It is a wild Wednesday in Bird World

28 September 2022

It was really a difficult day to sit and think of hurricanes and osplets beaking one another. After Ian made landfall, I headed for the nature centre to check on that wee duckling. For the second visit in a row, I did not find it. I did find, however, a Solitary Sandpiper, some other Mallards, a couple of Northern Pintails, various Vireos, an adorable squirrel to mention a few of the birds that greeted me today.

A baby American Coot.

The White-breasted Nuthatch stayed at the peanuts for a really long time. The nature centre has a ‘hide’ (a building of sorts with openings where you can watch the birds and not disturb them). It was fantastic to see this beautiful bird make its gravity-defying struts over the wire mesh container.

What a darling. This little Red Squirrel had no idea I was watching him. He is in a perfect spot below the feeder with the American Goldfinches who are dropping seedings all over the place.

A very nice gentleman saw me looking at the Coots but pointed this Solitary Sandpiper out to me on the shore. There had apparently been a Green Heron here the week prior.

This is believed – by me – to be a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet female. But I am waiting for e-Bird to write back with confirmation. Our bird books with their images are often lacking in the kind of detail to make a certain ID and Merlin and I seem not to get along very well!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are moulting – these American Goldfinches.

Being out in the forest with the birds and a few people passing by, with school children researching leaf configurations, and Canada Geese honking in the sky was fantastic. It is the best way to relieve any kind of stress. Shinrinyoku – forest bathing.

In the Mailbox:

Mark your calendars for October 8. This is Cornell Bird Lab’s Big Bird Count Day. I will be posting more information nearer to the time.

As we sit with our eyes glued to the eggs on the ledge of 367 Collins Street waiting for hatch, ‘A’ sent me a note and reminded me of the day the eggs got pretty wet from the rain. Oh, I needed that reminder. It is possible that they will not all hatch. It is possible that none of them will hatch. And bless this young couple if all four do hatch! That new male will really have to show that he is up to the task of feeding a family of 6 including himself. The old dad sure was!

Making News:

The news continues to be about the impact of Hurricane Ian on our beloved raptors. Captiva/Sanibel took a direct hit from the hurricane’s core with winds at 155 mph.

Across the State and a little north is Jacksonville which is home to Samson and Gabby’s nest. This is a video of the impact of the winds on their nest.

Across the country, in the Channel Islands, Thunder and Akecheta were at their nest. It looked like there might have been some intruders as both appeared to be alarming at times. They are a super Bald Eagle couple and it is nice to see you, Cheta.

Australian Nest News:

A super nice fish has shown up at Port Lincoln at 08;28:53. Fantastic. Hopefully these osplets will calm down a little.

It is really nice to see Little Bob right up there in the sweet spot. That fish should fill them all up and put them into super food comas. Mum can have some fish, too, and the kids can sleep.

Little Bob is getting some really good bites and both the older siblings seem, at this moment in time, to be behaving and letting Mum share the fish all around.

A food delivery came around 0740 for the Mum at 367 Collins Street. She flew off the ledge but when she returned she ran from the opposite end of the ledge to the nest. She carefully placed herself over the eggs and rolled them.

My heart goes out to this Mum. She has had food -thankfully but, no real help with incubation. She has almost had to do it all. In Orange, Xavier is so anxious to incubate the eggs and take care of the chicks that it just puts a smile on your face.

How much longer will we get to enjoy the not-so-little Sydney Sea Eagles? They are jumping and flapping and seem to have mastered self-feeding in spite of themselves! Still, it is nice to be fed by Mum and I am sure Lady knows that the days are limited for her to feed her babies.

Thank you for joining me this evening for a brief check on the nests. Head over to Port Lincoln and re-wind to catch that 0830 feeding. Take care of yourselves and continue to send the warmest wishes to the people and nests being impacted by weather around the world. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and videos that make up my screen captures: Northwest Florida-AEF, Explore.org and IWS, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Poor Lena hangs on as Hurricane Ian comes to Florida and other news in Bird World

27 September 2022

Good Afternoon,

A brief check on what is happening at a few of the Osprey and Eagle nests that are on the edge of Hurricane Ian as it moves towards Florida and a peek at the Australian nests as the 28th of September begins there. At the moment, it appears that Port Lincoln Osprey barge is offline. Maybe that cam will start working again before I finish. The Sea Eagles appears to be offline as well.

I know that our thoughts are always with the people and birds when these treacherous storms arrive. Osprey Lena is hanging on tight to her new nest at Captiva as I write this. On top of having to hunker down and ride out what could be a category 3 or 4 hurricane by tomorrow, Lena also has not seen her mate, Andy, back at the nest. I just feel for her right now. The wind is blowing at 25 mph and the rain is intensifying at both the Osprey and Eagle nests at Captiva.

Lena continues to hunker down in the same spot.

An hour later she is holding on in the same spot. You can see on the live streaming cam the gulls and pelicans flying low to the water’s surface. Rain and wind are picking up.

At around 1700, Romeo, the young male tried to land on Lena and Andy’s nest so Lena not only has to contend with a hurricane coming but also is alarming and trying to protect her nest. She is not impressed.

Lena is blown off the nest.

There she goes.

You can watch the Captiva nest and Lena here:

You can catch the Captiva Eagle nest of Connie here:

The Achieva Osprey nest is starting to sway in St Petersburg and the wind seems to be picking up a bit at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers. The nest of Ron and Rita in the Miami Zoo would make you seasick if you were so inclined!

The little sea eaglets – who are not all that little anymore if you look at that wing spread – are acting more and more like adults. Someone took a video clip of them sleeping. Have a look at how grown up they are standing with their heads tucked.

The Mum at Melbourne was doing some ker-chuffing at 0606. She did not take a break for several minutes later -at 06:10:43 -and she was gone long enough to have a nice meal and stretch her legs. While she was away the new male came to the end of the ledge. He did not incubate the eggs. He stayed for a few minutes and then flew off before Mum returned.

There she goes.

Mum appears to be a lot more careful when approaching the eggs and her body appears to be fluffed quite a bit. Can she hear her babies? From the pip to hatch can take anywhere from 24-72 hours. Oh, I wish we could get a real close up on those eggs!

Fluffed out and looking around.

This year Xavier appears to be spending much more time in the scrape box with Diamond.

Port Lincoln still appears to be offline. Send all your best wishes to the people and our beautiful birds in the line of Hurricane Ian. Captiva is S of Tampa and Tampa is expecting strong winds to hit tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you so much for being with me on this quick check as to what is happening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window to Wildlife, Captiva Bald Eagles and Window to Wildlife, WRDC, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Monday Morning in Bird World

26 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that the start of your week has been a good one. It is 10 degrees C this morning and the birds in the garden are not happy. The men have come to put the skirting on the conservatory and they have a big saw. It is not very appealing! I did work outside and have moved in the some hot pink trumpet plants to reside inside along with the Hibiscus. Perhaps it will feel like a tropical paradise on the coldest days of winter. It is supposed to be excellent weather for the goose and duck flight arrivals as migration truly gets underway this week. Sandhill cranes have been spotted south of me and the honking and quacking at the ponds around the City is louder each night.

In the Mailbox:

‘L’ sends us a joyful little video she found showing ducks, swans, geese, flying.

‘A’ wonders if there are any raptors unique to Australia.

That is a great question since we are primarily looking at nests with eggs or youngsters pre-fledge in Australia right now. I cannot, at the first instance, think of a single raptor that is unique to Australia. One might think of the largest eagle, the Wedge-tail as living in Australia only it doesn’t. I have pulled out Penny Olsen’s Australian Birds of Prey to scour over today and this evening with hopefully an answer tomorrow.

If you are looking for information on Australian raptors, you can do not better than Penny Olsen. The book is sadly out of print and should be revised and reissued. If you happen to be able to find a copy, it is worth gold so hang on to it. The information is detailed and Olsen has a very interesting way of making data seem quite interesting. Very informative book and there seem to be a couple available at a very decent price on an on-line Australian bookseller. Just Google the name of the book if you are interested. Should be in everyone’s library – and not just those interested in Australian raptors as it covers raptors that reside around the world.

Many of you will have watched the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy. Harry did not return to the nest and Nancy raised one eaglet to fledge. The other was pushed off the nest by its older sibling and subsequently had to be euthanized. Well, Nancy has been photographed on the nest with a new male interest. Congratulations, Nancy!

Another study for the reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle to Cumbria:

Farmers are putting out water in the UK for all manner of wildlife. For us, living in other places, it is essential that the birds – songbirds, raptors, all of them, have water. They need it to rehydrate themselves while they are feeding so that they can have a safe and healthy flight – so please, keep the water out!

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-suffolk-62575058?fbclid=IwAR33H4tIitpYoIDG2Ixm-33435ppk3e-bU5t6W2DpENpWwg5rDniU_ZaYkU

The Swiss were set to be the first European country to ban factory farming on the 25th of September. Instead, they voted to retain the practice.

Nest News:

I could watch Samson and Gabby working on their nest in Northeast Florida all day. The moving the big sticks, the negotiating (or not) where they should go, and then moving them again. What an absolutely privilege to be able to see these two prepare for another breeding season.

They are an absolute riot – these two -you can laugh yourself absolutely silly for 10 or 15 minutes in one of these sessions especially if Samson brings in one of his huge twigs.

Thunder visited her nest at the West End Bald Eagle nest in the Channel Islands Sunday morning. She brought in a fish, ate it, and sunned herself on the rock. Isn’t she gorgeous?

SE29 has walked up to the branch of the White-bellied Sea Eagles in the Sydney Olympic Forest. This is not ‘branching’ – the eagles need to fly up to the branch but, we are getting close!

Dad brought in an enormous fish that has supplied the fish from Mum and the three osplets at Port Lincoln for four meals! Little Bob did miss a meal and sometimes he just gets turned in the wrong direction but, when he is up there he is getting full. Mum is fantastic at figuring out the feeding order.

Dad brought in more fish and at the end of the day, Little Bob had eaten so much fish and his crop was so big he could hardly stand up. Now isn’t that incredible.

Look carefully at the top image. There is Big Bob. Notice the head. After the chicks lose their fine light grey down they move into the reptilian phase. To me, they look like they have attended Carnival in Grenada and been out the morning when people throw oil, paint, or mud at one another as a way of freeing themselves from the past and in celebration of the new. That day is called J’ouvert and it marks the beginning of Carnival. Sometimes people dress as red and blue devils as they parade through the streets — and I always remind myself that it is in this phase that the older siblings can become unruly and domineering. Fingers crossed for Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad are doing fantastic and Little Bob is eating – not always at every meal – but, well.

It appears that the female at the 367 Collins Street scrape is accepting food gifts and that the bearer of those gifts is also on the ledge, sometimes in view of the camera and sometimes not. It appears that this is male 2. I stand to be corrected. The ID of the male falcons is very difficult unless you can see their neck!

The male arrived with a prey item when the female was off the eggs. He waited and then flew off with it. The exchange, if it took place, was off camera. Mum did not return for a few minutes so it is possible she was munching away on that nice food gift.

He is clearly looking for the female and he has made no indication of any attempt to try and harm the eggs. All of this is good news especially if the old male is no longer ‘in the picture’ and if those are the ‘old male’s eggs’. I will happily be corrected that this is the old male….

Peregrine Falcon males are, thus, quite interesting in their behaviours. If this is male 2 accepting the eggs and helping to raise the eyases (yet of course to be seen), then he grows a growing list of males that will help a female raise a clutch in order to gain the female and the territory. We know of both Alden and Xavier and studies in the UK have indicated that even fledglings of another year have worked to help with a clutch. These falcons get more unique. I would love to hear your stories if you have any examples.

Earlier in the day a male – I still cannot see the neck and the line that male 2 has – is on the ledge.

This is male 2 in the image below with the female. I believe then it is also male 2 in the image above that frequented the ledge several times on Monday (in Australia).

Diamond gave us a good look at the eggs when she left for a break today. Wonder where Xavier is??? He is missing eggie time.

1at the Captiva Osprey Nest in Florida, Lena is having nothing to do with the young male who keeps showing up. He has been dubbed ‘Romeo’ because of the small heart on his chest.

Migration News:

I want to begin with the news from the family of Karl II, the Black Storks from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There is good news over the past couple of days. The father, Karl II, normally spends much time in the area around Odessa in Ukraine. When we last had a signal transmission from him, he was known to be in the area of heavy fighting on the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Karl II survived! he flew 361 km after deciding he did not wish to stay in Odessa to Olanesti in Romania. He is very near where his mate, Kaia, is. Tears are flowing.

Bonus, the foster storklet from the nest of Jan and Janikka, is also in Romania! So three from the nest – Karl II, Kaia, and Bonus – were safely in Romania, out of Ukraine, on the 25th. Waba is in Moldova.

Here is a crazy colourful map to show you where they are in relation to one another.

It is hard to imagine how dangerous it is for the birds that must migrate back and forth to their winter and spring homes.

You can see what I am talking about in the bright white going right down the centre of North America. Where I live we are in the yellow area. Those light areas are beginning to spread eastward.

Oh, it is joyful to hear that Karl II and his family are safe. I find it very interesting that they flew west and got out of Ukraine. We must be watching for hatch at Melbourne. The eyases can be heard, close to hatch, and I have noticed – and perhaps you have also – that the female is looking at the eggs sometimes. Today is the 27th and it is the first day of hatch watch for these urban falcons. We will mark down the 1-3 of October for Xavier and Diamond. The Sea Eagles will be jumping up and down on the branches but let’s see which one flies up there first – and they must be working on self-feeding. These two truly do love Lady to feed them. By the end of the week all three of the osplets will look different – enjoy the last of that light grey fluff for now.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Everything seems to be going very well everywhere. What a relief. Perhaps I should not have said that! Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: NEFL-AEF, Explore.Org and IWS, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Looduskalender, Stepmap.com, and BirdCast.

Early Sunday in Bird World

25 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone. Clear beautiful blue skies on the Canadian Prairies and a temperature of 13 degrees C. It is fantastic. The forecast calls for no rain this week which, is excellent. We are really into migration and it will be fantastic to bundle up a bit and watch the geese and ducks fly into the ponds this week without rain.

Last evening I went to a pond in an industrial area that I have started to frequent. The Canvasbacks had moved from the two smaller ponds to the big one and the Blue Heron was there as well along with a couple of Greater Yellow Legs, other ducks, a single Double-crested Cormorant, and some geese. The Blue Heron flew off to what I am now calling the secret pond to roost for the evening with the Great White Egret.

Canvasback
Great Blue Heron taking flight to the other pond.
Greater Yellowlegs swimming instead of punching at the mud.

Nest News:

It was a wet late feeding for the three osplets at Port Lincoln. Little Bob was absolutely soaked but, they all had full crops and did well even when the fish was flapping about. I always worry when chicks get soaked to the bone when they are just wee with only their soft natal down. They cannot regulate their own temperatures and, well, they can get a chill. Mum got right back on top of them and her body heat will keep them right toasty and they will dry off, thankfully.

Incubation continues at 367 Collins Street. According to the calendar, hatch watch starts on the 27th and that is tomorrow in Melbourne. It is also unclear which male is providing food. I did not see the ‘line’ that the second male has now being called M2. As a result, my identification went to M1 or the old male. I hope that there can be some good clear shots of that male once these chicks hatch so we know who is providing food and who is around or not. This female should get a golden award. She has had no help with incubating these eggs. I realize that this does not take a lot of energy but normally this part is shared with the male. She is hanging in there well for a bird believed to be a first time Mum.

Xavier and Diamond also continue their incubation. We have 5-6 days to go before we start to look for a pip in those eggs. Those cameras in that scrape at Orange will give you a ring side seat to see the hatch. At Collins Street, it will only be from a distance.

There are very interesting lessons being taught at the Sydney Sea Eagles – or at least, trying to be taught. These two are the most laid back sea eagles I have seen in years. Dad brought in a teaser of a piece of fish at 1715. Mum was on the nest and SE29 and SE30 stood there, looking at the fish, waiting for Mum to feed them with no move to steal it! Meanwhile, Lady is eating the fish…

That is a very good crop on one of the eaglets.

Notice how Mum waits before doing anything. Lady and Dad must be wondering what is up with these two…is it possible that we have two males this year? I wonder. They are so calm.

Making News:

Toxic chemical pollutants are killing our raptors – and if it happens in one country, you can be assured that the problematic toxins will be found elsewhere.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/25/how-birds-of-prey-are-exposing-a-toxic-time-bomb

It is really incredible. Normally the fledglings of Big Red and Arthur are not seen after the end of August and here we are getting to the end of September and Suzanne Arnold Horning is still finding them for us on the Cornell Campus. This is just fantastic.

This is L4. What a magnificent hawk with her beautiful red feathered apron just like her Mum, Big Red.

The Bald Eagles continue to arrive at their nests in the US with sticks and a determination to rebuild the nest after last year’s clutch. You can almost check on any streaming cam and find that the couple have been there at some point working. Pa Berry and Missy have been busy for weeks now at Berry College! And Cody and his gang at the Kisatchie National Forest are getting some strange sounds made by eagles with their new ‘sound system’. We will jump out of our shoes when those eaglets start hatching- their cheeping will be so clear!

Listen to Louis pant when he lands on the nest:

It looks like it will be an interesting year. I urge you to add the KNF nest to your roster of eagles to watch — I know, you have too many already but, this is a great couple. Their third year together.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning as we wait for the hatches at the falcon nests in Australia. Right now everyone is sleeping! I hope that you have had a lovely weekend so far. Take care of yourself. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or posts/videos where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Suzanne Arnold Horning, and Kistachie National Forest Eagle Cam.

Late Saturday afternoon with our Australian nests

24 September 2020

Good Evening!

It has been a gorgeous 17 degree C afternoon in Manitoba. The dreary morning left around noonish, and it was lovely to be outside without a jacket. I cleared up some plants and have not gone to work on the images of Little Red eating up the suet cylinder, but I will try to get to that sooner than later. He has just about finished it today! The Crows have had lots of their sandwiches and dry corn, the squirrels are still about but, there have been fewer and fewer songbirds.

I thought we would just check in on the Australian nests as their day is beginning.

The breakfast feeding at Port Lincoln was terrific. Mum rose around 06:29:19 and found an old piece of fish on the nest sufficient to fill up the three youngsters and she could get a couple of bites herself. Hopefully another nice fresh fish will land on the nest shortly.

Little Bob was sleepy. It took him a few seconds to figure out what was happening and get himself turned around the right way.

Ervie learned really quickly that you need to be up front if you are the short one. Let’s see how long it takes Little Bob to figure that out.

It wasn’t a huge piece of fish that Mum found and Big and Middle sure put down a lot of huge pieces. I thought they would eat it all.

Little Bob got 4 bites while Big Bob had about 17. Then…Little Bob got a couple more.

Then for a second, Big Bob had a food coma. Middle Bob is still standing and it sure put down the fish early too – and some big pieces. But Little Bob is right up in the sweet spot. Let’s hope he remembers where it is.

Mum filled Little Bob up and ate some of the skin herself. All of the kids were full and out in food comas. Now she can brood them until Dad comes in with the fresh fish. He has been having some trouble getting there early. I wonder if it is windy seas or gulls??

What a gorgeous morning in Melbourne. Mum is waking up.

This is the old dad. He has come to tell her where her breakfast is stashed.

He looks over the eggs for a bit – from a distance – and then flies off. I am noting that the second male has not made an attempt to rid the nest of the eggs and this is a good thing.

Mum is back safely on the eggs. We are two days from hatch watch! The 27th. OK. Technically that is less than 2 days. Oh, goodness.

It was a misty morning in the Sydney Olympic Forest. SE29 and SE30 spent a lot of time looking over the rim of the nest. At the point in the first image below, it looked like the pair were having a great conversation. Perhaps they are wondering if Mum will bring in a fish and eat it all herself again?? Or almost eat it all.

Look at that adorable face.

Some wing flapping going on. The wings of the eaglets are almost as wide as the nest. Amazing.

As the sun comes up in Orange, Australia, Xavier is on the ledge of the scrape box hoping that Diamond will give him some time with those eggies. Did I say that hatch watch is now only 5 days away!

Thank you for joining me at this quick peek of what is going on in Australia. Take care everyone. See you soon!

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

Late Thursday in Bird World

22 September 2022

Good Afternoon Everyone. I hope that this finds each of you well whether you are starting or ending your day. It remained a glorious day on the Canadian Prairies – a crisp fall one. There are so many songbirds in the garden now all wanting to eat and have baths. It is impossible to differentiate between the hundreds of sparrows and what looks like a few Grosbeaks but, they all seem happy and the two bird baths this year are really making a difference. They are so thirsty. The usual group comes around 1800 so these are the early birds.

Mr Blue Jay is here. There is a cob of corn for him as well as some individual kernels. Let us see if he gets it or if Dyson does! Dyson should be here in about an hour. It is amazing how they have their own timetables and really stick to them. Oh, two of the three Blue Jays have arrived. This will be interesting. One is eating from the cob of corn and the other is taking the corn kernels that I broke off a second cob.

This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledgling Jays that remain in the garden and at their nest tree across the lane. Junior still needs to grow in his crest. He is easy to spot.

He knows I am watching and he also knows that I am the one that puts out the corn. No, Junior. It is not just to take your photograph! Junior is 5 years old this year.

A little female squirrel has arrived.

One of the Crows just flew in to check out the evening’s buffet.

Our wildlife rehabilitation centre has its annual open house this week. If you live in Southern Manitoba or Winnipeg and want to go out and see the amazing facilities including a brand new surgery and our super flight training buildings, go to line to Wildlife Haven and order your tickets. Remember, too, if you go out – check for clean old towels and sheets. They can never get enough of them. And if you have some spare savings or are in need of a tax donation, every wildlife rehabilitation clinic will thank you and give you a receipt for your donation. It is the only way they survive.

Australian Nest News:

Oh, what a glorious day it was to wake up to a brand new osplet – and, so, as all of you probably know, the clutch at Port Lincoln is complete. Congratulations to everyone! Dad came in with a really nice fish for the brood. It is unclear if Little Bob got much or any – he has to be tired from working so long on that egg but, you can bet the other two got their fish!

Let us hope that the fish keep coming. We are off to a good start with that big fish. The key will be for Big and Middle to get full and then Little Bob to eat but let us see if it works out that way! Our dear Ervie had to be right up there preferring to thwart any attention Bazza wanted to pay on someone to Falky.

Just look at that nice fish. It is incredible to me that birds of all makes and models are hardwired to hold their heads up high and their beaks wide open for food from the git go.

You can watch all the action at Port Lincoln here:

It looks like a super day starting in Melbourne. I hope it is as it is the 23rd of September and gosh, golly, we are looking for a hatch on the 27th. Four days. Fingers crossed that the second male – who Mum is not interested in – is thwarted. I know. It is wishful thinking but, let’s all send good wishes out to our wonderful old dad. This could be his last clutch and he is remarkable. One of the great Peregrine males out there and so ever funny in his pjs.

Mum left for a break. Food is being brought in and stored elsewhere but not near the nest and this probably won’t happen til the chicks arrive. The falcons like, for some reason, to keep that scrape box really clean while there are eggs. Then when they begin feeding their eyases it can be mayhem with blood, bones, and feathers flying everywhere. The old dad used to love to pluck and feed the fresh pigeons right in the scrape. I don’t think the former Mum appreciated that at all.

Xavier has arrived early at the scrape box hoping that Diamond might want a break. He is such a devoted Dad. We are looking at the first week in October for hatch. For the past two years only one of the three eggs has hatched. I am wishing for one strong eyas! Two would delight Xavier to no end. Three might be overwhelming but these two very seasoned parents would manage.

Some of you might be wondering what is going on at the Sydney Sea Eagles. Yesterday, Mum flew in with a fish and stood on the nest eating it while 29 played with its tail. Lady wanted to see if the eaglets would fight for that fish and take it from her. That is what they will need to do in the wild. They did not. Eventually she offered and 30 got some nice bites. It was a very interesting educational moment. And so, here we are today.

The sea eaglets are up looking around in their beautiful plumage. Those feathers are almost all completely in.

One of the parents is in the tree watching every move the eaglets are making with that fish on the nest.

Both parents are now on the branch watching the eaglets. Do not ever think for a second that these parents do not know what they are doing. They do. They are letting go – and they are trying to provide their two kids, SE29 and 30 – with the skills so that they can survive in the wild. They need the eaglets to be hungry, to need to get that fish and eat and they need them to know how to hold it down and pull off the flesh. At some point in time Dad might bring them a live fish to see how they respond.

Making News:

The new Kestrel Ambassador for the Ojai Raptor Centre has a name. It is Topa and the word comes from a mountain range near to the wildlife centre called the Topa Topa. What a lovely bird to help teach youngsters and us about the challenges raptors face daily.

The new Osprey cam is now installed and working at Captiva in Florida. Just look – we have an adult. Last year Andy and Lena managed to end their years of not having chicks due to predation by Crows. How did they do it? They laid their eggs one month early. Very smart Ospreys. We had three magnificent chicks – and we ended with two, Middle and Little Bob, who turned out to be a male and a female. Big Bob died of an indeterminate cause but he did have enlarged organs similar to some other ospreys lost this year. That was determined to be salmonella in one case. Big Bob had also been ruthless in his eating claiming all the fish for nearly 72 hours before he died. The other two thrived and were very civil fledging with the male staying around Captiva and the nest for us to enjoy for some time.

In the Mailbox:

EJ sent us a great video of a juvenile sea eagle fishing. It is short and quite amazing. Thanks, EJ!

From the Book Shelf:

In a few of my blogs I have been writing about the campaign by Chris Packham, Mark Avery, and the Raptor Persecution Group in the UK to get rid of sport hunting and killing. In this instance I am referring to Grouse Hunting and Killing on large estates for sport. The problem is that the game keepers of the properties kill the raptors. Raptors such as the Hen Harrier who covered the wet lands and moors and heath was a common sight in England during the Mesolithic Age, ten thousand years ago. It has really gone into decline with the advent of the Enclosures Act in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Now, sadly, heath burning, the escalation in killings and diseases brought in by the imported birds has caused a swift and rapid decline in the number of breeding pairs of Hen Harriers in the UK. In 2012, there was only one breeding pair left.

David Cobham has set out and written an incredible little book on the history and decline of this amazing low flying raptor. It is based on the promising life of Bowland Beth and the title is, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier. You are drawn into Bowland Beth from the minute her father returns to his natal nest in the Bowland Forest to find a mate. You will discover this amazing and most promising bird and her daily activities (she is tagged with a sat pack). And you will come to understand so fully why the grouse hunting and the killing of all the raptors that find their prey on the wrong piece of land need to be kept safe. It is essential that the law be changed. I rarely head deep into politics but this is an archaic practice that needs to end for the sake of the wildlife. They need to thrive without fear of catching a vole and being shot.

$18.40 CDN for the hardback at your local on-line book seller.

Thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. I hope that you are well and that you will enjoy watching the sea eaglets and those cutie pie osplets. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, and postings that made up my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Ojai Raptor Center, Robert Full and ‘EJ’, David Cobham, Captiva Ospreys and Windows for Wildlife.

Wednesday in Bird World

21 September 2022

Good Morning!

It is early (for me). The garden birds are very quiet. It is starting out to be a beautiful day as I work on getting to know this computer but, rain is to start today and be with us again on Friday and Saturday. It is always good to get the trees that have grown so much over the summer with all the torrential downpours a good soaking before frost.

One of the things that was lost were the images that I took yesterday at one of the ponds. So I want all of you to use your imagination. I could not believe my eyes. There before me were seven young ducklings just like the singular one at the nature centre. No feathers just fuzz on their bodies. They were all cuddled up together keeping warm. Today it is 10 degrees C. We are at the time of migration. All of the nature centres are opening up for special events as the birds from the north make their way to the wetlands and the big ponds enroute to their winter homes far south of us. Will the arrival of winter be late? What will happen to these wee ones? I have never seen small ducklings like this at this time of year. The spring floods and destruction of eggs has certainly caused issues. There are ducks that overwinter on our Assiniboine River near to where my daughter lives but…what about these little gaffers?

Making News:

Victor at his release. 19 September 2022.

For all of those wondering, the site where Victor was released is at the coast right across from the Channel Islands. Great choice! Let us all hope to see Victor near Fraser’s Point in a couple of years! Wouldn’t that be grand. It appears it was the best site for release like the Channel Islands but the closest point to his nest without breaking any regulations. Isn’t Dr Sharpe the best?

It seems that once we get a good population of birds established we then want to take their habitat away. This is what is happening in Albania wit the pelicans!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/21/albania-dalmatian-pelican-colony-narta-faces-threat-vlora-airport-aoe

Nest News:

So far, there are still only two osplets at Port Lincoln. The third egg is 37 days old and there is still time for it. Some chatters are wondering if there is any movement inside. We will have to keep our eyes opened! The other two and Mum seem to be doing splendidly.

The streaming camers (3) at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 will be going live during the first week of October.

Xavier brought an Eastern Rosella, well prepared, for Diamond who was excited and got off the nest. Xavier is a lovely! Hatch not expected til the first week in October but we are getting there…2 weeks?

Beautiful Diamond.

Xavier gets some ‘eggie time’. Yes! Can you tell how much I love this cute little falcon who is no longer in his prime but gosh, he is a fantastic mate and he loves his chicks. I sure hope this season turns out well for these two.

So many of you are marveling at the plumage colours of the little sea eaglets. They are gorgeous. A friend laughed at me for loving the feathering of the Red-tail Hawks. “Just wait til you see the Sea Eagles!” Oh, she was so right. It is hard to see the colours when the sun is at a certain angle but have a good look at them.

Our eagles are approaching their 10th week. They are still growing some feathers under their wings. Their wing flapping and jumping around is going to continue to get every more vigorous. Just breathe. They can scare the wit’s out of you when they start jumping on and off the rim of the nest and the branches . In week 11 you will see them gain some real height in their hovering. They will begin to sleep more and more with their head tucked into their wings rather than duckling style although fledglings also prefer duckling style on occasion. It must be much more comfortable! Self-feeding is getting better.

We do not want to talk about fledging but, after 70 days it is possible. And we are at that point. So spend your time watching these two and the hatches at Port Lincoln. SE29 and 30 will be gone in a blink and the osplets will be growing and changing so fast it will be hard to recognize these sweet fuzzy babies in a week!

Victor Hurley is going to post a pre-recorded session where he answers your questions about what is going on at Melbourne on Thursday, Australia time. That will be in a few hours. If you have questions, you can submit them on the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB page. Dr Hurley asks that you read the PDF that he posted on the top of the FB site before submitting questions.

We are all very curious to see what will be happening. The second male does some quick on and off mating which – well, we are now nearing hatch which should be 5 days away. Mum’s hormones will not be in breeding but incubation and caring for young. It appears that the old male continues to provide food for Mum. Oh, I hope that this clutch makes it but we are going to just have to wait and see.

Migration News:

Checking on the Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There has been no transmission for Karl II since the 4th of September. Bonus and Kaia were still in their respective areas with their last report coming in on the 20th of September. Hopefully this evening there will be some new news.

Birdmap is showing tremendous progress for the Ospreys and, one, in particular, flew across Europe to Spain instead of going directly South. Brilliant! The Ospreys are already heading into central Africa! You can go to BirdMap and get the animated version of their journeys.

Did you know:

How long do Bald Eagles live?

https://birdfact.com/articles/how-long-do-bald-eagles-live?fbclid=IwAR28ZeEq0BVJMgSX852wOBP7kcICCL6iKHdzvl0FIB7TUUxGNZSliJdQBFk

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are looking forward to the third hatch in Port Lincoln but, for now, in the night, Mum is getting some much needed rest! Take care of yourself and I will look forward to seeing you again real soon.

If you are sending me e-mails (which I love), please use this new address: maryasteggles@outlook.com Thanks so much!

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