Things are happening in Bird World

Oh, just look who showed up on the NorthEast Florida Eagle’s nest in Jacksonville today – none other than the resident male, Samson! It was 7:23. So very nice to see you, Samson.

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. Samson hatched on this very nest on 23 December 2013. Samson fledged and left the area on 22 April 2014. He was 120 days old.

At the end of the summer in 2019, in August, Samson arrived at the very nest he hatched from and began bringing in sticks. His mate, Gabrielle arrived on the nest on 12 September. In May of 2020, their two chicks, Jules and Romey, named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliett, fledged. In 2021, they fledged their only hatch, Legacy.

The picture below is of Mama Gabby and baby Legacy in February 2021.

Samson has been seen at the nest earlier this month when the technicians came to do the maintenance on the streaming cam. Samson remains in the area of the nest year round while Gabby migrates to a cooler place – although, as I have often said, I don’t know where that would be this year! She will return about the middle of third week in September. It will be wonderful to see her back. Can’t wait.

Samson may be working on a nest but the Peregrine Falcon couple, Diamond and Xavier, are expecting eggs in the nest week or a week and a little bit. Their scrape box is high on a water tower, 170 steps up, on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange Australia.

This is Diamond on the ledge of the scrape box today.

Diamond and Xavier’s 2021 fledgling, Izzi, was the joy of everyone. As the only little falcon he was loved and spoiled by his parents. There was some concern he would not leave the scrape box before this year’s eggs are laid. This is the latest message from Cilla Kinross, the head researcher on the Falconcam Project:

“Izzi has not been in the box now for 12 days, but we think he is still around from calls. Parental behaviour continues as normal, with up to three prey a day being delivered to Diamond and preparation of the scrape. Eggs are expected soon (within a week or two). Generally, Diamond starts to spend more and more time in the scrape and her backside looks large and fluffy.”

You can watch Diamond and Xavier here:

Peregrine falcons are nothing short of amazing. Bald Eagles are big but Peregrine falcons are fast.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Jon David Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The cere is the yellow part above the beak. Now look at the nostrils in the cere. There are small keratinous tubercules – they look like small little bumps inside the nostril. Can you see the one on the right nostril of the falcon above? Those are what help the Peregrine Falcon fly so fast. They serve as a baffle against the wind driven in so forcefully into the lungs of the falcon as they do their high speed dives. Otherwise, their lungs would burst.

“Faucon pèlerin / Peregrine Falcon / Falco peregrinus” by FRITSCHI PHOTOGRAPHY is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most Peregrine Falcons that you will see on a streaming cam lay their eggs in a scrape box like the one of Diamond’s, above. Some make their nests on the side of cliffs like this one in Japan on the island of Hokkaido.

“Peregrine Falcon Nest” by Ken-ichi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Peregrine Falcons do not make their nest out of twigs. It is believed that this helps to stop the spread of disease from twig nests pests like flies and parasites.

Here is a short 8 minute video to introduce you to the speed and hunting methods of the Peregrine Falcon:

It’s a great day for Malin! We do not know Malin’s exact hatch date. There were three chicks and the youngest hatched on 18 June. Two chicks perished in the heat. So Malin is either celebrating his two month hatch today or his two month hatch and a couple of days, more or less. His first delivery came around 9am and the second was at around 10:14. Malin is really growing.

Here is Malin next to mum, Marsha, this morning. You can see that Malin’s feathers are growing in nicely. Look at the crossing of those wing feathers. Yippeeeeeee. This chick has really grown with the increase in feedings.

And look at all of the bands on those tail feathers – looks like a clean 7 – while, at the same time, there are no spaces in the wing feathers.

Oh, Malin, aren’t you beautiful?

Malin has gotten very good at self-feeding.

Malin is off to a great start on Wednesday. Terrific.

It is raining heavy in Latvia at the nest of Grafs and Grafiene. There are some concerns on the amount of energy used to keep warm by the nestlings.

This is the nearby ditch. It is 200 m long. A portion of the ditch has been closed off and fish have been placed in there along with the decoy of Grafiene. The decoy of Grafiene was painted by an active chat participant and installed by Janis Kuze, the ornithologist.

I hope you don’t mind if I correct just minor details. The beautiful decoy was painted by the active chat participant B.K. and installed by the ornithologist Jānis Ķuze.

These are the size of fish being put into the feeder for Grafs. So much effort. Now we need Grafs to find this spot for his three storklings. It is a very, very difficult time for everyone especially with the rain. If you would like to check on the Latvian Forum for progress, please go to this link:

The situation of the Black Storklings in the nest in Jegova County, Estonia appears to be better than in Latvia. Jan has come to the nest to feed the storklings 3 times today. The storklings have not almost completely depleted the fish that was brought on the 13th when they received their transmitters and bands. They appear to be healthy and doing well. It is not raining on this nest today.

The three storklings are 63 and 64 days old today. The average for fledging appears to be 71 days but then the young storklings are dependent on their parents for another two to three weeks before leaving the nest area. That only puts us at the end of the first week of September for these three to be totally independent of Jan — but, of course, those numbers are only averages. It appears there is time! We all must hope for these birds. They are very rare and very special and there has not been a lot of studies done on them.

The Forum with ongoing information on the Estonian Black Stork nest is here:

Karl II has been in to feed the one fledgling on the Black Stork Nest in the Karula National Park in Estonia. Oh, that fledgling was so happy. That was at 18:33. It is Urmas, the only chick still being fed by a parent. Kaia has left for her migration and the other two siblings appear to have left the nest area and might be travelling as well.

I know that there is much sadness and anxiety in the region for the two Black Stork nests that had late hatches. But, we must also celebrate the happiness of this nest in Estonia, that of Karl II and Kaia. Three fledglings, all healthy! We need to send the most positive wishes for Kaia and the other two siblings as they make their way through Europe trying to get to Africa. And, then, of course, for Karl II and this storklet when they begin.

I have tried to catch the number to confirm this storkling but it is nearly impossible.

The smudge is right in the way!

For those of you watching the North American migration, it kicked off Sunday, the 15th of August at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. The first over the ridge that day was a Broad-winged hawk. There was a strong wind that day and the count was 4 Bald Eagles, 2 Cooper’s Haws, 25 Broad-winged Hawks, and 3 American Kestrel. If you would like to check on the migration in North American on the route over the mountains with all their thermals, here is the place to go for a day to day check in:

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/hawk-count

It’s 17:16 in Cumbria in the UK and our second great Osprey chick survivor this year – Tiny Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss nest – is waiting for dad, White YW, to bring her the teatime fish! Every day is a blessing to see you on the nest, Tiny Little (Blue 463).

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please send all your positive energy to our friends in Latvia and to Grafs for him to find the feeder and for the safe migration of all of the birds. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams and forums where I grabbed my screen shots: The Forum for the Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork Nest at Jergova County, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Park, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

The Hornbill

There are over 50 different varieties of Hornbill. The one that I want to focus on today is the Rhinoceros Hornbill. It is the State Bird of Malaysia. I became acquainted with these amazing birds during a trip to the Sarawak in East Malaysia many years ago.

The arrow points to Sarawak. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is present also in Sabah as well as Borneo, in yellow.

You could not move through the area around the harbour of Kuching without seeing ‘something’ decorated with the motif of a hornbill – from table cloths, batik wall hangings, phone cases, and old and not-so-old wood carvings. To actually see these highly endangered birds you needed a guide to take you to the jungle areas where local tribes still live in their long houses. There the hornbill was also used as a design for the totems on the poles supporting their roof as well as on many of the art of tattoos.

“Iban? Long House near Kuching” by rosskevin756 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The weavers of the area specialize in ikat. Ikat is a type of resist dying. The threads are resist dyed before they are woven. The pattern in the textile below is called the ‘Feather of the Hornbill’.

Old carving of Hornbill, Ironwood. Sarawak Museum, Kuching.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is depicted in numerous designs in wood carving. The wooden figure above is a Kenyalang. Historically, these carvings were associated with many of the tribes in Sarawak, Sabah, and Borneo. For the Iban, the figure is an essential part of a celebration called the Gawai Kenyalang. Its role was as a messenger. It called upon the spirit world to give courage to the warriors who went out headhunting. The carvings are still made today and they are still important for the various tribal communities. Head hunting ended in the 20th century and most of the carvings are considered cultural icons.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is a large bird, 80 to 90 cm (31–35 in) long. The males are larger than the females. The birds are covered with black feathers except for the white tail that has a single black band. Their legs are white. The Hornbill is most notable for its colourful bill which is huge. In fact, that orange and red bill is what gave the bird its name. The Hornbill uses this lightweight beak to gather its food, build its nests, seal the nest, and feed the chicks. The structure on top of the bill is called a casque. It is hollow and its function is to amplify the call of the birds. The eyes of the male are red with black rims while those of the female are white with a red rim like the one below.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In comparison, this is an image of the male so that you can see the difference in their eye colour. It is the easiest way to recognize each of the genders.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by Steve Wilson – over 10 million views Thanks !! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hornbills are very unique in their nesting habits. They are cavity nesters but with a twist. When the female is ready to lay her 1-3 eggs, she will locate a cavity in a tree trunk (or sometimes a rock formation) to make her nest. Once made she helps her bonded-for-life mate seal her into the cavity with mud. The only opening is a small oval hole where the male feeds the female during her confinement that lasts 50 days. He also feeds the nestlings. This arrangement is very practical. It helps protect the nest from any type of predator including lizards and snakes. Ninety days after the chicks hatch, the female will break open the mud covering to the nest.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is listed as vulnerable. One of the biggest threats to its existence is the loss of the rainforest where it lives and builds its nest. It is also hunted for food as well as for items that are believed to give men virility including the feathers and the skull. The large trees that occupied the forested areas of Borneo are being cut down at an alarming rate. When I was there the wood was being shipped to China on those huge boats. It was overwhelming to see the forest being obliterated.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)” by Mark Louis Benedict is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In other news, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 nabbed the first fish of the morning on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. Tiny Little was busy eating it while sibling 462 waited on the nest. Tiny Little is off to a great start to the day! Go Tiny Little!

Karl II arrived at 8:10 to feed the three fledglings on the Black Stork nest in Estonia. The fledglings were incredible.

The glare of the sun on the camera creates a strong glow so you can’t see clearly what is going on. Karl arrives on the right and feeds the hungry storklings quickly. The nest is in the Karula National Park in Estonia.

One of the Storklings on the Siguldas Black Stork nest in Latvia has decided to get up close and personal with the camera and its supports while it waits for Grafs or Grafiene to bring them their breakfast.

The good news at the Peregrine Falcon Nest in the scrape box on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia is that Izzi – cute little Izzi – has not been in the scrape box for six days. He has been heard but he has not gone in after several altercations with Xavier. Diamond, Izzi’s mother, is expected to lay her eggs by the end of August. Here is Diamond looking out over her territory.

Also in Australia, the two little sea eaglets, 27 and 28, are just cute. They are really growing. Dad brought in a life fish and was going to feed them today. Lady flew in and stepped on the fish before it could flop all over the chicks. Then she took over the feeding. Both ate well but 27 had an enormous crop.

It continues to be as good a day as it can be in Bird World. The juvenile Ospreys are eating and eating preparing to being their migration. For some of the UK nests the average number of days is around 90 hatch days old for fledging. We will be keeping our eyes open to see who is leaving.

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a wonderful Friday everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WBSE Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Falconcam Osprey Project, C Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, the Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Friday Morning in Bird World

Have you ever started looking for something and found something else, equally as interesting? As it happens, yesterday I was looking for a short film about a Japanese man living in Hokkaido with his falcon. What was found was a new film released on 1 June 2021.

The documentary is the story of the only African American falconer, Rodney Stotts. Stotts says falconering for him is all about second chances – for people and for the birds. Have a look at the trailer for The Falconer:

Yesterday there seemed to be no news in Bird World and then there was. Do you follow the Welsh Osprey Nests? If you do, you will recognize the name Aran immediately because he is currently Mrs G’s mate. Aran injured his wing (primary flight feathers) at the end of May or beginning of June. He had been battling crows around the nest and then the storm came. No one knows how he got his injury. No one saw. But he was unable to provide fish for the nest while Mrs G was hatching the chicks. The volunteers and people of Glaslyn set up a fish table for Aran and Mrs G. They lost their chicks and both have been rebuilding their strength.

Yesterday, Aran was in a ferocious battle with a blue ringed bird a distance enough from the nest that it caught the attention of Elfyn Lewis of the Glaslyn FB group who posted the following image that made the rounds of several groups so I am reposting it here. Aran is the bird on the bottom. The white is the injury he sustained earlier. Are there birds attempting to usurp Aran from the Glaslyn nest? Always it would seem.

@ Elfyn Lewis

Other news comes out of Hawaii. The State of Hawaii bans the release of ‘Albatross Killing helium balloons’. It seems they are not banning the balloons but the intentional release of them. Here is that announcement through the AP:

https://apnews.com/article/hawaii-environment-and-nature-government-and-politics-fb9c1cd959ffaad608f08610be548428

What child does not love a balloon? and how many young women did I see lined up at a shop with balloons in hand for a party the other day? The question is how to dispose of them properly — and it isn’t sending them off in the air with wishes attached! Release the air, put them safely in a scrapbook, etc. Or eliminate balloons from festivities altogether. It is not only the helium balloons that injure the birds, it is also the normal ones that blow away in the wind. It is a good way to educate your children about the many challenges the birds face and that balloons and strings can kill them.

Speaking of Albatross, the Royal Cam chick, Taiki, is now 165 days old (nest time). On 5 July she weighed 8.3 kg or 18.3 lbs. She will be stabilizing her weight so that she can fledge in mid-September. Her dad, Lime-Green-Black (LGK) has now travelled over 42,000 km or 26,000 miles in total since he received his satellite tracker in February to feed his precious chick. (The mother is alive but her tracker stopped working).

It is still two months until Taiki fledges in mid-September. She is just getting her beautiful black wings, she is building play nests, and the parents are flying in to feed her. It is all very interesting and it is such a calm nest to watch. The Rangers weigh all of the chicks on Tuesday morning and that is fascinating to watch also. Humiliating for such a beautiful girl to be stuffed in a laundry basket but – it is necessary. Supplementary feedings are given should any of the chicks require it. NZ really takes good care of their birds! As North American streaming cams wind down for the breeding season, why not have a look at some of the amazing birds in the Southern hemisphere?

Taiki stretches her wings and flaps them to help them get strong.

Here is the link to the Royal Cam chick on Taiaroa Head New Zealand:

Lady and Dad will be on hatch watch in about two weeks time. This is the only White Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in the world. These beautiful birds are the second largest group of eagles in Australia. The nest is in an old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is not always an easy nest to watch because their can be sibling rivalry but the sea eagle chicks are so cute and the juvenile plumage is simply gorgeous.

If you are a lover of Ospreys, there is still plenty of action in the UK nests where the nestlings have fledged or are getting ready to fledge. They will be around for another five weeks or so until they leave for their migration to Africa.

In Australia, the Osprey couple on the barge in Port Lincoln have just finished lining their nest with soft materials and the streaming cam is now live. These are the parents of Solly and DEW. Solly is the female Osprey with the satellite tracker. This is also not an easy nest to watch because of siblicide.

There are two falcon cams in Australia. One is on year round and the other, the CBD Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, will start once the falcons are back in the scrape box. Here is the link to Xavier and Diamond’s scrape box on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Stuart University. No one knows what will happen this year. The couples’ 9 month old son, Izzi, still continues to come to the scrape box and might even believe it is his own home. In the UK, chicks from an earlier hatch have helped the parents raise their new brood. In Australia, we watch and wait!

In Eastern Europe, there has been some concern over the amount of prey being brought in to the little Golden Eaglet in Buconovia, Romania. Lady Hawk was able to capture the delivery of a hare by the father and a really good feeding yesterday. That is excellent news! When the camera was first installed he was afraid of it and he is becoming more comfortable day by day.

That’s it for Friday. The Achieva Osprey Nest has not return visit from Tiny Tot and Electra is at the nest less and less. The Canadian chicks in Alberta seem to be doing fine as is Kindness up in the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest. Fingers crossed for continuing good health to all the birds.

Thank you for joining me today in Bird World. Have a wonderful Friday. Take care, stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC Albatross Cam.

Tuesday Nest Hopping

I watched Legacy this morning. She seemed occupied by what was happening beyond the nest.

Then she moved to another branch and looked out.

She turned back to look at us. Then, Legacy lowered her head, did a ‘ps’, and flew off. It was 11:51:00 on 11 May.

It was a fabulous push off – and whoosh. Legacy left the nest.

There she is leaving the branch and flying out beyond the nest tree – in the two images below. What a gorgeous silhouette.

Notice the wing positions as she goes up and then thrusts forward.

Are Samson and Gabby training her to find prey elsewhere? Will she return?

And here is our answer. At 2:42 Samson coaxes Legacy back to the nest. He flies in and drops a small piece of fish on the nest. Sometimes Samson looks like a cartoon character – I promise you that is really Legacy’s dad standing on the nest! He has the most amazing legs!!!!!!! Almost like skinny jeans.

Here comes Legacy – she messes up her landing and has to fly around and come back on the other side. Meanwhile, Samson waits.

Samson sees Legacy coming and he is out of there. She mantled it and took only a few minutes to eat that small piece of fish.

Legacy was up on her branch looking out over the territory of her parents Samson and Gabby and hoping for another chunk of fish! So glad to see you Legacy.

Across the state of Florida, from Jacksonville and Legacy’s nest to the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St. Petersburg, Diane appears to be giving more advice to Tiny Tot. Is it one of those mother-daughter chats about survival and raising her own chicks?

Oh, I hope that Tiny Tot hangs around the nest for 3 or 4 weeks building up her skills! The research indicates that the more food and the longer on the nest the stronger the possibility is of survival.

Blue 152 (female) and unringed male were still at Loch Arkaig at 16:09. Fingers crossed for a new couple. They are surveying what could be their territory. Looks like Louis might not give them any trouble. He is busy with his new mate since Aila did not return from migration on the other nest. Rumour has it Louis and her have at least one egg on that nest.

This is not the best screen capture, apologies. The female has a very beautiful necklace (she is on the right with the blue band). And look at the difference in eye colour from that of Tiny Tot. Osprey eyes are darker, an amber or orange-yellow, as a juvenile lightening up to a bright yellow as an adult. The female appears to have a bit of a crop – she was crying for a fish this morning – while the male’s seems to be fairly flat. Remember the crop is a pouch under the throat which is part of the bird’s (all raptors but owls) digestive system. I like to think of it as a holding tank. They might find prey one day and get ‘full to the brim’ – both the stomach and the crop bulging – to not have any food for a couple of days. The raptor can ‘crop drop’ – releasing food into the stomach.

The female spent some time rearranging the nest and the pair mated just after 4pm. Now bring your lady a fish!

Boy does he look grumpy. I hope it is just the angle of the camera.

Blue 33 (11) gets his status as super star of the Osprey world for his great devotion to Maya and his chicks. Here he is delivering a nice big one for the evening meal for the ‘Bobs’.

Of course raising 11 chicks in three years (2019, 2020, and this year if the third egg hatches) gives both him and Maya super Osprey status.

Blue 33 (11) is a very devoted dad and often spends time sitting nest to Maya in the nest while she incubates or broods.

Big Red took a break and the Ks all cuddled up together to keep warm. When she returned she had a fresh chippie for lunch. Watching the Ks learn to eat in the midst of a little bonking is fascinating. Big Red is so patient!

You can catch this entire feeding on a video. See if you can tell which K is which.

This morning the Ks were a little disorganized. Look at them five hours later standing still all lined up to eat. K3 knows that being in the front is important. This is more like it. They have dried out more and so has the nest. Almost looks like they have had a bath.

Grinnell was doing a great job feeding the three this afternoon. Those juvenile feathers are really starting to come in. Love the ‘peach’ at the end of the tail.

It is hard to imagine but they will look like Izzi in about a month.

Izzi is such a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon. Here he is at just a little over seven months old – 5 May 2021. Of course, we all want him to stay in his parent’s scrape box but, do they? In a nutshell, Izzi had three fledges – yes, three! One fludge, one that sent him into a window and rehab, and then a fantastic one. Each time he was returned to the scrape box so this parents, Xavier and Diamond, would accept him. But now, maybe he thinks the penthouse apartment on top of the water tower is his!

Look at those eyes. Izzi loves to see his reflection in the camera casing.

Jack brought in a nice fish for Harriet to feed the two osplets on the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in King George County, Virginia. It is nice to see Jack staying on the nest while Harriet feeds the babies. There is one egg lost in the nest that didn’t get incubated and another in the nest cup but from my calculations it is too late for it to hatch. That is probably a very good thing. Look at how big those two are!

I didn’t know if we would ever see Tiger or Lily Rose back on the nest tree in Kansas. And there, at 5:09 am is one of them sitting on a branch hoping for a food delivery. I think it is Lily Rose but I cannot be 100% certain. Bonnie and Clyde will continue to help them until they such time as they are able to catch their own prey – and that won’t be long.

Thank you so very much for dropping in to check on ‘the birds’ today with me. I hope that your day was good and that you are safe and well wherever you are. Tomorrow the Duke Farm eaglets will get banded.

Thank you to the following for their steaming cams. That is where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab, Farmer Derek, Achieva Osprey, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt University at Orange, Australia and the Falcon Project, Woodland Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the LRWT Manton Bay Ospreys.

Late news in Bird World

Around the beginning of May, people in Manitoba get ‘itchy’ to get out in the garden. The garden centre catalogues have been sitting since December, the days are getting warmer, and that urge to get out and plant starts taking over our thoughts. Today was a quick trip to a garden centre just outside of the city near the river. On the way there I was delighted by the hawks soaring. One Red Tailed Hawk (RTH) was being chased by a couple of crows while a Broad-winged Hawk was flying above the banks of the river. I did not stop and take photographs. By the time I would have pulled over they would have been gone. But, thank heavens, for a book that I got at Christmas. The RTH I recognized immediately but not the second raptor. That book is Hawks from Every Angle. How to Identify raptors in flight by Jerry Liguori. I wish the images were bigger but, other than that, it has been a great help in identification.

Speaking of identification, the two eaglets on the Minnesota DNR nest were banded on 4 May. I tried to catch a good image of their legs but those two are not giving one thing away!

Here is a close up of their young father, Harry. No, he isn’t dirty! He hasn’t completely ‘matured’ (someone might have to adjust that) as he is not believed to be five years old yet! Well, Harry, you are a great dad. You stepped up to the plate and incubated your babies, learned how to feed them, and brought in prey. It took you a bit to catch on – but, you did!

The cameras at the MN DNR Bald Eagle nest were turned off during the process of banding. They also did a health check and took blood samples. Soon we will know the genders of the two eaglets! Here is a video from 2015 at the same nest showing the process:

Many were very sad when California Condor’s Redwood Queen and Phoenix’s egg was deemed non-viable. Those two will try again next year. But congratulations go out to California Condors Condor 589 and Phoebe (569) known as the Pinnacle Power Couple. Their baby hatched on 12 April and is #1078. #1078 will need to survive for six months in the nest being fed by 589 and 569. #1078 will be learning to fly in mid-October. The couple have been together for five years and this is the third chick – hence the designation ‘power couple’. Most California Condors only breed every two years.

#1078 one week old. Phoebe is feeding the baby. Taken from video feed Pinnacles National Park Cam. 19 April 2021

Over in Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana, the oldest Osprey in the world, Iris, landed a whopper!

Just look at the size of that fish and the perfect form Iris has. I am impressed.

Iris got to enjoy some of that magnificent catch and then Louis must have heard about that great catch and thought she might share. In the end, he did steal part of that fish and took it to the pole to eat. Darn that Louis. Iris doesn’t fish for him! He is supposed to be taking care of her.

Gabby has been with Legacy all day at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville, Florida. It seems that Samson and Gabby are keeping a close eye on Legacy so she doesn’t get lost again! Well, was she lost? She sure might have been. She has stayed at the nest. It is another hot and very windy day but, if Samson continues his regular food drop, Legacy will have some dinner around 5:30 nest time.

Legacy is sure watching for Samson to appear with her dinner! It is nearing 5pm nest time. Good training for Legacy once she gets the confidence to fly about more.

Arthur has made several prey drops trying to encourage Big Red to let him incubate the Ks but Big Red is steadfast. It is raining and she still doesn’t trust Arthur enough to let him take over when the rain is pitching down! K1 and K2 got a quick feed. Meanwhile, K3 is hatching. The progress is unclear – cannot see the egg!

It’s dinner time at the Achieva Osprey nest and Diane brought in a catfish for #2 and Tiny Tot. It has not been that long since Tiny polished off an entire fish so he is not rushing to get in line. In addition, Tiny might have figured out that the best meat on the catfish comes a little later. Mom has to fight with the head to get it all open. Diane doesn’t like a flake of fish to be wasted! No doubt. She is a good fisher, like Iris, and takes great care of her kids.

Oh, Tiny Tot is so smart. See. He waited. If you look carefully there is really good fish left – nice big chunks of flaky catfish! Sometimes it is good to not rush. Diane is happy to feed that back half of that fish to Tiny and have some bites herself. So Tiny had at least one entire fish to itself and half of another big catfish. He’s set for the night!

There were alarms in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. Eerik stayed on the White-tailed Eagle nest tree with Eve in order to protect the family. If he wasn’t on the nest, he was on a close branch in case there was an intruder.

Oh, everyone is eating!!!!!!

It is Happy Hatch Day for Izzi, the Peregrine falcon eyass of Xavier and Diamond. Their scrape box is on the water tower on the grounds of the Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Izzi has not left home. Will Izzi ever leave home? Many are probably asking the same question. For me, it is a joy to see him grow into a healthy capable falcon!

@ Charles Sturt University Orange Australia. 5 May 2021

And it wouldn’t be fair to check on Izzi and not on the trio at the UC Berkeley Campus. Oh, my how they have changed from the marshmallows last week with the pink beaks and legs. So imagine these three growing up and looking like Izzi in a few months. They will, I promise. They are already charging Annie and Grinnell and trying to self feed. Oh, they are adorable!

It is Day 36 for Maya and Blue 33 (11)’s first egg. Eggs have been rolled and Maya has been enjoying the nice weather. That one egg looks terribly suspicious but no word of a pip or a hatch yet!

Thanks everyone for joining me. I hope where ever you are that your Wednesday has been a good one. Take care. See you soon in Bird World.

Remember: 8 May is Bird Count Day. Get all the information on how you can participate here:

https://ebird.org/news/global-big-day-8-may-2021

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, UC Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, Eagle Club of Estonia, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cornell Bird Lab RTH Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, MN DNR, Ventana Wildlife, and Pinnacle Wildlife.

A sighting of Legacy?

I have been following Legacy since she hatched on the 8th February. She grew strong and beautiful on the Bald Eagle nest of her parents, Samson and Gabrielle, in Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, the second egg did not hatch and Legacy (N24) had her parents complete attention. Despite being an only child she quickly learned skills to help her on her journey to adulthood. Those pinecones that come into the nest, sometimes with needles, are not only good to keep insects away but they also help the raptors learn to grip with their talons. I have watched Red Tail-Hawks play with pinecones like they were soccer balls. Legacy mantled and fought for the fish deliveries, built up strength in her wings, and she fledged. What a beautiful flight that was on the 26th of April. Here is a video clip:

The last confirmed sighting of Legacy at the nest was at 9:53:51 on 28 April. She had been chatting with Gabby and she flew off. Like before, everyone expected her to return to the nest. Many who watch Legacy also watch Harriet and M15s Bald Eagle nest in Fort Myers and know that E17 and E18 return to the nest for food while flying about the neighborhood to build up flight muscles and landing skills. So everyone has been worried when she did not return to the nest.

Today, rumours of a fly by at 9:35:15 seen only on camera 2 circulated. Here is the sequence of that flight below and to the side of the nest tree.

The image below is the area with the juvenile Bald Eagle blown up so the juvenile can be seen better.

Please note the time: 9:35:15. As it happens, the parents fly to the nest tree landing at 9:36:02. They are precisely 47 seconds – not even a minute – behind the juvenile doing the fly by.

Here is the parent landing on the look out branch at 9:36:02.

Here is Samson settled down looking around.

No one can be 100% certain that it was Legacy that did a fly by without DNA evidence or a good enough photograph to compare to one of her on the nest. That said, I believe that Samson has just missed Legacy! Why she does not come to the natal nest, I don’t know. Maybe they are just missing one another. Maybe she is being fed off the nest. We do not know but I believe that she is still in the territory of her parents and as of this morning is flying strong.

The only other news is that, sadly, the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix appears to have failed or not been fertile. According to the Ventana Wildlife Society, 50-60% of all California Condor eggs fail to hatch. Hopefully the pair will have more success next year!

Everything is going well on the Achieva Osprey Nest. I will check in there first thing tomorrow morning. Biggie Tot spent the day eating and #2 has really been exercising their wings. My daughter thinks that fledge will happen tomorrow. Stay tuned!

I will leave you with an image from Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The scrape box on the water tower belongs to Peregrine Falcon bonded pair, Xavier and Diamond. They had one hatch in 2020, Izzi. Izzi’s first fledge was a fludge. He went to sleep on the rim of the scrape box and fell out. He was returned to the scrape box. The second fledge he flew into a window and went into care for five days and was returned to the scrape box. The third fledge was a success. Now everyone thought that Izzi would, like all other peregrine fledglings, leave the parental territory by January at the latest. Tomorrow is 1 May and Izzi still brings his prey to the box that I think he believes is his own. I will keep you posted on developments. Izzi is the cutest thing. No one would mind watching him live his live from here.

Everything feels right in Bird World on a late Friday night on the Canadian prairies. Thanks so much for joining me. Let us all hope that the juvenile in those images is Legacy and that she is just being fiercely independent and being fed off screen. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Charles Stuart University Falcon Cam Project, NEFlorida and the AEF, Ventana Wildlife Society and Explore.org

Cuteness Overload in Bird World

It is Tuesday in New Zealand but on the Canadian prairies it is Monday and it is snowing! There is snow swirling all around and the birds would like nothing better than to come into the house! Poor things.

Today is the day that the NZ Department of Conservation rangers at Taiaroa Head weigh all of the Royal Albatross chicks. Every Tuesday they do this. If any of the chicks are underweight, the rangers will give them a supplemental feeding. Sometimes the winds are not conducive to returning while at other times these largest of NZ sea birds have to travel far to find food. Sadly, some of them also perish in the process. If there is only one parent feeding it is often hard to keep up with the demands of a growing albatross chick. That is when I sing the praises of the NZ DOC – they will do anything to keep the adults and the chicks in a good healthy state.

The Royal Cam chick is a female and she was hatched 80 days ago. Her nest is at a place called ‘The Flat Top’ on Taiaroa Head, a peninsula near Dunedin, New Zealand. It is the only breeding colony near human habitation for these albatross. Because raising a chick causes such stress on their bodies, the albatross breed biennially. Indeed, while it might sound like they have two years to recuperate, it will take almost an entire year to raise their chick. The 2021 Royal Cam chick will fledge and begin her five to six years at sea in September. Her parents will return to Taiaroa Head to feed her until she goes on her own journey. The parents will then go to sea only returning the following November when they will breed again. This means that the parents will not see one another for approximately fourteen to fifteen months returning to a specific spot on the planet to breed. It is a real joy and a relief when both return safely. The chick will remain at sea, never touching land, for five to six years before she returns to Taiaroa Head to begin choosing her own mate.

In the past week, the Royal Cam chick has ‘lucked out’. She had two family visits – her parents arrived yesterday around 15:00 and they had flown in together on Saturday to feed her together. It is hard to comprehend how extraordinary these family reunions are until you sit and stare at the ocean where the two go foraging for food for both themselves and the chick. It is vast.

Two months ago, Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the female and Lime-Green-Black (LGK) were fitted with small backpack satellite transmitters. These transmitters are intended to study their foraging habits. LGL has travelled 11.737 kilometres going to and from the sea in order to feed her chick. This is the graph of those travels:

What a happy family reunion! The nickname for the little chick has been a Maori word for cloud, Kapua. I think you can see why in the image below! Look at all that gorgeous white feathery down.

LGL and LGK both visit and feed their chick. 12 April 2021

Kapua has learned how to beg for food. In fact, she is often impatient during these family visits for good feedings. Sometimes her parents like to stop and visit with one another! Of course, Kapua wants all the attention on her.

The albatross chick has to clack on the parent’s bill to stimulate the regurgitation of food. Here you can see how the parent also has to lean down and the way the chick and parent hold their bills so the precious squid oil will go into the chick and not on the ground!

While her parents are away, Kapua spends time in her nest. She watches the boats go past, makes little play nests around her but never strays, at this age, far from her natal nest in case her parents return with food.

Isn’t she the epitome of cuteness?

When things get too stressful on the other nests, I always return to the Royal Albatross and my faith in the New Zealand government for keeping Kapua safe and healthy.

Yesterday was a milestone for one of the most beautiful Bald eaglets anywhere, Legacy. She is the daughter of Samson and Gabrielle at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville, Florida. Legacy has been jumping up and down working her wings and legs to get them strong on the spongy Spanish moss nest. Yesterday, though, Legacy made another milestone. She branched at 3:59. Legacy will continue now to go up on the branches of her natal tree until the point where she will fly from the nest to a branch before she takes her first real flight from the nest which is known as fledging. There she is. Legacy was a little nervous and she made her way down to the nest bowl carefully. Soon, though, she will be jumping up and down to that branch having a lot of fun! She loves the wind beneath her wings.

Legacy is a big strong eaglet. 11 April 2021

Sweet little babies staying warm and dry under Nancy at the MN DNR nest. Looks like they have rain instead of the snow we are experiencing north of them. The little ones are not able to regulate their temperature yet so they need to stay warm and dry!

Little ones staying warm near Nancy, MN DNR Nest. 12 April 2021

Izzi, the peregrine falcon has not left his natal scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yesterday he caught an adult Starling all by himself and was quite loud in announcing it to the world. This image catches his trade mark screeching on entering the scrape box:

The two owlets raised in the Bald Eagle Nest near Newton, Kansas are growing and growing. There are still many who consider them to be ‘cute’! Yesterday their mother, Bonnie, tested them. She left a duck and parts of a rabbit in the nest. She stood on a branch watching to see if they would begin feeding themselves. They didn’t but they will be self-feeding soon!

Bonnie is feeding Tiger and Lily duck and rabbit. 11 April 2021

And it is so sweet. Louis is on the nest at Loch Arkaig early to add a few sticks. He stayed on the perch branch for a long time waiting for Aila to return.

In 2017, Louis was given the nickname ‘Lonesome Louis’ because he paced back and forth on the nest when his mate of ten years did not return. The pair had failed to breed in 2016 and people were hopeful that 2017 would be different. Louis waited for three weeks and then a new female appeared. It was Aila meaning ‘bringer of light’ in Finnish. The pair raised one chick in 2017 and he was called Lachlan meaning from the lakes. Sadly, a Pine Marten raided their nest and ate the eggs in 2018. In 2019, the couple had two chicks fledge – Mallie and Rannoch and in 2020, there was the famous trio – Dottie, Vera, and Captain. Everyone is hoping for a quick return of Aila so that Louis is not ‘lonesome’ again!

Louis looks for Aila. 12 April 2021.

There are two other updates without images. Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey nest has been doing nestorations and feeding herself. Her mate, Louis, who also has another nest with Star at the Baseball park has visited twice – each time mating with Iris. The last time was 18:16 on 11 April when he made a quick visit. Louis brings Iris nothing – and yes, he is a bird but I continue to say how sad this is for the oldest female Osprey in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if she was treated like the royalty she is? And the other is the state of the Achieva Osprey Nest in Dunedin, Florida. Jack the father has not been seen for awhile and everyone is beginning to wonder if he did not die or get severely injured. The thunderstorms have been very severe. Yesterday, there were two fish in the morning and Tiny Tot did get fed from both. He has not eaten now for more than 26 hours. Diane brought a small fish this morning that partially fed 1 and 2 and she has gone out and caught another smaller fish. Right now the two older osplets are eating. There may not be enough for Tiny. She will have to go out again if she is to eat and feed Tiny. There have been rumours about a hawk in the area. So, once again, we are at a tragic point this season on this nest. Just when Tiny Tot was getting full for a couple of days and getting his stamina and health back, then the storms come. Diane cannot protect her osplets and fish at the same time. She has not eaten either and I hope that whatever threats are around the nest are gone and that Diane catches one of her whooper catfish so that everyone can be full.

UPDATE 2PM CDT: Jack has arrived at the nest with a fish at 2:41:31 EDT. Diane was still feeding 1 and 2 on the fish she brought in – her second of the day. Maybe Tiny Tot will get some food. Glad Jack is OK.

Thank you for joining me today – our wintery weather will be here for three days if the predictions are correct. Not a great time for my walks!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ DOC, Farmer Derek, the NEFLorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Woodland Trust and People Post Lottery, Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and the MN DNR.

It’s 3 for Big Red and 4 for Dahlgren

The Guardian ran a story, ‘All my eaglets: pandemic audience spellbound by saga of nesting bald eagles’ in its Wildlife section this morning. While the story focused on the growing number of people watching bird streaming cams during the pandemic, it chose to use the example of two nests. The sadness of Jackie and Shadow at the Big Bear Bald Eagle Nest in the San Bernadino Valley and the joy of Liberty and Guardian and their three chicks at the Redding Bald Eagle nest. Richard Luscombe really caught the moment – the joy celebration, the sadness and loss. Jackie (9 year old female) and Shadow (7 year old male) are two of the most popular Bald Eagles on streaming cams and yet, their story encapsulates great sadness. For two years they have tried to raise a chick. This year in their second clutch there was a hatch. Heartbreak came when that chick died trying to break out of the shell. Jackie and Shadow continue to care for the second egg which watchers know will never hatch. Last year they sat on two eggs for sixty days before giving up. In contrast, Guardian (7 year old male) and Liberty (22 year old female) are raising triplets and Liberty has, in her lifetime, successfully fledged 22 and outlived two mates. Like human families and stories, every bird nest is different.

Over the past year, I have received (or seen) letters, comments, and testimonies about the birds. It is clear that the ‘bird’ families streaming into our living rooms have become ‘intimate’ friends whose daily lives we share – their joys and their challenges. One woman wrote to tell me that she knows ‘her bird family’ better than her own human family! She is not alone. From the infertile eggs to the cheeping of the hatching chick, people have watched the birds and their loneliness and pain have been diminished. Many of you have written to me to tell me how the birds have saved your lives, including several with stage 4 cancer and partners who have died from COVID. Caring for the birds has lessened the impact of the isolation and has given us something to focus on besides ourselves. ‘A distraction from our lives’ a woman from The Netherlands said.

When the pandemic ends, I hope that all of you will continue to watch the lives of your favourite bird families unfold. And I would encourage you to talk to your children and your grandchildren or the neighbour’s children so they will become interested in wildlife. They need all of us to help them have better lives.

Jackie and Shadow continue to incubate an egg that will never hatch. Many wonder if there is not DDT still present in the soil or something causing this lovely and entering couple so many issues trying to have a little one. Clearly the thinness of the eggs that have broken could indicate that. 1 April 2021.
The triplets at the Redding nest being fed. There is plenty of food and all are lined up nicely.

I received a very touching letter from a woman from New Mexico who commented on the tragic events unfolding at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. She was reminded of a news story where a family went into a cafe for a meal -the parents, a young girl, and boy. The parents fed the young girl and themselves. The boy watched the others eat while he was offered nothing. The boy appeared to be bruised as if he had been physically harmed to the wait staff. The waitress wrote on her hand ‘Do you need help?’ to the child who, eventually, shook their head yes. The waitress phoned the authorities and the children were taken into care immediately. The boy had been abused and food had been withheld for a long time. The woman from New Mexico said, ‘Humans do it, too’. As sad and angry as I am at the Ospreys in St Petersburg, for them it is a matter of having at least one healthy fledgling. The biology books stress the survival of the fittest! Someone who has filmed birds said to me and I have reiterated it many times, ‘If they cannot survive on the nest being fed, they cannot survive in the wild – it is brutal out there’. This morning a huge fish came in but the middle Osprey made sure Tiny Tot did not get anything to eat. Tiny was too weak to fight. I had hoped that his suffering would be taken away in the night.

UPDATE: Tiny Tot was fed at 9:27 this morning. His crop was about a third full. The saga continues.

After my tirade on birds laying too many eggs to care for if they all hatched – and hence, having the situation of the St Petersburg nest – Jack and Harriet of the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in Machodoc Creek in King George County, Virginia laid a fourth egg! You might not immediately recognize the osprey nest that I am talking about but if I said to you that Jack is the one that brings in the most toys to the nest, often covering it while Harriet has to keep busy finding space for them, I think you might know the nest that I am talking about. There was a toy shark or dolphin the other day. As it happens, the first egg is either lost in the nest or broke – there are three eggs being incubated despite four being laid. Last year the couple successfully fledged three and all of us join in hoping that happens this year! Unless there is a problem in the river, this couple has their nest in a prime location for fish!

And to add to the jokes that go along with April Fool’s Day, Big Red and Arthur not only woke up to snow this morning but also to their third egg.

Big Red is eighteen years old. She was ringed at Brooktondale New York, about eight miles from Ithaca. She has known this weather all her life and can deal with it. Her and her mate, Arthur, do not migrate but stay in Ithaca all year long. They have a prey rich territory and both work like a well oiled machine. Unless there is some strange surprise, I expect we will see three eyases fledging in June.

All is well over at the Great Horned Owl Nest on the farm in Kansas. Both Tiger, the eldest, and Lily, the youngest, are growing. To the delight of viewers, Bonnie brought in a very large rabbit to the nest in the Cottonwood Tree. Everyone wondered how she managed. Great Horned Owls can actually carry prey three times their weight – an advantage over Bald Eagles who can carry only 66% of their weight. Besides rabbit, the owlets have had a diverse menu. One food item that might not have been expected in such quantities has been snake. Farmer Derek probably had no idea he had so many snakes on his property! Using March 7 as a date for hatching, we should be watching for Tiger to fledge around 42-56 days which would be 18 April to 24 April. Tiger’s extremely soft feathers – they look like mohair to me – mean that he will be a formidable predator being able to fly without being heard. With his short rounded wings he will also be able to make tight corners and quick turns around the trees in the woods.

And down in Orange Australia at the Charles Sturt University, Peregrine Falcon couple, Xavier and Diamond, are in the scrape box having a conversation and bonding. The conversation might be about their cute little Izzi who fledged three times from this box. The first time Izzi was napping on the ledge and fell out. He was returned by the researcher, Cilla Kinross. The second time he did fledge but then flew into a window and was taken into care and returned to the scrape box. The third time he fledged properly. While most of the falcons would have left the scrape box to find their own territory by January, Izzi appears determined to live out the rest of his life chasing Xavier and Diamond and sleeping with Diamond in the scrape box. It is an unfolding soap opera that is delightful.

Izzi is adorable.

I will leave you with that adorable face. Peregrine falcons are the cutest. Thank you for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the birds.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my scaps: Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, Friends of Big Bear Bald Eagles, Friends of Redding Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab, and the Dahlgren Osprey Cam.