Dr Tim Mackrill, the Osprey specialist that worked with Glaslyn on how to set up the fish table for Aran and Mrs G this past late spring and early summer when Aran injured his wing, gave a wonderful Webinar on Osprey migration. He has taped the entire talk and you can watch it on YouTube. It is free – and worth every minute. You can, of course, start and stop the presentation as needed. Here is that link to everything you wanted to learn about Osprey migration and more!
The wait continues for the female adult at Port Lincoln’s first hatch. Any time! It’s 12 August in Australia and that was the day I guessed on the FB page. Come on hatch!!!!!!
The nest at Port Lincoln is known for its siblicide. There will be no intervention of any kind – other than putting on the Darvic rings and maybe another satellite tracker this year (if they choose to do this). If you take the number of days different from the day egg 1 was laid and egg 3 and then add the number of days between when they hatched, you will get a real number that tells you the difference in age between 1 and 3 – sometimes ten days. Some of these little ones survive. Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss had extraordinary parents. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest was simply an extraordinary bird. Many aren’t. So please keep this in mind. Here is the link to the streaming cam.
There is news coming out of Loch Arkaig. Louis might still be at the lake along with one of the juveniles. Louis is very devoted to his chicks and he will wait til one of them leaves – for certain – before he does. Stay tuned. People will be checking this to make sure.
There has been no confirmation about Iris, the grand dame of all Ospreys, having left for her migration. The last certain sighting was by Sharon Leigh Miles on 6 September.
Put a bookmark on the Osprey migration video if you can’t watch it soon. On one of those rainy days when you are wanting something to watch, it is a great resource.
Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. Stay safe.
The featured image is Iris. Iris is believed to be the oldest Osprey in the world. She summers in Montana but no one knows where she stays for the winter.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab.
As the days of summer give way to thoughts of falling leaves and back to school, our beautiful Ospreys think of migration. Those in the United Kingdom have already already headed to the area around Poole Harbour to have a last good feed and sleep on land before heading south to Brittany and on to Africa. Those in the United States and Canada will take various routes. The male is still in Manitoba with one chick at the nest I watch.Some head to southern Texas and places in Mexico while those in the northeast fly over the cost, over the length of Cuba heading to South America. One of those leaving her summer breeding grounds in Missoula, Montana will be Iris.
Iris is not ringed. No one knows where she goes for the winter but, she turns up in tip top shape to her nest at Hellgate Canyon every spring.
Typically Iris spends more time at her nest before her departure. Last year she said goodbye on 8 September. Because of her age, many worry that she will not return. It is always an anxious wait until spring and she arrives again full of hope and hormones.
Sharon Leigh Miles shared this image of Iris taken on her favourite tree on Mt Sentinel on 6 September at 09:22.
She is there. Just squint.
Iris is the oldest osprey in the world – the grand dame of all of them. In her lifetime it is estimated that she has fledged between 30 and 40 chicks but no one knows for sure. It is possibly more. Iris is known around the world. Her arrival on 7 April 2021 to her Hellsgate nest made print and television news. Dr Ericke Green of the University of Montana believes Iris is at least 25 years old, perhaps more.
In the image below, Iris just landing from her winter migration. All the worrying about whether or not she survived another winter is put to rest.
Iris’s nest, prior to the one she uses now, was on a hydro pole about 68 metres or 200 feet from this one. This artificial nest was built for Iris because of the high rate of electrocutions on power lines – all birds, not just Osprey. The power lines are high enough and have a clear view that they appear to be desirable. The new nest, erected in 2007, is all set up with a high resolution camera. Iris took to the new nest right away, thankfully. Iris mate, at the time was Stanley. Stanley did not return from migration in 2016. Her current mate, Louis, and her have had a very chequered relationship. Louis also has another nest with Star, his primary nest, near the baseball park. Iris and Louis fledged one chick, Le Le, in 2018.
Many of us are glad that Iris has been spending the summer of 2021 taking care of herself. Raising chicks is not an easy job – and everyone loves Iris and wants her to return year in and year out from her migration.
I have included some images taken at the nest this year.
Iris worked on building the best nest that she could. Every day she brought in more material. She eventually will lay three eggs – that we and she – seem to know are destined not to hatch. These were bittersweet moments for everyone.
She was fierce in her fishing and the protecting of her nest. Indeed, her and Louis protected the nest together several times. The video below is from 22 August.
Sharon Leigh Miles provided a chart of the departure dates for Iris for her migration. Today is 6 September so we are definitely in the range. These are the previous dates of her departure:
2012: 6 September
2013: 6 September
2014: 11 September
2015: 4 September
2016: 8 September
2017: 9 September
2018: 10 September
2020: 8 September
There is no one on the Hellgate Canyon nest this morning. Everyone is hoping that Iris will make several long appearances on the nest before she departs. This has been her MOD in the past. Fingers crossed!
If you would like to periodically check on the nest, here is the link to the streaming cam:
The Montana Osprey Project has had one fundraiser – the Iris pens – this year. If you would like information on how to order one of these, send me an e-mail and I will provide the details. They are lovely. There are also plans to commemorate Iris by a woodblock print. As information comes through I will post it.
Keep Iris in your heart. Migration is challenging. We wish her a safe journey, good winds, lots of fish, and a safe return to Montana in the spring.
Thanks for joining me. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and their FB page. Thank you Sharon Leigh Miles for allowing me to use your images posted on the FB page.
It is pretty quiet at the nests these days – that lull if you like between the Ospreys leaving for their migrations in Europe and the US, the Bald Eagles slowly returning to their breeding areas, and the falcons and Ospreys incubating eggs in Australia. The biggest news in Bird World is that Diamond laid her second egg at 20:55 September 2nd.
Xavier taking a turn incubating and rolling the eggs for a bit this morning. Gosh, those are big eggs!
The Osprey was officially adopted in 1994 as the is the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s ten provinces. Nova Scotia is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Fundy, the Northhumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Maine. It is one of Canada’s Atlantic or Maritime Provinces. At its widest, 128 km, it is easy to reach any body of water easily. It is said that Nova Scotia has more Ospreys than the United Kingdom in its entirety. Many live on McNab’s Island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour.
The lighthouse was built in 1809. In 1852, Dr. Abraham Gesner was given control of the lighthouse. In December, Gester used a fuel that he had just discovered – kerosene – to operate the light.
Ironically, there were hardly any Ospreys in Nova Scotia two decades ago. The use of DDT had weakened the eggs to the point that the birds were virtually going extinct. Since 1979, the Osprey Management Program, operated jointly between Nova Scotia Power and the environmentalists at the Department of Lands and Forestry to relocate nests that are on top of live utility poles to safer unused poles nearby. Each year they partner with the Museum of Natural History to live stream an osprey nest. The Osprey are in Nova Scotia from April to September. At the end of the summer, when the juveniles are old enough, they leave for their winter grounds in the Caribbean and South America.
The first little video is from 2014. Seven years ago, when streaming cams were not so HD. Here is a typical Osprey family of five in Nova Scotia on top of one of the partnership nests.
Here is another short video of 2020 showing the improvement in cameras. It shows the hatch of the second chick at this nest on 9 June.
Speaking of Osprey, Sharon Leigh Miles took this image today of an Osprey at Mt Sentinel in Missoula, Montana. It is Iris’s favourite tree and it is presumed to be Iris, the grand dame of North American Ospreys. Hopefully she will visit her nest before she leaves. She is the oldest Osprey in the world.
In other news, White YW, the male at the Foulshaw Moss Nest, dad of our one and only Tiny Little, Blue 463, is still in Cumbria. He was photographed there today. White YW hatched at Bassenthwaite in 2008. Gosh, he is a great dad. One of the unsung heroes. Chris Wood has received word that the estuaries that the UK Ospreys travel to for their winter season are filling up with water. Wonderful! Yesterday, I saw Cormorants here in Manitoba and today a couple seem to have taken over Maya and Blue 33’s nest at Rutland (at least for part of the day). The two little sea eagles are getting along fine. Food remains plentiful and they are growing, flapping, and learning to walk. Those clown feet are really growing. Just look, with food, 28’s feet are getting huge. Wow.
I am attaching the progress map of the Ospreys and Black Storks:
Pikne, in orange, is really travelling well. She has gone straight south almost beating Karl II in royal blue. You can follow them, too. Here is the link:
Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. Stay well. Look for egg number 3 on 4 September down in Orange.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange, The Montana Osprey Project FB Page, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and BirdMap.
In my last post, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest was screaming at White YW (aka dad) for a fish. He could have flown to Wales and he would have still heard her.
What is that about the squeaky wheel always gets the oil first? Perhaps screaming daughters do, too. It is the last fish of the evening probably and Tiny Little is eating it. Blue 462, the other female on the nest, would like Tiny Little to share. Somehow I don’t think so ——- it was, after all, Blue 462 who was such a meanie to Tiny Little when she hatched. Birds have good memories.
These are the areas adjacent to Iris’s nest in Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. It is very beautiful. We always see the nest in the parking lot but just on the other side are trees, grass, and water.
Iris is the oldest living Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate in Missoula, Montana. After her mate Stanley died, she bonded with Louis. They had one chick survive, Lele, in 2018. Louis has another nest at the baseball park with Starr. They fledged two chicks this summer. When Stanley died, Louis also took over the territory that includes the two nests. Every year Iris returns, goes through the rituals of breeding, lays her eggs, and everything falls apart. People get upset. They think very little of Louis. I am of a divided mind. Right now I prefer Iris taking care of herself, eating well, and bulking up for migration than running around with a nest full of juvenile fledglings. She has done her bit for the DNA of the species. But that is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs, for sure. But the one solid thing that binds all of us together is our love for this most amazing of Ospreys.
Iris tends to spend more time at her nest before she leaves on migration. Last year she departed on 8 September. Everyone gets a little teary eyed right about now because there is no promise that Iris will return but, we live in hope that this strongest of female Ospreys graces the screens next spring. Along with that hope is that the rains come and there is plenty of food for all.
There have been a number of intruders, both male and female, this summer. Do they want to usurp Louis? take Iris for a mate? Certainly when Dunrovin’s Congo came on the scene everyone was hopeful! or are they just curious and checking out what nests are available? Perhaps all of those things. Today, Louis flew to the nest alarming and Iris flew in and joined him – showing off her big crop!
Erick Greene and his team in Montana are considering many ways in which to commemorate Iris. Stay tuned or check out the Montana Osprey FB page. If you wanted to order an Iris pen and forgot, if you will send me a note I will send you the details. They are gorgeous and made from those sticks she brought to the nest.
In the image below, Rosie, the female adult on the San Francisco Bay Osprey cam at the Richmond Yards, is bringing Poppy, one of two female hatches, a beautiful trout. Poppy is 110 days old today.
The average age for Richmond and Rosie’s female chicks to stop feeding at the nest is 105 days. The longest a female stayed was in 2018 and that was Kiskasit who was 124 days old. Lupine was last seen on Monday. She was 103 days old. Sage, the only male, was last seen on 28 July at the age of 86 days. The average for the males to stop feeding on this nest is 93 days so Sage left a little early. There is no reason to believe that Sage and Lupine have begun any type of migration. Richmond stays in the SF Bay area year round. Mom Rosie will migrate and the female adults normally leave before the fledglings. And whose to say they will migrate! If there is plenty of food and the weather is fine – well, it certainly agrees with Richmond – may be they will stay!
And, of course, just thinking about fledglings returning to the nest to be fed until they are 90-100 days old just makes me think about Malin. Susan, the wildlife rehabber that is over the area where Collins Marsh is located, was to get in touch me later today. She wrote me a long note yesterday and she is also firm in her knowledge that Malin was a forced fledge. As we have learned, normal fledges do not require our attention. The chicks return to the nest, take short flights, and are fed by the parents. Malin was not ready despite his age. He had suffered a lack of food. His forced fledge meant that he was in jeopardy and boots on the ground were needed immediately. This did not happen. As noted earlier, she found two chicks – one dead, one alive. I am hoping that ‘no news is good news’.
Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus and she found the two Ks. No sightings of Big Red and Arthur but, guess what? Getting to see K1 and K3 on the 22nd of August is a bonus. Here they are hunting. That is K1 on the top. She looks so much like Big Red and has turned out to be such a fantastic hunter. Suzanne said they were not food calling – just being quiet and hunting. These two seem so much more independent this year.
Ah, the little cutie, K3 looking down and hoping to find a chippie.
What a nice treat to get to see the Ks. And, of course, theirs could be a migration dilemma. Big Red and Arthur stay in the area year round. Perhaps with the changes in weather so will the Ks. If someone could put the average date that birds leave for migration this year against last and create a global directory (surely someone does this already), tracking of changes related to climate could be measured. We have seen Poppy stay longer as are many others and now perhaps the Ks.
Thank you for joining me today. I will let you know as soon as I hear about Malin – it is heartwarming to hear from so many around the world who came to love that little nestling. If you are in line with any of the storms hitting the coast of the US, going over Hawaii, or elsewhere, take care of yourselves. Stay safe.
UPDATE: Aug 23 at 17:35:35 No2 (7182) fledged at the Estonian nest of Jan and Janika. Slept as an adult off nest.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips: Montana Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon. I would also like to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning who allows me to download her images to share with you.
Imagine that you have one child. Everyone is happy – it is easy to provide for the one. Then imagine one day you blink and think you are seeing double. But you aren’t. There are two children. Now imagine that you are away from home and return to find three. Osprey families have the same difficulties in providing for multiple children just like humans. The adults at the Patuxent River Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Osprey nest number 2 now have that challenge! The pair had only one chick of their own and are now fostering two chicks about the same age as theirs.
Cathy Cohen of the Jug Bay Natural Area posted the following image on the park’s FB page today of the mom and the three chicks. The first foster chick was placed on the nest on 30 June. Nest 2 was chosen because the foster chicks are about the same age as the one hatched on the nest. There they are. It is incredible. They look like a perfect match. How wonderful to give those two lucky ones another chance. Intervention can be a good thing.
The foster Mom was said to have welcomed the chick who had fallen from a barn silo with open wings yesterday! Here she is looking over the babies while they are sleeping (or supposed to be sleeping).
And here they are this morning. It is getting warm and the new babies are getting shade.
Most of the time if I say the name ‘Iris’ everyone knows who I am talking about. If you don’t, here is a mini-bio. Iris is an Osprey. She is 26-28 years old. This makes her the oldest Osprey in the world. Iris has her nest at Hellgate in Missoula, Montana. The platform was put up for her and her mate, Stanley, to save them from getting electrocuted on the hydro lines. When Stanley did not return from migration, Iris bonded with Louis. They have only had one chick survive. That was a female, Le Le, in 2018. The reason for this is that Louis has another mate and another nest at the ballpark. For years, people have watched Iris perfect the renovations on her nest, catch magnificent fish, mate with Louis, lay her eggs and then either have the ravens steal and eat the eggs or have the chicks die because the female cannot protect them and fish at the same time. Individuals are very vocal in their support of Iris. They want her to have another mate and to be able to raise chicks. I have always thought maybe she could retire with dignity and just take care of herself during her summers in Montana. At the same time you know just seeing her work on the nest and the fish she brings in that she would be an amazing parent. The issue is one of territory. Iris’s nest is in Louis’s territory – according to Louis. Louis has protected Iris on a couple of occasions this summer from intruders. Iris has also managed on her own to thwart them. She is strongly independent.
When someone posted an image of Iris sitting on a branch with another Osprey on Twitter 15 July 2021, people got excited.
The notion that Ospreys mate for life is not consistently true. When Blue 5F, Seren, got tired of laying a nest full of eggs only to be abandoned by Aran because he also had a nest with Mrs G at Glaslyn, she left Aran’s territory and found another mate, Dylan, at Clywedog. According to Google Maps, Seren moved a distance of 67.4 miles. Seren and Dylan are the proud parents, this season, of fledgling Blue 396 otherwise known as Only Bob.
It will be very curious to see how things develop over the end of the summer.
We all worry about Tiny Little. It is easy to forget looking at Blue 463 that at one time his older siblings kept him from eating and were quite aggressive. Because of that Tiny Little is hesitant to engage with the older siblings and, in particular, Blue 462. So there are worries that he will not get enough to eat. Today White YW brought in a fish and within about 15 minutes he brought in another fish. Blue 35 took that one and fed Tiny Little while the other two were eating fish pieces. What a beautiful image of Mum and her three chicks on the Foulshaw Moss nest having a nice meal of fish.
People have been asking if Tiny Little has been flapping. OH, yes, he flaps those wings all the time.
If you want to join in the fun watching Tiny Little prepare to fledge, this is the link to the Cumbrian Wildlife Osprey Cam:
Erick Green with the Montana Osprey Project posted some images of chicks who were entangled with baling twine. They saved three chicks a week ago but sadly one had died. Another chick had twine cutting into his right leg to the bone. Dr Green reported today that the chick is doing fabulous today. In his posting I learned something interesting. He says, “One thing that seems to work in their favor is that ospreys (and all birds) have very high body temperatures – about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. These high body temperatures help birds fight off many bacterial infections.”
Only Bob, Blue 396, has gotten really good at flying and zooms in when Dad Dylan does a food drop. Poor Seren might have to discuss Dylan bringing in an extra fish for her. Only Bob can finish them off pretty good! Look at how big this fledgling is. Wow. Dylan delivered the fish around 13:09.
At the Dyfi Nest, Idris and Telyn are waiting for Ystwyth to fledge! So is her brother Dysynni. He is sitting there urging her to come on and join in the fun while the parents are up on the camera perches watching. Ystwyth was getting some really good height to her hovering and she will go soon if not today. She is 53 days old.
Here is Ystwyth hovering. Isn’t she great?
Other nest news:
There is sad news coming out of Taiaroa Head, NZ. One of 33 Northern Albatross chicks died yesterday. The chick was not gaining weight and the NZ DOC rangers gave it a supplementary feeding. When the chick died following this it was discovered during the necroscopy that it had a piece of charcoal stuck in its trachea. As Sharon Dunne notes, charcoal floats on the surface of the ocean and it can easily be taken in by the parents when they are out fishing for food for their chick. I never imagined charcoal! Everyone is distraught. The rangers do such an excellent job taking care of these parents and chicks. Condolences go out to all of them including the albatross parents.
Our little Golden Eagle, Zenit, has had a prey delivery – a bird – and is beginning to stand really tall and strong on its legs – adult style. All good news! The Golden Eagles eat the bones – absolutely every part of their prey so Zenit will have something later. Still, having lots of meat is what this young eaglet needs right now. Excellent news.
Ferris Akel has posted a nicely edited version of his tour on Wildlife Drive on the 14th. The editing is well done and there are discreet bird names in case you do not recognize what you are looking at. There are some really nice shots of a Black Tern. Here is that short clip.
My friend, ‘T’ tells me that there is a stork with an injured food that is getting a prosthesis. Will try and find out all the news on this incredible intervention.
And speaking of storks, there are still three White Storklings on the Mlade Buky nest in Czechoslovakia:
That’s a short morning round up of happenings late Thursday night and early Friday morning at some nests. Remember that Ferris Akel does his tours on Saturday. He begins at noon NY time and ends up at the Cornell Campus. It is a great opportunity to see the Red tail fledglings in action. They have now moved from flying near to the nest to other buildings farther away. Big Red and Arthur do this with prey drops gradually to expand their territory. It will not be too long til they are down by the barns at Cornell. Always fun. You can search Ferris Akel Livestream on YT. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots or add their videos: Ferris Akel Live Tour, Patuxent River Park Ospreys, Montana Osprey Project FB Page, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, Dyfi Osprey Project, CarnyX Wild and Llyn Clydewog Osprey Cam, Capi Hnizdo- Mlade Buky, and Asociatia Wild Bucinova.
There were some lovely letters in my inbox today – articles and quesions – to keep me busy and to try and curtail me from checking on Tropical Storm Elsa every half hour. My friend Wicky – lover of books and hawks as long as they leave her songbirds alone – pointed my noise to an article in The New York Times by Margaret Renkl. Renkl is the author of Late Migrations, a fabulous book that I pick up often to simply read a single entry. Today in “Hawk. Lizard. Mole. Human”, Renkl speaks to the garden that she can see out her windows. She says, “How lucky I am to live in a home with windows. Against all odds – the encroachments of construction companies and lawn services and exterminators – those windows still open onto a world that stubbornly insists on remaining wild”.
Here is the link. I hope that you can open it. Renkl is a wonderful writer always leaving me appreciative of her love of our feathered friends and – others. Thank you, Wicky.
Like Renkl, I am grateful for my windows and astonished at what happens in a tiny bit of paradise inside the heat and concrete of a big and growing city. The birds have returned to the garden after the extreme heat. It is simply glorious seeing them splash around in the baths, having drinks, and sneaking off with some birdseed that looks like trail mix. The Blue Jays love the cashews and the berries and have gone through the large berry-insect-suet cylinder in a few days. There seem to be fewer insects every year. Is it the spraying of the caterpillars who eat the leaves off the trees? the greening of the lawns so that they look like they came out of a magazine, or the opposite where concrete is replacing grass? What are the birds to eat? Thankfully a growing number of people are willing to put the time and effort into helping them survive.
A lovely note came in from Finland, also, telling me about the ten Osprey nests. Thank you Tiny Toefan! I admit to not knowing enough about the Finnish nests but tonight while that storm is churning through the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida I am going to begin my education on these Ospreys. I want to learn more about them so I am just not an occasional observer. Tiny Toefan says that their Ospreys had a bit of a sad year. The attack of the Raven at the Satakunta Nest and the death of Alma spread quickly within the community of Osprey Lovers around the world. Our hearts broke for that dear family. Intruders, lack of food, and weather-related events have wrecked havoc with all the Ospreys this year.
Speaking of intruders, the UK nests are having issues with the returning two year old juveniles. They are all excited and flying about while the adults are trying to take care of their chicks that will soon be fledging. Today there were three intruders at the Glaslyn nest. All hatched at the Dyfi Nest. Z2 (Aeron, 2017) has chicks on the PC nest with 01 at Glaslyn. He quickly moved Hesgyn KA3 (2019) and Dinas KS6 (2018) along before they could do any lasting damage. Here is a video clip of all that action:
There were intruders at Foulshaw Moss Nest also. While watching Tiny Little get ready to stand up, in a quarter of a blink he was flat down like a pancake. For a moment I thought he had broken his leg – but, no – somewhere there were unwanted guests.
Did the adults teach them to do this? or is this 65 million year old instinct at work?
My friend, “R” also wrote today to tell me of another bird in the wrong place. It begs to ask how many instances of birds being where they shouldn’t are there? There is a Stellar’s Eagle in New Brunswick, Canada that should be in Russia and there were definitely birds out of location in Toronto earlier in the season.
The bird in England is a beautiful Black-browned Albatross. It should not be in the Northern Hemisphere! Imagine what a sight it was for those in Britain. I will follow up later on this story with more information. Thank you, “R”.
Here is the article. If it won’t open, try to copy and paste the URL in your browser. What in the world is this bird doing in England!?
In a swing through the Osprey nests, Tiny Tot is not on the Achieva Osprey Nest. She came in during the night and then left. The fireworks for the 4th must have been really disturbing to all the Osprey in that area. I am going to hope that Tiny Tot is down by the water catching fish to hold her until Elsa passes. She might also be looking for a place to hunker down til the storm passes. Again, because she is a fish eater and not an insect or nectar eater, Tiny Tot should be alright. It is the wind and flying debris if it gets bad. Well, it is worrisome. We can all image a hundred scenarios. I continue to run Laura Culley’s advice in my head – “worrying is nothing more than establishing an outcome in your mind before it happens. Don’t do it!” Need to put that mantra on repeat. Culley would tell me that these birds are much smarter than we are.
Electra has a huge fish that she is eating on the Cowlitz PUD Nest. It is good to see her eating well. She needs to regain her strength. On the other hand, it also makes me very sad. It would have been grand if that size of a fish came on that nest when the little tykes were alive. It might have made all the difference.
Give a shout out to the linemen of Fortis Alberta and to the streaming cam watchers who notified them that Legacy was tangled in monofilament line. They got there in time and saved her life. Legacy was so wound up in the line that she could not even lift her head to eat – and this was during the heat wave. She needed that hydration! The linemen responded to the call quickly. They removed the fishing line as well as the two dead chicks from the nest. Today, just look at her. Legacy is chowing down on a nice fish on the Fortis Red Deer Nest. There are still dark clouds but the rain has stopped and the nest seems to be drying out. That said the forecast is calling for rain tomorrow. The temperatures are in the 17 degree C range, a far cry from the extreme 40s C.
The two chicks on the Fortis Exshaw Nest at Canmore, Alberta seem to be doing alright, also. They are both being fed by mom. The skies are the same as those at Red Deer but they are calling for a thunderstorm tonight and rain tomorrow at the nest. Oh, stay dry little ones!
There seems to be a constant stream of intruders on the Hellgate Osprey Nest of Iris. It is prime real estate right next to the river and the fishing continues, despite the heat and low water, to be good for Iris. Louis has come and helped ward off the Dunrovin juveniles looking for a nest but sometimes, Iris has had to fend for herself The indignity of it all!
There are not enough good trees for the Ospreys and the placement of platforms has to be carefully evaluated because of all the territorial issues. It is confusing. On the one hand old timers tell me that Ospreys do not have territories but if you watch, Louis certainly claims this nest and the one at the baseball park as his even if he fishes in the same river as the other Ospreys. As more male chicks survive and return, careful planning will need to be undertaken for nests – if the water in the rivers and the fish stay sufficient to support a growing population of these fish eagles.
The predictions for Elsa are becoming more worrisome. Each change in the model sees it bearing down more heavily along that Southwest coast of Florida including Fort Myers up to St Petersburg. Please send any warm wishes you have that the system pulls more to the West as it heads towards Florida after Cuba.
Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe wherever you are and thank you to everyone who writes to me. I do try and get to answer your letters as quickly as I can and please know that I appreciate them. I learn something new every day from you! And thank you to all of you for simply loving the birds and doing what you can to make their lives better.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Fortis Exshaw, Fortis Alberta, and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.
It seems like it has been a pretty good day in Bird World.
The two little ospreys on the Cowlitz Nest had plenty of food today and nice crops albeit one of them had a bigger crop than the other. But, hey! I am not complaining. Fish is fish and they both ate really well. So did their Mom! Yippeee.
The little ones really blend into that nest with that bright sun. The one is in profile and the other is still being fed by Electra. And, of course, Wattsworth is hovering in case there is fish left! Can you hear me growling? Electra has done really well eating along with the two chicks and using up every morsel of the fish.
Now this Bob has a bit of a crop, too. He is going to drop it shortly. Wish he had done now and turned to get some more fish. For some reason this chick does not eat as much as the other.
Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss Nest was right up there today with his big siblings – all standing in line nicely. Blue 35 is doing a fantastic job keeping those kiddos in line.
Little Tiny Bob has figured out where the ‘sweet spot’ is for feeding. Good for him. He has a lot of growing to do but, already, he is getting his beautiful curved feathers. What a cute little one.
Jack brought Tiny Tot a fish at 11:57:26 and then the rain started falling. Tiny really earns that fish. All day he has had to contend with adult intruders. He is doing an amazing job keeping those adults moving off that nest. Here is a short video of Tiny Tot getting one adult off the nest. That adult had the nerve to dive bomb Tiny!
Over at the The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah) the second chick has fledged. That happened this morning at 6:13:51. By 8:50 both were on the nest having some breakfish. Scarlett and Rhett do not seem to be in any hurry for these two gorgeous ospreys to leave the area. Food arrives in good time to keep them on the nest and practising their flying skills before taking off for good.
There was quite a bit of excitement over in the UK today related to Ospreys. The 150th juvenile to fledge from Rutland Water has returned today for the first time. It is Male 056 hatched on the 13th of May 2019, one of four chicks of Maya and Blue 33 (11). 056 was seen in January 2020 in The Gambia. Wow! That really points to the success of their reintroduction programme.
Now to celebrate the translocation project of Poole Harbour. Translocation is when young birds are taken, at a certain age, and moved to a different location to try and establish an osprey colony where there is none. Such was the situation of Poole Harbour. In an earlier blog, I told you how Roy Dennis worked with the Poole Harbour Ospreys to introduce birds from Scotland to Poole Harbour. Remember, male birds normally return to the area of their natal nest to breed while females go elsewhere. The celebration is not happening at Poole Harbour per se but over in Glaslyn in Montgomeryshire Wales. There is the nest of Mrs G and Aran and then there is the PC nest. Z2 is the 2019 hatch of Monty and Telyn and his mate is Poole Harbour 014. And, while there are no images available, boots on the ground note that the behaviour in the nest has changed and it looks like there could be two hatches now! There is really good DNA in those chicks – lucky youngsters!
And everyone is wondering what in the world is going on in Missoula, Montana. Iris had the most handsome visitor – a three year old juvenile returnee visiting on her nest. His name is Congo 4C and he was hatched at the Dunrovin Nest in Missoula in 2018 just when Iris was taking care of her last ever chick, Le Le. This image shows Iris on the nest. She has been doing all manner of nestorations this morning. Then Louis has gotten a whiff of the visitor who is flying overhead with a fish! Like everyone else, I would love for this to get interesting!
Iris is on the left and Louis has just landed on the right. Overhead you can see Congo 4C coming with the fish – possibly for Iris? Now wouldn’t that be an interesting match? The oldest Osprey in the world with a 3 year old. And he is trying to show her he can fish.
Someone once told me that Ospreys do not have territories since they all fish in the same spots. That said, I have always understood that Iris’s nest is on Louis’s territory – that Louis more or less inherited it when Stanley died. But can a territory be divided? what about Starr and her chicks? My answer to that is that I wish Louis would take good care of his family at the baseball park and let Iris find herself a young man who wants to take care of her!
Here is Congo with Iris on the nest earlier:
Wow. Lots of things happening and then there is the fledge watch at the Redtail Hawk Nest of Big Red and Arthur. Laura Culley says it isn’t going to happen til next week. I hope she is right. K3 almost fludged today! But K2 has a bit of a sore or something causing its mouth not to close and a problem with an eye which Cornell experts are monitoring. I am really hoping that she has not cleaned her beak well and this is dried prey. The eye issue could relate to the chicks pecking at one another when they were younger???
K2 is on the left and K1 is on the right. K1 is distinguished by her very dark and thick belly band.
And then there is the adorable K3.
I am a real sucker for these tiny third hatches – for sure!
Thank you so much for joining me today. The ten goslings at Schloss Benkhausen in the White Stork Nest hatched and jumped to the ground this morning. You can see it here again:
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots and video clips: Schloss Benkhausen, Achieva Osprey, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell and Skidaway Audubon, Cornell and Montana Osprey Project, and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
One of the things that I have learned but which I continually have to remind myself is this: birds are individuals. They may have instincts that have developed over 50 million years but, at the same time, they definitely have their own character. One of the first times I noticed this was with the Royal Albatross Family in 2020. The Royal Cam chick was Atawhai (Pippa was her nick name). Her parents are OGK (orange-green-black) and YRK (yellow-red-black). OGK hatched in 1998 and he was 22 years old last year when Atawhai hatched. YRK hatched in 1994 and was 26 years old when Atawhai hatched. They have been a bonded pair since 2006 and 2020 was their seventh breeding attempt. They have four children and one foster chick as of 2020. So they are not ‘new’ parents. OGK would fly in to feed Atawhai. He loved to sit next to his baby girl and have the most animated conversations. OGK was never in a hurry to leave. Atawhai adored him and would go running when he would land. Sometimes he would even spend the night with Atawhai. In contrast, YRK liked to feed her daughter and leave! Then there are the adults that I call over providers. A case this year was Louis, the partner of Anna, at the Kisatchie Forest Bald Eagle Nest. They were first time parents of Kisatchie. At first I didn’t think that Anna would ever figure out how to feed her wee chick. The parents try to look straight at their chick and keep their beak straight and vertical but in fact, because of the way the raptors see, the mother needs to angle her beak. Anna figured it out – thankfully. Louis was the envy of all the people fishing on Lake Kincaid. One day there were eighteen fish piled up on that Bald Eagle Nest – 18! He had enough food for all the Bald Eagle nests in the southern US. Unbelievable. And then there are those nests where you just sit down and weep. I said I was not going to watch the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest but one day I peeked. How bad could this dad be? I know that I often called Jack at the Achieva Osprey Nest a dead beat dad and for several weeks he was but I didn’t think it could get worse than Jack. Oh, but yes it can! Wattsworth. I only have to say his name and those that watch the nest know precisely what he does and doesn’t do. Wattsworth gets caught not bringing in fish but if Electra catches one he is right on the nest expecting her to give it to him! Meanwhile the two barely living chicks – those poor little things – have barely enough food to live. They certainly don’t get enough food to thrive. And Electra is worn out and ever so hungry, too.
Can a nest be an indication of the success the couple will have with their nestlings? I know it sounds like one of those really stupid questions. The day that Louis landed on the rim of the nest at Loch Arkaig, the nest he shares with his mate Aila, he began to do nestorations. He repaired the walls of the nest, brought in new seaweed from the loch to dry and got everything ready for Aila’s arrival. As the days passed and Aila didn’t show up, Louis continued to work on the nest in case she was really late. Have a look at this nest. There has been snow, lots of rain, and some pretty windy storms but the nest is more or less the way Louis left it when Aila did not return this year.
From the moment Iris arrived at her Hellgate Missoula Montana nest she began to repair it. Iris had a lot to do. Last year she went on a rampage when a squirrel climbed up and tried to get in the nest cup. This was after the raven had eaten her egg. There wasn’t much left of the walls. So in 2021 it was almost like starting from scratch. One of the people who belong to the FB page of the Montana Ospreys commented on how Iris was still doing her best even though Iris knows that the outcome in 2021 will not be any different than previous years. The key is that she is doing her best, regardless.
Even CJ7 and 022, who are currently bonding on the Poole Harbour Nest but will not have chicks this year, are working on their nest!
Just yesterday one of the two chicks on the Cowlitz Nest almost fell out of the nest. There is no wall on the far side! You can see it plainly in the photo below.
Is this because there are no sticks to bring to continue building? or there are so many intruders there is no time to secure the nest? or is it indifference? or is Jack just lazy? or does he have another family or two? If anyone knows the answer, write to me – I would sure like to know!
How can you tell if a raptor has food in their system? We all know by looking to see if they have a crop but is there any other way? I happened to catch Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest tonight doing his ‘ps’. That white streak ends between the C and the H in the Achieva logo below. The PS left Tiny Tot’s body like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. The point of all of this is that Electra had such a tiny ps yesterday that you knew her system was almost entirely void of food. The same for those babies. They fight now – they each want to live. It is sad because that clobbering one another uses up their precious energy.
The Cowlitz kids had feedings from two fish today and Electra was eating too. We can hope that all of that small fish will go to Electra and the babies and not into the talons of Wattsworth who was waiting to claim it! Wattsworth certainly gets the Dead Beat Dad award for the past two weeks!
Speaking of Dead Beat Osprey Dads. I have to give Jack a gold star. He has really turned around. Every day he brings at least one fish to Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest. One day – was it Sunday? – he even brought in four – FOUR – fish for Tiny. Jack has not forgotten his little one protecting the nest!
Here comes Jack with that fish for Tiny at 7:05:17.
White YW and Blue 35 on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest have also been working on the nest. White YW is getting much better at bringing in fish to the nest for Blue 35 and the three chicks, too. My concern is really only Tiny Little Tot. Oh, he is starting to get clever like Tiny Tot did when he was starving and being picked on by the bigger siblings. One of the FB friends of the nest said it well today, “Little One saw the fish coming in and made sure he was in pole position!” Her observations were absolutely spot on. Tiny Tot got right in front of mama so that she could see him clearly and Tiny Little Tot didn’t move. Not only did he not move but he also took bites meant for one of the bigger siblings. Oh, I just adore this little sweetie. He could go on that list of third hatches that survive and thrive!
That was just brilliant! And the older ones didn’t even seem to mind. What a relief. Tiny Little Tot had a really good feed.
Speaking of crops, have a look at the crop of Little Bob on Loch of the Lowes. Looks like everything has straightened itself out on that nest as well. Both Bobs are really thriving.
Today’s winner of provider of the day goes to Idris, however. Sorry Laddie! Just look at that whale that he hauled in for Telyn and the Bobs. He didn’t even eat the head!
Oh, thanks so much for joining me. It is always a pleasure. I will be checking in on Big Red and Arthur and the Ks first thing tomorrow. Fledge watch is truly on for that Red tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Nest, Achieva Credit Union, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest, Scottish Wildlife Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Woodland Trust and Friends of Loch Arkaig.
I have received several letters asking about books on Ospreys. I have quite a few in my bookshelf and I will try to spend a little bit of time telling you about each of them. I have picked out the ones that are well written and easy to read. I have not ranked them. That would be impossible or at least to me it is. Each one is rather different. Some are general knowledge while others focus on specific sites where ospreys breed. There are even books on specific birds. For those wanting to find books on these beautiful sea eagles, you are lucky. There are a number of well-written books available both new and used. I cannot say this about Red-tailed Hawks!
Alan Poole’s Ospreys. The Revival of the Global Raptor came out in 2019. It is actually a much revised version of a book by Poole written several decades earlier. Poole is an enthusiastic lover of Ospreys. The book is easy to read and extremely informative. If you wanted a first general book on Ospreys this is a good choice. It covers everything you might want to know about ospreys from the four different sub-species and their differences, to the geography and distribution, their behaviour, life cycle and breeding habits, challenges during migration to the intimate details of the mother feeding the little one. There are personal stories that bring the information to life. Only available in hardback. 220 pages with beautiful colour photographs.
Roy Dennis’s A Life of Ospreys is written just as enthusiastically as the Poole. This book also has some good general information on Ospreys but, at the heart of it are the personal anecdotes and stories that go hand in hand with Dennis working decades to reintroduce the Osprey back into the United Kingdom after it was almost made extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the things I enjoyed most was the information on conservation ecology and the Osprey as well as the inclusion of Dennis’s original notes from the 1970s. Paperback. 224 pages. Colour photographs, maps, and charts. Published in 2012.
I am a big fan of Roy Dennis and the work that he did to bring the Osprey back to the skies of of the United Kingdom – as well as his work with translocating Osprey to places such as Urdaibai Biosphere Park in Spain. Dennis fell in love with Ospreys as a teenager and has never looked back. His latest book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding Our skies, woods, and Waterways was published in 2021. It is really the personal journey and all the challenges with the kind of personal details that animates the story of the return of the Ospreys. Hardback. 452 pages. Black and white.
Written with all the love and joy this man can muster for his beloved birds of prey. While you can order this from the many on line book sellers, if you do decide to purchase it and you can afford the postage from Scotland, I suggest you order it directly from Roy Dennis’s website. Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust. All of the funds go back into helping the osprey and you can get it signed.
Many of you will be familiar with Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. Dorothy Patent and William Munoz have written a book specifically about the Ospreys in Montana – Call of the Osprey. Along with a general introduction, the pair cover, in great detail, the setting up of the artificial platform near the Riverside Health Centre for Iris and Stanley. There are excellent colour photographs. The book also discusses the Montana Osprey Project which looks into the toxins in the rivers from mining in the area as well as the new research using satellite trackers to find out where the osprey from Montana travel for the winter. Lovers of Iris and Stanley will, no doubt, like the detailed history of them as a couple. Hardback. 80 pages.
Another geographical specific book is The Rutland Water Ospreys. It is written by Tim Mackrill. You might recognize the name. Mackrill is the expert that assisted the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre with information on setting up the fish table for Mrs G, Aran and their now deceased chicks at the beginning of June when Aran was injured. Beautiful colour drawings and photographs give the history of all of the Ospreys at Rutland Water. There is information on the use of satellite trackers and migration. It is a great book if you are a fan of the ospreys at Rutland – and who isn’t, right? There are maps of Rutland Water Nature Reserve, histories of the birds, as well as information by year going from 2003 to 2012. A real who’s who of the Rutland birds! A joy to read. Hardback. 2015. 160 pages.
For older children (and adults like me), I highly recommend Belle’s Journey. An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard. Written in 2018, it is a beautifully illustrated book telling the intimate story of Belle. Belle hatched on Martha’s Vineyard. The book covers her migration to Brazil using real satellite tracking information. Easy to read but not childish. Extremely informative. There are 19 chapters – something to keep going as a bed time story for nearly three weeks. I would suggest getting a map if you do purchase the book or a globe so that you can follow Belle’s journey. 106 pages. Hardcover.
There are more books and I will mention them another time but there is one book I have in my hand to read in the next couple of days and another that I am waiting to purchase. There are many biographies about famous people but a biography about a bird? Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey celebrates Lady, the oldest osprey in Scotland. She laid eggs and raised chicks for more than two decades at The Loch of the Lowes where Laddie and NC0 have their two chicks this season. It is a remarkable little paperback that from the first few pages appears to be written with great love. General information about ospreys, conservation efforts, migration and its perils are interwoven with stories about Lady. As I understand it from people I have spoken to, Lady gave all those trying to reintroduce ospreys to the United Kingdom hope. 2011. 177 pages. Black and white.
The book that I am waiting to get my hands on is only available through the Dyfi Wildlife Centre. It is by Emyr Evans and is on the life of Monty, the male super star of the Ospreys that located themselves in Wales. It is called Monty and if you followed him and his mates this will be a book that you will want to order. I understand the shop will be back on line for orders in September.
Thank you so much for joining me. If you are looking for books on ospreys, one of these should help. I want to close with a picture of the morning of 15 June 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest – the home of White YW and Blue 35 and their three osplets. I am particularly interested in Tiny Wee Bob. He has been having some nice feeds lately but yesterday he decided to pick on Middle Sized Big Bob. It wasn’t such a good idea as you might image. He looks OK this morning. Fingers crossed he is one of the amazing third hatches that survives and goes on to do wonderful things.
You can hardly see his head but there it is in the middle of the image below. He is sort of in a strange state of his feather development. Hopefully any pulled out by the bigger siblings will return! You cannot see his body. He is between the bigger ones.
Here is Tiny Little Bob with his neck extended. You can see the Reptilian phase feathers coming and that great line of mascara extended from his eye to his neck.
Thank you to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust streaming cam where I grabbed the screen shot of the chicks at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.
The Urdaibai Osprey Nest is one of the nests that Roy Dennis helped to establish in Northern Spain. According to Dennis, he tagged a breeding female near his home in Moray, Scotland and named her Logie. She had one of the new GPS transmitters so the local school children could follow her travels just like Belle in the book, Belle’s Journey. What did they learn? Well, she spent her first winter in the Bijagos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, an island off the coast of west Africa. She set off on her spring migration to return to Scotland on 12 March. She had good weather til she got to Basque Country in northern Spain. The winds were blowing to the west and there was heavy rain. She stayed there waiting out the bad weather from 29 March to 7 April on the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, north of Bilbao. Knowing her location, Dennis asked someone to look for her and his call was answered by a local biologist who took photographs and send them to Dennis. Logie was eating a fish she had caught. The pair, Dennis and Aitor Galarza, stayed in touch. Galarza visited Dennis in Scotland because he wanted to learn about breeding Ospreys and they got to talking about translocation. In October, Dennis traveled to Spain to see the places where Logie had stopped over.
The next year, more Ospreys stopped over on their spring migrations and to make a long story a little shorter, Aitor received funding and authorisations to set up a reintroduction programme of Osprey to the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve in 2013. Dennis got permissions and licenses to collect 12 young Ospreys per year for five years and move them to Urdaibai. During the five years, as planned, Aitor and Dennis moved sixty young Osprey from Scotland to Basque Country in Spain.
The males, of course, returned to their nests in Basque country after their migrations but, at the beginning, these translocated boys could not attract females to stay with them. Then a male in 2017 managed to attract a migrant female in September. The rest is history as they say. This is nothing but the briefest of overviews. If you have Roy Dennis’s book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding Our Skies, Woods, and Waterways you can read all of the details on pages 314-16.
The Spanish government also prepared a detailed report about the reintroduction of Ospreys with other information about Osprey populations in Europe. For those of you that love detail like I do, here is the link to that report:
This little albino hatched on 2 June at 8:47 and is the first known Albino Osprey in the world. From the look on the one parent’s eyes they might be wondering what they are seeing since the white down and the pink eyes and beak stand out against the nest materials. Of course, that is precisely the problem for this little one. It ‘stands out’ and so predators can see it easier than its two older siblings with their typical Osprey plumage. Its eyes could be sensitive to light that could also cause issues as an adult but the truth is – this is new Osprey territory and a lot will be learned from this precious white bundle.
If you are ever wondering about the egg tooth that chicks have to help them peck through the hard shell, you can see it easily on this little one – it is the white tip end. See the hook? Imagine the chick upside down hammering away with that on a shell.
You can watch this nest here:
Wow, what an exciting morning. I am happy to say that at 6:49:40, Tiny Tot had a fish delivery from Jack. After all the past days of others stealing his fish deliveries it was a delight to see him eating first thing. Tiny really mantled that fish! And no doubt he enjoyed it. It is going to be another scorching hot day in St Petersburg, Florida at 30 degrees C. That nest has to be a lot hotter. There are chances of thunderstorms in the area for the next four days.
Wadsworth flew in with a fish delivery this morning for Electra and the two chicks. He is getting better at these deliveries – maybe he has figured out his responsibilities. I might now continue checking in on this nest. It is in Washington State. One gets so emotionally involved with these nests and, historically, Wadsworth has not been reliable. Fingers crossed. Those are two cute little ones there. And just look. Their tower is located higher than the location where the Ospreys made their nests on the power line. And look, it is right by the water – he doesn’t have to travel far to get the meals for his family!
The Cowlitz Osprey platform was put up in Longview, Washington by the Public Utility District (PUD). They have actually built five platorms. This is number 6141. There are two cameras and one of them has sound.
You can watch this Osprey family here:
To make the day even more special, Iris stopped in at her nest to say hello to all of us this morning! It is just after 6:30. She has a full crop and just look at her. She is keeping herself in prime condition. Well done, Iris – and Iris, it is so nice to see you. Thank you for stopping in!
Thank you for stopping in today to check on Bird World. I will have quick reports on all the UK nests this evening and any unusual happenings during the day.
Thanks to the Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, the Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, and the Urdaibai Biosphere Park for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots.