Early Thursday in Bird World

4 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone! I was not going to write my newsletter until the end of the day but some of you might wish to know about the banding of the Royal Cam chick. There is a bit of other news as well. Both chicks at the Loch Garten Osprey platform fledged today – so every osprey chick in the UK has now fledged. Fantastic. I am getting notices that the cameras at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 and the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby and Samson will go live in two weeks. Wow. Time is speeding by. Those cameras will turn on just about the time we have Osprey and falcon eggs in Australia.

The little fledgling Blue Jay has decided that it is time that I get some more peanuts outside for the three of them! Too funny. These wee ones can be quite loud when they want to be. They are getting their beautiful blue crests. I believe this is the smaller of the three – a little female -. She has that developing crest raised up high because she is excited! They are so cute and so animated.

The NZ DOC rangers will be banding the chicks on Taiaroa Head today. Here is the announcement by Ranger Sharyn Broni posted by Sharon Dunne on the Royal Cam FB page. There is no mention of the time. There will be an archived video of the banding of QT if you miss it!

I know many of you are anxious to also find out about the naming of QT. They may mention how this will be done this year. On line voting took place during the pandemic but this might change now.

Here is the link to the camera:

An Osprey rescue in Scotland that warms our hearts. You might have to keyboard the URL if it doesn’t give you an automatic link. It is the story of the collapse of the Balgavies Osprey nest mentioned a few weeks ago in my blog – this one has pictures!

scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

The youngest chick on the Janakkalan Nest has yet to fledge. Titi often remains on the nest now that Boris is flying about for longer periods of time. With intruders and goshawks in the area, it is dangerous for Titi not to be flying.

Boris arrives in the bottom image to protect the nest. Hopefully s/he will take care of its sibling.

This brings me back to the mystery of why a normally wonderful Mum on a Finnish Osprey nest would attack her children. Nuppu on nest #4 attacked her youngest who had not fledged and the eldest who had fledged (much less) last week. Humans wondered how this loving mother could turn on her children. One of my readers ‘L’ suggested that it might have been to get the youngest to fly. Nuppu, knowing that a goshawk was in the area, wanted both of her chicks off the nest and flying free to lessen the threat of predation. I spent some time asking several osprey experts if this could be the case and they said, ‘absolutely’. The youngest did not fly and was predated when the intruder came to the nest. The eldest flew. So, there we are – the mystery of the physical attacks was to get the second chick off the nest and flying. Nuppu wanted to save her chicks, not harm them.

The only surviving fledgling on nest #4.

I do not understand why Titi on the Janakkalan nest has not flown yet. S/he has been doing some exercising of the wings. Hopefully soon!!!!! This is the nest without a female so Boris has taken on the job of security when Dad is not around.

The Sydney Sea Eaglets are doing fantastic. The tips of the wing feathers are beginning to show. You can see them coming in on both chicks – look carefully at the wings.

You will notice that the time between feedings is a little longer. That is because the eaglets can eat much more at a sitting than when they had just hatched and needed a few morsels of fish every 45-60 minutes from dawn to dusk.

SE30 even did a little beaking of 29 yesterday. Nothing major but it was cute when it sat up and gave it a bop.

Both had nice crops! Fish will not be stacked on the nest so much now because it could cause predators to become interested in the nest and the eaglets. They are not big enough yet to be out of danger. They need to be 28-30 days old.

It is raining in Orange and Diamond arrives at the scrape box on the water tower soaking wet! But with a full crop. Looking for eggs in a couple of weeks.

The high temperature for the day will be 23 C at the Osoyoos nest. What a change! A nice fish arrived early on the nest and Soo fed both of the chicks. They made it! Olsen and Soo you should receive a reward – you did fantastic in your strategies to protect the two osplets. Just look at them.

Right now the camera is fairly clear at the Fortis Exshaw Osprey nest in Canmore, Alberta. We can get a good look at those three good looking osplets! We are on fledge watch for this nest. At least two are flapping and starting to hover. It will not be long.

Karl II delivered a number of fishes just a few minutes ago to the four Black storklets in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. So far all is well. The storklets are hovering and jumping and practising their perching to prepare for fledge.

A portrait of the three females at the Loch Arkaig nest this year. From left to right: Willow, Sarafina, and Mum Dorcha (unringed). When we talk about the females having beautiful necklaces have a look at these three! Gorgeous.

I am not sure I have ever seen three females with such elaborate necklaces. Dorcha is really influencing the genetics at this nest. Bravo!

A blast from the past. The four Peregrine Falcon eyases being fed at the CBD-367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne. Time is ticking away. The camera will be up and running in September. Just in case you forgot how incredibly cute little falcons are!!!!

Thank you for joining me this morning. Things look pretty good in Bird World. Take care. See you soon!!!!!!!!!

Thank you to the following for their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Eagle Club of Estonia, Fortis Exshaw, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Osoyoos Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Finnish Osprey Foundation, CBD-367 Collins Street Falcon Cam, and Royal Cam Albatross NZ.

Reflecting on Melbourne’s sadness

I would have moved on to a different topic but several of my readers have written to me sad and frustrated that nothing was done to treat the ill peregrine falcon nestling in Melbourne. Others are very concerned that if the little male’s corpse is not removed, other, larger birds of prey might consume it and get ill. Each raises some interesting moral and ethical issues as well as practical and legal ones.

As in all cases, it is good for readers to know where the writer stands on matters so to be clear – I encourage banding of birds and the use of sat-paks for tracking information in research. I do not believe we have too many birds and I take the position of Rosalie Edge that we must know the numbers we have to be able to determine if they are dwindling. I promote safe fishing practices to protect all seabirds. I also believe that humans have had a catastrophic impact on our planet and that the fine line of when to intervene or not is blurred. I believe that animals and birds have a positive impact on human life. I know, from all the letters I receive from each of you daily, that the streaming cams of the birds has added a level of joy to your lives that many did not think possible. Many have written to me who were dying of cancer saying that the streaming cams of the birds took their mind off themselves. How wonderful. As a former university faculty member with numerous research projects, I know that permissions, specific protocols, and agreements are made and it is not always easy to tweak these. In other words, some researchers hands are simply bound and they can do nothing even if they wanted.

There is a treatment protocol for Trichomoniasis in peregrine falcons. (There is also treatments for song birds and I thank ‘L’ for reminding me of this). I am posting the first page of an article in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. The abstract at the top gives a very good synopsis of the paper. (I have yet to find a free PDF so I can post the article in its entirety).

It is unclear how practical it would be to treat wild birds such as the male on the ledge. Indeed, there could be legal issues for the researchers that do not allow for any intervention. That is something that has to be realized.

This brings me to the second concern of my readers – the corpse of the young male left on the scrape box. Peregrine Falcons are very particular about what they eat. I am not concerned about the other chicks and I do not know what other birds in the area might venture up to that high of a level for carrion. In a rural area where there could be vultures, I would be very concerned. And in my own urban area, I note that gulls will eat anything. So, yes, I am also concerned and hope that the body is removed and disposed of properly.

This was an unusual year watching this pair of Peregrine Falcons raise their chicks. At the onset, I stated that the majority of the prey items would be pigeons. As you will have noticed, there have been a variety of birds including what appears to be one of the released Peace Doves in yesterday’s Remembrance Day celebrations yesterday. So was this caused by there not being as many pigeons as normal? And is this because there has been bouts of Trichomoniasis within the species in Melbourne that has killed off numbers of the birds?

Where is the male falcon that fledged? We have seen the two large sibling sisters with their little brother. Is it possible that that little male also ingested enough of the diseased bird to be impacted?

There could be answers for the question around the disease killing off large populations of Melbourne’s pigeons. I will try and find out. I doubt if we will ever know the answer to the question about the other male unless it is found and identified and a post-mortem conducted. I truly hope that I am wrong and it just doesn’t want to fly that high yet!

I really want to thank all of you that reached out over the past week and those today. You show a genuine concern for the wildlife and birds which is refreshing and hopeful. I will, most likely, put this little one to rest now. Your letters are always welcome. Your concerns are never trivial. Thank you for caring!

Sadness and Joy

Everyone has been very saddened by the fact that there will not be four fledges from the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape in Melbourne. Everyone was both shocked and happy when Mum laid that fourth egg. It would have been a historic moment if all four had fledged. It is hard to lose a little one that we have come so close to – watching all of its antics.

Trichomonosis is caused by a parasite. In urban raptors, it is normally by the eating of an infected prey item. The neck and throat can swell and sores or cankers can appear. The birds cannot swallow and it is difficult to eat and breath. That is certainly not something we would wish on any bird. No one will ever know which of the prey deliveries carried this deadly parasite.

As one person said today – putting this loss in perspective – “we are lucky that we did not lose all of the birds.” They are absolutely correct. We have seen how prey items are shared and we now must hope and send warm wishes that none of the other family members succumb to this parasite. You can see in the image below how swollen the neck is of the little male in this image taken last evening. He is the one with the floof on his wings and back still. It is so sad.

Two of the siblings stayed with their little brother in the scrape box last night. The parents had been in earlier. I will disagree with anyone that says the parents and the siblings do not know what is happening with their family member. They do. They are just not afforded the luxury of having several days to mourn. They have to get on with their lives so that they survive.

In her book, The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman addresses (briefly) issues related to death and mourning in Corvids. The Peregrine Lady (Kate St John) who writes about the falcons in Pittsburg in her blog Outside My Window, has often commented that whenever one of the fledglings would die, the Mum falcon would go to her “mourning corner”. While she could not stay there for long because she had survivors to look after, it was a noticeable change in her behaviour when one of her own died and it was the only time she goes to that particular place. Kate St John’s blog is excellent and can be accessed at: birdsoutsidemywindow.org

Here is another article on mourning.

As Jennifer Ackerman states, “The jury is still out on whether birds grieve their own. But more and more scientists seem willing to admit the possibility.”

There is not a lot happening on the other Australian nests today, thankfully. The water is still a little choppy at Port Lincoln. Certainly not like it was yesterday when one of the nearby boats sunk. The three will no doubt be working on their hovering after getting some energy once that breakfast fish has arrived. And, yes, they could fledge anytime but I am counting on another week with these guys.

Yurruga is also waiting for her breakfast. She will be ready to fledge in a week but will she fly then? That is hard to imagine with all the floof still on her body! At that time the parents will continue to provide her with food and train her so that she can live a successful life as a falcon. Once she reaches that stage, they will invite her to leave their territory and find her own space.

Yurruga is adorable. Her name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori and she does certainly brighten up everyone’s day. Notice that she is standing on the rocks in the corner. She slept next to her Mum, Diamond, on Diamond’s rocks last night. Those rocks were put there on purpose so that Diamond would not be able to lay her eggs where they could not be seen by the camera. Yurruga only knows that Mum stands there and we get the benefit of seeing her beautiful face up close. What a darling.

Please do watch this beautiful family. Diamond and Xavier are fabulous parents! Yurruga is very vocal and right at this moment she is screaming for the parents to bring breakfast! I promise that Yurruga will delight you just as her brother Izzi did last year. Here is the link:

It is a very snowy day on the Canadian Prairies. A wonderful day to hunker down and read and drink lots of tea. If you have good weather and are heading out for a walk, enjoy it for me, too. This snow is like walking in a 15 cm or 6 inch Slurpee it is so heavy and wet. The birds are hiding in the wood boxes today, some of them.

Take care everyone. I so wish I had been able to have brought you good news about the little fellow. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Seeing Double?

If you are starting to wonder what is going on with the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, you are not alone! Early this morning there was only one falcon (I believe a female) left on the ledge of the building to fledge. She was pretty frantic early in the morning looking up and acting like there was a bird – maybe on the next ledge. She ran back and forth excited stopping to look. Then an adult brought in prey, she ran down to the other end of the ledge away from the camera to eat.

She was quite excited seeing the other bird.

Something really interesting happens after 11am. It has started to rain and the eyas on the ledge is quite dry. She is not agitated like she was a few hours earlier leading me now to believe that it was an adult with prey trying to lure her off the ledge as opposed to a sibling. Without another camera, we will never know for certain.

What we do know is that around 11:00, the lone eyas on the ledge began to look around. It is raining in Melbourne. You can see it on the ledge of the building and in the distance.

It is fairly dry – this ledge is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Something has her curiosity.

Ah, maybe it is just time to see if there is any leftover prey in the gutter.

After exploring, she gets very close to where the camera is and acts like she is going to run to the other end.

She does a pivot and runs back.

She finds an old piece of bone with some feathers in the scrape box and begins playing with it.

Then she stops and just looks out over the horizon very calmly.

Our girl cannot believe her eyes. Look at who is running down the ledge – a sibling!

People wondered if she might be lonely. It would certainly be different going from four to being the only one left and seeing the others flying about.

She turns her head really funny to see the sibling in the scrape.

Within a couple of minutes they are both sitting on the ledge, trying to stay dry. Whether or not they are enjoying one another’s company is anyones guess.

Yes, you are seeing double. People always wonder whether or not the falcons will fly back to the location of the scrape box. You now have an answer: yes, they will.

With hawks, the fledglings might continue to come back to the nest to be fed, sometimes they sleep on the nest or perch, and in other years, they never come back to the nest preferring to roost in trees or buildings. So, the answer is it varies from year to year and nest to nest. It sure is nice to see another one though, isn’t it? It just confirms that at least two of them are safe and sound. One fledgling, one nestling.

Maybe this returnee will encourage the nestling to fledge – after it stops raining. Falcons know that it is much easier flying with dry feathers than wet ones!

For those of you that might have been wondering what is going on, I thought I should let you know that there are two on the ledge. It could become more. Funny. The one that fledged has more fluffy down still stuck to its juvenile feathers. There is a tiny little mohawk on the crown.

Take care all. See you soon. Thank you so much for joining me and thanks again to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip.

Collins Street Commotion

This morning at 5:59 one of the eyases at 367 Collins Street started ‘carrying on’. She was quite worked up.

She is calling and running back and forth on the ledge. In fact, she has been doing this and looking up for the past fifteen minutes. She is the last one on the ledge and there is someone on a higher ledge edging her on. You can certainly hear her! Is it a sibling? is it Mum or Dad?

Around 07:59, there was a prey delivery at the other end of the ledge. Our lonely little ‘last one on the ledge’ ran, very hungry. All went quiet! Maybe she got the entire pigeon to herself.

Breakfast has arrived.

Oh, she sure can run when food is involved! Amazing parents.

The last chick on the scrape hatched three days later than the others. This could, of course, be the reason. But it could also be that she is a large female. One year there was a large female left on the nest, the last to fledge. She was Big Red and Arthur’s J1 from 2020. She really did not want to leave the light stand. She didn’t seem to have the confidence to fly but she did once that Little J3, the third hatch, flew. Sadly, J1 flew into a window a week or so later. J2 and J3 survived and left the area for their own territory many weeks later but, I always wondered if J1 had just waited a little longer would it have made a difference? Perhaps not.

Three ringed osplets in nest, Mum on perch, Dad in his man cave. 10 November 2021

Yesterday, the Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge fed the three ringed nestlings for over two hours, from 14:05-16:32. Someone felt sorry for her. I would like to take a different view. Yes, it was a long feeding but she knows that these three wonderful chicks will not be on the nest much longer. Yes, this might appear to be anthropomorphizing but she knows that they are about ready to fly. Just like keeping control of the food so everyone eats, she knows.

There are a lot of people thinking that Ervie is going to be the first to fledge. Here he is winging it right as the sun is coming up on the peninsula.

Mum has just flown off the nest. Ervie is watching her.

She returns with a fish. Mum has control and everyone has eaten. You will notice that Ervie is still up at her beak.

Oh, and Ervie is still getting fed 9 minutes later! What a guy. I really hope he is a good fisher and he remembers all these nice fish that Dad brought to the nest because that is going to be his ‘job’ as a male Osprey. He is the supplier of fish.

There is some very good news coming out of Port Lincoln. The osplets on Thistle Island were ringed, weighed, measured, and named yesterday. Guess what? Two healthy females. The largest came in at 1630 grams – 250 grams or nearly half a pound – large than Ervie on the PLO nest. That female was named Meg and carries a Maroon band. The other female is named Lucy and she has an Orange band. I began to imagine these lads at the PLO nest pairing up with them in a couple of years. Buy some more barges PLO!

There was more excitement on Thistle Island. Two other Osprey nests with chicks were found! Incredible. So happy for the success of the Ospreys in the region. If you want to read more about this or see the images please go to FB and search for Port Lincoln Osprey.

It is a beautiful day on the Canadian prairies. Tomorrow they are promising – 100% rain or snow. The squirrels are busy finding nuts and there are fewer and fewer geese about. It has been so nice for so long that I began to doubt if we were going to have winter. Silly me.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. See you soon.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip.

YRK lays her egg at Taiaroa

It is still the middle of the night in Australia and New Zealand so not a lot is happening in Bird World.

The rangers at Taiaroa Head in NZ shocked everyone when they announced that OGK’s mate, YRK, laid her egg yesterday. She obviously snuck in and visited with OGK and no one saw her. Chris McCormack shared an image of OGK and YRK at the nest OGK prepared down the hill from where Atawhai hatched. This was on the Royal Cam Albatross FB Page. Thanks, Chris. This will be the couple’s 8th breeding attempt. As most of you know, they were the parents of the Royal Cam chick in 2020.

For all Royal Albatross fans, the rangers also announced that 111 birds are on the island and 15 eggs have been laid. Eggs take approximately two months to hatch.

There are still two Peregrine Falcon chicks to fledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. The first fledged at 06:34 on 8 November and the second at 07:46 on 9 November. Take note that those are early morning times. Falcons typically fledge in the early morning or early evening but not normally during mid-day.

The adults have brought prey onto the ledge for these two. In fact, the parents will continue to provide food to all four of their chicks until the chick makes its ‘first kill’. These two could fledge at any moment.

What you are looking at below, is an image of Bazza (Red band) looking enviously at the empty talons of Ervie (Dk Green band). Ervie managed to take the fish tale from Falky (yellow band) and didn’t share a scrap. Bazza was hoping there would be some left. No. Never. Fish tails must be very special – everyone wants them!

There’s Ervie eating that precious tail. Awwww. It is nice to know that having that sat-pak has not changed Little Bob at all!

I am a raptor person but so many enjoy watching the feeders for the Boreal birds. There is one that is just up and running, sponsored by Cornell. It is located in Northwestern Ontario. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

Last but not least, those pesky Spotted Eagle owlets in Joburg. Yesterday there was only one owlet left in the nesting box. The adoptee and one of the resident owlets are both wandering around in the garden of the owner. Mum, in the meantime, is having to feed the one inside the box and then go and feed the other two. She is busy! Here is a short video of the one in the box. It is really watching its siblings and well, who knows, it could be down there any minute!

It is 17:35, still day light, and the little one is still in the box.

This is just a quick check. There have been no updates on the satellite trackers of Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Stork family from the Karula Forest in Estonia. It is hoped that they are out of range and enjoying their winter vacation. If so, we will have to wait until next spring to find out if they are alright. There is also no update on WBSE 27. The last one was 5 November. There is, however, going to be a webinar where Ranger Judy talks about her work with the WBSE as well as other guests. It is later in November. If you are interested in joining in, check out this link and follow the instructions.

Thanks so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: EcoSolutions, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and to Royal Cam Albatross FB Page and Chris McCormack for the image of OGK and YRK.

Monday in Bird World

On the Canadian Prairies, it is 8 November and it is 11 degrees C. There are some birds still around the southern part of our province including a large number of Great Horned Owls (GHOW) and Barred Owls (BADO). Several hours from where I live there are some hawks and Bald Eagles still making their way south. In celebration of such a gorgeous day with the promise of snow and plummeting temperatures on Wednesday, we decided to make one last check at Oak Hammock Marsh.

It was simply grand. You could see for miles.

The walk was great. It was sooooo quiet, a wonderful change from the noise of the city. If you were intent on counting tonnes of birds and seeing lots of species, then it was a bust! There were about 60 Canada Geese scattered about and a couple of Mallards, a male and a female.

They were all feeding on the tender marsh grasses below the surface.

Even the geese were quiet, no honking, nothing. Just working hard on those plants.

The two Mallards were quite interesting. They were sort of breaking down the grasses as they moved through forcing them under the water with their paddles and then eating them.

Beautiful little female Mallard.

The ducks were not bothered by the geese – everyone seemed intent on eating and enjoying the warm sunshine. The farmers in the area have finished harvesting their crops and the fields are bare. In several hours only six or seven Canada Geese flew into the wetlands.

It might have been quiet in rural Manitoba but there was a lot of things happening elsewhere. First up, for all of you that watch the Royal Albatross, OGK’s mate since 2006 has been YRK. OGK was first in on the peninsula excited to see her and build a nest but…she didn’t arrive. Time passed and she didn’t arrive. Today, 9 November YRK landed on Taiaroa Head. If people could have rung bells they would have. Instead many of us sat and shed tears. The fear is always there. OGK and YRK were the parents of very popular Royal Cam chick, Atawhai (aka Pippa) in 2020. This year will be their 8th breeding attempt.

In other Royal Albatross news, the new couple – Red and BOK (Blue-Orange-Black) have really been entertaining us. They are so sweet. Well, today, Red got some new bling. As one of a mated pair, he is now WYL (Whit-Yellow- Lime).

The image below shows the Ranger giving Red his new bling and identity. BOK is walking off the nest. She will return once everything is over.

Could this new couple with their first attempt at breeding turn out to be the Royal Family of the year? We wait.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Mum decided it was time to go to the spa. She flew off the barge and went over and had a lovely bath in the warm Australian waters of the cove yesterday. It is well deserved. Her and her mate have raised three healthy boys this year.

Isn’t Mum just beautiful?

It is hard to keep up with the 367 Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. I ‘believe’ that there are two (probably female) still on the ledge.

Yes, still there. There is a lot of noise and it could well be the parents trying to lure these two off with prey.

There are theories about gender and fledging times in falcons and hawks. Because the females are substantially larger, it takes longer for their bodies to feather. Therefore, they generally fledge after the males. I do not know how accurate it is but I hear this often.

In Orange, Diamond’s foot is doing much better. At 8:11 Xavier, the male Peregrine Falcon of the scrape on the water tower of Charles Stuart University, delivers a Starling to Yurruga. Xavier does not wait. He drops the breakfast prey and gets out. I don’t blame him. It could definitely save his talons.

Notice how big Yurruga is compared to Xavier. Think Yurruga is a female like her mum, Diamond?

Yurruga is a very good plucker!

Cilla Kinross just posted a video clip of Yurruga. It is really short. Have a peek. I do not think those eggs are going to last much longer.

Everything is as it is expected at Port Lincoln. Dad flew in with a really nice fish but instead of letting the chicks do a grab, Mum got over quickly, mantled the breakfast, and proceeded to take control of the feeding.

It should, by now, not surprise anyone to the identity of the chick right up at Mum’s beak. Now the chick can be identified quite quickly – it’s Ervie! aka Little Bob.

The rule of thumb is that the males return to make their own nests near their natal nest. I hope there are three or four more barges available.

One last nest. NEFlorida with Samson and Gabby. They are both very busy working on that nest. They have been bringing in a lot of big twigs. Here is Gabby moving some of those around.

Cute little Samson looks like he is standing very still in his tight black jeans waiting for orders. What a sweetie.

Samson is a very good listener and Gabby is giving precise instructions. Looks like they are already thinking they need high rails this year.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we check in on some of ‘my’ favourites. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Should we stay or should we go?

As 8 November was beginning to reveal itself in Melbourne, all four of the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon chicks were at the end of the ledge, near the scrape box where they had slept during the night.

At 06:34, Victor Hurley confirmed the first fledge of the 2021 season.

It was absolutely perfect. The sibling on the ledge did not even notice!

and off.

Interestingly, at 08:41:00 when the camera was turned to the other side in anticipation of catching more fledges, there were three falcons at that end and one at the other.

So, did the bird that fledged return? or did it quickly run down to the other end when the camera was turning?

With the camera now pointing to this gorgeous penthouse view of the falcons, we may never know.

These three entertained themselves, bobbing their heads, eating, and watching Mum and Dad do some aerial manoeuvres.

They ate and found scraps of food.

They love walking along the ledge.

In the image below, notice the difference in size. Yes, there is the camera angle and one in front and another behind. Victor Hurley suggests that there are two males and two females this year.

The one in front is likely the much larger female. The smaller male at the back. I think I will go so far as to add that it was probably a male that fledged first also. That tends to be the norm.

They are, of course, perfectly capable of flying. That one flew from the ledge overlooking the street to the window ledge. No problem.

So will these three stay or will they go?

It is nearing 11:10 in Melbourne and all three are on the ledge of 367 Collins overlooking the river.

It is hard to believe that they were ever small fluff balls like they were on 22 October, 17 days ago.

Oh, they still have their pink bills and legs. It is 8 October. The image below was precisely four weeks ago.

This was 1 October. We were all worried that the little one wouldn’t get enough food. That was a bit silly. 39 days ago.

It has been another fabulous year for the Mum and Dad and their chicks at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Victor Hurley has given us wonderful information on the FB page of the group, sharing all of his knowledge of Peregrine Falcons in the state of Victoria. The camera has been shifted at least twice. Thank you for that! No one wants to miss anything. It has been a great experience. When these three do decide to take the leap of faith and become birds – indeed, the fasting flying bird in the world – we will, indeed, miss them. But oh what a joy they have brought to each of us. We will always be grateful.

And a lesson learned. Falcons need pigeons, so feed them! Don’t put rodenticide up on your roof trying to kill the pigeons. It could be a beautiful falcon that eats that pigeon and dies. Tell your friends and family, too. Let’s make the world safe for these gorgeous birds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I am still a bit zonked from staying up for the banding of the Port Lincoln Ospreys last night. Those chicks were also very healthy with beautiful feathering – just like the Collins Four.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and to Victor Hurley for being so patient with all of us and for his ongoing research on the peregrine falcons.

Port Lincoln Osplets have names

Oh, there was such excitement yesterday. The Port Lincoln chicks were banded and, in addition, there were rumours that 3 or 4 of the Melbourne eyases had fledged. Let’s put that rumour to bed. Mum is sleeping on the weather protector above the four. So everyone is still home. That is fantastic. Maybe they will all fledge from this end so we can see!!! Ironically, Victor Hurley said they would turn the camera around to face the other direction after his Q & A session so there was a better chance to see them fledge. With two ends and one camera, it is very difficult to predict which end will prove to be ‘the one’.

Port Lincoln wanted to band a male chick because they wanted to compare his dispersal to that of the female, Solly, who fledged last year from the PL nest and has a tracker. Solly has taught osprey researchers much including the distances that female osprey will disperse. In Solly’s case, she traveled 311 km to Eba Anchorage. There were rumours that osplet 2, Middle Bob, was to get the tracker because it was thought he was the only male. In the end, Port Lincoln had three males to choose from and they went with the one who weighed the most – Little Bob – who turns out to be the ‘biggest’ Bob.

Here are the names and weights:

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

The chicks behaved as expected. When the boat came close they pancaked so much you could not see them above the nest. Each was removed and put in a small sack. There was no stress at all. A gift of fish was put in the nest. The parents returned within minutes of the chicks being put back in the nest. It was a beautiful process and so much will be learned through the monitoring of Ervie’s travels including dispersal and threats. I will not deny that I am a huge supporter of banding and tracking. It is the only way to learn where the birds go, where they breed, what dangers there are in the environment, what happens to them, etc.

I admit to being very tired this morning. I could not stay awake long enough to find out the names last night or, should I say I stopped waiting at 2 am in Canada. It was so nice to run to the computer and see all the information this morning.

Many wondered how they could donate to keep the cam running at Port Lincoln. It is complicated and it is my understanding that they cannot accept donations. That said, if you or someone you know is going to the area why not take one of Calypso Star’s nature tours? Go out to see the sea lions or get in a cage and watch sharks. That would be a great way to thank them.

Update on WBSE 27 on 5 November (in case you missed it): “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it to exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

It is another gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. 13 degrees C. The sun is bright and I can see the squirrels already hoping that their breakfast will be taken out to the deck. They are a little early.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Excitement in Bird World

It has been quite the day in Bird World. It started out with gorgeous weather on the Canadian Prairies and my hunt for Wood Ducks. Were they still here? Yes, they were! There was only a pair at Kildonan Park but what cuties they were. I almost didn’t see them at first. They were both standing on a log back in a hollow with an overhang. I have so fallen in love with Wood Ducks the last six months.

The last time I visited the duck area of Kildonan Park, there had to be three dozen in the stream near the Witch’s Hut but, not today. I walked up and down the shore, down close to the water, and well, they had to be hidden really well if they were there.

This time it was also easy to count the Mallards. 25 in total. Each of the Mallards were busy either preening or dabbling for food. I thought I would give you a view different perspectives for a couple of the males. Their plumage is simply gorgeous.

In the image below, I love the soft feathers on the chest in contrast with the two white borders of that deep navy. Look at the curls on the tail and the horizontals on the chest. Stunning.

This is a great example of how waterproof their feathers actually are.

There were about 350 Canada Geese at various locations. Some were feeding on the grass, others were in the water. None of them liked the people walking their dogs.

Today was a problem because I wanted to get back and hear the updates and discussion about Grinnell, the injured falcon from UC-Berkeley. Sadly, I did not have as much patience with a little Red Squirrel that seemed to not like my taking photos of the ducks. It chattered away the whole time. Perhaps it wanted its picture taken? I decided that it didn’t because it would not give me one of those cute squirrel poses everyone else seems to capture. This little one was determined to hide behind that branch!

Oh, it screeched at me til I got out of sight! My phone told me that I had a little over an hour. Would it be possible to check on the duck pond closer to where I live? Were there any Wood Ducks there?

I scoured Duck Island at St Vital Park, walked the entire perimeter of the pond, and could only find three Wood Ducks – 2 females and a male in Eclipse plumage (the one in the middle). All of the others were gone.

There were not nearly the number of Mallards or Canada Geese despite the wide open soccer and cricket areas where they can feed.

It seems that the cooler weather a few days ago really did get many to head South. It will be nice when April comes and we can hear them honking overhead. I can’t wait.

I have reported on the update on Grinnell earlier today. You can read about it here and there is a link to the live event in my blog:

https://wordpress.com/post/maryannsteggles.com/27983

At this point it felt like the day was almost over and I had yet to check on the ‘regulars’ – the PLO osplets set to be banded on 8 November, the 367 Collins Street Four, and Yurruga, the Peregrine Falcon nestling at Orange.

The first was little Yurruga. I think I will stop using the adjective ‘little’. Yurruga is growing and changing. She is really beginning to loose that fluffy down revealing her juvenile feathers. Despite the fact that Yurruga has had short bouts of self-feeding, today was a bit of a surprise. I captured it for you in a short video.

Several hours later, Diamond came into the scrape and fed Yurruga the remaining portion of the Starling.

What wonderful training. Yurruga worked and worked on that prey item until she was tired. She did well. Mum knew to give her time and then come in and feed her little one. These are incredible parents. I also want to add that Diamond is walking much better! Her injury is healing.

Wow. Could it get any better? Well, I don’t know if it is better or not but I can say that the three osplets at Port Lincoln are even civil when wing flapping. They take turns! That said, I just about fell out of my chair watching them. Little Bob is flapping first. The trio are to be ringed on Monday, measured, given names, and at least one will have a sat-pak attached to its back. I just hope they are still on the nest! Can you imagine planning for that and they have literally flown the nest? It could happen!

Little Bob really wants to fly.

I am not certain which of the other siblings is featured in this clip testing out its wings. Mum is feeding – it sure doesn’t take long now to consume an entire fish! What a change from six weeks ago. Little Bob is on the right and unknown sibling on the left eating.

They take turns.

All three are getting some air. Oh, my. I was almost afraid to check on the 367 Collins Street Four for fear they had all fledged while I was away or doing other things. Relief. All four were on the ledge a few hours ago.

These are bittersweet moments. Fledge can happen at any time. At least one of them is more than ready. In an interview today, Victor Hurley, the lead researcher of Peregrine Falcons in Victoria, says he believes that there are 2 females and 2 males this year. How lovely!

It has been an exciting day with more to come in the next week. There will be fledges in Melbourne and Port Lincoln for sure.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.