Good news in Durbe

Oh, there is such good news. Milda is a white tailed Eagle. Milda and her mate, Raimis, had nested and raised chicks near Kureze in Durbe County since 2017. Last year was a tragic year for the female eagle.

Milda laid her three eggs and everything appeared to be normal. However, on the late evening of 27 March 2021, Raimis left the nest to hunt and did not return. Raimis was presumed dead or very seriously injured. Several males came around the nest tree but, they were not interested in helping Milda with another male’s eggs. They were only interested in Milda. Even then they did not supply her with food. She grew weaker and more hungry over the days. After the 8th day of no food, Milda had to fly off the nest leaving the eggs alone in the cold. Then one male, Cips, looked as if he would assist her.

To everyone’s surprise, even seasoned researchers in Latvia, the two eggs hatched. You could not stop the tears around the world as people watched the miracle unfolding. The second egg hatched three days later.

Sadly, Cips was not reliable and Milda was starving. I cannot emphasize this enough because it explains Milda’s behaviour. Cips had brought a crow onto the nest and Milda fed both of the hatchlings but not herself. Then Cips came and took the crow that Milda had been feeding the chicks. Milda tried to take it from him. Then, Milda found an old fish on the nest. She was so hungry she ate it all and did not feed the chicks. Until that time, Milda had fed the chicks almost ever hour. They were healthy! and adorable. Miracle babies. The weather at the nest was not good. A storm was coming and there was no food on the nest. It was very cold. Milda flew off the nest to find food. A male – was it Mr Cips? – stood over the babies but would not brood them while Milda was away. They froze to death. Anyone watching could not believe what was happening. It was simply a tragedy but outlines for all of us watching the nests that a single parent cannot do all the work of both parents. Perhaps if the chicks had been near fledge but even then that is not guaranteed as we saw the tragedy unfold on Spilve’s nest the previous year with Klints.

So, today I am bringing you some really good news. Milda has recovered from the trauma – physical and mental. It appears that she may have a new mate that is being called Mr L. He brought a fish to the nest and Milda flew in and accepted it! Oh, I so hope that Milda has a strong reliable partner. It will be wonderful to see some beautiful eaglets fledge from this nest next spring.

Janis Kuze the leading ornithologist in the area said, “It is important that the Right now, we hope that the female will continue to stay in the area, form a new pair, and have a successful nesting next year.”

The Latvian Fund for Nature prepared a short film about the White-tailed eagle covering the time of preparing the nest to fledging. It was released in 2015 and has English subtitles. That said you can pretty much tell what is happening from the beautiful visuals. Here is the link:

Here is the link to watch Milda and her new mate. They will be preparing the nest with eggs laid in March.

I am so excited for the people of Latvia and for all of us that love White-tail Eagles. Send positive wishes for the pair bond to grow even stronger for Milda and her new mate, Mr L.

There is also some other good news around the world from Latvia. The very first egg of the season has been laid on Taiaroa Head at the Royal Albatross Colony. The male has been a bachelor for 18 years! This feels like another miracle. Congratulations to everyone at the NZ DOC!

Thank you for joining me today. I look forward to bringing you news of Milda and her mate as she is incubating eggs in the spring. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature for sponsoring the camera where I took my screen captures.

Bird Mothers of the Year

Every year we stop and think about the women who gave us life and mentored us to become independent adults. I want to stop for a moment and consider a few of the bird mothers. Last year I was able to single out one bird that seemed to give it her all and that was Big Red, the Red tailed-hawk whose nest is on the Cornell Campus. This year I have a few more to add. I am certain that you have your own list as well.

In studying the social behaviour of birds, one of the things that has astonished me is how complicated the lives of our feathered friends are and how the behaviour of humans has impacted their lives.

The birds are not listed in any particular order – I could not, for the life of me, rank them. They have struggled against the greatest odds sometime. The first bird mentioned does not have a happy ending and this is a warning about that. If you would prefer to skip this mom, then please scroll down to Big Red.

The first female on my list is Milda. Milda is a White-tailed Eagle. She worked with her long time mate, Raimis, and rebuilt their nest near Durbe, Latvia. She laid her eggs on March 12, 15, and 21. The last time that Raimis was seen was the 27th of March. Milda incubated her eggs and stayed on her nest, despite several intruders, for eight days without eating. Then on two occasions, she had to leave the nest to try and find food and was off her eggs for periods nearing five hours at a time. It is not clear how successful she was in hunting. A male WTE appeared and tried to help incubate. By some miracle two of the three eggs hatched on the 21 and 24th of April. The people of Latvia and those who adore Milda were overcome with emotion. But that joy was short lived. It was pretty clear that Milda was almost starving to death. She had completely depleted her bodily resources. The male brought a crow to the nest and the eaglets were fed and then he took it away. It was very cold and Milda had to eat. She had to leave the nest to find food. She was desperate. If she did not survive neither would her eaglets. It is like the instructions when you fly on a plane: put your own oxygen mask on first before you help your children. Did Milda know that her eaglets would freeze? was this a form of euthanasia? did Milda think the male would incubate the eaglets while she found food? In all of this, there was also an intruder. Milda’s eaglets slowly froze to death. Later that day she consumed them.

Cannibalism in eagles is a new area of study with the growing number of streaming cameras. In 2002, a group of wildlife biologists in Virginia were stunned when they observed a male eagle killing his eaglets alive and eating them. More reports of similar behaviour came in leading researchers to believe that the behaviour may be more common that believed particularly in times of food shortage.

Milda was a very devoted and dedicated single mother. The circumstances were dire. She could not help her babies if she could not feed herself and she was starving. We have watched birds mourn their dead. It is beyond my comprehension to understand how difficult all of this was for Milda. The lack of a partner and the inability of a female parent to provide enough food for their eaglet also happened at another nest in Latvia. That was the nest of Spilve whose beautiful eaglet, Klints, perished from starvation. Spilve mourned the death of her Klints. This year, she refused to use the nest that Klints’s body has become a part of. Instead, her and her new mate went to another.

I am really aware of the dedication that the Latvians have for their wildlife. What has caused a drop in prey? has it always been this difficult? and would it be possible to stock artificial ponds for these large raptors? Those are just three of my questions.

Milda feeding her two little ones their last meal. 25 April 2021

My second bird mother of the year will always be first in my heart- Big Red whose territory is on the Cornell Campus.

Big Red is even wetter. 8 May 2021

Big Red hatched near Brooktondale, New York in 2003. She was banded on 20 October 2003 in Brooktondale. She is eighteen years old. The exact history of her mates and the number of eyasses she has raised to fledge will never be known. She was known to have a nest in 2010 on the Cornell Campus and two years later cameras were installed. Her mate at the time was Ezra. Ezra was killed in 2017. It is the only year that she did not have a clutch. She bonded with her current mate, Arthur, that same year. It is entirely possible that Big Red has fledged no less than 35 eyasses. This year she has another clutch of three. Big Red is a devoted mother. By the fall she is already selecting which light tower to use as a nest and is working with Arthur then and to a greater degree in February to ready the nest for the upcoming breeding season. She has been encrusted in snow more times than I want to remember and soaked to the bones. She has been blown off the nest! Still she works and keeps those kiddos of hers full to the brim. As someone recently said, ‘No one leaves Big Red’s table hungry.’ And when her eyasses fledge she will spend days with them in family hunting expeditions so that they are as prepared as she can make them for the outside world.

Today, she was soaked to the bone and cold – even the babies are a wee bit ‘wet’. Those heavy raindrops wanted nothing more than to turn into icy slush. She fed her three little ones as quickly as she could so they would not get wet and catch a chill. Just look at the love in those eyes! Being a mom is what it is all about for Big Red.

Unlike Milda, Big Red has a devoted mate, Arthur, who is busy filling the pantry providing food for Big Red and the Ks as well as security for the territory. Arthur also gives Big Red much needed relief breaks despite the fact that she prefers to look after the little ones almost 100% of the time! Her territory is also prey plentiful.

Big Red will always be at the top of my list. She is just simply amazing.

A soaked Big Red. 7 May 2021

My third female is Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. I am including Diane in my list for one single reason. This year her three eggs hatched and she had three osplets to raise. At the time the three were born (5th and 7th of March), there was plenty of prey on the nest. However, a week later the fish deliveries became irregular causing food insecurity on the nest. It was unclear whether or not the third hatch would survive. There would be days of plenty and then hardly any fish. If the babies didn’t eat neither did Diane. Many suspected that Jack, her mate, might have another nest. Diane began to go fishing supplementing the fish that were brought onto the nest and that is why I am including her. When she was able she would leave the nest and bring in huge catfish to feed her babies and herself. She was a selfless mom. The two older siblings and in particular, the second hatch, demanded more and more food. For days in a row the third hatch had no food. Even Diane acted on several occasions like the little one would not live. Then something happened. The food became more plentiful and she paid particular attention so that the third hatch was full. I call him Tiny Tot. This year Diane will fledge three – . Tiny Tot is the only one left to fledge and his feather growth is behind. And that is OK. Tiny Tot is simply a delight.

In the image below Tiny Tot sits in the middle of the nest with its full crop and its ever growing wings. At one time no one believed #3 would survive and most thought it would be stunted but Tiny is filling out all over. Diane makes sure that sibling #2 standing on the rim of the nest at the back does not eat all of the fish that comes on the nest. I have to give her like 5 gold stars for stepping in and making sure that the food is shared between these two. No one is left out.

Tiny is really growing. Maybe he is a she? 7 May 2021

Diane is on the nest with Tiny. They are both waiting for an incoming fish.

Diane on the left and Tiny Tot on the right. Not so Tiny anymore!

Tiny Tot can self-feed. He was the first of the three to do so. To survive he found fish bones with a little flesh on them and ate it. Diane does love to feed him, tho.

Diane loves to feed Tiny Tot even tho he can do it himself. 7 May 2021

As the sun goes down, Diane and her two little ones are full. Tiny is actually full to the brim. You can see that glimmer of the sun on his big crop.

The sun sets on the St Petersburg Osprey Nest and all are full. 7 May 2021

Another bird mom that has touched my heart in a way that I cannot quite put my finger on is Eve, the mate of Eerik, whose nest is in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It is so cold in Estonia that the geese had to stop their northern migration. Eve is a huge White-tailed Eagle – she almost looks ‘wooly’ because her plumage is so thick to keep her warm. She is the most gentle of mothers with her two little eaglets.

Eve does not have the prey problem that Milda had in Latvia. There are plenty of fish and other birds that Eerik brings to the nest. Eve carefully conceals them and keeps them fresh in the straw around the rim of the nest-like an old fashioned ‘ice box’. What they have had to contend with are intruders and lingering cold weather to the extreme. It is especially important because the eaglets cannot thermoregulate their temperature. They depend on Eve and Eerik for everything. Many mornings Eve has woken up to be completely covered in a cold frost. I am really looking forward to these two growing up. Look at the little one put its wing around its big sib. This is such a peaceful nest. Eve keeps everything under control.

Eve feeding her two growing eaglets. 7 May 2021

There are so many bird mothers whose lives need celebrating if for nothing else than they successfully raised their clutches. It is not easy. Humans have impacted their lives in so many ways it would take an entire blog to list them but climate change and its impact on prey, loss of habitat, plastic in the oceans, toxins, etc come to the top. I cannot even begin to create a list of all of those. If I continued to include images and write ups for the mothers, the blog could easily include Harriet at the Bald Eagle Nest in SW Florida in Fort Myers. She is just an amazing mother to E17 and E18. Those kiddos are well equipped to take on the world. Then there is Anna, the first time Bald Eagle mother, who had to learn along with her eaglet how to feed her baby properly. Kisatchie has thrived and is now branching on his nest tree in the Kisatchie National Forest. On the Mississippi River, the nest of Starr and the Valors was destroyed last year by the winds. Starr had to work with Valor I and II to build a new nest for the 2021 season. They built an amazing nest and now have three growing eaglets. Or what about the female at Duke Farms who spent the entire incubation period encased in snow? Her two eaglets are now branching. Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon, in Orange, Australia still has her seven month old fledgling living in her scrape box. Her patience is amazing and her and Xavier have raised a formidable falcon! What about the Osprey females who lay eggs and raise their little ones in nests so full of toys and blankets they often cannot even find the chicks. This year, Harriet at the Dahlgren Nest, lost one of her eggs in Jack’s deliveries! They probably deserve a medal every day for their good humour. Then there are the ones, driven by their instincts and ‘Mother Nature’ that want to be mothers so badly such as Jackie at Big Bear or Iris at Hellsgate? If certificates were given out, they would all receive them – every single one of them!

Here is Iris bringing in a whopper of a breakfish for herself. Iris is the oldest living osprey in the world – the grand dame of all Ospreys. She has fledged no less than 35-40 osplets – no one really knows for sure, that is just an estimate. Since the death of her trusted mate, Stanley, Iris has returned to her nest every year during breeding season. Her current mate, Louis, has another nest and another mate and Iris is now, by default, a single mother. Her natural instincts bring her back from her 4,000 mile migration to her nest in Missoula, breeding with Louis, and because she is both provider, incubator, and security guard – like Milda and Spilve – her clutches have not been successful. Her last fledge was a single osplet in 2018. Still she is there doing her best!

And Happy Mother’s Day to Maya on the Rutland Mantou Nest whose first osprey egg of the season hatched at 15:23 today, 8 May. You can just see the little one getting out of its shell.

Thank you for joining me today to appreciate the difficult circumstances each of our bird mothers face. There is a story for each of them! They are all much loved.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LWRT Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Latvian Fund for Wildlife, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Tuesday in Bird World (updated)

Redwood Queen is keeping an eye on that egg. If this is a successful hatch – and there is no reason to think it won’t be – it will be the first chick for Redwood Queen and her second mate, Phoenix. The egg is believed to be laid between 26 February and 3 March. What a wonderful event for this giant Redwood scorched with Iniko, Redwood Queen and Kingpin’s chick from 2020, inside. Both of the parents of this fortunate chick have survived major fires in the area. We know that Redwood Queen survived the Dolan Fire last year and Phoenix survived the Basin Complex Fire in 2008, the year he hatched. Redwood Queen is much older, having hatched in the Los Angeles Zoo, in 1998. She might have survived other fires. Let us all hope that the entire population of Condors – a little over 500 – is safe from any wildfires this year.

The Ventana Wildlife Society issues the following statement on 26 April:

“Redwood Queen and Phoenix are still incubating and we are hoping their egg will start hatching any day now. The hatch date of 4/24 was our best “guesstimate”, we could be off by as many as 2-4 days. We first observed the egg on March 3rd and estimated the egg was laid on 2/26. This was based on radio telemetry data and movements of the pair from the week prior. If Redwood Queen actually laid closer to March 2nd, which is possible, then the egg wouldn’t start hatching until April 28. So we have a 3-4 day hatch window.”

Speaking of eggs, an intruder eagle came to the nest of Milda and broke her remaining egg and made a mess of her nest. It is one of those blessings in disguise. It is believed that the egg in the nest was the first one that Milda had laid on the 12th of March and that it was non-viable. I am not an expert and cannot tell. The intruder eagle ate most of the insides of the egg. Now Milda can forage for food for herself and build up her strength. She is not a mate of Mr Chips (Cips) yet – they did not mate. I hope that she finds a really extraordinary mate and that she will have a successful clutch next year.

Grinnell has his hands full today. It looks like the little fluff balls of his and Annie’s are growing so fast that they will not fit under him anymore. Look how they look at their dad. Grinnell, you are so cute!

Isn’t Grinnell handsome? 27 April 2021

And talk about cute – have a look at this adorable little Moli waiting for its parents to come and feed it. This is a special Laysan Albatross chick. It is the 39th chick of the oldest banded bird in the world – Wisdom. Wisdom is 71 years old and her band number is Z333 (Red and White). Her mate is Akeakamai. Her baby has a temporary band so it is easy to recognize and that number is 33 in honour of its mother.

A bit of relief over at the Savannah Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island. The dad has brought in a fish and both are getting fed. Maybe this will ease the food competition and let these two get on to growing and enjoying one another’s company.

Yesterday it was a feast on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Today it is hot, 29 degrees C, and there has been only one delivery. That came at 7:02:16. Tiny Tot got enough of that fish that he had a nice little crop. Still, he is at the quick growth stage and he needs more food more frequently. It is 4:30 on the nest. Fingers crossed for a couple of late night deliveries.

Tiny is grabbing the shade from Diane around 10am in the image below and Diane is calling. Chicks thought it might have been a delivery for a bit.

You can still see Tiny Tot’s little bit of a crop.

At 13:38:31 on 27 April 2021, a mysterious stranger with a metal band on its right leg landed on Iris’s nest at Hellgate. Well, now. This could get interesting.

I am going to say ‘he’ in the hope that ‘he’ might be a fantastic mate for Iris and claim this part of Louis’s plot.

Everything is just fine on the Red Tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell University Campus of Big Red and Arthur. There are three eggs being incubated and we are heading into hatch watch.

Thanks for joining me today for a peak at the nests. All of the Osprey Nests are doing grand in the UK except for the Loch Arkaig Nest. Hope that Aila will return from her migration to raise a family with Louis is quickly dissipating. Louis has been bringing fish to another female on platform 1 and they have been mating. It is an arduous migration. Many hope that if Aila did not arrive in Scotland that she settled somewhere else – she was loved by so many. And there is news that there are now three eggs on the Osprey nest in Urdaibai, Northern Spain. Take care. I hope it is nice where you are. The weather is grand on the Canadian Prairies and it is time to go and take care of the birds in my garden. The water bowls need filling. Everyone is enjoying a good bath today.

Thanks to the following streaming cams: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Cornell Bird Lab and Red Tail Hawks, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, UC Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, and the Latvian Wildlife Fund. Thanks also to the Midway Atoll FB Page where the image of Wisdom’s Moli was posted.

Open Wide!

The grey skies and the cold to the bone weather on the Canadian prairies just added to the sadness at the Latvian White-tailed eagle nest. Parallel with the events of the two chicks dying from hypothermia came a wonderful letter from the LDF answering many questions I had about Milda and the nest. I will write up that information in a couple of days.

Milda was starving. She is a devoted mother but she had no food for her or her chicks and Mr C appears to be an on again, off again mate. It is unclear if there were intruders in the area. Mr C is on the branch watching the nest while Milda eats a nice big piece of fish – this fish arrived 24 hours after the nest ran out of food when Mr C removed the few remains of the Crow Milda had been feeding to the chicks. Sadly, she is now incubating the unviable egg.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest in the Campanile must have been removed. The three little marshmallows are getting some pin feathers. It is hard to believe! They are consuming vast amounts of pigeon and transforming it into the fastest raptor on the planet. Here Annie is saying, ‘Open Wide!’

Annie and Grinnell are such devoted parents. Look at those little ones all tucked under mom right after their feeding.

Sometimes ‘open wide’ does not necessarily relate to food and a feeding. In the case of N24, our beautiful Legacy, it meant open your wings and fly. Legacy fledged this morning at 9:01! All of the aunties and uncles and grannies will be crying tears of joy and sadness. Legacy is a magnificent fledgling Bald Eagle now. She overcame Avian Pox and is the pride of Samson and Gabby and her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet. Look at the gorgeous profile of that head! And that deep, deep espresso plumage. Stunning.

There she goes at 9:01:54.

Lady Hawk put a video together from the three separate cameras. You can watch this historic event in this eagle’s life here:

In the case of Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, we can talk about opening wings and mouths. Tiny Tot loves to open his wings like a Lamborghini. Wonder if the car designers looked at the birds for inspiration? Certainly those that built the bullet train in Japan did – they used four different birds to help them get the fastest train on the planet (at the time).

Tiny Tot had a crop all morning. There were three fish deliveries before 11am! Jack has really been working to keep this pantry full. There were deliveries at 6:50:30, 9:35:05, and this is the third delivery at 10:59:18:

Tiny is really growing with all the food he has been eating. Sometimes you have to look really close to figure out which chick he is now. His ‘whiskers’ are settling down and he is getting the white plumage on his chest. There he is in the middle. You can see his nice crop.

Tiny had a good feed last night and had lots of fish from 2 out of the 3 deliveries before 11 am on 26 April. The trio are waiting for delivery 4!

Tiny Tot ate lots from fish 1, none from fish 2, and plenty from fish 3. In the image below he is being fed from fish 1. Sibling 1 had some bites and sibling 2 had a couple but, as is typical first thing in the morning, the older sibs are not as interested in eating then as they are later in the day. Tiny will eat anytime! Open wide, Tiny Tot!

Here is Tiny running to get up to the fish!

Tiny does not get anything from the second delivery but he does in the third and has a very nice crop.

Tiny is really full when the fourth fish arrives but he goes up and gets some nice pieces anyway – not a lot but remember, he is full.

Tiny Tot opens his wings wide!

Tiny Tot has eaten well today and no doubt, since it is only 3:30, there will be more fish to come. Jack, you are amazing. Diane has had some fish and everyone is doing great!

And speaking of opening wide, all eyes are on the California Condor nest in Big Sur where the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix is between pip and hatch.

The burnt tree in the centre is where the nest is located. The Dolan Fire ravaged this area from August to the end of December in 2020. Iniko survived the fire – he was the 2020 chick of Redwood Queen and Kingpin. Iniko is at the Los Angeles Zoo and is set to be released with a group of captive bred birds later this year.

Sadly, Redwood Queen’s mate, Kingpin, did not survive the fire. She bonded with Phoenix and this is their egg in the same nest that Iniko hatched.

Redwood Queen has just returned from having a short break. There is a stream close to the nest and she might have gone for a cool drink. It is fine to leave the egg for a short amount of time.

Thank you to each of you for joining me today. I know that we all wish that the situation at the Lavian White-tailed Eagle nest were different. I will be writing a history of the nest and looking into the weather in the area. Normally the birds time their hatches to when the animals will be coming out of winter hibernation so there is lots of food. I am curious if the cold weather has caused issues with getting prey for Milda and Mr C.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Latvian Wildlife Fund, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Saddest of news from Latvia

It was a miracle when the two eggs of Milda and Raimis hatched on 21 and 24th of April. The male had not been seen on the nest and was presumed dead on 27 March. Milda incubated the eggs for eight days before she gave in to hunger. Then a male White-tailed eagle appeared who was finally accepted by Milda. He incubated the chicks and brought in a little food. Yesterday he brought in a Hooded Black Crow and the two miracle hatches were fed. Milda had no food. The weather has been incredibly bad. The last time the babies were fed was around 15:00 on the 25th.

On the morning of the 26th with freezing rain falling, Milda left the nest after making feeble calls to Mr C. He was not on the branch protecting and her voice appeared weak to me. Milda left her babies at 6:20:30. At 8:00:17 the right wing of the oldest moved and again at 8:08:52. Its wings still moving at 8:11. By 8:30 there was no movement in the oldest; the younger had passed earlier. Milda stood and looked at her babies a long time in the dark last evening. It feels like she knew that this had to happen.

Mr C stands over the babies protecting them from the Crows who would take their tiny bodies.

There is no food and Milda cannot do this without a good partner actively engaged in finding lots of food and helping her. It is so sad that what became a miracle has ended so sadly. Fly high little eagles!

I hope that Milda finds a good mate and raises more little ones. She is brave and so wanted these babies that belonged to her and Raimis to survive. She risked her own life for them. It is 8:30 and she has not returned to the nest. She has been gone for longer than two hours. It is with a very heavy heart that I post this sadness.

Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature for their camera – that is where I took my screen shots.

The feature image is of a happier time today when Milda was feeding her little ones.

Late check in on Tiny Tot and Milda

It’s Sunday on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St. Petersburg, Florida. The oldest, 1, was hovering this morning before breakfish arrived at 7:53:53. Tiny Tot managed to snag that first delivery and hang on to it long enough to get some good bites. 2 stole that fish and Tiny Tot was fed by mom later. Diane brought a catfish in at 12:01:22. Tiny Tot got a little of that fish and worked on the carcass for quite awhile. Tiny’s crop was bigger than it was after the first fish – but it wasn’t big enough! A third fish delivery came in at 6:30:07 and #2 ate almost all of it. Tiny Tot did not get a single bite of that fish that I could see.

At 8:49:23 Diane brings another fish to the nest. It is dark and the camera does not have IR. Tiny gets himself up by 1 next to Diane. 2 is in the back and does not seem interested.

In the image below, Diane has the fish. Tiny Tot is next and #1 is standing in the front. #2 has its back turned towards us. It is looking off the back rim of the nest.

In the image below, 2 has turned around and is facing Diane who is feeding Tiny Tot and 1.

It was a reasonably sized fish and Tiny Tot got a really good portion of it. Diane will clean her beak at 9:19. I always sleep better when Tiny has had a good feed.

In Latvia, cold weather, high winds, and pelting snow along with an intruder caused some havoc on the White-tail Eagle Nest at Kurzere in Durbe County, Latvia. Mr C, the surrogate father delivered a Hooded Crow and plucked it before feeding the little ones.

At one point, Milda was almost blown off the nest by the high winds.

When there was a break, Milda fed the little ones from the Hooded Crow that Mr C, the surrogate father, had delivered to the nest.

Mr C stayed near the nest to help protect Milda and the chicks from an intruder. By now there is not much left of that crow for either Milda or the chicks. Oddly Mr C comes and removes what is there from the nest.

Milda left the nest and the chicks uncovered twice that I could see today. At one time she left at 17:29 returning at 18:12. She had been calling for Mr C to bring food. It is so cold that the risk of hypothermia to the chicks is high. That is a long time to leave the babies but she is hungry and so are they and there is no food on the nest as you can see in the image below. She has no choice.

At 21:19, the sun is going down. Milda is keeping her babies warm. There are some snow pellets falling. Let us hope that in the morning there will be a food delivery. The chicks were last fed around 15:00 on the 25th.

The sun is just coming up in Latvia. Milda is doing some meek little calls. I have not seen Mr C. Could he have been injured by the intruder? He has been good to relieve Milda, to incubate the chicks and bring them food and feed them. There could be a tragic ending to such a miracle if something happened to him.

It is a real bind for Milda who stayed on the nest for 8 days without food incubating these two little miracle eggs that hatched. Mr C was a big boost to the happy ending every wishes for this White-tail Eagle nest. It is too cold for Milda to be away. The babies are too young. Let us hope for food for them.

Take care everyone. Send off your warm wishes for Milda and her chicks, please. They helped with Tiny Tot. Now we need a miracle on another nest.

Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature and Achieva Credit Union for their streaming cams. Those cams are where I grabbed my screen shots.

When you just think it can’t get any better, it does in Bird World!

Two miracles so far today.

Saturday morning started out like any other on the Achieva Osprey Nest. Jack brought in a fish and sibling #2 got it. It was predictable. As I sipped my coffee it seemed that Diane and Jack really needed a meat saw somewhere to cut those fish into chunks so each of their three chicks could have a nice chunk for breakfast.

There they are: #2 with the fish on the front left, #1 behind mum, Diane in the middle, and Tiny Tot smiling out at us with his sort of ‘beard’ on the right front.

#2 sibling loves for Mum to feed it and for some reason she didn’t get the message that you should stand on that fish and mantle if you don’t want to lose it.

Tiny, looking all innocent, decides he will just edge a little closer to that fish.

Gosh. I would have loved to be inside Tiny Tot’s head for the split second it took him to steal that fish from the big sibling that has caused him so much grief in his short life.

He must have been so excited as he worked to mantle and pull that fish over to the side.

Could sibling #2, the biggest on the nest, really believe that Tiny Tot had taken her fish?!

#2 must be thinking, ‘What just happened?’ Clearly, Tiny Tot is not nearly as intimidated by #2 in the last few days as he was earlier.

Maybe Diane told #2 that she would never be able to fly if she kept on eating so much! I honestly don’t know what happened but #2 didn’t beat, bonk, battle. Maybe it was still full from the night before.

The two older sibs are 52 days old by my counting. Fledge watch begins at 60 days. And remember, fledging is just the first flight. It doesn’t mean they are gone forever. They have to perfect their flying skills and fishing. You can expect to see Diane and Jack supplementing their fishing, too.

Wow. You can’t get much cuter than those fluffy little marshmallows over at the UC Berkeley Falcon Cam. That fourth egg is sitting there. Maybe it will be a threesome for Annie and Grinnell. They are so cute and growing so fast. There is a third one, tucked between the two.

The cam at the Big Sur California Condor nest is solar powered and it is currently down. We have no idea what is happening with that egg of Redwood Queen’s and Phoenix. Will report back later.

It is hot in Wales and Mrs G has been doing some food calling from the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Nest. Aran came in but there have been intruders about. Hopefully he will get her a nice fish before the sun sets. She must be awfully hot on that nest.

Arthur is on incubation duties on the Red Tail Hawk cam so that his mate, Big Red can have a break. It’s a sunny 18 degrees in Ithaca, New York today. It is a nice change from the snowy-hail these two had the other day.

Toni Castelli-Rosen has kept a laying and hatch chart for Big Red. It was posted on the Cornell Hawk Red-Tail FB Page today. I don’t think they will mind if I share it with you.

Looks like it won’t be long til we are on pip watch! Can’t wait. These two are the most amazing parents and in the entire world there are only a couple of RTH cams. We are so privileged to get to watch their lives unfold.

And before I close, another miracle. Milda, Raimis, and step-dad Mr Cips, have two! That second egg has hatched. I was told the time was 20:30:34 on the 23 April. Oh, aren’t they adorable! I hope the older sib is kind to the little one.

All of us are tired of the pandemic. I don’t even like to say that word anymore. The birds have brought us such joy. It was nice to begin the day with the Tiny Tot miracle and end it here in Latvia with the second hatch for Milda. She believed in those eggs – enough to not eat for eight days. I am so grateful for Mr Cips who has brought in food and even fed the little eaglets. Milda has a new mate that will support her. Tears.

Thank you for joining me. It is a cool but sunny Saturday on the Canadian prairies. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Labs and the RTH cam, Latvian Fund for Nature, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam for their streaming cams. That is where I picked up my screen shots.

Late Friday night smiles from Bird World

Just a few glimpses into some of the nests at the end of my Friday.

Over at Pittsburg Hayes Mom is bringing in sticks to work on the nest when the chicks take an interest.

The sun is setting over Durbe, Latvia. Milda is feeding her miracle chick and the sun is shining. Oh, it must feel good not to be soggy after yesterday’s soaker.

Annie has the eyasses cuddled up along with that fourth egg. She is brooding them. Oh, if it is viable we should be ready for pip and hatch.

Tiny Tot finally got a few bites of the catfish delivery that came at 2:50:37. Sibling #2 pretty much monopolized the entire feeding but Tiny did get some bites after 4pm. Not many but was fed this morning some. I wish that the parents would break up the fish in pieces so they could self-feed. Anyone have a meat saw?

And just look at those darlings over at the Savannah Osprey Nest on Skidiway Island. Nice full crops, standing up tall and behaving. And, no, that third egg has not hatched. Let’s continue to hope that it sits there unviable. Two healthy chicks to get to fledge is a big job. If Ospreys are like Red tail Hawks the more food they can eat and the longer they are on the nest the better their chances of survival. It is not a kind world out there – they need all the tools in their tool kit they can muster. Sounds like what I used to say to students when they asked for advice.

Phoenix has finished his incubation duties and we are waiting for the arrival of Redwood Queen back to the nest to have her lunch. There is the egg that everyone’s eyes will be on tomorrow! One more California Condor would be so welcome and it would surely be heartwarming for these two survivors to have a successful hatch. Stay tuned. If you want to keep an eye on this important event, I have posted the link to the camera.

Look high on the branch. The two Great Horned Owls born in the Bald Eagle Nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas are sitting on a branch with their mom, Bonnie. Tiger and Lily were born on March 7 and are branching. First flights could be anytime.

The single surviving eaglet in the Fort Vrain Bald Eagle Nest in Colorado is hoping for a bit of lunch.

It rained earlier today in Minnesota and Nancy is making sure that she keeps her two eaglets dry.

And those two precious eaglets on the Minnesota DNR nest are exploring. They have their beautiful charcoal thermal down and you can just see some of the white dandelions of the natal down hidden by the thermal. Harry our first time dad at the age of four and Nancy have done great. Wonder what they are looking at so carefully?

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis will know that I am extremely interested in the social behaviour of the birds in their nests. I am particularly interested in the survival rate of a third hatch on Osprey nests. Today, Tiger Mozone shared with me his favourite video of all time and it gave me such a smile that I want to share it with you. I don’t think Tiger would mind in the least. It is of the 2011 Dennis Puleston Osprey. You need to watch the entire video. It is short, 3:41 minutes. Keep your eye on the little one. Before you start, if you have been watching the Achieva Osprey Nest, think of this small one as Tiny Tot. Thank you, Tiger Mozone. This is fabulous!

May 8 is Bird Day in North America. That is when Cornell Bird Labs ask everyone to do a count in their gardens and at the parks. It is a way of collecting migration data. I will give you more details so you can participate next week. That is it for Friday. Have a fabulous weekend everyone.

Thank you to Tiger Mozone for sending me the link to that fabulous video. I laughed and laughed. We all need that these days.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen shots: MN DNR, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, X-cel Energy, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon, Ventana Wildlife, Achieva Credit Union Osprey, Explore.org, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, and the Latvia Wildlife Fund.

Friday Morning Nest Hopping

Sad news arrived on Thursday night. Millie, a young Kakapo, was found deceased. This brings the total number of Kakapo to 204.

Millie sadly died.

In Latvia, the rain has been falling hard all day Thursday. The heavy drops sounded like hail hitting the microphone of the streaming cam. Milda has to work hard to both feed her miracle chick and to keep it warm and dry. That little one has no protection against the weather! That will come when she gets some thermal down but still, she will not be protected fully from the weather until we have juvenile contour feathers.

Rain had stopped on 23 April and Milda looks at her miracle baby.

The wind was really strong on the White-Tailed Eagle nest at Durbe, Latvia Friday morning but the rain had stopped. Milda looks at her little miracle in the nest. By afternoon the winds had calmed and the songbirds sing to Milda as she calls out to Mr C.

Milda is talking to Mr C. 23 April 2021

Milda’s eaglet is so cute and so healthy. Bird World needed something wonderful and the miracle of this little chick hatching in a nest in Latvia was it! It is really endearing to watch Milda feed her last chick with her deceased mate, Raimis.

Milda feeding her chick. 22 April 2021

I wrote with tears running down my cheeks earlier because Tiny Tot had really done well with the feedings, trying to steal a piece of fish from an older sibling, and having success grabbing a large piece from Mom that Dad has just delivered. Well, why did I think that would be the end of the day? At 6:59:57 on Thursday evening Jack arrives on the nest with a really nice headless fish.

One of the older chicks wants that whole fish but Jack seems to be waiting around for Diane to arrive. Maybe he shared the head with her? Let’s hope so. She has done an amazing job today equalizing the feeding on this nest.

But wait! Diane has other ideas. She arrives with another fish at 7:02:58. Wow. Within three minutes the nest has two fish deliveries. This is how this nest should have been going all along. Keep it up!

Of course, 2 thinks she should have both fish.

Diane looks like she is comparing her catfish to the one that the older sibling has from Jack. Oh, Diane’s fish is still alive!

I could paste fifty screen shots but, instead, I will just cut to the chase. 2 has its own fish so Diane is feeding 1. But where is Tiny Tot?

At 7:14:28 Tiny Tot is between mom’s legs getting fed. Diane moves the fish to the right corner of the nest. Tiny Tot only stopped eating to do a ps at 8:09:15.

Tiny Tot is full to the brim and finally quits eating at 8:10:10. He has eaten approximately half a catfish in this last feeding. Look at the picture above. His legs are fatter and you can see his round little bottom again. Tiny Tot staggers to the middle of the nest and passes out in a food coma. Sweet dreams little one!

It was a brilliant day on this nest on Thursday. Jack and Diane seem to have gotten their act together in terms of what is needed for food. Giving the older siblings small fish or their own piece allows Diane to feed Tiny Tot. We know that he can also self-feed. Let us hope they remember this strategy and do the same tomorrow. Diane finished feeding the big ones at 8:28 and she also got some nice bites herself – well deserved.

On Friday morning, there was some catfish left from last night (a bit and the bones) and 2 deliveries on the Achieva Nest. One looked like a flounder (or a flat fish) and another was a chunk of catfish. Tiny Tot did not get any of the first flat fish that I could see but he did get some of the big chunk that came at 8:08:18. Diane fed him some and then he took a piece at 8:28:50 and was self-feeding. Diane also fed Tiny something (perhaps the piece he was self-feeding and the old piece of catfish). There is Tiny Tot standing up nicely at the rim of the nest looking at mom when he is all finished.

Grinnell is doing the late night Thursday feeding at the UC Berkeley falcon nest. Isn’t he handsome? And as of Friday morning we still have three little marshmallows.

22 April 2021. Grinnell comes in for a late feeding of his adorable eyasses.

It is a gorgeous day on Skidiway island and there are two very healthy and alert Osplets on that nest. No sign of anything happening with that third egg (yippee).

Lunch for two. 23 April 2021

Over at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Legacy really enjoys her fish delivery early this morning. She is a super strong beautiful ebony coloured eaglet. All eyes are on Samson and Gabby’s 2021 chick as she continues branching. Fledge is coming soon!

Gabby and Samson continue to feed Legacy well and teach her lessons about stealing food – things she did not learn with another sibling in the nest. Legacy is going to be a magnificent eagle!

Legacy enjoying her breakfish. 23 April 2021
Legacy looking out to the wide world. She will be flying soon. 23 April 2021

Tomorrow, 24 April is the expected hatch of Big Sur’s California condors, Redwood Queen and Phoenix. Oh, I hope that egg is viable. It was laid on 4 March. What a wonderful thing for these two that both survived huge fires in their lives.

Phoenix coming in to incubate the egg. Hatch watch tomorrow. 23 April 2021

And you might remember that I was looking into third hatch Ospreys – the ones like Tiny Tot that had been battered by their older siblings. My friend ‘T in Strasbourg’ had contacted someone in Wales for me. I am very interested in the ‘survival’ rate of the ‘threes’ and Z1 was identified as an osprey like Tiny Tot who returned as a juvenile as a fierce Osprey. The last sighting I could find of him was 4 April 2020. Well news came this morning in a list on the Loch Garten FB page that Z1 arrived at his nest in Snowdonia on 1 April along with his unringed female mate. Oh, I wish I could put together a list of these third hatches that survived. Z1 is the only one of his clutch to migrate and return – now three years! Fantastic. If you think of any third hatches that were bonked and battered but survived to return from their first migration, please do let me know. I would really appreciate it.

Thank you so much for joining me today. As you can tell I am really excited about the progress that Tiny Tot has made in the past few days. It looks like all of the birds heading into the weekend are doing well. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Achieva Credit Union Osprey, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Latvian Wildlife Fund, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon. Thanks also to the Kakapo Recovery FB Page where I took the image of Millie.

Happiness in Bird World on Earth Day

I want to wish each and everyone of you and our planet a Happy Earth Day. On the Canadian Prairies it has turned out to be jubilant. It is 17 degrees C outside which feels like summer – yes, it is going to get cold again quickly but still a break today is most welcome. All the snow in my garden is melted.

Bird World is jubilant! Look carefully at the image below. Can you spot Tiny Tot?

Tiny Tot with his crop. 22 April 2021

The last time we witnessed Tiny Tot with a crop was on 7 April. That was precisely 15 days ago and during that time he has survived by being clever and persistent. Tiny Tot used his clever mind and took advantage of positioning and the fact that 2 had eaten an entire fish late last night. Tiny had part of the first fish delivery that came at 7:18:03 as well as part of the second delivery arriving at 9:50:55.

One of the Achieva Osprey cam chatters, Vol Crush, named 1 and 2 Hoover Harley and Dyson Davidson. What a wonderful morning laugh. Tiny Tot was Phoenix – an appropriate name for him since he does seem to rise from the ashes of the nest and survive in ways that many cannot comprehend.

It is now 25 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida. Tiny Tot has let his big sister shade him. It is full sun and hotter up on that nest. At 2:20 all of the siblings are looking up. Wonder what they see?

Also take a look at Tiny. He has been getting his contour feathers and now instead of those ‘whiskers’ that he had he is also beginning to get his chest feathers. If his luck and persistence endures, he will be an Osprey to contend with being able to survive in very dire circumstances by not giving up. What a bird.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Falcon Nest has not hatched yet but gosh, look at the cuteness in those little pink beaks. Do they look like marshmallows to you?

Lime Green Black flew in to feed his girl quickly and out again he went. That was at 11:49 am. What a lucky princess! The satellite monitoring of LGK and LGL shows that they have had to go further out to forage to feed their girl.

Soon, we should have the short list for names of our Royal Albatross Princess at Taiaroa Head. Every year the Royal cam chick is given a Maori name. She will be the only hatchling of 2021 to have a name along with her band numbers. I will keep you posted so you can vote.

In Canada, our national bird is the Gray Jay. Not the Blue Jay and not the Toronto Blue Jays but the Gray Jay. Here is an image so you can get this in your mind.

“Gray Jay, Slough Creek” by YellowstoneNPS is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The national bird of the United States is the Bald Eagle. That symbol is on currency, on posters, and is celebrated at all patriotic events. And today, the only trained Bald Eagle to fly in an enclosed space – like at the Super Bowl or the 9/11 Memorial – Challenger is 32 hatch years old. He will get special salmon cakes and other treats to celebrate his extraordinary life. Happy Hatch Day Challenger!

Al Cerere, the founder of the American Eagle Foundation Founder and former President of the AEF, takes Challenger on Fox and Friends on Memorial Day in 2017 to talk about how Challenger. There are many more videos of Challenger flying and his birthday celebration in 2020. You can check them out by doing a search on YouTube.

Louis has been over to visit Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey Nest today. Gosh, I wish for once he would bring her a fish! Just once, Louis. Wouldn’t that be nice? Apparently, he does feed Star at his other nest over at the baseball park. Someone pointed out something important – this nest is in Louis’s territory and no other male would likely challenge Louis. On the other hand, I know that most people want Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, to have a mate and they would love to watch her raise her osplets again. It has been awhile. But there is also the argument that having raised no less than 30 and possibly 40 or more chicks she deserves a break. If you have watched the mothers on these nests they work hard and lose about 30% of their body weight.

Louis arrives in Iris’s life in 2016. Since then the only egg to hatch has been egg #1 laid on 27 April 2018. That egg hatched on 4 June and the chick fledged on 5 August.

There is some logic that not having to raise a nest full of chicks might be what is helping Iris to survive as long as she has. She always returns from her winter migration in great health. She is an excellent fisher. Nature will once again take its course this summer in Missoula. For me, just seeing Iris – working on the nest, bringing in fish she has caught, is fantastic and reassuring.

And speaking of eggs and hatchlings, there are still only two at The Landings Savannah Osprey nest and I am overjoyed that other egg is just sitting there. If it is pipping, I am unaware. The two are healthy and getting along. It would be such a blessing for this nest to have these two remain so.

In Latvia, everyone is still joyous over the successful hatching of Milda’s second egg. That beautiful little White Tailed Eaglet is doing great. Here it is getting a meal before the heavy rains set in later in the afternoon.

As the heavy rain falls late in the day it sounds like there also could be some hail falling. That little eaglet is snug under Milda! Nothing is going to get it wet. Mr Chips has brought in fish that can feed both mom and baby.

And over in Wales, there are smiles because one of the Dyfi hatchlings of 2018, Dinas has arrived home to Wales. Last year he was seen in Anglesey. Congratulations everyone. What a relief to see a return! Phillip Snow captured Dinas eating a fish. The image was posted on the Loch Arkaig FB this morning. What a great fish!

And, last, a report on another Louis. As anyone watching the nest of Louis and Aila at Loch Arkaig can tell you, it is becoming sad not to see Aila return. There are still ospreys returning to the UK from their winter migration to Africa and Aila has come in late previously but it appears that Louis might be with another female on the nest out of view of the camera. Fish were seen being delivered and two birds on that nest. Louis is an amazing dad and the three osplets that hatched and fledged in 2020 are a testimony to his efforts, day and night, to keep them fed. He even did tandem feedings with Aila which won my love. Oh, if that would happen on the Achieva Osprey nest I would collapse. Birds, like humans, are born into different homes with parents with different skills and means. Whatever happens up in Scotland, I know that we wish Louis well.

Have a fabulous day today everyone! Enjoy the beautiful outdoors and do something for the betterment of our planet – no matter how large your effort, everyone can make a difference.

Thank you to the following where I grabbed my images: the Loch Arkaig FB page and Phillip Snow, the Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest, the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg FL, the UC Falcon Cam, the Latvian Nature Fund and the White Tail Eagle cam at Durbe, Cornell Lab and NZ Doc Royal Albatross, and Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey Project.