Name the chick

It is a miserable 9 degrees C on the Canadian prairies. It is grey and wet. We have yet to have frost but it is certainly feeling like the time has arrived to bring out the jumpers and wool socks and put away the summer linen. A few of those gorgeous Dark-eyed Juncos are still in the garden pecking away at the Millet and Mr Blue Jay is working his way through a cob of dry corn.

A few have written to find out where to get the dry corn. Many specialty bird seed shops carry dried corn. You can purchase it by the cob or by the bag of 25 or so cobs. It will vary by supplier. If you live near a feed and seed store or a farmer who grows corn to feed their livestock, you might want to compare pricing. It is thoroughly dried corn you want. While I just lay the cobs out for the Blue Jays and the squirrels there are also specialty holders that prevent one or the other from taking the entire cob.

Do you have a garden? If so, you might want to plant some corn meant specially for drying. Check with your seed supplier.

Everyone seems to have recovered from the sadness of Xavier and Diamond not having a second hatch. If there was a pip and beak showing, it appears that the chick was simply not strong enough to break out of the shell. As you all realize, life for the birds is challenging. They need to be strong and healthy and that is certainly what that first hatch of Xavier and Diamond’s is. You can hear it today calling and, if you listened to Izzi last year, you will know that they can be very vocal. This one might even rival its big brother!

Today, Dr Cilla Kinross, the chief researcher for the past twelve years on the Peregrine Falcons, has posted a list of names for the wee one. They are all Maori names and relate to the weather. Everyone can have one vote. If you wish to take part, here is the link:

https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

This wee one has amazing parents. A viewer caught a super video clip of Xavier delivering prey and Diamond feeding the chick. Have a look!

The Port Lincoln streaming cam is down this morning and it is not yet dawn in Australia. Fingers crossed it is back working soon. All of the other nests – the WBSE and the Collins Street kids – are fine. In the United States, the Bald Eagles are busy working on their nests. At 07:23 this morning, Anna and Louis were caught on camera at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. It is wonderful they have each returned safely for a second season. I wonder if Louis will contain his enthusiasm for feeding his family?

Thank you for joining me today. Please vote for the wee one at the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam. You have until 5pm on 22 October Australian time to tick your favourite. I will bring you an update on the PLO this evening if the streaming cam begins working. Take care everyone.

Name the Chick Contest

The New Zealand Department of Conservation have opened up the contest for the naming of the Royal cam chick of 2021. You can enter, too. Here is the poster and the URL for additional information:

This year’s Royal Cam chick is a female. She is the daughter of Lime-Green-Lime (LGL) and Lime-Green-Black (LGK). The parents are named after the coloured ring bands on their legs. Only the Royal Cam chicks get an official Maori name. In fact, in 2019, LGL and LGK were the parents of Karere who was the royal cam chick that year.

This year’s chick hatched on 24 January 2021. The eggs are removed from the nest near hatch and placed in an incubator. A dummy egg is put under the parent at the time. This is to ensure that no fly strike kills the newborn. When the chick is returned, the dummy egg is removed, the nest is sprayed with a substance that will not harm the birds, and the chick is placed under the parent. The rangers at Taiaroa Head do many checks on the health and safety of both the parents and the chick daily.

The royal cam chick just hatched in the incubator. 24 January 2021. @Ranger Julia NZ DOC

She is the sweetest, soft as a cloud gorgeous indigo eyed sea bird!

The Royal Cam chick and her beautiful indigo eyes. 9 April 2021

Here she is getting a feeding from LGK, her dad, today:

The royal cam chick is tapping at her father’s bill to stimulate feeding. 9 April 2021

From the time this beautiful fluff ball was born, she was taught to tap the parent’s bill in order to stimulate them to regurgitate the oily squid food for the little one. When the chick is very small the parents will take turns staying with it and feeding it little bits many times per day. As the chick gets older, the meals are larger but farther a part. After about six weeks, the chick is in the pre-guard stage where the parent leaves it alone for awhile. Then both parents are out foraging for food. This chick is now left alone and the parents only return to feed her.

LGK is leaning down so he can feed his royal cam chick. 9 April 2021

This year’s royal cam chick’s parents, LGL and LGK, are fitted with satellite transmitters that show where they are fishing. The red is for LGL, the mother and the blue is for LGK, the father. The piece of land jutting out about a third of the way up from the bottom is Taiaroa Head. You can see the point where the land and take off. That is their chick!

The NZ DOC rangers on Taiaroa Head weigh the chicks every Tuesday. In the event that a parent has been away for an extended period, the staff will give the chicks a supplemental feeding should it be required.

You can watch the Royal Cam chick here:

Watching the comings and goings at the Royal Albatross nest is the total opposite of watching the Achieva Osprey nest. If the Albatross chicks get too hot, there is a sprinkler system to help cool them off. The rangers often switch out the eggs should one couple lose their chick and another parent not return. Everything is done for the welfare of the these sea birds. There are no worries about whether or not the little one will get enough to eat! It is recognized that human impact on the climate, specifically, and the planet overall (over fishing, not taking care and albatross caught as bycatch) has made these things necessary. There is no debate, no paper work that takes days – the rangers are ready to go should anything be required.

Thank you for joining me today. Look up the guidelines for the name the chick contest and then check out Maori names and their meanings. There are lots of great prizes and it is a lot of fun. As we get near to World Albatross Day in June there will also be contests for children – and cake contests we can all enter!

Thank you to the NZ Department of Conservation and the Cornell Bird Lab for their streaming cam and Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg. That is where I get my screen shots. Thank you also for caring about your wildlife NZ. It warms my heart.

ACHIEVA OSPREY UPDATE: Tiny had 2 feedings today, 8 April before 10:30 am. Another fish came in at 7:08:20. It was medium sized. Tiny kept his head down til he knew the bigger 2 had eaten. He went over to mom but there was no fish left for him or her. Both are very hungry. The mother brought in two of the three fish today.

In the image below you can see that Tiny is up by mom, Diane, but nothing left for either one of them. Hoping for more and bigger fish tomorrow. Sad situation. I would really like to understand the ‘why’. I just looked at the Venice Golf and Country Club Osprey nest with its three and each one is great. What is happening on this nest? and why?

Tiny has finally been able to get up to mom but there is not a scrap of food left for him or her. 8 April 2021.