It’s a wonderful day in Bird World

It is always such a joy to wake up and see Big Red incubating an egg. There is something about the annual rhythm that is very reassuring. She was there all night but, at 6:36 Big Red turned incubation duty over to Arthur. Over the years Big Red has given Arthur a little more responsibility each year. This morning he was on the egg from 6:36-8:56 and again from 10:56-11:13. I wonder if she will allow him to feed and brood the eyases more, too???

Handsome Arthur with his light plumage and deep dark eyes.

Over the years Arthur has gotten more confident.

Big Red’s plumage colouring is darker than Arthur’s. Here you can see both of their beautiful tails – those red tails that define them as Red-Tail Hawks. Notice the way the wings fold and make a ‘V’. This is known as the scapular V and often individuals identify untagged birds through the patterning of the scapular V.

We are finally getting a glimpse at the MN DNR of that little one that started hatching at 6:27 on the 25th. Oh, the woes of trying to feed a little bobble head! Oh, a little bobble, so cute. In a couple of days this little one will know precisely what to do o grab that fish that its dad brought in!

Last year on 27 March, Osprey spotters in the UK had charted 52 sightings. This year there have been more than 100. The Welsh, the Scots, and the British love their Ospreys and they are so organized with web sites and keeping up on every arrival at monitored – and many unmonitored – nests. This is the type of interactive chart they have:

If you are keeping track, to date the latest arrival on a monitored nest is Blue 7A (14) at Esthwaite Water in the Lake District. This is Ozzy and his mate is unringed Olive, yet to arrive.

The most wonderful thing is to wake up and have breakfast with Big Red – as so many of her followers do. She is one of the most known and loved Red Tail Hawks in the world. But this morning I looked at the weather on my phone. I have all of the main nest sites that I watch listed. It was 23 degrees in St Petersburg, Florida when I woke up. I have been trying to get to the ‘why’ of the fish deliveries at this Osprey nest and thus, the nest competition leaving Tiny Tot behind. The graph that I have charted shows that when the temperatures in St. Pete’s are in the 27-30 range or there is a storm or it is windy (such as 30 kph), Jack does not bring fish to the nest. It just seems logical. Yet many Bald Eagles are very successful fishing in those conditions. So to test this, I wondered about this morning when it was 23 and no 29 like it was yesterday. In fact, last night I decided that I would not check on the Osprey nest with Tiny Tot until Tuesday. My heart had simply ached for the past two days and I didn’t think I could watch another one starve to death on a nest. But 23 degrees. Would this nest turn around yet again? It is clear from Tiny Tot’s actions that it wants to live. How this little one got its energy yesterday, I don’t know. But it tried being fed by walking around the rim of the nest. Sadly there were only 7 bites of fish left when it came its turn. This morning, a fish was brought in at 7:30. Tiny Tot persisted walking again up on the rim of the nest to where the mother was feeding. At 7:59 he was eating. Another fish was brought in at 9:48. Tiny Tot left with a big crop. Tiny Tot is smart and he has figured a work around to the two big siblings. The issue is the amount of food. As long as the fish are big enough and delivered close enough together Tiny has a chance.

You will have noticed that I continue to call Tiny Tot a ‘he’. You mostly hear the word used in falconry, the old medieval term tercel (UK) or tiercel (US). It refers to the belief that only 1 in 3 eggs is a male – the third. It also refers to the fact that male raptors are one-third smaller than the females. That is the reverse sex-size dimorphism.

You cannot tell the sex of a bird, for certain, without doing DNA testing or seeing them laying an egg like Big Red yesterday. Many experts have been fooled trying to use clues such as the size of the feet or the length of certain parts of their bodies. So, there is nothing saying that Tiny Tot is a small male. I don’t know!

Here is Tiny started to move to the rim to get fed, away from the big ones.

Bingo. There is fish left and Tiny gets a good feeding. The two others are satisfied and leaving him alone.

This is Tiny in front after having some of the second fish. Look at his crop. Just puts a big smile on my face.

I just want to close with a few quick images. Maybe some of these are your favourites. The first is Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in Wales eating a fish up on a tree branch. She is at the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn nest in Wales and she is waiting for her mate, Aran, to arrive from his winter migration.

Everything is absolutely fine at the GHOW nest near Newton, Kansas. Those owlets are growing like bad weeds. I wish I could crochet! Wouldn’t a white mohair beret with those colours and patterns look fantastic?

Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest nest on the shores of Lake Kincaid has really grown. As an only eaglet, s/he has grown big and been spoiled by first time parents, Anna and Louis.

And I will close where I began – with Big Red – my best raptor mother of the year, always! Thanks for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the weekend.

Thank you to the following streaming cams: KNF, Cornell Bird Lab, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Farmer Derek, MN DNR, and Achieva Osprey.

Bobbleheads and more Bobbleheads

The Bald Eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey had three eggs. There is something really interesting and ‘cute’ going on at this nest. The oldest chick was born on 26 February and the little one was born on 2 March. If the third egg is going to hatch we should be watching for pips today or tomorrow. This experienced gorgeous mom is going to have her hands full! And quite a few other mothers as there appears to be a glut of Bald Eagle nests with three eggs in them this year.

When the parent is not around the oldest one sends a message of dominance by bonking the little one. This drives me nuts because I am always afraid that one of them will be injured. These little guys are, however, remarkable in their resilience.

4 March 2021 Bonking @Duke Farms Eagle Cam
Look at me! I am the boss! @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

However, when the mother is feeding and the big one stands in front, the little one has already figured out how to stretch its neck to get food from mom.

Let’s see how far I can stretch over my big sib. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam
Ha, ha. I did it. Mom saw me. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

This is going to be interesting. At one time it actually gave the older sib a bit of a peck on the neck to get it to move so it could have a bite of fish! This little one is really smart. Those images were taken on 4 March 2021.

On 5 March, Mom has both lined up. There is not going to be any nonsense. Aren’t they precious?

One bite for you and another one for your sib. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

At the Harrison Bay Bald Eagle nest in Tennessee, Athena and Eliot have welcomed HB 17 and HB 18 on 4 March. Looks like we have another set of twins. There is one more egg to hatch on the HB nest. The streaming cam didn’t focus in on the little ones but you can sure make out that there are two wiggling underneath their mom.

If you want to keep abreast of these little ones, here is the link to the Harrison Bay Cam:

And the new dad at the Kisatchie National Forest nest (NNF) is one super provider. On 4 March, it looked like there were parts of at least eight fish on that nest. Mom and baby continue to improve their feeding and eating rituals. It looks like they are going to have to eat much more or the parents will be building the nest rails out of those fish with dad stacking them up more and more.

Food Security @KNF Streaming Cam
Ah, that’s right. I turn this way and you bite that way! We got this. @KNF Streaming Cam

Here is the link to the KNF nest in case you want to see these new parents continue to learn and their only little eaglet grow. Look closely. There is a cute little tail forming – that white line of feathers on its tiny little end. If you would like to try and name this little eaglet, please send your name suggestions before March 7 to: nameKNFeagle@gmail.com

This week has been absolutely crazy with Ospreys laying eggs, Bald Eagles laying eggs, Ospreys flying home to the UK to their nests, and with the arrival of spring the first Canada Geese and Bald Eagles arriving in Manitoba. It is impossible to keep track of each and everyone!

You might, however, be wondering about that Great Horned Owl that took over the Bald Eagle nest near Newton, Kansas. This morning Bonnie appears to be sitting higher on her nest, is much more alert, and is doing tiny little chirpy hoots. This gular fluttering could be a way to regulate her temperature since it is a little getting warmer. Gular fluttering is a vibration of the bird’s throat tissues. But it is only 53 degrees F. Could it also mean that there might be some hatching?

Oh, I want to surprise everyone including Clyde. @Derek the Farmer

The link to catch all the action of Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Horned Owls that stole a Bald Eagle Nest is here:

Have a fabulous Friday everyone. Thanks for joining our check in on ‘the birds and their babies’.

Thanks to the following streaming cams listed under the captured shots.

Richmond and Rosie together!

Richmond was flying around the SF Bay area and arrived at the nest to check on things and bring a piece of fish to Rosie in case she had returned from migration. That was nine days ago, just after Valentine’s Day, 16 February 2021. That is brilliant Richmond. You know she is on her way home to you.

Where’s Rosie? I have a late Valentine present.

Rosie returns landing on the nest on 18 February. It was her shortest winter migration ever. Wonder how Richmond knew to expect her? She was only away from the Whirly crane nest for 154 days. She sits resting and waiting for Richmond to find her on the nest.

Rosie having a rest. Third eyelid closed.

Then early on the morning of 25 February 2021 magic happens. Rosie is waiting at the nest. What a beautiful view she has. The sun is just coming up.

Sunrise over SF Bay.

Here comes Richmond! Hello Rosie. Did you miss me?

Here I come, Rosie.

Not sure Richmond’s grand entry was what Rosie was expecting but it is, Richmond, after all. What a crazy Osprey he is! They have been apart now for a little over five months.

If you want a warm welcome, land on the nest!

Rosie gives Richmond a flip of her wings and he pretends he is a hovercraft. Gosh the hovering that these sea eagles do is amazing. Rosie looks up at him adoringly.

You do that rather well, Richmond.

Richmond decides to take a spin around the Whirley Crane. So happy. Both are back home and ready for another season!

Bye Richmond.

Richmond is a character and he and Rosie have successfully managed an Osprey nest with three chicks to fledge several times. Incredible! But the one thing everyone loves is when Richmond brings something interesting to the nest. He is notorious for this. Once it was a blanket, then a number of stuffed toys including a monkey and another time it was an apron with a person’s name on it. In 2018, he brought a red hat to Rosie and the three chicks that everyone played with for awhile.

Richmond’s kids playing with the red hat, 2018.

Richmond and Rosie are experienced parents. And again, raising a nest of three Osprey chicks is no easy feat. This is the type of rivalry that can go on and yet, the three survived to fledge. Yahoo, Richmond and Rosie!

Who’s the boss around here? Me, me, me.

Moving from San Francisco Bay and the experienced and successful nest of Richmond and Rosie to the central part of the bayou in Louisiana. This is the nest of the new couple at Kisatchie National Park. It was a busy first twenty-four hours for this young mother brooding her little one. Right around 23:29:19 a racoon tried to get up to the nest. The female was alert and she successfully defended the nest and her tiny, tiny eaglet.

An intruder is coming up the side of the nest!

Their first and only eaglet of the season hatched at 11 pm on the 23rd. It is now 36 hours old. Below is a picture of it in the big nest on the morning of the 25th. The eaglet is 34 hours old. The father has really filled the nest with food. He is a fantastic provider. The eaglet looks so little next to the fish.

So tiny in that big nest!

A challenge for this first time mother is how to feed their baby. The eaglet and the mother know by instinct that it is beak to beak. However, the mother is always either too close or the sight line for the little one is off a bit. Fish goes on its head and on the side of the face with a few bits getting into its mouth. These two need to begin to coordinate so that this little one will thrive. They are both trying – it is hard to hit a slightly moving target, the mouth of that little bobble head. Sometimes the mother tries to push the fish into the little one’s mouth. She is trying very hard. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for them. The eaglet will survive on the contents of the egg for about twenty four hours (or so I am told).

In the image below both of the parents are there caring for their wee one.

New parents adoring their day old baby.

The young mother seems to get a little frustrated when the eaglet will not open its beak wide enough. She will get the hang of it. It is hard to realize just how small the bites are these wee ones can eat!

Open wider so I can get the fish in, please!

Everyone knows what to do. They just need to meet up at the right time like Rosie and Richmond! We will keep a close watch on these two nests for developments.

Thank you for joining me. Have a fantastic day. Updates on other nests will be posted in about nine hours.

Thank you to the streaming can at the KNF Eagle Nest and the SF Bay Ospreys and the Audubon Society for the streaming cam for Richmond and Rosie.

Just hatched…a new bobble head!

Wow. This is really special. A pair of Bald Eagles came to visit a nest in Central Louisiana last year. It did not appear to belong to anyone. No other Bald Eagles flew in to chase them away. With the growing number of Bald Eagles, this seems almost impossible but, yes, the nest was not in use. In fact, it had been abandoned since 2013 when the pair that had used it for so very, very long no longer laid eggs. It is assumed that they were too old to breed. That mated couple kept the territory until last year. The nest is in a tree approximately 30.8 metres or 105 feet off the ground in Kisatchie National Forest. Isn’t this just a beautiful place for a nest?

Kisatchie Bayou. 2010. Wikimedia Commons.

The visitors from last year returned again this year. Little is known about them except that they looked to be very young adults last year. That couple have now claimed the nest and the territory. The female laid her first egg, the first in this nest in eight years, between 15-18 January. This cute wee one was born at 11pm on 23 February 2021. How exciting. As I write this, that chick is not yet a day old. One egg, one successful hatch. Let us hope for a successful fledge for this young pair.

The very first pip. You can see that important egg tooth and the beak.

The young mother looks down at the wonderment that is about to happen – the pip of her first egg! Dad is standing by the rim of the nest watching everything. It must be so magical for them.

It is hard work getting out of those thick shells but this little one now has a large hole and it can get its foot out.

Just born and tired. 11pm 23 February.

A few hours later. The natal down has dried off and the hatchling is actually quite strong.

Looking down with love at that little bundle of natal down. Her first eaglet!

In fact, both parents were so excited today that they spent some time together brooding their little one and sharing the moment.

There is plenty of fish in the pantry: a Sacalait or Crappie, a White Perch, and it looks like a sucker.

What a darling. It is a bit of a bobblehead and it is hard for this young parent to land a bite of that beautiful fish but they will both figure it out soon.

This is a nest that I am going to recommend watching. My reasoning is simple. The sibling rivalry that occurs at Bald Eagle nests where there are two eaglets, never mind three, can be very alarming. These are new parents who both seem totally involved with this first baby of theirs. That is another reason. You can find the stream cam here:

Oh, what a wonderful day. That little eaglet is almost twenty-four hours old. Let’s all wish it a long and healthy life.

Thank you for joining me and thanks to the KNF Eagle Streaming Cam. That is where I got my scaps. And thank you to Wikimedia Commons.