Late Thursday in Bird World

9 June 2022

So many fledge watches! How many of us wish we could fly about like the birds?

L1 and L2 have both returned to their natal nest on the Fernow light stand on the Cornell Campus. Big Red and Arthur have been bringing prey. Today when L2 flew back and wanted to take L3 and L4’s lunch, Big Red went and got it and fed the two smallest chicks. It was interesting. Someone asked if they return to the nest and the answer is ‘yes’ for the first several weeks you might catch them but once they fledge Big Red really does like to feed the fledglings ‘off nest’. She has been known to ‘get upset’ with Arthur for feeding the wee babes on the nest!

At 17:20 with all four on the nest, Big Red returns with another chipmunk for dinner.

They are on fledge watch at Utica scrape as falcons Percy and Kara are spending time on the ledge! Little Ares is grateful – they are focused on flying and he gets a great meal!

The Glaslyn osplets are thinking about food – not fledging – as they gobble down the fish that Aran brought to the nest for Mrs G to feed them!

Blue NC0 and the three are really benefiting from Laddie’s fishing lately at the Loch of the Lowes. He brought in 9 fish on the 7th! How wonderful!

Despite Idris being a remarkable fisher, that Big Bob is nothing but a handful. Emyr Evans describes it as ‘play aggression’ when the are beaking one another. It is true. Ospreys in the UK rarely die from siblicide – unlike their counterparts in the US where we have seen a number of cases in the large raptors this year. Normally Telyn gets it all sorted and all are fed.

Little Bit has been really good at the snatch and grab at the ND-LEEF nest. A raccoon came to the nest and it has been going back and forth switching from one sibling to the other. At 13:54 Little Bit 17 stole it from the beaking sibling 16 and he was working on it again later after 16 took it back. Little Bit has had a very large crop today so it is another good day for this hard working eaglet who doesn’t seem to be afraid and who is ever so quick!

Little Bit 17 is growing. Just look at the span of the wings and the tail feathers.

There has been a lot of speculation on the chat at the ND-LEEF nest that because Little Bit is a small male – is that true? – we don’t know – that it would not be able to find a mate. Perhaps we should step back from that statement. We do not know what happens to any unmonitored raptor. We can only hope that they survive their first year. Little Bit has some advantages – being small and quick is one of them. Reading the environment well is another. Willing to eat anything to survive is another but his quickness and his ability to manoeuvre will be key.

It has been miserable and rainy in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic. Still Bukacek and Betty are feeding their wee storklets.

Both Lady and Dad spent the night at the WBSE nest in the old Ironbark tree in the Sydney Olympic Park. Friday morning Lady is rolling the first egg. Will there be a second? Stay tuned.

At the Redding nest, Sentry is at 15:20 nest time up on a very high branch! Will he fludge or fledge?

Here is the link to the Redding camera if you do not have it:

Both fledglings are back on the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest hoping for a fish delivery!

All three are on the cliff nest of Thunder and Akecheta waiting for some prey drops, too! Sky has been getting ready – hovering and jumping.

So much going on! Most doing very well.

Thank you for joining me as I jumped around and checked on a few of our nests that we have been watching. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Explore.org and The Institute for Wildlife Studies, Cornell RTH, Mlade Buky, Friends of Redding Eagles, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, ND-LEEF, Dyfi Osprey Project, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and Woodland Trust, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

Early Monday in Bird World

17 May 2022

The Guardian is carrying a story this morning about the overfishing. How does a government stop the current unsustainable levels of fishing? They buy out the fisheries! What a great idea. Australia is spending 20 million dollars to do just that in the south-east of their country. The government said that they are doing this “because of climate change and environmental factors, which are preventing the recovery of some populations.”

Every time we look at our beautiful birds that rely on fish — cute little Pippa Atawhai and QT, their parents, Wisdom the oldest Albatross in the world at 71, etc. we need to remember that warming seas and the use of huge fishing trawlers by some countries of the world are depleting the fish that keep them alive. We can stop this if there is a will. Australia just showed us how to do it!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/16/australian-authorities-to-buy-out-fisheries-citing-climate-crisis

It was so nice to turn on the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey cam this morning and see a fish delivery at 10:41. Middle was really hungry and wasn’t going to let anything stop it from getting some fish. Bravo.

Mum started out in a position favouring Big but moved with her head at the rim which really helped Middle get some fish!

It was a nice fish this morning.

The UFlorida-Gainesville camera is having some issues today. I was, however, able to rewind til 07:08. It is not clear if there was a small fish delivered or a stick. Later, Middle chewed on an old bone. He really is that hungry. Fingers crossed for more fish today. It is 80 degrees and the winds are only blowing at around 4 kph.

It is difficult to know what is happening at the SF Bay Osprey nest of Richmond and Rosie. SFOspreys and Golden Gate Audubon have not announced any pips or hatches. The first egg was believed to hatch from 12-15 of May with the second in the range of the 13-16, and the third from the 16-17. We can only wait to see what happens. The streaming cam has no rewind so you have to wait and hope to catch a glimpse of the eggs. Rosie never gives any secrets away.

Jan and Janika continue to change off incubation duties for their Black Stork Eggs at their nest in Latvia.

It is the 17th of March. While we wait for Rosie to have pips and a hatch and the Osprey eggs to hatch in the UK, Lady and Dad are busy putting the finishing touches to their White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest! We should be expecting eggs in about two weeks. Put it on your calendar!

It looks like Dad spent the night at the nest.

Here is the link to the WBSE streaming cam:

It is three days until 20 May when Steve and Cody are set to turn off the camera at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. It has been a great season with Louis and Anna and their second chick, Kincaid. Two beautiful juveniles the pair fledged – Kistachie in 2021 and then Kincaid this year. Kistachie was the first eaglet born in the forest since 2013. It was a ‘big deal’ for the eagles to return to this nest. Louis is such a great provider. Looking forward to next year and hoping that all three have a great summer and fall.

All five little eyases are present and fed this morning at the Manchester, NH falcon scrape.

Nancy was off hunting and E1, Harriet, got fed quite early. Fantastic. Nancy is doing a good job being a single Mum. I know that we all wished that E2 was with us. It is impossible to know – if Nancy had brought fish on the nest earlier – whether or not the outcome would have been any different. It is always sad to lose a vibrant healthy eaglet, always. And, of course, Harry. Lost before he even hit his prime.

A lot of people are watching the Dale Hollow nest in anticipation of a fledge. There were 100 this morning. Those eaglets are very restless!

Here is the link to the Dale Hollow streaming cam:

The trio at Manton Bay at Rutland are doing great. Growing and growing. Blue 33 keeps that nest full of fish and Maya continues to feed them on average 8-10 times a day.

I have seen no alerts yet as to when the only eaglet on the Two Harbours nest will be ringed. If I hear in time I will let you know! The eaglet is really growing fast – much bigger than when Dr Sharpe rescued it when it was on the side of the cliff! That was a wonderful intervention that saved the life of this baby. Thank you Dr Sharpe!

My garden is full of European Starlings and Blue Jays this morning. There is a host of White-throated Sparrows and White-Crowned Sparrows as well and the lone Harris Sparrow couple. It is drizzly. Today is removing all of the layers and layers of vines that have been allowed to grow on the garden shed so that the birds could hide from Sharpie, get out of the weather, or make a nest. They are going on the wood storage boxes where they will help for the same reasons. Lots to do – never enough time. So grateful that the flood waters are continuing to recede. Someone spotted some goslings this morning. That is so wonderful. Most of the nests have been ruined. Hopefully the drivers will practice patience and respect if the parents move them across the roads.

That is a wrap for this morning. I hope that all of you have a very wonderful day. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, DHEC, Explore.org, LRWT, MN-DNR, Peregrine Network, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, KNF, and Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Oh, Bazza Baby

The Port Lincoln Lads seem to always be up to something. This morning Falky was flying about and Bazza and Ervie were on the nest. They had to have been full because there was a lovely fish tail on the nest and neither one of them were paying any attention to it.

It was very windy and Bazza entertained Ervie for about half an hour trying to land and stay on the perch. Have a look.

Are you finding that sometimes you could just use a little bit of ‘cute’ as we wait for new bobble heads in the raptor families to be born? What about a Korora?

They used to be called Little Blue Penguins. They are the smallest of the New Zealand penguins. This little one will weigh about 1 kg and be about 25 cm tall when it is fully grown. Their population is in decline due to dog, cat, stoat, and ferret kills. This group of predators has arisen because of the destruction of the penguin’s natural nesting sites for development. Sad.

And I want to give a shout out to ‘TAS’ for introducing me to this cute little non-raptor!

WBSE 27 has been observed being hounded by the Pied Currawong. This report comes from Cathy Cook on the ground:

As is usual in the Reserve, SE27 found herself being escorted & swooped by Noisy Miners, Magpies, Currawongs and Ravens, from the time she hopped out of the carrier. We saw her take 4 seperate flights, with her finally being observed (by credible people in the wharf cafe) to cross over the Parramatta River, just a little west of River Roost. The last picture shows SE27’s individual flights within the first 40 minutes after her release — at Newington Nature Reserve, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cathy posted pictures and a short video. I hope she does not mind my including one for you.

@ Cathy Cook

The saddest part about being a juvenile Sea Eagle is that for the rest of his life, 27 will be hounded by the smaller birds who, as you already know, are very effective in driving the juveniles out of the forest. I hope that Lady and Dad return to the River Roost on the Parramatta River to find 27 so they can feed her.

For all of you celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends, families and/or other loved ones in the USA, have a wonderful day. For those in Canada who celebrated in October, tomorrow is just another day. Take care. Always be thankful. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for its streaming cam where I video captured Bazza and to the Sea Eagles FB Page and Cathy Cook for the update on WBSE 27.

WBSE Release

Here is an image of WBSE 27 being released last week. It was determined by the scale lines in her toes that the bird was in fact, 27 not 28. So happy that ID was solved! The day the bird was released was the first day that the parents were not at their River Roost. I hope the three connect! There is a video of the release and it shows 27 as a really strong bird. I hope she thrives in the wild for eons. What a gorgeous bird.

The following was posted on the FB page of the Sea Eagles:

Here is a news report:

https://www.9news.com.au/videos/national/incredible-moment-sea-eagle-returns-to-wild/ckwd1mylj000n0go2tpq6dkcs?fbclid=IwAR1LEfr-N1vKUIgUAawVmy477RlTUb7sTU0yFDQwedhjs2gAW9t_FQQJva0

The Kakapo Recovery are doing their annual fundraiser. As many of you know, we started out the pandemic with 208 Kakapo in existence. There are now 202. Dedicated individuals do wellness check ups which mean they have to find these elusive non-flying parrots. The only way to do that is with a transmitter. The transmitters and batteries require check ups and replacements (batteries) on a regular basis. Medical treatment, etc. If urgent and life threatening, the bird is flown to Dunedin, NZ for veterinary care.

Many are considering doing one special gift on behalf of their family to help wildlife and the planet (as opposed to fast fashion that winds up stacked in the deserts of Africa). The Kakapo Recovery is hoping you might choose them.

Last year we adopted Rangi! He happily lives in the living room plants when he is not cuddling up with Pippa the Albatross or Big Red the Red-tailed Hawk!

It is something everyone needs to think about even if it is $5 to a streaming cam that you love. It can make all the difference. You can also adopt other types of birds. Last year there was a huge rush to help Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Bywyd Gwyllt. You might recall that two horrific events came together in the perfect storm at Glaslyn. A heavy rain storm with cold temperatures hit the area when the chicks hatched and Aran got in a territorial fight and injured his wing and he could not fish. The community came together and provided a fish table for the family. Sadly the chicks did not survive but Mrs G and Aran did and Aran got his strength and migrated on time. To help that cause many went to the website and adopted Aran and his family.

You will have your own list as well. Other ways that you can help is to check with your local wildlife rehabilitation clinic. They often post a list of items that they need. You would be surprised but clean old towels are usually at the top of the list! So next time you are looking at a pile of towels and old sheets, think of your local clinic for wildlife! It doesn’t cost anything but getting the items there and often the clinics have volunteers that pick up for them.

Books for children and teens on how to help wildlife thrive are, of course, invaluable in building the next generation to care for our beloved birds.

Holly Parsons posted an update on Yurruga on the FB page for the Orange Australian Peregrine Falcon:

“Post from Cilla approx. 5pm 24 November:I haven’t seen Yurruga since I placed him in the tree, but I’m pretty sure he is still there as the parents have been coming and going with prey and giving me warning calls if I approach too close. I only check once a day and the foliage is really thick so hard to find him if he’s quiet.”

That is great news coming out of Orange! That is the kind of news I wish were coming out of Sydney with WBSE 27 – that the parents have been feeding it. Fingers crossed.

This is a short update. It is extremely quiet in Bird World now that the falcons and ospreys and WBSE in Australia have fledged. Eggs are happening in the Bald Eagles nests in the US and there will be lots of action around the holidays in December.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my information: Orange Australian Peregrines FB, Kakapo Recovery FB, and Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Update on WBSE 27 and 28

Ranger Judy Harrington posted the following on the Sea Eagles FB:

“Tuesday afternoon – such a lot has happened and we are having sightings from time to time. Sunday afternoon, Chris, Rohan and I, joined by Neil, found SE27 on the ground, just outside the forest area. Swooping by other birds as we have seen all the time. This morning, one juvenile was seen in the saltmarsh area and wetland called Main Lagoon – photo to come. This was possibly SE28, hopefully to be confirmed. This area is quite close to the river and not far from the favourite roost spot for our adults., RR. Also one was seen in the forest area and just outside the fence, by Dave, one of the Landscape contractors. This was probably SE27 as well and was quite close to the area where we saw it the other day. Dave reported it flew off strongly.Hopefully the juveniles have been sighted and heard by the parents and maybe food has been brought.So we are not sure yet if we have confirmed sightings of both birds or if they have been fed. This is probably quite normal for newly fledged birds that have strayed from home, their nest area. The protected areas are extensive and we hope the juveniles will be well protected there until they gain strength and experience. We may even see them down on the river with the parents.15:45 – one adult just brought prey to the nest – and left straight away. We shall post news when we have it and keep everyone updated. So please read the posts .Thanks to all watching and listening from the ground.”

Included were some images including this one of the Salt Marsh area.

The sightings are hopeful. I know that many of you watch the nest but do not go to FB so I hope this is of some help. It is a constant worry when birds fledge and cannot return to the nest to be fed til they get their flying skills in order. Oh, those Pied Currawongs! There were no sightings of WBSE 25 last year so people seeing and hearing and reporting on 27 and 28 is fantastic.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles FB Page and Ranger Judy for their message on FB and the image of the salt marsh area.

Catching up with WBSE 27 and 28

The WBSE are both in the 11th week after hatching. With the average of 75-80 days after hatch for fledgling, WBSE 27 and 28 are ready. Their feathers have developed, they have grown, and you can see them getting excited with all the wing flapping and catching air enabling them to rise above the nest.

What are they watching so intently from the nest? Is it a Pied Currawong?

Of course, the Pied Currawong are right there. The Pied Currawong is closely related to the Butcherbirds or the Magpies in Austrlia. They are a medium sized passerine. They have a large black beak with yellow eyes.

Here is a short video of the calls/songs the Pied Currawong make:

The Currawong become more of a menace around fledging time. Their attacks increase in number and they could injure the chicks, knock them off the branches, or chase them out of the forest before they can imprint the route back to the nest in their mind’s GPS system.

Lady was on the nest honking and flapping her wings at the Currawong so the eaglets could finish their lunch. At other times, the eaglets have to learn to defend themselves or hunker down really low in the nest. Because the WBSE are at the top of the ‘food chain’, they will always be followed and attacked by the smaller birds. What do the smaller birds want? They want the WBSE to pack up and leave!

Lady is honking really loud, warning the intruder to leave.

Lady was in the nest much earlier feeding both of her eaglets. Many of you have probably noticed that despite the fact that the nestlings are fully capable of self-feeding, she seems to enjoy feeding them.

The eaglets know to stay alert for intruders while flapping their wings and jumping to stretch their legs.

They honk at the Currawong just like the adults.

The Pied Currawong are very brave. Indeed, their attacks on the almost-fledglings is relentless. Ironically, I don’t believe the WBSE eat Currawong. Sometimes I think that they should rethink that!

Both of the nestlings have branched. They are standing on the parent branch looking around. Soon they will fledge.

It has been a wonderful season for Lady and Dad at their nest. Both of their eggs hatched and both of the nestlings thrived under their care. Both are healthy and fit and we hope that they both fledge successfully, returning to the nest or other areas so Lady and Dad can continue to feed them while they learn to fly better.

We wish them a long and successful life. It has been a remarkable year.

Lady and Dad are ‘honking’ their duet in June. It is a really special way to end another good day!

Thank you for joining me this evening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took these screen and video captures.

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.