The snow that began last night is continuing to come down in the garden. It is gusty and blowing and the birds are having a difficult time finding a place to get out of the wind. I would love for someone to contradict me but, I do not recall this much snow in 15 years. Thankfully, there is no reason to get out, not even for birdseed. We have at least another two weeks on hand! There are times that I think the garden visitors eat better than their caregivers! It is the running family joke.
You might have felt that I am a little ‘shy’ of that WRDC nest of Ron and Rita’s. This is a new Bald Eagle couple to me. It is really difficult to see if R2 is getting much food. Clearly R1 is a bit of a brute. R3 would not have had a chance. The adults often stand in front of the camera so the view is restricted or, else, I can only see R1 bonking the little one. There is lots of food. Ron is a good provider.
I want to imagine that I am terribly wrong and that the adults are feeding R1 until it passes out in a food coma and then are making sure that R2 is full to the brim. If you have seen this please let me know! I would be delighted.
Some good news. There is no sign of Daisy the Duck on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Continue to send your positive energy to our little duck so she finds a safe place to hatch some eggs!
The bad news – unless you are a GHOW fan – is that Mrs Hootie laid her first egg on the Savannah Osprey nest of Scarlett and Rhett. Where will this longstanding Osprey couple lay their eggs?
The snow is melting in Ithaca, the home of Big Red and Arthur.
The Clark Fork River is open in places near Missoula, Montana. It is hard to imagine but in 9 weeks Big Red should be laying eggs and in 10 weeks we will be looking for Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, to return to her nest at Hell Gate Canyon.
There is some snow in Latvia and like here in Canada, I expect that they will see more. Milda’s nest is waiting for her albeit there have been intruders.
The eaglet at the KNF nest was stretching its little wings this morning. It is 6 days old and is energetic, curious, healthy, and happy. What more could you want?!
Anna and Louis are quickly becoming one of my most favoured Bald Eagle couples!
Pa Berry fed B15 til it passed out in a food coma. I had missed seeing him brooding or feeding so this really put a smile on my face. B15 is a little character. Full of life! So happy.
Pa Berry was really aerating the nest this morning!
R15 is so cute. I wonder if R15 will get attached to ‘eggie’ like Legacy did last year?
The two eaglets of Harriet and Mitch are doing fine at the Hilton Head Island Bald Eagle nest. Have a close look. That second layer of dark grey down is covering them and there are feathers peeking through. Soon they will look like E19 and E20.
E20 looks on as E19 is eating at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest. It will wait til E19 is finished and then will go and have food.
Ferris Akel posted a very short video of the Canada Geese and the Snow Geese from last Sunday’s tour. I had not seen so many since our migration in September-October here in Winnipeg.
Ervie is on the nest and will, no doubt, be ramping up the volume screaming for a fish once the dawn breaks at Port Lincoln. Oh, Ervie. Are you going to be another Izzi? We do adore you and we wouldn’t mind! On the other hand, you did get the sat-pak! Will the conclusion be that at least one male Eastern Osprey likes to stay at the natal nest? Oh, Ervie, you do put a smile on our faces.
Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care! See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WRDC, KNF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Trust, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Berry College, Cornell Bird Cam and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Savannah Ospreys, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.
It is still super cold on the Canadian Prairies. You don’t even have to look at the temperature on the phone when you hear a super loud crunch when you walk on the snow. It is so dry, the snow, that you cannot even pack it into a snowball or a snowwo/man. The European Starlings were waiting for the first food drop, all lined up on the tips of the Lilac Bush branches. Surprisingly, the Sparrows beat them out. Four sparrows to one Starling. They will all eat but, most of the time, the Sparrows get shut out. The other day Little Woodpecker was here. He just stays away from all of them. Which reminds me – I need to go and fix his suet!
Looking back on the history of the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, I realize that we probably have another month with the three lads. Last year DEW was last seen on 17:01 25 January. He was never sighted again after that time. Solly departed and flew West on 2 February. We know from her tracker that Solly thrived until that tragic day this fall when, after catching a fish, she landed on a power pole and died. I know that Port Lincoln has lobbied hard to get those poles covered and I understand that the power company is cooperating. For those who wrote letters to the Minister, thank you. Public pressure can help.
Ervie had advanced from flying to the fishing ramps to hanging around the commercial shipping yards over at the Marina!
That is Ervie on his perch. You can see that is crop is full.
Ervie and Falky on the nest hoping to get a fish from Dad.
The nest of White-tail Eagle, Milda, at Durbe has been covered with snow. Still, nest visits have taken place. Just look at the forest and the view. So beautiful. This nest will not become active until spring when I will be reporting daily on the happenings. Looking the White-tail Eagles raising chicks and the return of the Black storks.
Kindness’s nest is all covered in snow up at Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska.
If you are wondering what Kindness might be doing, please have a look at this 2 minute video. It is a bit dated in the sound but the information is correct to the present time. The images of the eagles flying and eating are gorgeous. The video ends abruptly. I would have loved to hear about the two clans but, another time! There are so many Eagles in Alaska. They sometimes take over small trucks delivering fish to the canneries.
The Roe Deer feeder is in Latvia. Yesterday, for the first time, they caught a female deer cow and her calf coming to eat. You can see them arriving on the right to try and get some food. The males are the ones with the antlers and from my reading it can be dangerous. The mother and her baby will wait after being escorted by the leader of the bucks and return.
You can see the little one eating here. There is a hierarchy in all of the groups. This is, of course, why our birds try so hard to be dominant and why Ervie, once he established himself, expected to get the first fish of the morning. E19 and E20 are going through this process currently.
Andy and Lena were both alert and alerting at the Captiva Osprey Nest this morning.
Of course their eyes are so good. All I could hear were people below. I wonder if that is the issue? They sure have a beautiful site for a nest! Hopefully it will be a successful season for this lovely pair who continue to try and continually have the Crows steal their eggs.
You can watch Andy and Lena here:
Harriet and M15 are being kept busy by E19 and 20. You can hear the little ones chirping away to Mum and Dad.
The pair got started on all the beaking as soon as Harriet got up to feed them. Oh, my.
There are over 4000 people watching these two at any one time and a myriad of videos coming up on YouTube. You won’t be able to miss them!
Everything is just fine in Bird World. The eggs at Taiaroa Head have been candled and OGK and YRK’s egg is developing normally. We are a month away from hatch. Gabby and Samson are taking turns up at NEFlorida and you will see me getting pretty excited in a couple of weeks. Thankfully, Daisy has not yet returned to the WBSE nest that I am aware. The latest news was awhile ago on WBSE27 who is currently in rehabilitation. The two chicks at Hilton Head are doing great. My copy of The Season of the Osprey arrived in the post this morning. That is on the agenda for today. It is far too cold to be outside for very long.
Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay warm, stay safe and take care until I see you again.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screenshots: Glacier Gardens, Roe Deer Feeder in Latvia, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett Family, Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Osprey Cam, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.
My goodness. It is just past 09:00 on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge and already there have been three fish delivered – one of those was really quite a bit one!
Ervie got the first fish that arrived at 06:16.
There was another delivery at 07:22 and Falky takes that fish. Falky is still eating when Mum flies in with a bit of a whopper. At the time of this delivery, Ervie is on the perch and Bazza is on the nest rail. Falky quits eating the old fish (not much left) and starts eating the big fish.
In the image below you can see Falky with that prize fish. That is a nice one.
Falky is still eating at 8:56! Bazza has given up and has gone down near the mancave to put in a personal request to the parents for breakfast. Ervie has found some leftover fish around the rim of the nest – remember he is really good at that. But I am also thinking that Ervie knows Falky is going to get full and stop eating that fish! He wants to be on hand when that happens.
The only time I have seen a sibling eat and eat so that a sibling could not get food – eating beyond the norm of comprehension – was sibling #2 at the Achieva Osprey Nest in Florida last year. #2 would eat and eat so that Tiny Tot Tumbles did not get anything or there was only a little left.
Ervie is smart. The third hatch survivor. Falky did finally get full and Ervie is now eating that Mullet. Bazza is still on the deck below by Dad’s cave.
It has been snowing in Northern Europe. In Durbe County, Latvia, snow is covering the nest of Milda. Still, her and Mr L have come home to the nest to check on it today. Liz caught it in a video:
There are some concerns about a thin red line on the right ankle of Mr L which you can see directly below the arrow to start the video. Here is another view. Milda needs for this to heal so that Mr L can provide for her this year and their chicks will thrive. Observers say that Mr L appears to be moving fine. Thank goodness.
Oh, it looks so dreadfully cold for the White-tailed Eagles. I hope there is plenty of prey for them that is not sleeping. There should be no worries about any egg laying until spring. It is normally timed so that when the chicks hatch the little animals are coming out of hibernation.
If you research the floods that are happening in Canada’s province of British Columbia or some of the flooding in the eastern provinces recently, there are many causes. In British Columbia the logging of old growth forests has proven to be tragic. In their discussions, Christian Sasse and Dave Hancock talked about the impact to the wildlife of these events. They also mentioned that some of the birds caught in the horrific heat during the summer of 2021 that survived and had trackers put on them —- those birds flew straight to Alaska. As the climate warms, the birds, including my beloved Osprey, will be looking for cooler temperatures where fish and their eggs are not dying from the heat nor are the larvae that the fish eat dying. Look north to Alaska and parts of Canada. These areas need protection.
An article has just appeared that discusses the Tongass National Park in Alaska and the changes in some laws that are coming in to place to make certain that the old growth forests are not logged. If you are interested, here is that article.
Last there is some confusing information coming out of Orange, Australia, about Yurruga. I had received an e-mail this morning from Cilla Kinross where she expressed her concern at not seeing Yurruga since Thursday, her worry and also her love for the wee one. This morning Xavier delivered prey to Diamond in the scrape and she flew out of the box quickly and into the trees. I have personally never seen Diamond eat prey in the scrape unless she was feeding a chick. While we all remember Izzi coming to the scrape, normally the prey deliveries and feeding would take place away from the scrape for the fledglings.
In the chat room, Cilla Kinross said of the delivery and departure, “The prey transfer looked hopeful; I couldn’t hear the calls. I need to get a new speaker.” Individuals have said that at 8:32:55-56 they believed they could hear Yurruga prey calling.
Here is the sequence of images related to that prey drop to Diamond. You can see the time stamp in the corner to understand why Cilla could be thinking that this is very quick and hopeful.
Diamond gets the prey.
In the image above that white spot between the trees right above the ‘s’ in the word ‘trees’ that I typed, is Diamond. Cilla has indicated that she knows the tree Diamond landed in and she is going to check in at work and then go and search that area.
I will bring you any news as I hear it. If you want, you can watch the camera and at least see the chat, if you go to this link. To access the ledge cam – for a better overall view – go to the link below this cam once you get on Youtube.
At 10: 33:55 you can make out a person walking among the trees. It could be Cilla or a helper. Chatters and mods are hoping that they walk further back as that is where they saw Diamond go. We hold our breath. It has been a sheer roller coaster.
In the image below you can see them – that bright white spot. You can see how tiny she is compared to the trees. If Diamond is like the hawk that visits our garden, they can be almost invisible sitting ever so still so as not to be seen.
The person is still looking at 10:49. She is in the whitish coat to the right of the green tree in the centre. Again, look at the height. If Yurruga is in a hole in the tree or somewhere on those trees with leaves it could be difficult to see him. I wonder if Diamond is still there?
We wait for word. That is all we can do. Wait, hope, send warm wishes and prayers. My friend, ‘T in Strasbourg’ reminds me that miracles do happen. Yes, they do. I hope this is one of them.
Thank you for joining me. It is a been a day full of up and down emotions. That is the only thing for certain about this Tuesday – or Wednesday – depending where you live. Take care everyone. If I hear anything at all, I will let you know. Pardon any serious grammatical or spelling mistakes. I am writing this quickly so you will know what is happening on the ground in Orange.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, the Latvian Fund for Nature, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
It has been a bit of a day in the bird and wildlife world. Coming hot on the heels of the banning of trail hunting on Natural Resources Wales land and the National Trust properties in the UK, the State of Washington in the US has suspending bear hunting. It was well known that the adults were killed right when they came out of hibernation leaving cubs to fend for themselves, often dying. People, like you and me, called for these archaic practices to halt. The government listened. Remember that because every person can make a difference! You want hunting suspended in your state or province, phone and find out who to talk to. Write an informed letter. Demand change. Ask like-minded people to join you.
I am not going to start off with the streaming cams just yet. It was a grey damp day – with a little sunshine at times – on the Canadian prairies. The garden was full of birds, mostly sparrows and some Starlings. Mr Blue Jay came and went quickly. He does not seem to like the frozen corn cob. And, of course, there was Dyson & Company, along with Little Red.
All these years I have pondered the sheer amount of ‘bird’ seed that we go through in a week. It is true that there are normally 250-300 birds singing and eating daily but, how much can they eat? It appears that not all that new seed – seedless chipped sunflower and peanuts – is going to birds!
Dyson didn’t like the frozen corn either and didn’t bother to even take it for later. He has discovered how to vacuum out that new bird seed. I think I now know who broke my other feeder. Dyson has no shame. He lives to eat.
Dyson looks a little thinner in the image above but the one below is more of a likeness of this little one. Dyson brings us so much joy that we are thrilled he is healthy going into what might be a very bad winter.
With Dyson occupied on the sunflower/peanut feeder, it meant that Little Red could sneak on the tray feeder and eat all the cashews, fruit, Brazil nuts, and peanuts. If you are wondering, yes, the birds and animals possibly eat better than I do! Little Red is so cute.
Little Red lives in the penthouse. It is a ‘shed’ the size of a garage that is taxed like it is a new garage by our City. We haven’t had the heart to evict the little fellow even thought he fills everything up with Maple seeds and knocks everything off its hooks and generally makes a complete mess of the space.
There were a few European Starlings still in the garden. They will migrate returning next April but they are lingering just like some of the ducks and the Northern Cardinals. Who knows? Maybe they know what winter will be like better than anyone. They certainly have enjoyed eating the suet cylinder.
Others felt like Black Oil Seed today.
Isn’t she cute with her rosey legs and slightly pink tinted beak? Female house sparrows get short shift in the bird guides. It is a pity. They are quite lovely.
Last year I planted Scarlett Runner Beans and at the end of the summer the sparrows went wild shredding all of them and eating the greenery. What you are looking at below is a Flame Willow shrub. In winter the branches are red – super beautiful in a world of grey, white, and beige. There is some little vine or plant growing on that shrub. The sparrows have discovered it and they are doing the same thing – shredding and eating. Has anyone seen this behaviour?
And now back to the streaming cams for a quick update.
Port Lincoln Osprey Barge: By 09:30, three fish had been delivered to the nest. Bazza initially got the first fish when it arrived at 06:23. Ervie took it away from him. Bazza did nothing to try and get it back. Falkey got the 06:49:38 fish. The third fish arrived at 09:11:09 and Falkey got it, too. Ervie had a huge crop. He wasn’t bothered. Yesterday Cilla Kinross of the Orange Peregrine Falcons said that “Shrinking violets will not last long in the real world.” Bazza is hungry and he needs to challenge his brothers despite that he might be fearful of another incident like he had with Ervie.
Falkey has the fish. Bazza is crying to Mum and Ervie with his big crop is looking out to sea on the right. Will Mum take the fish and feed Bazza?
The White Tailed Eagle Nest in Durbe, Latvia. Milda and Mr L were at the nest working on more renovations. It was getting ready to rain and the image is a little ‘foggy’. Sorry about that. It is nice to see Milda. I hope that this will be a successful year for her after the tragedy of spring 2020.
The Minnesota DNR has turned on its Bald Eagle cam. Here is a video of that amazing couple – the sub-adult male who fathered his first chicks at the age of four last year – and the older female. This video was made on 18 November. It looks like Dad has his adult plumage this year! How wonderful. He will have turned 5.
Cornell Red Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca. The camera has been frozen for awhile. I wrote to the Cornell Bird Lab to inform them and to also ask them if there have been any confirmed sightings of Big Red since the last one on 16 October. I will keep you informed.
Annie and Grinnell. I have not seen any updates. As well, nothing on the WBSE juvenile.
You might remember Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. That little one is a fine example of a third hatch so tiny everyone thought it would die and well, she became the dominant bird on the nest. Her number is Blue 463. I am watching all of the announcements for her arrival in warmer climates. Today, however, the 2016 hatch from Foulshaw Moss, male Blue V8, was spotted in Tanji Marsh in The Gambia. He was seen there in January 2021 and was in Cumbria during the summer of 2021. This is the good news you want to hear. Survival.
And on that wonderful sighting, I will close. Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend. Stay safe. Thank you so very much for joining me.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Latvian Fund for Nature, Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and to Lady Hawk for her video on the arrival of the two Bald Eagles to the MN DNR nest.
Oh, there is such good news. Milda is a white tailed Eagle. Milda and her mate, Raimis, had nested and raised chicks near Kureze in Durbe County since 2017. Last year was a tragic year for the female eagle.
Milda laid her three eggs and everything appeared to be normal. However, on the late evening of 27 March 2021, Raimis left the nest to hunt and did not return. Raimis was presumed dead or very seriously injured. Several males came around the nest tree but, they were not interested in helping Milda with another male’s eggs. They were only interested in Milda. Even then they did not supply her with food. She grew weaker and more hungry over the days. After the 8th day of no food, Milda had to fly off the nest leaving the eggs alone in the cold. Then one male, Cips, looked as if he would assist her.
To everyone’s surprise, even seasoned researchers in Latvia, the two eggs hatched. You could not stop the tears around the world as people watched the miracle unfolding. The second egg hatched three days later.
Sadly, Cips was not reliable and Milda was starving. I cannot emphasize this enough because it explains Milda’s behaviour. Cips had brought a crow onto the nest and Milda fed both of the hatchlings but not herself. Then Cips came and took the crow that Milda had been feeding the chicks. Milda tried to take it from him. Then, Milda found an old fish on the nest. She was so hungry she ate it all and did not feed the chicks. Until that time, Milda had fed the chicks almost ever hour. They were healthy! and adorable. Miracle babies. The weather at the nest was not good. A storm was coming and there was no food on the nest. It was very cold. Milda flew off the nest to find food. A male – was it Mr Cips? – stood over the babies but would not brood them while Milda was away. They froze to death. Anyone watching could not believe what was happening. It was simply a tragedy but outlines for all of us watching the nests that a single parent cannot do all the work of both parents. Perhaps if the chicks had been near fledge but even then that is not guaranteed as we saw the tragedy unfold on Spilve’s nest the previous year with Klints.
So, today I am bringing you some really good news. Milda has recovered from the trauma – physical and mental. It appears that she may have a new mate that is being called Mr L. He brought a fish to the nest and Milda flew in and accepted it! Oh, I so hope that Milda has a strong reliable partner. It will be wonderful to see some beautiful eaglets fledge from this nest next spring.
Janis Kuze the leading ornithologist in the area said, “It is important that the Right now, we hope that the female will continue to stay in the area, form a new pair, and have a successful nesting next year.”
The Latvian Fund for Nature prepared a short film about the White-tailed eagle covering the time of preparing the nest to fledging. It was released in 2015 and has English subtitles. That said you can pretty much tell what is happening from the beautiful visuals. Here is the link:
Here is the link to watch Milda and her new mate. They will be preparing the nest with eggs laid in March.
I am so excited for the people of Latvia and for all of us that love White-tail Eagles. Send positive wishes for the pair bond to grow even stronger for Milda and her new mate, Mr L.
There is also some other good news around the world from Latvia. The very first egg of the season has been laid on Taiaroa Head at the Royal Albatross Colony. The male has been a bachelor for 18 years! This feels like another miracle. Congratulations to everyone at the NZ DOC!
Thank you for joining me today. I look forward to bringing you news of Milda and her mate as she is incubating eggs in the spring. Take care everyone!
Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature for sponsoring the camera where I took my screen captures.
Every year we stop and think about the women who gave us life and mentored us to become independent adults. I want to stop for a moment and consider a few of the bird mothers. Last year I was able to single out one bird that seemed to give it her all and that was Big Red, the Red tailed-hawk whose nest is on the Cornell Campus. This year I have a few more to add. I am certain that you have your own list as well.
In studying the social behaviour of birds, one of the things that has astonished me is how complicated the lives of our feathered friends are and how the behaviour of humans has impacted their lives.
The birds are not listed in any particular order – I could not, for the life of me, rank them. They have struggled against the greatest odds sometime. The first bird mentioned does not have a happy ending and this is a warning about that. If you would prefer to skip this mom, then please scroll down to Big Red.
The first female on my list is Milda. Milda is a White-tailed Eagle. She worked with her long time mate, Raimis, and rebuilt their nest near Durbe, Latvia. She laid her eggs on March 12, 15, and 21. The last time that Raimis was seen was the 27th of March. Milda incubated her eggs and stayed on her nest, despite several intruders, for eight days without eating. Then on two occasions, she had to leave the nest to try and find food and was off her eggs for periods nearing five hours at a time. It is not clear how successful she was in hunting. A male WTE appeared and tried to help incubate. By some miracle two of the three eggs hatched on the 21 and 24th of April. The people of Latvia and those who adore Milda were overcome with emotion. But that joy was short lived. It was pretty clear that Milda was almost starving to death. She had completely depleted her bodily resources. The male brought a crow to the nest and the eaglets were fed and then he took it away. It was very cold and Milda had to eat. She had to leave the nest to find food. She was desperate. If she did not survive neither would her eaglets. It is like the instructions when you fly on a plane: put your own oxygen mask on first before you help your children. Did Milda know that her eaglets would freeze? was this a form of euthanasia? did Milda think the male would incubate the eaglets while she found food? In all of this, there was also an intruder. Milda’s eaglets slowly froze to death. Later that day she consumed them.
Cannibalism in eagles is a new area of study with the growing number of streaming cameras. In 2002, a group of wildlife biologists in Virginia were stunned when they observed a male eagle killing his eaglets alive and eating them. More reports of similar behaviour came in leading researchers to believe that the behaviour may be more common that believed particularly in times of food shortage.
Milda was a very devoted and dedicated single mother. The circumstances were dire. She could not help her babies if she could not feed herself and she was starving. We have watched birds mourn their dead. It is beyond my comprehension to understand how difficult all of this was for Milda. The lack of a partner and the inability of a female parent to provide enough food for their eaglet also happened at another nest in Latvia. That was the nest of Spilve whose beautiful eaglet, Klints, perished from starvation. Spilve mourned the death of her Klints. This year, she refused to use the nest that Klints’s body has become a part of. Instead, her and her new mate went to another.
I am really aware of the dedication that the Latvians have for their wildlife. What has caused a drop in prey? has it always been this difficult? and would it be possible to stock artificial ponds for these large raptors? Those are just three of my questions.
My second bird mother of the year will always be first in my heart- Big Red whose territory is on the Cornell Campus.
Big Red hatched near Brooktondale, New York in 2003. She was banded on 20 October 2003 in Brooktondale. She is eighteen years old. The exact history of her mates and the number of eyasses she has raised to fledge will never be known. She was known to have a nest in 2010 on the Cornell Campus and two years later cameras were installed. Her mate at the time was Ezra. Ezra was killed in 2017. It is the only year that she did not have a clutch. She bonded with her current mate, Arthur, that same year. It is entirely possible that Big Red has fledged no less than 35 eyasses. This year she has another clutch of three. Big Red is a devoted mother. By the fall she is already selecting which light tower to use as a nest and is working with Arthur then and to a greater degree in February to ready the nest for the upcoming breeding season. She has been encrusted in snow more times than I want to remember and soaked to the bones. She has been blown off the nest! Still she works and keeps those kiddos of hers full to the brim. As someone recently said, ‘No one leaves Big Red’s table hungry.’ And when her eyasses fledge she will spend days with them in family hunting expeditions so that they are as prepared as she can make them for the outside world.
Today, she was soaked to the bone and cold – even the babies are a wee bit ‘wet’. Those heavy raindrops wanted nothing more than to turn into icy slush. She fed her three little ones as quickly as she could so they would not get wet and catch a chill. Just look at the love in those eyes! Being a mom is what it is all about for Big Red.
Unlike Milda, Big Red has a devoted mate, Arthur, who is busy filling the pantry providing food for Big Red and the Ks as well as security for the territory. Arthur also gives Big Red much needed relief breaks despite the fact that she prefers to look after the little ones almost 100% of the time! Her territory is also prey plentiful.
Big Red will always be at the top of my list. She is just simply amazing.
My third female is Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. I am including Diane in my list for one single reason. This year her three eggs hatched and she had three osplets to raise. At the time the three were born (5th and 7th of March), there was plenty of prey on the nest. However, a week later the fish deliveries became irregular causing food insecurity on the nest. It was unclear whether or not the third hatch would survive. There would be days of plenty and then hardly any fish. If the babies didn’t eat neither did Diane. Many suspected that Jack, her mate, might have another nest. Diane began to go fishing supplementing the fish that were brought onto the nest and that is why I am including her. When she was able she would leave the nest and bring in huge catfish to feed her babies and herself. She was a selfless mom. The two older siblings and in particular, the second hatch, demanded more and more food. For days in a row the third hatch had no food. Even Diane acted on several occasions like the little one would not live. Then something happened. The food became more plentiful and she paid particular attention so that the third hatch was full. I call him Tiny Tot. This year Diane will fledge three – . Tiny Tot is the only one left to fledge and his feather growth is behind. And that is OK. Tiny Tot is simply a delight.
In the image below Tiny Tot sits in the middle of the nest with its full crop and its ever growing wings. At one time no one believed #3 would survive and most thought it would be stunted but Tiny is filling out all over. Diane makes sure that sibling #2 standing on the rim of the nest at the back does not eat all of the fish that comes on the nest. I have to give her like 5 gold stars for stepping in and making sure that the food is shared between these two. No one is left out.
Diane is on the nest with Tiny. They are both waiting for an incoming fish.
Tiny Tot can self-feed. He was the first of the three to do so. To survive he found fish bones with a little flesh on them and ate it. Diane does love to feed him, tho.
As the sun goes down, Diane and her two little ones are full. Tiny is actually full to the brim. You can see that glimmer of the sun on his big crop.
Another bird mom that has touched my heart in a way that I cannot quite put my finger on is Eve, the mate of Eerik, whose nest is in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It is so cold in Estonia that the geese had to stop their northern migration. Eve is a huge White-tailed Eagle – she almost looks ‘wooly’ because her plumage is so thick to keep her warm. She is the most gentle of mothers with her two little eaglets.
Eve does not have the prey problem that Milda had in Latvia. There are plenty of fish and other birds that Eerik brings to the nest. Eve carefully conceals them and keeps them fresh in the straw around the rim of the nest-like an old fashioned ‘ice box’. What they have had to contend with are intruders and lingering cold weather to the extreme. It is especially important because the eaglets cannot thermoregulate their temperature. They depend on Eve and Eerik for everything. Many mornings Eve has woken up to be completely covered in a cold frost. I am really looking forward to these two growing up. Look at the little one put its wing around its big sib. This is such a peaceful nest. Eve keeps everything under control.
There are so many bird mothers whose lives need celebrating if for nothing else than they successfully raised their clutches. It is not easy. Humans have impacted their lives in so many ways it would take an entire blog to list them but climate change and its impact on prey, loss of habitat, plastic in the oceans, toxins, etc come to the top. I cannot even begin to create a list of all of those. If I continued to include images and write ups for the mothers, the blog could easily include Harriet at the Bald Eagle Nest in SW Florida in Fort Myers. She is just an amazing mother to E17 and E18. Those kiddos are well equipped to take on the world. Then there is Anna, the first time Bald Eagle mother, who had to learn along with her eaglet how to feed her baby properly. Kisatchie has thrived and is now branching on his nest tree in the Kisatchie National Forest. On the Mississippi River, the nest of Starr and the Valors was destroyed last year by the winds. Starr had to work with Valor I and II to build a new nest for the 2021 season. They built an amazing nest and now have three growing eaglets. Or what about the female at Duke Farms who spent the entire incubation period encased in snow? Her two eaglets are now branching. Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon, in Orange, Australia still has her seven month old fledgling living in her scrape box. Her patience is amazing and her and Xavier have raised a formidable falcon! What about the Osprey females who lay eggs and raise their little ones in nests so full of toys and blankets they often cannot even find the chicks. This year, Harriet at the Dahlgren Nest, lost one of her eggs in Jack’s deliveries! They probably deserve a medal every day for their good humour. Then there are the ones, driven by their instincts and ‘Mother Nature’ that want to be mothers so badly such as Jackie at Big Bear or Iris at Hellsgate? If certificates were given out, they would all receive them – every single one of them!
Here is Iris bringing in a whopper of a breakfish for herself. Iris is the oldest living osprey in the world – the grand dame of all Ospreys. She has fledged no less than 35-40 osplets – no one really knows for sure, that is just an estimate. Since the death of her trusted mate, Stanley, Iris has returned to her nest every year during breeding season. Her current mate, Louis, has another nest and another mate and Iris is now, by default, a single mother. Her natural instincts bring her back from her 4,000 mile migration to her nest in Missoula, breeding with Louis, and because she is both provider, incubator, and security guard – like Milda and Spilve – her clutches have not been successful. Her last fledge was a single osplet in 2018. Still she is there doing her best!
And Happy Mother’s Day to Maya on the Rutland Mantou Nest whose first osprey egg of the season hatched at 15:23 today, 8 May. You can just see the little one getting out of its shell.
Thank you for joining me today to appreciate the difficult circumstances each of our bird mothers face. There is a story for each of them! They are all much loved.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LWRT Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Latvian Fund for Wildlife, and the Achieva Credit Union.
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!
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.
It was a miracle when the two eggs of Milda and Raimis hatched on 21 and 24th of April. The male had not been seen on the nest and was presumed dead on 27 March. Milda incubated the eggs for eight days before she gave in to hunger. Then a male White-tailed eagle appeared who was finally accepted by Milda. He incubated the chicks and brought in a little food. Yesterday he brought in a Hooded Black Crow and the two miracle hatches were fed. Milda had no food. The weather has been incredibly bad. The last time the babies were fed was around 15:00 on the 25th.
On the morning of the 26th with freezing rain falling, Milda left the nest after making feeble calls to Mr C. He was not on the branch protecting and her voice appeared weak to me. Milda left her babies at 6:20:30. At 8:00:17 the right wing of the oldest moved and again at 8:08:52. Its wings still moving at 8:11. By 8:30 there was no movement in the oldest; the younger had passed earlier. Milda stood and looked at her babies a long time in the dark last evening. It feels like she knew that this had to happen.
Mr C stands over the babies protecting them from the Crows who would take their tiny bodies.
There is no food and Milda cannot do this without a good partner actively engaged in finding lots of food and helping her. It is so sad that what became a miracle has ended so sadly. Fly high little eagles!
I hope that Milda finds a good mate and raises more little ones. She is brave and so wanted these babies that belonged to her and Raimis to survive. She risked her own life for them. It is 8:30 and she has not returned to the nest. She has been gone for longer than two hours. It is with a very heavy heart that I post this sadness.
Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature for their camera – that is where I took my screen shots.
The feature image is of a happier time today when Milda was feeding her little ones.
It’s Sunday on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St. Petersburg, Florida. The oldest, 1, was hovering this morning before breakfish arrived at 7:53:53. Tiny Tot managed to snag that first delivery and hang on to it long enough to get some good bites. 2 stole that fish and Tiny Tot was fed by mom later. Diane brought a catfish in at 12:01:22. Tiny Tot got a little of that fish and worked on the carcass for quite awhile. Tiny’s crop was bigger than it was after the first fish – but it wasn’t big enough! A third fish delivery came in at 6:30:07 and #2 ate almost all of it. Tiny Tot did not get a single bite of that fish that I could see.
At 8:49:23 Diane brings another fish to the nest. It is dark and the camera does not have IR. Tiny gets himself up by 1 next to Diane. 2 is in the back and does not seem interested.
In the image below, Diane has the fish. Tiny Tot is next and #1 is standing in the front. #2 has its back turned towards us. It is looking off the back rim of the nest.
In the image below, 2 has turned around and is facing Diane who is feeding Tiny Tot and 1.
It was a reasonably sized fish and Tiny Tot got a really good portion of it. Diane will clean her beak at 9:19. I always sleep better when Tiny has had a good feed.
In Latvia, cold weather, high winds, and pelting snow along with an intruder caused some havoc on the White-tail Eagle Nest at Kurzere in Durbe County, Latvia. Mr C, the surrogate father delivered a Hooded Crow and plucked it before feeding the little ones.
At one point, Milda was almost blown off the nest by the high winds.
When there was a break, Milda fed the little ones from the Hooded Crow that Mr C, the surrogate father, had delivered to the nest.
Mr C stayed near the nest to help protect Milda and the chicks from an intruder. By now there is not much left of that crow for either Milda or the chicks. Oddly Mr C comes and removes what is there from the nest.
Milda left the nest and the chicks uncovered twice that I could see today. At one time she left at 17:29 returning at 18:12. She had been calling for Mr C to bring food. It is so cold that the risk of hypothermia to the chicks is high. That is a long time to leave the babies but she is hungry and so are they and there is no food on the nest as you can see in the image below. She has no choice.
At 21:19, the sun is going down. Milda is keeping her babies warm. There are some snow pellets falling. Let us hope that in the morning there will be a food delivery. The chicks were last fed around 15:00 on the 25th.
The sun is just coming up in Latvia. Milda is doing some meek little calls. I have not seen Mr C. Could he have been injured by the intruder? He has been good to relieve Milda, to incubate the chicks and bring them food and feed them. There could be a tragic ending to such a miracle if something happened to him.
It is a real bind for Milda who stayed on the nest for 8 days without food incubating these two little miracle eggs that hatched. Mr C was a big boost to the happy ending every wishes for this White-tail Eagle nest. It is too cold for Milda to be away. The babies are too young. Let us hope for food for them.
Take care everyone. Send off your warm wishes for Milda and her chicks, please. They helped with Tiny Tot. Now we need a miracle on another nest.
Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature and Achieva Credit Union for their streaming cams. Those cams are where I grabbed my screen shots.
There is a conservation zone in Wisconsin on the Fox River near Kaukauna. There are four healthy eaglets in a Bald Eagle Nest in that zone – four! Just look, they appear to be getting their thermal down. My goodness those parents are busy! Amazing. I always get nervous when there are three. How do you coordinate feeding four?
Down in Fort Myers, Florida E17 and E18, Harriet and M15’s eaglets of 2021, are enjoying playing in the pond this morning. They had baths and had great fun splashing one another. That pond is near their nest and the Pritchett family stocks it with fish for the eagles.
The egg on the Big Sur California Condor Nest of Phoenix and Redwood Queen is pipping. The Ventana officials say that it takes 2 to 3 days from pip for hatch, if all goes well. Keep watching! The little condor started using its egg tooth yesterday to work its way out.
The downpour during yesterday’s storms over Savannah and the Southeast US have given way to a cloudy dry day. The two little eaglets on The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island were kept warm and dry by Mom. Here they are enjoying their lunch today.
There was an intruder or intruders at the White-Tailed Eagle Nest near Durbe, Latvia today. The winds are blowing and it is 1 degree C. Mr Cips has brought in food for the little ones but, for the most part, he has been protecting the nest while Milda has been incubating. It is so cold the little ones can’t be left out in the weather long or they will get hypothermia.
There is still no sign of Aila at the Loch Arkaig nest. Local spotters have seen Louis with another female at platform 1 mating. Louis has also been bringing fish into that nest. A slim version of Aila – that had everyone wondering and comparing photos – appeared at the Loch Arkaig nest with the camera (below). Louis did not bring her any fish. He attempted and failed at mating twice. I wonder if this beautiful nest is going to be empty this year?
The following nest news is wonderful. When Ospreys are ringed and fledge making their first migration to southern Spain or Africa (more likely) it is an arduous journey. The survival rate varies but no more than 50% make it. Normally the juveniles will stay there for 2 or 3 years before returning to the UK.
For the birds that are ringed people wait patiently – sometimes forever – for news of a sighting. At Loch Garten near Abernathy, Cairngorms National Park, Blue AX6 was spotted with an unringed female. Blue AX6 was ringed on 1 July 2016 at Glen Affric. He was the only survivor of the nest of three at that time. This is the first reported sighting of Blue AX6 since he fledged. Just splendid.
Loch Garten is one of the important nests in the history of Osprey introduction. The nest was opened to public viewing in 1959. The belief, at the time and promoted extensively by George Waterston, was that an educated public would help protect the Ospreys. 14,000 people visited the site that first year during the seven months it was open. The most famous and formidable Osprey on that nest was EJ. She fledged 25 osplets off the Loch Garten nest in fifteen seasons. She was 21 years old in 2019 when she did not return from migration. Grass grew on the nest with the hope that a new pair might locate here. Fingers crossed for 2021 -.
This is EJ in 2018. Gosh, she is beautiful. Those dark eye markings are amazing they way they dip and go down her shoulder to her back.
The image below was taken yesterday. It is AX6 and the unringed female. Oh, there will be so many cheers if they stay and raise a family! Thanks to Mary Kerr who posted this on the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB page.
And everything is pretty much as usual at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. The nest and the chicks survived the winds from yesterday. Typically, Tiny Tot grabbed the first fish delivery of the day at 7:53:53. He protected himself and got some good bites.
Six minutes later, 8:03:21 one of the older siblings (I think 2) got its talon in the tail and took the fish away from Tiny. That was a good lesson. 2 hasn’t bothered earlier but Tiny will need to learn to dig his talons in that fish and stand on it like 2 does.
Mom will take the fish from the older sib and Tiny will be watching. Tiny grabs a bite meant for 2 and at 9:13:27 mom feeds Tiny.
He has a little crop.
Diane went fishin. She brought in a catfish with its head on at 12:01:22. You can always tell if Diane catches the fish because Jack always eats the head before he delivers dinner.
Tiny Tot will be fed from 12:28:34-12:54:49. Tiny will also command the carcass which he is still eating at 2:02.
Two other interesting things happened on the Achieva Osprey nest this morning. Chick #1 is now hovering. 6:50:44 They need to practice their take off and landings – it is amazing watching the Ospreys and the Royal Albatross hover.
That chick had a grand time! This chick is also the one who stands at the rim of the nest and extends her wings to catch the air. It is lighter in weight (or appears to be) than 2 and more interested in flying than eating. Just a beautiful strong Osprey. Lovely.
The second thing was an intruder or two – Blue Jays. I caught one of them flying by the nest at 8:01:53.
I will close with two more images of the Achieva Osprey Nest. The first one is Tiny Tot with food coma (totally oblivious to anything 1 and 2 are looking at) and the second shows you how healthy he is beginning to look.
Thank you so much for joining me today. There could be a hatch at the Big Sur condor nest tomorrow. I will keep you informed. Stay safe, stay warm. Smile.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Latvian Fund for Nature, Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, SWFL Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Loch Garten, Wooldland Trust, People Postcode Lottery, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, 1000 Islands Conservation area FB, Loch Arkaig FB, and the RSPB.