Awww…..Thursday in Bird World looks like it will be a good day

Sometimes it just feels like it is going to be a good day the minute you click on a streaming cam to check on the birds and you see the little ones are being fed. That is what happened when I went to peek on the Cowlitz Osprey Nest. Wattsworth had brought in a fish. I did not stop to see how big it was because both chicks were up being fed by Electra. It is just all good. Of course, 3 more fish today or – how about 4? – would be magnificent.

Oh, and a fish had just been brought in by White YW to the Foulshaw Moss Nest- was I ever lucky. There is no rewind on their camera.

Just look at Tiny Little Bob’s face when White YW brings in that fish. You can almost hear him screaming, “Hurry up Dad before the big guys notice there is a fish!”

For the first time Tiny Little Bob’s eyes look great. I was so worried that Big Bob had damaged his eyes but just look at them popping out today – and that crop. Doin the happy dance.

Notice how Tiny got right up there in the sweet spot for the food. Oh, this little one is clever. I am also seeing that the big ones are not being aggressive towards Tiny Little Bob anymore. I don’t know what Blue 35 did but she did something to get those two big ones to stop tormenting Tiny Little Bob.

And look, Tiny Little Bob is getting some fat on his cute little bottom and his wings are filling out. This is all good news. Such a relief. I think he might be another one of those tiny little third hatches that goes on the list of survivors who turn out to do great things.

Wonder if they are going to band these three – surely they will. Must check!

And the other Tiny Tot is doing really well. It is always a good day when he turns up on the nest just to say ‘hi’. I suspect from looking at him that he has been fed off nest sometime this morning. He had quite the time with the intruders yesterday. Hopefully the nest will be quiet today.

The fledge watch on the Red tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus remains. Little K3 seems to like to live on the wild side going around and almost falling off the nest. Arthur made a quick chippie drop this morning and got out quick. It is a warm summer day but even as the three walk around on the grate no one seems quite ready to fly.

K3 really wins the award for cute hawk poses! Look at that adorable face.

The other good news is that K2 is eating well and seems to be looking better this morning. She could not close her beak yesterday and appeared to have issues around her eye. Warm wishes for getting everything sorted before fledge! Last year J2 fledged first. J1 was a big beautiful female. She actually fledged last – on the same day as J3 but after. I wonder if she was not as confident a flyer? or at least felt she wasn’t? It always bothers me that such an elegant bird broke her neck flying into Weill – a building on the Cornell Campus that should have window treatments so birds do not hit them! Seriously.

Idris caught another whopper today. The two Bobs on the Dyfi Nest and Telyn are full from the top of their crop to the tip of their talons!

These two are really looking nice and healthy. Awww Idris, you are amazing. You keep this up and in years to come you might get a wall with a perch, too, just like Monty, Telyn’s former mate.

You can watch all the action at the Dyfi Nest here:

One of the birds that we have not checked on lately are those parrots that do not fly, the Kakapo. I was reminded of this today when the post arrived and there was the adoption certificate for Rangi.

Many of the not for profits or various government agencies have adoption schemes to help fund the work they do. For example, the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre has certificates and photographs of Aran and Mrs G and their chicks last year if you adopt the family. The money goes directly towards what is needed at the centre. Everyone is a volunteer. There is no big board of directors getting funds. The volunteers are still helping to feed Aran and Mrs G in Wales.

As for Rangi, my adopted Kakapo. He is a bit of a character.

@ Kakapo Recovery Twitter Feed. 2019

He was transferred to Whenua Hou in 1987. The minute he was out and free Rangi went and hid. He was not located again until 2009. Twenty-one years they couldn’t find him! Thank goodness these flightless parrots live for about 90 years if they are not harmed by pests or disease.

Today, visits are made by researchers and conservation officers to change the batteries in the satellite GPS trackers of the birds. They are given health checks and moved off island if necessary to a wildlife clinic in Dunedin, New Zealand (normally).

The Kakapo are only found in New Zealand and they are critically endangered. These non-flying parrot like birds exist only on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, Anchor Island and Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island. There are only 204 Kakapo in the world. According to the Kakapo Recovery Information Page:

The history of kākāpō is a story of drama, despair and hope. Before humans arrived, kākāpō were abundant throughout New Zealand. Population numbers dropped swiftly due to hunting, introduced predators and land clearance. Conservation efforts began in 1894, but by the mid-1900s, kākāpō teetered on the edge of extinction.

The biggest threats are infertility, genetic inbreeding, pests and vermin such as Pacific Rats and cats, as well as diseases. Here is a great coloured document giving the history of the Kakapo, the threats, and the hope.

Each wildlife centre, streaming cam, and conservation group has different adoption and donation plans. One day I want to write about them in an effort to try and sort out the individuals who monetize the birds for their own personal gain and those that really do help to conserve and protect. It is like a minefield out there! That said, it is really beneficial to give to those organizations that run on donations such as the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre, Foulshaw Moss (Cumbria Wildlife, etc). You might want to begin thinking about a way to help the birds and also have a gift to give to your grandchildren – or yourself! I am in awe of all the fundraising that The Friends of Loch Arkaig FB group undertake. Their last big project was a drawing turned into a print. The gorgeous detailed drawing was donated by Laura Grady – quite a talent. She did a great job capturing Louis and Aila.

So there are small groups working hard to help the various birds and their nests. Foulshaw Moss estimates that it costs 11,000 GBP to run their streaming cams. They also depend on donations.

But before you donate please do some checking. If you are wanting to help a bird that has been injured with the vet bills, for example – check and make sure that the vets are not donating their own time and expertise to the project or check to make sure that you are donating to the right agency. Send them an e-mail and ask! I am aware that a number of people wanted to help with the vet bills of a particular bird and donated to the streaming cam by accident a couple of years ago. It can happen so please check. Many groups also issue tax receipts so ask about that also!

Tomorrow is World Albatross Day!

Thank you for joining me today. I hope the weather is nice where ever you are and you can see some of your local birds or at least hear them. Take care. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen captures: Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and the Dyfi Osprey Project.

Tides…and Fledging

I went to check on the Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Nest last evening. When I looked there was water flooding the area. For a second, panic hit. You might recall that this Osprey Nest in Spain has already had one historic event – the hatch of the Albino chick – and one tragedy, its death. I could only imagine the water so high washing away the nest.

And then, I was taken back several years ago. We had moved from the Canadian Prairies to the coast and one of the things that was such a joy was going to the beach! Often the 8 year old neighbour boy with go with us and our son. The first day we had such a great time that I told Brandon we would pick him up the next day at the same time. When we got to the beach though, there was no water! People that live inland do not know about tides!!!!!! And guess what? That was precisely what was happening at Urdaibai. The high tide was flooding the marsh area below. The camera angle made it look like the water was going to wash that nest away – my heart sunk. So have a laugh on me – a big giggle. I was so relieved.

You can see from the sequence of the tide coming in below.

There are the two little osplets this morning of Landra and Roy’s. They are just starting to enter the Reptile phase. You can see the copper feathers coming in on their head and neck and they are becoming ‘darker’ in colour.

And here is their beautiful mom, Landa. I do not know who she is named after but Roy is named after Roy Dennis of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust. It was Dennis who helped translocate the ospreys from Scotland to Urdaibai to try and establish an Osprey colony here.

You can watch this Osprey family at the Urdaibai Biosphere here:

For some reason all of the streaming cams seem to be set on a ‘soft’ setting or are slightly out of focus. Last night Tiny Tot was sitting on the perch at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Tiny had four fish – FOUR – yesterday. He should have been about to pop! But how nice for this juvenile that has consistently kept the intruders off the nest. Look closely. See how long his feathers are getting. Tiny Tot is such a magnificent bird and to think there were days when we did not even know if he would be alive the nest morning. Just so happy for this little one.

Speaking of feathers, the bars on the tail of at least one of Big Red and Arthur’s Ks is now five. Laura Culley says they need five for fledge and it is better if there are six. Look below. You can count them.

That same K has been standing over on the fledge ledge this morning right where Big Red told her to take her first flight!

You might want to watch Big Red and the Ks. Fledge watch is really on. One of the clues is when Big Red leaves them alone at night. She left them alone last night so we are getting close! Big Red is so smart.

If the weather gets bad and Big Red believes that their flight will not be successful, her and Arthur will bring lots of prey to the nest to keep them full and happy. Wet feathers do not help! It is one reason that the Royal Albatross have to get all of that fluffy down off of their bodies before they fledge. We will be watching for that in September!

If there is nothing – like a thunderstorm -that would compromise the fledge, Big Red and Arthur are often flying around, across the street, tempting the little ones to ‘take the leap and realize their potential as birds’. Gosh, us humans can only sit back and want to flap our wings and jump and take off!

There are a couple who work at Cornell that have live streaming, Karel and Cindy Sedlacek. Once the Ks fledge, these two will find them on campus and show us what they are doing. I will post the link so you can watch all the action. It is really quite interesting to watch Big Red and Arthur teach their kiddos how to hunt. But even seeing Arthur fly like he is a Peregrine Falcon to catch a squirrel is incredible.

So what should you expect after the Red-tail Hawks fledge? During the first 3 to 6 weeks, the Ks will be learning to control their flight. They will be practising landing and taking off. Big Red and Arthur will still be feeding them. We can expect that they will be catching bugs. They have to learn to control their flight before they can catch things that run away! The first three weeks their activity levels double. They will do what is called perch to ground forays trying to catch things – that means leaving a branch where they might have been hiding and going to the ground to try and catch prey. They sometimes learn to hold things in their talons by playing ‘soccer’ with pinecones! After that they will be perfecting their hunting and flying skills. They will discover thermals and soar – and then, it will be close to the time they leave Big Red and Arthur’s territory and go out on their own.

Additionally, Big Red and Arthur move them around the Campus. First they will be across the street around the Fernow Building and Rice Tower. The adults will gradually add to the territory until such time that they are out by Holy Cow and the fields. It is all very organized!

I so wish someone would take on a research project so these kiddos could be banded. How far away do Arthur and Big Red’s chicks go from the natal nest? Do they migrate? or do they stay in the area over the winter like Big Red and Arthur? Did they survive? We know that Big Red travelled about seven miles from her nest in Brooktondale to Ithaca but Arthur, like other males, stayed closer to his natal nest. He just went about a short way – I think Arthur’s parents nest is over by the cemetery – to find Big Red and woo her. That territory of Arthur’s parents is adjacent to Big Red and Arthur’s. It is hard just to watch the juveniles soar into the sky one day and never see them again.

Thank you for joining me today! Have a giggle on me about the tides and then remember that if you are ever caught in the same situation. Join us as we wait for Big Red’s chicks to fledge. It is so exciting. At Cowliz, Electra and the chicks are still waiting for fish. Tiny Little Tot on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest has had a good feed and it looks like most of the nests are doing just fine on a Monday.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, and Urdaibai Biosphere Park.