2nd chick for Diamond and Xavier and other news in Bird World

5 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

It looks like the clouds are breaking up and it feels like another beautiful fall day. Yesterday, the trip to the wetlands was stunning in its fall colour. Most spectacular were the Aspens with their bright yellow leaves flittering in the wind and some that were red – so red – with no other colour. I hope to have taken at least one image to share with you in another blog.

This morning there are more Dark-Eyed Juncos eating the millet. They like it on the wood or carpet. Junior and one of the fledglings is here eating corn and a squirrel has been seen scurrying about. Mr Crow has also been here. There is something so nice about seeing the birds eat their breakfast even if they do fight with one another over one of the cobs of corn. It is like seeing the chicks in the nests eating first thing – the reassurance that no matter what else happens that day, they have had one good meal. Over and over again I am struck about how challenging the life of a bird actually is.

Sometimes I start my blog for the morning in the early evening before. That is when I have moments free and really get to sit down and enjoy watching all of the chicks on the nest. October 5 in Australia was particularly interesting because of the crack clearly seen on one of the eggs at Xavier and Diamond’s scrape and the antsy pants of SE30 in the Sydney nest.

This evening though, I am glued to the screen as Diamond works that egg to help that eyas hatch. Who would have thought? The one thing that many did notice was just how healthy Xavier and Diamond are this year. If you want to know how healthy a falcon is look at the colour of its cere, the ring around the eyes, and the legs. You want a bright orange-yellow in the adult. Not a light yellow a bright yellow with an orange tint. Both Xavier and Diamond have that this year. Last year, both seemed a wee bit tired to me. Perhaps it had not been a good year for a lot of prey. This year it appears that there is lots of good prey, not just Starlings. The lead researcher, Dr Cilla Kinross, says the amount of prey is because it is a La Nina year. She also adds that the hunting is more difficult. So, it is a good year for two little eyases!

It was a pip and then at 12:03 you could see the crack. Diamond is wiggling around helping that egg shell come apart!

Some raptor mums will not, in the least, help the chick out of the shell. Others, when hatch is coming roll around and help loosen the shell so that the little one can get out easier. Many remove half a shell to help the process along. I wonder if they can tell if the chick has been trying to hatch for a long period of time and could be tiring?

Diamond is really turning around in the nest rubbing and working that shell for that wee chick.

At 1252, you can really see the hole and the crack!

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond and Big chick at 13:50. There was some confusion. Xavier took the prey over to Diamond but, he thought she didn’t want it. Then there was a bit of tug-o-prey. I am not sure that Xavier was, initially, aware that another eyas was making its way through the shell to hatch.

Diamond fed the wee chick while a wet Xavier readied himself to go out into the rain.

Xavier got some brooding/incubation time in the late afternoon when Diamond took off with the prey delivery. Look at that sweet little one. Not going to be an Only Bob much longer. Xavier and Diamond fooled everyone!

The empty shell was first noticed at 22:20 in the scrape. All are sound asleep.

You can vote for the name of the chicks! Join the fun. Remember that is Australian time. Here is the information: Voting for the chicks names is open until Oct 9, 5pm, link is in News section https://science-health.csu.edu.au/fal…

More feedings at 367 Collins Street. Nice big fat pigeons being brought in with at least 3 or 4 feedings since dawn. I normally do not worry about hawklets and eyases getting food but the 4th hatch is having some difficulty simply because it cannot see yet. It faces the wrong way – sometimes backwards, sometimes to the side. The other three are so far advanced and they are beginning to lose their baby down and look like chicks that are getting their pin feathers – not in the least attractive!

Dad came in with another fish at Port Lincoln. All of the osplets were full and it looked like Little Bob was going to get left out but, wait! Little Bob got right up there at the front and gosh, golly, did that kid get a lot of nice fish bites. Then Middle woke up and wanted some fish. Little and Middle ate. There was some fish left for Mum. One of the nice things about this osprey nest is that the three do not fight during meal times. This is seriously important. It means that Little Bob gets fed. In most instances where there is food competition, the little one is prevented physically from eating by one or more big siblings. That is not a worry at this nest, so far, this year.

More fish later. You can really see how much bigger Big Bob is than Little and Little’s wing size to Middle.

All full and some fish left for Mum.

Mum has to spread her wings like a Mumbrella to cover the kids and keep them warm and dry.

SE29 flew to the nest after SE30 had been fed a small fish. The pair of them together reminded me so much of SE25 and SE26…25 showing and encouraging 26. For several minutes, it looked like SE29 was going to get 30 to fly off the tree with her/him. It didn’t happen but at this very moment, which is around 11:00 nest time in Australia on Wednesday, it looks like 30 would really like to go. Dad ? arrived on the nest and pulled a fish out from some twigs and fed 2+30 on and off. 30 would eat then go look at the branch, then eat. You can tell immediately that 30 is antsy. Every family member is flying but her/him.

It is a bittersweet moment when both of the eaglets fly. We cheer them on triumphantly and secretly we try and hold back the tears. These have been two beautiful eaglets. Yes, there were some ruffles at the beginning and then, they became best friends. No competition. No disturbance.

Is it possible this year that birders on the ground near the Discovery Centre will be posting images of the pair of them flying around the Parramatta Riber and Dad and Lady’s River Roost? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I am terribly impressed with 29’s flying in and out. No torn wings on bushes, just good strong take offs and landings. Hoping that it is that easy for 30 when it takes to the air.

SE30 spent the night alone on the nest. No doubt SE30 will show up for breakfast!

In the News:

Do you read the Country Diary in The Guardian? If not, I want to share this lovely story so evocative, and it is about Ravens. I have grown to love the Crow family that visits my garden and the Blue Jays. Only once has there been a Raven.


Remembering a time in the fall when goshawks were everywhere in the fall.

Today is Izzi’s 2nd birthday and someone put a video together to remember this fabulous character brought to us by Xavier and Diamond in 2020!

Migration News:

Karl II fed well at the Danuke River in Ukraine then flew across Romania and is now in Bulgaria. Awesome.

This is the area where Karl II is fishing.

There was no tracker information for Kaia. It is assumed that she is in Syria and transmissions there are sketchy.

Bonus was still in Romania while Waba remained in Moldova. Udi, one of the 2021 fledglings of Karl and Kaia, continues to be in Italy around the Po Valley. Here is their location:

This is the BirdCast migration map for 5 October. Note that the most birds moving continue to be down the centre of North America. That corresponds directly with what we are seeing in Manitoba.

I hope that today’s blog finds each of you well and enjoying all that life and the birds have to offer. We are so fortunate to be able to watch these glorious feathered creatures raise their families. They bring us so much joy! Thank you so much for being with me. You take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Looduskalender Forum, and BirdCast.

Hatch at 04:56:09 for Diamond and Xavier

The very first peregrine falcon of Diamond and Xavier was fully hatched at 04:56:09. Xavier will be at the scrape box around 05:56 – 06:00 and hopefully Diamond will give him a good look.

There were some loud pips. Congratulations Xavier and Diamond on the first hatch of the 2021 season!

Thank you to the Charles Sturt University at Orange for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.