Does Bald Eagle spell adorable?

It is bright and sunny on the Canadian Prairies —— and it is cold, -32 degrees C or -25.6 F. When you walk on the snow it crunches beneath your boots.

The garden birds and animals get double feedings when it is like this. Those little legs. How do they manage? The Sparrows are so puffed up they are the size of softballs.

E19 and E20 are still getting us to ‘coo’. Harriet and M15 are adorable parents, both wanting to be in the nest with the new babies! The images begin last evening and continue through this morning.

Feedings are going well.

These two are seriously too cute.

Just look at that little crop, those tiny wings and that happy face.

Welcome E19 and E20. Be good to one another.

Just a few minutes ago! Adorable.

Many of you will know that the Great Horned Owl (GHOW) has been getting particularly aggressive towards Harriet and M15’s nest. The GHOW knocked M15 off the branch again last night. Harriet was really fed up and flew off the babies to escort that owl out of their territory.

A GHOW couple fought for and were successful in taking the nest from a young Bald Eagle couple in Kansas at Farmer Derek’s last year and right now there is a GHOW couple making plans on the Savannah Osprey nest! Did I say that there are too few big old trees for nests?

None of the lads at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge are any worse for wear after the dust ups between Falky and Ervie yesterday. The sun setting changes the look of the barge while creating diamonds on the water.

I am so used to Bazza being on the nest but it is Ervie eating a fish!

Ervie is still on the nest when the family settles down to sleep. I never imagined that the boys would still be with us at the end of the year. This is wonderful. I am so excited for all five members of this family. They did it this year – they fledged three healthy boys.

There are eagles on nests and nests waiting for eagles!

Gabby is thermoregulating at the Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. Looking for hatch the middle of January!

Anna is incubating a single egg down in Louisiana at the Kisatchie Bald Eagle nest. It is hot and humid there today. Some sprinkles for later.

What a beautiful view of the area around the Bald Eagle nest at Duke Farms in New Jersey.

Jackie and Shadow have snow in Big Bear, California.

All is well as we creep closer to the end of the year. That is a good thing! I hope that you are busy watching the little ones at SW Florida today. They grow so quickly! Here is the link to the camera if you don’t have it:

Today will be a quiet day for me. They say the booster can knock your socks off – I think it has. So today is a day of hot Christmas tea, good books, and a warm duvet.

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

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: SWFlorida Bald Eagles and the D Pritchett Family, Friends of Big Bear, Duke Farms, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Christmas Day in Bird World

It is a gorgeous Christmas morning over Big Bear Lake in San Bernadino County, California. This is the home of Bald Eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow. What a beautiful view as the sun rises to wake up the forest and the animals that live around the lake.

A little later the camera operator gives us a treat by panning around the area where Jackie and Shadow live.

Jackie and Shadow have been delivering some nice (some large) twigs to the nest. This wonderful couple live in the hope of hatching eaglets and we send them positive energy as we hope with them.

Harriet and M15 might be wishing for a little bit of the cooler northern Californian weather in Fort Myers. The couple began ‘listening’ to their eggs last evening. It is pip watch!

About four days before hatching, the eaglets will grow their egg tooth. Imagine it as a sharp spike facing outward towards the shell on the tip of the beak. The little ones will chip away at the shell. They will take their first breath and continue picking away until they have broken through and hatched. This whole process can take up to four days.

Last year Harriet and M15, fledged E17 and E18 – the twins that won all of our hearts from their first bobblehead days, to going into care for conjunctivitis, to their return. Beautiful fledglings. Best friends.

I am so glad that Samson and Gabby did not lay their eggs at the same time as Harriet and M15. This way we will get to enjoy having two nests of bobble heads independent of one another! Last year, Gabby and Samson had one hatch, Legacy. S/he turned out to be a beautiful and formidable juvenile.

Gabby is on incubation duties.

Anna and Louis are also incubating two eggs and have a wait similar to that of Samson and Gabby. Their nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. This is the couple’s second breeding attempt. Last year they fledged Kisatchie, the first eaglet hatched and fledged on this nest in central Louisiana since 2013. Wow. Cody and Steve have installed sound at the nest this year.

It was fun watching Anna and Louis last year figure out what to do as new parents. Louis is a fabulous provider. When he is not loading the nest down with fish, he is aiming to give Anna the softest Spanish Moss he can find for the egg cup! Just look at it.

Clive and Connie are incubating two eggs over at Captiva. They have had some terrible weather there lately and this image is from yesterday. The camera appears to be down this morning.

Clive is a new mate for Connie. Last year, Connie and Joe hatched two eaglets, Peace and Hope, who died on the nest from rodenticide poisoning.

One of the ospreys over wintering at Urdaibai in the Basque Country of Spain waking up to Christmas morning.

While many of the Ospreys are opting to stay on the Iberian Peninsula instead of making the long journey down to The Gambia or Senegal, there are still celebrations as the December count along the Senegal coast was 1100 birds this year. Jean-Marie Dupart did an amazing job going out and counting all of the beautiful fish eagles. Thank you!

German Osprey along the coast of Senegal.

Closer to home, Jack and Diane have been working on their nest. Some really nice strips of bark have been brought in. Last year, the pair fledged three for the first time: Sibling 1, Sibling 2, and the miracle bird who survived against all the odds and became dominant, Tiny Tot Tumbles.

Cilla Kinross is celebrating the third camera at Charles Sturt Falcon Project. There is a ledge and box camera and now one that shows the falcons flying around the outside of the water tower. Congratulations, Cilla.

Here is the link if you wish to check out the new tower cam:

Big Red and Arthur have been spotted out hunting so all is well with the Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus. Hope to have images I can post for you shortly.

The countdown is on for all the hawk and osprey fans…three months til Big Red is incubating eggs and three months til the first arrivals of the Western Ospreys back in the UK. Oh, and the beautiful storks of Latvia and Estonia. May they all stay safe until then.

Wishing all of the birds who bring us such joy, extra prey items, good weather, and safe flying.

Thank you for joining me today. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope that you have a peaceful, joyful day, with something a little special. For those birds not with us today, we thank them for the happiness they gave to us – and as one of my readers ‘B’ so eloquently said, ‘and all they taught us.’ So true. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Friends of Big Bear, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett Family, KNF Eagle Cam, Captiva Eagle Cam, Urdaibai Biosphere Osprey Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and the Achieva Osprey Cam.

Note: Port Lincoln Osprey Cam is down or we would all get a look at those lads!

New Zealand’s falcon, the Karearea

It is almost the end of November and in about 25 days there will be at least one bobble head, if not two, on the Fort Myers, Florida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15. Bald Eagles are strikingly beautiful – the gorgeous pure white head of the adult with that large bright yellow beak, espresso brown body plumage and watery light blue eyes. The hatchlings are just as adorable with their light grey down. They are called ‘bobble heads’ because they do not have the strength

While we are waiting for those eggs to hatch in Florida, there is a new streaming cam focused on a small New Zealand falcon, the Karearea.

Wikimedia Commons

They are adorable. Thanks Sharon Dunne for mentioning this new cam. The chicks are delightful! Here is the link:

Here is a short video of the chicks trying to get settled in the nest cup.

The Kareara are indigenous to New Zealand. At present, they are very vulnerable. They believe that there are between 5-8,000 birds in the whole of New Zealand. Their threats are loss of habitat, cats, mustelids (they are like wolverines), and hedgehogs. Hedgehogs like their eggs.

The falcons have also been found on several islands but, the area with the highest population is the Kaingaroa Forest between Rotorua and Taupo on New Zealand’s central North Island. You can see Taupo on the map above. The Kaingaroa Forest is the largest forest plantation in New Zealand and is the second largest forest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is 190,000 hectares. The first trees were planted in the early 1900s. They are harvested for the construction industry.

“Kaingaroa Forest” by russellstreet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons

The adults are 40 cm and 50 cm in length. Like almost all raptors, the females are larger than the males.

Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the female can weigh almost twice as much as the males who weigh between 240 g and 350 grams. The females are between 410 g and 720 grams. They cannot fly nearly as fast as the Peregrine Falcons but the Karearea do reach speeds of up to 100 kmh. They are also capable of catching prey that is larger than they are. Wow! They do not eat carrion (dead animals). Their diet consists of mammals, lizards, birds, and insects. These small falcons hunt by watching from a high point flying fast, grasping the prey with their talons and then killing it with a bite to the neck.

Wikimedia Commons

Oh, I hope that you enjoy these adorable little falcons. It is a perfect time to watch them. The Port Lincoln lads will be taking the fish deliveries off the nest to eat them soon. Ervie has already tried fishing and last night he slept on the post not in the nest. He is growing up! No word yet on who will be the Royal Cam family and Cilla Kinross is planning to hunt in unexpected places for Yurruga. And one of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Gabby and Samson, have been working on their nest. Oh, they are a stunning pair.

Gabby on the left and Samson on the right. Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest, Jacksonville.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF and Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the D Pritchett family.

Eagle Season is coming!

It is almost Bald Eagle breeding season in some parts of the United States. as more and more people and governmental agencies focus on the environment, there are studies from around the world trying to make wind farms more safe for our beautiful raptors.

The University of Minnesota has been doing just that. They discovered some interesting things when trying to use sound —– Bald Eagles just have normal hearing, nothing special. So as many begin talking about floating platforms in the ocean to generate renewable power, what can help the birds?

https://www.startribune.com/university-of-minnesota-researchers-protect-eagles-wind-farms-airspace/600100175/?fbclid=IwAR1ctzmnP07P3o5wb8IKkL0j35KkO33jluna8B38ge4CnZm2J-DTiqvhpeI

The sun is just rising over the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Florida. It is the home of Samson and Gabrielle (Gabby). This is their third season together. They have hatched Romy and Jules (2020) and Legacy (2021).

If you have forgotten, this is the nest that Samson hatched at. It belonged to his parents, Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy struck the pair in 2019. The story and video of it is here:

This is the beginning of the 2021-22 season. It is a new day with wonderful prospects for the fall and spring! I so look forward to their little ones. Legacy pulled at all my heart strings as she did thousands of others. What a grand juvenile she grew into. So, lots to look forward to.

Samson and Gabby had spent the night on the branches of the natal tree. It is just turning 07:00 and Samson is fishing. Gabby is down working on the walls of the nest getting it ready.

She looks all over trying to decide what to move and where the new branches should go. Typically, the male brings in the branches and the female positions them.

It will not be long til Gabby has this nest worked into her liking. It is high up on a pine tree and everything has to be perfect to protect the eggs and the eaglets.

She waits for Samson to arrive. You will notice that he has brought a big stick onto the nest. Now he has left again.

Now he is back! They are having a conversation about what to do during the day.

I have to admit that I really enjoy this Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. Legacy was just a joy last year as she navigated life with ‘Eggie’ and ‘Pinecone’ as an only child. Here is the link to their streaming cam 1 (they have 3):

There are two other streaming cams to watch and both couples have arrived. One of the most famous is the nest of Harriet and M15 on the land of the Pritchett Family in Fort Myers. Both eagles have returned to the nest and have been seen working on it.

The third is the Captiva Eagle Nest on Santibel Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Martin. Both have arrived at the nest this afternoon. One was seen earlier in the day.

Last year, the two eaglets named Peace and Hope died of rodenticide poisoning. The male Joe – well, I would argue that he reacted the same way that Romeo did when he could not care for the eaglets in 2018-19 – and well, Joe is gone.

Let us hope that Connie and her new mate have a fabulous year and that the folks using these designer poisons have stopped and cleaned up the area for these beautiful birds.

There are so many Bald Eagle nests it is hard to keep up with them. At the same time, there are the beautiful White-tailed and Golden Eagles in Europe. The Latvian Fund for Nature runs a host of eagle cams and I will be bringing you information as it becomes relevant. I am hoping that Matilde will have a new mate and that this will be successful! Spring is going to be busy!

The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest is yelling to Dad to get a fish on the deck for the osplets!

Last year he seemed to ignore her but this year Dad has been, for the most part, on the ball. Sometimes he has to come to the nest to get his earful orders but then he goes fishing. Let us keep our fingers crossed for a very large fish like the one delivered yesterday. These kids are growing and they need more bigger fish. Less feedings but a lot of fish.

It is now 08:30 at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Forest and WBSE 27 and 28 are waiting for a breakfast delivery, too.

This pair have done well this year. WBSE 27 has the darker head at the back with 28 here at the front. Both are healthy and there are no obvious physical difficulties like 26 had last year.

The problem that they do have are feathers and the two are constantly preening.

Both can stand and walk well.

Here they are watching for the parents to make a delivery! Waiting must be very hard when you are hungry. How dependent these birds are on the good health of their parents, too.

Food deliveries will be coming. The nestlings wait at both Port Lincoln and Sydney.

Thanks for joining me. I will bring you an update on the PLO nest first thing tomorrow. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The NE Florida Cam and the AEF, Captiva and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Wednesday Happenings in Bird World

Gosh, it was just a gorgeous ‘fall’ day. No, it isn’t officially fall but the leaves appear to be changing and there is a ‘nip’ in the air. The birds are flying south and others are arriving home from their summer forays. One of those returning to her breeding area and nest is Gabrielle, Gabby for short, the mate of Samson at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. It was right around 14:48.

She looks good. Oh, Samson is going to be so excited!!!!!!!!!

Samson you are such a cutie. As my friend ‘T’ said when she heard the good news, ‘Love is in the air.’ She is absolutely right.

It was a gorgeous day to go and find some pelicans and I was hoping for a cormorant or two. The waters of the Red River near St. Andrews did not disappoint.

Pelicans are the longest native bird in North America measuring in at 2 metres or 6.56 feet. The California Condor is the only bird in North America with a longer wingspan. The pelican’s wings measure 2.7 metres or 9 feet from tip to tip. In other words, these are large birds!

This is a small hydroelectric dam. These American white Pelicans often work together to get the fish ’rounded up’. Here they wait for them to come over the dam. There were six fishing together.

The pelicans dip and scoop for fish. They are able to hold as much as 12 litres of water which goes out the sides of their mouths before they can eat the fish. They spent a lot of time bobbing up and down.

Manitoba is the summer home of the largest number of American White Pelicans. They spend their winters in California or areas around the Gulf of Mexico. In late April to early June, they return to their summer breeding grounds here in Canada.

With the changing climate, it is believed that the American White Pelican will gain areas in Canada while losing them in the US.

Some were fishing while others slept and preened.

There were a few Double-Crested Cormorants with the pelicans today.

I just loved the silhouette of their wings against the water.

Manitoba is also home to a huge number of Double-Crested Cormorants in the summer. Did you know that Cormorants lack the ability to waterproof their feathers? Because of this they can dive deep because they are less buoyant but it also means that they can become water-logged and have a struggle reaching shore.

There were lots of gulls flying above the water. This lonely Ring-Billed Gull caught my eye. In the city they are constants around the garbage dumps. I did not know that they eat the eggs of other birds as well as little goslings, carrion, insets, rodents, etc. They are real scavengers.

Look carefully and you will see the black ring near the tip of its bill. That is what gives this gull its name.

This is the mystery duck. It was all alone. There have been several discussions as to whether it is a female Ruddy Duck, a female Northern Pintail, or a female American Wigeon. Or is it an anomaly? A Black Duck? If you have any idea, I would love to hear from you! I know that it is not a Mallard, not a Wood Duck, and not a member of the Merganser family but it is alluding all of the Manitoba and Canadian bird books. Maybe you are a juvenile. Someone really does need to do a more comprehensive book of Manitoba birds with excellent images.

The sun, fresh air, and climbing up and down gravel banks to the water has sure made me tired. If you have trouble sleeping, I highly recommend it as a remedy. One of my birding friends wrote just now to say that they had seen ‘my Ospreys’ today – so if it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I am heading north to check it out. They will be migrating soon!

There is little news in Bird World. Diamond has yet to lay another egg. The two little sea eaglets are eating well and behaving themselves. The majority of the Ospreys in the UK have begun migration. Aran was still at the Glaslyn nest this morning. The Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia seem to be making their way without hiccups now to their winter homes. It is just a nice calm Wednesday save for the arrival of Gabby back at The Hamlet. That caused great cheers.

Take care everyone. Thanks so much for joining me.

Thank you to the NW Florida Bald Eagle cam and the AEF streaming cam where I took my screen shots.