Late news in Bird World

Around the beginning of May, people in Manitoba get ‘itchy’ to get out in the garden. The garden centre catalogues have been sitting since December, the days are getting warmer, and that urge to get out and plant starts taking over our thoughts. Today was a quick trip to a garden centre just outside of the city near the river. On the way there I was delighted by the hawks soaring. One Red Tailed Hawk (RTH) was being chased by a couple of crows while a Broad-winged Hawk was flying above the banks of the river. I did not stop and take photographs. By the time I would have pulled over they would have been gone. But, thank heavens, for a book that I got at Christmas. The RTH I recognized immediately but not the second raptor. That book is Hawks from Every Angle. How to Identify raptors in flight by Jerry Liguori. I wish the images were bigger but, other than that, it has been a great help in identification.

Speaking of identification, the two eaglets on the Minnesota DNR nest were banded on 4 May. I tried to catch a good image of their legs but those two are not giving one thing away!

Here is a close up of their young father, Harry. No, he isn’t dirty! He hasn’t completely ‘matured’ (someone might have to adjust that) as he is not believed to be five years old yet! Well, Harry, you are a great dad. You stepped up to the plate and incubated your babies, learned how to feed them, and brought in prey. It took you a bit to catch on – but, you did!

The cameras at the MN DNR Bald Eagle nest were turned off during the process of banding. They also did a health check and took blood samples. Soon we will know the genders of the two eaglets! Here is a video from 2015 at the same nest showing the process:

Many were very sad when California Condor’s Redwood Queen and Phoenix’s egg was deemed non-viable. Those two will try again next year. But congratulations go out to California Condors Condor 589 and Phoebe (569) known as the Pinnacle Power Couple. Their baby hatched on 12 April and is #1078. #1078 will need to survive for six months in the nest being fed by 589 and 569. #1078 will be learning to fly in mid-October. The couple have been together for five years and this is the third chick – hence the designation ‘power couple’. Most California Condors only breed every two years.

#1078 one week old. Phoebe is feeding the baby. Taken from video feed Pinnacles National Park Cam. 19 April 2021

Over in Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana, the oldest Osprey in the world, Iris, landed a whopper!

Just look at the size of that fish and the perfect form Iris has. I am impressed.

Iris got to enjoy some of that magnificent catch and then Louis must have heard about that great catch and thought she might share. In the end, he did steal part of that fish and took it to the pole to eat. Darn that Louis. Iris doesn’t fish for him! He is supposed to be taking care of her.

Gabby has been with Legacy all day at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville, Florida. It seems that Samson and Gabby are keeping a close eye on Legacy so she doesn’t get lost again! Well, was she lost? She sure might have been. She has stayed at the nest. It is another hot and very windy day but, if Samson continues his regular food drop, Legacy will have some dinner around 5:30 nest time.

Legacy is sure watching for Samson to appear with her dinner! It is nearing 5pm nest time. Good training for Legacy once she gets the confidence to fly about more.

Arthur has made several prey drops trying to encourage Big Red to let him incubate the Ks but Big Red is steadfast. It is raining and she still doesn’t trust Arthur enough to let him take over when the rain is pitching down! K1 and K2 got a quick feed. Meanwhile, K3 is hatching. The progress is unclear – cannot see the egg!

It’s dinner time at the Achieva Osprey nest and Diane brought in a catfish for #2 and Tiny Tot. It has not been that long since Tiny polished off an entire fish so he is not rushing to get in line. In addition, Tiny might have figured out that the best meat on the catfish comes a little later. Mom has to fight with the head to get it all open. Diane doesn’t like a flake of fish to be wasted! No doubt. She is a good fisher, like Iris, and takes great care of her kids.

Oh, Tiny Tot is so smart. See. He waited. If you look carefully there is really good fish left – nice big chunks of flaky catfish! Sometimes it is good to not rush. Diane is happy to feed that back half of that fish to Tiny and have some bites herself. So Tiny had at least one entire fish to itself and half of another big catfish. He’s set for the night!

There were alarms in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. Eerik stayed on the White-tailed Eagle nest tree with Eve in order to protect the family. If he wasn’t on the nest, he was on a close branch in case there was an intruder.

Oh, everyone is eating!!!!!!

It is Happy Hatch Day for Izzi, the Peregrine falcon eyass of Xavier and Diamond. Their scrape box is on the water tower on the grounds of the Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Izzi has not left home. Will Izzi ever leave home? Many are probably asking the same question. For me, it is a joy to see him grow into a healthy capable falcon!

@ Charles Sturt University Orange Australia. 5 May 2021

And it wouldn’t be fair to check on Izzi and not on the trio at the UC Berkeley Campus. Oh, my how they have changed from the marshmallows last week with the pink beaks and legs. So imagine these three growing up and looking like Izzi in a few months. They will, I promise. They are already charging Annie and Grinnell and trying to self feed. Oh, they are adorable!

It is Day 36 for Maya and Blue 33 (11)’s first egg. Eggs have been rolled and Maya has been enjoying the nice weather. That one egg looks terribly suspicious but no word of a pip or a hatch yet!

Thanks everyone for joining me. I hope where ever you are that your Wednesday has been a good one. Take care. See you soon in Bird World.

Remember: 8 May is Bird Count Day. Get all the information on how you can participate here:

https://ebird.org/news/global-big-day-8-may-2021

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, UC Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, Eagle Club of Estonia, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cornell Bird Lab RTH Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, MN DNR, Ventana Wildlife, and Pinnacle Wildlife.

As the Nest Turns is spinning faster!

Big Red left the Fernow Lightbox Nest with the 2Ks at 14:10:46. She returned at 14:24:14. The temperature in Ithaca was 25 degrees C and the 2 Ks were fine. They got some much needed warmth from the sun.

Oh, gosh, aren’t they the cutest with those tiny little wings and fat little bottoms!

Oh, look at K1 looking up to its Mom. How sweet. And look what Big Red has in her talons!!!!! Looks like rabbit is in the pot for dinner.

Often Arthur will hunt – his job is provide the food for the family, security for the territory, and support for Big Red – and leave prey at a drop off for Big Red to pick up and take to the nest. Sometimes Big Red hunts herself. We will never know who caught the bunny but there it is – it will become hawk. I sound like a broken record but these kids will never be short of food – never. And if they are there will have had to have been a major catastrophe in the area.

The vandalism at the Llyn Brenig Osprey nest caught the attention of one of the BBC morning programmes. On Saturday night the platform was approached by boat and cut down with a chainsaw. A tragedy. On that nest was the female and her egg. Alternative arrangements have been made for the Ospreys which Wales Water hopes they will take advantage of – one is a new platform close by and another is a replacement platform where their original one was.

Here is that broadcast:

As gleeful as I am to see Big Red and her very trusted mate, Arthur, enjoying their beautiful babies, I am equally joyful to see ‘no’ eggs on the nest of Iris at the Hellgate Osprey Nest. Her mate, Louis, has two nests. Historically he has not been the best provider for Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world. There has been nothing short of heart ache for Iris since her mate, Stanley, died. I am glad there are no eggs. Iris will not take another mate because she is bonded to this nest in Louis’s territory. Another male will not come and take over unless he takes out Louis – and then what about Starr and her osplets? It is very complicated. Raising chicks takes a toll on both of the parents.

Over in the United Kingdom, Maya and Blue 33 (11) woke up to a soggy morning. Blue 33 (11) loves sleeping and cuddling next to his mate. Their devotion to one another is refreshing when I think about what Iris’s life could be and isn’t.

As the day progressed, the sun came up and Maya dried out. It is day 35 for that first egg that Maya laid. You might remember that her and Blue 33 (11) were the first couple to return from their winter migration to Africa on 19 March. The normal incubation period for Ospreys is 35-42 days. We are now on hatch watch for this lovely couple!

If you would like to catch out the action, here is the link to their camera at Rutland Mantou:

I often get frustrated with prey delivery to the nests. The birds cannot, of course, go to a store and buy a bunny or a fish. They have to hunt and fish for their food. It was a lot easier for the birds to do this before we took over their land or killed it with pesticides and herbicides. Boating and fishing leave their mark on the health and well-being of the birds as well.

Here is a video of Richmond, the mate of Rosie, at the San Francisco Osprey Nest on the Whirley Crane. It is a 6 minute clip of him going out to fish. Richmond is a bit like Arthur – he is an incredible provider.

If you would rather not look at the video, I can show you that Richmond was successful but it was the legion of trips that he had to do across the water that is so impressive.

It is evening in the United Kingdom and any snow that was on the Welsh Osprey nests yesterday is now gone.

Mrs G is on her nest at Glaslyn as the sun is setting and all is fine.

Telyn is on her nest and all is well. She apparently called out to a train when it went by! No hatch alerts for either of these two nests. More than a week to go at either one (or a little more).

And the last for today, the White Tail Eagle nest in Estonia of Eve and Eerik. Eerik is another great dad – he is working on keeping the pantry full enough. Those two little ones are really growing. Everything is positively fine on this nest. The little ones sit up and eat and there is no mischief!

Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you tomorrow. Have a great evening! It is a wonderful day to work in the garden. I noticed there is now green on the rose bushes and the peony shoots are about 10 cm high. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, LRWT Osprey Project with Rutland Water and Rutland Wildlife Trust and, Bay Ospreys by Golden Gate Audubon.

Fish Deliveries! and Nest Hopping

You need to sit down for this. Seriously, you do. Louis brought Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, a fish! This is such a big deal that I almost didn’t believe it when I saw him land on Iris’s nest, fish held tight in his talons, on Monday 26th of April. It was 10:04.

Incoming. Could Iris believe her beautiful eyes? 26 April 2021
Iris is happy to accept Louis’s fish. 26 April 2021

Iris will enjoy the fish. Of course, we all know that Iris can catch her own fish – she is a pro. It is the simple act of doing something nice for her. You see, Louis has two nests. This is Iris’s nest. If she had a ‘solid, full time mate’ they would help her restore the nest each year. The nest was in a particular state this year. Last year Iris’s egg got eaten by a Raven and then a squirrel dared to climb up. Iris practically tore her nest apart getting rid of that critter. Iris has been diligent, working hard to get the rails built up and a fine moss cushion on the top. The nest that Louis shares with Starr is at the baseball park. Both nests are in Louis’s territory. He is in charge of protecting the area from intruders, especially Bald Eagles who also hunt for fish. Because Iris’s nest is in Louis’s territory, it also means that she will never have another mate – for the simple reason that it is Louis’s territory. That is the long and short of it. Louis does not help Iris in the way that a normal mate would – he won’t help with the nest, incubate the eggs if any are laid, protect the eggs, relieve Iris, or bring food to her and the chicks. Iris is, in reality, a single parent with all the problems we have seen the females have that are alone. Daisy the Duck had her eggs eaten by the Crows. Milda starved and had to leave, her chicks dying from hypothermia. The list could go on but it takes two active parents to be successful. Louis helps Starr and normally brings her the fish. Apparently Louis brought Iris a fish last year – I missed that. And, for whatever reason, he took it back! This year he didn’t. Maybe he is growing up.

Iris is a beauty. She returns every year from her winter migration in top form. This year she arrived on 7 April. Louis has been over ‘visiting and mating’ since her arrival but so far, no eggs have been laid.

The issue at this nest is very similar to that faced by Milda. The female needs a good mate who will provide her fish while she incubates the eggs and who will bring loads of fish for her and the hatchlings. She cannot leave the eggs or the chicks unattended. Louis has failed to provide food for Iris and the chicks. Because of that, there has been only one chick fledge since they bonded. That was in 2018.

Many would like to see Iris raise a clutch of osplets. She is, after all, the grand dame of Ospreys. Even I fell into that mindset but, I changed my mind. Iris has fledged 30 or 40 chicks into the world -with Stanley, one with Louis and perhaps other partners before Stanley. Iris has paid her dues to the Osprey DNA lineage. I would like to see her live healthy and happy for many more decades. Raising chicks is very hard on the female (and the male if he does his job). Iris needs to sit in the sun and enjoy her summer vacation in Montana.

Nature is very difficult to observe and it is even harder not to be impacted by it. As humans we might not ever understand the level of hunger Milda had or what it is like to see your child or chick starve in front of you. Iris has seen both. Perhaps while her body is telling her to breed, maybe nature will have another idea. We wait.

Iris is beautiful. 26 April 2021

Iris enjoying her fish as the sun sets.

Everything seems to be going well over at the Fort St Vrain Bald Eagle Nest in Colorado today. The little one is growing and getting bigger by the day. Here it is getting ready to have lunch. Blink and this baby will be totally covered in thick thermal down with lots of pin feathers!

I want some lunch Mom! 26 April 2021

Just take a close look at the image below. Just imagine that each and every one of the triplets has a crop like the one in the middle. Imagine a food coma so heavy that you simply fall flat on your face with your legs spread. Then look at the picture again. These are the Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eaglets.

Sometimes Mom or Dad still decides to do the feeding over at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle Nest. Wow. Can you tell Li’l from Big? I can’t.

Time for lunch. 26 April 2021

These two will be banded and fitted with satellite transmitters shortly. It is a great study to find out how far the eaglets migrate from the natal nest. We should also find out their gender!

Li’l seems to have caught up with Big. 26 April 2021

Over at the Minnesota DNR Bald Eagle nest, the two have been enjoying some gourmet meals – such as duck. Today, it is hard to tell what is on the menu. It doesn’t seem to matter. These two have really grown. More often than not, these kiddos have bulging crops, too. Harry is a great provider and Nancy and him have made a wonderful team.

Nancy is feeding the two little eaglets. OK. Not so little anymore! 26 April 2021

There have been lots of fish deliveries for Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle Nest near Kincaid Lake in Central Louisiana. The Alligator Gar has been there for a week or more…Bald Eagles don’t seem to like them!

Kisatchie really does not want that Alligator Gar! 26 April 2021

Anna still likes to feed her ‘baby’ as dad, Louis, looks on. You can see a few dandelions hanging on. Kistachie will be ready to fledge along with Bib and Li’l at Duke Farms – too soon.

Louis and Anna are with Kisatchie on the nest. 26 April 2021

Oh, the winds have been blowing in Kansas today. Tiger and Lily did get a food delivery. Right now Lily Rose is in the natal nest and Tiger is holding on tight up on a big branch near to the right of the camera.

Lily Rose is all alone in the natal nest. 26 April 2021

Can you find Tiger?

OK, where are you Tiger? 26 April 2021

Food has been on the nest at the Savannah Ospreys but it looks like the day they had the powerful rain and the osplets couldn’t eat caused the oldest one to be food insecure. This morning he was extremely aggressive to the youngest one. Here they are standing together. I worry about this nest as the food deliveries are not good.

Lunch time – and time for the little one to get some food! 26 April 2021
Peeking out. 26 April 2021

It is finally dark in St Petersburg, Florida and Jack deserves a break. Honestly, I don’t know what got in to him today. Did he find a stash of fish somewhere? Jack made SIX fish deliveries to that Achieva Osprey nest on Monday, 26 April. Incredible. The last one was at 7:30:48.

Here is that last delivery. Tiny Tot is right there cheering Dad on! Look at those nice legs on Tiny. He is really growing. It looks like he is wearing stilettos.

Tiny Tot didn’t get the last delivery of the day. But that’s OK.

Tiny Tot had one of his infamous beach ball crops. He looks so silly standing in the nest preening. You can only see his crop but not his head. And his legs look hilarious. Tiny Tot is not hungry.

Nearing the end of the fish, Diane and Tiny Tot seem to think they might just want a little taste. They move in on sibling #1. Tiny Tot steps right in front of sibling #2 and doesn’t even bat an eyelash. The kid is getting more confident every day.

At 8:25:14 Tiny gets his first bite and that is the end of the story. That fish is finished around 8:32. Sleep well everyone!

Monday morning at Achieva. The first fish comes in at 7:02:16. Tiny Tot looks for an opening and Mom Diane has the fish. Tiny gets fed for about fifteen minutes and then sibling #1 pulls the fish away from Diane gently. Later, Diane feeds #1 some of the fish and then feeds Tiny Tot at the end – in front of 2. It was a pleasant morning. Again, 2 is not so interested in the morning. Sibling 2 gets more food aggressive after 11am.

27 April 2021. The end of the first fish delivery and Tiny Tot is getting fed by Diane in front of 2.

It wasn’t a fish delivery but it was a delivery. The little marshmallows are growing up. No rivalry. Annie and Grinnell feed until there isn’t a beak open. No one pecks another one – they know that they will be fed. Oh, how I love falcons and hawks. It is so different. So reassuring.

Thank you so much for joining me today. There is certainly a lot going on in Bird World. Sometimes it is just too much to try and fit in a single blog. Some of the nests and these amazing birds deserve more attention than they are getting. Oh, for more hours in the day. Have you noticed how fast time passes since the pandemic started? Blink and another week has passed. Take care. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, X-cel Energy, MN DNR, Duke Farms, Farmer Derek, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, and UC Berkeley Falcon Cam.

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.