Monday morning in Bird World

22 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone! The sun is out and it promises to be another hot day, 28 C. No rain forecast until tomorrow — and they might well change that. I am delighted to report that Dyson was seen in the garden this morning. One of the juvenile Blue Jays was screeching so loud – at Dyson – who was helping herself to ‘his peanuts’. The three juvenile Crows were in the garden on Saturday and again this morning. The little female was cooling her feet off in the bird bath.

I have also been out checking on the ducklings. Some are really growing!

Last week, there were 11 with this female. I am now counting 9.

This little sweetheart watched me quietly walk towards and around her. She never moved. How delightful.

If you are a duck and it is hot and humid, what do you do? Try to find some shade and/or a breeze. Duck Siesta time.

Then I found these two ducklings. They do not have their tails and are still sporting their downy fluff. Oh, I am going to worry about them and, hopefully, I can find them today or tomorrow when I am out checking again.

Update. There was some concern about the situation with AX6, Axel, at the Loch Garten nest. Yesterday, I posted that AX6 had not been seen on the nest and was feared to be ousted by the intruder, KL5, injured, or worse since 15 August at 0635.  Good news arrived from ‘DV’ who wrote to tell me “AX6, Axel, was seen on the Loch Garten nest this morning (Sunday), according to watchers.” Oh, fantastic. I checked on the Loch Garten FB page and they confirmed the time as 0835. Axel remained on the nest for 5 minutes. There is YouTube video confirmation. Thank you so much DV! Now has he been feeding the sole surviving chick from the nest 1C2 off camera? That is the question. He looks good!

The nest was empty later.

From the mailbox. There are several nests that many of you might have been wondering about. First up, Titi and Boris at the Janakkalan Nest in Finland. I have heard nothing since the camera shut down quickly and abruptly. I do not know why a decision was made to go offline at that time.

The streaming cams operate for many reasons but research and education/entertainment seem to be the main categories. The owners of the streaming cams often do not take into account the impact that watching a family of raptors has on viewers. Each of us has our favourite nests. Some may be the same for all of us but there are always nest surprises. We have our favourite nestling and we cheer them on and yell at the screen, fret when the weather is bad often staying up with them. We worry when there is not enough food. We clap and jump when they fledge and then we worry about where they are and if they are alright Sometimes (and it was a lot this year), we cry when one or another or all die.

For me the streaming cams have always been a way for us to connect with nature. They became particularly important during the pandemic as shown by Loch Arkaig having over 400,000 viewers watch Louis and Aila raise JJ5, JJ6, and JJ7 in 2020. Many have written to tell me that they are in hospital dying and it is the birds that are keeping their spirits up. One of my readers who became a good friend had cancer. Anyone on the Sydney Sea Eagle chat will remember Phyllis. The sea eagles and the chatters kept Phyllis going much, much longer than the doctors could ever imagine. The birds enrich our lives. I have had people say why not go outdoors and watch the birds, why on screen. I always tell them that it is like going to a sporting event or a Formula 1 race – you actually get a better view on the telly. Of course we go outside and see the birds if we are able! But where could you see up close an Osprey, an Eagle, a Peregrine Falcon raising their chicks? I surely couldn’t! They have brought us joy and touched our hearts so when that camera is suddenly turned off without an explanation or warning, we wonder why. It is shocking.

And so it was with Titi and Boris. They had lost their mother and their sibling. Dad continued to bring food and the goshawk was around. We worried about Titi who waited so long to fledge and then boom…nothing. We never got the opportunity to see if Titi would return to the nest. Some of you have written to ask the Finnish Osprey Foundation why did they turned the camera off so early. You have not received an answer. I have written to one of my Finnish contacts and readers to see if they know anything. I will certainly post any news here for everyone if I should hear.

My inbox has been full of letters about Malalam the little Red-tail Hawk adopted by the Bald Eagle family on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. When her nest mate turned sibling, Junior, was electrocuted on a pole owned by BC Hydro, GROWLS posted all manner of information so that a campaign could be directed towards BC Hydro. Many groups joined in. I carried their request to you. Malala is not ringed. The Red-tail Hawks and hawks in general are beginning their migration. Will we ever know what happened to Malala? is anyone watching the nest to see if she returns? She could be heard on the cam on the 30th of July. That same day, GROWLS FB said that the season was closed and the camera was immediately turned off. No information has been posted since. It felt abrupt especially after so many wrote to BC Hydro on their behalf after the call to do so on July 22, ‘Justice for Junior’.

I am fortunate to have a friend and former student in the area. They have confirmed for me that there are a number of red-tail hawks and without any method for identification no one will know unless they happen to see Malala at the nest or eating fish. If I do hear anything – or if you do – please let us know.

Many of you fell in love with this family and the story. That is the missing link in the streaming cams that I am trying to emphasize. If we are to try to make any positive impact in the lives of wildlife, then it would be good if the administrators of the streaming cams would agree to post any updates and warn individuals when and why cameras are being turned off. Annual maintenance is one of the biggest reasons and well established cameras with high traffic always warn their viewers. I am thinking of SWFlorida Bald eagles. In this instance so many of you wrote to BC Hydro and it would be reassuring if we heard that the pole that killed Junior had been made safe for any future fledglings. I would love to see a FB post about that and if GROWLS had their new camera. I think you would, too.


Just when we should be expecting the nests to be so empty, there continue to be surprises. Lancer visited the old Two Harbours nest and the cam operators were simply fantastic, getting great captures.

The Channel Islands just look like a perfect place for Bald Eagles to live. What a magnificent view of the water.

A video was put together of Lancer’s visit to the original Two Harbours nest. No one is sure why Chase & Cholyn decided to move their nest. Here you go:

Thunder visited the West End nest with a fish today, too. She must be lonely without any one of the three fledglings not rushing her to grab that fish out of those talons!

I decided that perhaps there might be some luck checking on the other nests. There was no one to be seen at the Fraser Point nest of Andor and Mama Cruz. I have had quite a number of letters asking about Trey and what happened to her after Mama Cruz winged her. I have heard nothing and there seems to be no mention on any of the normal sites associated with the Institute for Wildlife Studies. This time it would seem that no news is good news – she has gone on her way. If I should see or hear anything otherwise, I will definitely let you know. I will also add that this is not the first time that Trey -who hatched and fledged from the Fraser Point nest – has returned home. She fledged on 6 June 2019. Her first return to the nest tree was 15 July 2021. She returned again on 25 July 2021 and then again this year on the 16 August 2022.

There was no one about the other nests in California that I could see. I then went over to Florida to the nest of Samson and Gabby at Jacksonville and got a pleasant surprise – it was a Red-shouldered Hawk having a rest.

Migration has begun, of course, and there will be many raptors (and other birds) stopping to rest along the way. What a beautiful, beautiful hawk this one is! And what a delight to get to admire the gorgeous plumage for a bit.

Karl II is still feeding the four Black Stork fledglings at the nest in the Karula National Forest. Bonus was there so all four are still around and have not left.

Meanwhile Kaia remains in Belarus near the fields and marshes near Lake Veluta.

If you are a fan of the Kielder Forest Ospreys, here is a full up-to-date report on each nest! It was joyful reading that Mum had managed to fledge her two chicks after losing her mate, YA. They flew on 9 and 13th of August. She remained another 11 days fattening up for her big trip.

Dorcha has not been seen at the Loch Arkaig nest for several days. I am presuming that she has begun her migration, too. Louis is keeping Willow and Sarafina satisfied with fish — as he always does. What a fantastic mate he is. Louis delivered a fish to both this morning.

At the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria, Blue 35 and fledgling Blue 480 have not been seen for a number of days and, like Dorcha, are believed to be in the midst of their migration. White YW is supplying fledglings Blue 481 and 497 with fish at the nest.

Dylan is delivering nice trout to the Llyn Clywedog nest…and the fledglings are not always holding on tight enough and oops…off it goes. As long as the fledglings are around, Dylan, like all the males, will continue to bring fish to them. Then they will feed and go on their way to their winter home. Seren Blue 5F was still seen fishing on the 21 August.

Mrs G is still at the Glaslyn Valley nest she shares with her mate, Aran.

It is a little soggy at the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn. The information below the camera states that Telyn was last seen on the 20th. As it happens, however, Telyn was seen on camera at 16:08 today and there were great views of the second hatch, Padarn.

Here is a lovely video of Telyn bringing a Mullet to the nest with Padarn and Paith doing some loud fish calling!

It is raining with some wind at the Mlade Buky White Stork nest in The Czech Republic. I have seen only one stork on the second nest that Bukacek built. Awaiting confirmation that Betyhka has started migration along with the four fledglings.

In the UK Raptor Persecution news, the Moy Estate in the Scottish Highlands has lost its license (in an appeal) for the poisoning of a Red Kite on its estate.

There will be more and more prosecutions of estates where grouse hunting takes place and when the wildlife estate managers kill the raptors that the UK is working so hard to reintroduce. Indeed, there is a growing movement to end the practice of grouse hunting.

Dad brought Lady and SE 29 and 30 a nice big chunk of fish yesterday. All ate and then, surprisingly, Lady decided to brood the chicks. This nest appears to be doing very, very well this season.

Waiting for eggs at the scrape of Xavier and Diamond. The rejected Starling in the corner appears to be ‘past its sell-by-date’. If the amount of mating that these two have been doing is any indication of the number of eggs, this scrape should be full from top to bottom and side to side. I am hopeful that we might have the first egg in a few days!

367 Collins Street in the CBD (Central Business District) of Melbourne has not gone live so no eggs there yet either.

It is pouring down rain in Port Lincoln this morning. Mum is really tucked in so those precious eggs do not get wet.

It’s a wrap! Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that the start to the week is a wonderful one for each of you. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, posts, and videos that form my screen captures: Loch Garten RSPB, GROWLS, Explore.org and IWS, NEFlorida-AEF, Eagle Club of Estonia, Looduskalender, Kielder Ospreys, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, CarnyxWild, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dfyi Ospreys, Mlade Buky, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, UK Raptor Persecution, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Featured Image: Thunder at the West End Bald Eagle nest, 21 August 2022.

The Eaglets at The Hamlet

One of my most favourite Bald Eagle nests is the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest of Samson and Gabby. As it happens I was concerned that I would write too much about this nest – so what do I do? I over compensatted by not mentioning them very much! I hope to make up for that!

The NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest is located in Jacksonville, Florida. This is the third breeding season for Samson and Gabby. In 2020, they fledged Romy and Jules, in 2021 it was Legacy, and we are now waiting for the names for NE26 and NE27. NE26 hatched at 04:06 Sunday 23 January and about 46 hours later at 02:24 the 25th of January, NE27 hatched. They are cute little fluff buttons. While it is far too early to start saying one is a male and the other is a female, NE 26 sure looks like a big sister to a little brother.

Here is a picture from the 8th feeding yesterday. Just look at those crops. NE26 is so much taller than 27 that it works out perfectly to have the shorter 27 in front. Both chicks are fed well, the pantry is stocked, and there is little to no rivalry. Two nice little eaglets.

Here are some images from today. The cam operator was nice enough to give us some closeups of the feather development of the two. NE26 is 10 days old today and NE27 is 8 days old.

They have sure grown fast. Not that long ago these were the two smallest fuzziest babies. Now that light grey down is very slowly giving away to the darker natal down. They still have their cute little tails but the wings and legs are much longer and they are beginning to get bottom heavy.

Too warm in Jacksonville to be under an adult!

Little one is doing some panting to keep cool.

Now look at the follicles on that leg that is taut.

See that little dimple behind the far end of the beak? That is the ear. It will get fully covered over by feathers eventually.

This feeding was only a couple of hours ago. Sweet little babies waiting their turn.

Both have had lots of food. The neck of 26 is getting longer and the size difference seems pronounced. That is why I said little boy and big sis. Of course, I am probably all washed up and we will never know anyway. Just want them both to be healthy and have a good fledge.

Gabby is a formidable mother. I would not want to mix it up with her! No way.

I also want to bring you news about two Ospreys. You might recall that I mentioned that the highly pathogenic H5N1 Avian Flu has struck UK birds. The Queen’s swans were culled as were others and then 500 birds at the Whitby Wildlife Rescue. It was feared that one of those was the only resident Osprey. The Centre stated today that the Osprey was one of the birds not euthanized. What a relief for so many. This has been a terrible time for this wildlife centre whose heart and soul were wrenched out. On top of the APHA killing the birds during a 24 hour period they have worked so hard to save, the people have had to endure hate mail and lies. What a tragedy.

A sighting. On the 4th of August 2021, Blue 437 fledged from Nest 5A at Kielder Forest. It was 75 days old. There were no sightings until today when it was spotted in top form fishing in Senegal. The Blue tag with numbers was crystal clear in the photo (sorry I am not allowed to share it). There was no question like there was with the JJ2 or JJ7 last week. Blue 437 is Mrs Gs’ (Glaslyn Nest with Aran) first great grand chick. After the toll that the trees in Kielder Forest took this winter, this is nothing short of a wonderful miracle! I can only imagine the joy that is spreading through the team. We all know that feeling too well when our beloved birds fledge and then we never know what happens to them. Blue 437 has great DNA. Looking forward to seeing him return in a year to try and find his own mate and nest. Blue 437 was part of 16 juveniles that fledged from the Kieldner nests in 2021.

On that most happy of notes, I will stop. Do check in on the NEFlorida nest of Gabby and Samson. What a great team they are!

Take care everyone. See you soon. Thanks so much for joining me.

Thanks so much to NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Monday episode of ‘As the Nest Turns’

Yesterday, the two eaglets in the Duke Farm Bald Eagle nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey, fludged. Big had followed Li’l up the branch and Li’l could not figure out how to get around Big to go back down. THe started flapping and the end result was both of the juveniles falling off the branch and flying off to the farmland. Today, the parents wisely put a fish on the nest and left it to lure the two back to the nest. Gosh. And it worked! Li’l flew in first and on to the nest for food and was followed by Big. Sighs of relief all around.

Parent in at 10:21 leaving a piece of fish for the two:

Little flies in about half an hour later, landing on a branch first and then flying down to the nest.

Li’l really enjoyed the fish! Big flies in on a branch a little later. Hopefully these two will now stay around the nest like Legacy who will be 100 days old on Tuesday!

For those worried that K3 is not getting enough to eat on the nest of Big Red and Arthur, the honour of having the first ‘slice’ go off the tower and land down below on the cars goes to K3. That was one powerful shot!!!!!! Didn’t I tell you he is a pistol? A puddle of full sleeping babies. Lots more starlings and few chipmunks this year. I wonder how that impacts the amount of prey that needs to be brought to the nest?

Big Red has them all line up nicely. Everyone eats at Big Red’s table! Everyone. There is no need to worry. I do think they would love a few tasty chipmunks if you happen to have extra in your garden!

Yesterday afternoon NC0, Nessie, at the Loch of the Lowes nest was listening to her chick chirping in the egg. This will be her first little one. It has to be very exciting. I do hope that Laddie, who is lucky to have such a beautiful mate, keeps up his end of the bargain and brings in lots of fish for her and the little ones. Pip was official at 6:15 pm on the 16th of May. Hatch watch is on for Loch of the Lowes!

Look at the top egg. You can see the egg tooth hammering away! Lots of work for this little one to do yet.

Oh, it looks like it is going to be a race between Telyn and Mrs G on the Glaslyn Nest. Just a few minutes ago a large crack was seen on camera.

Right now everyone in the United Kingdom is welcoming the second year Juvies back after their first migration. Those are the ones born in 2019 and, as you know, they are looking for their own territory and mates. Some have caused some mischief and some disruption!

Today, however, the Kielder Nests are celebrating something very special. A male, Blue 39 (11) born in Nest 1 in 2011, was last seen in 2014 at the Derwent Reservoir near Consett. There has been no news of Blue 39 until yesterday when he was photographed catching a fish near Hawick in the borders. This is just incredible news – survival always is. The photographer notified Roy Dennis at Rutland immediately – that is the thing to do if you see a banded Osprey in the UK.

There are some incredible images of this strong male on the Kielder Website here:

https://kielderospreys.wpcomstaging.com/2021/05/17/such-welcome-news/?fbclid=IwAR0LJ6zQO0Y1Xj8yMuQWaky-RimtIkVVqA-VXomoqP_WUeMgTN8EjlIinyE

Idris and Telyn have had one of Telyn’s sons with Monty, the very last one, KA3 hatched in 2019, return to their nest. But that is not all. Telyn is incubating three egg; the first was laid on 11 April so hatch watch is on. On 15 May she flew off the nest for a comfort break. Idris was on the camera pole and – a crow flew in. What could have been the saddest end of the season can be seen in this short video:

Everything is fine and Idris sent KA3 packing – it isn’t his nest anymore but as a male he returned to his natal nest area to find a mate and set up his own nest. Good luck KA3! There are some females out there looking! Go find a good one.

The two little ospreys at The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah Ospreys) are doing great. They have the most beautiful plumage that I have ever seen! Dad brought in at least four fish, maybe five, yesterday for them. They went to bed with full crops and food coma! Scarlett and Rhett are doing a great job with these two.

Look at how the two blend in so well with the nest! 16 May 2021

The centre of my Bird World heart, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot gets stronger and more confident every day. It is simply amazing – a true tale of cleverness, persistence, and survival. Well done Tiny! I still believe you are a male – the third, the tiercel. You are going to join the leagues of the other small 3s who came back super strong – like Tegin Z1 of the White Egg and another of Monty’s boys, KA3, Hesgyn. If you know of a three that overcame tremendous obstacles, please let me know.

Tiny is a real beauty.

For those wondering about Tiger and Lily in the nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas, it has been really damp there today. One of the owlets was on a branch above the nest around 4am but I am not certain which one it was.Look carefully and you can see it standing where Clyde would come to drop the mice off to Bonnie.

The only child of the Bald Eagles at the Fort Vrain Bald Eagle nest in Colorado is doing splendid. Covered completely in thermal down, you can now see the contour feathers coming in! Someone asked me if the only children – Bald Eagles or Ospreys – get lonely. I have no idea but they spend their lives until they have a breeding mate alone – they even migrate to different regions. My immediate answer is I don’t think they are lonely. They are normally very well fed and cared for! The parents do have to play surrogate siblings so they learn to protect their prey. So, it is a little more work for the parents training them but less food to have to bring into the nest.

Thank you for nest hoping with me today. I will be watching the nests in the UK for hatches! Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for the streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Duke Farms, X-cel Energy, Farmer Derek, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Bywrd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, and Woodland Trust Loch of the Lowes.

Tuesday updates in Bird World

I am going to start off saying that Jack, the male at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida wins the Dead Beat Dad of the week award – for the third week running. Jack, do you have another family? or maybe two? Seriously. It is nearly 5pm in St Petersburg and your family have not had one single fish today. It is 28 degrees in the sun for them and they depend on the fish for water. Tiny Tot depends on the regular delivery of fish for its life. So maybe if I scream at you at the beginning, you will surprise me and show up with three or four fish! I sure hope so.

Jack, your family is waiting!

In contrast to the situation at the Achieva Osprey Nest is the Bald Eagle nest with three eaglets in Pittsburg. There both mom and dad are involved in the feeding of the young ensuring that the bonking and food competition is kept to a minimum. Well, as I have said before – birds are like humans. The kids can’t pick their parents or the parent’s territory but two parents working together certainly helps the survival of the children!

Look at those three beautiful babies at the Pittsburg Hays nest. Aren’t they adorable. All lined up waiting for mom and dad to feed them together.

Storms came through my part of Canada last night but they also swept across the United States. It was a gale force wind on the nest of the Great Horned Owls on the farm near Newton, Kansas. Tiger and Lily, the two owlets of Bonnie and Clyde were cuddled up with mom holding on in the strong winds.

More Osprey are arriving in the United Kingdom. Idris (male) arrived home on 29 March to his mate Blue 33 otherwise known as Telyn at the Dyfi Nest in Wales. Telyn is a great fisher. This morning she caught a whopper!

Telyn caught this huge fish to welcome home her mate, Idris, at the Dyfi Nest in Wales. 30 March 2021.

Blue 5F, Seren, came in on 29 March to join her mate Dylan at the Clywedog Osprey Nest. Unringed female joined White YA at Kielder 1A arriving on 30 March while male Blue WG 6 came home on 29 March at the Kielder Forest 6 nest. And the last one, female Blue KC joined her mate at Threave Castle on 30 March.

A great morning image of Mrs G and Aran at the Glaslyn Nest. Aran might be wondering if Mrs G is going to bring him breakfast like Telyn might be doing for Idris. Did I say that Osprey males drive me nuts?

Our dear little Legacy is simply not so little anymore. The eaglet of Samson and Gabby at the NE Florida Eagle Nest in Jacksonville has grown benefitting from being the only child in the nest. She sometimes looks like she has been working out at the gym!

Legacy benefited from great parents, Samson and Gabby, from a nest that had sufficient prey for everyone. Here is Samson delivering a fish for Legacy. Legacy has been self-feeding for some time now.

Legacy decided to see if she could fly like her dad!

Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0 have been bringing in nesting materials between gaps in the storms that have been plaguing Scotland around Loch of the Lowes. They have also been having to fend off intruders from their nest. Everyone wants the best nest in the neighbourhood – and no doubt this one so close to the loch is prime real estate.

And last for today the White Bellied Sea Eagles whose nest is in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park have been coming in over the last few days. They have been bringing sticks and making some nestorations. Still a couple of months before thoughts of eaglets come to mind on that nest.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. I do wish someone would set up a food table next to the osprey nest in St Petersburg. They did this at Rutland for one of the nests when a partner was MIA and it worked. But maybe Jack will be moved to action. Every time I say something bad about him he shows up with fish. I remain cautiously hopeful.

Thank you to the following streaming cams: Achieva Credit Union Osprey Cam, Pittsburg Hays Osprey Cam, Derek the Farmer, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, NEFL Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Bywyd Gwylit Glaslyn Wildlife, and Cors Dyfi Wildlife Reserve.

Waiting

Everyone seems to be waiting for something today. Those that follow the nest of Big Red and Arthur, the Red Tail Hawks in Ithaca, NY, are waiting for the second egg to arrive. Meanwhile, Big Red has been restless all day – on and off the nest. It has been like a revolving door, slightly surprising knowing her inclination to not share too much incubation time with Arthur. The skies just opened and Arthur is on deck keeping that precious egg dry and warm! The rain is pouring over the lens of the camera making Arthur look like a smudge. He is anything but a smudge today. Between 7am and noon, he was on the nest incubating five times – 5! I stopped counting after that.

Isn’t he gorgeous? Five years old and a great provider and dad.

Early this morning, around 8:30 the winds were whipping and Big Red got tossed. Last year this happened and an eyas went flying with her. Let’s hope that she is OK.

It takes some time for new parents – birds and humans – to understand how to take care of their little ones. When the two very young parents had their eaglet hatch on the Kisatchie National Forest nest, I thought for certain that eaglet was going to die. It couldn’t seem to stop bobbling, Mom tried desperately to feed it, and Dad kept stacking up the fish. At one time there were 18! If I remember correctly it was on the third day that the little one and mom figured out the proper angles so the little one could grab the fish. Now, that is all history. Kistachie is a huge, very spoiled only child of two very devoted parents, Anna and Louis. Kisatchie will never go hungry. It is always ‘please take another bite!’ from Anna. Kistachie has had mega food comas. They figured it out and all are thriving down in Central Louisiana on the shores of Kincaid Lake.

At the MN DNR nest, Nancy is waiting for the four year old dad, Harry, to figure out precisely what he is supposed to do. People watching the nest are waiting and worrying. Harry is amazing at security. He needs to learn that he has to bring fish to the nest and he will, after watching Nancy, figure out how to feed that little bobble head. Meanwhile, Nancy has, at times, lost a bit of patience,. And, on top of all of this, the second egg is pipping so, Nancy is waiting for another mouth to feed.

Only one osprey has arrived at a monitored nest today in the United Kingdom. That was White YA at Kielder 1A nest in the Kielder Forest. Everyone is watching the ones with trackers and waiting for more arrivals as April approaches.

It’s 4pm in St Petersburg, Florida and Diane is waiting for Jack to bring in a whopper of a fish for those three growing osplets. The trio had a fish at 8:50:13 and it looked like all ate and were ‘nice’ to one another. Let us hope that the next fish is really big and stability on this nest continues.

Another nest waiting for food deliveries is the Great Horned Owls who stole the Bald Eagle Nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas. It seems that snake has been on the menu today but the owlets are getting supersized quickly and Bonnie is hoping Clyde will come through with something larger! She waits.

I want to thank Elena for writing to me today thanking me for my post about ‘The Sadness and Hope in Latvia’. Spilve struggled to feed her beautiful almost ready to fledge Golden Eaglet after her mate went missing and was presumed to have died. To protect her eaglet she had to remain close to the nest but that meant little food. It broke the hearts of so many when beautiful Klints starved. Each of us struggles to understand.

And I want to thank you for joining me today. There is not a lot to report. We seem to be in a holding pattern today and maybe that is a good thing. I will post any updates on hatches, new eggs, and arrivals late today.

Thank you to the MN DNR, Achieva Credit Union, KNF, Kielder Forest, Farmer Derek, and the Cornell Bird Lab for their streaming cameras where I took my scaps.

Everyone loves Richmond

There is a lot of chattering going on around the ‘bird’ world and the one common word that binds people in the United Kingdom with those in San Francisco and Australia is: Osprey. Every continent has Osprey – some more than others. Many of my friends adore them above any of the other feathered friends because they ‘eat fish’. They are sometimes called ‘sea eagles’ but do not confuse them with White-Bellied Sea Eagles. Totally different.

Note the beautiful yellow eye, the dark line from that eye to the neck and the hooked beak. Wikimedia Commons.

You will find Ospreys on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. And there is no missing them. They have very distinctive plumage that helps them with the glare off of the water when they are hunting. See that black line going from the beak over the eyes and to the back of the head? That will stop the glare from the water so that their great vision, three times that of a human, can help them spot the fish swimming below the surface. If you watch American football you might recall that the players put a black line under their eyes to stop glare – something learned from the Osprey! The soles of their feet are different than other raptors. They are very rough with tiny little barbs. If they were a person you might recommend they go to get a pedicure – that is how rough those soles are. That rough surface helps them to hang on to wet slippery fish that do not want to be an Osprey’s dinner. They have four toes like all other raptors but the Ospreys can do something that others can’t – they can swivel one of those front toes to the back to help hold on to those wiggly fish. Brilliant.

Ospreys are smaller than a Bald Eagle but bigger than the large hawks. They weight 1500-2000 grams (3-4 pounds). They are about 54-58 cm long (21.3-22.8 inches) with a wingspan of 150-180 cm (59 to 79 inches). Their head, throat, and body along with their legs are mostly white. They have black and white banded tail feathers and distinctive black and white wings that bend at the joint. Their beak is black and shaped like a very sharp hook. Their eyes are a beautiful, beautiful yellow.

Feet first to catch those fish! NASA image. Wikimedia Commons.

Female Osprey are about 20-30% larger than the males. The females have a ‘necklace’ of feathers that is darker and more distinctive than the male.

Female in back, male in front. Note feathers at top of chest. Scap from Loch Arkaig FB Page.

Osprey’s have a distinctive dive and I do not have an image of it. Once they have spotted their prey, they bring their feet forward so they are even with their beak and then catch their prey feet first. They then latch on to the fish with those sharp talons. It is quite spectacular.

How large are the fish that the Osprey catch? The Osprey normally catches fish that are 15-30 cm in length (6-12 inches) and that weight less than 454 grams or a pound. The largest observed catch was 1250 grams or 2.5 pounds. Some researchers believe that they can easily carry up to half their weight.

Do Ospreys eat anything other than fish? The answer is actually yes. While the majority of their diet is fish, Osprey have been observed, on rare occasions, to eat other birds, voles, squirrels, muskrats, eels, and salamanders. Droughts really impact Osprey and their ability to thrive.

Note: Ospreys carry their fish with those amazing feet and talons. Wikimedia Commons.

The territory of an Osprey will be near a body of water – a lake, a river with lots of fish, along the shores of the oceans and seas. They build their nests off the ground to avoid predators. Originally, Ospreys made their nests in tall trees but, as you know, there is a shortage of structurally sound tall trees.

Those migrating to Canada have been known to make their nests on utility poles. Sadly, this is a huge problem because of electrocutions. So many died that petitions were sent to Manitoba Hydro, a public utility company. Near to Lake Winnipeg, that company began erecting nest platforms for the Osprey. Ospreys actually like human-made nests. It is said that if you provide a nest, the sea hawks will come. And many in Scotland will tell you that is true! Ospreys are loyal and generally return to the same nest year after year.

During the winter, Ospreys head to warmer climates returning to their breeding grounds in spring. Ospreys from the United Kingdom migrate to The Gambia or Senegal with some juveniles known to stay around the coastal areas of Spain. Ospreys from North America migrate to the southern parts of the United States along the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California, the coasts of Mexico and countries of Central America. Some Ospreys do not migrate. They include those living in warmer climates year round such as Australia, Singapore, other parts of Asia, and parts of the southern United States including Florida.

An Osprey adding twigs to the human-made nest. Wikimedia Commons.

Solly was born on a nest sitting on a barge at Port Lincoln, Australia. She is an Eastern Osprey and they are critically endangered. Look carefully and you can see the satellite transmitter on her back. She has a bright orange band on her left leg and a metal one on the right. Solly is easy to spot and many are taking her photograph as she travels the Eyre Peninsula of Australia moving north from her barge nest. I often report on her movements and from those the researchers are changing their minds about how far Ospreys travel from their natal nest.

One of the most famous Osprey couples has their nest on a 75 foot high World War II Whirley crane in Richmond.

Rosie and Richmond’s nest on an old crane overlooking SF Bay. SFBayOsprey Cam scap.

They are Rosie and Richmond and Richmond – well, everyone loves Richmond! Richmond is quite the character. He loves bringing blankets and stuffed toys up to the nest.

Richmond with the notorious blanket. Everyone took turns moving it about the nest. It was removed for safety reasons. SFBay Osprey Cam scap.

One of my most favourite Ospreys is Iris. She is not named after the flower but because she has some very distinctive spots on the iris of her left eye. Iris is the female at the Hellsgate Nest in Montana. For many, many years Iris and her mate, Stanley, nested at the site and raised many chicks. Stanley did not return in 2016. Iris’s new mate, Louis, has proven to be unreliable and the breeding seasons have been unproductive. While most Osprey are thought to live up to twenty-five years, Iris is believed to now be twenty-nine years old.

Iris with her distinctive left eye. Cornell Bird Cam, Hellsgate Osprey scap.

During the 2020 breeding season, Iris had simply ‘had it’. Louis, her mate, actually had another family. Iris laid her egg on the nest but Louis did not bring her food or come to relieve her. She had to leave the egg to eat – and, of course, the Ravens were watching and they came and ate it. Iris was not pleased. Then a squirrel climbed up the platform and was trying to get on the nest. Take the time to watch this video to the end. It is only four minutes long. I seriously would not mess with a female Osprey when they are having a bad day. I want to add that Iris was seen fishing and she sometimes returns to the nest. Everyone is hoping that she will come back for the 2021 season with a new partner.

Iris may help avian researchers understand how long wild Osprey can lay fertile eggs. We know that with Wandering Albatross, Wisdom, who is 69 years old is still raising chicks.

Iris is having a very bad day.

Ospreys raise only a single brood of chicks a year. There will be anywhere from one to four eggs. Both parents will incubate the eggs although many note that the female is there more than the male. The eggs are hard incubated from the time the first one is laid. This means that the last chick might hatch six days later than the first. This often results in siblicide where there are three or more chicks. The smallest is just that much smaller and seen as a threat to food resources. That said, I have seen Osprey parents do dual feedings, such as Loch Arkaig in Scotland, with three chicks growing up to fledge with no dominance issues. First pips are normally around thirty-six days. First flight dates really vary from 50 to sometimes as much as 60 days with 55 being the average. The chicks will use their natal nest as a home base. Parents will teach the juveniles to fish and will supplement them with fish they have caught for several months after fledging.

Ospreys were severely impacted by the use of DDT and their numbers declined rapidly. Many countries are working hard to reintroduce them to the wild. I highly recommend:

The Woodland Trust Loch Arkaig Nest in the Scottish Highlands. That URL is: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/osprey-cam/

You can find Richmond and Rosie at: http://sfbayospreys.org/

If you are interested in following Solly, the Eastern Osprey from Port Lincoln, go to: https://www.facebook.com/portlincolnosprey

You can reach the Kielder Osprey Nests through the following URL: https://www.visitkielder.com/play/discover/kielder-ospreys

If you have a favourite Osprey nest, please let me know. I would love to hear about it.

Update on Solly before I leave. Solly is now 157 days old. She spent yesterday back at Eba Anchorage. Locals say she is staying in a small marshy area near the town.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Hope to see you again soon!

Thank you to the streaming cams at SFBay Ospreys, Hellsgate Osprey by Cornell Lab Cams, Woodland Trust and Loch Arkaig, Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page and Wikimedia Commons.

Kakapo and more

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

Have you heard of Kakapo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s time for updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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