The past couple of days have been full of sadness. Where did it begin? with WBSE 27? with Grinnell being injured by an interloper? with the death of Collins Street’s Littlest Bob from Trichomoniasis? Will this string of the unthinkable come to an end with the electrocution of Solly, such a successful and promising female Eastern Osprey? I sure hope so. Everyone needs to do some self-care —— because you care.
There is some very good news and I had to share it with you. We have been following the migration of the Black Stork family of Karl II. Their nest is located in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The female, Kaia, migrated early so we have watched the satellite transmissions forKarl II, Udu (male), and Pikne (female); the other male, Tuul, died. We know that Karl II has made it to his wintering sites in the Sudan. Udu took a different route that had him stopping in Crete and then having to fly across the Mediterranean. That is no small feat. Everyone worried but his tracker showed he was in the White or Western Desert in Egypt – an area that uses salt water for its irrigation as water is very scarce. At the same time, Pikne was along the Red Sea. Then all transmissions stopped. Many hoped that the issue was related to bad satellite connections but, under the surface, many worried that something had happened to Udu and Pikne. Cautious optimism.
The tracker of Little Udu came on and to the shock and dismay of all, he had made it across the desert – a distance of 2000 km. Tears flowed.
Oh, Udu is one strong Black Stork. First the longer routing and then having to fly across the Mediterranean when all others go overland. Udu could not stop, he had to just keep going. Then landing in such a desolate area – exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. Add to that he had to cross the Sahara. My, oh, my. This is just fantastic. For just fledging, Udu is an extremely strong flier.
This graph shows Udu’s stops before reaching what could well be his final destination in the Darfur area of Sudan at Wadi Salih.
The red indicator point is where Udu is. You will notice that he has found an area with trees and a body of water.
So what is a ‘wadi’? My simple definition is a valley or a ravine with steep slopes where water gathers in the rainy season. A more scientific explanation is, “Wadis are natural surface channels draining seasonal run off to a larger Wadi, a river or endoric basins. Wadis are typical drainage channels in arid and semi-arid areas.” This area of Sudan, like much of Africa, is suffering from a water shortage.
Many agencies including UNESCO are working with the people of the region to increase the sustainability of the wadis with the goal of having water security.
There have been no new transmissions for Udu. Nothing from Karl II and Pikne as well. It could well be spring before their transmitters begin working. Udu’s last transmission indicated that he has 78% battery capacity remaining. Fantastic. I think Pikne’s was only showing 21% on her last transmission. Each of us knows about problematic batteries! and areas where there is no cellular service. I am not worried now that Udu has reached what is hoped to be a good spot to spend winter.
This really is a cause for celebration. Black Storks are so rare in Estonia and this year had much sadness in both Latvia and Estonia. Little Udu gives us that ray of hope that we all need today. Congratulations to everyone in Estonia.
Thank you for joining me. I am so delighted to have some great news. Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the Eagle Club of Estonia’s Forum where they are tracking Karl II and his family and also for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.
There was quite a bit of worry a couple of days ago when there had beern no transmissions received from Karl II, Udu, or Pikne.
Sometimes we just have to trust and hope that the birds are alright. One of the best ways to keep the GPS trackers very light weight is to power them by the sun. Even in the Mediterranean, the sun does not always shine and the batteries can run very low and need a charge OR the birds can be outside of an areas with signals OR both. Today, we are going to celebrate! Just look at the tracking below for Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Storks from the Karula Forest in Estonia. Tears.
Ladies first today. Pikne is in the Eastern Desert of either Ethiopia or Eritrea and is currently out of signalling range. She has moved and is making great time!
The Eastern Desert is simply the area of the Sahara Desert on the east side of the Nile River. It is sometimes called the Red Sea Hills. There are mountains as well as the coastal waters along the Nile. The area is known for its beautiful clear waters and excellent scuba diving.
Udu successfully crossed the Mediterranean and is now in the Western Desert of Egypt. So, Udu is west of the Nile River. That is incredible news. It is extremely challenging for the birds to cross the Mediterranean Sea and this fledgling did it on his first trip. What a strong bird Udu is!
Dad may have stayed around the Baltic Sea for awhile but he has really moved and look – he is at the Merave Reservoir in Sudan along the Nile River. He is alive!
The whole family is safe. What an incredible relief for everyone.
People in New Zealand and all the followers of Tiaki, the Royal Albatross Cam Princess for 2021, can also celebrate. She has reached the waters off the coast of Chile.
Another tracker that has been on the ‘fritz’ is Solly, the 2020 female fledgling from the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. People were also getting worried, just like they did for Karl II and his two children. But all is well with Solly, too. She is still staying at her favourite tree at Eba Anchorage.
In a week or so, one or all of the three Bobs at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge will be fitted with a tracker like Solly. It is going to be so interesting to follow their travels and to see where those wings take them to fish and live.
Here is a great article on the use and benefits of satellite telemetry to study birds and their migration. It was written in 2012 but everything still applies today.
It is raining on the Canadian Prairies just like it has been in Melbourne and Port Lincoln. Even so, the birds were fed and all are well. The falcons at Melbourne learned about thunder and lightning! It is hard to imagine but we will be on fledge watch in two weeks for those four running up and down the gutter – and the week after that we will be expecting Yurruga to fledge. My, my. Time passes so quickly.
Thank you for joining me today. For those of you who did get to see Season of the Osprey, drop me a line and tell me what you think. Take care all. Stay warm and dry and safe.
Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page for the figure showing where Solly is, for the NZ DOC and Wildlife Computers for the tracking of Tiaki, and to the Eagle Club of Estonia for its Forum page and its streaming cam where I took screen grabs of the family and the map showing where Karl and his family are currently located.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All you have to do is watch a songbird catching insects for her wee nestlings, coming and going all day, to clearly see the great effort this is on behalf of the adult. As the nestlings grow ever larger, those same parents have tremendous pressure to increase the amount of food and the number of deliveries. Just finding food has been a serious challenge for all the birds this year whether they are in Montana, Florida, or Latvia. The tremendous heat waves, droughts, and urban development have impacted hunting areas as well as the quantity of fish or prey available.
I recorded an evening food delivery to Grafs and Grafiene’s storklings in Latvia. This is about a minute long. I could have recorded them for much longer but I can only upload so many MBs. It is absolutely fascinating. The parent arrives, regurgitates the fish, and quickly gets out of the way! Those three are so excited– and hungry!
There have been some concerns over the availability of food. Latvia has experienced, like other countries, excessive summer heat. ‘S’ tells me that they have also been experiencing land amelioration that has caused drainage issues in the surrounding area. If you have ever watched Ferris Akel’s Live Tours of birding areas in upstate New York, you will be aware of how the drainage of land impacts the birds. One day the water and food are there and two or three days later – gone! Poof. The summer heat has exacerbated these issues. Still, this trio of Black Stork nestlings seem to be developing quite well.
If you missed it, Karl II and Kaia’s nestlings were ringed on 9 July at the nest in the Karula National Park in southern Estonia. They also had Kotkaklubi transmitters put on their legs so the researchers can follow them as they migrate. They are Pikne 716P, Tuul 716 T and Udu is 716U. Tuul is the youngest and is seen here in this short video clip flapping and jumping. That nest seems so small!
All that flapping was leading up to something — Udu 716U fledged at 6:19 and then another fledged 716T, Tuul. This leaves Pikne, 716 P to fly. The fledgling Udu has flown and returned to the nest and flown again. It is so wonderful to see them in the early morning enjoying the little bit of wind under their wings. Always exciting and bittersweet.
I promised you an update on Big Red, Arthur, and the Ks. Everyone is doing well. K1 and K3 are very strong fliers and have really extended their range within the territory of their parents on the Cornell University campus. K1 is a very successful hunter. It is unclear to me whether or not K3 has caught his own food yet but, if he hasn’t, he will soon. Big Red and Arthur seem to take turns watching the fledglings progress from a distance.
Here is K3 on top of Roberts Hall.
K1 has been hunting. Wonder what she has in those talons?
A small bird.
K1 finished her snack and is ready to find some more prey!
I love this image. You can clearly see the ‘eyebrows’ that keep the glare out of the hawk’s eyes. Then there is that amazing red streaked belly band – enough to rival that of her mother, Big Red. K1 is such a gorgeous hawk. In this image she is completely focused on the task at hand – finding another prey item.
There is proud papa, Arthur, watching his kids closely but not interffering with their learning.
K1 seemed to be all over the campus hunting. I am not so familiar with the buildings but doesn’t she look gorgeous on this one with the red clay roof tiles? Just a beauty.
The Ks are doing well. We are moving into August. They should be hunting in the fields by highway 366 shortly, if they are not already. The days will pass quickly. The pair will begin soaring and then it won’t be long til Big Red and Arthur will be empty nesters.
Thank you so much for joining me. I hope to get some images of our local water fowl to share with you tomorrow. Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots and video clips: The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thanks go to Suzanne Arnold Horning again for sharing her great images of the Red tail haws with us.
The sun is bright but not too hot, the Hibiscus continues to bloom, and Tiny Little is on the Foulshaw Moss nest eating a large fish. That is a great beginning to the day.
This is actually ‘the tea time’ fish for our favourite little fledgling on the Foulshaw Moss nest. It is about 16:00 in Cumbria.
Tiny Little is so smart. She doesn’t waste her time and energy fighting with the mouth and eyes of the fish, she rips a part of the belly open and begins to eat the side and the bottom of the fish. She is ever mindful that there are also two hungry siblings lurking about.
Tiny Little ate off that fish for more than an hour. She got a lot of really nice fish Great work, Tiny Little!
After what appears to be an hour and a half, big sibling 464 arrives. I missed the hand off. Was Tiny Little finished or did 464 come in and take the fish? We will never know. 464 has been fighting with the front of that fish for over an hour now. Sibling 462 is waiting their turn! Tiny Little has flown off.
In the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park, Lady has been busy feeding 27 and 28. Oh, they are so cute! I love this stage. Lady is so gentle feeding them with her big beak. They look like two little snow people with arms.
The Only Bob or Bobette in the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest in Wisconsin has had a couple of feedings this morning and perhaps more by now; it is now 13:33 on that nest. The fish that are being brought to the nest by both parents are quite small. I wonder if all the fish are that small? or are the bigger fish lurking around in deeper water?
The chick is being watched for feather development. It is hoped that the ‘blood’ feathers will grow fully and, at the time of fledging, the chick will have a full set of juvenile plumage.
In the image below, you might want to look at what some people call the quills on the left wing. As the feathers grow, those quills break open and eventually fall off. This is what we are watching.
Yesterday I reported that Bonifac, one of the male storklings cared for by the people of Mlade Buky had been electrocuted just like its mother. The other male, Servac had not been to the nest but was seen flying with other storks. Pantrac has been to the nest to be fed. There were no storks on the nest so far today. This is not unusual! The storks are beginning to gather for their migration to Africa. Yesterday might well have been the last day for them in Mlade Buky.
Before the age of Immarsat M and GPS, the only way to study the migration of the storks was if they were ringed. In 1933, a short entry in Nature Magazine (30 September, p 509) says that ‘Storks nesting east of the River Elbe have been found to use the Asia Minor route when migrating, and those nesting west of the Elbe are stated to take the route through Spain.’ Today those similar routes are simply called the Easter and the Western. The western is through Spain and the Straits of Gibraltar while the eastern has the birds flying through Egypt following the Nile. With Satellite tracking, the birds are now known to winter in Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Senegal, Nigeria and the Niger River Basin.
The observations of the success of the migration and the concerns in 1933 are similar to those in 2021. It is a two month journey for the Danish storks – anything can happen between the time the storks leave and arrive. Even with laws protecting migrating birds, these lovely creatures have been known to have been shot down in France, Malta, and in parts of Egypt. There are many other things that impact this hazardous journey – changing climates, lack of food and water can all contribute to the loss of the birds.
Because we are talking about European laws, it is essential that the countries that make up the European Union – and many who do not- work together to ensure that the killing of migrating birds in European states is halted. There also need to be uniform protections in the territories where the birds migrate. As the world changes, following the SARS Covid-19 pandemic, countries in African that have been devastated by wars, famine, droughts, and epidemics need to understand that ‘birding’ can be an economic success story. People will begin to travel. Bird Tourism can bring vital monies into these struggling economies.
There is, however, another very troubling trend. As the climates change some of the storks are not migrating. Traditionally, they travelled to Africa where food supplies were plentiful during the winter when they were not in Europe. One troubling occurrence is that many of the European storks who take the western route are now stopping and living in garbage dumps in Spain and Portugal during the winter. There are groups that are not happy with the storks being there year round. One of them is called ‘Stop Storks’. A discussion of the issues is in an article, “European Storks become Couch Potatoes and Junk Food Junkies” in Environment.
Speaking of storks, one of the nests that I have, embarrassingly not mentioned for some time, is that of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia. The camera was broken during a severe storm on 25 June and was not operational again until 15 July. Oh, those wee babies sure have grown. Their parents are Karl II and Kaia.
The trio was ringed on 9 July. You can see the bands. Those bands contain Kotkaklibi transmitters. To my knowledge this is the first instance this type of satellite tracker has been used on the Black Storks. The band numbers are as follows 716U for the oldest chick, 716P for the middle, and 716T for the youngest. Names are pending.
In the image below you can see both the banding ring and the transmitters on the legs a little better. Hopefully reports will come back on a regular basis so that we can follow these three as they undertake their first migration.
Here is the link to the streaming cam of the Black Storks in the Karula National Park in Estonia:
Thank you so much for joining me today. Please go and see those lovely Black Storks. We are now at 1 August and they will not be with us for much longer. I hope everyone is well. Take care. Enjoy.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Osprey Cam, the Mlade Buky White Stork Cam, and the the Eagle Club of Estonia.
Please Note. I have very strong opinions and will always advocate hard for ways in which to protect birds. My son sent me an article with some videos on a troubling conspiracy theory in the United States. It is the ‘Birds are Not Real’ group. They believe that birds are equipped with transmitters and are actually drones that are for surveillance. Those beliefs would cause the killing of innocents. If you know of someone who believes this, please have a gentle conversation with them. If you want to check out their beliefs and what is happening, please Google: Birds are Not Real.
There is good news. K3 is alright. The little one was blown off the Red tail hawk nest on the Cornell Campus today. K3 is the third hatch of the 2021 season. Suzanne Arnold Horning who takes beautiful images of the hawks has located both K3 and K1 and says that Big Red and Arthur are fully aware of where their kids are. This is wonderful news. That little K3 is going to give us all quite a few worries it seems! So glad he is OK.
It has been a very sad week in Bird World. The death of Alma and one chick in the Finnish Osprey Nest today is a tragedy. My friend T thinks that the Raven, had it been able to get to the fish tail under the chicks, might have taken that food and left everything alone. But that was sadly not to be the case. The surviving chicks are now in the care of a foster mother. Then there was the death of the chick on the Cowlitz Nest and the announcement that K2 had to be euthanized due to a severe beak injury. The week ended badly.
There are still, however, many things to celebrate in Bird World so let us hop through the nests and see what has been happening.
Little Tiny Bob and Middle Bob were eating a good sized fish on the Foulshaw Moss Nest this evening. Great Big Bob was over wingersizing. It is always nice when she is preoccupied so the other two can eat in peace. Look closely. Little Tiny Bob looks like an osprey! There he is with his juvenile feathers on the right. Mom is busy giving them both bites. These two are not competitive and get a long really well. That is so nice.
Mom and Dad have been on the barge in Port Lincoln, Australia and things will be ramping up there soon. In the image below, Mom is still on the nest and you can see Dad’s ‘man cave’ lower down. This nest is known for siblicide. When things begin to happen, I will post a link so you can watch if you like.
During the 2021 season, the third hatch, little Tapps, was so so tiny compared to the other two and there was clearly not enough food for Mom and three babies. Tapps died when he was 18 days old. It was hard to watch. Solly, the eldest and a female, received a satellite tracker. Dew was the middle chick. We have been able to follow Solly and she is changing the understanding of how far Ospreys go when they leave the nest. Dew was ringed but has no tracker. To my knowledge there have been no sightings of Dew.
Solly is 278 days old today. Let us see where she is staying.
Solly really does love that area around Eba Anchorage. Maybe this will be her forever home. She has shown no interest in returning to Port Lincoln.
Tiny Tot had two nice fish meals today compliments of dad, Jack. The first came at 11:26 and the second was at 4:56. Spaced out nicely!
This image shows the last fish delivery. It is quite a big fish and if you look carefully you will notice that Tiny Tot still has a crop from the morning’s meal. Nice.
There was a big storm near the nest of the Black Storks in Estonia today. The trees were swaying in the forest but oddly, the nest wasn’t. It was an odd sensation. The rain was just beginning to come down when I took these images.
Look how much the storklets have grown. Their beautiful juvenile plumage is starting to show through.
The Black Storks are fine. There continue to be three and that is such good news. Karl II and Kaia are very good parents!
The White Storks at the Mlade Burky nest in Czechoslovakia are really growing, too. The community really worked together to make certain that this family thrived. Just look at these beautiful storklets today.
I am, however, just hoping that it is the angle of the camera and the light outside that is causing the stork’s left leg to appear grey or black – the one at the back on the right. Could that band be too tight? Otherwise they seem impressibly healthy. Hats off to everyone in the community for their kindness!
The remaining chick on the Cowlitz nest had some fish today and has a bit of a crop. Whether there was enough for the chick and Electra is unknown. I did not watch this nest that closely today. I was happy, however, to see the baby ate. So small and so undernourished. It is supposed to be extremely hot on this nest on Saturday – it is the heat wave that is hitting that part of the Pacific Northwest. This chick is going to need lots more fish! Electra, please forget about Wattsworth. Go and get the fish yourself – unhook 65 million years of hardwiring that tells you to stay on the nest and feed the babies the fish Wattsworth brings. Just go. You can fish.
Idris brought in a late day fish for Dysnni and Ystwyth on the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. When he arrived Telyn was not on the nest. Ystwyth was hungry. So what does any good dad do? He feeds his chicks! And that is precisely what Idris did – great guy.
By the time Ystwyth was finished, Dysnni decided he would like some fish, too! Way to go Idris!
And someone at the Falcon Cam Project on the UC Berkeley Campus, put together a compilation video of the Fifth Season of Annie and Grinnell and their chicks – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek.
Gosh, by the time the chicks fledge you have forgotten what it was like at the beginning when Annie and Grinnell were just thinking about chicks. So this video is a bit of fun! Not sure about the choice of music but you can mute the sound if you like. Enjoy.
The Muscovy Duck has returned to her eggs and seems to continue building up the nest higher and higher using the bark mulch. Glad to see the bamboo fence to protect her did not frighten her away.
Thank you for joining me today. So glad to hear that K3 is safe – and K1. We can all rest a little easier tonight.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Parkland Florida Duck Cam, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dyni Osprey Nest, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Mlade Buky, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Achieva Credit Union, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln FB Page for posting the images of Solly’s satellite tracking.
Today in the Northern Hemisphere we are celebrating the Summer Solstice. In the Southern, it is the Winter Solstice. My friends in Australia are finishing up their gardens, eating the last of the tomatoes and clearing up the vines, enjoying the first of the cabbages. It is even time for them to light the small fires that keep them warm. For the rest of is it is the beginning of summer officially. A time for school to be over in Canada and people to start thinking what they will be doing to enjoy themselves for the second summer of the pandemic, living under various restrictions.
There has been a lot of action in Bird World this past week – some good and some tragic. We lost the two seemingly healthy Ospreys chicks at the Urbaidai Biosphere Nest. The staff believe the cause was hypothermia. There had been lots of rain and the nest was wet. It is so sad because those chicks were quite large and doing so well. Now at the Golden Eagle Nest in Bucovina, Romania, the beautiful little Golden Eaglet has not had a good meal since the 16th of the month. Today it was so hungry that it had to eat one of the leg bones from the deer brought on the nest. The father had been helping with prey – hunting and then doing an exchange with mom. I wonder if something has happened to him. The female brought in only a small bird since the 16th. It is so frightening because this nest is beginning to feel like a repeat of the absolute horror at Spilve’s nest in Latvia last year. Spilve’s mate died and then her beautiful Klints, almost ready to fledge, starved to death. Spilve could not get enough large prey for Klints to survive. That said there is a difference. A human frightened the male provider while putting up a camera. Spilve’s mate was injured or died. Think about it. This is the reason that no one should go near an active nest once the birds are there. The question is this: does the individual who put up the camera have a ethical obligation to provide prey for the Golden Eaglet?
The eaglet had a crop but I believe it is only from the eating of the bones. I want to be wrong. My friend T sent this picture to me and we both hope he had some real food.
Just now the mother has brought in a very small bird for the eaglet. It is 17:28 nest time in Romania. Eaglet had seen her and started food calling. Oh, I hope that nothing has happened to the father so that larger prey can come on to this nest!
There has been a lot of sadness at various of the nests this year. K2, the middle hatch of Big Red and Arthur, is having some issues. No one knows specifically what the matter is. The beak appears to be layered with dried food that did not get cleaned off. The eye issues could be compounded by the chick’s scratching. It was a good day for a fledge for K1 and K3 but that did not happen. Big Red fed all three chicks on the nest tonight – including K2 who ate well. Big Red knew that heavy rain was coming and she kept those babies on the nest. Oh, she is such a wonderfully experienced mom!
K3 is the one facing towards the street standing in front of the light box. If you look carefully you can see the accumulation of dried prey on the beak. I am hoping that is all that is the matter with her beak and that antibiotics, fluids, and TLC will have her fit to release. I say her. I actually believe K2 is a he. If K2 goes into care they will surely do a DNA test and we will find out – boy or girl.
Around 9:26 this morning Arthur brought in prey for Big Red and the Ks. These parents are being very attentive to their three hawlets as the time comes closer for them to fledge. Already this morning K3 has taken the spot on the fledge ledge. It will be 80 degrees and sunny. A nice day to fly for the first time!
There were three fish deliveries that I am aware of on the Cowlitz Nest today in Longview, Washington. That is wonderful. There continues to be food insecurity and competition on the nest. The smallest chick is very feisty, just like K3, and does take advantage of that when feeding time arrives. I do not know how soon this will stop but I do hope that Wattsworth will bring more fish to the nest so that these two can begin to grow and thrive. Chick 1 hatched on May 27th making it 23 days old and chick 2 hatched on May 29th making it 21 days old today. They are physically behind in their development but that might not be a bad thing unless they are not ready for migration when August or September arrive. It would be like having a child who is either small for their age that they are at the bottom of the chart or, likewise, one that is really big for their age. I was happy to see crops on both the chicks today and also to see a pair of fat little bottoms. Hopefully they will be fine but they need consistent fish brought to the nest for that to happen! Wattsworth!!!!!!!
You can just see the coppery colour starting on their heads. They still have the white stripes on their back and their dark charcoal down as infants. It looks like their spider legs are beginning to fill out a bit but the little bottoms today – at least – are plump and round. These kiddos have been a bit of a worry because there is no rhythm to this nest. All you have to do is look at the nest where the chicks are thriving and see the dad bring in a fish first thing in the morning – it is there just as dawn is breaking – and at tea time or before bed. And, of course, in between. Wattsworth is not regular. It makes for so much insecurity – and hunger – which leads to rivalry.
There they are those sweet little kiddos with their little tails coming in. Oh, you keep every morsel of positive energy you have going the way of these two. They cannot help who their father is – I just hope that for them Wattsworth will continue to provide more and more fish. They can get over it. Just look at Tiny Tot! But they are going to need lots of fish as they should be entering their biggest growth period.
Jack brought in two fish to Tiny Tot at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest. The first of the day was actually the tea time fish at 4:52:33 and the last was at around 7:50. Tiny gets so excited when he sees fish coming in – he food calls and starts mantling – always backing up on the nest so that dad has a place to land.
It was a really quick hand off. Tiny is great – can you tell in the image below that he has a fish in those talons? I couldn’t for the longest time.
In the Karula National Forest in Estonia, the Black Storklings are thriving. Karl II and Kaia have done a wonderful job parenting the three of them. This is the nest where Karl’s former partner typically laid 5 or 7 eggs and then would toss the smaller chicks off the nest. I am hoping that Kaia only lays three eggs every year so that all can survive – providing there is enough food. Food insecurity triggers the elimination of the smaller chicks.
So much on these nests – every nest no matter the species – depends on a regular supply of prey. Any nest can change in an instant if something happens to the amount of prey or the weather turns cold and damp.
Aren’t they adorable?
I do not know if the community is still feeding the storklings in Mlade Buky. You will recall that their mother was electrocuted and Father Stork was going to have difficulty protecting the little ones and getting food for them. The community chipped in little fish and various other small mammals for both Father Stork and the storklings, feeding them three times a day. Those generous caring people made it possible for these three to grow strong and fledge. When I check now, it is Father Stork who is feeding them.
Here is father stork feeding them just after 10pm last night in Czechoslovakia.
And today you can see how big those storklings have grown.
It is morning in Scotland. There is a beautiful golden glow falling on NC0 and the Two Bobs. Look how big they are? At one time I worried so much for the Little Bob and NC0’s feeding ability but she has proved herself to be an excellent mother.
There is a bit of mist as the sun breaks in Wales at the Dyfi Nest of Telyn and Idris.
Let us all hope that the golden glow that falls so beautifully on NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes will bless all of the nests this week so that everyone is well.
Thank you for joining me. You stay well, too!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Mlade Buky, Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Bucovina Golden Eagle Cam.
Thanks to one of the chatters on the Achieva Osprey Nest, I found out that the two chicks and Electra did have one fish delivery today. Thank you Burky! I had missed it and was feeling pretty horrible for those little ones because the rain is just pouring down at Cowlitz.
It wasn’t a big fish. In fact, it could have been the leftovers from yesterday’s big fish. I don’t care. It was fish for this hungry family. What really bugs me is if you look at the water. Monty got to be famous because he was an amazing male osprey taking care of his responsibilities. He even went out in Storm Hector to fish! And Louis at Loch Arkaig fished at night for his three chicks and Aila. What is wrong with Wattsworth?
Those sweet little babies were cold and hungry. Electra eats off some of the old skin and begins to feed them. Today, their little buttoms look fatter because of all that fish they had yesterday.
I have to continue to remind myself that the chicks had big feedings yesterday after more than 24 hours without food (it was nearer to 36 hours). They have had one feeding today. Yes, they are hungry but they will survive unless they get cold and the rain hangs on. Tiny Tot went days on a hot nest without food. Tiny Tot has thrived but that was first due to Diane going fishing and making sure he was fed. Something happened on that nest that changed Diane’s attitude towards Tiny. Was it his second instance of charging at the older siblings? or was it his persistence at trying to find ways to eat? Tiny is a survivor.
This nest at Cowlitz needs food and it needs more twigs – a lot more along the sides so these babies don’t fall off. Was really proud of Electra yesterday when she kept eating and feeding the babies and holding on to that fish. She seems to know Wattsworth well but, still she has to depend on him to get them fish. She cannot leave her babies and let them get soaked. Their feathers will not keep them warm and dry yet.
Speaking of Tiny Tot. That kid hit the fish jackpot today. Jack has brought in three fish – THREE -. The first one was at 7:40:36 and the last one was 5:16:48. I can’t imagine what lit a fire under Jack but Tiny Tot is really enjoying all that food.
Here is Jack delivering that last fish. Tiny has earned it. The adult intruder was about today and Tiny got them off and away from the nest.
If you look closely you can see the big crop that Tiny already has. Wow. Three fish in a day. It has been a long time since Tiny had that much food.
Tiny wasted no time eating that fish. He is really aware that there are other Ospreys around and he doesn’t want to have it taken away. Oh, Tiny, you are going to sleep so well. I hope the two Cowlitz kids grow up as strong and remarkable as you.
I was not going to go and check on the Golden Eagles in Romania. The fact that a camera was installed on an active nest and that event frightened the father away does not sit well with me. That left a single mother and a chick. Still, I would love to see some success on this nest so once in awhile I check in. That mother is really a huntress. There is another fawn on the nest for the chick!
Just look at the crop on that little eaglet. Now that is what I wish for the Cowlitz Kids – so full of food every day they are about to pop. This eaglet is so lucky that predators haven’t been around while the mother is hunting.
Father Stork at the Black Stork nest in Southern Estonia seems to love to aerate the nest. Every time I check in he is doing some kind of nest maintenance. What a guy you are Karl II.
Things are stepping up at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Dad and Lady have been doing nestorations for more than a month it seems. It looks like they are finalizing those. Dad is bringing fish to Lady and mating has happened. Now everyone is just sitting back and waiting for that first egg from this beautiful pair of WBSE.
Thinking about the Sea Eagles and that precious 26 from last year made me also begin to think about two other nests in Australia that will be ramping up for breeding season, too.
Solly from the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, hatched in 2021, has given Osprey researchers a lot to think about with her satellite tracker. She is 267 days old today. On 11 June, she flew north from Eba Anchorage to Laura Bay. It must have been a reconnaissance flight as she returned to Eba that evening.
Meanwhile Mom is eating a fish on the barge at Port Lincoln.
And, wow, I said two nests but no – it is three. How could I have forgotten about the Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne?! That is shameful. Those three girls – triplets – all born on the same day within hours were amazing. I have no idea how their little dad kept up with them. It is just a fantastic nest to watch. I love falcons! When the camera is up and running you will hear about it. There are four videos from last year posted on YouTube. Just Google CBD Falcons. Here is one of them. It is rather long. You can skip through it if you like or watch the entire thing. Aren’t those girls so cute looking up at mom?
Oh and the last is Izzi, Xavier and Diamond at the scrape box on the old water tower on the grounds of Charles Sturt University. It is a research project of Cilla Kinross. We are lucky enough for her to share the cameras and the daily lives of this great couple of Peregrine Falcons.
Yesterday, Diamond accepted prey from Xavier. This is a big deal – kind of like a marriage in the land of falcons. Xavier had made two previous failed attempts – today’s worked. Here is a short video of that prey exchange:
That is just a hop, skip, and a jump around some of the nests that we don’t always cover. As the fledges take place in North America, the action is just starting in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a lot to look forward to.
Thank you for joining me. Stay safe, stay well.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Eagle Club of Estonia, WBSE Eagle Cam, BirdLife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Asociatia Wild Bucovina. I would also like to thank the PLO for the FB page and the screen shot of Solly’s tracking map.
I tried not to check on the Cowlitz Nest today because I was so afraid those two little Ospreys were dead. I have complained about the mother, Electra, eating food and then letting the father, Wattsworth, take the fish off the nest when she hadn’t even fed her babies. They were crying so hard for food. Thin little rakes they are. A big fish came on to the nest around 2:30 ish nest time. The starving kids could only fight while Electra ate. Then finally they stopped. I thought the little one had died actually. Electra ate her fill and Wattsworth is at the side of the nest waiting to take the fish. She is feeding the chicks right now as I type. Let us hope that she fills those little babies from the tip of their talon to the top of their crop. They need it.
It is unclear to me how long chicks can go without food before there is damage. If you followed the Glaslyn Nest, the chicks were without food for 48 hours. Mrs G is an excellent mother. The circumstances were just so different. Raging storms and force 11 winds along with intruders put the Glaslyn Nest at risk. Aran had injured his wing and could not fish. Glaslyn Wildlife spoke to experts and supplied a fish table for the family. Despite eating on the Sunday, the chicks began to die that afternoon not having anything since noon on the Friday. The oldest first and then the youngest on a subsequent day. Aran is still healing and gets his fish from that provided by the community. Aren’t people kind?
Electra finished feeding her two chicks. They were still not looking full. I wonder if their little bodies can only hold so much. Or maybe get that crop filled and drop the contents into the stomach so that they could eat some more. That would be brilliant. I feel so sad for these little ones.
Well, good gracious. The little ones cried long and hard enough that Electra is feeding them some more fish. I couldn’t stop crying.
Here is a brief video clip of part of that feeding.
They are still being fed. I think they both remind me so much of Tiny Tot when he was starving – well, gosh. Tiny Tot has several times when he had not eaten for 72 hours. Diane needed fish and when she started bringing in big catfish herself that nest at Achieva turned around. Today Tiny is a force to be reckoned with and it is grand.
I wish that when the two are full that Electra would sit on that fish. They would feed them several times before bed and food for in the morning. Oh, please, Electra don’t let Wattsworth take that fish!
The babies were still hungry as Wattsworth took the fish off the nest. Do we dare hope that he might keep it somewhere for his family and bring it back in a few hours?
UPDATE: Wattsworth brought the fish back and Electra is feeding the chicks again. Tears are pouring down my cheeks. I so wish this behaviour would continue every day on the nest but, for now – those little ones are feeling good and they will go to sleep tonight full not crying for food.
Oh, wow. Thank you Wattsworth. Look at the crop on that one chick! These little ones will have happy fish dreams tonight.
Tiny Tot is waiting on the Achieva nest for an evening fish – or he is really hoping an evening fish comes in. Me, too.
In Czechoslovakia, the surviving three White Storks were banded today. And they have names: Pankrac, Servac, and Bonifac. They were banded on camera. The bander was really gentle with them! Thank you to my friend, ‘T’ in Strasbourg for alerting me to the banding. I might have missed it!
It is better to watch the video. The bander covered them with a towel so that they would not be frightened. Here is the video:
Oh, and the three precious storks of Karl II and Kaia on the nest in Southern Estonia are doing so well. Nice fat little babies. Well fed. Watched over with great care. It is totally refreshing after the Cowlitz nest.
Thank you for joining me today. We can only hope that the fishing will be good and that Electra will respond in a positive way to the hunger cries of her babies. I so wish she had continued feeding them – they did do a crop drop. Now they need food to store for later. Send warm wishes their way! It is all we can do!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cowlitz PUD, Eagle Club of Estonia, and Ziva Camera Mlade Buky.