Monday in Bird World

It is -10 C on the Canadian Prairies on a day that can only be described as white. There is no colour in the sky and while I had anticipated including images of a different landscape due to melting, well, that hasn’t happened. The snow appears to be melting from the inside of the snow banks and tunnels slowly – which is a good thing! Today and for several days this week, we will continue having yet more of the white fluffy flakes. It has – weather wise – been a winter we will not forget for a long time.

I have been reading Mark Avery’s blog. Avery spent his life working with the RSPB in the UK and is an outspoken defender of ‘nature’. He was their Conservation Director for 13 of the 25 years he worked for them. I will include the link to his blog at the end. The current topic is ‘Alternatives to grouse shooting’.

Avery also includes a short list of books he has read and their reviews at the bottom. One of those was The Consolation of Nature. Spring in the Time of the Coronavirus. Three nature writers – Michael McCarthy, Jeremy Mynott, and Peter Marren – keep a ‘nature’ diary running parallel with happenings with the pandemic for the period of spring 2020. They begin with the astronomical beginning of spring on the 21 March running through 31 May when summer begins. (Meteorological beginning of spring is 1 March). My interest in this book is the emphasis on the healing aspects of nature and how, during the beginning of this horrific virus, people turned to nature for solace. All of us watch bird cams. Did you know that in the UK from the period 23 March to 31 May 2019, there were 20,407 page views of bird cams. During the early period of the pandemic this increased to 433,632 views! It was a similar situation at Loch Arkaig where 400,000 people watched Louis and Aila raise their three osplets. Indeed, it was an amazing year for nature as we isolated ourselves. Few if any planes, few if any cars. When we stopped, nature thrived. “Fish returned to the canals of Venice, no longer churned up by tourist boats. In parts of northern India, the Himalayas became visible for the first time in thirty years as air pollution fell. Baby sea turtles made it safely to the water on Brazilian beaches empty of sunbathers, joggers, and dogs. Wild boar and deer came back into car-free European cities.” As the authors demonstrate, some of those events were significant including “a colossal fall in the carbon dioxide emissions” driving climate change. While the coronavirus spring brought many human losses and great stress, nature gave each of us hope and comfort.

It is a remarkable little book. I highly recommend it but, even more so, I recommend that you begin keeping your own diary of how much joy our beloved birds bring to your life – or it could be the animals or the plants in your garden or a green area you visit. In years to come, it will be a treasure, I promise.

https://markavery.info/blog/

Many of us have never looked back after first watching our bird families on the streaming cams. By watching the daily lives of these families struggling to survive sometimes, we have learned much and it is hoped become more empathetic and prone to fight for a better environment for all of us.

Our first family up this morning are the Captiva Osprey family of Andy and Lena and the three Bobs. Lena was up at day break calling Andy to bring in a fish. She is incredibly loud and Andy could have heard her if he had been in Fort Myers!

I picked the image below not for its compositional beauty but because this morning for the first time, we can clearly see the difference in development between Big Bob and Little Bob. Look at the top of their heads. Little Bob, on the left, still has his soft light grey down. Big Bob has lost his. Soon his head will look like it has been dipped in a pot of black oil with a few copper flecks at the bottom. Big Bob is entering the ‘Reptilian Phase’.

While Lena wanted that fish before 07:00, it was, in fact, delivered at 08:14:39. It was a live Sheepshead.

Lena had a bit of a time with that fish – getting it opened and not flipping about on the kids. Big and Middle Bobs are right up there when she begins feeding. You will see that Middle Bob also has a greasy black Reptilian head like Big Bob. Little Bob is just waking up. Get up there Little Bob!

Little Bob is definitely our ‘Captiva Ervie’. It didn’t take him long to get the sleep out of his eyes and get up under Lena’s beak. Look at him stare at the fish. At least for today, we can easily tell Little from the other two if the trio are in a clump.

Lena was really hungry. She fed the kids for more than an hour and then finished off the fish and ate the tail at 09:49. All of the chicks were passed out in a food coma.

Andy returned hoping there would be some fish left just as Lena swallowed the fish tail! The chicks woke up and were thinking about a second feed. Too late! Big Bob did root around in the nest for scraps eating them as he found them. Wow. That is fantastic.

Lena is currently busy keeping the osplets cool by shading them. She is also hoping that Andy will ring another fish in!

Cornell Bird Lab put together a 15 minute video of Big Red and Arthur frantically working on their nest on the Cornell Campus this morning. It is much better than any still captures I could show you!

Squeezing some of the somber in with the joy, HH3, one of the Hilton Head Island Trust eaglets has died. HH4 is fighting for its life and hanging on by a thread. The test results to determine the cause are not ready yet. The adults are being monitored closely and the Birds of Prey Centre has brought in the Clemson University Vet School to help with the determinations as to cause.

There was a lovely kerfuffle at the NEFlorida Nest of Samson and Gabby this morning. It was fantastic, actually. Jasper (NE26) was eating all of the food. This has been the typical pattern for these two. This morning it was the same- NE27 is on the left with its head down and Jasper is at the beak getting all the food.

NE27 moves closer and does the old snatch and grab and horks all of the remaining prey! He was hungry and was tired of waiting. Way to go 27!

Jasper has been doing a lot of standing and wingersizing. She is definitely getting much more stable on those legs.

Gabby and Samson sure make beautiful babies. I just love the pantaloons on Jasper.

The more I watch the Dale Hollow nest the more I am loving this family. Obey comes in to check on River and feeds her. That reminds me of Blue 33 feeding Maya at the Rutland Osprey nest. Then River and Obey feed the chicks in tandem. The life experience of these two eagles, well into their 20s in age, really shows when dealing with the health and welfare of their chicks. Just wonderful. The third egg is 36 days old today and it is almost hatched!

Another tandem feeding this morning.

Continual aeration of the nest cup to keep it soft and bring oxygen in.

River feeding the twins.

Oh, just look at them. They are so cute, fluffy, and a little chubby. Perfect!

There are currently more than 3,044 persons watching and waiting for a pip at the nest of Jackie and Shadow in Big Bear Lake, California. The eggs were laid on January 22 and 25. That makes them 34 and 37 days old. The average time for pip is between 34 and 40 days so we are still right in the sweet spot for hatching. Good luck Jackie and Shadow! Your fans are cheering.

It is difficult to avoid the news. My heart goes out to any person caught in a conflict zone. It is difficult to avoid the war zones in Africa where our birds migrate to for the winter and now, as they begin to return to their homes in Latvia and Estonia, many have historically spent time eating and resting in the Ukraine. This is the map of Karl II’s family migration this past summer. Many of the other birds that migrate to Africa follow a similar route. Wildlife suffers irreparable harm, like ordinary citizens, in times of war.

Here is a detailed study of wildlife in conflict zones and the need for conservation. It is a good first read to understand the challenges that nature and wildlife undergo when there is war. I hope that you are able to open it.

https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/am-pdf/10.1002/fee.1433

I will close as we wait for a pip at Big Bear and the final hatching at Dale Hollow with a closeup of Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Dad spent considerable time on the ropes yesterday. I cannot help but imagine that he was hoping to catch up with Ervie and see how he is doing. You can certainly tell where Ervie gets his good looks from!

It has warmed up to a balmy -8 C. Serious spring weather and I am off to get more bird seed and go for a much needed walk. Please take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, Cornell Bird Lab, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Bald Eagles 101 FB, and the Latvian Fund for Nature Forum.

Late Monday in Bird World

For now NE26 is an ‘only child’. NE27 is steadily working its way through the hard shell that has enclosed it for the past 35 days.

Will 26 be a brute of a big sibling or a sweetheart…we wait.

NE26 is really cute and fluffy. I did notice that the tiny pick at the end of the egg tooth seems to be gone. That beak will grow, just like our finger and toe nails. Any remaining bits of the egg tooth will be gone by the time the eaglet is losing its furry light grey down and switching it for its darker charcoal coloured thermal down.

As the sun sets on Samson and Gabby’s big stick nest, NE26 is having a late meal while NE27 continues breaking that shell. Hopefully by tomorrow morning we will have a new fluffy baby in this nest.

Someone asked me about the large stick nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Lake. Do the eagles have anything to line the nest that is soft besides sticks? That is a great question.

Today, Shadow was incubating the egg. Anyone that has watched this nest knows that the eagles bring in huge twigs. Just compare Jackie and Shadow’s nest with Gabby and Samson’s above. The eagles have to use what is available to them. Gabby and Samson along with Harriet and M15, Ron and Rita, Connie and Clive, and Lena and Andy favour lining their nests with Spanish Moss. That is what is available to them. Looking out over the landscape of northern California there is, of course, nothing like Spanish Moss. Conifer needles are wonderful when they are fresh but anyone who has gotten pricked by one of their dry needles instantly knows why they do not line the nest with them. According to Peterson, the type of nest that Bald Eagles create are platform nests made of sticks and twigs. In terms of the nest placement, it will be at the top of the tree where the branches are stronger and larger as opposed to being on lower branches. The eagles will re-use their nest adding to it every year. Some nests weight are estimated to weight up to a metric tonne or 2200.04 lbs. The vantage point allows the eagles to have a full view of their territory and any incoming predators. Peterson says that they line the nest with feathers and greenery.

As many of you know, Jackie and Shadow have had challenges. I hope their eggs are strong and they fledge a very healthy chick or chicks. I have not seen any announcement (yet) of a second egg but stay tuned for news tomorrow!

All of the other birds are doing fine. E19 and E20 ate a bird and 2 fish. The KNF eaglet has had its multiple feedings of fish. The eaglet at Berry College seems to be fine after scares that its wing was injured after being stepped on yesterday. R1 and R2 have eaten. The parents have slowed down the feedings and some watchers were worried. You will notice that once the eaglets have their thermal down and are getting feathers, the number of feedings decreases but there is more food at a feeding. The eagle parents know what they are doing! I would only be worried if there was a shortage of prey. Speaking of prey. I think Samson at NEFlorida has heard all of the praise for Louis in Louisiana who is known to have 10 fish on the nest at one time. Today, it looks like Samson has 5, at least. Gabby is quite pleased!

An ex-library book came in the post two days ago. It is Mark Avery’s A Message from Martha. The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its relevance today. This book tells of Martha, a Passenger Pigeon, who died on 1 September 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo between noon and 13:00. Martha was the last Passenger Pigeon in existence. At one time there were millions of Passenger Pigeons. They lived in a distinct geographical area of the United States and ate a specific food, mast from the Beech and Oak trees.

Avery worked for the RSPB for over 25 years. He is a scientist, a naturalist, and a writer who is concerned about the impact of modern day farming, the landscape, and the extinction of our birds. Avery is a very descriptive writer who helps you visualize hundreds of thousands of birds flying through the sky making it dark or how their process of eating mast is like a contemporary combine-harvester. The most birds I have seen at one time are the evening gatherings of the Canada Geese during migration. It helps to have seen that but to go from millions of birds to only one living one is frightening. We all know that if we do not do something, there will be more Marthas. Avery traces everything that is known about these plentiful birds and what it was that led to their demise. The book is not doom and gloom. We cannot bring back the Passenger Pigeon but we have to be on alert creating new partnerships with nature so that everything can survive in harmony. Avery provokes us to think about what it would be like without birds and what we can do to make sure that what happened to Martha does not happen to others. I highly recommend it! It is available as a Kindle book but also, if you like to hold a book and turn the pages, used through several outlets.

Ervie was on the nest this morning. The camera had been off line and it is impossible to know if he had a fish earlier. Ervie will spend even less time on the barge. Port Lincoln has posted his latest tracking and Ervie is getting his mojo back. Whatever happened on that trip to Sleaford and Tulka is dissipating and Ervie is returning to his old wandering, curious self.

Here is Ian Falkenberg’s (the bander) report on Ervie:

There is other good news coming out of the Australia streaming cams – Daisy the Duck has not laid a clutch of eggs on the WBSE nest. It is 25 January in Australia. Daisy visited on 1 January. Let’s all hold our breath that she is safe somewhere incubating a cup full of eggs!

Trudi Kron posted a video of the Hilton Head Island eaglets of Mitch and Harriet’s. They are both eating well. Watch to see that one of them is thinking about taking some bites out of the fish on its own! I really appreciate this video because you cannot rewind on the camera. Both eaglets were full to bursting!

Thank you so much for joining me for our evening nest check. Take care of yourself! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen capture: NE Florida Bald Eagle and the AEF, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page, and Friends of Big Bear Eagle Cam.

Monday Updates in Bird World

The snow and rain persisted in the North East longer after bringing bitter cold, rain, tornado warnings, and ice in the SE. Last night those white flakes piled up on Big Red and Arthur’s nest at Cornell University. This afternoon rain is falling in Ithaca.

There is still about 9 weeks before Big Red thinks about laying eggs. Suzanne Arnold Horning caught Big Red preening in the snow this morning. Big Red is always beautiful, no matter the weather.

The sun has come out on the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita. Hopefully this will make R1 nicer. Even Rita tried to stop his nonsense with R2 yesterday.

The behaviour of R1, more aggressive than normal during the day of the storm, was mirrored in E19 who was entirely unpleasant to E20 on Harriet and M15’s nest in Fort Myers. These two have been called the ‘the most sweet’ and ‘the most caring’ of all of Harriet and M15’s eaglets and yet, yesterday brought out the aggression.

The cameras at SWFlorida are having problems this morning. The IR remains on and they are all on different times. The camera should, at this moment, be reading 12:30. Those eaglets are fine. Hopefully today will calm E19 down.

The one nest that I have been concerned with is that at Berry College. Missy did real well during the storm yesterday. It appears that the chick attempting to hatch in the second egg has failed. As one of the chatters said this morning, ‘we are thankful for one feisty chick’. Agreed. Let Missy get some experience with this one! Fingers crossed that this little one, B15, will grow and thrive.

I checked on Missy late last night and was thrilled to see the precipitation had stopped.

What I would like to see is a pile of fish on that nest! Pa Berry, let’s go fishing.

No egg at Duke Farm but the nest continues to be restored by the pair of Bald Eagles that gave us those two magnificent fledges last year.

It is breezy and sunny at Hilton Head Island Trust Eagles Nest, home to Harriet and Mitch and their two eaglets. It certainly isn’t hot there and the forecast indicates that the temperatures will plunge on Thursday. Right now the babies are full of fish and sleeping.

Lori Covert at Captiva Bald Eagles has announced that the two eggs of Connie and Clive are either unfertilized or non-viable. No eaglets for Connie and her new mate this year, sadly.

There was a late fish delivery to Ervie on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. I am not quite certain of the delivery time but Ervie was working on it after 20:00. At one point, Mum came over to see if she could get that fish off Ervie and he promptly booted her off the nest. Ervie!

Ervie did not finish that fish. He seems to have saved some of it for breakfast. He is sleeping on it!

Before signing off – I am late in feeding the garden birds and animals – a quick check on Anna and the little one. Louis has the pantry full – typical Louis -and this baby continues to delight. It is so strong. The Kisatchie National Forest nest is quickly rising like cream to the top in terms of my favourite Bald Eagle nests.

I know that there has been a lot of chatter about Louis being able to feed lots more chicks. Yes, he could. He could supply Berry College easily and keep Anna and babies full. That said, my preference will always be for one very healthy chick at each nest – always. Anna is a young Mum. This is only her second breeding season. Ease her into larger clutches gently! If ever.

This eaglet is the cutest! Seriously.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. They all seemed to have survived the storms well. Such a relief. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Berry College, WRDC, SWFlorida, Hilton Head Island Trust, Port Lincoln Ospreys, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab, and Suzanne Arnold Horning for the image of Big Red today.

Thursday in Bird World

I genuinely hope that the Bird World community does not have a fright like it did this morning when Gabby had not returned to relieve Samson of incubation duties for nearly 24 hours. Samson seemed nonplused by it all and maybe he knew where Gabby was. She has been known to disappear for a bit in the past but it seems unusual rip before pip. At any rate, all is well at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

A video has been posted of an intruder chase at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest around the time that Gabby returned to the nest at 11:53. It would, thus, appear, as I thought, that her absence was based on a territorial issue rather than one of her ‘disappearing’.

B15 hatched this morning at 07:57 at Berry College. Everyone thought Missy might not ‘know to feed it’. She was up eating and looked over several times to see if its head was up and beak open. She knows what to do! Like the KNF eaglet, this little one is pooped from hatching.

B15 is a real little cutie! It looks very strong.

I sure wish Missey had gotten rid of those egg shells when B15 hatched. You will note that one has slipped over the end of the second egg. Hopefully this will not cause B16 trouble when hatching!

B15 looks so tiny compared to Harriet and Mitch’s eaglets at the Hilton Head Island Trust Bald Eagle Nest. Their feathers are starting to come in. Poor things. They are always preening and we think that they must be itchy.

I think this is a new take on ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’. Ron has been keeping the nest full of fish for Rita and the babies. He can often be seen feeding the little ones himself. They are doing nicely and this human-made nest seems to be working out well. Perhaps this design will be needed in areas that lose trees in big storms or fires.

The two of them are adorable. They scoot around all over the nest.

Bingo! Anna and the baby finally got feeding worked out. The little eaglet is going to have a nice crop. Louis is already beginning to fill the nest up with big fish.

I love seeing Louis and Anna on the nest. Look at that nice Pike that Louis brought in for lunch! And there is the little one with its crop holding its head up pretty good. It was so full it just fell over into food coma.

Louis has brought in more fish! No shortage of things for the family to eat. Louis is one of the most enthusiastic fisher-dads I have ever seen.

Anna and the yet to be named baby eaglet have figured all of this out! Just look there is a little tail!

This eaglet is seriously cute. The Rangers are looking for a name. Anyone can send in a suggestion. It should be gender neutral. Send name in an e-mail to: nameknfeagle@gmail.com Send it by 30 January.

You can see the tail and the strong wings below. Oh, adorable. This eaglet is going to be like Kisatchie – there were days you would think s/he was going to pop they had been fed so much. Anna is the kind of Mum that wants you to ‘take just one more bite, pleaseeeee’.

Just doing a quick check on the Port Lincoln Lads. Ervie was, of course, on the nest last night and Mum brought him a fish before bedtime. There are fewer and fewer fish deliveries indicating that the parents want all the boys to be out fishing themselves.

At 07:33:57, someone did, however, deliver Ervie a nice big chunk of fish!

Ervie has the fish.

That fish is under his talents but he is still mantling and flapping and prey calling. Just eat and enjoy it, Ervie.

An hour later Ervie is still eating his fish. His ‘gas tank’ is full!

I have been thinking about Ervie a lot. I have to tell a story to make my point. Years ago we had a black and white cat called Melvin. It was a time when cats could be outside where I live. Melvin loved nothing more than to roll in the dirt! He was always dusty. One day, when he was 2 years old, he disappeared. We looked and called but, nothing. Four days later Melvin was at the door crying to get in. We noticed some strange marks on his paws. It looked like thin wire had worn the fur off and there were a couple of holes. Had he gotten caught in a barbed wire fence? The result of his misadventure was real trauma. Melvin hid in the bedroom and walk-in closet. He rarely came out into the other areas of the house. When we had our cat sitter, Heather, she would take a flashlight to check he was OK under the bed and put his food there. Over the decade she helped us, she never actually saw Melvin, not once, just his eyes. Melvin lived 15 years in hiding, more or less. He would come out with us but no one else. While we will never know what happened to him, that event changed his life. This brings me to Ervie. If you remember, Ervie was the one going everywhere and being independent. It was Bazza on the nest. Then Ervie was away flying south of Port Lincoln. He has not left the nest since except to chase Falky. His behaviour has changed dramatically. Did he try to catch a fish and couldn’t get out of the water easily? We will never know what he experienced. I hope to goodness I am wrong about something traumatic happening to Ervie. He is clearly the dominant bird but why isn’t he out exploring?

The Audubon Society has announced today that the Migratory Bird Act has been brought back and will be strengthened in the US. Here is that information.

And, last but never least, the Kakapo Recovery. Today’s report on the breeding attempts and eggs. This is great news coming out of New Zealand.

It’s an exciting time full of ups and downs. We are on pip watch for Captiva and NEFlorida and with two recent hatches at Berry and KNF – well, it is difficult to keep track of all of them! I am really pleased at Anna and the eaglet getting the feedings worked out. It is all good down in Louisiana. I look forward to tomorrow. Think about a name for this cute eaglet and send it off!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: KNF Bald Eagle Nest, Berry College, Kakapo Recovery, Port Lincoln Ospreys, WRDC Bald Eagle Nest, and Hilton Head Island Trust.

KNF has a hatch

There are 57 European Starlings in my garden this morning. They are very skittery. Normally there are only 28. It is -12 and they are swooping down to get the chopped peanuts and sunflower seeds on the edge of the deck. They have already emptied the feeders. It is 10:49! They did that in less than two hours. Crazy.

The Starlings and Sparrows try – as hard as they can – to get those whole peanuts out but, they can’t. The peanuts go over in a box for little red and the little feeder gets full of meal worms, butter bark, and chopped peanuts. Often the Starlings will share a branch with the Sparrows so that all can eat.

The Black-capped Chickadee was all puffed up. It is fascinating how they take one tiny seed, fly to crack it and then return for another. We have one chickadee that always comes to the garden. On occasion, it will bring a couple of friends.

A few of us could not sleep last night and got up to wait for Anna and Louis’s little one to finish hatching. Cody and Steve had put a microphone inside the nest and you could hear the baby cheeping. It was soooo cute. Anna called Louis to show him their baby around 12:32. Everyone melted. It is incredible to be able to see this type of tenderness between Bald Eagles.

Louis wants to get closer and have a good look at the little fluff ball.

The rangers at the KNF nest believe that the little one was fully hatched at 00:17:00 on 12 January.

The lads at KNF spent a great effort getting that audio situated just right so, yes, please turn it up!

Here is the video of that hatch.

This is the wee one this morning. So soft! So fragile.

Anna will keep that baby nice and warm.

This is a very healthy and very tired eaglet. It worked really hard to get through that membrane and crushed egg. The fluids inside the egg provide the food for the eaglet so that it does not have to eat right away. Mother Nature is great – she compensated by giving it food because hatch is so tiring. Despite Louis’s enthusiasm for bringing in fish, this little one might not be interested in eating until late this evening.

Other Bird News:

There is no pip at Captiva Bald Eagle Nest yet. We might be waiting for two more days. Today is Day 38 and Connie’s eggs normally hatch around Day 40. Pa Berry and Missey are not giving anything away so it is unclear if there is a pip at Berry College. Ervie continues to chase Falky off the Port Lincoln Barge in Australia. Ervie was in the nest and Mum, Dad, and Falky were on the ropes. No sign of Bazza since Sunday. That statement does not imply anything sinister. He could be off camera or he might have decided it was time to leave on his journey to find a territory for himself — before his two brothers. That could be a very smart idea. I am pretty certain that Ervie will want the best spot!

R1 and R2 at the WRDC nest are really doing well and becoming more and more curious. They peak out to the rest of the world. These two of Ron and Rita’s seem to love to scramble out of that nest cup! If you don’t see parents right on the nest do not worry. They will definitely be close by!

They are just darlings. It looks like fish has been on the menu this morning.

Harriet and M15’s E19 and E20 are changing so quickly from the fuzzy little balls like the KNF eaglet to getting feathers. You can see the flight feathers coming in on the wing in the picture below. Look at those feet and the little tiny tails. They grow too fast!!!!!

The Hilton Head pair are also interested in what is going on outside their world. That low nest wall really makes me nervous. They are getting ‘long and lanky’ like E19 and E20 and soon we will be able to see their pinfeathers coming in clearly. Like the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest, Harriet and Mitch will be somewhere close by to their babies. No worries!

Oh, it is so nice that that little one of Anna and Louis arrived safe. What a relief when they finally make it into the world.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is so nice to have you with me today. Take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: KNF Bald Eagle Nest, Hilton Head Island Trust, SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest and D Pritchett, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest.

Sunday in Bird World

Oh, wow. It is a bright sunny Sunday on the Canadian Prairies. There is no snow falling and the temperature dropped from that very nice -14 C at midnight to -24 C this morning. It is supposed to further drop to -29 C. When I went out to fill all of the feeders, Dyson was on top of the large suet cylinder chewing away. He took no mind of me as I worked around him until I got the camera out. Then he scurried away! The now regular 28 European Starlings were the first to arrive. They were followed by the several hundred Sparrows. The chickadee seems to find a way to manage in the midst of all of them but I have not seen Junior or Mr and Mrs Blue Jay for a couple of weeks. Little Red will wake up sometime around 14:00 and join the garden gang. When it is cold like it is today the feeders are all filled twice. Thank goodness for bulk buying!!!

Louis just gave up his incubation duties at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. He gave us a quick glimpse of the egg. Doesn’t look like a pip yet.

Louis had his talon caught in some of the Spanish Moss and it completely covered the egg. I wonder if this is egg #2? One of them was broken by Anna when she was landing one day in December. If it is #2, then pip watch could be delayed until Tuesday.

Annie arrives at 12:00:33 and there is a nice view of the egg after the moss is cleared away. Anna is looking at the egg closely. The adults will be able to hear the eaglet inside if all is well as we near pip.

The news coming out of Captiva Bald Eagle Nest on Sanibel Island is that there is no pip yet for Connie and Clive. Last night Lena 2 laid the first egg for the Captiva Osprey Nest.

Pa Berry is incubating the egg at the Berry College Eagle Nest. There is no pip there and they are expecting rain today. The weather has been terrible for this pair. There was snow last night and high winds and hail the other day. I honestly did not think the tree would survive that storm never mind Missey who was hanging on and keeping those eggs safe.

E19 and E20 are fast asleep at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest in Fort Myers. Their only job is to grow – so they eat and sleep. Adorable.

It got a little too hot under Mum but the shade is really nice! The Mumbrella.

Bald Eaglet spells ‘cute’. These two are really growing. Notice the egg tooth is almost completely gone.

R1 and R2 are ready for some lunch at the WRDC nest. It will be around 26 degrees C for these Miami-Dade eaglets today. I hope there is a nice breeze.

Here is a view of the Hilton Head Bald Eagle Nest in South Carolina. What a magnificent nest.

The two eaglets of Harriet and Mitch are in a food coma. They are doing very well. I love their fat little bottoms and tails. They scoot around pushing and moving with their wings.

Awwww. I have been watching the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge closely. You will recall that both Ervie and Falky had early morning fish. Then Bazza, who had a crop, decided to push Falky off the ropes. I was quite afraid for Falky but, on his third try, with a cool head, he was able to free himself from the water. It was brilliant.

Ervie decided that he was not giving up the nest. Indeed, control of the nest is all important by the dominant bird. That is how it came to be that Erive had four fish deliveries yesterday. The deliveries were at 07:08, 15:29:44, 18:05, 18:30, and at 18:40 Ervie seems to find another fish on the nest! His crop should have popped! There is clearly a reason that there is competition for the nest!!!!!!!

At 17:40, Ervie still had a crop from the 15:29 fish.

Ervie spots one of the adults coming in with a fish. It is Dad.

That was a nice fish for Ervie.

Ervie was still eating the 18;05 fish when Mum landed on the nest with a small fish. Falky flies over from the ropes to retrieve that little fish.

So there is Ervie in the back eating his fish and mantling. Mum is in the middle with the fish under her left talon. Falky has gotten turned around and is facing us.

Mum decides she wants out of there quick. Falky is still facing the wrong way. Ervie has his fish under his talons and is mantling.

Ervie decides he doesn’t like Falky on the nest and boots him off. Ervie takes both of the fish.

Now Ervie has two fish to eat! It seems like Ervie has been eating all day. There is no sharing like they did as youngsters. These are three males that will be future rivals if they are not fully already.

Ervie was selected for the sat-pak because he was believed to be the best bet for survival. I continue to say that made a perfect choice. It may feel entirely unfair but it takes confidence, creativity, and cleverness to survive it seems.

Ervie sleeping on the nest in the middle of the night.

Ervie is on the nest and Falky is on the ropes waiting for that first fish delivery. Wonder who will get it?

Other Bird News: Rafa Benjumea has reported that the recent count of Ospreys in the Sanctuaire des Balbuzards in Senegal is 161. That is excellent news. How many Bald Eagle nests and couples do you think are in the small state of New Jersey? The 2021 count shows 247 Bald Eagle Nests. Out of those, 222 were active. 296 eaglets hatched and there were 27 new Bald Eagle couples. That is quite the count! There are growing numbers of Bald Eagles being admitted to Rehab Clinics with high lead levels. A few make it while a lot perish. It is a simple fix: stop using lead in hunting and fishing equipment! If there is one thing that you can do this year to help the birds is to get on your computer and write to the politicians in your area asking them to ban lead in hunting and fishing equipment. While you are at it, you might want to ask them to ban the manufacture and sale of any type of rodenticide. We remain on pip watch for Captiva, KNF, and Berry College – and we are getting close to a pip watch for NEFlorida with Samson and Gabby.

Thank you so much for joining me today. So happy there are so many people who get joy from the birds! It is heart warming. Take care. See you soon.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, WRDC Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College Eagle Cam, and the KNF Eagle Cam.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

We remain in an Extreme Cold Warning on the Canadian Prairies while Australia and New Zealand have been having Maritime Heat Events. Both are equally challenging for our feathered friends. As for the humans, the furnace is fixed, the heat is on and my -35 degree C ski pants arrived today along with the -35 degree C rated boots. There will be no excuse for not heading out to walk the trails and check on those several hundred ducks that continue to live on our Assiniboine River. Today at the feeders, the normal 28 or so European Starlings and several hundred Sparrows were joined by no less than 10 Black-capped Chickadees. There could have been more as they darted in and out with seeds. They are such beautiful little birds. Some of the Starlings, like the one below, seemed to really get into eating the snow!

Others seemed to prefer to poof up their feathers and hang out with one another in the Lilac Bushes. They leave about 16:00 and I am constantly wondering where they roost at night. They return just after dawn waiting patiently – or impatiently – for the Bark Butter and Meal Worms.

For those who might have missed it, Royal Albatross YRK returned to Taiaroa Head on Day 15 to relieve her mate, OGK. It was an emotional homecoming. This morning the NZ Rangers returned the ‘real egg’ that had been in the incubator to YRK and removed the dummy egg. I could watch these two all day long if I had the time. Talk about a loving couple. In case you missed it, here is that reunion:

There are so many Bald Eagles or Ospreys named Harriet that it can be confusing when trying to keep the nests straight as to who belongs to which one. Harriet and Mitch are at the Hilton Head Bald Eagle Nest.

Those babies are really adorable.

At Hilton Head the menu appears to be almost exclusively fish.

Harriet of M15 and Harriet at the SWFlorida Nest has herself a handful. Today, each chick was trying to climb completely out of the nest bowl – one going one direction and the other one going the other. It is no wonder that we see both Harriet and M15 bringing in reinforcing branches for the sides of the nest.

E19 is full and has passed out in a food coma. E20 thinks it can still hold some more fish! Indeed, these two eat really well when fish is on the menu.

Everyone was talking about a pip and a possible hatch at the WRDC Miami-
Dade Bald Eagle nest. I have been unable to confirm a hatch. Rita was busy feeding the two and what was special on the menu? an Ibis.

The White Ibis lives in the estuaries and along the shores of the Southeastern United States. They are easily identified by their bright red legs and red bill. With these long tweezer like beaks they dig in the mud for crabs, crayfish, marine worms, frogs, and lizards.

“Ibis” by sabl3t3k is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These two seemed, when I was watching, to settle down and eat. They have had a diet of only fish up til today when the Ibis was delivered.

I cannot tell if there is anything happening with the egg or not. R2 hatched on 2 January so if R3 had hatched today there would be three days difference and tomorrow it will be greater. Again, two healthy eaglets are perfect. Maybe there will not be a third.

There are a myriad of other Bald Eagle nests that have either one egg or the couple are preparing for breeding. I cannot keep up with all of them!

There are certainly funny things that go on at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest when all three of the boys are on deck. Ervie – yes, you read that correctly – decided to pay the barge a visit Thursday afternoon PL time. He flew in around 13:00 and chaos ensued, in a manner of speaking. All of the lads thought Dad was flying in with a fish and they were quite animated. When Dad landed on the bottom deck without a fish, Ervie flew right into Dad’s nest! Ervie tried to steal fish from Bazza a few times, got a piece of fish and then proceeded to drop it. Mum picked it up! Who says an Osprey will not pick up a fish that has been dropped? At the end of it all, I think everyone was just happy to see Ervie!

It is amazing how loud three juvenile Ospreys can be when they see Dad flying in with a fish and each one of them wants it. Incredible. Bazza is on the nest, Ervie is on the corner of the ropes and Falky is on the yellow and black ropes. Mum is down below.

Dad has flown in and is next to Mum below deck and Ervie has landed right in the middle of the sticks.

Somehow Ervie comes up with a piece of fish and is eating it on the nest with Bazza.

There is a lot of condensation but that is Ervie on the left and Bazza on the right. Ervie has a piece of fish.

It truly is good to see Ervie – to see all three of them. They are safe and healthy, just maybe a little hungry. Flying takes a lot of energy and the weather has been hot, windy, and the water is choppy. Tough conditions for juveniles learning to fish.

Thank you so very much for joining me. It is always my pleasure to bring you some news about our beautiful birds. As National Bird Day comes to a close, I am forever grateful for the joy these characters bring us. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: SWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, WRDC Eagle Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Eagle Cam, and Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC.

Grinnell and Annie Unite – and other Bird World News

In North America it is the first day of the New Year. We remain under an Extreme Cold Warning. It is -30. Yesterday, it was reported that there are nearly 200 ducks still in the open waters of our Assiniboine River. When it is warmer I will go and check for all of us! And get a photo.

It is incredible that the waterfowl can tolerate such extreme temperatures. The ducks apparently swim very close to one another. That mass creates a large area of heat which keeps the water melted so they are able to eat. They just have to keep moving. They will swim in one direction in unison and then turn and swim the other direction keeping the water flowing so that it does not freeze. Their down – remember all that down that Daisy removed from her breast for the nest? – keep them warm along with their waterproof feathers. This is impressive in terms of adaptation.

I am so excited. Annie and Grinnell bonded on the ledge of the scrape box together first thing New Year’s Morning. Tears. Grinnell is back. Annie has picked him over the interloper that injured him! Oh, I could hardly believe it. Grinnell arrived calling Annie last night. What wonderful news for everyone. Congratulations UC-Cal Falcons.

Wow. Remember I said that E20 was a pistol? Meaning that this little one is full or surprises. Well, guess you wanted the first bite and climbed out of the nest bowl to get it? E20!!!!!!!

Here is a very short video showing E20 climbing up the nest bowl. At first, 20 did not get any food because the angle was wrong. It is an advantage to not be right under Mum or Dad’s beak. Notice that the adults have to turn their head in order to feed the chicks. That is so the eagle can see the beak of the eaglet. It is often why first time Bald Eagle mothers have difficulties feeding – they do not tilt their head. In the image above you can see the tilt of Harriet’s head in order to feed the babies. And, yes, E20 does get fed. This little eaglet has lots of spunk.

Harriet will make sure that they are both fed. Sometimes she fills up the one that is causing all the mischief so it will go to sleep and then she will feed the other one. Harriet is very experienced. She had this nest with her mate Ozzie before M15. There has never ever been a chick lost on this nest to siblicide or hunger. Ever. It is a really good nest for everyone to watch.

The other streaming Bald Eagle cam with two eaglets is Hilton Head. Deb Steyck put together a video of the Dad, Mitch, feeding the pair. They will, eventually, both get fed. Now sure how much experience Mitch has feeding his babies!! They are such darlings.

Dear Ervie was on the nest at the Port Lincoln Osprey as the sun was setting on New Year’s Day in Australia. Happy New Year PLO!

Yesterday, Mr and Mrs Daisy visited the nest of the White-bellied Sea Eagles. What Daisy doesn’t know is that the crows have been visiting the nest almost daily looking for eggs. If they see her sitting on eggs they will go after them. Then, like clockwork, Lady and Dad returned to the nest to spend the night on thee first night of the New Year. As much as we all love Daisy, I hope that when she comes back the Sea Eagles are there and she will choose a different place for her nest!

First, it was the Currawongs bothering the Sea Eagles.

Then BooBook Owl came calling in the middle of the night.

Maybe this time we should collectively blow Daisy off the nest?! I feel so sorry for her. I wish she had a safe place to raise her ducklings. This nest is not that safe place! And, it is possible the Sea Eagles will have trouble with the Ravens now. I hope not.

I want to wish you and all the birds every happiness and success for the New Year. It is so nice to have you here with us. Take care of yourself. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, UC-Cal Falcons, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett.

Boxing Day in Bird World

If you live in the Commonwealth you are celebrating Boxing Day today. Centuries ago, all people working in the manors and upper-class homes were given the day off after Christmas as a holiday. Small gifts from the wealthy would go to their help and the tradespeople who worked for them during the year. The tradition might have begun during the Roman-Christian era when alms boxes were outside the churches for the poor.

We lived in a wonderful small town when I was a student in England. Boxing Day was lovely – visits from good friends, small exchanges of food items. Most prized for someone who never loved mincemeat were the tarts with the orange pastry shells made by Jane. If you liked or needed to, you could begin paying for your Christmas dinner and all the treats in January. The milkman arriving with the electric float had a small catalogue. You paid by the week. The meal with all the trimmings was delivered when Christmas came. I was most impressed with the focus on being together as a family and sharing a meal – not on presents. Typically, children received a new bike and a sock full of treats and candies. We were extraordinarily fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbours and acquaintances. I can close my eyes and return to our living room on Gorse Road – magical.

Today, I hope that you have been able to be with a friend, friends, or loving relatives – in person or virtually.

Ferris Akel is having a wonderful tour today. He was at the Finger Lakes Regional Airport where there were two, perhaps three, Snowy Owls.

There were also Bald Eagles.

There was a male and a female Hooded Merganser.

Male Hooded Merganser
Female Hooded Merganser

There were ducks and geese paddling around the partially frozen water.

The ones with the white breast are Northern Pintails.

There were so many ducks.

I wished that Daisy was there with them paddling around and eating. The image is not clear but Ferris believes that the ducks below are Black Ducks (similar but different to Daisy).

There were Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans flying about.

Canada Geese in formation.
Trumpeter Swans

Ferris also found a very interesting goose. Is it a pale Canada Goose? or is it a hybrid? It is smaller than a typical Canada Goose. Mind you, we see various sizes here in Canada – the small geese pair up with the same size, the larger with the larger ones. Ferris believes this to be a hybrid – a Canada Goose and a Snow Goose.

There were also Sandhill Cranes.

Ferris is on his way to Ithaca – hopefully he will catch sight of Big Red and Arthur!

Meanwhile in Hilton Head South Carolina, Harriet, named after Harriet Tubman, and Mitch, named after General Mitchel, either have their first hatch or are close to it. There is no rewind function for the camera but the images are crisp and beautiful. More than 400 individuals sent in names for the pair. Great choice!

Here is the link to the camera.

https://www.hhilandtrust.org/eagle-cam?fbclid=IwAR2ncSAkZt2o_OXyTxtRDwpDj3Zgp1aNFHKD8ybz4b1-RZvdIEQ5BogeMFc

There will be twins again for Harriet and M15 with both eggs pipping this morning! The Pritchard family set the time as 09:55:54 on 26 December. Tears, Get your worry beads out. It will be rough and tumble in a couple of days!

M15 has had food in the pantry for Harriet who normally will not leave their eggs at this stage – no matter how persuasive M15 can be!

I am so excited. Harriet and M15 are amazing Bald Eagle parents and the Pritchett family has provided them with everything they need – including a stocked pond – and care when required. Here is the link to the camera. You will not want to miss these two!

It is very hot on the nest. Harriet is panting to regulate her temperature. She is used to the weather in Fort Myers so no worries. The eaglets will be listening to one another and that will give them momentum to hatch.

Last breeding season I believe there was only four hours difference between E17 and E18. Remember those two? How could we forget, you are thinking.

Not a week old and they go into care with CROW for conjunctivitis. The image below is after a couple days of treatment. Lucky eaglets, Thanks CROW. Thanks Pritchett family for insisting these kiddos got the care and treatment they needed.

E17 got time out in the peach towel because he was being too aggressive to 18.

Besties.

Thank you for joining me today and for going back to look at these two wonderful juvenile eagles, E17 and E18. The time between when they hatch and fledge will pass as if you only blinked your eye. I urge you to stay tuned and watch this marvellous family go about their every day lives – feeding babies and protecting one another in Fort Myers, Florida.

Thank you to the Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and the D Pritchett family for their streaming cams and Ferris Akel for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots. I also want to thank CROW for their FB Page where I took the images of E17 and E18 in care.