White-tailed Eagles in Poland

3 April 2022

One of my favourite White-tailed eagle females is Milda. I have mentioned her before in my blog. Her nest is in Durbe County in Estonia. It has been a rough year for Milda since her long-term mate was missing and presumed dead in late March of 2021. Milda heroically tried to incubate the eggs without food for 8 straight days to the point of starvation. Several males offered hope and then didn’t. As if with a miracle the two chicks hatched and we all celebrated only for them to perish because of one of the males taking the food off the nest and then not covering them. But, that was last year, and there was hope for this one but again, disappointment when the eggs laid were broken by an interloper.

The females on the nests need a good strong partner who is working with them cooperatively!

The White-tail Eagle is so rare in Eastern Europe. Latvia, Estonia, and Poland are doing what they can to encourage breeding sites.

The White tail eagles are Haliaeetus Albicilla. They are the largest raptors in Europe and are located from Greenland to Asia. The Eagle Directory describes the plumage like this, “White-Tailed Eagles are almost entirely brown. They have a yellow-gray head, neck, breast, and lesser wing coverts, and the belly, thighs, and rump are dark brown. The flight feathers are close to black and their wedge-shaped tail, as their name would indicate, is white. The tibia are feathered, though the tarsi are not, and the legs and feet are yellow. The eyes, beak, and cere are yellow.”

As you can seen from the images of the White-tailed Eagles below, the plumage can vary and of course, we have to take into account the lighting and settings on these streaming cams. These eagles grow to be from 74-92 cm long with a wingspan of 193-244 cm. The females are larger than the males as in most raptor species and weight between 3.7 and 6.9 kg. The males come in at 3.1 to 5.4 kilos. Their life expectancy can be up to 36 years. They eat mainly fish but also hunt mammals such as rabbits and birds. I have seen them also be opportunistic and bring some carrion to the nest. Indeed, it was a crane brought to the White-tailed eagle nest last year that killed two wee chicks because that crane brought with it the highly pathogenic Avian Flu, H5N1. While the birds are listed as not being under threat in some areas, they are very rare in Eastern Europe and the UK is trying to reintroduce them. While they may lay 1-3 eggs, it is most typically 2 eggs that will be incubated by both parents (as you see below) and hatch within 34-46 days. Fledging typically takes place between 77-90 days after which the fledglings are depending on the parents for 4-6 weeks while they learn to fly and hunt.

In older White-tailed eagles, the head and neck can be almost white.

The adults in the images are in a nest in the Woziwoda Forest District. It is a special project of the Eagle Conservation Committee, the Woziwoda Forest District and Polish Radio promotion both old forests and the White-tailed Eagles. The nest is highly protected. There can be no activity within a radius of 200 m. Setting up the camera were problematic and the workers who installed it had to do this cautiously when the eagles were away.

The nest you are looking at is on a 140 year old pine tree at a height of 25 metres. This nest has been occupied for four years. It is known that there was one fledge in 2021.

For transparency, I do not know any of the history of this nest so I do not know whether to give you caution or not. I am attempting to find out. The setting is simply beautiful and if some of you have been watching this nest in the past, please let me know. The chat is in Polish and I understand eggs are being incubated but it is not clear how many or when they were laid by the information provided.

Here is the link:

Just an update on 2 other nests: The adults at Dale Hollow have brought in a teaser 2 bite fish and a small sucker early in the morning. Big ate both of them. No other food has been provided to the eaglets up to 18:30 this evening. I sure wish they would bring a whopper on the nest tonight for both. That said, Little Middle ate well yesterday and is OK. Sadly, Little Middle continues to pull that monofilament line. Thank you to ‘CA’ from Belgium who sent me this 15 second video clip. I could not see him dragging the nesting material, my mistake.

https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkxv7V8o6oR9Gyt8aIgJyQ8dTxjUZI3Copk

Annie and the new male continue to bond in the scrape box. I have caught him incubating a few times today. I sure hope he is a good guy to our Annie! I don’t think any male will ever fill Grinnell’s shoes – he was a huge character in every aspect of a raptor’s life but any bird who will care for Annie, Grinnell’s eggs and now on of his own is gold in my books!

Karl II has spent his 4th night in the Ukraine not far from Kyiv. Anne7 posted this image of where he was hunting for food this afternoon. I am so grateful for the Looduskalender Forum and their English pages and to the tirelessness of Anne7 to inform all of us of Karl’s whereabouts. I wish him to replenish his energy and get to Estonia! Fast.

You may find yourselves spending too much time looking at the Dale Hollow nest hoping for a miracle. I had to begin to pull back today. It is mentally exhausting. We cannot make the adults bring in more food and legions of you have contacted enough people to get help. ‘L’ has had a promising conversation with Al Cerere who asked the important questions. If help can come, he is the guy to make it happen. We simply have to wait and hope. My heart breaks for both of these eaglets but, of course, most especially Little Middle.

Our weather is set to soar to a high of 8 degrees Celsius. We will all be outside in our summer clothes! Well, not quite but it will feel like that. It was a damp day, cold to the bones British type weather today. Birds are arriving and I really hope to get out to see some of them in the morning tomorrow. My post will likely arrive late in the afternoon.

Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons and Bieluki On line Bory Tucholskie.

Thursday Morning at Dale Hollow and other news in Bird World

24 March 2022

Please pardon any spelling or grammar issues today. I have not had time to proof this report, unfortunately. Thank you!

So far it is a pretty good morning even at Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagle nest on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky in the US. I turned on my computer just as a small fish was brought in my River, with its head, at 08:11:14.

Big goes to intimidate Middle at 08:23:49 but it is not the level of frenzy that Middle experienced late on the 23rd. Big ate all of the fish that came in. It was finished at 08:35:16. Then River moved over to the piece of Sucker that was still on the nest at 08:36:29.

I was encouraged by River’s actions as she clearly seemed to have feeding Middle in her mind. Middle turned to River to eat at 08:37:23 and then Big entered the picture pushing herself between River and Middle after she had a PS.

It was evident that both Big and Middle had eaten earlier as Middle had a nice crop.

River began feeding Middle at 08:38:25.

Eight minutes later, at 08:46:15, Big decides it wants to eat and starts intimidation. It ate a few bites.

River tries again to feed Middle at 08:47:33. River stops feeding at 08:47:25. There is still a piece of the sucker left. The nest is quiet of any animosity. At 09:03:38 Big turns and towers over Middle and does nothing! River returns to the nest. She is aerating the area by the small piece of remaining sucker. Big moves down at 10:01:20 and River feeds Big all the Sucker.

By 10:11:40 Middle is up at the top of the nest on the left being fed the rest of the old fish tail (not much on it). Big ignores the whole thing! Both eaglets are full. It is just after 10:15 on the nest.

Despite the modest attempts of intimidation, Middle ate this morning and has a nice crop when I stop watching. Big also has a crop. Hopefully more larger fish will come on the nest. Indeed, I hope that obey knows where to find more suckers! We can be joyful. This morning has been good for Middle!

River returns to the nest later to aerate. It is now 11:35. No more food items but not expected. Both Middle and Big have big crops still!

Middle had a really healthy PS at 11:32:41.

There is Big’s Crop. Because Big is such a large bird – no doubt she is a she – her food requirements are probably twice that of Middl now. Continue to send positive wishes for this nest. We are not out of the woods yet but I sure hope we are in a week. Both chicks cast pellets this morning and both had at least one PS. Enjoy this morning. It has been a good one at Dale Hollow.

Here is the first view of the newly hatched chick at Harry and Nancy’s MN DNR (hatched yesterday).

I have received word from ‘S’ in Latvia that a female interloper White-tailed eagle has destroyed the two eggs that Milda had laid on her nest in Durbe County. This is what ‘S’ conveyed: “Just a quick update. Yesterday evening a ringed strange female came to the nest and destroyed/ate Milda’s eggs while Milda was away feeding. Voldis did not stop her. It’s clear Voldis is not in any nesting mode yet, since his incubation skills also did not improve significantly. The intruder female is a Latvian WTE who was ringed in Latvia, near Jaunpils in 2016.”

Here is a video summary of the events:

As ‘S’ points out, many of the experienced watchers of Milda’s nest believe this to be better as it is clear that the situation could have gotten worse – no care for hatchlings, lack of prey to nest, etc.

‘S’ also included a message sent out by the Ornithologist, Jan Kuze:

“Today we have witnessed a very interesting turn of events – at least I am not aware of any other such cases. The role was played by the fact that the male is young and inexperienced, its connection with the territory and this partner is not sufficiently strong yet. The female continues to incubate due to inertia, but it cannot be ruled out that another egg will be laid in this nest, the next week or two will show.

I ringed the egg-eating female bird in the vicinity of Jaunpils on 25.05.2016. It is a young female who has reached the nesting age and is looking for a nesting area, it cannot be ruled out that we will continue to see her here and that some conflicts will continue.”

In Montana, members of the Raptor Resource Project are installing some ‘goose exclusion’ mechanisms to the Osprey nests. Here is the message from Dr Ericke Green:

It is not an Osprey nest but an unused Bald Eagle nest at Decorah, Iowa. The Canada Goose that has been checking out this nest has now laid her first egg. This is going to be a terrific nest to watch as long as there are is no predation. Imagine all those little goslings jumping off the sides.

The goose laid the egg and then covers it. Did you watch Daisy on the WBSE nest? If so, you might remember that the goose or duck will lay their eggs and then begin to add down from their breast to make the soft nest. After 24 hours, the goslings will all jump down! They have quite a ways to go but video has been taken of goslings jumping 106 m or 350 feet. They bounce! It is really exciting. They will then follow their Mother to water where they will begin eating. Ducklings and goslings are precocial – covered in feathers and able to eat on their own after hatch. Amazing.

On the Cornell Campus yesterday, 19 year old Big Red surprised everyone when she laid a 4th egg! Perhaps most surprised was her 6 year old mate, Arthur. Cornell called it “unprecedented” on Twitter. Red tail Hawks can lay up to 5 eggs. Since the camera became operative in 2012, Big Red has consistently laid 3 eggs. It is not know how many she laid in years prior.

I will alert all of you as pip approaches for Big Red and Arthur as well as for the Peregrine Falcon couple, Annie and Grinnell. If you are used to watching eagles, it is very educational to observe the smaller raptors and how they manage larger clutches.

Speaking of Falcons, it is not time for any egg laying by the Australian falcons at CBD 367 Collins Street or Xavier and Diamond at Orange. That will come in late summer. For now, there are several nests. That said, I am playing close attention to Annie and Grinnell (as much as Dale Hollow allows for). This morning Grinnell was in the scrape at 06:44:05 calling Annie. I sure hope he had her breakfast! In terms of hunting, Peregrine Falcons, the fastest birds in the world flying up to 370 kph, capture their prey when flying. That prey can range from parrots, doves, pigeons, Starlings, to geese and herons depending on the falcons location.

For those just starting/thinking about observing this scrape, there is one quick difference between Grinnell and Annie. Grinnell has a black ID on his left leg and a standard silver band on the right. I would also like to draw your attention to the hue of Grinnell’s legs, cere (the yellow part above the beak), and the yellow around his eyes. Notice how the colour appears to be an orange-yellow. This deep colour indicates that Grinnell is extremely healthy.

At 08:48 Annie returns to the scrape. Peregrine Falcons may have first laid their eggs in twig nests but, if they did, they evolved to using cliffs with sand or pebbles. It is believed that this allows for few, if any, diseases unlike Eagle nests that constantly have to be aerated.

The eggs that Annie will lay are some of the most beautiful in the avian world with their rich red-brown colour. Indeed, because of their beauty and size they became the target of egg collectors. Once Annie begins hard incubation, her and Grinnell will take turns for 33-35 days. On occasion, as at the CBD Collins Street Nest in 2021, all three of their eggs hatched within a few hours. It helps to avoid the issues that we have seen at Dale Hollow and with Eagles and Ospreys in general. Once hatched, it is 5 to 6 weeks til fledge. The parents will then train the eyases to hunt and feed them for about another month. On occasion, the fledglings return to the nest area.

I sure hope Grinnell had a good breakfast for her. Annie appears to be ‘thinking’ about laying eggs. We wait.

Here is a recap by CalFalcons of the 2021 year. You might want to turn the sound down a little – the music is quite loud (or maybe not). It compresses the season from mating to banding to fledge.

At the Berry College nest of Pa Berry and Missy, B15 is one sweet and energetic eaglet! The nest has become a launch pad for ever higher jumping. B15 loves the wind between its wings. This morning he was up checking out the DVR. Fledge could come any day now. It has been a terrific year for this nest.

About four hours ago, Harriet at the Dahlgren Osprey nest laid her second egg. Jack continues to bring in toys. Oh, dear. Last year an egg got lost in all the items on this nest. Poor Harriet.

As we wait for Richmond and Rosie to finish their nest and the arrival of Iris in Montana, the Ospreys heading to Europe are on the move. A couple of days ago there were 51 on a site in Senegal and today only 10.

I want to check on Karl II, the male at the Karula National Forest Black Stork nest who is making his way home for the spring and summer breeding season in Estonia. Yesterday, 23 March, Karl was making good progress and was feeding at Lake Beysehir in Isparta Province in Turkey.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Karl II would normally be heading for an area around Odessa in the Ukraine on the Black Sea. Is it possible that he might revert and fly slightly West? We wait.

The day is half over on the Dale Hollow nest and I would suggest that it was a good start. River is currently on the nest shading the eaglets.

Thank you so much for joining me. I have skipped around checking on other Bird news this morning. All of the other nests are doing well and there is a lot going on. A storm is heading to Captiva that might put fishing off for Andy because the air pressure drives the fish deeper in the Water. Jackie and Shadow have been dealing with intruders. I may not get to all of those today. It could be a very late report. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Cal Falcons, Berry College Eagles, Looduskalender, Google Maps, Dahlgren Ospreys, and Explore.Org. I know that there are more pressing concerns in the Balkans but I am extremely grateful to ‘S’ who took the time to alert me about Milda’s eggs being predated. Thank you ‘S’, I know the birds are your solace right now.

Late Friday Afternoon News in Bird World

18 March 2022

It is difficult to believe but it appears that the Little Bit or Tater Tot at the Dale Hollow Nest is still alive. This is quite unbelievable. The will of this little wee eaglet to live is intense. It has moved again to try and get in the shade. It does not have the protection that the other two eagles have. It still had natal down despite its 17 days old. The other two are 20.

If rewards of fish could be given, this little one would win them all. It has lowered its breathing so it doesn’t use up so much energy and it has played possum more than twice to survive. This was at 16:25.

In other news, I have heard from a reader in Lithuania, ‘S’ who has cleared up a mystery about Milda at the Durbe White-tailed Eagle nest. Milda has been through a lot of mates since she lost her long time partner last year. This is what ‘S’ writes: “I just wanted to add on our Latvian WTE nest – Milda has a new partner now – Voldis (a shortened version of the name of the Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky). She has recently laid 2 eggs (15/03 and 18/03), but Voldis seems a bit inexperienced and is not willing to incubate for longer periods of time, nor is he bringing food for Milda while she incubates. We hope the situation improves, but it may as well be that the eggs do not hatch this year under these circumstances. Hope dies last, of course.”

Meanwhile, there is no news at the Captiva Osprey nest over the cause of Big Bob’s sudden death. However, Middle and Little are doing very well!

Mum Lena offered Little Bob the fish tail. Yum, yum. He was happy to have the honour.

I just checked at the Dulles Greenway Bald Eagle nest of Rosa and Martin. For a second some of us saw the chick below and thought we were seeing double. There is, however, just one chick on the nest, confirmed by the moderator. And it is a cutie!

Why does one egg hatch and not the other? The Dulles Greenaway nest posted this informative article.

The Red-tail Hawk celebrity couple, Big Red and Arthur, at the Cornell Campus are doing great and waiting for the arrival of egg 3 tomorrow. Big Red is trusting Arthur with more of the incubation duties and he has happily provided her with the gift of a mouse today for her afternoon tea.

Everything also looks good on a hot Friday afternoon in California at the West End nest. The three eaglets of Thunder and Akecheta are literally sleeping with the fishes. Oh, they are going to have such gunky fur! Yikes.

There are no new reports of Cal Falcons Annie and Grinnell or Ervie at the Port Lincoln Osprey Project today.

I am exhausted from the happenings at Dale Hollow. Little Bit or Tater Tot would be a formidable eagle if it could survive. Twice now I have thought it died. Even the moderators on the Dale Hollow chat which they opened up just this morning believed so. Please send all your love. Surround it with love! If my grammar has gone sideways today, I apologize. There has been a lot of stress today. Wrap your arms around Little Bit!

Correction: Apologies to ‘A’ who first alerted me to Little Bit remaining alive. I previously said it was ‘L’.

Thank you for joining me. I cannot see a problem at any other nest! Take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the RTH, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Dale Hollow Eagle Nest, Dulles Greenaway Bald Eagles, West End Eagles,

Milda lays first egg of 2022!

17 March 2022

This year it seems that couples who have had difficulties in the last year or two are having success. I hope that this is the case with Milda and her new mate at the White-tailed Eagle nest near Kurzume in Durbe Municipality, Latvia.

On the map below you can see Kurzeme in the western region of Latvia.

Last year Milda lost her long time mate, Raimis, right after she had laid her eggs. Milda and Raimis had successfully bred on the nest in 2018, 2019, and 2020. 2021 would have been their 4th breeding season. It is believed that Raimis was killed or injured in a territorial dispute and did not return to the nest.

Milda tried to incubate those eggs in the cold weather without eating. She did so for eight full days. What an incredibly devoted mother. She had to eat and left the two eggs for approximately 5-6 hours in the cold weather of April. To everyone’s surprise, the two eggs hatched. But Milda was starving and there was little food and an on again off again male who watched the two chicks freeze to death while Milda foraged. It was a horribly sad ending for the breeding year but, much was learned about eggs and outside temperature. We also know that these big nests hold a lot of heat.

So this is a new year and Milda has laid her first egg at 18:09 on Thursday the 17th of March. Congratulations to Milda and her mate who I hope is as devoted to her as she is to her eggs and chicks.

The nest is in a forest area high up on Spruce Tree. The region is so beautiful. It will change from winter into spring before your eyes.

You can join in with all the other fans of Milda by going to the streaming cam below. There are some great chat moderators there to help you, too!

White-tailed Eagles are extremely rare in the Balkan Region. This nest has been used since 2014 and it is hoped that this year it will be successful for this fabulous Mum.

This is exciting. I am so happy for Milda. Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the Latvian Fund for Nature for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Monday in Bird World

07 March 2022

There was a lovely soft glow from the sun rising over Big Bear Lake when hick at 05:53.

Shadow does a fabulous job feeding his baby. You would think that he would have fed dozens of chicks by the ease that he takes care of this little one. So delicate.

Everyone was anxious to get a glimpse of the egg as Dad fed the 3+ day old chick. That egg is 40 days old today and that is late for a second egg to hatch. It might not happen and, in the long run, one really healthy chick, able to get under Mum and Dad during bad weather is fine with me! There has been some speculation that the chick you see in the images is actually the chick from egg 2, hatched at 37 days making the remaining egg 44 days old. No one will ever know for sure. What matters most is that Jackie and Shadow have one gorgeous healthy baby!

Jackie had a nice break and returned to feed the chick its second breakfast at 07:16.

Turn around little one!

That wee one had its third feeding around 08:27. The bites are getting a little bigger and the feedings are now a little longer. The baby is growing. It will be four days old this afternoon.

Big Bear has posted a short video of Shadow feeding the baby yesterday:

While the weather looks promising in Big Bear Valley, it is soaking wet on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee at the Dale Hollow Nest. River is having to be a huge umbrella trying to keep those very active chicks dry and warm.

It is also wet but, not soaking, in Ithaca at the nest of Big Red and Arthur. Yesterday Big Red and Arthur worked on the nest. Arthur even brought in a prey item for Big Red which she happily accepted at the nest quickly flying off to enjoy it.

We have not seen Ervie at the Port Lincoln barge. His tracker is due an update but for now we have the one for the 4th of March which shows him still staying along the North shore.

The White-tailed Eagles up in Latvia and Estonia are mating and defending their nests. These eagles do not migrate. I am particularly excited about Milda who lost her long time mate, Raimis. She has had several potential suitors. I hope that this year she raises a successful clutch. Her and what appears to be her new mate, Mr S, were mating early this morning at the nest near Durbe, Latvia. Indeed, these two have been mating on or near the nest for at least a week now.

This is the link to the streaming cam of Milda’s nest near Durbe:

It isn’t noon yet on the nest of Ospreys Andy and Lena at Captiva and already the three osplets have had three feedings this morning. Big Bob has been at Little Bob once in awhile but all three have eaten well. Little Bob isn’t going to let Big Bob dampen its day!

The fish that Andy has been bringing in this morning are Mullets, a common fish for the Ospreys in the UK, too.

Look at how big these three are getting! Wow.

Lena is doing the best she can to keep her growing Bobs in the shade away from the hot sun on the Florida coast this morning.

There is so much going on now with the birds and their nests. Eggs are being incubated by Bald Eagles throughout the US. The eagles in Europe that do not migrate are working on nests and mating. The European Ospreys who winter in the Iberian Peninsula and Africa are beginning to migrate home. Who will land first in the UK is the common question on everyone’s mind. Of the streaming cams, my vote is on Maya and Blue 33 at Rutland Manton Bay. Richmond and Rosie continue to try to build their nest amidst the ever growing thievery of twigs by the Corvids. It is a very busy time. Annie and Grinnell are bonding. I am not happy with Big Bob’s recent hostility to Little Bob at Captiva and the same is happening at Duke Farms albeit the chick is younger and fighting to get some fish. Little Bob will be fine. Send positive wishes to Duke Farms!

Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Duke Hollow Lake Eagles, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB Page.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

22.2.22

Most of you know by now that I am not a great owl fan especially those that take over nests belonging to successful Osprey couples. That doesn’t stop me from thinking that they are also cute and adorable. This is a sweet little video of Mum eating a rodent and chewing it to a fine mush and feeding the owlet at the Savannah Skidaway Island nest.

The plumage of the female Great Horned Owl is simply gorgeous. The camera close ups of the feed are wonderful. You will note that the eyes of the owlet remain closed. It will be a couple more days before they are open.

Before I was able to post this, Cornell made a video of this Mum defending her nest. She really opened her wings fully. She had a look like ‘You had better not mess with me today!’

Ithaca, New York is in line for some of the rain in the system that is going through the Northeastern US. It has already started raining at the nest of Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell University campus.

Andy and Lena’s trio had a really nice feeding – several of them – and they are now sound asleep!

There were four feedings in total today at the Captiva nest according to the chat moderator. I caught the times for three of them: 6:52:18, 08:59, 12:48. The last must have been later and for the life of me, I can’t find it but I know it has to be there. Four feedings. If you want to do a comparison, the average number of feedings per day at Port Lincoln was seven.

Lena had a break. Andy took over brooding and did a pretty nice job.

Lena continues to dry off.

Diane is busy incubating three eggs on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Those eggs will be looking to pip the middle of March. Oh, it is exciting. This is Tiny Tot Tumbles nest!!!!! I hope the third hatch is as determined and creative as TTT. If so, it will thrive.

At the Minnesota DNR nest of Harry and Nancy, Nancy was shocked to find a racoon coming up to eat the eggs. Harry successfully defended the family!

R1 and R2 both had big crops this afternoon. R2’s was large when he started getting fed. It is just so nice to see these two doing well. I worried for awhile and my friend that watches this nest said not to – it would all work out – and it did! Thank you!

These two little darlings are Fern and Thunder. They are chicks of Blazer and Abby over at the Eagle Country nest. Adorable. Just look at them staring straight at the camera! It is nice to see a couple of bobbleheads! All of the other eaglets are growing so fast!

Before I close, it is time to start paying attention to some of the White-tailed Eagle nests in northern Europe. One of the ones that I follow is the nest of Milda near Durbe in Latvia. Last year Milda last her mate and her two miracle chicks to very unfortunate circumstances. She has arrived at the nest and there is another ‘new’ (?) male with her or is this is a dangerous interloper? I really hope that she has a reliable partner like she had in Raimis and we get to see some lovely little chicks this year.

Every nest does seem to be doing well. Bella and Smitty have been alerting and chasing an intruder – probably the new female that fought with Bella. It is so nice to see Bella feeling well, healed. Life is good!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Window on Wildlife and Captiva Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab, Achieva Credit Union, Eagle Country, and the WRDC.

Friday in Bird World

The Lost Words is a book by Robert MacFarlane, Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Its focus is on the words that the editors of the Oxford Children’s Dictionary removed. Its 128 pages, 27.9 x 37.6 cm in size, are gorgeously illustrated with the watercolours of Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator, who lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The missing words that concerned MacFarlane are the following: acorn, Adder, Bluebell, Bramble, Conker, dandelion, fern, heather, heron, Ivy, Kingfisher, Lark, Magpie, Newt, Otter, Raven, Starling, Weasel, Willow, and Wren. At a time when our focus as adults should be to strive to install the wonder of the natural world and our responsibility to it in the children, why, then, would anyone choose to remove words that are directly connected with our environment.

I mentioned this book awhile ago. I have returned to it many times always admiring the illustrations, such as the images of the Ravens on the forest floor amongst the fallen conkers. Conkers are the fruit of the Horse Chestnut Tree, Aesculus hippocastanum. Horse Chestnut trees can grow quite large. Ironically, the conkers are poisonous to horses and I believe, all other animals. The type of poison is called esculin.

That illustration conjured up a beautiful memory of the time my family spent in England. Up on the gorse was a Conker Tree. We had never seen conkers – it was something wonderful and new. The children played a game with them. First you had to drill a hole and run a cord through the conker and secure it with a nice big knot at the bottom. The children would then ‘conk’ their conkers trying to see whose would break first! It was free entertainment and kept them busy for hours.

“Conkers on a string” by MrsEds is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Creative Commons had this historical picture of two young lads trying to break the others’ conker.

“Its conker time” by theirhistory 

The rolling hills with their public paths were marvellous places for the children and the adults to take walks and breathe in the air. We were fortunate to have a ‘gorse’ within 50 or 60 feet from where we lived. It was full of butterflies and birds and the most delicious blackberries. It was a time when children played outside with their mates. No one set in front of the telly or spent hours looking at screens. Bikes were ridden and trees were climbed. In the three years we lived in Lincolnshire, it snowed once. There was about 4 cm on the ground – just enough. Still, everything stopped. Children stayed home from school and anything and everything that could be used as a sled was used to slide down the hills of the gorse. I wonder what all those children would think about the snow in my garden today?

The nice thing about snow is that it can cause people to slow down. To enjoy a cup of hot tea and a book. To stop running around worrying about things that are not always that important, to pause long enough to take in the moments.

It seems like it is rather quiet in Bird World but, is it really? Eaglets are growing bigger by the day all the while their plumage is changing. Thankfully, none are ready to fledge. E19 and E20 spend time flapping their wings as does the Osceola eaglet. Other eagles are incubating eggs. It is not time for Osprey season unless they are in Florida. Diane is incubating 3 eggs at Achieva in St Petersburg while Lena, laying hers a month early at Captiva, will be on hatch watch this weekend. Annie and Grinnell are only dreaming of eyases. Today Grinnell had to tell a 2 year old juvenile female to get off the ledge of The Campanile. Cal Falcons posted a video of that encounter.

Ervie continues to fish call off the barge at Port Lincoln. We can hear him but we cannot see him.

Kincaid is 29 days old today. He is starting to walk. It is so cute to see those first ‘baby steps’. Louis brought in what looks like an egret (or a part of an egret). When it looked like Louis might want to eat some of it, Anna promptly arrived at the nest. To Anna, prey brought to the nest belongs to her and Kincaid, not Louis who brought it! Anna is pretty strict in that regard. Not all female Bald Eagles behave that way. Anna proceeded to try and remove one long leg while Kincaid, with an already large crop, waited patiently.

Kincaid is mimicking what Anna is doing as he grabs the other leg and pulls on it. So cute. Kincaid also keeps himself busy moving around nesting material. These little eaglets learn from watching the adults.

Kincaid is already making attempts at self-feeding.

Kincaid is, of course, not the only one trying out eating by itself. I posted an image of R2 at the WRDC nest a week ago eating a fish. The eaglets of Harriet and M15 are also attempting eating on their own. E20 has become a bit of a pro. It seems like all of the eaglets grew up faster than they have ever done previously. Does it seem that way to you?

At the White-tailed Eagle nest of Milda and her new mate near Durbe, Latvia, the snow has melted. Milda will be laying her eggs about the same time as Big Red in Ithaca, New York – the third week of March – if all goes to plan.

There is more snow forecast for Big Red’s territory. The temperature in Ithaca is 1 C.

What I like about the image below is that you can see the nest cup area that Big Red and Arthur have been working on. In Milda’s nest sprigs of pine with their cones line the area of the egg cup. It is so fascinating watching the couples prepare for the upcoming breeding season. It is so intriguing. I would love to ‘speak hawk’ and sit by Big Red and Arthur when they discuss what needs to be done!

At least five eagles poisoned, one dead, four in serious condition in Manchester Maryland. Was this lead poisoning? or was this something else more sinister to impact all of the birds at the same time? There is an investigation underway.

Here is a short informative video of why eagles eat carrion in the winter.

https://fb.watch/b6jnYJByKa/

There is good news coming out of Australia about WBSE 27. You might remember that twice, after fledging, 27 was taken into care. 27 was not taught by the parents to take care of itself. Once 27 fledged, it was taunted and chased by the Pied Currawong. Both times 27 was extremely dehydrated. The last time the Currawong had gathered and had pecked 27s head. When 27 was taken into care the last time, I hoped that rehabilitation would include flight training as well as training for getting prey. This takes longer than a two week stay in a clinic. Some wildlife rehabbers keep birds for 2 years to make certain they are capable of caring for themselves with confidence. It looks like 27 is getting that great training. The news is excellent!

Isn’t she lovely? And – yes – 27 is a she!

I wish that all of the sea eagles that fledge from the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park would not be harangued by the Pied Currawong. They chase them out of the forest. They never learn to fly or to catch prey. How many of them survive, if any, unless they wind up in care?

The camera is now working again at Port Lincoln. Ervie was on the nest and, at various times, in the shed with Dad. Sometimes he was in the shed alone. I cannot tell you if he had a fish but there was definitely a lot of fish calling.

Checking in on Jack and Diane at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest and Jack is busy delivering fish and helping incubate the eggs.

If you are into garden animals and song birds, with a few surprises, you might want to check out Wildlife Kate. She has several wildlife cams and is featured on Springwatch in the UK. Have a look. You might find something really interesting like Yew Pond, or the Kestrel Box, or the Woodland Pond.

This is Woodland Pond. The cameras are live with no rewind. Enjoy.

https://www.wildlifekate.co.uk/

I haven’t posted anything about the eaglet at Berry College for a few days. Thermal down is coming in nicely. Pa Berry did a great job feeding the little one this morning. B15 is still walking around on its tarsus (not yet with its feet) and doing a lot of preening. B15 is doing great. Missy and Pa Berry are doing a great job raising this baby.

B15 is a sweet little eaglet. You can see how its plumage is beginning to change.

I will leave you with a gorgeous image of Jackie incubating her eggs at Big Bear Bald Eagle nest in California. Fingers crossed for a great season for her and Shadow!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear, Achieva Credit Union, Wildlife Kate, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Berry College, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagle Cam FB Page.

Late Monday in Bird World

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

It is snowing on the Storks near Freiburg, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleeping quietly under Mum.

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

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

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

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

Lady Hawk caught that sweet reunion.

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

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

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

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

Sunday in Bird World

What a Saturday afternoon and night. It was such a huge relief to find Anna on the Bald Eagle nest in the Kistachie National Forest and that there had been either a misidentification or that Anna and Louis switched places at dawn. Whatever happened- Anna is alright. Both birds were stressed on Saturday. It is unclear what was the cause or was it a multitude of things together – humans, gun shots, other intruding birds or animals.

I just love the image below. Everyone is so happy and relaxed this morning.

If you are watching the KNF nest, listen for the ‘laughing’ frogs. They are actually called Southern Leopold frogs but because of the sound they make, they are nicknamed laughing frogs. I hope to goodness that is the only sound that the nest has to hear besides eagles today!

The eaglet is enjoying some of the duck that was delivered earlier.

Eaglet is in food coma. Hopefully by this time next week, this baby will have a name!

The Wildlife Biologist says this afternoon that Anna and Louis would not have made their nest in a place if they were bothered by humans being around. Yesterday was, however, different from any other time that I have watched this nest – last year and this.

I know that many of you are stork lovers. Did you know that there is a live streaming cam with storks at Dreisamtal, about 10 kilometres east of Freiburg, Germany? A pair of storks make their nest on the roof of the Church of St. Gallus. Normally the couple arrive in February but this year, they returned on New Year’s Eve 2021.

The couple come and go for foraging. They sleep on the nest at night. Here is the link to this camera to calm all of your longing-for-storks-to-return!

What gorgeous plumage these Storks have. Incredibly beautiful!

Ervie had a full crop and was being blessed by diamonds all around. Oh, our glorious boy! He has quite the crop in that image. While there are few fish deliveries captured on the streaming cam, it is now believed that Ervie is catching almost all of his fish himself.

Dad does still continue to deliver a fish on occasion when Ervie is crying on the nest. Ervie loves being an ‘only child’.

The other day a word showed up in respect to Ervie – extreme philopatry. Yes, it is possible that Ervie is tied as tight as he can, more than others, to this very nest and that he will not wander too far afield like Falky has done. Indeed, one day we might see Ervie as the adult male on the barge with his own family.

Look a Ervie’s crop! Our young man is doing well. It is a relief to imagine that Ervie is an excellent fisher now.

At the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida, everyone is waiting for the first egg to be laid this breeding season.

Of course, we are also waiting for Big Red and Arthur to begin working on their nest. It is, actually, awhile still. Last year Big Red laid her eggs on 26 and 29 March and 1 April! So we have about 7 weeks and a few days til our beloved Red-tail Hawk is incubating.

About the time Big Red is laying eggs, Iris will be returning from her winter migration. It is a snowy cold day in Missoula. I hope Iris is enjoying the warmth of her winter home.

At this very same time – as Big Red lays her eggs and we are on watch for Iris to land on her nest, Milda will be laying eggs on the White-tailed eagle nest in Durbe.

When I looked at my calendar and saw those three events – Big Red, Iris, and Milda – there was a big exclamation mark. Of course, all of the Ospreys and Storks will be returning from their winter homes to breed in the UK and Europe! It is going to get really, really busy.

For now, I will turn my attention back to the Bald Eagles. I don’t think NE26 is being an angel but it appears that s/he is not a ruthless brute either to NE27 – that is all good. Samson continues to have the pantry full and the fuzz balls nothing short of adorable.

In the image below, NE 26, the tallest, was trying to peck at 27. 27 did a pretty good job of standing up to its big sib. Bravo!

NE27 still has quite a dominant egg tooth. Sweet little babe with the golden glow of the morning sun shining on it.

A banana leaf was brought on to the WRDC nest. R1 thinks it makes quite a comfortable bed! So cute. It kinda’ fits with having a Papadam Chair for a nest.

R1 and R2 with their charcoal thermal down are growing and growing. Both are eating well and Ron has just brought a nice big fish on to the nest. It will not be long til these two eaglets are walking with ease around the nest. Just look at how big R1 is – looks like Hulk.

The eaglet at Berry College is wanting to have an afternoon snack and is looking intently at what the adult is plucking on the nest. This little one is a real little sweetie. Look at that lovely soft down head. You can see the thermal down coming in on the body of the eaglet. In a couple of days that soft light grey down will be nothing but dandelions!

And, last for today, if you are a Thunder and Akecheta fan, Thunder laid her first egg at the Channel Islands Bald Eagle Nest at 16:54 on 29 January! This is Cheta’s third breeding season and he no longer minds incubating the eggs. Last year the Ravens (or Crows?) got the eggs so this year, hopefully, neither adult will leave them alone!

Here is the link to the Channel Islands streaming cam:

Whew. All is well at the nests. Thankfully. It is supposed to warm up and start snowing on the Canadian Prairies in a short time. It is a good day for a walk out in the fresh air!

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone and just breathe a sigh of relief. Anna is fine.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: KNF Bald Eagle Nest, Berry College, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida and the AEF, WRDC, Explore.org, Latvian Fund for Nature, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Achieva Credit Union, and Storks Nest Live Stream.

Tuesday in Bird World

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.