Late Monday in Bird World

The ‘Alberta Clipper’ is just starting to impact Winnipeg with some light snow flakes. We are in an extreme blizzard warning area until tomorrow morning when the winds and snow – getting up to 90 kph (or 55 mph) – dissipate. The garden birds were a little strange today. They ate and left. Normally they come and stay all day but a couple of waves of different groups came and went. I suspect they were going to try and find a place to hunker down for the duration. This storm system is also going to impact a huge part of the US including my childhood state of Oklahoma.

It is snowing on the Storks near Freiburg, too.

There is wind and blowing snow in Durbe, Latvia, the home of Milda, the White-tailed Eagle. The sound from the camera’s microphone makes you shiver – the wind is just howling through the forest.

The female Bald Eagle at Duke Farms is also under some snow and it looks like she might get more as this weather system moves through the eastern US.

There is good news in Bird World. Both of the USS Bald Eagles were seen at the nest today. The worry last night over whether or not there was an injury melted away. Nice.

The thermal down is coming in on the eaglet at the KNF in Central Louisiana. The light natal down is giving way to dandelions. Notice how much longer the beak is and how large the cere has become. The cere is the soft fleshy part above the black beak, seen below. The cere varies in shape, size, and colour amongst raptors. The beak will turn that beautiful yellow when this eaglet is approximately 4-5 years old and be pure yellow by the time it is 6 years old. At that time, it will also finish getting its adult plumage including that full beautiful white head.

The meals are more spread apart but the eaglet is eating longer and its crop is getting much fuller. Just look below. The crop is a pouch along the espophagus. It stores food before it gets to the stomach. It also processes prey items that cannot be processed in the stomach. The raptor will regurgitate a compressed pellet of those items that do not go to the stomach.

The Wildlife Biologist has just confirmed that this crop is at least 3-4 inches (10 cm) long! Wow.

Poor Baby. It took some maneuvering with the weight and flopping of that crop for it to get in a position to PS. Obviously the crop weighs more than the chick’s bottom does.

This baby has really grown in the last 4 or 5 days and is changing more and more with every blink it seems.

Despite being full to the brim and hardly able to move, Anna is making certain that the little one is topped up before bedtime.

NE26 and 27 are awash in Spanish Moss. The nest seems to be covered with it and fish. Lots of fish.

There are those sweet little fluffy dumplings in the nest bole.

Sleeping quietly under Mum.

At the WRDC Nest in Miami, R1 and R2 have popping crops, too. The pin or blood feathers can be seen coming in through the thermal down.

R1 is closest to you. R2 without the fluffy hair is in the back and also has a large crop. Both eaglets are doing well and there is plenty of food on the nest.

The 2022 Albatross Count on Midway Atoll is completed. Here is the information as it was posted by Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge today:

YRK flew in and switched places with OGK yesterday at the Royal Albatross Quarry Track Nest in New Zealand.

Lady Hawk caught that sweet reunion.

The camera is still offline in Port Lincoln. Would love to have had a good look at our Ervie.

Tuesday February 1 is Lunar New Year for many of our friends. For all of you celebrating the Spring Festival, we wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous Year of the Tiger.

Thank you for joining me today. So happy to have you with me. Stay safe, stay warm!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Friends of Midway Atoll Wildlife Refuge FB Page, KNF Bald Eagle Nest, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, WRDC Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, Latvian Fund for Nature, and the Stork’s Nest Livestream.

E19 is one strong little eaglet

It is difficult to describe how much snow we have in our garden. It is impossible to give an accurate picture of the amount that has fallen over the past 48 hours. The snow on the wood pile boxes is a good measure as it lands and stays put, usually without blowing away!

The House Sparrows were glad there was food still left in the long cylinder for them. I had cleared the snow off the tops yesterday afternoon late.

The European Starlings are waiting for their meal worms and Bark bites. I have started mixing in Black Sunflower Seed. I wonder if they will still be as happy??? They sure love those Meal Worms!

Despite the wintery weather, there are reports of record numbers of Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings in our City along with the usual suspects. My daughter was out walking and, lucky for us, she had her phone with her and snapped this Pileated Woodpecker. She said she thought someone was pounding wood with a hammer!

Oh, how lucky for her.

Hob Osterlund is reporting that it is taking as many as 30 days for the adults to find enough food to return to to replace their mates incubating eggs of the Laysan Albatross. Warming oceans and over fishing are responsible. We need some creative and brave leaders to do what is necessary which could include a moratorium on factory fishing. I was told by a very reliable source that we have lost 90% of the fish numbers since the end of the 19th century.

Can we fish farm to feed the oceans?

It was a rocky night for E19. Dad, M15, got hit twice by the Great Horned Owl and Harriet, Mum, was honking in warning. Meanwhile, Harriet continued to aerate the nest and turn E20 – which meant that E19 was tossed and turned too.

E19 does not look any the worse for wear. This is one strong little eaglet. Right now I am cooing and gooing but, when E20 arrives I will probably be calling E19 out for beaking its sibling.

Look how strong that neck is today. It isn’t even 24 hours. Harriet and M15 have some good DNA going into these kids. Already looks like a bossy older sibling!

There is a mid-morning snack of squirrel.

Harriet says, ‘Open Wide’.

This is the latest view of E20 working on that shell. If you are watching the camera you can see the little one working and moving about trying to get out. It won’t be long.

Bazza continues to be the ‘bully’, if you like, of the nest on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. I counted at least three fish deliveries on the nest that he took yesterday —- knocking siblings off the nest so that he had it all. How many times will I wonder if this first hatch won’t wind up living on that nest til the parents kick him off?

All three are fine. Falky was the latest to be kicked off. He is working hard to catch his fish and it appears that Ervie is already having some luck in the water. Sadly, Bazza is the loser as he needs to learn to be independent.

If you go over to the cameras for the Orange Peregrine Falcons with Diamond and Xavier, you might find that they are off line. Cilla Kinross has turned them off at the suggestion of the IT office to try and get rid of the trolls that are hounding the chat rooms. She also mentions that she will be changing the view of the cameras periodically.

Big Red, the Queen of the Cornell Redtail Hawks is back on Campus. Meanwhile there are reports that Arthur was depending their Beebe Lake Territory against interlopers yesterday.

I will be trying to get my car out of the drive today. It is booster jabs. We have no idea what the back streets are like to reach the main ones. Wish us luck!

Take care. It is wonderful to have you with me on this journey with our beloved birds.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey, and Hob Osterlund.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

Late Thursday and early Friday in Bird World 22-23 July 2021

The Royal Albatross ‘Cam Princess’ for 2021, Taiki, was banded on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand on 22 July. Taiki is Maori and means ‘protector of the land and sea’. She now has a permanent metal band with a unique number to her and a white plastic band with the number 60 on it on the other leg. The white designates the chicks that were born this year. All 34 of them will get a white band. When they return to land, after being at sea from 4-6 years, they will receive the adult colour bands. For example, Taiki’s mother is Lime-Green-Lime (LGL). Can you imagine being at sea and only returning to walk on the ground after being away for all that time?

Here is an image of Ranger Sharyn putting on the bands.

And here is the video that the Cornell Labs did of the entire banding session.

It is unclear how many fish came up to the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest today. ‘S’ noted one medium fish. I did check in on the nest and caught the chick standing. That is very good. It is getting its juvenile feathers and it is beginning to get strength in its legs to walk and stand up. Excellent.

One of the most beautiful times of day at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in the Old Ironbark Tree in Sydney is early morning. The forest is waking up. You can hear all the birds singing including the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, the Noisy Miners, and the Currawongs. We are just getting a trade off on incubation duty (I believe) when I checked the nest. We should be on hatch alert in a couple of days!

It is so calm and peaceful in the forest. No one is allowed inside this restricted area other than the Rangers and specific staff of the Discovery Centre.

Here is another hand off around 13:30 this afternoon.

The adult plumage is this beautiful slate blue grey with a white head and underbelly. The juveniles are the most gorgeous rusty-espresso.

I want to give you the link to the Sea Eagle camera so that you can start watching. It is very exciting. The little ones are fuzzy white when they hatch. So cute.

It is 4:59 and Tiny Little has already flown off the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Just looking at that nest reminds me how grateful everyone was when Tiny Tot stayed around the Achieva Osprey nest for so long. In fact, for four months we got to enjoy seeing that wee one grow up. We saw her change from the beaten, pecked, and starved little one to a ferocious independent fledgling. What a gift we were given! We never know how long we are given with these ‘special survivors’ so we have to savour every minute. Tiny Little will, no doubt, return to the nest when there is a fish drop unless the parents begin to feed the fledglings off nest.

Ah, and before I stopped writing it seemed like a good time just to check on that Foulshaw Moss Nest again and guess what? Tiny Little is there with another sibling waiting for the breakfish drop!

Tiny Little, 463 on the left and 462 on the right.

And they both got their wish!

Some good news was posted today. Seventy eggs of the Black Foot Albatross from Midway Island were transported to Guadalope Island, Mexico. I mentioned this in an earlier blog last week. It has now been confirmed that all 70 of the eggs hatched and all 70 of the chicks have fledged. You can’t get any better than 100%.

One of my friends and readers lives on the Hawaiian Islands. She mentioned the colony of Albatross Hawaii they have. That reminded me to introduce you to a very special person who founded the Kauai Albatross Network.

Her name is Hob Osterlun. In this short clip, she is doing a one person play on her life as a nurse for nurses and doctors and she talks about how the albatross changed her life.

That short video, Kapuna Life, mentions Hob’s book, Holi Moli. I recall the first time I read it. I devoured the pages reading from late in the evening to the wee hours of the morning.

So many of you reading my blog have been moved by ‘the birds’. Whether it was during the pandemic or before, a two legged creature with feathers – that fly or not (we can’t forget about the Kakapo) – touched you in a way that is probably hard to describe. For Hob Osterlund, having that Laysan Albatross touch her foot was extremely powerful.

Here is a beautiful video about Hawaii and the Albatross. It is an hour long. Watch pieces of it or the whole thing when you have time. These are such beautiful birds. Hob never gets tired of talking about them!

It is a scorcher in southern Manitoba and Winnipeg today. Yesterday my daughter and her sons got to see an Osprey dive for its fish at Lake Winnipeg. She saw the nest using binoculars with its two chicks, too. We have a number of Osprey platforms placed by Manitoba Hydro around Victoria Beach, Grand Beach, Grand Marais and on the way to our Iceland city, Gimli. How lucky they were!

Thank you for joining me. Stay safe everyone! Stay cool. Remember to leave water out for the birds.

Thank you to the following whose streaming cams I use to get my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Collins Marsh Reservoir Osprey Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Sydney Sea Eagles, Australian Bird Life, and the Discovery Centre.

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.

N24 has a name – Legacy!

Several environmental and wildlife researchers believe that if you give a specific bird a name, people are more invested in its welfare. They will, therefore, transfer the caring from the named bird to wanting to create a more sustainable environment for them and, thus, all wildlife.

I am not totally convinced that a ‘name’ makes a difference (but if it does, I am all for it!). Those who watched White-Bellied Sea Eaglet 26 (WBSE 26) hatch, grow, and overcome her physical challenges to fly would not have cared any more for her if she had a name. It has been six months since she died and all it takes is for one of ‘our bird group’ to simply say ’26’ and we ‘see’ her. Maybe it is when she was with Maggie the Magpie honking at the Pied Currawongs. Or perhaps it is the little bobble head with WBSE 25. Maybe it is the last image of her with the sun gently caressing the side of her face. I will argue that it would not have mattered more if 26 had a name and not a number. The donations and the strong feels of wanting to help in some way came regardless.

Many successful birds are known by a number or band colour or a name or – all three. Followers of Wisdom, the oldest banded Laysan Albatross in the world, know she wears a red band with the number Z333. They also know her by her name. It is equally true that we might not know the other Laysans whose nests are near to Wisdom’s on the Midland Atoll and that is because Wisdom or Red-Z333 is special. She is the oldest living banded bird in the world and at the age of seventy, she just hatched another moli.

If you have any thoughts one way or the other, I would love to hear from you.

“Wisdom incubating her egg, December 2018. Photo credit: Madalyn Riley/USFWS Volunteer” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

One of the ‘Name the Bald Eaglet’ contests has just ended. At the time of its birth, the eaglet born to Samson and Gabby in 2021 on the Northeast Florida nest was given a number – N24. Today, N24 received a name —- Legacy.

The public were invited to submit potential names. Out of those the list was narrowed down to six. Then members of the American Eagle Foundation voted for their favourite name on the list. 266 people voted for Legacy over the other five names. It is a good symbolic choice for this nest. Legacy is the grandchild of Romeo and Juliet. That mated pair were first seen on this very nest on 3 September 2009. The couple raised nineteen eaglets to fledge – they were 100% successful. During the 2018-19 season, Juliet was injured by an intruder and left the nest area. Romeo was ultimately unable to do the work for two even though he tried very hard to succeed. This included incubating the remaining egg, hunting for food to feed the one that hatched and himself, and the protection of the nest. When Romeo was away hunting, on Christmas Day 2018, a female intruder snatched the just hatched eaglet from the nest and ate it. Romeo consequently left the nest area. Neither Romeo or Juliet have been seen since and it is presumed, by many, that both are dead.

Legacy sitting next to its dad, Samson. 7 March 2021. @NEFL and AEF Eagle Cam

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. He was born on this same nest on 23 December 2013. Samson returned to his natal nest on 26 August 2019, taking over the territory his father, Romeo, once ruled. Samson was ‘courted’ by many females but he chose his current mate, Gabrielle or Gabby for short. Their first breeding season was 2019-20. The pair fledged N22 and N23 – Jules and Romy – named after the grandparents. This year only one of two eggs was viable. The eaglet was given the number N24. N24 carries on the legacy of Romeo and Juliet. It is a sentimental choice but a very good one out of the other possible six choices.

The other news is that Legacy has overcome Avian Pox. The lesions are almost completely dried up. Pin feathers are coming in all over the little one’s body and it spends much of its time preening. Those feathers must be awfully itchy!

Another sweet little eaglet is waiting for a name. This one resides in the KNF – Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana. The public submissions of names is now closed. A committee will narrow down those to a list of three. I understand that a number of individuals have suggested names associated with Caroline Dormon, the woman who led the reforestation of the area after all of the trees had been cut down for timber early in the twentieth century. Voting for the final name will take place from 11-16 March with the announcement of ‘the name’ on St. Patrick’s Day.

This little eaglet has grown like a bad weed. Once the chick was no longer bobbling its head and learned to grab food hard with its beak and once mom figured out how to hold her beak (sideways), there was nothing stopping this little one from growing. That growth is helped by a dad who simply cannot stop catching fish and delivering them to the nest. Someone counted twelve today! Twelve fish. Not just for the baby – mom likes to eat, too! There must be a fabulous source of food nearby for this lucky family.

More good news, Wisdom is home!

Oh, it is another cold one on the Canadian Prairies. -28 with an extreme cold warning. The birds are fed and there were two Blue Jays stuffing themselves under the feeders. It is always nice to see them.

Lots of things happening in the world of our birds! Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the switches on the individual nests or the antics of the Es.

The image below is the best image I have of Wisdom. Remember. Wisdom is the oldest banded Albatross in the World and is at least 69 years old. Here she is in 2011 with her Moli on Midway Atoll. Wisdom is a Laysan Albatross. Look at how close the nests are together! Midway is a small atoll measuring 6.2 square kilometres or 2.4 square miles. In other words, it is very crowded with the half million pairs of Laysan Albatross calling it their nesting territory and home.

Wisdom, 2011. Image courtesy of USFWS.

There is ten years between the image of Wisdom and her chick in 2011 above and the one below. The one below was taken yesterday right after she arrived back on 6 February to relieve her mate. While Wisdom was out to sea her beautiful little chick of 2021 hatched. Is it just the cutest?

Wisdom sees her 2021 chick for the first time on 6 February.

Oh, look at the little sweetie peeking out.

Wisdom looking down and preening her baby.

Images thanks to Friends of Midway Atoll.

I want to include some historical images for you of the Midway Atoll and the Laysan Albatross. All of these photos were taken by government staff on the atoll and are courtesy of the USWFS. Some of you will remember Midway for its strategic positioning during WWII. Today it is the home of the albatross!

1965
1958

In the image below, the adults have white plumage with brown wings and the most amazing eye makeup of any bird on the planet! The fluffy brown feathers and grey bills and faces are the baby Moli grown into juveniles. If you look carefully at the back left you will see that the juvenile is losing its fluffy brown down. Soon it will resemble the adult.

There are actually funny contests on Hawaii for the Moli with the craziest moulting pattern! Some seriously look like bikinis.

June 2008
9 January 2012

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Well, Harriet and M15 seem to have the SouthWest Florida Eagle nest at Fort Myers under control. Sometimes the little ones, the second born, figure it out but, in this instance, it seems that little E18 is getting some help from mom and dad. Where there are issues related to who is dominant or food resources, the largest can really cause distress to the smaller one. Some of you might remember that Hope pulled all the hair off the top of Peace’s head in one of their bopping sessions. It was really too horrid to watch. Sometimes the competition results in the death of the smaller, weaker, and more submissive one. This is not going to be the case on this nest! Twice now M15 has stepped up when E17 was full and asleep and started feeding sweet little 18. I am a sucker for the underdog! M15 stuffed that little eaglet with big morsels of rabbit and then Harriet moved over and fed it some fish. Needless to say both the eaglets are sleeping on cropzillas tonight.

[Images of Harriet and M15’s nest courtesy of D Pritchett Eagle Cam.]

Both eaglets have little crops. Watch E18 is going to go to sleep and M15 is going to feed little 18 more rabbit!

E18 really enjoys its private dining with dad!

Stay asleep E17!!!!!!

E18 really loves his Dad.

Harriet walks over to feed E18 some fish but I think this little one really enjoys his rabbit. Look at the way E18 and M15 are looking at one another. So sweet.

I am going to sleep a little better tonight knowing that little E18 went to bed with a full tummy and that his daddy, M15 is keeping an eye out for him.

This was a few hours ago. It is amazing how these little ones begin to understand how to survive. Some of them get pretty inventive in getting food and staying out of the eye of the bigger sibling. Little E18 is doing well and the parents have its back. I noticed Harriet giving M17 a tap on the beak yesterday as if it was a warning for a time out! That eaglet can’t help but get in trouble wherever it is. E18 was even bopping back at Harriet. I wonder if she has a secret time out spot? Yesterday I was hoping that M15 would build a little pen around 18 for a few minutes.

Harriet feeding E18. Image courtesy of D Pritchett SWFL eagle cam.

Remember the Trio of Eagles and their nest at Fulton, Illinois? the two males Valor I and II and the female, Starr? I like to imagine in my mind that it is easier to take care of a nest of two youngsters but I want to give M15 a big round of applause this morning. He is right there with Harriet looking after the kids. And he certainly is close to E18.

I want to be very careful and try not to put human emotions onto our birds. But I do wonder if M15 was hassled by a big sister when he was in the nest.

Harriet and M15 both on deck. Image courtesy of D Pritchett SWFL eagle cam.
E18 peeking out while E17 naps. Image courtesy of D Pritchett SWFL eagle cam.

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Down in New Zealand, another Albatross mom returned from the sea. Lime-Green-Lime (LGL) slipped yesterday to relieve Lime-Green-Black (LGK). I know it is hard to get your head around all those limes! The winds have been blowing and the fishing must be good. She was only away for three days.

LGL arrives home. Image courtesy of Cornell Lab and NZ DOC.

Ah, the proud mamma looking down at her two week old baby.

LGL looking down at her precious chick. Image courtesy of Cornell Lab and NZ DOC.

This kiddo sure learned how to get his bill in place so that he could get that squid shake. Yum. This two week old already weighs 1.2kg (2.65 pounds)!! Oh, my. And I will absolutely say, for certain, that this has to be a little boy! The average weight of a Royal Albatross chick at fledge (usually mid September) is 8-8.5 kilograms. The largest has been 14.3 kilograms. This little one isn’t going to be little for long if these parents keep feeding him lots and lots of high protein oily food! Such gentle and loving birds.

I have said it before but I find the Albatross so relaxing. Yes, there is lots of drama but some how it just isn’t as visually stressful as the Bald Eagles. It is a bit like watching Daisy the Duck. You can sit for hours with the birds simply rotating on their nest. There is no bopping or pulling the siblings hair out. And, of course, there aren’t any siblings! The parents focus for two years is on this one single chick.

Nice feeding! Image courtesy of Cornell Lab and NZ DOC.

Ranger Sharyn gently removes the chick for his weight check. Look how big he is! Now, no more daily checks. He is doing fine. He will only be weighed Tuesday mornings.

Ranger Sharyn preparing to weigh the chick. What a handful! Image courtesy of Cornell Lab and NZ DOC.

Ranger Sharyn is so gentle with this growing chick. Ranger Sharyn! Did you remember to bring the bigger bag for this big boy?

This baby is growing! Image courtesy of Cornell Lab and NZ DOC.

Awwwww.

And last but never least, our beautiful Bald Eagle mom at Duke Farms in New Jersey. Yesterday the snow on her big nest was almost gone. Look what is happening now!!!!!!!! Oh, my. She is one dedicated mother that will persevere through thick or thin. It was nice she had a break to shake all that snow off. Let’s hope that this bad weather that they are having on the eastern coast of the United States lets up soon. It is the same system, I think, that is sending strong winds to the eagles at Fort Myers along with some rain.

Sunday, February 7. Snow returns to the nest. Image courtesy of Duke Farms eagle cam.

Just looking at that nest in NJ makes me want to run and get a bigger and thicker pair of socks. This poor mom. Nothing but snow. I do wonder if we will see more of this in the coming years with the climate changing. Or if eagles like these will have to relocate further south. We will keep an eye on them.

Stay safe. Thanks for joining me today to check in with our favourite birds. See you tomorrow!