It’s a Pip for Port Lincoln …and is Iris still in Montana?

The poor mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge nest has certainly been stared at! Chatters want a stick moved and Dad seems to continue, on occasion, to bring in some more nest materials.

At 02:06, many were certain there was a bump. By 05:33:13 there was a definite pip. The bump expanding for three hours certainly seems logical.

You can see it here – the back egg! The first egg was laid on 3 August. I think it makes it 40 days on the dot – but don’t trust me, do your own math, please. It looks like there will be a little Osprey by morning tomorrow. Lovely. I hope the weather is good for mum and chick.

Thanks to the two ‘Ss’ for alerting me. It seems that Iris was enjoying a fish yesterday on her favourite tree at Mt Sentinel. You will read later in this newsletter that Ospreys prefer trees without branches. This one is certainly perfect. She can see all around her. Oh, the survival skills the Ospreys have developed over millions of years.

Oh, these birds are so smart. If the weather is bad, maybe they know it. Certainly they anticipate local weather and act accordingly!

Hurricane season officially lasts from 1 June to the end of November. Last year several of us worried about Tiny Tot and we became curious about the impact of hurricanes on the Ospreys and other birds.

This is an excellent document on the subject.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner talks about visiting Sanibel Island after Hurricane Charley hit the area in August of 2004. Santibel took a direct hit and it is home to many sea birds including lots of Ospreys. Some of you might have watched the Captiva Bald Eagle nest last year – Joe and Connie. That nest is on Santibel Island.

According to Gessner’s friend, Tim Gardner who lives on Santibel, the hurricane hit with 140 mph winds, a category 4. “The Ospreys, according to Tim, moved lower and lower in the trees, until they hunkered down near the ground in the brush.” “But no amount of hunkering could protect them.” Gardner revealed to Gessner that all of the nests were gone after the hurricane. Blown away. Gardner also added, “The remarkable thing was the birds’ resilience: those that had lived through the hurricane had come back to rebuild on the same spots”. He noted that the few trees that remained looked just like sticks pushed up out of the ground with no branches —– well, lo and behold, our Ospreys love trees without branches. Perfect. They can see all around them. As hurricane season continues for 2021, let us wish all the wildlife resilience and strength.

I have so enjoyed Gessner’s writing that I was able to find his first book at a used book shop. It is Return of the Osprey. A Season of Flight and Wonder. I hope that it is as informative as it is a good read. Certainly Soaring with Fidel fit that. I continue to return to that book. It is a delight.

After posting the article, “The Tears of the Albatross,” my friend, ‘L’ send me a link to this wonderful video, Albatross – A Love Story! It is excellent. Have a look. Thank you, ‘L’!

So many of you have sent me the most beautiful images of your the birds. Thank you! The care, love, and concern that each of you have for the wildlife visiting your gardens is so endearing. I wish we could spread that love and care like an aerosol.

Oh, the joy and laughter the birds and animals bring with their antics! This evening as the sun was setting, the three Blue Jays that visit my garden and two of the large grey squirrels had noticed the ears of dried corn that had been put in a bowl for them. My view was mostly blocked but oh, you could see the crest of the Blue Jay pop up and down and, on occasion, the cob would roll and you could see the Jays getting a kernel and eating it. One decided to have a bath. Of course, he will never use the bird bath. This fellow, the male, prefers the old gold water bowl.

I am also certain that he can hear when I take the cap off the lens since he absolutely refuses to pose! Seriously, he had been looking straight at me prior to this.

The Blue Jay couple are year round residents in the back garden. They always come out in the morning and late afternoon to almost sunset. They often arrive with a single juvenile every summer. To my amazement, they get along with the other regulars – the little Downy male woodpecker (and his juvenile in the summer), the lone Black-Capped chickadee, the three Grey Squirrels, Sharpie the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Hedwig the Rabbit, and ‘Little Red’, the Red Squirrel. OK. Red and the Grays dislike each other completely.

These characters that give us so many giggles are really a part of the family. It is always comforting, at the end of the day, to check off that each has been seen.

The link to the Port Lincoln Osprey cam is here:

My newsletter will be late tomorrow, very late. I am hopping to get a glimpse of some birds during the day if the weather cooperates. On the list are Sandhill Cranes. In fact, it might not arrive until Tuesday late morning so don’t worry.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check on our friends in Bird World. No doubt everything will happen at once – the chick at PLO will hatch the moment that Tiaki fledges and Iris arrives at her nest! The birds certainly keep us on our toes. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my images: Montana Osprey Project and Cornell Bird Lab, Sharon Leigh Miles from the Montana Osprey Project who allows me to use images from their FB Page she posts, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Osprey Migration

Dr Tim Mackrill, the Osprey specialist that worked with Glaslyn on how to set up the fish table for Aran and Mrs G this past late spring and early summer when Aran injured his wing, gave a wonderful Webinar on Osprey migration. He has taped the entire talk and you can watch it on YouTube. It is free – and worth every minute. You can, of course, start and stop the presentation as needed. Here is that link to everything you wanted to learn about Osprey migration and more!

The wait continues for the female adult at Port Lincoln’s first hatch. Any time! It’s 12 August in Australia and that was the day I guessed on the FB page. Come on hatch!!!!!!

The nest at Port Lincoln is known for its siblicide. There will be no intervention of any kind – other than putting on the Darvic rings and maybe another satellite tracker this year (if they choose to do this). If you take the number of days different from the day egg 1 was laid and egg 3 and then add the number of days between when they hatched, you will get a real number that tells you the difference in age between 1 and 3 – sometimes ten days. Some of these little ones survive. Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss had extraordinary parents. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest was simply an extraordinary bird. Many aren’t. So please keep this in mind. Here is the link to the streaming cam.

There is news coming out of Loch Arkaig. Louis might still be at the lake along with one of the juveniles. Louis is very devoted to his chicks and he will wait til one of them leaves – for certain – before he does. Stay tuned. People will be checking this to make sure.

There has been no confirmation about Iris, the grand dame of all Ospreys, having left for her migration. The last certain sighting was by Sharon Leigh Miles on 6 September.

Put a bookmark on the Osprey migration video if you can’t watch it soon. On one of those rainy days when you are wanting something to watch, it is a great resource.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is believed to be the oldest Osprey in the world. She summers in Montana but no one knows where she stays for the winter.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab.

Iris, the Grand Dame of Ospreys

As the days of summer give way to thoughts of falling leaves and back to school, our beautiful Ospreys think of migration. Those in the United Kingdom have already already headed to the area around Poole Harbour to have a last good feed and sleep on land before heading south to Brittany and on to Africa. Those in the United States and Canada will take various routes. The male is still in Manitoba with one chick at the nest I watch.Some head to southern Texas and places in Mexico while those in the northeast fly over the cost, over the length of Cuba heading to South America. One of those leaving her summer breeding grounds in Missoula, Montana will be Iris.

Iris is not ringed. No one knows where she goes for the winter but, she turns up in tip top shape to her nest at Hellgate Canyon every spring.

Typically Iris spends more time at her nest before her departure. Last year she said goodbye on 8 September. Because of her age, many worry that she will not return. It is always an anxious wait until spring and she arrives again full of hope and hormones.

Sharon Leigh Miles shared this image of Iris taken on her favourite tree on Mt Sentinel on 6 September at 09:22.

She is there. Just squint.

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 more. Iris is known around the world. Her arrival on 7 April 2021 to her Hellsgate nest made print and television news. Dr Ericke Green of the University of Montana believes Iris is at least 25 years old, perhaps more.

In the image below, Iris just landing from her winter migration. All the worrying about whether or not she survived another winter is put to rest.

Welcome home, Iris. 7 April 2021
Landing with a nice big breakfast. 10:36 am. 11 April 2021

Iris’s nest, prior to the one she uses now, 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 mate, at the time was Stanley. Stanley did not return from migration in 2016. Her current mate, Louis, and her have had a very chequered relationship. Louis also has another nest with Star, his primary nest, near the baseball park. Iris and Louis fledged one chick, Le Le, in 2018.

Many of us are glad that Iris has been spending the summer of 2021 taking care of herself. Raising chicks is not an easy job – and everyone loves Iris and wants her to return year in and year out from her migration.

I have included some images taken at the nest this year.

Iris worked on building the best nest that she could. Every day she brought in more material. She eventually will lay three eggs – that we and she – seem to know are destined not to hatch. These were bittersweet moments for everyone.

She was fierce in her fishing and the protecting of her nest. Indeed, her and Louis protected the nest together several times. The video below is from 22 August.

Sharon Leigh Miles provided a chart of the departure dates for Iris for her migration. Today is 6 September so we are definitely in the range. These are the previous dates of her departure:

  • 2012: 6 September
  • 2013: 6 September
  • 2014: 11 September
  • 2015: 4 September
  • 2016: 8 September
  • 2017: 9 September
  • 2018: 10 September
  • 2019: ?
  • 2020: 8 September

There is no one on the Hellgate Canyon nest this morning. Everyone is hoping that Iris will make several long appearances on the nest before she departs. This has been her MOD in the past. Fingers crossed!

If you would like to periodically check on the nest, here is the link to the streaming cam:

The Montana Osprey Project has had one fundraiser – the Iris pens – this year. If you would like information on how to order one of these, send me an e-mail and I will provide the details. They are lovely. There are also plans to commemorate Iris by a woodblock print. As information comes through I will post it.

Keep Iris in your heart. Migration is challenging. We wish her a safe journey, good winds, lots of fish, and a safe return to Montana in the spring.

Thanks for joining me. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and their FB page. Thank you Sharon Leigh Miles for allowing me to use your images posted on the FB page.

Thursday in Bird World, 2 September

It is pretty quiet at the nests these days – that lull if you like between the Ospreys leaving for their migrations in Europe and the US, the Bald Eagles slowly returning to their breeding areas, and the falcons and Ospreys incubating eggs in Australia. The biggest news in Bird World is that Diamond laid her second egg at 20:55 September 2nd.

Xavier taking a turn incubating and rolling the eggs for a bit this morning. Gosh, those are big eggs!

The Osprey was officially adopted in 1994 as the is the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s ten provinces. Nova Scotia is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Fundy, the Northhumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Maine. It is one of Canada’s Atlantic or Maritime Provinces. At its widest, 128 km, it is easy to reach any body of water easily. It is said that Nova Scotia has more Ospreys than the United Kingdom in its entirety. Many live on McNab’s Island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour.

@Wikimedia Commons

The lighthouse was built in 1809. In 1852, Dr. Abraham Gesner was given control of the lighthouse. In December, Gester used a fuel that he had just discovered – kerosene – to operate the light.

“McNabs Island” by KellyMercer is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Maugher Beach Lighthouse (McNabs Island, Nova Scotia) – (Adventure of the Seas – August 1st, 2018)” by cseeman is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Wharf at McNabs Island” by wdrwilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
[[File:Osprey Bird.jpg|Osprey_Bird]]
[[File:Osprey on Sandy Hook (70318).jpg|Osprey_on_Sandy_Hook_(70318)]

Ironically, there were hardly any Ospreys in Nova Scotia two decades ago. The use of DDT had weakened the eggs to the point that the birds were virtually going extinct. Since 1979, the Osprey Management Program, operated jointly between Nova Scotia Power and the environmentalists at the Department of Lands and Forestry to relocate nests that are on top of live utility poles to safer unused poles nearby. Each year they partner with the Museum of Natural History to live stream an osprey nest. The Osprey are in Nova Scotia from April to September. At the end of the summer, when the juveniles are old enough, they leave for their winter grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

The first little video is from 2014. Seven years ago, when streaming cams were not so HD. Here is a typical Osprey family of five in Nova Scotia on top of one of the partnership nests.

Here is another short video of 2020 showing the improvement in cameras. It shows the hatch of the second chick at this nest on 9 June.

Speaking of Osprey, Sharon Leigh Miles took this image today of an Osprey at Mt Sentinel in Missoula, Montana. It is Iris’s favourite tree and it is presumed to be Iris, the grand dame of North American Ospreys. Hopefully she will visit her nest before she leaves. She is the oldest Osprey in the world.

In other news, White YW, the male at the Foulshaw Moss Nest, dad of our one and only Tiny Little, Blue 463, is still in Cumbria. He was photographed there today. White YW hatched at Bassenthwaite in 2008. Gosh, he is a great dad. One of the unsung heroes. Chris Wood has received word that the estuaries that the UK Ospreys travel to for their winter season are filling up with water. Wonderful! Yesterday, I saw Cormorants here in Manitoba and today a couple seem to have taken over Maya and Blue 33’s nest at Rutland (at least for part of the day). The two little sea eagles are getting along fine. Food remains plentiful and they are growing, flapping, and learning to walk. Those clown feet are really growing. Just look, with food, 28’s feet are getting huge. Wow.

I am attaching the progress map of the Ospreys and Black Storks:

Pikne, in orange, is really travelling well. She has gone straight south almost beating Karl II in royal blue. You can follow them, too. Here is the link:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. Stay well. Look for egg number 3 on 4 September down in Orange.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange, The Montana Osprey Project FB Page, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and BirdMap.

Iris and Louis defend nest

In my last post, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest was screaming at White YW (aka dad) for a fish. He could have flown to Wales and he would have still heard her.

What is that about the squeaky wheel always gets the oil first? Perhaps screaming daughters do, too. It is the last fish of the evening probably and Tiny Little is eating it. Blue 462, the other female on the nest, would like Tiny Little to share. Somehow I don’t think so ——- it was, after all, Blue 462 who was such a meanie to Tiny Little when she hatched. Birds have good memories.

These are the areas adjacent to Iris’s nest in Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. It is very beautiful. We always see the nest in the parking lot but just on the other side are trees, grass, and water.

Iris is the oldest living Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate in Missoula, Montana. After her mate Stanley died, she bonded with Louis. They had one chick survive, Lele, in 2018. Louis has another nest at the baseball park with Starr. They fledged two chicks this summer. When Stanley died, Louis also took over the territory that includes the two nests. Every year Iris returns, goes through the rituals of breeding, lays her eggs, and everything falls apart. People get upset. They think very little of Louis. I am of a divided mind. Right now I prefer Iris taking care of herself, eating well, and bulking up for migration than running around with a nest full of juvenile fledglings. She has done her bit for the DNA of the species. But that is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs, for sure. But the one solid thing that binds all of us together is our love for this most amazing of Ospreys.

Iris tends to spend more time at her nest before she leaves on migration. Last year she departed on 8 September. Everyone gets a little teary eyed right about now because there is no promise that Iris will return but, we live in hope that this strongest of female Ospreys graces the screens next spring. Along with that hope is that the rains come and there is plenty of food for all.

There have been a number of intruders, both male and female, this summer. Do they want to usurp Louis? take Iris for a mate? Certainly when Dunrovin’s Congo came on the scene everyone was hopeful! or are they just curious and checking out what nests are available? Perhaps all of those things. Today, Louis flew to the nest alarming and Iris flew in and joined him – showing off her big crop!

Erick Greene and his team in Montana are considering many ways in which to commemorate Iris. Stay tuned or check out the Montana Osprey FB page. If you wanted to order an Iris pen and forgot, if you will send me a note I will send you the details. They are gorgeous and made from those sticks she brought to the nest.

In the image below, Rosie, the female adult on the San Francisco Bay Osprey cam at the Richmond Yards, is bringing Poppy, one of two female hatches, a beautiful trout. Poppy is 110 days old today.

The average age for Richmond and Rosie’s female chicks to stop feeding at the nest is 105 days. The longest a female stayed was in 2018 and that was Kiskasit who was 124 days old. Lupine was last seen on Monday. She was 103 days old. Sage, the only male, was last seen on 28 July at the age of 86 days. The average for the males to stop feeding on this nest is 93 days so Sage left a little early. There is no reason to believe that Sage and Lupine have begun any type of migration. Richmond stays in the SF Bay area year round. Mom Rosie will migrate and the female adults normally leave before the fledglings. And whose to say they will migrate! If there is plenty of food and the weather is fine – well, it certainly agrees with Richmond – may be they will stay!

And, of course, just thinking about fledglings returning to the nest to be fed until they are 90-100 days old just makes me think about Malin. Susan, the wildlife rehabber that is over the area where Collins Marsh is located, was to get in touch me later today. She wrote me a long note yesterday and she is also firm in her knowledge that Malin was a forced fledge. As we have learned, normal fledges do not require our attention. The chicks return to the nest, take short flights, and are fed by the parents. Malin was not ready despite his age. He had suffered a lack of food. His forced fledge meant that he was in jeopardy and boots on the ground were needed immediately. This did not happen. As noted earlier, she found two chicks – one dead, one alive. I am hoping that ‘no news is good news’.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus and she found the two Ks. No sightings of Big Red and Arthur but, guess what? Getting to see K1 and K3 on the 22nd of August is a bonus. Here they are hunting. That is K1 on the top. She looks so much like Big Red and has turned out to be such a fantastic hunter. Suzanne said they were not food calling – just being quiet and hunting. These two seem so much more independent this year.

Ah, the little cutie, K3 looking down and hoping to find a chippie.

What a nice treat to get to see the Ks. And, of course, theirs could be a migration dilemma. Big Red and Arthur stay in the area year round. Perhaps with the changes in weather so will the Ks. If someone could put the average date that birds leave for migration this year against last and create a global directory (surely someone does this already), tracking of changes related to climate could be measured. We have seen Poppy stay longer as are many others and now perhaps the Ks.

Thank you for joining me today. I will let you know as soon as I hear about Malin – it is heartwarming to hear from so many around the world who came to love that little nestling. If you are in line with any of the storms hitting the coast of the US, going over Hawaii, or elsewhere, take care of yourselves. Stay safe.

UPDATE: Aug 23 at 17:35:35 No2 (7182) fledged at the Estonian nest of Jan and Janika. Slept as an adult off nest.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips: Montana Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon. I would also like to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning who allows me to download her images to share with you.

Uplifting stories in Bird World

A lady in Manitoba is trying to figure out if anyone has ever seen what is happening at her house. Keely calls it a ‘strange domestic situation’. The nest has 3 robin chicks. The couple taking are of them are a Robin and a Sparrow. Both of the birds sit on the nest, feed the chicks, clean up the nestlings pop sacs, as well as standing guard. The couple often sit next to one another on the telephone line. Keely finds it fascinating. Have you ever seen such an adoption?

The little sparrow’s head almost fits into the mouth of the Robin nestling when he comes to feed it.

The proud couple!

In Montana, there has been a second life given to an Osprey chick. Ospreys are known to be very good foster parents. The researchers at the Montana Osprey Project have been busy. They are trying something very complicated called cross-fostering.

Yesterday they found a second chick that was found tangled in baling twine at the Steinbrenner’s House. It was an only chick. If they removed it to care the parents might leave for their migration. At the same time, the original chick that was taken to care for baling twine entanglement was ready to go back to its nest. That chick’s name was Kona. But its older sibling had fledged and the parents weren’t at the nest much.

So Kona was put in the nest at the Steinbrenner’s house. The plan is to keep the parent’s busy taking care of Kona until their chick is out of rehab in a week or so. Then they will have two chicks to look after.

So how did it work? Kona was placed in the Steinbrenner nest and she begin flapping and wingersizing. At the same time, the person with the Montana Osprey Project put two trout in the nest with her.

Kona with her two gift trout in the Steinbrenner House nest. @ Montana Osprey FB Page

The female landed on the nest and there was no aggression spotted. The female took one of the trout and flew to eat it. Kona began eating the other trout. Meanwhile, the male arrived with a fish which, when seeing everyone eating, he took off to eat himself. The female went back to the nest and both her and Kona are eating on the fish. Another great intervention to help the birds. Smile. It is fantastic! The latest news is that all is well.

Those stories just make you feel really good!

Other Nest News. If you are needing to see some Bald Eagles, Harriet and M15 are back hanging out at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest on the Pritchett Property in Fort Myers. Samson was seen on the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and that streaming cam is up and running after its annual maintenance. The Collins Marsh Osprey is looking good.


The Achieva Osprey nest has had an adult visitor today. Rumours have it that it could be Jack, the female, just checking on his territory. Blue 463 otherwise known as Tiny Little Tot on the Foulshaw Moss Nest has become the dominant bird on the nest – wow. A mighty third hatch. She was there today waiting for a fish delivery and looking good.

Zenit continues to grow and stay close to the nest for prey deliveries. This Golden Eagle juvenile has really grown! The Asociata Wild Bucovina that sponsors this nest have received enough donations to have two cameras operating next season. Congratulations to them.

It has been a really uplifting day in Bird World. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Asociata Wild Bucovina, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, and the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest Cam. Thanks also to Keely on the Manitoba Birding & Photography FB Group for allowing us to share her story and to the Montana Osprey Project FB Page.

As the Nest Turns: Late Friday July 1 edition

It’s late on 1 July, Canada Day and by the time I finish writing this it will be 2 July. The week has been wrought with extreme heat and now a wildfire in British Columbia has left the citizens of Lytton with only 15 minutes to evacuate. My friends in the Kootenays tell me that this is just the beginning of a long, hot hard summer. Our thoughts go out to everything – non-humans and humans alike.

I had a question from a reader and I want to answer it here because everyone might be wondering, too. The question: Do female Ospreys always rely on the male Osprey to bring them fish even when they are not taking care of chicks or incubating? The answer is that it varies by female. Some female Ospreys do not fish at all and rely on their partner completely for their food and the food for the chicks. Those female Ospreys never fish. Some go fishing once their chicks are older. This past week we have seen NC0 on the Loch of the Lowes Nest go fishing. Indeed, in a short part of one day, she went out four times. She brought fish to the nest and ate them herself and fed some to the Bobs. Mrs G is known to be a formidable fisher. She is known for catching whoppers! Maybe she is in competition with Idris from the Dyfi Nest. Mrs G relies on Aran when she is incubating the eggs and brooding the chicks to supply the fish. Otherwise she likes fishing herself. Right now the couple are bonding after Aran’s injury and the traumatic death of their chicks, so she is enjoying Aran delivering some fish to her and likewise, he is happy that Mrs G is accepting his gift. That said, she caught a big one this afternoon and sure didn’t share it with Aran!

Mary Kerr did a short video clip of the historic moment when Aran delivered Mrs G the first fish after his injury:

As I write there is a severe thunderstorm warning for Missoula, Montana where Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world has her nest. They are expecting torrential rainfall, heavy winds in excess of 45 mph which is higher than what is forecast when Tropical Storm Elsa hits Florida. The system in Montana is moving NW at 10 mph.

I just checked and the skies are getting dark in Missoula and there is a little wind. Iris is not on her nest but she was there this morning. This is the scene at 21:33 at the nest:

This is Iris this morning. How many times can you say gorgeous?

Send positive thoughts out to everyone in the area of this system as well as our beloved Iris. There are many other Osprey nests in the area, too.

It is now 23:30 at the site of Iris’s nest and all is well. Let us hope it stays that way during the night.

Several days ago I announced the ringing of the three chicks on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of White YW and Blue 35. This is the nest of Tiny Little, Middle Bob, and Great Big Bob. Many did not believe that Tiny Little would survive but being clever and determined like Tiny Tot on the Achieva Credit Union nest in St Petersburg, Florida, Tiny Little did well. Of course, he won all of our hearts. As it happens, Tiny Little is now a very special chick in the history of Cumbrian Ospreys. Tiny Little got the honour of being the 100th chick ringed since 2001. Well done, Tiny Little!

There is their official portrait posted on the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust FB. Just look at the difference in size between Tiny Little and Great Big Bob. I would be afraid of that monstrous sister if I were Tiny Little. But, being clever, Tiny Little figured out how to manage rather well.

Blue 462 weighed 1.6 kg and is a female, Blue 463 weighed 1.5 kg, and the gender is unknown, and Tiny Little is Blue 464, the 100th chick ringed, andis a male weighing 1.6 kg.

@Cumbrian Wildlife Trust

The oldest chick, the male, on Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Nest fledged at 12:12pm today. Someone on site, later in the day, sent word out that 096 was sitting on the camera perch while Maya and the female, 095 were on the nest. Blue 33 had just brought in a nice fish.

By the time I went to check on them, 096 was on the nest and 095, the female, was flapping and hopping. Looks like she will fledge shortly!

I also checked in to see if Electra was on the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest and she wasn’t. The wind is picking up a bit and it is only 18 degrees C. So much cooler than the heat that killed her last chick.

Tiny Tot is sleeping up on the perch. There is a 40% chance of a thunderstorm in the St Petersburg, Florida area. However, other models showing the rain moving NE did not indicate any systems coming near Tiny’s nest. I never know whether to trust the weather maps or not. With all the technology they should be spot on but, sometimes they aren’t!

I took some images of Tiny Tot during the day thinking that it might be the last time to see her. I sincerely hope that is not the case. Indeed, I hope that she stays around like Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon son of Xavier and Diamond, in Australia. She could give Jack and Diane a hand. It wouldn’t be the first time a juvenile stayed home and helped.

Tiny is incredibly beautiful, even when she is mantling because of an intruder. There is an intenseness about her.

Tiny’s plumage is beginning to change slightly on her body. Look at the necklace that is getting darker. Remember the white ‘V’ on the head. She will always have that and the white making a heart along with the very symmetrical espresso lines from her gorgeous eyes going to the back of her head.

She is even lovely when she is squawking at intruders! Go Tiny! Let them have it.

Tiny will be really anxious for Jack to deliver a fish in the morning as she went to sleep without her regular evening dinner. She won’t starve. The raptors often go for a day or more without prey. Still, for all the efforts today – even with Jack coming to help with the intruder – Tiny needs her fish payment for doing security duty! Don’t you think?

Little Kindness is truly a sweetheart. Here she is sitting with Mom on the nest in Glacier Gardens late in the afternoon on 1 July. Just precious!

Kindness with her Mom, Liberty. 1 July 2021

There are several things that people look for when they try to determine the gender of a Bald Eaglet. One is the size of the feet and the second is how far the back of the mouth goes in relation to the back of the eye. The farther back that yellow line extends and the bigger the feet indicate a female. Kindness has very large feet. Just look at them! And that yellow line of her mouth goes far back. By this method, that would indicate that she is a girl. Of course, nothing but a DNA test or seeing an eagle lay an egg is 100%. I wonder if they plan to ring Kindness? Must ask! And I did ask and got an answer quickly. It appears there are no plans to ring little Kindness. I could give them ten good reasons to ring this eaglet. I wonder why ringing and keeping data on the birds is not as ingrained in North America like it is in the United Kingdom and Europe?

The three white storklets remain on their nest in Mlady Buky, Czechoslovakia. They are growing and growing and now are as large as Father Stork.

It is time to say goodnight to all of the birds and to you. But before I do, I want to leave you with a video that Lady Hawk posted today. It is the Golden Eaglet in the Bucovina, Romania Nest. The mother brought in the 6th roe deer today and the baby ate it all! That eaglet looks like it will explode. Enjoy!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest, LRWT and Monton Bay Ospreys, Rutland Water, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, and the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust. Thank you Lady Hawk for doing your videos!

Extreme heat threatens Ospreys

Yesterday, Lady Hawk and I talked about the extreme temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and how this would impact the birds. Our conclusion was that the changing climate around the world or fears that the climate would change is now upon us. When will water scarcity or stress and a warming planet begin impacting our beautiful birds? Is it happening now, right before our eyes?

“Dry creek bed, Quivira Refuge” by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Several weeks ago, a very old friend, living in southern British Columbia, wrote to me to say their creeks are drying up. That friend said that people can no longer find water when they tried drilling wells. At the same time, the forestry officials were telling people that this would be a very bad summer for wildfires.

All of this reminded me of a visit to Kelowna, BC in 2017. The person I was interviewing spent a lot of time talking to me about the lack of snow on the crest of the mountains and how this was getting worse year after year.

“Dry creek bed” by jmeissen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We will never know the number of birds or other animals that perished in the extreme heat yesterday. Sadly, one of the first known Osprey deaths -because of the extreme heat – came at the Cowlitz PUD Nest in Longview, Washington where the temperature was 44 degrees yesterday. One has to try and imagine two things: 44 is the typical temperature of the desert in the Middle East and secondly, that it is much hotter on a high pole nest than down below near the water. The sun beat down on Electra and her chick.

In the image below, Electra is desperately trying to keep her chick cool by shading it.

Electra knew that both of them would die if she did not get fish to the nest for their hydration. Clearly her partner, Wattsworth was not going to do this. She chose to go and fish and return. Sadly, the little one died of heart stroke while she was away.

The death of the last surviving little chick of Electra really tugged at the hearts of so many people as did the more than seven hours that Electra stood frozen in mourning. She just stood at the top of the nest looking out, never touching the fish, as if in a deep trance. So many people have written to say how they feel an utter loss for Electra.

Today, there is a very long posting on the Montana Osprey FB Page about creeks drying up in Montana or the water in the creeks being hot, not cool. I want to quote that posting here in its entirety:

“The next week is going to be a scorcher here in the western US and Canada. We are going to have temperatures in the triple digits all this week. To give you an idea of some of the consequences on the rivers, fish and ospreys, here are a few things in the local news. This morning’s headline in The Missoulian, our local newspaper, is “Rivers flow low early.” The water flowing in many Montana rivers is now just a fraction of what it had been in the past. For example, the Smith River, a very famous rafting and fishing river, is drying up. Typical flows for mid-June in the Smith River are normally about 500 cubic feet per second (cfs). It is now flowing at about 80 cfs. Boaters have been having to pull their boats over rocks, and hundreds of floating permits are being cancelled. Other major Montana rivers, such as the Madison, Jefferson, Big Hole, Shields and Clark Fork, are flowing with only about 10% of what they should have. Attached are photos of two nearby rivers, the St. Regis River (photo by Denley Loge, Billings Gazette) and Lolo Creek (Matt Gray, NBC Montana), that dried up. Although both these photos are from six years ago, they are representative of the problems facing many rivers throughout the west. The water temperatures of many of these rivers is very hot. What are the consequences of the low, hot river water on fish, and thus also the osprey? Stay tuned.”

“Dry creek bed” by Oregon Department of Agriculture is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What will happen to Iris? or the other Ospreys that live in Montana if the creeks are drying up? Will they be able to adapt by moving farther north where it is cooler and maybe there is more water? Clearly it is too hot for them to head south.

Even saying that reminds me of the human use of the Internet. Did you know that the big server farms have to be located in cold climates or they will overheat? What happens if we run out of cool places? how will the birds that we love so much adapt? or will they be able to? Perhaps the death of the Cowlitz chick will help each of us consider what we have to do to help the fish eaters – the Osprey – and, thus, help humans, too.

I could go on about the politics of water but, I won’t. For those interested in how politics and big investment impact water – which should be a right for all of us – I suggest reading Maude Barlow’s book, Blue Future. Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever.

Thank you for joining me. This feels like a really ‘heavy on the shoulders’ blog – and I guess it really is. I will be checking on all our favourite nests today and posting on them later today. But for now, I want to think more about how I can help these beautiful birds that we love survive.

Thank you to the Cowlitz PUD for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Credit for the feature image goes to “Dry creek bed” by jmeissen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Early Morning Check in on UK Ospreys

It’s about 4:20 in the morning up in Scotland and in Cumbria but already it is really light outside. The chicks – or should I say Big Bob – was eating a late meal at the Foulshaw Moss Nest around 22:30. At this time of year it stays light til about 11pm and the sun is already coming up around 3 or 3:30. That makes for really long beautiful summer days.

The water in the loch is as smooth as a mirror. There is that gorgeous pink tint on everything at dawn. Idyllic. Oh, to be able to smell the freshness of the air!

Laddie came in first thing with a bit of a teaser for breakfast for NC0. That one Bob looks like it is still bursting from the last meal late last night! Gracious. Bet he wishes mom wasn’t so loud every time she sees dad coming in with a fish!

In fact, neither one of the Bobs look too interested in that small fish.

I think NC0 ate most of it herself! Good for her. She has done an excellent job raising these Two Bobs. And so has Laddie. They have made a good team and this has been a wonderful nest to watch save for the first week or so when Little Bob was being shut out of the fish by Big Bob.

They are going to ring the Two Bobs at the Rutland Manton Bay nest in the next few days. There was some discussion over this ringing being too late so I asked some questions and Tiger Mozone answered every one of them for me. Thank you! Tiger Mozone explained to me that there is a tiny window for ringing. It should not be done after the chick is 45 days old and cannot be done if the weather is bad. Tiger said the youngest he had seen ringed was 25 days old but most are in the 30s. When I wondered if all osprey chicks were ringed in the UK, Tiger said only about 33% of them. Some cannot be ringed because the tree the nest is in is not save for someone to climb. And considering all the chicks I began to wonder how many banders you would need for all of them to be ringed. Tiger also said something very interesting. Roy Dennis actually puts the satellite transmitters on the chicks when they are on the nest at 42 days! Wow. You don’t want to scare them and cause an early fledge. Is Roy Dennis an Osprey Whisperer?

Perhaps they will clean the camera when they ring the chicks! One of the Bobs did a big PS and there has been no good rain to clean that off.

The Bobs are 41 days old today. Blue 33 brought in an early fish just like Laddie. The Two Bobs are self-feeding now. You can tell the one that doesn’t have the fish is watching and waiting for a chance.

Little Tiny Bob had a good feed early this morning but Great Big Bob was in a bit of a mood at the last feeding around 22:30. Both Tiny Little Bob and Medium Bob kept their heads down while he ate. Both of them tried to raise them up and Great Big Bob just gave them both ‘the look’ and they tucked their heads down and kept still. He is a bit of a brute that one – or, more likely, she is a bit of a brute!

Speaking of brutes reminds me. I have an interest in all third hatches that were abused by their bigger siblings and survived. I am curious to find out which of that clutch survived – which is why banding or satellite trackers or both is very important. Tiny Tot is one of those third hatches. Z1 was one of those and he is now in his second season of raising a family. His sister that bullied him did not survive. Today, my friend, Tatiana, mentioned to me that Congo was terribly abused by his older sibling. Congo hatched at the Dunrovin Osprey Nest in 2018, just down the road from Iris’s nest at Hellgate. He is actually the middle chick. I am not clear on what happened to the third.

As it happens it was Congo that came to visit Iris. He might have been bringing her a fish if Louis hadn’t arrived. Tatiana sent me a link to a YouTube video that was posted showing the arrival of a fish and the older sibling actually pulling the feathers out of Congo’s head. You will see them in her beak! How horrible!!!!!

The sun is just coming up over the Dyfi Nest in Wales. The two Bobs are still sleeping. Idris brought in a couple of really large fish yesterday and these two might be as full as the chicks up on the Loch of the Lowes Nest. They sure are going to wake up to a gorgeous day!

That’s your late Thursday night check in on UK Ospreys Nests —– where they are just waking up and starting their Friday. I hope all their fish dreams come true today.

Happy World Albatross Day to everyone. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, and LRWT.

Happiness in Bird World

It seems like it has been a pretty good day in Bird World.

The two little ospreys on the Cowlitz Nest had plenty of food today and nice crops albeit one of them had a bigger crop than the other. But, hey! I am not complaining. Fish is fish and they both ate really well. So did their Mom! Yippeee.

The little ones really blend into that nest with that bright sun. The one is in profile and the other is still being fed by Electra. And, of course, Wattsworth is hovering in case there is fish left! Can you hear me growling? Electra has done really well eating along with the two chicks and using up every morsel of the fish.

Now this Bob has a bit of a crop, too. He is going to drop it shortly. Wish he had done now and turned to get some more fish. For some reason this chick does not eat as much as the other.

Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss Nest was right up there today with his big siblings – all standing in line nicely. Blue 35 is doing a fantastic job keeping those kiddos in line.

Little Tiny Bob has figured out where the ‘sweet spot’ is for feeding. Good for him. He has a lot of growing to do but, already, he is getting his beautiful curved feathers. What a cute little one.

Jack brought Tiny Tot a fish at 11:57:26 and then the rain started falling. Tiny really earns that fish. All day he has had to contend with adult intruders. He is doing an amazing job keeping those adults moving off that nest. Here is a short video of Tiny Tot getting one adult off the nest. That adult had the nerve to dive bomb Tiny!

Over at the The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah) the second chick has fledged. That happened this morning at 6:13:51. By 8:50 both were on the nest having some breakfish. Scarlett and Rhett do not seem to be in any hurry for these two gorgeous ospreys to leave the area. Food arrives in good time to keep them on the nest and practising their flying skills before taking off for good.

There was quite a bit of excitement over in the UK today related to Ospreys. The 150th juvenile to fledge from Rutland Water has returned today for the first time. It is Male 056 hatched on the 13th of May 2019, one of four chicks of Maya and Blue 33 (11). 056 was seen in January 2020 in The Gambia. Wow! That really points to the success of their reintroduction programme.

Now to celebrate the translocation project of Poole Harbour. Translocation is when young birds are taken, at a certain age, and moved to a different location to try and establish an osprey colony where there is none. Such was the situation of Poole Harbour. In an earlier blog, I told you how Roy Dennis worked with the Poole Harbour Ospreys to introduce birds from Scotland to Poole Harbour. Remember, male birds normally return to the area of their natal nest to breed while females go elsewhere. The celebration is not happening at Poole Harbour per se but over in Glaslyn in Montgomeryshire Wales. There is the nest of Mrs G and Aran and then there is the PC nest. Z2 is the 2019 hatch of Monty and Telyn and his mate is Poole Harbour 014. And, while there are no images available, boots on the ground note that the behaviour in the nest has changed and it looks like there could be two hatches now! There is really good DNA in those chicks – lucky youngsters!

And everyone is wondering what in the world is going on in Missoula, Montana. Iris had the most handsome visitor – a three year old juvenile returnee visiting on her nest. His name is Congo 4C and he was hatched at the Dunrovin Nest in Missoula in 2018 just when Iris was taking care of her last ever chick, Le Le. This image shows Iris on the nest. She has been doing all manner of nestorations this morning. Then Louis has gotten a whiff of the visitor who is flying overhead with a fish! Like everyone else, I would love for this to get interesting!

Iris is on the left and Louis has just landed on the right. Overhead you can see Congo 4C coming with the fish – possibly for Iris? Now wouldn’t that be an interesting match? The oldest Osprey in the world with a 3 year old. And he is trying to show her he can fish.

Someone once told me that Ospreys do not have territories since they all fish in the same spots. That said, I have always understood that Iris’s nest is on Louis’s territory – that Louis more or less inherited it when Stanley died. But can a territory be divided? what about Starr and her chicks? My answer to that is that I wish Louis would take good care of his family at the baseball park and let Iris find herself a young man who wants to take care of her!

Here is Congo with Iris on the nest earlier:

Wow. Lots of things happening and then there is the fledge watch at the Redtail Hawk Nest of Big Red and Arthur. Laura Culley says it isn’t going to happen til next week. I hope she is right. K3 almost fludged today! But K2 has a bit of a sore or something causing its mouth not to close and a problem with an eye which Cornell experts are monitoring. I am really hoping that she has not cleaned her beak well and this is dried prey. The eye issue could relate to the chicks pecking at one another when they were younger???

K2 is on the left and K1 is on the right. K1 is distinguished by her very dark and thick belly band.

And then there is the adorable K3.

I am a real sucker for these tiny third hatches – for sure!

Thank you so much for joining me today. The ten goslings at Schloss Benkhausen in the White Stork Nest hatched and jumped to the ground this morning. You can see it here again:

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots and video clips: Schloss Benkhausen, Achieva Osprey, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell and Skidaway Audubon, Cornell and Montana Osprey Project, and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.