (normally) than the younger. The ducks and geese and even the raptors need their babies to fledge at the same time. So incubating them so they will hatch together really helps. It is called synchronous hatching (begins hard incubation after the last egg is laid) as opposed to asynchronous hatching where the parent immediately begins hard incubation immediately after the first egg is laid.

Annie makes a kind of chee-up sound when she is ready to put the food in the beak. The chicks learn this. Annie might well give the biggest chick the first few bites but she immediately moves around giving the youngest some. Today, the Peregrine Falcon Mother at the scrape in Oudenaarde, Belgium spent a whole hour making sure that all 5 of her eyases were fed and full. No one left the table hungry. The Mum at the Manchester NH falcon nest also has five eyases. Not one of them went to bed hungry tonight despite their size difference – the smallest had a big crop just like the largest. That is what hawks and falcons do!

A clump of falcons in a feather bed.

The wee one is piled on top of one of the siblings to stay warm.

Here is Annie feeding her two chicks brunch on Mother’s Day! Watch carefully how she feeds the big one several bites, then the small one and then goes back and forth. Annie is a pro. Both are well fed!

And Cal Falcons posted a second feeding just a short time ago. It is really cute. Alden checks in on the babies who see an adult and open their beaks. Alden is so cautious and nervous. He It very happy when Annie arrives with lunch he provided in her beak from the other side of the scrape!

Here is that feeding. It is so cute. Notice how the little one gets full and then gets back up for some more. Falcons eat everything. Nothing is wasted. Some of the first few bites were feathers.

It doesn’t get much better than the Red-tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur at Cornell. Little L4 is growing and surviving and well, I haven’t watched this nest 24/7 but I have not seen any tendencies by the oldest to interfere with the younger ones.

SF Bay Ospreys does not want us to forget about Rosie on Mother’s Day. I adore her and if there is an osprey nest in the US to watch that is stable – Rosie and Richmond in SF are it! —- Oh, and no. Ospreys are not prone to Avian Flu. They eat fish.

Someone dressed Spirit up. LOL. Good thing I don’t have the software to do this!!!!!!! I think Spirit is a Jackie in the making, too.

We all loved Kindness at Glacier Gardens. Many have been watching the nest cam and have been wondering where the eagles , Liberty and Freedom, are. Well, they have built a new nest! Here is the video reveal of that find:

The camera remains off line at the UFlorida-Osprey nest if you have been checking. It is unclear when it will be back on. If it is a mechanical issue it would be difficult since the chicks are older.

The Dale Hollow Eaglets have full crops and are drying off today. These two are doing very well.

Some nest renovations have been going on at the National Arboretum. I don’t think DC9 appreciated some of those branches.

At 2045 there is still no hatch at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Maya is certainly restless tonight.

If you are a fan of Lady and Dad at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest in the Olympic Forest, you will know that the couple have been working on the nest. We are about three weeks away from the first egg being laid.

Where’s Ervie? Looks like he still hanging around the barge area of Port Lincoln. Fine by me!

It has been a busy day at all the nests and throughout different regions as the migratory birds continue to move through. My garden was full of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows again today along with the usuals. The little Chickadee couple love to have a swim!

The Starling was not so pleased when Dyson came along and wanted some of the seeds.

Dyson is trying to try out for the local gymnastics team. Look at her stretch! She is losing her winter fur and the tufts on the end of her ears are gone. Ironically, her tail is much thicker. She is in really good health. Good to see.

I hope that each of you have had a wonderful day today and, hopefully, if you could, got to spend some time outside. It really is energizing – even for a few minutes sitting in the sun. Thank you so much for joining me today. It is a joy to have you here. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Falcon Network, Cornell RTH, Friends of Big Bear Valley, NADC-AEF, DHEC, Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the LRWT.

Late Saturday in Bird World

30 April 2022

It is still raining in southern Manitoba. There are images on FB of deer trying to find dry ground and food. They are walking along the railway tracks south of Winnipeg. They will, so sadly, have a long way to go. The birds have been with us all day grabbing on to the vines that grow on the side of the house, stopping to eat when the rain is not too heavy, and then looking for shelter again when it starts. Will this really turn to snow tomorrow? It is better for the birds for sure. I just hope the promise of 20 degrees C or 68 F really happens on Thursday. Everyone and all things could use a dry out.

The Grackles arrived this week. I have a new ‘used’ ‘refurbished’ camera and it is heavier than my old one. It is going to take some getting used to. So please bear with me!

Grackles are so overlooked. Isn’t it stunning? Just look at the colours!!!!!!!! Mr Grackle and his family of eight normally spend the summer with us in our garden. Two years ago when their single surviving chick fledged, the whole extended family arrived, perching on the cable line, swaying back and forth, in joyous celebration. Last year Mr Crow took all the newborn chicks. I yelled at him. He doesn’t like me!

The focus is soft. I will work on that but, at least, those gorgeous wing feathers and that beautiful indigo head came through.

The European Starlings were here today, also. They discovered the meal worms and got all excited.

Dyson is not bothered by the birds.

I caught Hedwig, an Eastern Cottontail, waiting for the Grackles to leave the deck. Hedwig has decided that he likes to have his food – carrots, sunflower seeds, and millet – on the deck by the Japanese lantern. It is always so good to see him.

Scraggles and Little Red were running around, too. It is reassuring to see them, to know that they are alright. Their lives are not easy.

It has been a really tough season for our streaming bird families. One day I will sit down and write down the names together and find images of all the ones we have lost since January. We get attached to them and losing E2 today and having Harry missing from their MN-DNR nest – well, it hit many very, very hard. Harry was a popular young dad – four years old!!!!!! They fledged two last year. He barely had his white head this year – and he was an excellent provider. Nancy should be able to keep herself and E1 alive if the intruders will leave and she can go hunt. Please send warm thoughts their way.

I wanted to just send you some lovely images of Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the grounds of Cornell in Ithaca, New York. Big Red makes me happy. She adores being a Mom and every year she rises to the top as Bird Mother of the Year. If I could arrange it, Big Red, those would be chippies on a stick instead of yellow tulips!

The images are in no particular order. Most of the time when I pop in to check on them if they are not streaming behind everything else, Big Red is feeding the chicks. That is Little L4 getting some nice squirrel. The pantry is decreasing and Arthur will, no doubt, be working to fill it again.

How about a fur lined nest with Squirrelillows?

Keeping the nest insect and pest free is a big job. Big Red is always aerating.

More food. Wee L4 is back up there.

L4 looks just like a little snow person there on the far right. S/he has figured out a good place to be when it is feeding time.

I will check on the other nests tomorrow. The activity at the MN-DNR nest took the wind out of my sails. It is heart breaking. And enough with the intruders. There are way too many eagles and ospreys without nests and I am told way too many male Bald Eagles without a partner that this is becoming a big problem. All I know is that intruders caused the death of Grinnell at the CalFalcon scrape, almost killed Bella, have probably killed Harry – and the list goes on. A Bald Eagle (not Connie or her mate) chased one of the Osprey fledglings from Captiva today. I am certain that you have a long list also. Then there is blatant siblicide. Dale Hollow. UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys. MN-DNR.

I hope the garden animals and seeing Big Red in all her glory with four eyases -for the very first time- will bring a smile to your face. Take care everyone. Thank you for being with me today. See you soon!

Thank you to Cornell Bird Lab for their streaming cam at Ithaca where I took my screen captures.

Late Thursday and early Friday in Bird World

14-15 April 2022

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the end of the storm system that is staying over Manitoba. Hopefully it will be on its way eastward late on Friday. There is so much snow. It has been a privilege to feed so many visiting Dark-eyed Juncos over the past two days as well as the regular garden birds, squirrels, and rabbit. My live is so enriched by their presence that it is hard to imagine not having them visit daily.

Things are really busy in Bird World. The UK and European raptors are busy laying eggs, eagles are preparing to fledge or just hatching, US Ospreys are arriving and laying eggs and some nests are just coming back on line.

I know that many of you love the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagles. That nest is now back on line with eggs being laid when? the end of April? or beginning of May? For whatever reason, that camera will not allow me to post it here so do go to YouTube and search for Glacier Gardens! Isn’t it gorgeous. There are so many Bald Eagles in Alaska – they love the salmon and the cooler temperatures. Indeed, the 67 or 68 Bald Eagles taken into care during the heat of last summer in British Columbia flew north to Alaska, not south. This will be a growing trend as the raptors adapt to climate change.

Oh, goodness. Little Bit at the UFlorida Gainesville Osprey nest is doing so well. What a little cutie pie. He is still tiny compared to Big but Mom is doing really well.

Look at him stretch those neck muscles to reach his fish. Yes, that is him at the back. Big has already eaten, is full, and is walking away to the left front. Excellent!

The Patuxent River Park has started the streaming cams to their osprey nests. This is cam 2. Now isn’t she gorgeous?

This is the nest where the foster chick went overboard last season and where a staff member took her canoe out and retrieved the chick and got it back on the nest – after hours! So many were grateful for that act of kindness.

Thank you ‘L’ for alerting me to this camera being back on line.

Here is the link to cam 2:

And this is the link to cam 1:

I decided to go and check on Jasper and Rocket at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Samson and Gabby at Jacksonville. And look where I first found them! It will not be long for their first flights.

The AEF did a short visit of Rocket joining Jasper.

Besties.

At the SWFlorida Eagle nest of Harriet and M15, E20 is turning into a great prey stealer. Lady Hawk made a video of M15 with prey by the pond when E20 snatched it and took it to the nest to eat. Bravo!

I am going to bed with a smile on my face. Look at that crop of Little Middle at the Dale Hollow nest!

Spirit continues to grow and be well loved and cared for by Jackie and Shadow at the Big Bear nest. Gorgeous.

For all of those waiting, the chat will open for Big Red and Arthur’s streaming cam on Monday. Normally the chats vary the times between M-W-F and T-Th-S. Great moderators with years of experience are there to educate you about the hawks, their history, and what to expect. I hear Laura Culley, the falconer, will be with us again this year. Fantastic.

Here is the link to access the camera:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/red-tailed-hawks/

You will see the page below. Click on the red chat symbol! It is easy. Just don’t go to YouTube expecting a chat!!!!!!!!

As some of you may know, the female at the Duke Farms nest left on the 11th when the eaglet was banded. She has yet to return to the nest. While we all want her to be safe and return soon, it is reassuring that the eaglet is of the age that it can be left alone and would naturally have been at times. The male is bringing in food and feeding and caring for his eaglet and this is all good.

UPDATE: Biologists have spotted the female this morning and she is fine.

Harry, Nancy and the two eaglets at the MN-DNR nest seem to be just fine – for now. North Dakota got really dumped on with the snow. The storm is moving east. I hope it stays away from this nest in Minnesota!

The Black Storks at the Sigulda County nest in Latvia are busy. They are doing a lot of restoration work on their nest for this breeding season.

Here is the link to the camera of Grafs (m) and Grafiene (f):

Here is Grafiene feeding the storklets in July 2021. The parents go fishing and regurgitate the small fish onto the nest for the babies.

The nest seems to get so small as the storklets grow.

It was a hot summer with food becoming scarce. Many individuals helped the storks and the storklets by setting up a pond with a decoy to try and lure the fledglings to they could get food. I was very grateful for the efforts made at some of the Black Stork nests last year including the delivery of fish to keep Jan and Janika’s storklets alive. Droughts, rising summer temperatures, the erosion of wetland habitat all impact our beautiful feathered friends.

The Poole Harbour Osprey couple made the BBC news.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-dorset-61109786

Have you voted for the name for Annie’s ‘New Guy’? You have until noon PST 17 April. New name announced on Monday the 18th!!!!!!!! Yahooooooo.

I know that some of you love Dyson. I don’t normally post other wildlife but I found this streaming cam with a grey squirrel box, a mother and 3 wee ones. You might enjoy watching it!

We still have light snow falling and the Juncos are still in the garden in full force. The great thing about this morning – the sun is out!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell RTH, DHEC, UFlorida Ospreys, Looduskalender, Latvian Fund for Nature, Duke Farms, Friends of Big Bear Valley, MN-DNR Eagles, NEFlorida and the AEFR, Patuxent River Park, and Glacier Gardens.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

15 March 2022

It has been a very sad morning in Bird World with the death of what appears to be, now, the oldest chick on the Captiva Osprey nest in Florida. Lori Covert the landowner has contacted CROW, that wonderful wildlife rehabber on Santibel. Permission was given to remove the body of the osplet for testing. CROW arrived and removed Big beginning at 15:21:15-15:21:26. You can see how quick they were to come once they had the OK and how they did not disturb the nest.

Big was 27 days old. He or she would have been 28 days tomorrow.

They do not want to cause any undue stress or frighten the other two on Did Big choke on a pellet? He had been gagging several times this morning. Casting pellets is a natural part of a raptor’s life. What cannot be processed in the crop is compacted into something not unlike a small charcoal pellet. The birds then regurgitate these. Researchers like the pellets because they can study what the birds have been eating. But a pellet or the H5N1 highly pathogenic Avian Flu is on speculation. It appears that Big died after moving up to eat but couldn’t. That was approximately 08:33. I sincerely hope that this is not a case of H5N1 and look forward to the announcement. The other two osplets both ate at 15:40.

Little Bob (Mini on chat) and Middle Bob appear to be fine. They are interested and can eat and that is a great sign!

It used to not unsettle me when an adult or a chick died. Perhaps it is just everything that has happened for so many years catching up with me but I was particularly upset at the loss at Captiva this morning. Thankfully the garden critters were robustly going after the two new seed cylinders that were put out yesterday. Dyson could not decide where to settle. He wanted the oil seeds that had fallen out of a bag on the snow but he also wanted to eat off the cylinder and he was intrigued by the peanuts in the square tray feeder.

Despite his altercation with the cat, Dyson remains pleasantly plump after the harsh winter and the back half of his tail is growing back. Horrah!

The Blue Jay family – OK. One member of the Blue Jay family has returned from their migration today. I could not get the camera quick enough for a photo but I hope to attract it with a cob of corn on the deck. i wonder if it is Junior? Mr? or Mrs? And where do they go?

It was a good day for a walk in the woods. Our temperature is a balmy +2 C. The snow is definitely melting and there is an open water area now at the Fort Whyte Nature Centre. There were three Canada Geese there today!

There were a number of Black-capped chickadees at the feeder and when I arrived the little Downy Woodpecker with the broken beak was just flying away. Too quick for me to catch him but for those of you who asked, it is still alive and eating well out of the cylinder feeder! That is certainly good news.

What I needed was a walk in the woods where it was absolutely quiet. The snow is now wet enough that it did not crunch. All you could hear on occasion was the songs of the birds.

Walking in nature is good therapy.

I am happy to report that all of the eaglets on the Dale Hollow nest have eaten. Little Bit was sure enjoying a fish that had been brought to the nest.

The middle on moved up and got some food, too, after Little Bit. You can see the huge difference in size now between all three chicks. Big just looks enormous!

This was Little Bit sleeping before the feeding over on the rim of the nest. It looks bigger stretched out and was clenching its talons and letting go and clenching them again. Was it catching a fish in its eaglet dreams?

Sweet baby sleeping in the shade. For those of you that do not know, the black dot behind the eye and corner of the beak is the ear. It will get covered with feathers. You might also notice that Little Bit is getting some of its darker thermal down and losing its baby fluff. Looks like a few little feathers poking about perhaps.

I just checked and Little Bit was fed at 16:20. So all is well at Dale Hollow as evening approaches.

Big Red gave Arthur some incubation time today. That is fantastic. She doesn’t allow him much but it is nice to see him so alert taking his turn with their first egg.

Arthur is very handsome.

I don’t think you could find a more gorgeous female Red tail Hawk than Big Red anywhere! She is so stunning with her really dark morph.

Big Red took a dinner break at 17:29 nest time.

Do not worry. This egg is fine. We learned that due to Milda leaving her eggs in almost freezing weather for 5-6 hours. They both hatched. Everything is good. Big Red has been having chicks for 17 years. She is an expert. I certainly am not. LOL. Remember. I wanted to give Rosie and Richmond sticks!

There was a very sweet posting by the SF Ospreys today on their FB page:

I really wanted to dump a lot of sticks for these two down in the parking lot! As many of you know, I look for ways to make the lives of our birds better. Part of that has to do with the elimination of lead in all fishing and hunting equipment. The other has to do with rat and mice poison. Well, look what a Place Called Hope just posted!

At the West End Bald eagle nest, Akecheta brought in a Cormorant to the nest. This came after there was something that looked like an Armadillo. Both were road kill. Thunder decided to feed the three eaglets the fresh fish! The West End nest is doing well.

Shadow and Jackie at the Big Bear Valley Bald Eagle nest are also doing just fine. The little one is growing like a very bad weed.

I checked on Kincaid, too, at the Kistachie National Forest nest in Louisiana. He is wing flapping and showing his preference for some prey and not others but I do not believe that he has branched yet.

That is it for me today. I am still recovering from the loss of Big. Looking forward to the test results. If it was a pellet then we should know that very fast. If it was something else, we will have to wait for test results that can take days.

From all the critters in the garden, thank you for joining us today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: A Place called Hope, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Friends of Big Bear Valley, West End Eagles and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, KNF Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dale Hollow Lake Eagles, and SF Bay Ospreys.

Late Monday in Bird World

Any worries about the bopping that Big Bob seems to want to inflict on Little Bob as of late should be cast aside. Little Bob is a survivor and he won’t let anything Big does keep him from his favourite fish! At the feeding around 15:00, all three Bobs had enormous crops. Little Bob was the last one to leave the table.

Each of the trio looked like they would just about pop.

Everyone is hot at the Captiva Osprey nest. The chicks are panting to help thermoregulate.

Lena decided to go for a dip in herr own private area of the Gulf of Mexico to cool down. Lena has a pretty enormous crop, too. She went for her dip right after feeding the chicks. One thing Lena seems to really dislike is fish oil on her feathers. She has returned and is trying her best to keep the babies shaded, too.

It’s Monday and the fishing is good.

Meanwhile in Big Bear Valley, Jackie has fed the wee babe again at 13:01. I sat and giggled at the size of the pieces she was offering the eaglet.

Would you like some fish tail, darling?

Or, perhaps this is a better size????

It was quite humorous. I had a feeling, at one point, that Jackie was trying to demonstrate horking to the nearly four day old chick. Horking meaning to eat very quickly a large piece that would otherwise be eaten in smaller bites.

Jackie then settled into feeding the wee one smaller bites til it had a nice crop and was ready for another nap and some more growth.

Adorable.

NE 27 continues to do the snatch and grab rather well. He stole an entire fish from Samson today. 27 was already full, almost to the brim. Perhaps Jasper will get some time to practice his self-feeding if and when 27 gives up on the fish. Meanwhile, this is a short clip (don’t blink) of NE27 walking and doing some wing exercises.

B15 at the Berry College nest of Pa Berry and Missy is the sweetest little eaglet. It still has that adorable face it had when it was wee and a great big curiosity about the world around it. Pa Berry has been bringing in all manner of prey items. A squirrel landed on the nest for breakfast.

It scares the wits out of me when the eaglets look over the rim of the nest like B15 is doing below!

I missed him! Did you? This is the most recent tracking report on Ervie.

Awwww. Would have given anything to see Ervie. Bet I was watching Big Bear at the time.

There was a report of 130 Mallards and 1 American Black Duck at an open piece of water in one of the two big rivers that flows through our City. This one was the Red River. And, yes, they were there. Hard to see as I was scandalously far away and didn’t have my 2x adaptor.

Just before I took off to find the ducks and that small open piece of water, Little Red had been waiting, warming himself in the sunshine, while another Red squirrel had their eyes on his penthouse. Little Red wanted some of the peanuts I put out before Dyson got them but he decided to protect his territory instead.

Dyson, on the other hand, was being a right little trouble maker today. I put out a new square hanging feeder full of a mixture of Butter Bark, peanuts, and Black Oil seed. So what does Dyson do? He creeps through the Lilac bushes and takes a flying leap at it! About 2 litres of seed fell on the ground. What a mess!!!! Dysonnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!

Dyson saw me watching. Whether or not he was concerned is another story as he sat and stuffed his cheeks for more than ten minutes. Then when I moved to another window, he decided that sitting inside the lilacs and eating his prize seeds was best. He was still going in and out for quite a long time.

As it warms up the squirrels seem to be coming out more. There are rabbit tracks all around the garden so we know that Hedwig is around and the Little Woodpeckers – both Mr and Mrs Downy – have been around most days at the suet feeder. Sharpie even flew through at least once yesterday causing everyone to flee hither and yon. Thankfully the European Starlings have dropped considerably in numbers at the feeders. There are now only about 7 or 8. It gives the other birds a chance to flit in and out including the Black Capped chickadee who visits daily.

I hope that this quick and short newsletter finds you well. Again, most of the bird nests are doing fine. There seem to still be intruders about at some nests and the wee one at Duke Farms still has trouble getting to the table. I am going to hold my breath and check on it and Dale Hollow in a couple of days.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care.

Thank you to the following streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Friends of Big Bear, Berry College Eagles, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, and Friends of Big Bear Valley.

Late Tuesday and Early Wednesday in Bird World

Late Tuesday afternoon I was watching the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest of Anna and Louis. It was such a calming and funny experience. Ten fish were on the nest. Ten. Not tinny weeny fish but substantial fish or portions of. When Louis is brooding the baby, he will get up and start to eat some of the fish. Two things happen. First, the eaglet seems to recognize that Dad is not such a great feeder and ignores him eating.

Then, secondly, Anna sees or hears Louis in the pantry and immediately comes to the nest with a request for him to leave the food.

At this point, she begins eating the fish – and the little one gets itself over to where she is so s/he can have some of that fish, too. How smart. Six days old and already recognizes the best feeder of the parents.

This little one is so strong. It held itself up high and steady for long periods of time. Incredible.

Anna helps to strengthen the chick’s neck by making it stretch to get the food.

It was hilarious and just what I needed at the end of the day. This little eaglet will go on to have more feedings before it gets dark. Anna wants the baby to sleep well so it can grow – and be quiet. This baby is quite loud when it is hungry – which is rare.

One of the individuals on the KNF chat stated that the KNF nest was their top nest to watch and that they had stopped viewing another nest because of the violence of the older eaglet to the younger. I know at least two Bald Eagle nests that the person could have been referring to – and even I had wondered if I wouldn’t take a break from both of them for at least a week to let things settle.

It is very difficult watching streaming cams. Very difficult. The birds bring us much joy and enrich our lives. They teach us so much. We want them to play fair and survive. We grieve when one dies and we yell at the screen when the eaglets hurt one another especially when there is food to spare. So along with the joy comes a lot of anxiety and grieving.

One of the nests has to be SWFlorida’s. I held my breath and checked on E19 and E20 as the sun was beginning to set in Fort Myers. Both of them had crops. Yes, E19s is bigger but the fact that E20 will go to sleep full means a lot. In order to have a crop of any kind, E20 had to do the old snatch and grab. And then Mum ran out of food.

This morning, Wednesday, I also checked in on the SWFlorida nest. A nice sized sturgeon had been delivered. Big enough to feed both eaglets well but, E19 was determined that it was going to eat most of it. It was only after 19 was full that 20 was able to begin doing the snatch and grab, again.

E19 continues to be miserable.

In the past I have praised Harriet and M15 – especially M15 – for stepping in to help so that both eaglets get fed to the brim. That doesn’t seem to be happening yet. I am disappointed.

One of the ‘oddest’ issues is that by the time E20 gets its turn, the amount of prey on the nest has significantly diminished or, in one instance, was all gone but a tail.

I did not check the WRDC nest. I will but, not until the end of the week. I want to give the sibling rivalry some time to settle. There are plenty of nests and lots of activity to keep me out of trouble.

As it happens Berry College was one nest that I was shy about watching or recommending. Today, Berry College posted the cutest video of B15 on FB and its reaction to a big stick on the nest. They sped up the frame rate so everything is happening fast – like slapstick comedy. I hope you enjoy this. It does show you that B15 is a real character and secondly, that it is a good thing that other egg didn’t hatch!

This morning it was 8 degrees F or -13 C. Very cold at Berry College. B15 was quivering its wings while Pa Berry fed it a breakfast of squirrel and hidden fish!

Pa Berry does a good job feeding his baby.

B15 is doing very well. Less than a week ago it fit into the size of that egg!

The Bald Eagle couple at Big Bear, Jackie and Shadow, have a loyal fan base. Last year they lost both of their clutches. Everyone is hoping that this year this popular couple will be successful. They have certainly been doing nest renovations making way for eggs!

Jackie and Shadow have a beautiful view of Big Bear Lake. Sadly, as I often mention, the area still contains the residual effects of the DDT that was sprayed on Big Bear Lake to rid it of mosquitoes more than 50 years ago. This could be, in part, the cause of the thin egg shells.

It is egg watch for Jackie and Shadow.

As I mentioned earlier, Louis and Anna have the sweetest little eaglet. Louis is a fantastic provider. There are reports of cold icy weather heading towards Louisiana. I hope that it veers away from this nest!

Samson and Gabby also have a gorgeous place for a nest.

What a beautiful egg cup.

Samson rolls the eggs giving Gabby a chance for some food and a break.

Gabby is on deck this morning (Wednesday) and tomorrow, Thursday the 20th is the beginning of pip watch for Samson and Gabby at the American Eagle Foundation! Yes. I am so excited along with all of their loyal fans.

Ervie only got a couple of small fish yesterday. He was on and off the nest so that chatters are now giving him the nickname of ‘Boomerang’. He spent the night on the perch after being spooked by a boat that got too close to the barge at 21:08:23. This is at least the third incident this breeding season. Just the other day two youngsters on paddle boards appeared right by the barge. It really does unsettle the birds.

I am delighted that Daisy the Duck is still not laying eggs on the WBSE nest. Each day that she isn’t there is a day to celebrate albeit we do miss seeing her.

I know that each of us wish that this was ‘our’ Daisy after her eggs hatched on that big nest. Talk about adorable. These ducklings follow their Mum perfectly til they get to the stream!

I hope that put a smile on your face. And, Daisy, I hope that in about a month this might be you! We all do.

It is -25 C on the Canadian Prairies and we had more snow last night. Everything is beautiful and white and typically, on very cold days, the sky is blue and the sun is bright. The Blue Jay family has been absent now for over a month. I hope they decided to leave town for warmer climates. Ah, but where to go? It was colder in Georgia yesterday than it was in Winnipeg! Dyson was out doing what he does best —-eating! I caught him on the large suet cylinder yesterday afternoon. What Dyson doesn’t know is that I removed the cage from around the big suet so that he could eat all he wanted. Don’t tell him or he will think I am an old ‘softie’. Notice how thick Dyson’s fur has gotten since the fall.

The European Starlings were everywhere. The numbers typically range between 27 or 28 up to 56 to 58 at a time. They do tend to intimidate the smaller birds from coming to the feeders until they are full. This has meant watching and keeping food topped up until around 16:00 when everyone leaves.

In the middle of the all the chaos caused by the Starlings is the Chickadee who visits several times a day. Slipping in and out when there are not so many other birds around.

Little Red is around but he has only let me photograph his tail at one of the feeders – cheeky little thing. The other two Grey Squirrels come and go as well along with Sharpie who sweeps through a couple of times a day checking to see if he can grab a snack. They seem to be braving the bitter winter weather and the snow with more grace than I seem to have. It certainly feels like spring is a long way away.

Dyson knows precisely where I fill the feeders. When he finishes there will be nothing left but the shells from the Black-Oil Seeds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. From me and all the garden friends, take care, see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Friends of Big Bear.

Blame it on Dyson

According to all of those pop-ups on the computer that can drive you mad at times, today is Black Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving to kick off a season of buying – all those things we want but don’t need, everything to put a smile on someone’s face for the holidays, etc. I said that I would not buy anything on a Black Friday sale. Famous last words?

Dyson is our resident grey squirrel with the ‘good tail.’ There are 2 others, another small one with a weird tail and the big grey one. Dyson got his name because he can suck up more bird seed than all of the birds in our garden together and in record time.

Dyson was regularly coming to take the corn cob away from Mr Blue Jay.

For several days Mr Blue Jay, Mrs Blue Jay and Junior thwarted Dyson’s attempts. And then Dyson got clever. OK, he is clever he just worked faster to get that cob out of sight.

The little grey squirrel would push and pull until he got the cob off the deck. He had to move it over cinder blocks and flower beds before getting it on the grass. Then he pushed and pulled and got it about 5 metres away. Then the cob disappeared.

Where his winter’s supply is, we do not know.

From the corn cobs Dyson advanced to the hanging tray feeder where he could sit or pancake himself eating all the glorious nuts and berries. That was until Little Red explained to Dyson that the hanging feeder is ‘off limits’.

Little Red cleared Dyson out of the hanging feeder in no time. I wonder if he has a silent alarm that lets him know if someone steps on that feeder?

Little Red enjoying a nut in the hanging tray feeder.

Dyson then discovered the ‘new’ chipped peanut and sunflower seed feeder with accompanying tray. No effort at all, just sit and vacuum out the goodies! I am certain the man at the birdseed store was laughing as I left the store the day he sold me that tray!

So, word of warning. If you have a persistent squirrel around that you love – and I mean who wouldn’t love Dyson? – don’t put a tray on your feeder so the seed won’t fall to the ground. All it does is act like a squirrel platform! Dyson has even be caught napping between meals on that tray!

Even though Dyson has found the ‘gold mine’ of feeders, he does not like to share his space with Little Woodpecker – and, yes – Dyson has figured out how to get at the suet cylinders, too! I went off today to see if there was ‘something’ for the woodpeckers that Dyson would not like. And that is how it happened.

I walked into the door of the seed store and was promptly met by the cheerful owner who put a bag in my hand and told me that it was their Black Friday Sale and everything that would fit in the bag would be 20% off. Dyson!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow’s challenge for Dyson will be the new wire mesh feeder with the chopped peanuts mixed equally with the Bark Butter Bits for Little Woodpecker. The owner smiled and said, ‘Make sure you don’t put a tray under the feeder!’

From Dyson and all the gang in the garden, we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday the 19th in Bird World

It has been a bit of a day in the bird and wildlife world. Coming hot on the heels of the banning of trail hunting on Natural Resources Wales land and the National Trust properties in the UK, the State of Washington in the US has suspending bear hunting. It was well known that the adults were killed right when they came out of hibernation leaving cubs to fend for themselves, often dying. People, like you and me, called for these archaic practices to halt. The government listened. Remember that because every person can make a difference! You want hunting suspended in your state or province, phone and find out who to talk to. Write an informed letter. Demand change. Ask like-minded people to join you.

I am not going to start off with the streaming cams just yet. It was a grey damp day – with a little sunshine at times – on the Canadian prairies. The garden was full of birds, mostly sparrows and some Starlings. Mr Blue Jay came and went quickly. He does not seem to like the frozen corn cob. And, of course, there was Dyson & Company, along with Little Red.

All these years I have pondered the sheer amount of ‘bird’ seed that we go through in a week. It is true that there are normally 250-300 birds singing and eating daily but, how much can they eat? It appears that not all that new seed – seedless chipped sunflower and peanuts – is going to birds!

Dyson didn’t like the frozen corn either and didn’t bother to even take it for later. He has discovered how to vacuum out that new bird seed. I think I now know who broke my other feeder. Dyson has no shame. He lives to eat.

Dyson looks a little thinner in the image above but the one below is more of a likeness of this little one. Dyson brings us so much joy that we are thrilled he is healthy going into what might be a very bad winter.

With Dyson occupied on the sunflower/peanut feeder, it meant that Little Red could sneak on the tray feeder and eat all the cashews, fruit, Brazil nuts, and peanuts. If you are wondering, yes, the birds and animals possibly eat better than I do! Little Red is so cute.

Little Red lives in the penthouse. It is a ‘shed’ the size of a garage that is taxed like it is a new garage by our City. We haven’t had the heart to evict the little fellow even thought he fills everything up with Maple seeds and knocks everything off its hooks and generally makes a complete mess of the space.

There were a few European Starlings still in the garden. They will migrate returning next April but they are lingering just like some of the ducks and the Northern Cardinals. Who knows? Maybe they know what winter will be like better than anyone. They certainly have enjoyed eating the suet cylinder.

Others felt like Black Oil Seed today.

Isn’t she cute with her rosey legs and slightly pink tinted beak? Female house sparrows get short shift in the bird guides. It is a pity. They are quite lovely.

Last year I planted Scarlett Runner Beans and at the end of the summer the sparrows went wild shredding all of them and eating the greenery. What you are looking at below is a Flame Willow shrub. In winter the branches are red – super beautiful in a world of grey, white, and beige. There is some little vine or plant growing on that shrub. The sparrows have discovered it and they are doing the same thing – shredding and eating. Has anyone seen this behaviour?

And now back to the streaming cams for a quick update.

Port Lincoln Osprey Barge: By 09:30, three fish had been delivered to the nest. Bazza initially got the first fish when it arrived at 06:23. Ervie took it away from him. Bazza did nothing to try and get it back. Falkey got the 06:49:38 fish. The third fish arrived at 09:11:09 and Falkey got it, too. Ervie had a huge crop. He wasn’t bothered. Yesterday Cilla Kinross of the Orange Peregrine Falcons said that “Shrinking violets will not last long in the real world.” Bazza is hungry and he needs to challenge his brothers despite that he might be fearful of another incident like he had with Ervie.

Falkey has the fish. Bazza is crying to Mum and Ervie with his big crop is looking out to sea on the right. Will Mum take the fish and feed Bazza?

The White Tailed Eagle Nest in Durbe, Latvia. Milda and Mr L were at the nest working on more renovations. It was getting ready to rain and the image is a little ‘foggy’. Sorry about that. It is nice to see Milda. I hope that this will be a successful year for her after the tragedy of spring 2020.

The Minnesota DNR has turned on its Bald Eagle cam. Here is a video of that amazing couple – the sub-adult male who fathered his first chicks at the age of four last year – and the older female. This video was made on 18 November. It looks like Dad has his adult plumage this year! How wonderful. He will have turned 5.

Cornell Red Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca. The camera has been frozen for awhile. I wrote to the Cornell Bird Lab to inform them and to also ask them if there have been any confirmed sightings of Big Red since the last one on 16 October. I will keep you informed.

Annie and Grinnell. I have not seen any updates. As well, nothing on the WBSE juvenile.

You might remember Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. That little one is a fine example of a third hatch so tiny everyone thought it would die and well, she became the dominant bird on the nest. Her number is Blue 463. I am watching all of the announcements for her arrival in warmer climates. Today, however, the 2016 hatch from Foulshaw Moss, male Blue V8, was spotted in Tanji Marsh in The Gambia. He was seen there in January 2021 and was in Cumbria during the summer of 2021. This is the good news you want to hear. Survival.

And on that wonderful sighting, I will close. Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend. Stay safe. Thank you so very much for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Latvian Fund for Nature, Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and to Lady Hawk for her video on the arrival of the two Bald Eagles to the MN DNR nest.

Corn Cob Show Down

It has been an interesting morning in the garden. First, it is wet and cold – again. 8 degrees with a cloudy sky.

Because of the recent rain, all of the old seed and shells were cleared off the deck and put into the bin. Birds can get sick from eating wet mouldy seed. Wet seed encourages bacteria to grow and the diseases can be fatal. I would like to think that birds know better than to eat that wet, sometimes smelly, seed but they do not always, especially if they are ravenous. Over the years we have experimented with many different ways to keep the bird seed dry. Putting a roof or a dome over the feeder works best. Other people recommend mesh feeders so that there is air circulation. I have found that these work best in conjunction with some type of a roof or dome.

The garden birds do not like it when things are cleaned up. Today was no exception! Some of the bowls were left to be cleaned while others were filled. The House Sparrows arrived wanting baths – yes, they take baths when it is 8 degrees C! Others were dismayed to find their bowl empty. We warm the water for them in a heated bird bath during the winter but it is only enough for then to drink with wooden slats placed across so they will not bathe. Thank goodness they do not weigh enough to move those boards about! It is really important to remember as the cold days of fall and winter set in that birds need water to drink. If you put out seed in the winter, they also need water. Yes, they eat the snow but they often need more. See if you can figure out a way to provide it for them.

This is one of the sweetest little House Sparrows. It along with the one above wanting a bath were just darlings.

Grey Squirrel (Bushy) joined everyone on the blocks eating his favourite seeds with big nuts and fruit.

The Slate-Coloured Juncos are still here and they like that fruit and nut seed just as much as the Millet. Sadly, with the wet on the deck and their favourite red carpet, the Millet turns to mush and might make them ill. So it is fruit and nuts today! Hopefully the weather report is right and the sun will be out tomorrow and we will be back to non-seasonal temperatures for a few days so everything can dry.

The plumage of the Slate-Coloured Junco is quite extraordinary when you begin to look closely to the variations of rusty brown over the slate grey.

Mr and Mrs Blue Jay came for the corn cob but were joined later by another Jay. The reaction to that bird seemed to signal that it was an intruder.

Blue Jays are often overlooked. Many dislike them as much as they do House Sparrows. As for me, I adore them both but – because Mr and Mrs Blue Jay have been coming for several years and each summer they bring their surviving fledglings to show us, I am especially attached to them. They eat their corn and love it if they can get a peanut ahead of one of the squirrels.

I found a woman who loves Blue Jays, too. She made a great little video explaining their courtship behaviour. Have a look!

I love the drawing on the top left and the saying: Birds Make Me Happy. As all of us know, that is absolutely true. They bring such joy.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope all of you are well and happy. See you soon.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.