8 May 2022
It’s Mother’s Day and every year I send a shout out to all those great bird mothers who don’t know anything about flowers, chocolates, or going for brunch but who, as best they can, as old as some are, keep our skies filled with the sound of hawks, eagles, falcons, Sky Calls, and song. They have brought us great joy, sorrow, and have taught us so very, very much.
Each of you will have your own list. I have discovered that birds are very personal. So pause and thank your favourites!
The first bird mother I always think of is Big Red. She is not a big strong eagle or a fish hawk. No, she is a medium sized hawk that melts our hearts year after year. Big Red, the Matriarch of the Red-tail Hawks is enjoying early morning sunshine and a necklace of eyases – four of them. She surprised everyone with those four eggs. This nineteen year old probably has a lot more tricks up her talon for us.
We know she hatched in 2003 and that she was hatching chicks in 2005 but the camera did not come live until 2012. That is 7 years unaccounted for. Big Red has consistently laid three eggs and the only time since 2012 she did not fledge three was last year because of K2s beak issue. Potentially she has fledged 51 hawks. 51. Incredible.
She is always happy when there are chicks in the nest and she seems energized this year with the four.
Cholyn at the Two Harbours Bald Eagle nest in the Channel Islands gets the thumbs up this morning. At the age of 24, she is still busy raising eaglets. This year her and Chase had the soon-to-be-banded Only Child, TH1, this year. Cholyn is the mother of Thunder at the West End nest and is the grandmother to another generation of Channel Islands eagles.
Redwood Queen is 23 years and 11 months old and is currently either incubating an egg in Big Sur or brooding a chick! She survived the Dolan Fire and is famously known for her chick, Iniko Orange 1031, who also survived that fire to the surprise of many. She has hatched and fledged 6 condors and fostered and fledged 3. She is currently with 477 Phoenix. It is their second season together. Their egg failed last year. Fingers crossed for this year. Fitting that they both survived massive fires to rise again.
Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in the UK, at the age of 21-23 years is currently brooding three eggs with her mate, Aran, at the Glaslyn Nest. They had a rough patch last year so I am really hoping that this year turns out incredibly well for them.
If we count this year, she has laid 57 eggs with 46 hatched and 41 fledged.
There are lots of Ospreys. I can easily put Maya at the Rutland Manton Bay nest at the top of a list – 20 fledglings in 6 years. Is that correct? But I want to give a hat’s off to a much overlooked female at the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria. Blue 35 was smart and sneaky and made sure that her third hatch —–1/8 the size of the other two older siblings at hatch – survived. She removed fish and once the older ones were asleep returned to the nest and fed Blue 463. As a result, 463 thrived and became a huge female and quite dominant on the nest. Thank you Blue 35. She was also one of the only Osprey nests to fledge three in 2021.
Peregrine Falcon Mothers. Hats off to the Mum at the Manchester New Hampshire scrape for keeping those five eyases in tip top shape. Not easy when some are extraordinarily larger than the youngest! The tiniest one is in the front. So small you can’t see it! Mum is doing a great job.
All full and sleepy.
There is one other Peregrine Falcon Mum who is now raising two eyases after losing her mate during the egg laying part of this breeding season. That falcon is Annie at the UCal-Berkeley scrape in The Campanile. She is a grandmother – they know that her daughter is on Alcatraz Island and that this is at least her second year if not more to raise chicks.
There are now too and it appears that Lynn Scofield was completely correct. The last egg is unviable. This means that egg 1 and egg 3 hatched with the potential for one chick to be Grinnell’s and the other to be possibly Alden’s. I hope so! Annie survived the death of her long term mate, Grinnell, to hatch the two chicks. Heart warming.
Why not think about your favourite ‘Bird Mums’ today? It is a great way to thank them ———— each and everyone of them ——— for the joy they bring to our lives!
Have a great Sunday everyone. There will be a nest check in later today. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or webpages where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Ventana Wildlife Society, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, Peregrine Falcon Network Manchester NH, Cal Falcons, and Explore.org.