BC Hydro: Fix your “killing poles”

26 July 2022

It is midnight on the Canadian Prairies, 25 July. There is thunder and lighting and the rain is coming down like the 1600 monsoon in Chennai in July — or like Karachi yesterday when that city got a year’s worth of rain in one day. Each of us wants to have a purpose in life, to make a difference. You can join with others today to do just that.

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Malala and Junior

That quote is worth remembering every time we want to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Today, of course, I am talking about getting BC Hydro to ‘do the right thing’ and honour Junior’s death with positive action. BC Hydro needs to demonstrate that they are up to the challenge of making every hydro pole in the lower mainland of British Columbia safe for our feathered friends! Nothing short of a commitment to that goal is acceptable.

The story of Junior and Malala spread around the world in the same way that the story of Stepan Vokic’s rescue and care of Malena in 1993 did — and, of course, the love that Vokic had in caring for both Malena and her scrawny mate, Klepetan, and their 66 children. We cried and laughed and hoped as the little hawklet that came to the nest as prey became a loving part of the eagle family. Their story took us away from a world that is too full of despair to a place where we saw ‘hope’. Hope for each of us as well as that little hawklet.

The international community is stepping up and helping GROWLS with examples of other hydro companies who do not hesitate but, who rush to action when they hear of a bird in desperate need. The latest rescue of a juvenile Osprey caught on a hydro pole in Connecticut from one of my favourite wildlife rehab clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope (APCH) took place Sunday evening. Have a read! It is inspiring.

There is the young Osprey being rescued!

Those who had the ability to step into action and help this young Osprey did not hesitate. They did not stop taking phone calls after hours – they answered the phone and got the proper staff out immediately. This is what we expect from BC Hydro. No more excuses. No more relying on antiquated sections of their founding documents to hedge their responsibilities. No more closing their eyes to the situation. BC Hydro is more than aware of the eagles that are killed on its power poles. We want action.

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/quite-disturbing-5-bald-eagles-electrocuted-on-hydro-poles-1.3234031?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

BC Hydro does fund OWLS with an annual donation. They have even worked on some projects with OWLS. For those who do not know, OWLS is the only raptor rehab in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Of course, OWLS relies on this generous donation but, it also compromises them so that they cannot speak out. That is where we come in. We do not have any conflicts of interest. We are a growing number of international bird lovers who believe that all life on this planet is to be valued and respected. We treasure our relationship with the natural world and so many of us know precisely what our feathered friends meant to us during the darkest days of the pandemic. We have learned so much about these raptor families. We have watched them care for their chicks, we have wished for food, we have stayed up at night if there were storms brewing that might harm them and their nests. We have also learned that many of their challenges are due to humans. In this case, our need for electrical power – no matter where we live – puts their lives in danger. The Ospreys were on this planet 60 million years ago. Fossil records indicate that Bald Eagles were here about 1 million years ago. Of course, as more evidence is found these numbers could change with both being here even longer.

Three months ago few of you knew about Gabriola Island and the Bald Eagle family and its streaming cam. Today, GROWLS has 4.1 Facebook Friends that want to make a difference. If you have not stepped up to send an e-mail to BC Hydro, then I invite you to do so today. It takes only minutes to send an e-mail but the impact of these e-mails can bring dramatic change. BC Hydro knows that their power poles are killing ever large number of Bald Eagles each year….this has to stop. It is wonton disregard. If BC Hydro wants to really be a supporter of wildlife then it is time to prove it – not just by a generous donation – but by also undertaking to stop placing killing poles throughout the province of British Columbia.

In 2018, Christian Sasse did an on line Q & A about electrocution and the power poles. He is planning on another (I do not have the time). Here is that earlier broadcast:

The American Eagle Foundation wrote an article about protecting birds from power poles. This along with Christian Sasse’s video gives us some of the knowledge to understand that BC Hydro can and must amend the size of their power poles but, also, undertake measures to make already erected power poles safe. Arm yourself with knowledge and the facts — it will certainly help when you write your letters!

https://www.eagles.org/take-action/avian-friendly-power-lines/?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

Here is an article on how the power poles that are already in place can be retrofitted to be safe for our feathered friends.

PG&E Installs Protective Devices on Power Poles in South Bay Where Bald Eagles Rest and Dine

I copied the following contact information from GROWLS. Send an e-mail, do a follow up to see if BC Hydro is doing anything in response to Junior’s electrocution, and then take the time to go to Twitter and make a comment! We cannot let up. GROWLS is working tirelessly. They need our help and they need us to have good examples of power companies coming to the rescue like the one from A Place Called Hope. — At the end of the day, BC Hydro wants to be the ‘good company on the block’ not one standing there with egg on their face.

 The main email addresses is connectwithus@bchydro, and you can also comment on BCHydro’s FaceBook page at https://fb.watch/eqz1O6X8nS/ , or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bchydro/status/1550289683623575554 The Facebook and Twitter links are direct to BCHydro’s post about Junior’s death

This issue is not exclusive to British Columbia but what is unique to Canada’s most western province is the sheer number of Bald Eagles that call the lower mainland home. British Columbia is home to the largest population of North American Bald Eagles. No other province of Canada or US state can make this claim. That said, all large raptor species that can land on these power poles ——–and the poles where you live — need to be safe! There is no excuse. We know the problem and we also have the solution at hand.

Thank you!

Monday morning in Bird World

25 July 2022

Oh, good morning everyone! Still some fledging going on in the UK, osplets getting their ‘legs’ in the US, another video of Little Bit…it is starting off as a good week. Fingers and toes crossed.

At the Sea Eagles nest in the old Ironbark Tree, Lady seems to have gotten into a pattern of feeding SE 29 and 30 every hour. Lady’s job at this stage of the eaglet’s development is to brood and feed the chicks. Dad is in charge of hunting and guarding the nest. The chicks will grow quickly. When they are 3-4 weeks old, Lady will stop brooding them at night and sleep perched on the tree. Fledging takes place between 75-85 days, normally.

So,, we must enjoy every moment of these two little white snow balls. What can we expect in weeks 2 and 3? You will continue to notice how their beaks are growing longer. It is hard to imagine but they will start to crawl out of the nest cup during week 2. You will also notice they have started to squirt their ‘ps’ over the side of the nest. No potty training for these two – it is instinctual. By week 3 they will be double their size at hatch and they will become interested in things around them. They will be eating bigger flakes of fish and pieces of prey and, of course, they will have mastered getting those bites into their beak from Lady much better than in the early days.

It is the most beautiful golden morning in Finland at the Janakkalan Osprey nest. The two chicks are sound asleep.

It is an equally beautiful morning in Mlade Buky, The Czech Republic as the sun comes over the distant hills. You can see the four storklets on the natal nest in the foreground. Now look carefully at the top image. In the middle ground, there is the finished ‘home’ that Bukacek was building for him and Betty. The storklets can flap all they want — and they are beginning to work those wings. It would be a little crowded there with six on that nest!

Sorry. It is so dark there but look carefully and you will see the adults in their own private space!

All four storklets at the nest of Karl II and Kaia in the Karula National Forest in Estonia are doing splendid. Like the White Storks above, these four are starting to work their wings as well.

There were only 2 feedings for the storklets on 24 July. From the discussion forum, it appears that the fish baskets need filling or some other bird species is eating them. It also appears that there is not enough fish in the natural sources… let us all hope that the baskets are filled and Karl II and Kaia find all that food and eat themselves and feed their four very large storklets.

The three fledglings of Ivo and Iiris are doing well although some of their take offs and landings need a little adjustment. Ivo is delivering really nice size fish to the nest and each waits their turn for another delivery if they missed an earlier one. The nest is located in Southern Estonia near Tartumaa. Nearby is a fish farm as well as a river and some ponds. It would appear from the deliveries that there is plenty of fish for this family of 5.

Ivo has enjoyed the head of this fish. He has a very nice crop. Thanks, Dad.

Another video of the area of the Notre-Dame Eagles – and a most welcome one. It shows where they are and where you can ‘view’ them without doing harm. The individual filming will point the camera to the trees. Squint – look hard. There is at least one fledgling on a branch. They say it is ND17! I sure hope so. It was great to see the three yesterday for the simple reason that 17 is eating somewhere…and flying around watching and learning from the parents …or there would not have been three. So very grateful. Thank you!

Carol Mandis-Beatle posted some images of the three ND eaglets on FB. I hope she does not mind if I share one of them. They were so cute..and they grow so fast!

Speaking of ‘baby pictures’. How many of you remember J3? He falls right up there with L4 for me — cutie pies – Big Red and Arthur’s kids at Cornell. Gosh, I would love to know the dispersal area of their eyases and would especially like to know how they are. You get attached and poof – gone.

J2 and J3 (J1 will be killed flying into the glass at the Weil Building) were best mates. They soared in the sky protecting their sister J1 when she was bathing in a puddle. They also soared together until one morning…J3 got into a thermal, soared high and was gone- out of sight forever. Then J2.

The pressure on BC Hydro to do something to help the Bald Eagles continues – and I am so glad that it is not losing traction. Two articles – one in the Times Colonist and the other in the Vancouver Sun.

https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/eaglet-from-blended-raptor-family-dies-from-electrocution-5618079?fbclid=IwAR1rliqQwaRn6rVhdPyYF0mpEMqg8fRzL5Dr0K1PNQpqYbmmqzIOCbsiyQk

Malala has been coming and going from the nest. To check out her images please go to GROWLS FB page. You do not have to be a member of FB or their group to see the images.

‘H’ caught the trio at the Boathouse ‘Waddling’ this morning and made a YouTube clip. It is short and ever so cute…all are standing. Thank you ‘H’. That nest is getting rather small…

https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxtoqfzEvKNx_o0JQzGRwo4EMvhHpGn5WQ

In Poole Harbour, there was a moment when the nest was empty. Both chicks of CJ7 and Blue 022 have fledged!!!!!!!! 5H2 fledged this morning. Celebration Time. Like all others, they will, of course, chase the parents back and forth for food for a bit building up their flying skills. Hopefully we will have a few more weeks with the family before CJ7 heads south for her winter break.

5H2 has returned to claim a fish on the nest. What a lovely sight she is. Always good to see them return the first few times! Congratulations to everyone at Poole Harbour.

Skipping way across the pond, the sun made the nest golden at Osoyoos this morning. The chicks were beautiful! Olsen brought in a small fish at 07:16, the first of the day unless I missed something quite a bit earlier.

Alden has found a new loafing spot. He may have to change often if those two fledglings – and Grinnell, Jr in particular – continue to find him. It seems that all the nooks and corners of the Campanile at Berkeley are being visited by Lindsay and Grinnell Jr looking for Mum or Dad or both! Not much peace and quiet…it is beautiful, isn’t it?

Can you spot Alden?

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It is hazy here this morning The garden birds have been awake for ever so long. The Crows have been at the bird bath cawing their heads off for more peanuts. They was them…and leave the shells in the water for their human servants to clean up! It is so funny to watch. I will try and catch some images for you today. Take care everyone. I hope that your start to the week is a good one. Hoping that we get another update on Victor’s progress soon!!!!

Thank you to the following for their FB posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, Osoyoos Ospreys, Poole Harbour Ospreys, GROWLS, Cornell Bird Lab RTH Cam, ND-LEEF, Eagle Club of Estonia and Looduskalender, Mlade Buky, Finnish Osprey Foundation, and Sydney Sea-eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

Monday Afternoon in Bird World

18 July 2022

Hi everyone…

So many places are experiencing extreme heat right now. Remember all our feathered friends need water just like we do. Don’t have a bird bath? That is definitely not a problem! Cereal Bowls…quiche dishes are great. Make sure that the dishes are not any deeper than 7.6 cm or 3 inches. Some people put stones or rocks in the larger bowls for the birds to stand on. Metal gets hot…ceramic is good. Even a small desert bowl will help them. Fill it often!

I began to put out more water sources for the birds when someone I respect in the UK mentioned to me that dehydration cannot be ruled out in Ospreys on high nests in the heat. It made me think of Molate.

SF Ospreys posted a tribute to Molate. You will definitely need tissues.

There is no way around it. Another name was added to the list today.

Kieldner Forest is confirming fears that Mr YA from nest 1A is injured or dead. There remains one osplet to fledge.

Mr YA was an incredible male Osprey. Kieldner said, “YA is effectively Mr Kielder, having raised 26 offspring to successful fledges. Two males, UV and Y1 bred successfully giving him 4 grandchicks last year. Female offspring have been seen in Scotland and his legacy will continue to contribute to the success of the UK population.”

It will be another really hot day for Mum and the babies at the Osoyoos Osprey nest. They had that lovely left over fish this morning. And it looks like Dad has brought in 3 other fish, one a little larger than the smaller ones. Yeah for Dad. It can’t be easy. Not bad…it is not yet 1400 on the nest as I write this.

Oh, how I wish all of the nests would put in the temperature and wind speed. My friend ‘N’ in Maine tells me that it is hot there, too..the kids don’t look so bad on the Boathouse Osprey nest. I wonder if being above water might help. Looks a little rainy to me…

At the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland, that big female sure can eat the fish! She finally got her fill at 17:11 and the smaller osplet got to eat.

Dad is taking good care of the two chicks. He brought in another nice fish at 23:38. The female is just not around that much and I am beginning to start to wonder about her health – again.

There is Dad with a really nice fish for the two. He continues and will continue to supply fish for them. They have not fledged so he has a lot of work to do. Mum’s role was security and feeding…both now can feed themselves although the younger might be happier if Mum did it!

Poor Alden!

Dad came down to check on Lady to see if she wanted a break from brooding 29 and incubating 30 while it pips its way out of the shell. They had a bit of a conversation.

Lady always seems to just ‘glow’ once one of the eggs has hatched.

Oh, how I wished the eaglet would turn around! The white spot on the beak is the egg tooth that helped this white fluffy ball break through that shell.

Australia is waking up and the sun is setting over Finnish Osprey nest #1 of Eura and Eine. The Only Bob is so sweet when it is asleep!

Beautiful Eine. Her and Eura are occupying this nest for the first time.

It appears that Dorcha has had a bath and gotten rid of the blood on her leg. I cannot see any new blood…and that is wonderful. Louis seems to be having a great day fishing! Just look at the size of that chick compared to Mum! Wow.

The cam operator at the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G really gave us some great opportunities today to get some good shots of the couple with their fledgling 497, the osplet with attitude.

From the bottom: Aran, Mrs G, and Blue 497

I really hope that the rehabber at Humane Indiana Wildlife has second thoughts about releasing ND17 back at the natal nest…because there really isn’t much left of it and well, the prey in the area is not that good. We saw that this year with the high river and the reliance on road kill.

I have not seen any new updates on either Victor or Little Bit 17. Let us all assume that no news is good news.

Sharon Palmer-Hunt put together a fantastic video on the Bald Eagle season on Gabriola Island including the arrival of Malala! Enjoy!

Tomorrow we can hopefully look forward to welcoming WBSE30 into the world. Then the fun begins!

Thank you for joining me today. Please take care. Stay cool…drink lots of water! Put water out for the birds, too. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys and GGA, Kieldner Forest Ospreys, Osoyoos Ospreys, Finnish Osprey Foundation, Cal falcons, Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Friends of Loch Arkaig, People’s Postcode Lottery and the Woodland Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Notre-Dame Eagles ND-LEEF, and GROWLS.

Another loss in Osprey Land…and other news in Bird World

7 July 2022

Good Morning Everyone. I hope that your day is bright with sunshine. A decade or kore ago, the summer temperatures in Winnipeg averaged 17-19 degrees C. Then for 4 or 5 years – perhaps a little more – they crept up to the high 20s with some days being 38 degrees. Today it is 19 C. A fantastic day for a walk and a check on the goslings later.

Yesterday I reported on one of the fledglings at the West End nest being in a dust up with another. I could not see any bands but made the assumption that it was one of the other siblings – forgetting that the 2-3 year old juveniles are returning to the Channel Islands. Lady Hawk cleared that up with a video noting it was an intruder that attacked Sky. A shout out to ‘B’ for letting me know!

Here is Lady Hawk’s video of that event:

I wondered how long it would be before more names were added to ‘the list’. That news arrived late last evening when ‘A’ wrote to me about the sadness at the Finnish Osprey nest of Miina and Marko. The feathers were found under the nest and it is believed that the nest was attacked, as others have been, by a henhawk. So sad. This nest site with its close proximity to the forest seems to be an unlucky one. Thank you, ‘A’ for letting me know.

Here is the information from Looduskalender:

"The nest equipped with a webcam in the Võrumaa osprey (Kalakotkas 1), where female Miina and male Marko nested with two eaglets, was soon taken down due to damage caused by lightning.

Today the nest was empty, the nest tree was all broken, the osprey, the young bird, was killed. The burglary could have happened a few days ago."

Happily, the osplets on the nest in Finland are healthy and safe – so far no attacks that I am aware. This is a natural Osprey nest – not a human made platform – 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It is in the area known as Lapland and they have sunshine almost 24/7 this time of year.

Here is the link to this nest if you do not know it:

The osplets at nest #4 are simply gorgeous and it will not be long until they are ready to fledge. Oh, let us hope that the hawks do not come around!

If you would like to watch all of the Osprey nests in Finland at one time, here is that link: saaksilive.fi/live/kaikkikamerat

Dory is busy shading the three osplets at the Boathouse Osprey nest on Hog Island today. Gosh, isn’t she just a great first time Mum?!

We will never know if the hour long fireworks did any damage to the Bald Eagles hearing at the National Arboretum. Takoda, however, continues to be fed by Mr President on the nest – and this is a good thing because we get to see this gorgeous fledgling. Takoda was eating breakfast at 0628.

All around the world people continue to celebrate the little Red-tail Hawk, Malala, that survived from being the Bald Eagle’s dinner on Gabriola Island. It was always difficult to see Malala clearly on the streaming cam. Sharon Palmer-Hunt posted two photographs of Malala on the GROWLS FB page and, in case you didn’t see it, here she is:

Adorable. Like the fledgling Blue Jays, the Red-tail hawks have light blue or light blue-gray-green eyes. As they age, the eyes will turn a deep espresso brown.

Check out the tail below. How many dark bands does Malala have? Laura Culley suggests that they need at least 5 but better 6 to fledge. Malala has been flying for a little over a week (?) and she now has 8 or 9.

Our other favourite Red-tail hawk fledglings were caught hunting and playing around the Cornell Campus last evening by Suzanne Arnold Horning. Oh, they are adorable. She got all three! Thank you, ‘S’. All of us appreciate your efforts chasing these quick hawks around the campus so we can see them.

As the North American birds fledge, we will be moving our attention to Australia. One of the most adorable Peregrine Falcon couples is Xavier and Diamond at the scrape on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange. They are not a young couple – considered middle age at 9 years old.

Xavier gets prey and stashes it in the corner of the scrape for Diamond. Diamond is very particular. She does not like European Starling!!!!!! It looks a nice pigeon for lunch today.

If you do not know this couple, here is the link to their camera. We will be expecting eggs in late August/early September.

Beautiful Diamond.

If you do not know this couple, here is the link to their streaming cam:

There is wonderful news coming from Estonia. We knew from the photograph that the trail camera took that Kaia had found the fish basket Urmas has provided this family so that it can feed the foster chick, Bonus. Now Urmas has posted a photograph showing Karl II finding the fish basket! The adults will require so much more food as the storklets grow bigger and bigger.

The wonderful experiment to save as many of Jan and Janika’s Black Stork fish appears to be working with the dedication of Urmas and his team. I want to find the donation button and post it again as the cost of the fish for the two – Karl II and Eedie families – is high. If you wanted to help and haven’t yet, there is still plenty of time.

I often have disagreements over intervention with some of my raptor associates. In the case of the Black Storks, they are extremely rare. It is possible that all of the fledglings from last year in Latvia and Estonia did not survive. (We await word on Udu). It is not, however, just the Black Storks. So many of the first year birds are lost in their first year. To put accurate data on the % is very difficult as the following academic article explains. Depending on the species it can be as much as 60% in the first year.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/RJQ8YWEPSPMKTMERURGU?target=10.1111/ibi.12355

That is why the intervention that we are seeing when adults die or birds in the nest get injured or knocked off is so important.

I was particularly moved by a statement ‘A’ made: “Now when I see an adult bird of any species, I am amazed that it made it to adulthood safely.”

‘H’ reports that there are now two chicks fledged from the Osprey nest in Carthage, Tennessee. Congratulations!

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Have a wonderful day – or evening – wherever you are. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, personal images, and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Explore.org and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Finnish Osprey Foundation, NADC-AEF, GROWLS, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, Looduskalender, Suzanne Arnold Horning, and Explore.org and Audubon.