Mourning Budgie, hungry eyases, and more in Bird World

15 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

It is Tuesday on the Canadian Prairies. It seems like the days have passed by so quickly – just a blur. One day it is Friday and in a blink, we find ourselves waking up to Tuesday. In part, I attribute this to the time difference between North America and Australia where all of the streaming cam action has been taking place these past three months. At any rate, I hope that you are well and I am so glad that you are here with me on this sunny day. It is only -6. Glorious! The Starlings are eating the suet and the lilacs are full of sparrows. Three grey squirrels have been running about this morning hoping that I will put out peanuts or a new seed cylinder for them. Soon!

Last week I received a letter from someone who had commented on one of the streaming cams and who had been admonished for putting human feelings on the birds. As you might recall, I am an ardent supporter of the research of scientists such as Dr Marc Bekoff at the University of Colorado and others such as Jane Goodall. I reassured my reader that, according to Dr Bekoff, it is currently acceptable within the science community, to anthropomorphise wildlife. Indeed, him and his colleagues do this all the time. I received so many letters in response to this question. It is reassuring that so many people, from every corner of our planet, understand that animals have emotions, that they feel pain, they experience joy and grief and fear. One reader shared the story of one member of her flock and how they grieved following the death of their mate. ‘J’ has given me permission to share the story of her budgie, Wolpe, with you. Thank you ‘J’. Here is a brief recount of how Wolpe mourned and how the death of her first mate changed her attitude towards life and love.

As a child, ‘J’ had a pet budgie that would sit on her shoulder when she was reading. It was her dream to have her own aviary ‘when she grew up’ and to share her life with these amazing birds.

The beautiful budgie below is Wolpe, one of 15 budgies that make up ‘J’s bird family. Each is a rescue that shares ‘J’s flat with her in Europe. In my City, we do not have budgies that look like Wolpe; they are all one colour. I find the colour patterns of Wolpe fascination but, I am disgressing from our story.

Wolpe and Peppi were long term mates. Peppi would preen Wolpe and give her all the love and care that he could. He also showed his affection by feeding his mate. Wolpe loved Peppi but did not reciprocate in showing her affection. She never preened Peppi – never ever – and she never fed him.

When Peppi died, Wolpe physically and mentally went into mourning. She “stood still on a branch for 10 days straight after her mate died last year. It was horrible to see.” She was not her usual self. She did not interact with any of the flock, or the enrichment toys nor was she actively engaged in shredding things – her favourite activity. It was totally clear that she was grieving her lost mate.

At the same time that Wolpe was morning so was ‘J’. One of the hardest things that ‘J’ had to deal with was the fact that most people did not understand her grief. A common response was, “it’s only a bird.” For ‘J’ each time one of her family passes, it “takes away a little piece of my heart.”

This is Wolpe with her mate, Peppi, before he died in 2021.

When Wolpe chose a new mate, it was Kobito. Kobito is also green just like Peppi. It was a huge surprise to ‘J’ that these two began their relationship as a couple. It mean huge changes in each of their behaviours.

For Wolpe, this meant that she became more physically caring for her mate. She now carefully goes through Kobitos head feathers, running each one through her beak cleaning it. She organizes the feathers on his head, something that a bird cannot do for themselves. Wolpe also feeds Kobito. It is as if she realized that she needed to be more tender and more caring. Kobito, on the other hand, always sat in front of the window looking ‘out’ He was isolated and distant as if he wanted to be somewhere else. Once he courted and won Wolpe, it seemed that he “actually turned in Peppi II!” Kobito began to socialize with the other birds; he became part of the flock and even became closer to ‘J’. It was like a 180 degree turn. He also spent much time preening and feeding Wolpe.

It seems as if Wolpe realized what she had lost when Peppi died. She missed that closeness of having a mate, of being able to show her love. She is making up for that now. Grieving can lead to introspection and changes and I hope that Wolpe and Kobito live long and happy lives together with ‘J’.

If you have an example of grieving feathered friend or raptor that you remember and would like to share or remind me, please send me an e-mail!


Indigo and Rubus learned how to sort out who was going to eat. Indigo was famished when she arrived back at the scrape on the 13th. Indigo spent Monday evening in the scrape.

As he calmed down, glad to be back in the scrape, and was fed, the frenzy to eat calmed. At one point Rubus and Indigo had a bit of a tussle over a prey item. They wound up sharing it! One ate off one end while the other was at the other.

Diamond flew in and fed both Indigo and Rubus.

Later, Xavier arrived with more prey and Xavier and Diamond each fed their youngsters.

Indigo was still working on the last prey delivery at 1824.

As the IR lighting was preparing to turn off, Rubus was in her favourite corner of the scrape while Indigo was sleeping on the ledge. It is so nice to have Indigo back in the scrape. We are always so anxious for the birds to fledge but it has to be difficult for them. Indigo is eating and resting. Rubus continues to lose dandelions. Soon they will look alike!

This morning it is only 4 degrees C in Orange.

‘A’ sent me a thorough recap of the happenings at Orange. Thanks, ‘A’.

RECAP: prey at: 5.43.29 Xavier with prey, Indigo takes; 6.03.43 Xavier with prey, Indigo takes; 6.05.25 D w/StubQuail, feeds Rubus; 9.41.51 X w/?juv BFCS (black-faced cuckoo shrike), Rubus takes; 12 57 55 X with star, leaves it, Indigo claims; 13.06.50 X w/star, Rubus takes; 13 12 07 D w/prey, Indigo takes; 14:19:22 X w/pardalote; 16:46:15 prey, 18.06.46 X prey; 19:42:29 D retrieves nestovers from near Cilla Stones and takes them into the centre of the scrape and starts eating herself; 19:43:33 Diamond feeds Indigo. 

The lack of fish continues to plague Port Lincoln. Two fish came in yesterday both brought by Dad. The times were 0836 and 1707. In both occasions, Mum took the fish and flew off to eat a portion. She returned and Zoe got the tail in the morning but nothing in the evening. Mum is obviously desperately hungry. We know that she often fed the osplets to her own detriment. I am glad that she has some food but, what is really going on at Port Lincoln. Is Dad unwell? is there a lack of fish? Dad is notorious for bringing in a historic average of 7 fish per day.

It is 11 degrees this morning at Port Lincoln.

I really hope that more fish arrive on the nest today. We have one big healthy osplet getting near to fledge and a Mum who was desperate for food yesterday. Send this nest your good wishes, please.

‘A’ reminded me that we now also have a true name for the ‘Z’ in our list of birds: Zoe will now take that spot.

As you are probably aware, the camera at 367 Collins Street is no longer streaming. ‘H’ reports that the camera had a technical issue and then with the death of the fledgling, Victor Hurley asked Mirvac to leave the camera off until next season.

‘H’ reports that the injured fledgling was euthanized on 15 November, yesterday. Having hit a window or a wall, the beautiful fledgling suffered a broken spinal column. The clinic determined that the injured bird was a female. Oh, how sad. It is a reminder that live for urban raptors is very challenging. Thanks, ‘H’.

‘A’ sent the following description, comparing Orange and Melbourne. I hope she does not mind that I share it with you as I thought it was particularly appropriate after the death of that healthy eyas. The parents can provide them with prey, teach them to hunt but they cannot protect them in the environment into which they fledge. I wish they could! ‘A” writes: The Orange eyases fledge into a relatively sheltered, semi-private area, a bit like the eaglets at SWFL eagles, whereas the poor Collins Street chicks fledge into an urban jungle filled with concrete and glass and difficult wind currents and gusts (for example, at every cross street, the bird flying down a city street would be hit by a strong wind gust from one side or the other, rushing down the cross street). I am sure you know what I mean about the wind tunnel effect through those walls of massive skyscrapers in modern-day CBDs. It may be a safe scrape but the environment into which they fledge is very dangerous. 

The last to fledge, dubbed Peanut by ‘H’ – and a very fitting name at that – fledged at approximately 0712 on the 15th, yesterday morning.

Send your very best wishes out to this family – may they all soar high, have full crops, remain safe in an area full of prey but also high buildings with deadly wind currents. We will look forward to seeing Mum and Dad 2022 again next year! Thank you to Mirvac and Victor Hurley for allowing us the privilege to watch these incredible falcons. There is rain in the forecast today in Melbourne and it is cool, 7 degrees C.

Making News:

Cornell reports that it was one of their best Bird Count Octobers ever! Excellent news. So many people participated around the world.

Migration:

There will be no news of Kaia and Karl II til spring it seems.

Bonus remains “near Başkaraören, in the Seydişehir district, Konya province in Turkey. He stayed mainly on the north side of the Beysehir Channel.”

There must be really good fishing there for our fledgling Black Stork.

Waba is still in the Sudan. He has also found a very good area to fish.

The Looduskalender Forum indicates with the rainy season this area would be much greener now than in the satellite view that they have of the region.

It is wonderful to know that these two fledglings will do well. Remember that migration is driven by food availability and these two, Bonus and Waba, seem to have found good feeding grounds for now. I wonder if they will try to stay where they are for the winter?

Thank you so much for being with me today. I will resume The Red List of vulnerable birds tomorrow! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their pictures, posts, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: thanks ‘A’ and ‘H’ for the Australian reports, thanks ‘J’ for sharing Wolpe’s story with us, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Cornell Bird Labs, Google Maps, and Looduskalender Forum.

Late Thursday in Bird World

13 October 2022

I know few people that do not love autumn with the kaleidoscope of oranges, yellows, and red foliage. It is what comes after that we don’t like and that is what has been happening this morning. It is raining snow. The three Blue Jays are eating as much corn as they can – 5 cobs already this morning! Plus, peanuts in the shell. Humans begin to dig around to find their winter parkas, toques, gloves and mitts, scarves, warm boot socks, and, absolutely essential, boots. All sandals, linens, and summer things can now safely be packed away without fear of being needed for another 8 months! Like the Box Turtles at the nature centre, most of us would like to hibernate under a down duvet, sipping tea, and reading a stack of good books for several months.

As for Little Red’s house, it appears to have been taken over by birds…it is a rather posh nest!

Making News:

We have all been wondering what is happening with SE 29 who was found injured in a residential area near the Discovery Centre and SE 30 who was mobbed by Currawongs and grounded. The news of 30 is very, very promising. He is at the river with the parents and not being chased by Currawongs any longer! Here is the latest news from Eagle Cam:

Always time for a good news story! A Bald Eagle is returned to the wild after being shot.

https://www.kezi.com/news/bald-eagle-to-take-flight-after-healing-from-shotgun-wounds/article_c06ce7e2-4a88-11ed-af16-57f7c95d00d0.html?fbclid=IwAR0hgBJtvaIGuknrq7gaeETtNeuFRLQrvwVAHZXc3D2McQnnKu6NE0eq9B8

This video shows the crews crossing the causeway bridge that had one large section destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Things are being restored. This is good news for all of us including Lori Covert and Windows to Wildlife. Hopefully cameras will be back in place by December at Captiva.

‘H’ has been watching the Mispillion Harbour Cam in Delaware. She discovered something very important – you need to watch the nests after the fledglings leave because you have no idea who will come calling and what will happen. First it was a drenched Peregrine Falcon, then one Bald Eagle and now it is two! Check out her other videos of visitors to the MH nest on YouTube.

Here is one with the Bald Eagle bringing an eel to the nest! Eagles seem to really love eel. Certainly, the Sea Eagles in Sydney do.

Speaking of nests, Harriet and M15 are making great progress rebuilding their nest on the property of the Pritchett family in Fort Myers, Florida after Hurricane Ian destroyed it. So happy. They should not be short of building materials – the locals say there is plenty around after such massive destruction in the area.

Harriet and M15 are not the only ones making nestorations. Jackie and Shadow were on the Big Bear Valley nest last night for a short time and it appears that all of the others including Eagle Country are working hard to get ready for the 2022-23 season.

Australian Nest News:

Have you noticed? One of the first things we wonder about the nests is: Have they eaten today? It is the big question on everyone’s mind. So far, Melbourne is in the lead with one feeding from Mum and another from Dad. It is after 8 in Orange and 0730 in Port Lincoln and, at the moment, they are both waiting for deliveries.

Good morning, Melbourne!

Mum was off the ledge scrape at 06:22:53. She returned with a rather bedraggled pigeon at 06:24:26. I suspect that Dad will be flying in with a nice fresh one any time.

Dad really likes to be actively involved with the family. He arrives at 07:01 with a prey item and feeds the eyases while Mum watches and broods. What a guy!

Mum has been gone for an hour flying off at 0853. The eyases are getting hot!

Everyone is still sleeping at Port Lincoln. I thought I saw a rain drop but the forecast is not seeming to call for rain there today, not until Monday and Tuesday. Big Bob will be 28 days old on Sunday. Little Bob will be 24. I am really hoping that by early next week we see some semblance of civility return to this nest. Big Bob had a huge crop – tears were flowing and there was joy in the air after that 20:03 feed last night. And three cheers for Dad for bringing in that late fish. It really saved the day for our third hatch.

Mum in the nest and Dad is over on one of the perches to the right. They certainly have a nice home here on the barge. Sure, loved watching when Ervie would spend time with Dad down in the shed having their little talks.

Gosh, do you remember how civil Bazza, Falkey, and Ervie were until after they fledged? A couple of little pecks at the onset by Bazza to Ervie which only caused Ervie to turn around and stare at Bazza…and get closer to Mum’s beak. But just thinking about their dust ups after. Gracious. What will this bunch be like????????

The crop on Little Bob last night gives me hope. Mum is looking out for him, even at her own expense of not getting food. Dad came in with a late fish. That was fantastic.

The nest is already antsy this morning. ‘A-M’ notes that Little Bob pecked Big and then Big pecked Middle. It all happened around 0628. Not a good start to the day. Now Little Bob is pecking Big and running away from the scene. ‘Not me, I didn’t do it!’

At 07:31 Little Bob is toasty warm underneath Mum waiting for the first fish delivery.

As they wait for the breakfast fish to be delivered at Port Lincoln, Mum has stopped brooding the chicks and we can really see the size difference between Big Bob and Little Bob.

They all still have crops from the 2003 feeding last night.

Sweet Mum waiting for Dad.

Sadly, Mum is still waiting. It is 0915.

In their scrape on the water tower on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Diamond waits with Rubus and Indigo for Xavier to bring breakfast.

Diamond is getting as restless for breakfast to arrive as Rubus and Indigo.

Diamond returned quite wet! Her talons were empty. It looks like it is raining pretty heavy in Orange.

Indigo and Rufus are having a Starling for breakfast around 0900.

Flashback Video:

Izzi, Diamond and Xavier’s 2020 fledgling with a female Superb Parrot.

Migration News:

Oh, there is good news coming out of the tracking of Karl II’s family’s migration. First up, little Mum, Kaia, is now in Chad. She has flown a total of 2, 298 km on her migration journey. People are predicting that she will winter in the same spot as Karl II!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is her map from flying from the Suez Canal to Chad.

Here is the area where she is in relation to where Karl II over winters.

Karl II is near the Syrian border with Turkey. Waba is still in Bulgaria.

Bonus is finding fish and frogs at the confluence of the Buzau and Siret Rivers in eastern Romania.

Oh, it would be just so nice if Mum were shading her chicks at Collins Street and Dad had delivered two huge fish already at Port Lincoln. We wait for both! That is it for today. Thank you so much for being with me. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Eagle Cam FB, ‘H’ YouTube Videos, NEFL and SWFL Eagle Watcher’s Club, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, CSU Falcon Cam Project, and Looduskalender.

2nd chick for Diamond and Xavier and other news in Bird World

5 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

It looks like the clouds are breaking up and it feels like another beautiful fall day. Yesterday, the trip to the wetlands was stunning in its fall colour. Most spectacular were the Aspens with their bright yellow leaves flittering in the wind and some that were red – so red – with no other colour. I hope to have taken at least one image to share with you in another blog.

This morning there are more Dark-Eyed Juncos eating the millet. They like it on the wood or carpet. Junior and one of the fledglings is here eating corn and a squirrel has been seen scurrying about. Mr Crow has also been here. There is something so nice about seeing the birds eat their breakfast even if they do fight with one another over one of the cobs of corn. It is like seeing the chicks in the nests eating first thing – the reassurance that no matter what else happens that day, they have had one good meal. Over and over again I am struck about how challenging the life of a bird actually is.

Sometimes I start my blog for the morning in the early evening before. That is when I have moments free and really get to sit down and enjoy watching all of the chicks on the nest. October 5 in Australia was particularly interesting because of the crack clearly seen on one of the eggs at Xavier and Diamond’s scrape and the antsy pants of SE30 in the Sydney nest.

This evening though, I am glued to the screen as Diamond works that egg to help that eyas hatch. Who would have thought? The one thing that many did notice was just how healthy Xavier and Diamond are this year. If you want to know how healthy a falcon is look at the colour of its cere, the ring around the eyes, and the legs. You want a bright orange-yellow in the adult. Not a light yellow a bright yellow with an orange tint. Both Xavier and Diamond have that this year. Last year, both seemed a wee bit tired to me. Perhaps it had not been a good year for a lot of prey. This year it appears that there is lots of good prey, not just Starlings. The lead researcher, Dr Cilla Kinross, says the amount of prey is because it is a La Nina year. She also adds that the hunting is more difficult. So, it is a good year for two little eyases!

It was a pip and then at 12:03 you could see the crack. Diamond is wiggling around helping that egg shell come apart!

Some raptor mums will not, in the least, help the chick out of the shell. Others, when hatch is coming roll around and help loosen the shell so that the little one can get out easier. Many remove half a shell to help the process along. I wonder if they can tell if the chick has been trying to hatch for a long period of time and could be tiring?

Diamond is really turning around in the nest rubbing and working that shell for that wee chick.

At 1252, you can really see the hole and the crack!

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond and Big chick at 13:50. There was some confusion. Xavier took the prey over to Diamond but, he thought she didn’t want it. Then there was a bit of tug-o-prey. I am not sure that Xavier was, initially, aware that another eyas was making its way through the shell to hatch.

Diamond fed the wee chick while a wet Xavier readied himself to go out into the rain.

Xavier got some brooding/incubation time in the late afternoon when Diamond took off with the prey delivery. Look at that sweet little one. Not going to be an Only Bob much longer. Xavier and Diamond fooled everyone!

The empty shell was first noticed at 22:20 in the scrape. All are sound asleep.

You can vote for the name of the chicks! Join the fun. Remember that is Australian time. Here is the information: Voting for the chicks names is open until Oct 9, 5pm, link is in News section https://science-health.csu.edu.au/fal…

More feedings at 367 Collins Street. Nice big fat pigeons being brought in with at least 3 or 4 feedings since dawn. I normally do not worry about hawklets and eyases getting food but the 4th hatch is having some difficulty simply because it cannot see yet. It faces the wrong way – sometimes backwards, sometimes to the side. The other three are so far advanced and they are beginning to lose their baby down and look like chicks that are getting their pin feathers – not in the least attractive!

Dad came in with another fish at Port Lincoln. All of the osplets were full and it looked like Little Bob was going to get left out but, wait! Little Bob got right up there at the front and gosh, golly, did that kid get a lot of nice fish bites. Then Middle woke up and wanted some fish. Little and Middle ate. There was some fish left for Mum. One of the nice things about this osprey nest is that the three do not fight during meal times. This is seriously important. It means that Little Bob gets fed. In most instances where there is food competition, the little one is prevented physically from eating by one or more big siblings. That is not a worry at this nest, so far, this year.

More fish later. You can really see how much bigger Big Bob is than Little and Little’s wing size to Middle.

All full and some fish left for Mum.

Mum has to spread her wings like a Mumbrella to cover the kids and keep them warm and dry.

SE29 flew to the nest after SE30 had been fed a small fish. The pair of them together reminded me so much of SE25 and SE26…25 showing and encouraging 26. For several minutes, it looked like SE29 was going to get 30 to fly off the tree with her/him. It didn’t happen but at this very moment, which is around 11:00 nest time in Australia on Wednesday, it looks like 30 would really like to go. Dad ? arrived on the nest and pulled a fish out from some twigs and fed 2+30 on and off. 30 would eat then go look at the branch, then eat. You can tell immediately that 30 is antsy. Every family member is flying but her/him.

It is a bittersweet moment when both of the eaglets fly. We cheer them on triumphantly and secretly we try and hold back the tears. These have been two beautiful eaglets. Yes, there were some ruffles at the beginning and then, they became best friends. No competition. No disturbance.

Is it possible this year that birders on the ground near the Discovery Centre will be posting images of the pair of them flying around the Parramatta Riber and Dad and Lady’s River Roost? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I am terribly impressed with 29’s flying in and out. No torn wings on bushes, just good strong take offs and landings. Hoping that it is that easy for 30 when it takes to the air.

SE30 spent the night alone on the nest. No doubt SE30 will show up for breakfast!

In the News:

Do you read the Country Diary in The Guardian? If not, I want to share this lovely story so evocative, and it is about Ravens. I have grown to love the Crow family that visits my garden and the Blue Jays. Only once has there been a Raven.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/05/country-diary-the-mountain-silence-is-interrupted-by-ravens

Remembering a time in the fall when goshawks were everywhere in the fall.

Today is Izzi’s 2nd birthday and someone put a video together to remember this fabulous character brought to us by Xavier and Diamond in 2020!

Migration News:

Karl II fed well at the Danuke River in Ukraine then flew across Romania and is now in Bulgaria. Awesome.

This is the area where Karl II is fishing.

There was no tracker information for Kaia. It is assumed that she is in Syria and transmissions there are sketchy.

Bonus was still in Romania while Waba remained in Moldova. Udi, one of the 2021 fledglings of Karl and Kaia, continues to be in Italy around the Po Valley. Here is their location:

This is the BirdCast migration map for 5 October. Note that the most birds moving continue to be down the centre of North America. That corresponds directly with what we are seeing in Manitoba.

I hope that today’s blog finds each of you well and enjoying all that life and the birds have to offer. We are so fortunate to be able to watch these glorious feathered creatures raise their families. They bring us so much joy! Thank you so much for being with me. You take care. See you soon!

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

Late Monday news in Bird World

3 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

It is going to begin to be a rainy week across Australian raptor nests and this is going to impact the birds and their feeding as well as their flying!

There is welcome beginning to come out of Captiva. Lori Covert’s house (Captiva Ospreys and Eagles) survived but the brand new camera and pole with perch did not. Connie and Clive have been seen and are rebuilding their nest and, if they are safe, then I am going to presume that Lena most likely is too. She just has no nest!

In the Mailbox:

‘P’ would like to know when Peregrine Falcon eyases can see?

Peregrine Falcon eyases are normally born with their eyes closed. The eyas at Orange has its eyes open as do the ones at Collins Street but they will not be able to completely ‘focus’ until they are about a week old.

This will be a really short update. The weather at Port Lincoln is horrible. As predicted, Dad brought in a very large fish but the rain was coming down so hard that Mum did not risk feeding the osplets. She is really having to spread herself out. Oh, I see Mum shaking off the rain at 0909. Poor thing. This lot are going to be in a right grumpy mood once they get some more fish even if they went to bed with huge crops. Poor Mum is hungry, too.

The forecast shows that it is supposed to continue raining all day at Port Lincoln. Fingers crossed that Mum will find an opening so she can feed the kids – and herself. These Osprey mothers – all raptor mothers – work so hard in bad weather to protect the chicks.

The little one at Orange has been well fed this morning. Xavier brought the prey and then went and ‘talked to his baby’ before departing. Diamond was really enjoying whatever it was that Xavier brought. Yesterday someone said that he brought in a Honeyeater and she was particularly delighted.

The four at Collins Street are doing marvelous. The wee one had some bites this morning and all seem to be thriving with a pair of parents that are trying their best.

Both 29 and 30 slept on the nest last night.

SE29 took off on a flight about 0748. I wonder if SE30 will follow today?? 30 is really flapping those wings. It would not surprise me.

In migration news, our little Black Stork Mum, Kaia, is now on the edge of the Mediterranean! Bonus is in Romania and Karl II is still feeding at the Danube River in Ukraine. How amazing. Little Kaia has flown so much!

Thank you for joining for me for this quick check in with our Australian raptor families. Wish for Mum to be able to feed some fish to the osplets and for continued safe flying for the Sea Eagles! Take care everyone. See you soon.

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

4 eggs for Melbourne, Victor is moved outside and other news in Bird World…Monday morning

30 August 2022

What happened to August? It seems as if we blinked and it flew by. Despite the heat there is a look about the leaves on the trees and the wilting of the tomato plants despite their being well watered that is alerting us to the end of summer, not just the calendar. There is another 9 or 10 days before the teachers and students are back to their classrooms in Manitoba. It is a reminder that it is time to get a small delivery of firewood. There is something so cosy about a wood fire on a crisp autumn morning and if August is any indication, autumn will be here in two blinks.

The colour of the light and the water of the pond seemed to be taking on the hues of autumn.

The rain started in the early morning hours of Monday and everything has turned green in the garden again…it is raining so hard! And for once, I am so glad to see it! Monday will be a good day for reading the small pile of books accumulating on my desk.

In the Mailbox:

‘N’ writes: “Do all falcons incubate the eggs the same no matter where they live? Do all ospreys?” Oh, what an interesting question! I am not a specialist on incubation, the term used for the behaviour whereby adult birds keep the eggs warm until they hatch. My experience watching the nests of different species is that birds are very individualistic and even within a single species, the attention that they give to their incubation duties varies. I found a paper that actually discusses the different approaches to this important task. It is not a recent one but it is quite interesting. The author covers some birds that are unknown to me but, I believe the findings and the data can enlighten us as to the full answer to your question, ‘N’.

In the News:

RSPB created an extremely short video about Avian Flu killing the White-tail Eagle chicks on the island of Mull. What is so intriguing is the landscape of the island and the beautiful chicks so alive in the nest. It is clearly not the be all- end all informative presentation but it was nice to see where these eagles live.

Just a couple of months before Avian Flu began killing the White-tailed Eagles on Mull, this beautiful 7 minute video was made showing them on their island setting. Have a watch:

The attempt to rid Gough Island of its House Mouse problem has hit a wall. The eradication of the mice that were biting and killing Tristan Albatross chicks and adults is now being viewed as a failure. Everyone had such high hopes that the island would be rid of these invasive mice but an unknown problem presented itself – the slug. Have a read:

https://www.acap.aq/latest-news/4427-alien-slugs-thought-to-be-the-cause-of-failure-of-the-house-mouse-eradication-on-gough-island

I found an excellent story dealing with the tragedy of the mice and the Tristan Albatross and why the eradication attempt is so important.

In his newsletter, David Hancock of Hancock Wildlife just posted the following information about the Delta 2 nest in British Columbia, Canada: “Firstly, both Ma and DM have gone on their migration. Ma was last seen at the Delta 2 nest/territory on July 25th. DM (taking his new role as Ma’s mate very seriously) hung around for another week keeping an eye on things. He was last seen there on August 1st. Thanks to all who donated to the GoFundMe campaign, as well we received a a few private donations which are greatly appreciated. These donations are going to cover the costs associated with the installation of a sturdy new nest pole and two (2) new cameras at Delta 2.”

Nest News:

It is egg 4 for the Melbourne Peregrine Falcon couple on the ledge of 367 Collins Street! Oh, my goodness. Dad you are going to so hope that the pigeon population of the city is very plentiful!

Here is a video of that last egg being laid:

It was a prey drop and a chance for Dad to get himself acquainted with how you have to wiggle around to get 4 big falcon eggs under so they can stay warm.

It is a lot easier for Mum to get those four eggs tucked in tight. Do you think there will be a 5th?

We have a ways to go before hatch for Melbourne and Diamond might not be finished laying eggs. Incubation is a time for the females to rest. It is going to be very hectic if all the hatch at Melbourne! And exciting.

The Sydney Sea Eagles are developing right to schedule. Their plumage continues to come in and they are picking up sticks in the nest and preening. SE29 is standing and walking better each step. They really are gorgeous. The Monday morning feeding saw both 29 and 30 with nice crops full of fish. I have seen no concerning aggressive behaviour on the part of 29 to 30 that would cause me to worry.

We are about 3 weeks away from hatch watch at Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad continue to take turns incubating. That said, Mum will always have night duty and Dad will provide Mum with her meals.

You would think that Mum would be very stiff incubating the eggs all night. Dad has arrived and is nudging her off so he can have a turn. Mum goes away for her breakfast and a break, returning in about half an hour.

You are doin’ good, Dad.

There has been an unknown male visit Annie in the tower.

There is a notable change in the behaviour of the female Ospreys in the UK this year. Normally they would depart the nest about 10-14 days prior to the fledglings leaving on their migration. This year it appears the majority are choosing to remain on the nest while some or all of the fledglings depart. While we will not know the specific reason, I wonder if it is, in part, due to the raising of these large female chicks and the Mums needing more time to get in top shape. Or could it be that prey is plentiful, the weather is nice in the UK, and they just want to be home for a little longer?

Idris, Telyn, Padarn and Paith are still at the Dyfi Osprey nest in Wales as of Sunday the 28th. Idris has stayed on the perch all night. Pedran was last seen on the 11th of August at 0905.

If you follow Tweed Valley, the three fledglings are going in very diverse directions including Glen who remains on the nest. Kirk is in Ireland having flown south and turning back to the land. Tweed is nearing land in Portugal.

Ruthland is updating us on their second hatch at Manton Bay, 1H2:

Tiger Mozone says that the fledglings need good DNA and luck. 1H2 certainly has great DNA. Let us all hope she has some awfully good luck, too.

1H2’s parents, Blue 33 and Maya, along with older sibling 1H1 were all still at the Manton Bay Nest at Rutland on the 27th and there is no news of either 1H1 or Maya departing since.

Seren was on the Llyn Clywedog nest early this morning and Dylan even popped in for a few minutes to join her later.

It is just incredible. Bonus continues to prove that he is a very special Black Stork! He flew from the nest in Estonia and spent the night in Latvia on the 27th. He has now flown through Lithuania and is in Belarus near Minsk. That was a total of 279 km.

Kaia, Bonus’s foster mother, remains in Belarus in the Prypjat Wetlands near Shestovicy.

So what intrigues me is this. If Kaia remains where she has been for the last several days since she flew north out of the Ukraine, is it possible that Bonus might also wind up in the same wetlands? Or will Bonus fly into the Ukraine? and remain there? or turn back north like Kaia? We should have our answer in a day or two.

Here is the distance shown by Google Maps:

Waba has begun the journey also and the tracker shows that he crossed into Latvia from Estonia on 28 August. He then flew a short distance.

I have received word that Karl II has left the nesting area in the Karula National Forest and has begun his migration. More on that to come tomorrow.

Victor has done so well since Dr Sharpe travelled to the Two Harbours nest on the Channel Islands to take him to be treated for zinc toxicity at the Ojai Raptor Centre. He has now been moved out to the big flight area! It just doesn’t get too much better than this until he is released. Wow. Victor. Way to go!

Looking forward to Lena and Andy at Captiva next year? or Connie and her mate? Window to Wildlife posted a 7 minute video about updates changes to the cameras, etc with some lovely pictures of Lena feeding the wee nestlings last year.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you so much to the following for their streaming cams, their videos, and their posts that make up my screen captures: RSPB, 367 Collins Street Falcons and Mirvac, Charles Sturt Orange Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Dyfi Osprey Project, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Rutland Osprey Project, LWRT, CarnyxWild, Looduskalender, CIEL, and Window on Wildlife.

Sloop fledges and Little Bit ND17 soars!

17 August 2022

Good Morning everyone! The sun is shining bright and there is not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky. It looks like it is going to be a fantastic day albeit a hot and humid one reaching 29 C (or 84.2 F) on the Canadian prairies. In fact, it isn’t really the heat but the humidity that is wrecking havoc with everything! Meanwhile my tomato crop continues to flourish. How many tomatoes can one eat and give away?

Yesterday the third hatch of Dory and Skiff was ‘stuck’ for more than 7 hours on the perch. Dory tried to lure him down with fish but Sloop was not moving! Viewers worried about the little osplet ‘afraid to fly’. Well, ‘H’ wrote this morning – Sloop flew!!!!!!! Time 0948. He was 57 days old. How wonderful. Thanks ‘H’.

You can see him flying over the water between the sailboat and the nest. Congratulations Boathouse Ospreys!

‘H’ sent a video of this first flight…did it like a pro. Congratulations Sloop for a lovely flight around the bay and a return to the nest. Thanks ‘H’ for sending all of us the video of that special moment in this Osprey’s life.

There is news of Little Bit ND17 soaring in the skies too. Always so grateful of news. 17 is doing fantastic — we always knew he was a survivor if given the chance. What joy to see him living the life of an eagle in the wild — and I still start giggling thinking of 17 pushing 16 off the perch!

You can see how Little Bit has his landing gear down. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

The two White-bellied Sea eaglets continue to do well and be cheeky to one another. No worries, it is all good. Look at those crops! And then look at the clown feet and growing beaks.

I belong to many groups that work hard to ban lead in the environment as well as rodenticides. As fall approaches and with continuing sightings of people fishing it is a good time to review the ways that lead gets into the environment that can harm our raptors. This is also a threat to our migrating birds who fly through areas where the guts of the deer killed are just left – full of lead shot – in the bush.

https://www.wildlifecenter.org/how-do-raptors-get-lead-poisoning?fbclid=IwAR3wjQapFMv31LJUcqxIXxI70nfQNwHvL8PSeMrgF0zMuPceCCHpy9K_uuk

The Osprey fledglings are still in the UK screaming for fish. As the next two weeks pass, the females will leave, then the fledglings, and finally the males once they are assured all fledglings have departed. I will eventually put up a complete list of who is home and who is not. For today we will just look at a couple of our favourite nests.

This is a 101 Guide to UK Osprey migration:

https://birdfact.com/articles/osprey-migration

At Loch Arkaig, Louis brought in a nice one this morning and Willow retrieved it. Safafina was not the least bit happy about that and had a bit of a tizzy fit on the nest. No worries, Louis is one of the great fishers and she will get her lunch soon! Just for a second look at the great condition this fledgling is in for migration. Gosh these two are dark like their mother, Dorcha. Just look at the necklaces. The envy of any fledgling!

All three fledglings at Llyn Clywedog hoping for Dylan to get fish to them. Seren Blue 5F was at the nest this morning with Dylan so she has not departed yet.

Telyn is still at the Dyfi Nest in Wales, too. Idris is busy feeding the three girls. This is Paith on the nest enjoying some fish and still screaming about it!

Telyn down by the river. She has caught a very large fish and is enjoying it.

Idris has a beautiful flounder for the girls.

At the Glaslyn nest, Aran has been busy chasing intruders —- and, indeed, as the fledglings and the two year olds (and older) begin their movement south, the nests will have lots of visitors.

A great image of Aran and Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in the United Kingdom, two days ago.

And will there be a fledge at the Osoyoos Osprey platform today? If so, it should be the last fledge for the Canadian Osprey nests.

I will try every day to check in on Kaia as she has left Estonia. She flew as far as the Ukraine and then immediately turned back heading north to Belarus where she remains. This is where she is today (she flew a little north in Belarus to a nice area for feeding.

Will all the storks fatten up in Belarus? And then attempt to fly around or through the Ukraine without stopping? War creates a horrible situation for wildlife.

Thank you for joining me this morning for this quick glimpse at some of the nests we have been monitoring over the breeding season. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB postings where I took my screen captures: Notre-Dame Eagles, Audubon Explore and ‘H’, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, CarnyXWild, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Osoyoos Ospreys, and Looduskalender.

Early Monday in Bird World

15 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The hoped for blog on migration will be written tonight and appear Wednesday morning. Lots of good information has come in! Thanks to all. If you are still thinking about migration challenges – even in your own area – send them to me before 1800 CDT Tuesday the 16th.


When will Diamond lay her first egg of the season with Xavier at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia? That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind. Xavier continues to bring in lovely prey items – some not so welcome like the Starlings but, it would seem that Diamond is in really good shape for this breeding season. Many of you might have noticed that Diamond appeared to be in less that stellar form last year and there was some concern that little Yurruga did not have good feather development. We are wishing Xavier and Diamond a successful season – meaning lots of prey items for the hatchlings, good weather for fledge, and success.

Here is the data on previous years:

Surviving Poole Harbour fledgling, 5H1, immediately flies away when it hears a predator approaching. Everyone learned fast after 5H2’s death by Goshawk. Today it was a Buzzard – a friendly. The little one is taking no chances though. Well done. You even took your fish dinner with you!

There was a question: Do goshawks eat fish? Goshawks are carnivores. They eat mammals and large sized birds found near the edge of the forest. They also eat amphibians, insects – and, yes, fish!

I had a comment in more the form of a question from my good friend, ‘T’. She noted that for years people have loved looking at the Osprey nests in the UK. The only things that were of concern were the weather and enough fish. They brought a lot of solace. Now Goshawks? ‘T’ wonders when the UK is so active in reintroducing the Ospreys to their country that there are now goshawks – long time enemy in the forests.

‘T’ here is your answer. A reintroduction project began in 2018 with Goshawks taken from Norway and Sweden to the UK.

Watching our raptors lay their eggs can emit all kinds of empathy especially if the eggs are big and more hard than soft when laid. At the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Mum laid her third egg of the 2022 breeding season right on time. She looks tired. Watching birds incubate eggs is like watching water boil when the heat on the stove is ‘off’. But, Mum will get a rest and then in about 38-43 days she is going to be really busy. Should I wish for a clutch of all males or all females so life is civil again this year?

Sadly, it appears that Dad might have had another issue like he did a number of days ago. ‘H’ caught it! Is Dad having some kind of a seizure? or is the wind whipping him and his beak gets caught in nest material? It really is not clear but please send warm wishes to this amazing male – Ervie’s best buddy. Here is the video:

What a treat it is to check on a steaming cam and have a fledgling sitting right there as the sun sets. That is what happened when I went to see if Lancer had visited Two Harbours today. She is probably hoping for food! Chase & Cholyn haven’t delivered anything on camera for a few days. Not to worry. Lancer is not going to starve to death. They are seasoned parents. Cholyn is 24 years ‘young’.

Remember we talked about the things that wildlife rehabilitation centres need – besides cash donations. We talked about old clean towels – well, add old clean sheets and egg cartons to your list. Collect them from neighbours, friends, and family. Create a box. Everything helps! Most centres offer enrichment to the animals in their care. This comes in many forms from using toys to crumbled up paper to egg cartons!

The very latest on our Little Bit ND17. What a fantastic image. We can all be assured that Little Bit has been eating and that his flying is getting stronger. He has been back in St Patrick’s Park for many weeks now! So grateful to those on the ground who continue to track Little Bit and send us images. Thank you Stephen Basly!

The Sydney Sea Eaglets are fine. They ate and ate yesterday. Both had enormous crops – and yes, they do still get a little scrappy but I will venture to say that there is nothing to worry about unless there is an absolute food shortage. SE29 is the dominant bird. 30 knows it but sometimes doesn’t like it!

I continue to track Kaia, Karl II’s mate as she migrates towards Africa. She did a round turn and left the Ukraine and went back to Belarus! Dates on second image below.

What caused Kaia to flee the area and return to a safe spot she knew? Will she be resting and trying to figure out a different route? will she feed up so that she does not have to stop in the Ukraine? This is an extremely worrisome situation for both Kaia and Karl II but also for the four Black Stork fledglings – they represent the only storklets to survive this year.

War is a very terrible thing no matter where it is happening. We read about the costs to people and infrastructure but never to the wildlife that are suffering. Most of the birds from Estonia will be flying through the Ukraine – or have traditionally. Send them your most positive wishes.

While Kaia tries to work her way around a war zone, Karl II is keeping the four fledglings full — they will need to fatten up and so will Karl II for their long journeys.

There is a rumour that all of the chicks on the Boathouse Osprey platform have now fledged.

Chicks are doing fine on the Osoyoos Osprey Platform. BC was self-feeding and LC was enjoying being fed by Soo. Hats off to them. They have survived the two heat domes and it continues to look good for this nest in Canada!

That’s it for today in Bird World. Thank you so much for joining me. I will be keeping my eyes on Kaia’s movements and, at the same time, I will be trying to find out what is happening in the area of The Ukraine where she had landed that sent her back to Belarus.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or postings where I took my screen captures: Osoyoos Ospreys, Audubon Explore, Eagle Club of Estonia, Looduskalender, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Notre Dame Eagles FB, Explore and the IWS, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Poole Harbour ospreys, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam.