Thursday Morning in Bird World

12 May 2022

It might be grey skies on the Canadian Prairies but it was a golden morning on most of the nests. If I say that, will it change? Oh, let us hope not.

The third egg hatched overnight at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and that wee Bob was up eating with its two big siblings a few hours later. Three Bobs after worrying we had lost one with the fish ordeal yesterday. Three Bobs.

Rutland has reported that the chick that was left exposed yesterday is eating well. This is encouraging. Life is good.

Little Bob’s is eating well for hatching so recently!

With Rutland’s good news, it seemed a good time to check on the two osplets at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest. It looked like Middle had worked for position again but he was up getting fed on one side of Mum with Big on the other. Of course, Middle has to balance itself on the edge of the nest. Fish is good. It is 25 degrees C, winds are 16 kph, and the pressure is falling.

Sadly, the news is not all good. The Dahlgren Osprey nest of Jack and Harriet lost its second chick. The area has received a lot of rain during hatch and the nest is above water on the creek. I so wish that nest would be cleaned out off season and people would stop leaving toys or remove toys so Jack cannot find them if they go in the bin. Harriet cannot keep the nest orderly and she has even lost eggs in the mess. That camera is off line. The third chick did eat this morning.

There is a pip for Richmond and Rosie!

There is the nest of these two famous Ospreys on top of the old WWII Whirley Crane at the Richmond Shipping Yards in SF Bay.

Here is the link to both of the cams: http://sfbayospreys.org/

It is a gorgeous day for Nancy and Harriet at the MN-DNR nest. The bad weather seems to have left the area and the winds are nice and calm. There is food on the nest. Excellent.

It is hot at the Bald Eagle nest at Decorah North in Iowa. Mrs DNF is trying to be a Mumbrella as best she can. The two eaglets have done well. No indication of any issues like there were at the Denton Homes nest (Avian Flu).

The two eyases at the Cal Falcons scrape both had a nice breakfast at 06:30 nest time. Annie is having a siesta as they sleep off the food coma.

There are still five itchy growing eyases at the Manchester NH scrape. Gosh, the parents of these 5 have to work so hard. It takes so much more food and time. This Mum fed for an hour one day.

The one surviving chick at the Cromer Peregrine scrape in the UK looks good today. Hopefully all is well with this wee one.

Kaia has been aerating the nest in the Karula National Park in Estonia that she shares with her mate, Karl II. It is a beautiful day there. Looking forward to those eggs hatching. These two are great parents.

My friend, ‘S’ in Latvia was so proud last year. Kaia was a new mate. Three eggs hatched and Kaia did not ‘sort’ the chicks. Indeed, that was such a wonderful thing. The small one, the third hatch, Pikne, turned out to be a strong little female almost beating her dad to Africa for the winter migration!

For all the Peregrine Falcon fans, I have a conundrum for you and a posting from our local nest. First up, the puzzle comes from the Field Museum in Chicago. [Thank you to Holly Parsons for posting this because I would have missed it.]

Want to know what happens? Check out the Field Museum FB page.

We have several Peregrin Falcon nests in Manitoba as part of the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. One of them is on the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. The streaming cam link is in the information from Dennis Swayze below. The juveniles spend a lot of time around our legislative building as they practice their flying and hunting. It is always nice to see them in the summer!

As for me, I am really busy today trying to work outside around yet another bout of torrential rain. I will check in with these and our other nests much later today. I hope everyone has a lovely Thursday wherever you are. Thank you for being with me and please take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: The Manitoba Peregrine Recovery Group and Dennis Swayze, Cal Falcons, Cromer Peregrine Falcons, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Peregrine Networks, Field Museum, Eagle Club of Estonia, Explore.org, MN-DNR, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and LRWT.

Peregrine Season has officially begun in Manitoba (and mini-updates)

It is the middle of March and it smells like spring outside – the air is fresh and crisp and the sky is blue. In fact, it has been so nice that everyone is beginning to shed their heavy winter boots and coats just like a snake does its skin! Still, there is reason not to get overly excited. You see there is snow falling on a Great Horned Owl in a Bald Eagle nest in Kansas -at this very moment – in March. How crazy is that? We have been tricked before only to have a blizzard on 1 May.

“Crocus in Snow” by oschene is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Many people wait til the crocus push their beautiful buds up through the snow to even think about spring but, we don’t have any snow. So I am going to put my faith in the birds. The Canada geese and Bald Eagles are returning, there are amorous swans strutting about on some of the remaining ice on the river, and the number of photographs of song birds on the Manitoba Birding FB site is growing daily.

“Canada-Geese-3” by Chris Sorge is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As it happens, I love raptors — you might have noticed. And that is what is keeping me awake late on St Patrick’s Day. The first two Peregrine Falcons have returned to Manitoba from their winter vacation!

Dennis Swayze caught Ella on the ledge of the scrape box at the Radisson Hotel in Winnipeg today. Welcome home, Ella. Ella is six years old. She hatched in Brandon in 2015 and is the daughter of Brooklyn and Hurricane.

Below is the picture from this morning’s streaming cam of Ella sitting on the ledge of the scrape box.

Ella. 17 March 2021. Radisson Hotel, Winnipeg. @PFRP Streaming Cam

And, speaking of Hurricane (Ella’s mother), her current mate was spotted on the McKenzie Seeds Building this morning. His name is Wingo-Starr and the spotter got real curious as to why there were no pigeons on the building when they are always there – unless there is working being done on the roof or unauthorized visitors. The spotter was patient and got a full look at the leg band. Wingo-Starr was hatched in Moorhead and this is his third year in Brandon. Migrating is treacherous and there is a really bad storm system moving through the US right now. Let’s hope any migrating birds are hunkered down and safe.

Wingo-Starr. 17 March 2021. McKenzie Seed Building, Brandon, Manitoba. @PFRP Streaming Cam

The Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project began in Winnipeg in 1981. at that time four captive-bred falcons were obtained from the Canadian Wildlife Service’s breeding facility in Wainright, Alberta. It was not, however, until 1989 when everyone got really excited. The mated pair using the scrape box on top of the then Delta Hotel (now the Radisson) fledged four eyases. Four! These were the first documented fledglings in Manitoba in fifty years. Can you imagine the excitement and the tears?! Between 1981 and 2012 more than 200 peregrine eyases fledged from four different locations in Manitoba – Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, and Gimli. (I have not found an official count covering the last eight years but it is easy to imagine that the number would be more than 250). The birds are banded, thankfully. The Peregrine Recovery Project traces the birds and they know that those born in Manitoba now have territory of their own in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba as well as in the United States in Topeka, Kansas, Red Wing Minnesota, Grand Forks and Fargo North Dakota and Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. They have thrived!

“Peregrine Falcon” by Sai Adikarla is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Peregrine falcons are known as the stealth bombers of the sky. They are a specific ‘aerial’ predator. That means that they hunt their prey and capture them when in flight. They are the fastest raptor in the world being clocked at more than 390 kilometres per hour or 242 mph. They are about the size of a crow with very distinctive marking. You will never mistake one of these beautiful falcons for a Red Tailed Hawk. They have gorgeous steel blue-grey back plumage. They have a barred belly – very distinctive stripes with a black head. The adults have distinctive bright yellow around their eyes, talons, and beaks. Adults weight between 1-1.5 kg or 2.2 to 3.3 lbs. They have reverse sex dimorphism meaning that the female is larger than the male.

Females lay their eggs in a scrape box or on the side of a cliff or cave. There is no nest material like you might think of with a Bald Eagle or even songbirds. There is gravel or sand. The courting ritual consists of a circular dance in the scrape box between the male and female. The male does a kind of dance while scraping his feet on the box. Falcons are also known for fantastic aerial displays, as well as some acrobatics on ledges. There will be 2-4 eggs laid at intervals of forty-eight hours. Many sites say that it is 32 days from first egg to first hatch but several researchers are reporting 39 days from first egg to first hatch. Falcons tend to do hard incubation only after the second or third egg has been born. A good example of this was the 2020 season of the Collins Street Peregrines in downtown Melbourne, Australia. Because the delayed hard incubation, all three eyases were born within six hours. There was no sibling rivalry and the triplets fledged successfully. It was simply beautiful to watch.

And a quick update for 18 March 2021. Bad storms are in the United States and all of the nests could be impacted. The snow has stopped on the GHOW in Kansas but Clyde has brought Bonnie food for her and the owlets. It is raining at Duke Farms and unless the female has food hidden, that pantry is bare. I am beginning to think something has happened with the male there. Has anyone seen him? So far Legacy in Jacksonville has a great day but Jacksonville is set to get hit by the storms around 5pm today – that bad weather will hit Fort Myers (E17 and 18, Harriet and M15) and St Petersburg (Achieva Ospreys) earlier. Plus all of the nests – keep them all in your thoughts today.

Thank you for checking in. As always I am grateful to those providing the streaming cams and in Manitoba it is Shaw Cable linked up with the Peregrine Recovery Project. Stay safe everyone.