WBSE Release

Here is an image of WBSE 27 being released last week. It was determined by the scale lines in her toes that the bird was in fact, 27 not 28. So happy that ID was solved! The day the bird was released was the first day that the parents were not at their River Roost. I hope the three connect! There is a video of the release and it shows 27 as a really strong bird. I hope she thrives in the wild for eons. What a gorgeous bird.

The following was posted on the FB page of the Sea Eagles:

Here is a news report:

https://www.9news.com.au/videos/national/incredible-moment-sea-eagle-returns-to-wild/ckwd1mylj000n0go2tpq6dkcs?fbclid=IwAR1LEfr-N1vKUIgUAawVmy477RlTUb7sTU0yFDQwedhjs2gAW9t_FQQJva0

The Kakapo Recovery are doing their annual fundraiser. As many of you know, we started out the pandemic with 208 Kakapo in existence. There are now 202. Dedicated individuals do wellness check ups which mean they have to find these elusive non-flying parrots. The only way to do that is with a transmitter. The transmitters and batteries require check ups and replacements (batteries) on a regular basis. Medical treatment, etc. If urgent and life threatening, the bird is flown to Dunedin, NZ for veterinary care.

Many are considering doing one special gift on behalf of their family to help wildlife and the planet (as opposed to fast fashion that winds up stacked in the deserts of Africa). The Kakapo Recovery is hoping you might choose them.

Last year we adopted Rangi! He happily lives in the living room plants when he is not cuddling up with Pippa the Albatross or Big Red the Red-tailed Hawk!

It is something everyone needs to think about even if it is $5 to a streaming cam that you love. It can make all the difference. You can also adopt other types of birds. Last year there was a huge rush to help Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Bywyd Gwyllt. You might recall that two horrific events came together in the perfect storm at Glaslyn. A heavy rain storm with cold temperatures hit the area when the chicks hatched and Aran got in a territorial fight and injured his wing and he could not fish. The community came together and provided a fish table for the family. Sadly the chicks did not survive but Mrs G and Aran did and Aran got his strength and migrated on time. To help that cause many went to the website and adopted Aran and his family.

You will have your own list as well. Other ways that you can help is to check with your local wildlife rehabilitation clinic. They often post a list of items that they need. You would be surprised but clean old towels are usually at the top of the list! So next time you are looking at a pile of towels and old sheets, think of your local clinic for wildlife! It doesn’t cost anything but getting the items there and often the clinics have volunteers that pick up for them.

Books for children and teens on how to help wildlife thrive are, of course, invaluable in building the next generation to care for our beloved birds.

Holly Parsons posted an update on Yurruga on the FB page for the Orange Australian Peregrine Falcon:

“Post from Cilla approx. 5pm 24 November:I haven’t seen Yurruga since I placed him in the tree, but I’m pretty sure he is still there as the parents have been coming and going with prey and giving me warning calls if I approach too close. I only check once a day and the foliage is really thick so hard to find him if he’s quiet.”

That is great news coming out of Orange! That is the kind of news I wish were coming out of Sydney with WBSE 27 – that the parents have been feeding it. Fingers crossed.

This is a short update. It is extremely quiet in Bird World now that the falcons and ospreys and WBSE in Australia have fledged. Eggs are happening in the Bald Eagles nests in the US and there will be lots of action around the holidays in December.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my information: Orange Australian Peregrines FB, Kakapo Recovery FB, and Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Kakapo and more

Everyone is talking about the Kakapo today because two of the 208 died. These events are always full of sadness.

Have you heard of Kakapo?

They live in New Zealand and they are parrots that cannot fly. Wings are only for balance and support. Some people think they look like an owl. In fact, they are nocturnal and only move around at night. Their plumage is a beautiful moss green with some yellow and black. Their feathers are very soft because they do not need them for flight. Their bill, legs, and feet are grey. Using those grey feet they run all over the ground and climb trees. They blend in perfectly to the forests of the small islands where they now live. These islands are designated nature reserves and only authorized personnel can go on them.

Before humans arrived on the shores of new Zealand, the forests were full of these amazing creatures. Many of the early settlers kept them as pets saying that they were as friendly as dogs. They are still friendly towards humans today. In the 1990s, only fifty existed. The predators of the adults were cats and stoats while rats were known to eat the eggs and the chicks. The New Zealand Department of Conservation undertook an amazing intervention in order to try and save the Kakapo. They literally gathered up the fifty that were alive and moved them to islands where there were no predators. In June there were 210. Sadly, today there are now 206. Every Kakapo has a radio transmitter whose battery needs to be changed at least once a year. They are carefully monitored and health checks are undertaken on a regular basis. Birds may receive supplemental feeds and eggs and chicks can be rescued and raised by hand. Because there are so few, the genetic diversity is extremely low and there is also a very low fertility rate. The Kakapo are managed on three islands and there is now managed mating using artificial insemination to help manage genetic loss. They are currently sequencing the genomes of all living kakapo to aid in their conservation. The females start breeding around five years but the males are not able to fertilize the eggs until they are about ten years old. They are said to only breed when the fruit of the Rimu trees bloom which is every 2-4 years. The males get off pretty easy. The females have to incubate the 1-4 eggs, feed themselves and their chicks, and also protect their nest and young. That is the reason that so many fell victim to cats and stoats in the past. They are strict vegetarians. Kakapo generally live to be ninety years old if they do not come to harm by predators or viruses.

They are so very cute. They love to hide from the Rangers when they come to change their transmitters but they also love their almond treats after!

If you would like to learn more about the Kakapo, this is a seven minute video that is quite good:

And if you are a teacher or you know someone who is and who might like to show their students this amazing non-flying parrot – that is so utterly sweet – head over to this site sponsored by the NZ Government:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-education/resources/kakapo-recovery/

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It’s time for updates:

That Great Horned Owl on the Bald Eagle nest near Kansas City is still there. The Bald Eagles have not evicted her. Poor thing. That snow is really packed around her. The flakes stopped coming down and while it has warmed up, it is still a frigid -4 F. Our owl (I was tempted to say little but they really are not little) is trying to sleep and keep those eggs warm. Her mate, Clyde (gosh that was my dad’s name- who would name their little son Clyde???????) is very good at bringing her prey during the night. Last mouse deposit was right before dawn broke this morning.

Bonnie took a break – less than two minutes off those eggs. Gosh she was fast! That got me to wondering how quickly that -5 temperature would impact those eggs.

It doesn’t look like any of the snow fell in over the eggs. I wondered if the warmth of Bonnie’s body would have made a bit of a crust??? Just a silly thought but, maybe.

The Bald Eagle sitting on the nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey at Duke Farms is getting some relief. The snow has stopped falling and is actually melting there. We can finally see the nest. Let’s hope she catches a break and doesn’t get hit by the system moving through on Wednesday. This poor mother has had snow for twice as long as anyone else with eggs underneath them. She should get some kind of endurance prize!

And there is some really good news on the nest of Gaby and Samson over at NEFL. Little E24 was having problems with its right eye. This morning it was completely closed again but later in the day it opened up. I could not see any discharge. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it just got a poke from some of that nest material. And give a hand to Samson who brought in five big fish. I wonder if he is expecting bad weather to set in?

Oh, just look. There is the little one’s tiny little foot close by its mom. How precious.

Samson can be my weatherman any day. He brought in such a big pile of fish earlier. Now you can hardly make out his silhouette as the rain pelts down at the nest near St. Augustine, Florida. There are also thunderstorms in the area but no tornadoes. Smart dad. That little one will be under its mother staying dry while she continues to incubate an egg that will never hatch.

It has been a beautiful day out at Big Bear. That snow and chilly winds are gone! How nice for Jackie and Shadow.

I am also very happy to report that there was so much food on the SWFL Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 that the bopping of 17 towards 18 was next to nothing today. In fact, I hope they are growing out of that behaviour. There is lots and lots of food. Indeed, hold on. Harriet even brought in some road kill today in the form of a grey tabby cat. So again, if you ever find yourself near someone who is saying eagles only eat fish, well they sure don’t on Harriet and M15’s nest. They are great opportunistic eagles. At the same time it is extremely worrying when the hawks, falcons and eagles land on the streets and highways to get the carrion and get hit themselves. It is also, of course, tragic when someone’s pet gets hit by a car.

And last, let’s check up on Solly to see what she is up to. To date Solly has re-written a lot of aspects of Osprey behaviour in Australia. That is fabulous news and supports putting satellite transmitters on birds for additional research and learning. Of course, the streaming cameras that I watch, like you, are invaluable as are the BOGs (Birders on the Ground).

Solly is 149 days old and she is still enjoying Eba Anchorage and flying over to Kiffin Island to find her dinner. Look at that seabird go!

And speaking of Ospreys, one of the Scottish Kieldner Ospreys Blue Y6, White EB’s youngest daughter, that hatched in 2016 was seen at Tanji Marsh Bird Reserve in The Gambia by bird guide, Fansu Bojang. This is just excellent news. You might recall that Avian Flu went through the Pelican population in Senegal and there was some worry for the UK Ospreys. This is just wonderful news! Last year was Blue Y6’s first year to raise chicks. She had two with her mate at a nest in Perthshire. Let’s hope she does it again this year.

There is lots of good news all around in the bird world. Even the Kakapo Recovery said that they are grateful for the growth in the numbers and with that also comes higher numbers of those dying.

The Ospreys will be making their way back to their nests across the UK and Europe soon. We wish them all safe travels. The hawks and falcons will be finding twigs for their nests and in a few weeks we will begin to welcome another group of baby eagles.

I am keeping a particularly close eye on that nest of Big Red and Arthur.

Stay safe and stay warm! Thank you for joining me today. See you tomorrow!

Thank you to the Kakapo Recovery, the AEF for the streaming cams at Big Bear and NEFL, the SWFL streaming cam and the D. Pritchett family, Derek the Farmer’s streaming cam, Port Lincoln Osprey for the tracking information on Solly, Duke Farms streaming cam, and Kielder Ospreys.