So you want to read about Ospreys!

I have received several letters asking about books on Ospreys. I have quite a few in my bookshelf and I will try to spend a little bit of time telling you about each of them. I have picked out the ones that are well written and easy to read. I have not ranked them. That would be impossible or at least to me it is. Each one is rather different. Some are general knowledge while others focus on specific sites where ospreys breed. There are even books on specific birds. For those wanting to find books on these beautiful sea eagles, you are lucky. There are a number of well-written books available both new and used. I cannot say this about Red-tailed Hawks!

Alan Poole’s Ospreys. The Revival of the Global Raptor came out in 2019. It is actually a much revised version of a book by Poole written several decades earlier. Poole is an enthusiastic lover of Ospreys. The book is easy to read and extremely informative. If you wanted a first general book on Ospreys this is a good choice. It covers everything you might want to know about ospreys from the four different sub-species and their differences, to the geography and distribution, their behaviour, life cycle and breeding habits, challenges during migration to the intimate details of the mother feeding the little one. There are personal stories that bring the information to life. Only available in hardback. 220 pages with beautiful colour photographs.

Roy Dennis’s A Life of Ospreys is written just as enthusiastically as the Poole. This book also has some good general information on Ospreys but, at the heart of it are the personal anecdotes and stories that go hand in hand with Dennis working decades to reintroduce the Osprey back into the United Kingdom after it was almost made extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the things I enjoyed most was the information on conservation ecology and the Osprey as well as the inclusion of Dennis’s original notes from the 1970s. Paperback. 224 pages. Colour photographs, maps, and charts. Published in 2012.

I am a big fan of Roy Dennis and the work that he did to bring the Osprey back to the skies of of the United Kingdom – as well as his work with translocating Osprey to places such as Urdaibai Biosphere Park in Spain. Dennis fell in love with Ospreys as a teenager and has never looked back. His latest book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding Our skies, woods, and Waterways was published in 2021. It is really the personal journey and all the challenges with the kind of personal details that animates the story of the return of the Ospreys. Hardback. 452 pages. Black and white.

Written with all the love and joy this man can muster for his beloved birds of prey. While you can order this from the many on line book sellers, if you do decide to purchase it and you can afford the postage from Scotland, I suggest you order it directly from Roy Dennis’s website. Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust. All of the funds go back into helping the osprey and you can get it signed.

Many of you will be familiar with Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. Dorothy Patent and William Munoz have written a book specifically about the Ospreys in Montana – Call of the Osprey. Along with a general introduction, the pair cover, in great detail, the setting up of the artificial platform near the Riverside Health Centre for Iris and Stanley. There are excellent colour photographs. The book also discusses the Montana Osprey Project which looks into the toxins in the rivers from mining in the area as well as the new research using satellite trackers to find out where the osprey from Montana travel for the winter. Lovers of Iris and Stanley will, no doubt, like the detailed history of them as a couple. Hardback. 80 pages.

Another geographical specific book is The Rutland Water Ospreys. It is written by Tim Mackrill. You might recognize the name. Mackrill is the expert that assisted the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre with information on setting up the fish table for Mrs G, Aran and their now deceased chicks at the beginning of June when Aran was injured. Beautiful colour drawings and photographs give the history of all of the Ospreys at Rutland Water. There is information on the use of satellite trackers and migration. It is a great book if you are a fan of the ospreys at Rutland – and who isn’t, right? There are maps of Rutland Water Nature Reserve, histories of the birds, as well as information by year going from 2003 to 2012. A real who’s who of the Rutland birds! A joy to read. Hardback. 2015. 160 pages.

For older children (and adults like me), I highly recommend Belle’s Journey. An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard. Written in 2018, it is a beautifully illustrated book telling the intimate story of Belle. Belle hatched on Martha’s Vineyard. The book covers her migration to Brazil using real satellite tracking information. Easy to read but not childish. Extremely informative. There are 19 chapters – something to keep going as a bed time story for nearly three weeks. I would suggest getting a map if you do purchase the book or a globe so that you can follow Belle’s journey. 106 pages. Hardcover.

There are more books and I will mention them another time but there is one book I have in my hand to read in the next couple of days and another that I am waiting to purchase. There are many biographies about famous people but a biography about a bird? Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey celebrates Lady, the oldest osprey in Scotland. She laid eggs and raised chicks for more than two decades at The Loch of the Lowes where Laddie and NC0 have their two chicks this season. It is a remarkable little paperback that from the first few pages appears to be written with great love. General information about ospreys, conservation efforts, migration and its perils are interwoven with stories about Lady. As I understand it from people I have spoken to, Lady gave all those trying to reintroduce ospreys to the United Kingdom hope. 2011. 177 pages. Black and white.

The book that I am waiting to get my hands on is only available through the Dyfi Wildlife Centre. It is by Emyr Evans and is on the life of Monty, the male super star of the Ospreys that located themselves in Wales. It is called Monty and if you followed him and his mates this will be a book that you will want to order. I understand the shop will be back on line for orders in September.

Thank you so much for joining me. If you are looking for books on ospreys, one of these should help. I want to close with a picture of the morning of 15 June 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest – the home of White YW and Blue 35 and their three osplets. I am particularly interested in Tiny Wee Bob. He has been having some nice feeds lately but yesterday he decided to pick on Middle Sized Big Bob. It wasn’t such a good idea as you might image. He looks OK this morning. Fingers crossed he is one of the amazing third hatches that survives and goes on to do wonderful things.

You can hardly see his head but there it is in the middle of the image below. He is sort of in a strange state of his feather development. Hopefully any pulled out by the bigger siblings will return! You cannot see his body. He is between the bigger ones.

Here is Tiny Little Bob with his neck extended. You can see the Reptilian phase feathers coming and that great line of mascara extended from his eye to his neck.

Thank you to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust streaming cam where I grabbed the screen shot of the chicks at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Rain, rain, go away! Osprey moms need to dry off.

Ospreys do not shy away from water. Indeed, they embrace it whenever they are fishing for themselves or their families. The 12,000 or so feathers helps to keep them dry. But what about all those new mothers? They not only have to keep the wee ones dry but they also have to feed them – which means that the dads have to go out and fish.

Nessie is a first time Osprey mom. You can see the rain on her feathers as it pools. She is nice and dry but her nest at Loch of the Lowes is getting quite wet and damp.

Underneath her are two wee ones. One is not even 24 hours old but both are hoping for some fish and Laddie does not disappoint. Laddie comes in to check on Nessie and to see the babies – and he brings a fish!

The rains get heavier as the day progresses and Nessie hunkers down so those two Bobs do not get wet. She might have also noticed that there is a pip in the third egg. It shows up around 16:07.

Mrs G at the Glaslyn nest has had her second hatch and she is soaked to the core. The third hatch is expected Saturday. Aran was right there by her side today bringing a fish in when there was a wee bit of a break in the downpour to feed the two Bobs.

Mrs G is a very experienced mom – the opposite of Nessie who has just hatched her first two. Mrs G has had 46 hatch and 41 fledge making these two her 47th and 48th chicks to hatch. Wow! That would really help when the weather is so dire.

Telyn and Idris had their first hatch at the Dyfi Nest in Wales and they, too, are having issues with rain. Gosh, it is sort of raining on the Canadian prairies but, we sure could use a big downpour like Mrs G is having! Telyn is having much more wind than Mrs G. Wow!

Idris comes to the nest with a really fine fish for Telyn and little Bob. I am thinking Nessie wouldn’t mind a fish that size.

Idris stays to help Telyn with the little one while she is trying to feed it. It was blowing so hard little Bob could have been blown off that nest! What a cute little osplet – so strong! This kid has great DNA.

Oh, and no one is getting a break. At the Llyn Clywedog nest of Dylan and Seren, it is blowing and blowing with heavy rain. The nest is really exposed and Seren does not look impressed. Her first egg was laid on the 16th of April. Let’s all hope her little one can wait. Someone said she is getting a proper ‘Welsh rain’. Seren might be wishing she was back in The Gambia.

The winds, heavy rain, and the choppy water that is impacting all of the Welsh and Scottish nests also hit the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya at Rutland.

The Two Bobs are doing great. Look at the wee ones on the Loch of the Lowe nest and then look here. These two are entering their reptilian phase – just look at those feathers coming in! Oh, baby dinosaurs.

It is still raining on Iris at the Hellgate Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana. It is currently 6 degrees C dropping to 2 degrees C with drizzle – 35.6 degrees F. If anyone is wondering, the eggs are almost certainly not going to hatch.

Iris returned to her nest at 13:15:10. She aerated the nest a bit and might have rolled the eggs a bit but it was not clearly evident.

Iris settled down to incubate the eggs.

At 13:49:42, Iris flew over to her perch. She incubated the eggs a total of 34 minutes and 2 seconds. At this point in time, Iris is just going through the motions. As I said earlier, I don’t think there is any osprey expert in the world that thinks any of the eggs are viable.

That said, the eggs were destroyed by the Raven last year and this year, I have not seen it about. As long as the eggs are there, I don’t mind Iris coming to the nest – we get to see her then! Otherwise we would not and seriously, seeing Iris live her life (regardless of the circumstances) is a real joy.

Iris was really floofing trying to get the water off her feathers.

At 14:20:31, she flew off the perch! Aren’t those wings amazing? This is one beautiful osprey!

It truly isn’t easy for the Ospreys. The lochs are very choppy and it is difficult to fish. Keeping the babies warm and dry plus fed is a big challenge. A friend of mine in Scotland says it is like they skipped summer and fall and it is winter again. Clearly there could be snow in Montana, too. Oh, my. Let’s hope they get some sun and can dry out.

Thank you for joining me today. I have checked on our other nests. Tiny Tot has not fledged but has eaten well. He had a bit tug of war over a fish yesterday with sibling 2. It was fantastic to watch. Tiny lost but he didn’t. He waited til #2 had eaten about half the fish and then rushed at sibling 2 and she flew off. Tiny ate that fish and two others after before lunch! Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Legacy had a nice big fish this morning from Samson. Big Red and Arthur are keeping the Ks full and E17 and E18 were down at the pond playing in the water with Harriet. Everyone seems fine.

Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Llyn Clywedog Osprey Nest, Carnyx Wild Wildlife on the Web, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru National Resources, Dyfi Osprey Cam, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, and LRWT.

Late Wednesday Nest Hopping in Bird World

Blue 3J, fondly called Telyn, allowed Idris to incubate the three eggs this morning for a short time. As the first hatch is close, she will more and more take sole responsibility for those duties. It wasn’t clear if Idris wanted to get up this afternoon! Some of the dads really enjoy being on the nest. For me, these two are among the power couples of the Welsh Osprey.

There is, indeed, a tiny pip in one of their eggs which was seen at 15:31. In the egg near the top you can see ‘white’ instead of the rust or cream. Hatch is coming at Dyfi!

You can watch Idris and Telyn here:

Mrs G was a little tired after the second hatch and Aran had a nice fish on the nest which she used for a pillow!

Aran is a great dad and provider. Mrs G picked a good one. I love seeing both of them on the nest with the two little ones. It reminds me of Blue 33 (11) and Maya.

Just imagine. Those two little ones in the image above will be the size of Maya and Blue 33 (11)’s babies in a week!

Here is the link to Aran and Mrs G:

Maya is still being careful with the fish that are coming in but Little Bob doesn’t care, he just wants fish! He has scrambled out of the nest cup up to mom and is whispering “Fish, please”. Maya is listening carefully.

It wasn’t long until Dad had a nice big one on the nest for all three to enjoy. Little Bob got his ‘fish wish’.

You can watch Maya and Blue 33 (11) and the Two Bobs here:

Blue NC0 or Nessie has gotten the hang of feeding. I still have to giggle. She has decided that it is best if she sticks her entire beak into the little one’s mouth to make certain it gets the food.

That little one’s down looks like it would be super soft to the touch. Nessie has done a splendid job of keeping the wee one warm and dry with all the rain they are having up at Loch of the Lowes.

I observed Laddie bringing in three fish yesterday and there could have been more. NC0 is so funny. She is not so graceful on that wet nest and when she went to get the third fish her wing batted the little one. That didn’t hamper its appetite – it was right back up saying, “Fish, please!” You can see its tiny head sticking up amidst that beautiful rust coloured moss.

While we don’t see Laddie often, he is, in fact, perched on a tree to the left of the nest keeping guard on his family.

You can watch Laddie and Nessie and their wee ones here:

Darting across the pond, there are no food insecurity worries on The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island – commonly known as the Savannah Ospreys – anymore. The eldest was a bit of a beast the first week but wow, the crops of those two were bursting this morning.

That is the youngest one closest to the front. You can tell it because of its very dark chest feathers. These two have the most gorgeous plumage I have seen – there is peach bursting out everywhere!

Notice the oldest calling for another fish! It has a very nice crop. Wonder how much room is in there??????

You can watch Scarlett and Rhett and the two osplets here:

It looks like Diane and Tiny Tot are happy to have sibling 2 off the nest and back to their routine. Diane loves feeding Tiny Tot! —— and Tiny doesn’t mind either. He is strengthening his wings and hovering a bit more but Tiny doesn’t look like he is in a hurry to leave. I don’t blame him. Nature isn’t kind and it definitely isn’t Disneyland!

Pesky older sibling showed up later in the day getting another fish from Jack. Jack, Diane and Tiny need another fish! And he heard us. He brought in a really nice flounder and guess who claimed it? Tiny Tot!!!!!!!! Yippee. That’s Tiny with its wings up making the claim. Jack is in the front and there is sibling 2 who recently had a fish sneaking up the back.

You can connect with Jack, Diane, Tiny and elder sibling (2 probably) here:

Oh, those Ks are growing like bad weeds! K1 has discovered standing and is starting to figure out walking while K3 insisted on horking the leg of the Starling they had for late lunch.

Big Red kept trying to take that leg back but K3 was not going to give it up. Big Red watches as the little one gets the hang of horking. Horking has many meanings but with hawks it is getting an item of prey down whole (or almost whole) without chewing it. Is this a bit of a badge of honour for the youngest of the three?

You can see the little leg hanging out of K3’s beak. Big Red doesn’t know what to think.

K2 looks at K3 in disbelief as the last of the foot went down!

Little K3 is quite the character. It has seen K1 ‘walking’ – early stages – and it is even giving it a go. K3 held out its wings for balance and then started spinning and landed on its fat little bottom.

Kerplunk.

Big Red gathered up two Starlings and none of the Ks seemed interested in food. She looked over, saw the top of K3s head and started preening it. Oh, that must feel good. Maybe like getting a shampoo at the Salon! But, alas, it has been so long for so many of us maybe we have forgotten how nice that felt.

Big Red is one of the most beautiful Red-tail Hawks ever. Look at her gorgeous dark plumage! And that amazing red tail.

The link to Big Red, Arthur’s and the Ks camera is here:

There is absolutely no place like home if you are a juvenile eaglet and you fludged. Today, both of the eaglets were back on the nest at Duke Farms. What a relief.

I cannot promise how long they will be there but maybe they both won’t get on the same branch together any more! Be sure to look up if you go to this streaming cam. They are often on the branches like they are in the image below.

Here is the link to this nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey:

I will close with Iris. Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, laid her third egg at the Hellgate Nest in Missoula, Montana, at dawn this morning. It has been 9 days since she laid her second egg. Eggs are normally laid every 3 days. If you have followed me, Iris has sporadically incubated the eggs. Her hormones require her to lay them but she seems personally not interested. She knows if they are viable or not – or so the experts tell me. Iris raised many ospreys with her partner Stanley – at least, you might think, 30-40. She has done her part. She deserves to have a summer of fishing and taking care of herself. People continue to think that a new mate might appear for her but that will not happen unless something happens to Louis. And then you still have the problem of the other female, Starr, in the same territory. Iris might think we were foolish for feeling sad for her – but, we are human and we do. We want happy endings.

It is 6 degrees C in Missoula and it is raining. Snow and 1 degree C is predicted for Friday.

I have tried to ascertain how long eggs can maintain their protective coating if exposed to continual rain. How much rain is enough to ruin the eggs? Do you know? Message me.

Maybe Iris has her own message to Louis. I wonder. If she does, it is a pretty loud one this year. “I might have to lay those eggs but I don’t have to take care of them”. Do birds think like that?

Here is the link to the camera for Iris’s nest:

We are still hoping for rain on the Canadian Prairies. Fingers crossed. Today the Brown Thrasher, only one, has been in the garden thumping the ground, eating off the cranberry suet cylinder, and having a lot of bird baths. He was joined by a couple of really beautiful Purple Finches and a single male Black-capped Chickadee.

I hope you are finding some enjoyment in your garden or in the local park. Thank you so much for joining me as we check in on with our friends in Bird World.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, Byweyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, LRWT, Scottish Wildlife Loch of the Lowes, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project.

Lots happening in Bird World and it is just Tuesday!

My goodness. Monday and moving into Tuesday in the UK turned out to be a blur. Mrs G officially had her and Aran’s first hatch at Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales at 00.08 18 May. Mrs G, with her great experience – this is her 47th hatch – removed half of the shell. Good work, Mom. You can see the little Osprey to the left of the white egg – that sweet little stripe down its back.

There is Aran coming to check out how Mrs G and Q1 are doing in the early morning. Mrs G told him it won’t be long til Q2 is here – there is a big crack in that egg.

Little Q1 wanting some more fish. Oh, goodness. Not even 24 hours old and look how strong!

Here is the link to watch Aran and Mrs G with what will soon be the two Qs.

NC0 had her first hatch ever! The little one just needs mom to nudge that shell a bit. It has a really loud cheep that can be heard on the microphone under the nest cup.

And here is the little one getting its first feeding! So tiny.

No one gives the Ospreys a manual and it takes time to get to know how to feed a bobble head. I remember aching every time I saw Anna feeding Kisatchie at the Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. Now Kisatchie is ready to fledge – it all worked out. Nessie (Blue NC0) is trying hard to connect with the little one to feed it and Laddie (LM12) seems to understand he is to deliver fish. Fingers crossed. I am certain they will have the feeding all sorted quickly before number two arrives.

Here is the link if you would like to check out this nest.

White YW (male) and Blue 35 (female) celebrate the arrival of the first hatch of 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria.

There is a lot of excitement at the Poole Harbour Nest and ironically, I was just reading through Roy Dennis’s account of when they were first setting up the nests at the most opportune locations in Poole Harbour in his new book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding our skies, woods, and waterways. It is very interesting how they use Google Earth to help pick out the best places for the artificial nests.

CJ7 flew in with a fish and lo and behold, there is a male. It is Blue 022. They have been seen mating on the camera pole. Late eggs?

Another nice view of female CJ7 with her catch. Oh, the folks at Poole Harbour would be elated if there was a new pair at this nest! Blue 022 is a 2019 translocated Osprey.

The Cal Falcons need a name and the folks at UC Berkeley have narrowed down the field from 650 suggestions. If you would like to vote to name Annie and Grinnell’s vivacious boys, please go to the link below. There they provide information on the names submitted and then you just choose three. Why now join in the fun?

https://calfalcons.berkeley.edu/names/

Here is Grinnell giving the three their morning breakfast. They were fantastic for their dad, all lined up and being nice. Sometimes they run all over the place when Annie tries to feed them later in the day. Nice, healthy falcons!

You can catch the action here when they are inside:

And this is the link to the outside camera:

Oh, those babies of Big Red and Arthur’s get more adorable every day – even with their pin feathers starting to show. Glad to see Arthur snagged a chipmunk for the gang. Did you realize there is a shortage of chipmunks in 2021? It isn’t just Ithaca – across the state of New York. I also wonder about squirrels. Did Arthur wipe out the colonies of squirrels and chipmunks last year when he delivered 2x the normal amount of prey to the nest? It has to take many more Starlings – and I understand that hawks and falcons don’t particularly like Starlings. Wish for a chippie!

They are sure growing but immediately you can still tell which is K1, K2, or K3. Oh, the little wings and tails.

The little ones at The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah Ospreys) are doing great. It is easy to tell them apart. The youngest one has a very dark breast. That one struggled for awhile but the feeding has levelled out and both are fed well and growing. This morning the youngest decided to try walking for the first time! Wow. What a milestone! These two have beautiful peach in their plumage.

Checking in on Iris, she brought in an amazing catch yesterday at 12:45 pm. She could hardly pull it into the nest and then she decided to fly off with it to the pole.

Iris already had a pretty full crop when she caught this one. She has to be the envy of everyone there on the river in Missoula.

Iris is such a beauty. I wonder if she remembers how nice it was to have Stanley for a mate? someone to share these precious moments with? to help her with the eggs and the chicks? Those are, of course, human questions but, you can’t help but notice when a chick is born how quickly the female wants to show it to the male. Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, is much loved – by tens of thousands.

Iris is not tied to her eggs. Thank goodness. She spent the night on the perch and did not go down to the nest til 8:44 am and was gone by 9:06. She is taking care of herself this year knowing that a single parent cannot raise a family of Ospreys. It is very interesting to me. I would love to have a coffee with Iris and hear what she thinks about Louis! Can humans learn Osprey speak? Probably not. It remains a great unfortunate in the Osprey World that Louis has two nests and that he doesn’t have the energy of Monty to try and keep both thriving.

It won’t be long until Tiny Tot fledges. He is getting a lot of good height and is exercising those wings.

Tiny and Diane are waiting for a fish delivery. The pair enjoyed a late night delivery the other day from Jack and were eating well into the night. It is hot and windy in St Petersburg today, 30 degrees C. Fishing might not be that good.

Tiny has grown into a beautiful osprey. Such joy he has brought to everyone who cheered this little one being clever and wanting to live. It is one of those good news stories from 2021 for sure.

Legacy is still with us! Samson brought in two fish today for her – two at the same time! This is really amazing as there is a high rip tide warning for the coast between Jacksonville and Georgia.

Samson waits and protects Legacy while he eats.

We are so lucky to have this extra time with Legacy. He has not strayed since he was missing for three days. That must have been very scary. Samson is doing a great job feeding Legacy and keeping him on the nest.

Thank you so much for joining me today. We are once again on hatch watch at the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G. If I look at the other potential hatches in the UK, things are getting busy. It is difficult to keep up.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, UC Falcon Cam, Poole Harbour, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Bird Mothers of the Year

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.

Milda feeding her two little ones their last meal. 25 April 2021

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 is even wetter. 8 May 2021

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.

A soaked Big Red. 7 May 2021

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.

Tiny is really growing. Maybe he is a she? 7 May 2021

Diane is on the nest with Tiny. They are both waiting for an incoming fish.

Diane on the left and Tiny Tot on the right. Not so Tiny anymore!

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.

Diane loves to feed Tiny Tot even tho he can do it himself. 7 May 2021

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.

The sun sets on the St Petersburg Osprey Nest and all are full. 7 May 2021

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.

Eve feeding her two growing eaglets. 7 May 2021

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.

Iris

Iris is the oldest osprey in the world – the grand dame of all of them. In her lifetime it is estimated that she has fledged between 30 and 40 chicks but no one knows for sure. It is possibly way more. Iris is known around the world and her arrival on 7 April 2021 to her Hellsgate nest made print and television news. Social media announcements were full of joy and were sent internationally. This is a huge event. No one knows when Iris leaves Missoula, Montana in the late summer if she will return from her winter migration. In fact, no one knows where precisely she winters.

The Osprey Telemetry Studies plotting map indicates that the Ospreys in Montana winter from southern Texas to Central America. None of the birds go to South America. Dr Erick Greene of the University of Montana says that wherever Iris goes it must be great as she returns to Missoula very healthy.

It is a challenging journey. We are so pleased to be able to watch this amazing bird live her life. I just wish we could find her a fantastic mate. Even after travelling so far, she visits her nest and then goes and catches a whopper of a trout to eat. Can you imagine how great a mother she still could be?

Iris catches a whopper of a trout. 8 April 2021. Photo by E. Greene from Montana Ospreys FB Page.

Iris lands at her Hellsgate Nest in Missoula, Montana at 10:35:55 on 11 April with a nice fish for breakfast.

Landing with a nice big breakfast. 10:36 am. 11 April 2021

In the afternoon of 11 April, Iris is working on nest renovations.

Iris digging up the nest cup. 11 April 2021
Bringing in sticks and moving them about. 11 April 2021
Look at those strong legs Iris has. 11 April 2021
Iris having a break. Nice crop! 11 April 2021

Yesterday Louis came to visit while Iris was building her nest and they mated. I know that Louis and Iris are birds but Louis has a family over at the Baseball Park and it would be nice if Iris had a mate that would help her incubate, that would feed her, and that would make certain her chicks were well taken care of and fledged. Stanley was amazing. Her years with Louis have ended badly. Iris will probably not take a new mate if she still considers Louis her mate – and his other mate is Star. I think it is sad. We will never know if the oldest Osprey in the world can still lay fertile eggs and raise chicks. Last year she lost her egg to the Raven. Louis does not provide for her in terms of help – any help – and she has to leave her egg to go and feed herself. Quite honestly, I am disappointed. Will leave it at that. Iris deserves better.

There is a very good book on Iris and her mate Stanley and the studies at the University of Montana at Missoula. It shows Iris’s old nest, the erecting of the current nest, pictures of her chicks and a good discussion of the heavy metal studies being conducted due to the mining in the region. It is called The Call of the Osprey.

Thank you for dropping in. I know that the people who love Osprey love Iris. This is just a quick glimpse at what she has been up to since returning to her breeding site in Missoula, Montana.

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab for the streaming cam where I got my scaps and to Dr Erick Greene for posting the image of Iris and her first trout on the Montana Osprey FB Page.

Starting off to be a great day in Bird World

Looking out onto the garden in the morning is always a delight, even when it feels like rain or snow is coming. The sky is a white-grey. The trunks and branches of the trees are all manner of brown except for the Flame Willow which is the most striking orange-red. Our forecast is for three days of snow starting Monday. They are mostly wrong. Fingers crossed.

The Grackles are building their nest and the Starlings seem to have taken over the feeders while the Dark-eyed Junco are dancing around on the outdoor carpet finding any little seed they can. How many grains do they need to keep up their energetic activity?

“Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)” by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“European Starling” by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For the past four years, the European Starlings and the Dark-eyed Juncos arrive in the garden in early April. This year they came in mid-March. The Starlings are known to chase the sparrows away from the feeders but, in my yard, they seem to prefer to forage around on the ground. It is the Grackle family that causes the most mischief but I adore them. They always arrive around the end of March and did the same this year. Two years ago they fledged a single chick. The extended family arrived to cheer it on. It was the most amazing moment. I am going to get an outdoor camera! There were seventeen of them gathered. The fledgling and its family all left together. Last year Mr Crow raided the nest and ate the new fluffy chicks right after the Great Horned Owl threatened its nest. It is always a big saga during the summer. Things quiet down again in October when the visitors return to their winter vacation spots.

Speaking of migration, there is a lot of news. I have borrowed the image below from the Loch Arkaig FB page. I do hope they don’t mind. The credit goes to Hugh William Martin. The posting says it all. The much loved and long awaited male osprey who doesn’t hesitate to tandem feed with his mate, Aila, stole my heart last year for that single reason. He is an amazing dad and mate. Louis will fish day and night for his family and he will help Aila keep the kids sorted. No fears for JJ7 the third, the tercel, the smaller male named after Captain Sir Thomas Moore. You will remember Sir Tom, the war hero who, at nearly 100, pledged to walk 100 lengths of his garden to raise money for the National Health Service (NHS). His goal was 1000 GBP but his venture captured the hearts of people around the world and he made over 13 million GBP for the health services in Britain. Incredible. I hope that Captain’s (JJ7) life is as long and illustrious.

But for now we celebrate the arrival of Louis. There are more than 300 people at this moment watching an empty nest; Lewis is off on his roost or fishing. Hopefully, Aila will return shortly and we will be able to watch them again outfit their nest and get to raising a healthy happy family!

In other migration news, the book, A World on the Wing. The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds by Scott Widensaul arrived this morning in the mail. I cannot wait to grab some time and read it. Glancing I notice a lot of material on satellite transmitters.

The other day someone watching one of the nests that I check said they did not believe in banding or transmitters – the osprey are not endangered. I would argue, as they did at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania in the 20th century, that you need to know when you are entering a decline to find out why. That is one reason that you want numbers. How do you really know if there are too many? Hawk Mountain is on the migratory bird route from the Eastern parts of Canada and the US and they literally count the birds. A research project coming out of the University of Montana at Missoula with Dr Erick Greene has to do with migration and the understanding of the perils the birds face. Dr Green is also interested in the mercury levels in the local osprey as well as foraging and how a colony of ospreys can help one another find more food versus a solitary osprey. Some of the Montana birds are wintering in southern Mexico. At Port Lincoln, Solly, the 2020 first hatched female, was fitted with a satellite transmitter and ringed. She has already changed what we know about osprey movements away from their nest in that area where Osprey are highly endangered. Lots to learn about the long and arduous trips that all the migratory birds make – not just Ospreys! The bird books are stacking up but I do hope to get to read them shortly!

There have been a few chuckles up at the Loch of the Lowes Osprey nest since Laddie (LM12) inadvertently gave a fish to an intruder sitting on the nest and not to his mate NC0 yesterday. To put it mildly, don’t get a female Osprey upset!!! Everyone wondered if NC0 would forgive Laddie – she kicked him off the nest. Everything looked as if it was going fine this morning. NC0 returned to the nest cup. Everything appeared to be rather serene. Is she preparing to lay an egg?

But, as this soap opera continues, no more had everything appeared to be settled than the intruder arrived and Laddie flew in to assist. Didn’t someone say that there are eight Osprey males in Scotland needing mates?! or is it also this prime piece of real estate?

A female osprey has returned from her migration and has, for the past couple of days, been hanging around the Llyn Brenig nest in north Wales. It is the home to male Blue HR7 and female Blue 24. Please note the wind turbines. Some chicks have been killed in them. Spotters are hoping to identify the bird by her tag. She is being very mysterious and teasing us and not revealing anything, not even one number!

This morning I decided not to get up and check on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg- at least, not first thing. Some days my whole body seems to go on a food strike in support of Tiny. But I seem to have helpers these days -wonderful ones -and I was told right away that Tiny was eating after 10am. So coffee in hand, I decided to go back and check. I am happy to report that although he ate last, Tiny did get 88 bites (call me obsessive) between 7:46:22 and 7::52:27. Diane offered him the tail at the end and he mantled it. Great work Tiny Tot!

Here he is with fish flakes around his mouth at 7:50 having a private feed:

And here is Tiny mantling the fish tail that Diane gave him:

Tiny had a crop, in the image above, at 8:01. He dropped that crop prior to 9:30. Note: Dropping food from the crop sends it to the stomach. It is like a holding and processing tank. At 9:40:39 a second fish was delivered to the nest. At 10:04:20 Tiny is fed. There is a lot of skin but Diane is also finding flakes of fish. Tiny had 97 bites. Diane offered him the tail. At 10:16, Tiny had a crop again. In the scheme of things anyone watching would realize that the amount of food to fill Tiny is insignificant in the face of what the two older siblings eat.

Someone asked if Tiny would catch up in size. That is an interesting question. I have not gone through all my notes but it appears that from 12 March to now, Tiny missed seven (7) complete days of food. And we know that he has not eaten nearly the amount of fish as the others on the other days. A real reveal would be to compare meals and length of feeding times since we cannot weigh the food. Still, skin or not, I was glad that Tiny was rewarded by 97 bites on that second feeding. It is nearing 4pm on the nest. Hopefully two more fish will come in before dark – two more fish that are large enough for all.

Diane trying to provide shade on a hot 26 degree C day in St Pete’s.

The three siblings on the Achieva Osprey nest. From left to write 1, Tiny Tot, and 2. Everyone hopes that any intruders that may be in the area will leave so that Diane can go fishing, too. We wait and hope. It is all anyone can do.

I want to leave you some close up images of Iris, the world’s oldest osprey. She returned from her long migration to Missoula, Montana yesterday. It wasn’t long til she was over in the river and had caught herself a whopper. Apparently, Louis has been around for a visit today. Louis became Iris’s mate when her faithful companion Stanley died. Louis has been around for 4 years with no breeding success. He has another family so food and nest security are all left to Iris who also has to lay the eggs, incubate, and eat. Last year a raven stole her egg. Prior to Louia, Iris has raised, it is believed, anywhere from 30-40 chicks to fledge. All are hoping for a devoted partner. Hopefully she will kick Louis from the nest for good!

And a quick peak at the two Great Horned Owlets in the Bald Eagle nest in Kansas. They are growing and growing and Farmer Derek’s snake population on his farm is declining! If you can’t get mice, snake is an excellent second choice! It is hard to believe but these two will be branching soon. They look like little people with those big eyes all wrapped up for winter. Adorable.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me and the birds in ‘As the Nest Turns’. I hope you have a great end of the week wherever you are.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my images: Farmer Derek, Montana Osprey Project and Cornell Bird Labs, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Friends of Loch Arkaig, Scottish Wildlife Trust and People Play Lottery, Friends of Llyn Brenig, and the Achieva Credit Union. Also the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB Page.

Iris is home!

At 8:06:48 cheers rang out around the world. It was touch down for Iris, the oldest Osprey in the entire world! Believed to be 25 or more years old, according to Dr Ericke Green of the University of Montana.She is just landing from her winter migration. All the worrying about whether or not she survived another year is put to rest.

Welcome home, Iris!

Welcome home, Iris. 7 April 2021

Isn’t she a beauty? Imagine making that 4000 mile migration every year for 25 years successfully? And for those of you that have watched Iris, you know that she is a great fisher!

Iris’s nest, prior to this one, was on a hydro pole about 68 metres or 200 feet from this one. This artificial nest was built for Iris because of the high rate of electrocutions on power lines – all birds, not just Osprey. The power lines are high enough and have a clear view that they appear to be desirable. The new nest, erected in 2007, is all set up with a high resolution camera. Iris took to the new nest right away, thankfully.

Iris had a wonderful mate. His name was Stanley. Stanley did not return from migration in 2016. Unfortunately, she teamed up with Louis who also has a nest over at the baseball field with Star. Their relationship has been tragic for this fantastic Osprey mother who fledged no less than 30 chicks before meeting Louis.

Iris fully on her nest after landing. Gosh, she looks to be in good shape! 7 April 2021

Iris is already making renovations to her nest. Let us all send her positive energy for a new mate and a successful breeding season. She certainly does deserve it.

In terms of Osprey research, Iris can change all of the statistics if she mates, lays fertile eggs, and raises more successful chicks!

Welcome home, Iris! The world is watching and sending you the best wishes for a new mate and a very happy, full of fish breeding season and a successful fledge to your children!!!!!!

Oh, she must be tired and it must feel good to be home on your perch. Iris doesn’t have to go far to catch fish – the fork of the river is just 15 metres or 50 feet away.

Iris suns herself on her perch. 7 April 2021

You can watch Iris and hope with the rest of the Osprey world here:

Meanwhile, everyone continues to monitor the Loch Arkaig nest in Scotland for the arrival of Louis and Aila.

Here is the link to one of the finest Osprey nests on the planet because of these amazing parents:

Update on the Achieva Osprey Nest: Sadness returns at the Achieva Osprey nest. It is day 2 and 2pm nest time. Tiny Tot has had 2 or 3 bites of food. Diane, the mother, has not left the nest to fish due to an intruder. Raptors will generally protect their territory first. A small piece of fish came in this morning. Tiny Tot got under Diane’s legs and had a good spot. He got a couple of bites and then #1 – who is losing the dominant position – wanted under mum and got him out.

Tiny Tot under Diane hoping to grab more than 2 bites. 7 April 2021

Thank you for checking in today. And what a glorious day it is. Iris, it is so nice to see you. You are literally amazing.

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project, the Cornell Lab for Birds, Woodland Trust and People’s Play Lottery, and the Achieva Osprey nest for their streaming cameras. That is where I get my screen captures.

Life in Osprey World

Maya laid her third egg today on the Rutland Mantou Bay Nest. You might recall that her mate, Blue 33 (11) was the first to return from the migration to Africa followed in a few minutes by Maya. That was on the 19th of March. Their first egg was laid on 30 March with the second egg on 2 April. So far, Maya and Blue 33 (11) are the only monitored Osprey couple in the UK to have eggs in the nest.

Wow. You can see the full colour range of the Osprey eggs, from cream to red. 5 April 2021. Rutland Mantou Nest

You can watch Maya and Blue 33 (11) at their Rutland Mantou Nest here:

Blue 3J or Telyn and her mate Idris have been working to build up their nest. Telyn arrived on 26 March followed by Idris’s return on the 29th. It is the end of the day and Telyn is waiting for Idris to bring her a fish for her dinner.

I love looking at bird nests. My favourite is still that of Daisy Duck, the little Pacific Black Duck that made a nest on the White Bellied Sea Eagles nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. Oh, it was so beautiful with her down interwoven with the beautiful leaves from the nest.

Telyn and Idris’s nest is getting larger. Look at the colours of the lichen on the branches.

Here is another look at Telyn waiting for supper. Youcan also see how high the sides of the nest are getting.

If you want to check in on Telyn and Idris, here is the streaming cam:

Blue 5F – Seren – has been busy working on the nest that she shares with her mate, Dylan at the Hafren Forest, Clywedog Reserve in Wales. A lot of twigs have been brought in and she seems to be weaving them together with some local grass materials. Look at that amazing sunset that she has! Wow. She is waiting for her dinner delivery from Dylan and here it comes!

If you want to check in on Seren and Dylan, here is their streaming cam:

And if the wind tearing up their nest was not enough for Laddie and NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes, then the snow and blowing winds that arrived late today are surely to put a damper on any more nestorations for a bit. Gosh, it is like winter is happening all over again in Scotland!

If you want to check on Laddie and NC0, here is the streaming cam:

One of the most lonely Osprey nests is Hellsgate Canyon just outside Missoula, Montana. The nest is prime real estate despite it being located in a parking lot between Missoula College and the Riverside Health Centre. It is only 15 metres or 50 feet away from the Clark Fork River. It belongs to Iris, the ‘grand dame of the Ospreys’ according to Dr Green at the University of Montana at Missoula. In the image below, taken in 2018, you can see the distinctive band in Iris’s left pupil that identifies her. Iris is believed to be at least 23 years old if not older. Her original nest was on a pole down the highway. This platform nest in the image below was built in 2008. She had a wonderful mate named Stanley that did not return from winter migration in 2016. Louis arrived on the nest on 26 April 2016 and Iris accepted him immediately. Their eggs in 2016 were infertile, in 2018 their one chick got out from under Iris and died of hypothermia. In 2019, there were three chicks. L’el’e was born on 4 June and survived. The other two did not. The issue had to do with starvation. Louis was not bringing food to the nest. At the time it was thought that he was just inexperienced at fishing but it turns out he had two families.

Louis and Starr have arrived back in the area. We wait to see if Iris returns. If she does, I hope that she gets a fantastic new mate and she changes the research on how long Ospreys can lay fertile eggs! Iris was last seen at her nest on 8 September 2020 just before she migrated.

Here is the link to the streaming cam at Hellsgate. Fingers crossed. Maybe we can catch Iris arrival! I sure hope she survived the winter. Or maybe she decided to retire and stay in the warmer climates year round. She certainly deserves it. She has probably raised 30-40 chicks to fledge. Incredible. Iris, you are my hero! I have seen you protect your nest, bring in huge fish by yourself. You deserve a good retirement or a great mate.

And when I checked on Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest, he still had a crop from his morning’s feeding. It is nearly 3pm. Would be fantastic for him to get another good feed before bed. He needs to put all that food into growth. His energy and his cleverness have returned. Someone told me he is like Lazarus rising from the dead. Others stopped watching the streaming cam because they feared his demise. Tiny Tot is not out of the woods. The other two siblings are quite large, especially 2 which now seems to have taken over the dominant role on the nest. I am very hopeful if big fish continue to come into the nest on a regular basis, Tiny Tot will fledge!

Tiny is in front of Diane in the image below.

If you wish to follow Jack and Diane and the trio, here is the link to their streaming cam:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Fingers crossed as we await the arrival of Louis and Aila in Loch Arkaig ——– and the return of Iris. If she doesn’t return, I hope she is relaxing somewhere very nice!

I also want to thank all of the Osprey streaming cams that I have posted today. Their cameras provide the feed where I get my screen captures. Many of the cameras, such as Glaslyn with Aran and Mrs G, survive only on donations from viewers. If you are watching one of those cameras, think about chipping in a fiver. Every little bit helps. I have posted the links in the hope that more people will watch these amazing birds build their nests and raise their families.