Monday in Bird World

23 May 2022

It has been ‘one of those days’ in Bird World. A lightening storm has hit the Gainesville, Florida area and the streaming cam for the Ospreys on the light stand at the practice field at the university has been off line all day. It is hoped that the two chicks may be wet, may have had to endure some more hail, and might not have had fish deliveries but, they are alright.

One of the most worrisome events today has been the right eye of Laddie, the male at the Loch of the Lowes Osprey nest. His mate is Blue NC0. They have two chicks fully hatched and eating ferociously and one half in its shell. All day I wondered if Laddie would be able to fish. Is this another instance of an intruder perhaps causing fatal damage to an Osprey nest? It has been one intruder after another since Aran was injured at Glaslyn last year – both in the UK and ‘across the pond’. Not just Ospreys. Bald Eagles. Red-tail Hawks. Peregrine Falcons.

This was a huge concern to me all day. Will Laddie be able to fish? what will happen to the wee ones? can Laddie switch and incubate and Blue NC0 get out of brooding mode and become the fish provider? will the people of Loch of the Lowes provide a fish table like Glaslyn did for Aran and Mrs G? My mind was running at 500 mph.

Laddie has, indeed, been able to fish! Tears. Pouring tears. The camera was such that we could not see his eye but he did bring fish for Mum and the babies.

In the image below the third egg is just cracking. It was fully out of the shell at 20:11.

Laddie has obviously eaten the head of the fish – he has a nice crop. Fingers crossed. Send lots of good positive energy their way.

Awww. That sweet little third one is mostly out of the shell. Hopefully Blue NC0 will give that shell a nudge! Last year there were three but the third one was weak and could not keep up with the big ones and perished.

All three of the Manton Bay osplets are in the Reptilian phase. I so hoped that we would have a little soft downy third one for a day longer but, no…progressing right on schedule.

You can see all the down off their heads. Peek up above and see how soft and light grey it is after hatch. Now look – black and oily. Looks like they have been to Carnival in the Caribbean during Oil Down.

I included this one because even their facial features change! The wings get long and ‘lanky’. They will consume more and more fish at fewer feedings. We can be looking for the beautiful copper red to appear on the back of the head and neck soon. This is the point when the Ospreys most resemble the dinosaurs that they are.

The intruders have been around the MN-DNR with a sub-adult landing on the perch that Nancy uses. Nancy was able to leave and get prey to feed to E1 and herself. That is very good.

Everything could not be better on the ND-LEEF nest. Early this morning, 17 ate most of a fish and was not bothered by a sibling. There was another fish on the nest and 17 ate most of it. That was around 12:30. There he is in the image below working hard on that catfish!

It is around 1610 and a Salmon comes on the nest. Yes, the second one according to people in the chat. Look who is up there eating with its big siblings! There is no discord. Little Bit 17 will has a great big crop – for at least the third time today. What is even more surprising is that when he was eating with the two big siblings, 17 was a little bit aggressive. Fantastic.

It seriously cannot get any better than this! Ever since Little Bit 17 was so hungry – for two days – and then at the end of the third went over, moved an entire fish and ate all of it – things on this nest have started to change. Mum even began to feed her little one. The weather has been cooler, the water is clearer and more fish are coming on the nest. Let us all hope that it continues. If so, we are assured of three fledges (unless something terrible happens – and the lives of our feathered friends is so precarious that it could).

Chase & Cholyn’s Two Harbours 1 has a name! Here is the announcement:

According to my acquaintance Deb Stecyk, the Dale Hollow fledglings have been heard in the area. The parents delivered a fish and then returned and took it. They might have been trying to lure them to the nest – easier to feed them! But the nest is in the middle of a forested area (or so it seems) and it could be difficult for the eaglets to get back to the nest according to Deb.

I had a lovely visit with my daughter today and these are the only nests that I have checked. Will try and do a good run through most of them tomorrow! Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: ND-LEEF, Scottish Wildlife Trust, MN-DNR, Institute for Wildlife Studies, and the LRWT.

The Little Eaglet that Could and a few other stories from Bird World

21 May 2022

It has been a very, very challenging breeding season. The weather has not cooperated causing diminished prey deliveries and deaths either by starvation or siblicide/starvation. Eaglets have fallen from their cliff nests – thankfully rescued by their guardian angel, Dr Sharpe. Adults have been killed or driven from the nest by intruders with many others dying of Avian Flu. Some have died of indeterminate causes while others were injured and taken into care. Some eggs never hatched having become breakfast for the Crows. We have favourite nestlings and then, things go sideways. We become afraid to watch their lives – it really does hurt that much when they are attacked by their older siblings or ignored by their parents.

Not all chicks who are attacked by their siblings survive. We know this. Sometimes we think that they will not last another day. Then, something happens. Yesterday when its mother would not feed it, ND17 ate an entire fish that was left on the nest and ignored by the older siblings —by itself. Today, its mother fed it a few bites. Later 17 found a piece of fish hidden in the nest and horked it. There he is on the far left. Note 17’s size in relation to the two older siblings who not only have their juvenile plumage but also have tails that are growing and growing.

At 17:01, something extraordinary happens. This is ‘why’ you keep watching, ‘why’ you keep hoping because in a single moment the nest that had gone sideways can right itself. It is the most exhilarating feeling — by far a greater sense of happiness than watching a nest where everything is perfect.

Mum arrives with a fish. At 17:01 and for the next sixteen minutes, Little 17’s life takes a turn. 17 is on the right side of Mum with big sibling on the left. The other is at the other side of the nest not paying much attention. What was it that suddenly changed 17 from a submissive little eaglet to an extremely brave one? Was it eating the entire fish itself yesterday? was it the finding and horking of the fish piece? was it Mum feeding it a few bites this morning? or was it hunger and a new found confidence that drove 17 to become the ‘king’ of the snatch and grab today? We will never know but this third hatch showed us just the kind of ‘stuff’ it is made of – this is going to be a formidable eaglet if he survives. Fingers crossed.

Still images do not do the actions of this this brave little eaglet justice. Watch carefully – about half way through 17 actually grabs the fish out of the older siblings beak! Yes, I am serious.

I wonder – having seen her youngest stand up and fight for its place at the table – will Mum feed her youngest chick? Will she position the fish so that the little one can eat and not have to contend with the peckings from the older siblings? We have to wait and see. One thing is for sure – 17 has a burning desire to survive. He is not afraid to root in the nest and find pieces of dry fish if eating them means he will stay alive. He is a survivor.

In the image below you can see the enormous crop that 17 has! Fantastic.

In other news, Dr Sharpe gave Chase and Cholyn’s only eaglet a thorough examination. The eaglet was measured, weighed, and banded. She is 11D, a sister to Thunder and an auntie to Thunder and Akecheta’s triplets.

The camera came on for just a second. Look at that nice red bling! And her silver federal band.

The two osplets at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest experienced something very different today– pelting rain and hail. I was just glad it wasn’t a tornado!

After the storm passed, Mum returned to the nest. There was some fish and, despite Big standing tall and trying to unhinge Middle, Middle stayed put and kept eating.

Middle is on the left and Big with her longer tail and long, long legs is on the right.

In the image below, Big tries to scare Middle away from the food. It doesn’t really work so well anymore.

It is a beautiful evening at the Dale Hollow nest. Looking at that big stick that Warrior pulled across the nest it is almost like River said “when you leave, shut the door and put the key under the mat!” The older sibling, DH14, fludged on the 19th of May. I hope that Warrior had a smooth flight! (or is he still sitting in the top of the nest tree?)

Lady and Dad have been spending more and more time at their nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Today they were rearranging twigs and building up the crib rails while. They were also busy placing fresh leaves down on the nest bowl. We are getting close!

This is the link to their camera:

Those were just a few of the numerous highlights at the nests today. New hatches are being fed and with the exception of several intruders, all of the other nests seem to be doing well. It was such a relief to see ND17 well fed two days in a row. I hope that Warrior’s first flight – if he did fledge – was a perfect take off and landing. Hopefully there will be some footage of the banding of 11D today at the Two Harbours nest. Cal Falcons should be banding Annie, Grinnell’s and Alden’s chicks soon. I did watch Alden feed the chicks again. He is getting quite good this!

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Explore.org and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, ND-LEEF, DHEC, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.