Sunday in Bird World

17 July 2022

Good morning everyone. Yesterday was a very tough day in Bird World. So before I begin today I want us all to smile and I cannot think of anyone better than Ervie to do that —our favourite Osprey juvenile at Port Lincoln Australia. He was at the beach in Delamere today. The FB posting said it was cold and blustery. Here is our beautiful lad soaking his talons in the salt water and flying about.

Oh, Ervie what a darling you are. You are doing so well. We all wish we could sit on the beach with you and cool our talons, too. We all hope your talon is growing and that you are catching some fine fish. Your crop certainly doesn’t look empty!


There is much news coming out of SF about Molate. On the chat yesterday an individual identifying themselves as ‘Video Assistant’ remarked that they had gone over the footage of Molate’s fall and were able to determine that he hit the grid, there were a couple of jerks, and nothing. In other instances, others associated with GGA said that Molate took a couple of difficult breaths, became unstable losing his balance, and fell off the nest. This is one of the most recent posts by SF Ospreys and might answer questions:

GGA and SF Ospreys have tried very hard to keep everyone in the loop as best they can in this difficult situation. It is a difficult call – to leave the body of the raptor there without knowing what caused it to be ill – or to leave it and allow the family to go about their daily lives without the stress. Clearly, none of us wish to see Richmond, Rosie, or Brooks suffer any further. My condolences go out to this long standing Osprey family in SF and all those who love and care for these amazing birds on the Whirley Crane.

There was a fledge at the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G. Congratulations to Blue 497 is 52 days old and she took her very first flight at 08:11 Sunday the 17th of July. Back home on the nest safely on quite a breezy day in Wales.

At the Welsh osprey nest of Idris and Telyn, Pedran continues to take some glorious flights around the nest to show the others how wonderful it is off the nest. It looks there is another one on the perch but I cannot tell which one it is. This is a great view of the nest and the river…I wish that Dyfi would leave it like this!

The cam operator at the nest of Dory and Skiff on Hog Island in Maine gave us some lovely close ups of the chicks feather developments this afternoon. These three are doing great. No problems being reported.

Small fish continue to come to the Osoyoos nest. The temperature will drop from 34 to 30 today but we really need it to go much lower to get those nice sized fish to come up higher in the water. Dad has to do a lot of fishing to try and find even wee ones in this heat.

Does the lake at Osoyoos ever get stocked with fingerlings?

The male at the Canmore, Alberta Fortis Exshaw Osprey nest continues to catch some really nice sized fish. The trio and Mum had a good breakfast this morning!

The two osplets on the Janakkdan Osprey nest in Finland continue to perfect their self-feeding. Mum has been on the nest in the afternoon and she continues to appear to be improving (not a vet – so this is just my observation).

The second osplet wants some fish but the older one is not giving that nice fish up just yet and is telling the other one clearly to wait its turn! No worries. There will be fish left! But will he share?

Only Bob on the Finnish #1 nest had a really nice meal. Look at that crop!

It looks like Tom and Audrey’s only chick will be the Only Bob on the Chesapeake Bay Osprey nest this year. S/he is 9 days old today and the Conservancy has declared the remaining egg nonviable. Just think…no one to have to share the fish with other than Mum. Sweet Osprey dreams little one.

Remember how loud Grinnell Jr was during the banding? He still is – bet you could hear him across the campus at UC-Berkeley!

Speaking of the University of California Campus at Berkeley. ‘B’ wrote me a note to say that one year Annie and Grinnell’s fledgling had gotten trapped between the glass railings on one of the buildings. UC-B learned a lesson and has a grounds maintenance person hang ribbons on all the balconies of a nearby building to prevent bird strikes. They did only the buildings that would probable sites for bird strike. How wonderful. Thanks, ‘B’. This would be a great solution for Cornell.

Yesterday, Ferris Akel held his normal Saturday birding tour of the area around Ithaca – Wildlife Drive, Sapsucker Lake, ending up on the Cornell Campus. He was able to find all four – Big Red, Arthur, L2 and L4. One of the highlights of yesterday’s tour was getting to see one of the fledglings soaring. I did a short video clip. There are trees that get in the way but the juvenile does come out and soars again. Big Red had also been soaring in the thermals showing the eyases how it is done. It is beautiful to see them flying free, high in the sky.

The Kakapo Recovery team is very happy. After a drop in the number of the flightless parrots, they announced yesterday that the current number of Kakapo is at 216. Amazing. It can all be attributed to the hard working team that does wellness checks, changes batteries in the transmitters, and knows these birds as if they were their own children. Congratulations everyone.

The Kakapo love to hide and the only way to find them is to attack GPS transmitters!

Katy Rossiter has produced a compelling podcast on the Kakapo. If you would like to learn more, have a listen:

Thank you for joining me today. There will be more fledges in the UK. Dorcha has yet to get the blood off her feathers but she appears to be doing OK. Telyn had an injury, too, and she is OK. Let us hope that each of our birds stays safe today. Looking forward to a good report on Little Bit 17 shortly and more information on Victor. Thank you so much for your letters and comments. It is much appreciated. Everyone wants the best for the birds – at the end of the day that is the underlying cord that connects us all. I hope that each of you has a very wonderful Sunday wherever you are. Take care. See you soon.

Thanks to the following for their videos, their postings, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Kakapo Recovery Group, Ferris Akel Tours, Cal Falcons, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, and Audubon, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Chesapeake Conservancy, Finnish Osprey Foundation, Fortis Exshaw, Osoyoos Ospreys, Dyfi Osprey Project, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

For Molate, L1, and others…ways to make their lives mean something

16 July 2022

The very moment that ‘B’ wrote to tell me about Molate, I had just learned how L1 had been killed at Cornell. Each of their lives – Molate and L1 – are examples of how we need to improve our relationship with our beloved feather friends. Their lives should mean something. I want to also include Little Bit ND17 as well.

Molate fell out of the Whirley Crane nest, Richmond Shipping Yards, San Francisco at 13:46 on the 16th of July 2022 and died immediately.
Little Bit ND17 fell out of the nest at the County Park, South Bend, Indiana. Little Bit is currently in care at Humane Indiana Wildlife, Valpo, Indiana.
Victor fell out of his nest at Fraser Point, Channel Islands. Victor is currently in care at the Ojai Raptor Centre in Ojai, California.

There were several emergencies with birds on streaming cams last year. One of the most pressing was the osplet falling off the Patuxent River Park nest. Everyone watching could hear the splash as it hit the water. Those persons went into panic mode. Who do they call? The Patuxent River Park has an office and a phone line that is operational during normal business hours. This was after hours. They had an answering machine. Messages were left but viewers had no way to know if anyone knew about the osplet and time was of the essence. Many called USFWS – including myself in Canada and my friend ‘S’ in Hawaii. USFWS did nothing. The young man knew what had happened. He had over 30 calls he said. What saved the osplet was a Patuxent River Park employee who checked the messages, rushed with her partner back to the park with her canoe, and rescued the osplet. It was fantastic. She said that the osplet was lucky because the tide had not started coming in yet.

The situation: A bird on a streaming cam falls out of the nest. There is no phone number under the streaming cam image to call. It is the weekend. The need for help is immediate.

The solution: Every organization that has a streaming cam needs to post an emergency number for the day time and for after hours. They need to have someone answering those phones. To keep from receiving 350 or 500 phone calls, they could then record a message to callers that says they are aware of the situation and they are organizing help. It really is that simple!

If you are part of an organization that has a streaming cam or you know someone who is, discuss this with them. In the end it helps everyone. The wildlife gets help much faster which could save its life and viewers do not get so stressed and there is a feeling of good will towards those who operate/sponsor the cameras of the birds.

‘B’ has told me of an app for phones that you can get that will also get you to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation clinic. It is called WildHelp. Please check it out.

L1 hit a glass breezeway between windows on the Cornell Campus on the 14 July 2022. She died immediately.

Each individual reading my blog is aware that birds fly into windows. We know various ways to try and protect birds from flying into the windows of our homes. We put up decals, stripes, fancy streamers. As consumers we can now purchase bird strike proof window film or even windows. My sunroom has birdstrike proof windows. What about the buildings in our cities? Some have created laws that new buildings must have birdstrike proof windows. That is fantastic.

L1 was the first chick to hatch this season for Big Red and Arthur at Cornell University. Cornell has had a streaming cam since 2012 so that we can enjoy Big Red and her family. Since the time that Big Red has been at Cornell, she has only not fledged one chick, K2, last year. She had a beak problem that could not be resolved. Big Red and her two mates, Ezra and Arthur, have taken great care and fledged healthy robust hawks. I could go back and dig and find my book to pull out all the data but, in 2020 and again this year, two of those fledglings have been killed by window strike on the Cornell Campus. K1 flew into the Weil Building. Today I learned that L1 flew into a high glass breezeway that connects two buildings at Cornell. Prior to this one flew into a glass bus stop that I remember. My point is this. These are human caused deaths. There is a solution. Cornell is a leader in the study of birds. They should be a leader in creating a safe environment for those birds. In the past, local citizens have taken it upon themselves to create safe bus stops so that no eyas flies into one again. So what about the buildings in the areas where the young hawks fly? The birders on the ground at Cornell know which windows are the most likely and they could be very valuable in finding ways to end the deaths by window strike.

In this instance, every institution where there are birds on streaming cams should endeavour to make their environment as safe as they can by installing bird friendly glass or putting coatings on the windows in areas where they know that the birds will be flying.

The last focuses on the situation with Little Bit ND17 who also fell out of a nest. In some ways, Little Bit, Victor, and Molate’s lives should drive a change in procedure. It is also interesting that in some ways this also ties in with the rescue intervention at Patuxent River Park.

The situation: A raptor falls out of the nest. They do not fly away to a safe place but, rather, they are under the nest.

The solution: There should be no wait time to get authorization to retrieve the raptor. They should be taken immediately to the closest wildlife rehabber for a thorough check. If there is nothing wrong, they should be returned to the nest immediately. The parents will accept them. We have seen parents accept the return of their chicks. Perhaps the most memorable, were the two eaglets E17 and E18 at the Southwest Florida eagle nest on the grounds of the Pritchett family. There should be no hesitation. Little Bit ND17 was near death from starvation when he was finally rescued. Make it standard protocol. Chick falls out of nest, the nearest wildlife rehabber is called to come and pick them up immediately. No hesitation. Have emergency permission at hand. Surely there is a way to do this after hours or at the weekends. Or there needs to be. I do recall Dr Sharpe saying with Victor that he had to get permission and it was difficult on the weekend. But, there should be a defined way to do this when the situation is urgent.

This has clearly been a year when so many raptors have fallen out of nests as well as others such as Jan and Janika’s smallest storkling. It does not take a long fall for them to fatally injure themselves. We saw it at Osoyoos. We have seen chicks pulled off the nest by nesting material – one dying and the other surviving – because of the quick action of passers getting them to care, one might live. The other died immediately.

I am pleading…this letter sounds that way because I am. I have gone from being furious – I could hardly write the update on Molate – to just being darn discouraged. Every summer there is the repeat for the need for emergency numbers. People are afraid that they will receive 1000s of calls about minor things from watchers. Someone could even sit screening the calls but there has to be a system to reach people in authority. They do not watch the cameras 24/7 and unless there are graduate students, it is only the viewing public who love the birds that do. Indeed, so many who watch bird cams are the first to notice that something is amiss with a bird.

Again, take the opportunity to talk to the companies and people who are sponsoring streaming bird cams if you know them. Have a real conversation about the life of the birds and how they can improve those lives and how they can help the birds when there is an immediate need. You have probably already thought of other ways that contacts could work – raise those. Thank you.