Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Sydney White-Bellied Sea Eaglets

There was concern that siblicide was occurring on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is time to put those fears aside. Prey delivery has become regularized and the two are fed regularly, growing, and are becoming curious about what is happening outside the nest.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are Australia’s second largest bird of prey. They have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6-7 feet. They weigh up to 4.2 kg or 9 lbs. The female is larger and weighs more than the male. This is known as reverse sex size dimorphism. The adults on the Sydney Olympic Park Ironbark Tree are Lady and Dad. There have been a succession of breeding couples using this tree nest for decades.

In 2021, WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July at 4:57 and WBSE 28 hatched 31 July at 5:48 pm. Just to remind you how tiny they were here are two images in those first few days.

In the first image WBSE 27 was not quite 24 hours old.

In this one, WBSE is not quite 24 hours old and WBSE 27 is almost 48 hours old. You can clearly see the egg tooth, the white piece on the tip of the beak that helps them break through the hard egg shell.

Now look at the two of them. WBSE 27 is on the right with WBSE 28 on the left. You can see how 48 hours difference in age impacts the growth of the juvenile feathers.

In terms of the development, we are entering weeks 5 and 6. By week 5, the chicks will still have their white down. Pin feathers will appear on the shoulders, the back and the wing tips. If you look at the image above you can see these dark feathers coming in on each of the chicks. They should be standing on both feet, checking out the nest, and trying to pick up food. They may start to flap their wings. As we get to week 6, more and more of the dark feathers will begin to show all over the chick’s body. They will preen a considerable amount of time per day. They will now do more wing flapping and standing on both of their feet without the aid of the wings. They will continue efforts at self-feeding (if allowed, Lady does love to feed them!).

Looking forward to developments during week 7, the chicks will do a lot more preening as the dark brown juvenile feathers will continue to grow over their entire bodies. It has to be really itchy – those feathers coming in. Their tail will become noticeable. When they sit they may spread their wings. You may see them begin mantling. They will become more steady on their feet. One notable change is the chick’s interest in grapsing twigs and food with their feet. They should continue to work on self-feeding but this, of course, depends on whether or not prey is left on the nest for them to practice.

WBSE 27 is standing nicely on his feet. WBSE 28 still has a crop from an earlier feeding. You can really see how many wing feathers are coming in. Just look at that little tail developing.

It looks like 28 has a bit of a food coma. 27 is busy looking at what is happening outside the nest.

WBSE continues to work on its balance. Notice how it is holding out its wings for balance. Often the birds will use the tip of the win to keep them steady on their feet. By the end of the 6th week, they should be standing without using the wings. WBSE 28 is working hard to do this.

WBSE is also curious as to what the adult is doing up on the branch. Notice how 28 is sitting with its wings loose to the sides. Sometimes I find that the chicks on the nest are actually ahead of the development scales for that week.

Lady has come a long way in her parenting skills. Both chicks wait their turn to be fed. She will give 28 a few bites and then 27 and then back to 28. This method has given the chicks food security and reduced the pecking of 28 by 27.

Lady always looks like she is smiling to me.

Here is the link to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Thank you so much for joining me. I know that there are so many people who love these little eagles and I wanted to reassure all that the nest is very calm and peaceful and the chicks are developing normally. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Friday Morning in Bird World

Have you ever started looking for something and found something else, equally as interesting? As it happens, yesterday I was looking for a short film about a Japanese man living in Hokkaido with his falcon. What was found was a new film released on 1 June 2021.

The documentary is the story of the only African American falconer, Rodney Stotts. Stotts says falconering for him is all about second chances – for people and for the birds. Have a look at the trailer for The Falconer:

Yesterday there seemed to be no news in Bird World and then there was. Do you follow the Welsh Osprey Nests? If you do, you will recognize the name Aran immediately because he is currently Mrs G’s mate. Aran injured his wing (primary flight feathers) at the end of May or beginning of June. He had been battling crows around the nest and then the storm came. No one knows how he got his injury. No one saw. But he was unable to provide fish for the nest while Mrs G was hatching the chicks. The volunteers and people of Glaslyn set up a fish table for Aran and Mrs G. They lost their chicks and both have been rebuilding their strength.

Yesterday, Aran was in a ferocious battle with a blue ringed bird a distance enough from the nest that it caught the attention of Elfyn Lewis of the Glaslyn FB group who posted the following image that made the rounds of several groups so I am reposting it here. Aran is the bird on the bottom. The white is the injury he sustained earlier. Are there birds attempting to usurp Aran from the Glaslyn nest? Always it would seem.

@ Elfyn Lewis

Other news comes out of Hawaii. The State of Hawaii bans the release of ‘Albatross Killing helium balloons’. It seems they are not banning the balloons but the intentional release of them. Here is that announcement through the AP:

https://apnews.com/article/hawaii-environment-and-nature-government-and-politics-fb9c1cd959ffaad608f08610be548428

What child does not love a balloon? and how many young women did I see lined up at a shop with balloons in hand for a party the other day? The question is how to dispose of them properly — and it isn’t sending them off in the air with wishes attached! Release the air, put them safely in a scrapbook, etc. Or eliminate balloons from festivities altogether. It is not only the helium balloons that injure the birds, it is also the normal ones that blow away in the wind. It is a good way to educate your children about the many challenges the birds face and that balloons and strings can kill them.

Speaking of Albatross, the Royal Cam chick, Taiki, is now 165 days old (nest time). On 5 July she weighed 8.3 kg or 18.3 lbs. She will be stabilizing her weight so that she can fledge in mid-September. Her dad, Lime-Green-Black (LGK) has now travelled over 42,000 km or 26,000 miles in total since he received his satellite tracker in February to feed his precious chick. (The mother is alive but her tracker stopped working).

It is still two months until Taiki fledges in mid-September. She is just getting her beautiful black wings, she is building play nests, and the parents are flying in to feed her. It is all very interesting and it is such a calm nest to watch. The Rangers weigh all of the chicks on Tuesday morning and that is fascinating to watch also. Humiliating for such a beautiful girl to be stuffed in a laundry basket but – it is necessary. Supplementary feedings are given should any of the chicks require it. NZ really takes good care of their birds! As North American streaming cams wind down for the breeding season, why not have a look at some of the amazing birds in the Southern hemisphere?

Taiki stretches her wings and flaps them to help them get strong.

Here is the link to the Royal Cam chick on Taiaroa Head New Zealand:

Lady and Dad will be on hatch watch in about two weeks time. This is the only White Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in the world. These beautiful birds are the second largest group of eagles in Australia. The nest is in an old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is not always an easy nest to watch because their can be sibling rivalry but the sea eagle chicks are so cute and the juvenile plumage is simply gorgeous.

If you are a lover of Ospreys, there is still plenty of action in the UK nests where the nestlings have fledged or are getting ready to fledge. They will be around for another five weeks or so until they leave for their migration to Africa.

In Australia, the Osprey couple on the barge in Port Lincoln have just finished lining their nest with soft materials and the streaming cam is now live. These are the parents of Solly and DEW. Solly is the female Osprey with the satellite tracker. This is also not an easy nest to watch because of siblicide.

There are two falcon cams in Australia. One is on year round and the other, the CBD Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, will start once the falcons are back in the scrape box. Here is the link to Xavier and Diamond’s scrape box on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Stuart University. No one knows what will happen this year. The couples’ 9 month old son, Izzi, still continues to come to the scrape box and might even believe it is his own home. In the UK, chicks from an earlier hatch have helped the parents raise their new brood. In Australia, we watch and wait!

In Eastern Europe, there has been some concern over the amount of prey being brought in to the little Golden Eaglet in Buconovia, Romania. Lady Hawk was able to capture the delivery of a hare by the father and a really good feeding yesterday. That is excellent news! When the camera was first installed he was afraid of it and he is becoming more comfortable day by day.

That’s it for Friday. The Achieva Osprey Nest has not return visit from Tiny Tot and Electra is at the nest less and less. The Canadian chicks in Alberta seem to be doing fine as is Kindness up in the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest. Fingers crossed for continuing good health to all the birds.

Thank you for joining me today in Bird World. Have a wonderful Friday. Take care, stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC Albatross Cam.

White-Bellied Sea Eagles and the birds that visit their nest

In a 2014 article in The Smithsonian Magazine, Rachel Neuwer asks why there is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in a Renaissance image of the Virgin and child, Madonna della Vittoria. Rebecca Mead examines the image by Andrea Mantegna, painted in 1496. You can see the painting of the Madonna and child with saints in the article below (sorry, it has a copyright so I can’t show it). The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is above the Virgin’s part in her hair a little to the left.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-there-australian-cockatoo-italian-renaissance-painting-180950227/

As I drank my morning coffee several days ago, I flipped through the latest New Yorker. In that 5 July edition, there is an article, Invasive Species.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/07/05/where-did-that-cockatoo-come-from

Each writer considers how the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo made its way from AustralAsia all the way to Italy focusing on the initial discovery of the bird in the painting by Heather Dalton, a British historian living in Australia.

The Mantegna is not, however, the first time that a parrot is included in a picture. Parrots show up in the murals of Pompeii, the Italian city buried by ash when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. They are also the subject of floor mosaics in the region. Indeed, exotic birds (not just parrots) appear as subjects in many mosaics and frescoes in the Roman domus.

Alexander the Great’s army went as far as parts of India before stopping on their eastern expansion of his empire. Their presence on what is today the Indian subcontinent heavily influenced the art of the Gandharan region. In turn, Alexander acquired a parrot from the Punjab in 327 BCE. If parrots were in Italy 1700 years before the Mantegna, one might begin to ask what is all the fuss? The Barber Institute of Fine Art in Birmingham, England hosted an exhibition solely on parrots in art in 2007. They were exotic, they were status symbols, and it appears that they were present in the art of the Italian Peninsula for some 2400 years to today. Of course, they were not all Sulphur-headed Cockatoos and that could well be the reason for the continuing discussion about the Mantegna. Other species of parrots came from the southeastern coast of Africa and from the region of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos originate in Australia and the islands of Indonesia and it was surely the trade through the islands of Indonesia that spirited the bird all the way to the port of Venice along with black peppercorns and other spices.

“20121210 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) – a first-time visitor” by Degilbo on flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are extraordinarily beautiful and are the largest of the white parrots. I have never seen them in the wild. Indeed, it was not until I watched the White-Bellied Sea Eagle streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park that I heard them before I saw them. It sounded like someone being murdered in the forest! Seriously. One of the moderators answered the question, “What is that?” Later, these lovelies were seen climbing all over the old Ironbark Tree.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are nut, root, and fruit eaters and live for up to eighty years. They make their nests in tree hollows where the female lays one to three eggs. Those eggs are incubated for thirty days. The little ones remain in the nest being fed by the parents for a period of approximately sixty-five days after hatch. The breeding season for these parrots is August to January in the Southern Hemisphere.

Why am I talking about these parrots today? It is because of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE), Lady and Dad. The two eggs that Lady has been incubating will be hatching in approximately two weeks. There is a live streaming cam that is on day and night, 24/7 year round except for maintenance. If you like birds of Australia, you can often see them coming and going around the Sea Eagles nest. The birds are either curious as to what is going on in the nest or they would like the Sea Eagles to leave! The streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park is the only one in the world that observes the second largest eagles in Australia.

It is in the middle of the night. This is the WBSE nest in the Ironbark Tree in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park.

The Rainbow Lorikeets are curious. They come as a group climbing all over the branches of the tree. They are easy to spot!

“rainbow lorikeets” by cskk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every once in awhile the Galahs come to the Ironbark Tree. I think they are adorable. One of the WBSE chatters from Australia said that if anyone visits Australia and someone calls them a ‘Galah’, it is an insult meaning the person is not very smart. I have no idea how the Galah got that reputation except that I have seen several in the talons of Peregrine falcons in Australia.

“Galahs in Love” by David Cook Wildlife Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Noisy Miners are definitely heard before they are seen. They are a constant in the forest around the WBSE Nest.

“Noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) (24 – 27 centimetres)” by Geoff Whalan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Pied Currawong flits around the WBSE nest all the time. I do not like them! Once the nestlings have fledged the Currawongs gather and try to chase them out of the forest. They did this on the first try with WBSE 25 last year and during the re-fledging of WBSE 26.

“Pied Currawong” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Then there is the smallest owl in Australia, the BooBook. Isn’t it cute? This owl, like all others, flies silently and it can see very well in the dark. It comes in the night hitting the WBSE has they roost for the night. They fly low over the nestlings trying to hit them and make them leave. One attack injured Lady’s eye last year. Despite their size they are to be taken very seriously. The BooBook often has a nest in the forest the same time as the WBSE so it is very protective and wants the eagles gone for fear they will eat its young.

“Boobook owl” by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is a compilation video of Lady and Dad after the first egg was laid through the 23rd of June. It shows the actual labour of the second egg and a changing of the incubation shift from Lady to Dad.

Here is the link to watch the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park:

https://www.twitch.tv/seaeaglecam

Be sure to check out the time difference. One of the most beautiful moments of the day is when the adults do a duet at sunrise. It is an amazing way to start the day. It wakes up the forest but it is also a continuous bonding method between the birds. The nestlings will join in with their parents when they are older. It will warm your heart. Here3 is a video clip I made after Lady laid the first egg. She leaves the nest and joins Dad on the branch for the singing.

Thank you for joining me today. It is now three days since Tiny Tot was at the nest. We are all having Tiny withdrawal. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the WBSE Streaming Cam, BirdLife Australia, and the Discovery Centre and Twitch TV where I took my screen shots and video clips.

Bird World – late Monday and early Tuesday ramblings

It has been a day for extreme weather. 44 degrees C in the Pacific Northwest and a snow storm on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, home to the Northern Royal Albatross colony and their chicks. It is 38 degrees C – and ‘boiling’ my friend living at the base of the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia said. It is 24 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida where Tiny Tot lives and 27 degrees C in Ithaca, NY where the Ks live. It is 27 degrees where I am on the Canadian prairies with the temperature climbing to 36 degrees C in a couple of days. We will fill extra bowls of water and try and find a sprinkler for the birds as well as keeping their feeders topped up.

Our local crow colony displayed some interesting behaviours in the late afternoon. First, two were on sentry duty on the telephone poles nearby. Each was making a different alarm. Then four other crows flew in and over our house. They were quickly joined by another five or six until 19 crows were in our front tree. We did not see the Great Horned Owl that lives over on the golf course coming to check if there are any nests it could raid. So we are still left wondering what was going on.

Crows defend their territory by summoning friends and relatives to help them annoy the intruder enough so it leaves in our neighbourhood. As things settled down, Mr Blue Jay flew out of the trees to come for his 5pm bath and food but, something alerted him and he decided he would wait. I don’t blame him. Those crows were really in a dither! The intruder remains a mystery.

All of this got me to thinking about Electra. Electra, if you do not know, is the mate of Wattsworth at the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest in Longview, Washington. Electra hatched two chicks this year. The nest is notorious for not having sufficient food and the chicks dying. This year there was one siblicide and yesterday, a chick with promise -if enough food came in- died of heat stroke. It was the first known Osprey death due to the extreme heat in the region but it is very possible that it will not be the last. Electra was out fishing since Wattsworth seems incapable. Believe me I have a lot I could say about him! But, right now I want to pull my human heart out of the equation and look at Electra’s behaviour in light of Aran’s present to Mrs G today. So, I want to rewind and I needed to go for a walk to think this through.

Electra leaves the nest to go and fish for her and the remaining chick. When she returns, that chick has died due to the extreme heat on the nest. Electra has a fish that was for her and the chick. Wattsworth arrives at the nest. Electra refuses to give Wattsworth any fish. Then Electra stays on the nest, fish in her talon. There is no need to brood a little one. It is dark and is unsafe for her to fly. Some Ospreys are known to fish in the night – certainly Louis at Loch Arkaig would fish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed Aila and the three chicks last year. But Electra is going to hold tight on the nest until dawn breaks. She then leaves the nest taking the fish with her. Electra’s motherly duties are over. It is unclear what the nest actually signifies to Electra now that the chicks are dead. We know that Aran brings Mrs G a fish today as a means of bonding. Iris returns to her nest to renovate. But what, if anything, this place is to Electra right now is not known.

Electra returns to the nest with what I want to call a ‘fish tail’ later. It certainly wasn’t the big hunk of fish she had with her last night. It could be what remains of it. There is no one to feed on the nest. So why is she up there with a fish? She could eat it on a tree branch in the cool shade of the river, right? That would have been the smart thing to do to do in this heat. She is horrifically hot, panting hard to try and cool herself.

I know of two male Ospreys who like to steal the fish from their mates – you possibly know many more! But I am thinking of Louis and Iris and now Wattsworth and Electra. I am also beginning to consider the need to bond after a tragedy. We see that with Aran and Mrs G. The need for Aran to be able to provide for Mrs G and for her to accept the fish from him.

Electra is looking and calling while she is on the nest with the fish. I now believe that she was calling for Wattsworth. I also believe that she was going to give the small fish piece to him. It doesn’t matter what I think of Wattsworth. Electra needs to bond with her mate after the death of her last chick. It is precisely what is happening on the Glaslyn Nest. Aran and Mrs G are bonding, too. This is just another way to look at the behaviour of Electra. The reality is we will never really know. We all wish her well.

The big winner in the fish category today had to be Tiny Tot over on the Achieva Credit Union’s Osprey Nest. My goodness, gracious. Jack came in with a fish for Tiny Tot at 6:41:16 and it was a whopper. I wish we could have seen Tiny’s eyes – they were probably popping out! But never fear. Tiny Tot learned its lesson months ago – you sit there and eat that fish as fast as you can because someone might come along and want to steal it. And you never ever leave anything on your plate!

Tiny Tot must have thought she had won the lottery. Jack has certainly been very good to make sure that Tiny gets fed. I would like to think that he is making up for when Tiny Tot was starving to death but, that would be putting another human spin on things. Obviously, Jack likes Tiny around. She protects the nest and he isn’t in any hurry for her to move on or he would stop bringing fish. It is a sweet deal for both of them. Jack doesn’t have to worry about getting injured fighting off an intruder. He can spend his time down by the water fishing and bringing Tiny Tot a few fish each day. Tiny is getting heaps of real life experience. Personally I am glad that he is feeding Tiny Tot. If she is to be the survivor of the chicks on this nest (the average is only one out of three), then the longer she is fed and the longer she stays on this nest, the better equipped she will be if she ever leaves the nest. Tiny is a bit like Izzi, the Peregrine Falcon juvenile, of Xavier and Diamond. Izzy is still around the scrape box and she should have left for his own territory long ago. But that is another story for another day. There should be no worries about Tiny being able to fish. It is embedded in them. Jack doesn’t have to teach her. That is ingrained into her and every other Osprey and has been for 65 million years. Now she might not be as good a fisher as an osprey more experienced but she knows the moves and just has to find fish. I loved the stories of Bellie in Belle’s Journey, the way she honed her fishing skills. Tiny will do that, too.

Look at those legs and that little bottom. I think that the chicks on Cowlitz really got to me because of what Tiny Tot went through early on. But, as those who watched the Achieva nest, things turned one day. Diane brought in fish and I quit calling Jack a ‘dead beat dad’. They began to be a team and they succeeded in fledging three chicks. Amazing.

When I think of those super male Ospreys that get wall murals or the ones people talk about decades after they have passed, it is always the praise for providing for their family. Yes, people talk about Blue 33 and Idris’s fishing abilities and the whoppers – but it is always tied to them bringing those to their family and how healthy their chicks are and the pride in counting the children and the grandchildren in the family lineage.

So we go back to the survival of the fittest, perhaps. Wattsworth’s DNA is not being passed along but Monty’s, Blue 33s, and Idris’s is. And I hope Tiny Tot’s!

It was raining in the Sydney Olympic Park today. The beautiful canopy of leaves on the old Ironbark tree where the nest of Lady and Dad, the resident White-Bellied Sea Eagles, is located kept Lady from getting soaked. Lady is incubating two eggs. It is awhile until we will be on hatch alert. I will let you know when that happens so you can join the fun.

The rain finally stopped in Ithaca and the Ks were quite happy. K3 is eating again! It is nice to see the sun come out so they can dry off. It is even nicer to see the pair together on the nest safe and sound.

And, last I am showing you an image of the nest at Loch of the Lowes. I will also try and find the short videos that someone took of NC0 fishing in the loch. She is good! In this image the nest is getting a little crowded with the wingersizing of these two big osprey chicks. Safer for NC0 to get out of the way and sit on the perch, for sure! I was fascinated in the camera set up. That is why I am including this image. It is rather amazing. There is also a microphone in the nest so that you can hear the chicks when they are peeping in the egg right before hatch.

Here is NC0 fishing:

A snow storm and high winds have put out the cameras on Taiaroa Head in New Zealand where the Northern Albatross and their chicks are. They will love it. These birds like the cold. The staff of the NZ DOC (Dept of Conservation) have sprinklers to cool off the chicks. That camera should be back on line along with the weighing of the chicks. The chicks are weighed weekly, unless there is an issue and they might be weighed more. Supplemental feedings by the staff are given if the weight of the chick is not where it should be. That could come from parents not returning, being injured and delayed in their return, etc. NZ looks after their wildlife and accepts that humans have impacted it. There are not the complications with intervention like there are in the US.

Sad news coming out of Canada and the Osoyoos Osprey Nest. It appears that two of the three chicks have died to the incredible heat in the area in the same way that the chick on Cowlitz did. The other chick will require lots of fish but it is not looking very well this morning. A former student and close friend of mine now lived on the edge of the water at Osoyoos and really enjoyed seeing the Osprey family fish. They were forced to move because of the smoke from the wildfires that hits the area every summer. Prayers for all the birds. The heat wave is spreading across North America.

Thank you for joining me today. There will be a big nest catch up later today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Scottish Wildlife and Loch of the Lowes, and Sea Eagle Cam Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre.

Featured Image is Lady incubating her eggs in the Ironbark Tree in Sydney Olympic Park.

“Biggie’ Tot and more in ‘As the Nest Turns’

One of the individuals watching the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida said that the worry over Tiny Tot caused them to age ten years. There are so many people that probably feel the same way. We ached when Tiny Tot did not have food for one, two, and even three days and cried with joy when its crop was full. We had visions of helicopters dropping fish from the sky or setting up a food table. There were times when I went to sleep and thought that I would wake up and Tiny Tot would be dead. How could this little one survive on so little in that exhausting Florida heat?

Tiny Tot is a survivor. He is clever, determined, and willing to eat scraps and chew on catfish bones if it means he lives another day. Tiny Tot watches and listens. So often he was the first to grab the fish on arrival, mantling -only to have the parent take it to feed the two older siblings and, if there was anything left, he was fed. If I heard the phrase ‘natural selection’ or ‘survival of the fittest’ one more time I was going to blow up. What appeared to be happening was the survival of the not so clever bully bird. And then something happened.

Precisely when did mum decide that her third chick was going to survive despite everything it had been through? Diane observes those three chicks of hers. She monitors the time they spend self-feeding and when she sees they have had about 1/3 to a 1/2 of the fish – depending on who is in the nest – she takes the fish and shares it with the other one. What was it that turned this nest around? We might never know. For the past 3 or 4 nights I have slept well with the knowledge that Tiny was alright.

The problem is ‘the’ name now. #3 has been called 3, Tumbles, Braveheart, Lionheart, etc. I gave it the moniker, Tiny Tot. Tiny isn’t actually ‘tiny’ anymore. If he continues to eat and grow like he is doing then by Monday he could be twice as big as he is now. So, moving forward, no more Tiny Tot for me. #3 is now Biggie Tot the Raptor.

Indeed, every time I checked on the nest today, Biggie Tot was eating exactly like he is in the image below. Every time! How is that possible? As long as nothing bizarre happens – and in Bird World anything can change in a blink – Diane and Jack will be celebrating the fledging of not two but three ospreys this year. Well done you two. Jack, you surprised me and came through with 5 or 6 fish sometimes.

Good night Biggie Tot! Sleep well on your full tummy.

29 April 2021

I kept a close watch on the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest of Samson and Gabrielle and their fledgling, Legacy today. I briefly stopped in to see a couple of others but my energy and focus was on Legacy.

The last official sighting of Legacy was at 9:53:51 EDT on 28 April.

Legacy and Gabby. They spent the morning together before Legacy flew off. 28 April 2021

What a beauty!

Some think that there could have been a possible flyby at 8:41:16 on the morning of 29 April. It was caught on the tree cam.

Is it Legacy? 29 April 2021

On Thursday, the 29th of April, Samson brought a fish to the nest to try and entice Legacy to come to the nest tree. That didn’t work and Samson wound up eating it. Earlier yesterday, Gabby was with Samson at 11:37:35.

Today, Samson spent the majority of the day – more than eight hours – on the branch looking and listening for Legacy.

29 April 2021

I am not an expert on Bald Eagles but I have trusted acquaintances who are and they shared their knowledge with me today as I searched for some answers. I will share with you everything that I learned as I try to make sense out of what is happening.

First, Bald Eagles do not directly teach the young to hunt prey. I am used to falcons and hawks literally taking their clutch after they have fledged and having ‘hunting parties’ with them. It was not unusual to have Big Red and Arthur showing their juveniles how to catch a squirrel by taking them out and doing just that! A fledgling eagle might make its way to the river and observe their parents catching fish just as WBSE 23 did with Lady and Dad according to one of my trusted sources. The parents and other eagles taught by example.

Secondly, what is typical for a fledgling Bald Eagle is what is happening on the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers. There E17 and E18 are becoming stronger fliers – going for a flight and then returning to the nest. The parents bring food to the nest for each of them. It is more normal for the fledgling Bald Eagles to stay at the nest for 4-6 weeks doing precisely what E17 and E18 are doing. My trusted sources, who have more than 35 years experience with Bald Eagles together, say it is definitely not typical for a Bald Eagle to fledge one day, take a couple of flights the next, and then leave – poof. I will never sugarcoat anything and neither do the individuals who advised me today. Bald Eagle fledglings are not capable of taking care of themselves in such circumstances. They are still not strong fliers and they do not have the hunting skills required. ‘It normally does not end well’ is what one of them said and that stuck in my head.

So what might have happened? To return to the example of the Sea Eagles, WBSE 26 was chased out of the parent’s territory in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park by several Pied Currawong. Perhaps Legacy got too far away to return at night. That is a possibility. Legacy might be ‘downed’ and is unable to get up and fly to the nest. That could be a huge problem depending on what other wildlife is in the area. The other possibility, as one of the experts noted, is that Legacy is a single child and it is easier for the parent to feed them off nest. So Gabby could be feeding Legacy while Samson is trying to coax her back to the nest. The other possibilities for this situation are more dire. Many fly into power lines while others get their wings caught up in branches. Fighting to get free they rip their wings. She could have tried to get carrion off the highway and gotten hit by a car. Those are just some of the many possibilities. There could be people out looking for Legacy during the daylight hours – something that we might not ever know. Still, I hope like I did for Tiny now Biggie Tot that everything turns around for the best and we see Legacy or have a positive sighting of her soon and that she is well.

It was a miserable rainy day for Big Red and Arthur at the Cornell Fernow light tower. Everyone is getting excited for a possible hatch watch. It would appear that the oldest egg is 34 days and Big Red’s statistics indicate hatches between 38 and 41 days, longer than normal for other RTHs. So I am not going to start getting excited until next week. Knowing Big Red she will surprise all of us!

A rather soggy Big Red. 29 April 2021

Lunch ‘looks’ reasonably peaceful at ‘The Landings’ Skidaway Island Osprey nest. I use the term ‘looks’ because we all know that looks can be deceiving. The eldest still asserts its dominance but, so far, the younger one is alright. Dad just brought in a fish and already both of the little ones have crops. Their plumage is really changing. It looks like the one to the top has a mask on today.

Lunch is on. 29 April 2021
Playing nice. 29 April 2021

Isn’t this just a cute little cuddle puddle? It is hard to believe that before the next academic term begins at Berkeley, these three will be flying at stealth speeds and catching prey in mid-air.

Such sweeties. Cuddled together in the shade to avoid the hot sunlight. 29 April 2021

It is clearly easier to get dirty when eating if you are white. The falcon parents have a particular call they make when they arrive with the food and it is time to eat. The little ones stand in a group and grab or the parent hangs the food above their beak. They want the chicks to stretch their necks so that they become strong. When there are no more chirping eyasses and no more wide open mouths, feeding is over. No bonking. Just nice full crops and food comas.

Feed me, feed me! 29 April 2021

The nest cup in the White-tailed Eagle nest in Estonia is very deep. It really protects the little one from the cold winds. The temperature at the nest continues to be about 1 degree C. This picture was taken after 5pm in the evening. Look at that wonderful sunshine and blue sky – what a change from the frosty morning they had. You can just see the little bobble head reaching up to get its evening meal. There is another egg in this nest and if it is viable, it should be hatching tomorrow.

Eve feeding her first hatch. 29 April 2021

Louis continues to be attentive to Iris at the Hellgate Osprey Nest – visiting and mating more often since the banded intruder showed up in Louis’s territory. So far there are no eggs in Iris’s nest!

One of several reasons cited for the female raptors being 33-50% larger than the males (dimorphism) can be seen below. The male osprey flies in and lands on the female. If the weight distribution were the opposite, the female could be crushed.

Louis landing on Iris for a mating attempt. 29 April 2021
29 April 2021. Louis and Iris mating (or not?)

I want to leave you with a bit of a smile or maybe a horrible nightmare. I simply cannot imagine Osprey chicks wandering around in all of the stuff that Jack brings to this nest. The stuffed shark and a brown teddy bear are still there along with some hats and sweaters and other toys. Harriet has to be so patient! I just want to go out there and tidy it up for her before the babies hatch at this nest near King George, Virginia. Don’t you?

The hoarde of objects that Jack brings to Harriet as gifts at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest. 29 April 2021

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care of yourselves, stay safe. I will continue to monitor the Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville for any news of Legacy along with the Big Sur California Condor nest for hatch. Thank you to those who have taken the time to send me a note or ask a question. I am glad you are enjoying my blog. It is so nice to hear from other bird lovers!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I grab my screen shots: Dahlgren Osprey Nest, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Eagle Club Estonia, and Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project.