Wednesday in Bird World

2.23.22

We have a terrible problem in our neighbourhood. But, before I begin, let me say that for most of my life, I have had a cat or two or more. My Dad had a ‘warm’ spot for animals. Today he would be known for feeding feral cats and caring for them. More often than not, we adopted the strays, fed them, and found homes for the kittens. He taught me that they deserve love and respect as he went about rescuing puppies abandoned and starving cats. In other words, I grew up loving animals and am particularly fond of cats. I have not had a cat since last July when my dear Honey died of kidney failure. I do adore them.

Honey was a Sorrel Abyssinian. We rescued her from an apartment where she had been locked in for a month with no one home. She was amazing. She was a lap cat and loved to be into everything that was happening.

Our City has a by-law that cats must be kept inside. It was instigated so that the large feral cat population in the City would decline. The problem is that certain people do not adhere to the by-laws and, of course, no one does anything about it if they don’t. So that is the very back story to today.

The bird feeders were full and one of the small squirrels -either Dyson or Scraggles- was eating away in the square feeder when I left to go and get the produce for the week. Everything ‘seemed’ fine. When I returned an hour later, there were few birds at the feeders. I decided to refill the one for the Starlings. They do love the Meal Worms and Butter Bark for some reason. When I did, I noticed fresh blood under the Black Sunflower feeder and frozen blood in the centre of the square feeder where the squirrel had been. Something injured one of the squirrels while I was away. It was not Sharpie – he only takes a Sparrow once in awhile and there were no feathers flying about. The cats are the likely culprit. You will often find me chasing them away from the feeders. I could not see blood anywhere else. Did the cat actually carry the squirrel away? or did the squirrel escape? We wait to find out. I have looked everywhere for clues and nothing.

None of the squirrels are in the garden not even Little Red and there remain few birds. Events like this are traumatic for them. They can smell the blood and might not know what happened but they would not that something was harmed. Sadly, the wildlife rehabbers will not take squirrels for fear of rabies. So we just hope that whichever squirrel was harmed, it heals properly. It is normally Scraggles that gets in the way of the cats. He is called ‘Scraggles’ because of his shaggy tail and torn bits of fur when he came to the garden more than half dead a couple of years ago. He sat and ate black oil seed for days hardly moving and in a few weeks he was looking good. Fingers crossed for whoever is injured. Please send your warm wishes!

Why am I telling you this when I know you keep your cats inside? Because cats are the major predator to birds at feeders, bunnies, and squirrels. While people believe they need to be outside, most vets will tell you that cats are safer inside watching the wildlife from the window. They will not get injured, hit by a car, lost, or become prey to something larger. Spread the word to those that do let their cats roam.

Bird behaviour is very interesting. You might have read my blogs mentioning Jennifer Ackerman. She is the author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way. I picked The Bird Way up again last night to read through a section and was reminded how good Ackerman’s writing is on the topic. So if you are looking for insightful books on our feathered friends and why they do what they do, when they do it – these are excellent choices.

The pattern of feeding at the Captiva Osprey nest is holding. Three good feeds in the morning with the last of the three around lunch time and the first right after dawn. The final feeding – the fourth – is around 16:00. Andy arrived with the fish at 15:56 and by the time Lena got it and the chicks were situated they were right at 16:00. You could almost set your watch by this nest.

One of the things that keeps chicks from having food competition is stability. This nest is regular and stable. Fantastic. There are no surprises. No long period without food save from the last one to the morning feed.

Turn around Little Bob!

Andy is being very vigilant.

The feeding lasted for forty minutes! Lena filled up those chicks so full but, remember, this will be their last meal for the day if the pattern these two adult Ospreys have been following holds. One of the chatters commented that, “Minibob’s got a crop so full that it’s not just getting fatter it’s getting longer as well!” (BJ). That is always good to see.

You can see a bird flying behind the palm tree. There are predators around the nest. It did not go unnoticed by Andy and Lena. Andy is being careful. No one will harm his family if he can help it.

The trio are slowly falling into a sleep coma. There was no fish left for Andy and even Lena didn’t get a lot. The osplets are demanding more and more each feeding as they grow. They will all be entering their second week by the end of this week and that is a big growth period for nestlings.

Andy is off to get his fish. Lena might be wishing he would bring in another one so she could have some more fish, too. Meanwhile she is trying to get the full and sleepy puddle of chicks settled.

Big Bob is not being very cooperative! Get to sleep Big Bob.

Finally! It is a cuddle puddle.

Spring is in the air for all of the California Condors at San Simeon and The Pinnacles. Ventana Wildlife Society just posted this beautiful image with an announcement of a Zoom session. You might want to check it out. I have attended several of these. They are free and very informative.

There is a pip at the home of the Duke Farms Bald Eagles!

Here is the link to their camera. I saw the announcement on FB but the view from the cameras is not good enough for me to get an image capture.

One of our readers, ‘S’ from Latvia reports that the swans are returning. They have been flying over her house and foraging in the nearby fields. Isn’t that wonderful. Next week I will include a discussion on all the nests in Latvia and Estonia – White-tailed Eagles and Storks – that you can watch. Eggs will be laid on some of the nests, such as Milda’s around the beginning of spring. It gives me hope – hope that warm days are coming.

All of the nests are doing well. NE26 and 27 ate so much today they could hardly walk! I have not seen Ervie but his tracker shows he is exploring the area around the bay where the barge is located. Hopefully we might get a glimpse of him, soon.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Window on Wildlife and Captiva Osprey Nest and Duke Farms.

Sunday in Bird World

If you are looking for the NCTC streaming cam for the nest of Smitty and Bella and have not found it, here is the link. It is not on YouTube.

https://www.outdoorchannel.com/live/eaglecam/326707/326904

Everyone is hopeful that if the young female returns there will not be a horrific fight between her and Bella. I gather she was not near the nest today as Smitty and Bella got down to all those important preparations for eggs! They did not waste a second.

More love stories with the eagles! A very handsome 4 year old, A-14, named Andor is making a nest with Cruz at Fraser’s Point on the Channel Islands. Oh, goodness, another young dad. It was fantastic to see the young male at the MN-DNR last year. He was quite incredible once it all got figured out. Here is the link to the Fraser’s Point streaming cam. If you like the sound of frogs and crickets, turn it on at night!

The barge at Port Lincoln sure looks empty. It was full of pigeons yesterday cleaning. There is an Osprey sleeping on the perch and it must be Dad. I wonder if he is missing Ervie, too? They got to be good buddies. Wasn’t that fabulous?

Port Lincoln has uploaded the latest tracking on all three Osprey. Our Ervie is really getting around! The green pin indicates the last place he was. His pattern still seems to return to the barge. I do wonder if he will stop in again. He is also going along the coast for the most part which is what he should be doing. It is unusual for the Ospreys to inland but Solly did that last year, remember? Notice, there is a spot in the bay where he appears to have stopped to fish.

So glad that Ervie’s tracking is working and we can follow our favourite Osprey juvenile as he becomes more independent!

Andy brought in a really nice fish for Lena and the three babies this morning. Someone said it was a nice trout.

Lena, we want to see the babies not your tail!!!!!!

Andy looks awfully handsome with his crest fluffed up.

Can you say awwwww?

Each chick ate well.

At the 11:27 feeding, you can get a good look at all three of the babies. Andy brought in a whopper of a fish!

The new parents are getting used to being really busy. Andy has to provide food and security and Lena has to feed and keep them warm plus try to take care of herself. They are doing well. That is Little Bob on the right.

Parents are alerting. Now Little Bob is in the middle.

Everyone had fish. We have to remember that Big Bob will eat more than the newly hatched Little Bob. Don’t worry if it looks like he is getting all the food. They all ate well and Lena is a fabulous Mum.

Look at those little crops.

Here is the link so you can watch this fantastic Osprey family:

The soon to be named eaglets at the NEFlorida nest of Samson and Gabby have pin feathers! They continue to work on self feeding – particularly NE27. In fact, Samson dropped a fish in the nest to see what would happen. NE26 looked at it, NE27 had a go at eating. Then Samson jumped back in the nest and fed both of them. We are over the hump of worry and can look forward to lots of activity in this nest once they start working those wings.

You can see the pin feathers coming in on the wing of the chick on the right.

Adorable. They are both very interested in what is happening off the nest and the comings and goings of Gabby and Samson.

The chat moderator at the Kistachie National Forest (KNF) nest of Anna, Louis, and Kincaid got in touch with Lady Hawk and told her about the 20 fish deliveries . Tonya said she twisted her arm to make the video when she gave Lady Hawk all the time stamps for the 20 deliveries. I know that it is difficult to believe but I have been saying all along that Louis is the best pantry filler I have ever seen! Once I giggled that maybe he was in competition with Samson but he has blown all of the males out of the water with this last barrel of fish. Twenty fish in one day – during daylight hours only. Here is the proof. Have a look:

It is time to check on Iowa. It is now reported that the number of Bald Eagles in Iowa has risen. The Des Moines Registrar states: “Stephanie Shepherd, part of the Iowa DNR’s wildlife research staff, estimates the average number of bald eagles in any given winter to be about 3,500. But that number has increased to nearly 6,000 this year, the National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey says.” Wow. Where did they come from? are they moving further north because of the weather? It is curious. Certainly other birds are moving farther north.

As of yesterday, 19 February at 16:15, there were two eggs in the nest at Decorah North home to Mr North and DNF (Decorah North Female).

Wow. Look at that beautiful straw and corn husk nest. Gorgeous. You don’t see that in Louisiana or Florida!

There are no eggs on the Decorah Bald Eagle nest (not to be confused with Decorah North). How lucky can you be with a trout fishery right across the road!

It is the 7th or 8th year for the Bald Eagles at the Denton Homes nest. They are named the Majestics. No eggs yet but this nest is currently on egg watch. Becky has been jumping around the nest for the last few days.

We are all holding our breath for Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear. Their first egg was laid on 22 Jan and the second on 25 Jan. Believe it or not we will be on pip watch for Jackie and Shadow on the 26th. Everyone is wishing this much loved Bald Eagle couple success this year.

Doesn’t Jackie look gorgeous as the sun rises over Big Bear Lake?

Here is the link to their streaming camera. Do check in and send all your positive energy to these two fabulous eagles. Maybe this year will be a golden one for them! Thousands and thousands will be crying with joy if it is. Like Captiva, the nest has been plagued by predators and thin egg shells from the DDT that is still in the region after 50 years. We keep our fingers crossed.

Smitty has been bringing in some grasses to the NCTC nest that he will hopefully share with his mate, Bella. I have not seen her this morning nor have I seen the new female (NF). Fingers crossed that there is no horrid confrontation between the two females and one gets injured – again. It had to be difficult for Bella when she was hurt on 1 February and had to leave her nest. Positive thoughts.

All of the nests seem to be doing well today. It is hard not to just watch those little osplets at Captiva and ignore everyone else. They are so cute and we all know that they will grow fast. It is a consolation to have them when we are all missing Ervie so much. Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Window on Wildlife, Friends of Big Bear, Explore.org, Denton Homes, NEFlorida and the AEF, and Port Lincoln Osprey Cam and FB page.

Saturday in Bird World

First of all, thank you to everyone who sent a note or an e-mail over the tribute to Ervie. It warms my heart to know that so many people, around the world, loved this bird so much. I was over joyed when he showed up on the nest. It was as if he stopped in to Mum and Dad’s house to say hi and see how they were doing and showing them he is OK. I hope that he returns often like that! And, of course, my real wish is that he takes over the barge when Dad and Mum retire. Now wouldn’t that be something!

We are in the midst of yet another blizzard. I really enjoyed the notes from those of you that are missing snow. I wish I could send you a truck load of it! I have tried to take some images today and will put them at the end. One is the garage aka Little Red’s penthouse. The snow is almost to the top of the peak on the gable end. I would so love to share!!!!

In Bird World news, something shocking happened at the Skidaway Island GHOW nest. You might remember it as the Savannah Osprey Nest. It is hard to believe but a Red-tail Hawk knocked the female GHOW off the egg and the newly hatched chick. Cornell Bird Lab posted a video of their encounter.

The two little osplets at the Captiva Osprey nest continue to do well. Andy and Lena are working together like a well-oiled clock. Andy stays on or right around the nest while Lena is busy feeding the babies. Hopefully his presence will deter any predators. Equally important is that one or both are at the nest site around the clock never leaving the babies exposed.

If the third hatch is to be, it should be happening today. The two on the nest get along well and Lena is very good at feeding them. Two healthy osplets would be grand. Oh, I do hope this lovely family is successful. Their streaming cam is here:

I know that I am not even going to try and keep up with what adult is on the Royal Cam Albatross Nest in NZ. Last time I checked it was OGK and then I saw a note that YRK was back! This revolving door is also happening at the NCTC Bald Eagle nest. If you have forgotten, let me bring you up to speed. It is the home of Bella and Smitty. They have been bonded mates for awhile. Bella got into a dispute with an unidentified female and Bella was injured. There were a number of search parties that went out to check on her. They could not find her and people worried that she was severely injured or dead. After more than week, Smitty and the new gal had been on the nest and he was bringing her fish. Well, guess what? Bella returned to her nest this morning!

The eaglets on the nest of Samson and Gabby, NE26 and 27 are doing well. A big fish was delivered and NE26 tried to feed on it and then 27 went over. Gabby flew in and made sure both were full. The discord on this nest is not gone but 27 is doing well. He is still a little submissive but bless his heart, he has his work arounds and manages to get fed well. They will both be fine!

How can you not love a Peregrine Falcon? This showed up on my feed. What is wonderful is that these falcons are living in nature on the cliffs in Japan. It is so beautiful. You will immediately appreciate why the urban falcons love tall buildings with ledges like the 367 Collins Street Nest in Melbourne or the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier at Orange. Enjoy! It will make you anxious for Annie and Grinnell!

This is a good one, too!!!!! Can never get enough of little falcons being fed by their parents.

There were praises all around for the rangers in the Kisatchie National Forest, Steve and Cody, who arranged tours to the forest and a chance to see the nest and the eagles through lots of scopes – one for each attendee. So lucky! The rangers are really promoting the love of wildlife. So happy for those that lived close enough to go.

Kincaid is doing well. Louis broke his fishing record with 20 fish being delivered to the nest between dawn and dusk! Many are covered with moss. Kincaid and Anna are not going hungry! Never.

I have not checked on the WRDC nest in Miami. R1 and R2 have really grown! And both are doing exceptionally well. The cam does not seem to be on line today but I did find a video of the two eaglets eating yesterday. Be prepared to be surprised at how big both of them are! Everything is fine on this nest.

Some nests are having bad weather problems as that system moves through the NE. But everyone seems to be coping really well. The Mum at Pittsburgh-Hayes is incubating three eggs and she has been rolling them seemingly nonplused by the snow. Good for her.

The birds and squirrels in the garden are doing well. You are looking at Little Red’s penthouse. You will notice all the vines. We let them grow thick and deep so that the small birds can get shelter and have a place to hide from Sharpie. In the spring the vines are full of small nests. You can see that the snow is almost up to the roof!

The birds will eat away the snow at the top of the vines.

I am taking these images from inside the house. There are European Starlings eating the snow off the back wood holder.

It just gets deeper and deeper. The paths had about a foot or 30 cm of snow on them this morning when we went out to fill the feeders.

Wishing each of you a wonderful day. Thank you so much for stopping in and checking on the birds. It is wonderful to see they are doing so well and what a joyous day with Bella returning to her nest! She still has some blood on her neck and some scars around her eye and feet but she has healed and that brings much joy. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Captiva Osprey Cam and Window on Wildlife, Pix Cams, NE Florida and the AEF, and the KNF Bald Eagle Nest.

Little Bit – Snatch and Grab

After watching the 18:00 feeding at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby and Samson, I don’t think we need to worry about Little Bit aka NE27. Both chicks are up by the adult and there is a fresh fish. I did a little over 2 minutes of recording. Little Bit is the eaglet in the back. Just watch him grab that fish! And look at that crop. This little eaglet has a whole new level of confidence.

Enjoy!

Thank you for joining me this evening. All is well at this nest. The more confidence Little Bit gets the more he will not be intimidated by his big sibling. Take care!

Thank you to the NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF for their streaming cam where I took my video clip.

Bird World News 16.2.22

It is -17 C on the Canadian Prairies, almost noon on 16 February. The temperatures will drop overnight so that it is -32 C tomorrow. No snow. Yeah! But the wind was blowing this morning and swirling around Mrs Woodpecker when she was eating the suet.

Yes that white strip is actually how the blowing snow looked to the camera. Isn’t she lovely? None of the other birds had arrived and she had this compressed seed cylinder all to herself. They seem to prefer it over the more traditional suet- at least at our breakfast bar!

It is the middle of the night in Port Lincoln Australia and Ervie and Dad are on the barge. Ervie on the nest and Dad up on the perch.

Yesterday afternoon I needed a break from the worrying over NE27 and so I went and checked on Xavier and Diamond. Diamond had a large crop and was in the scrape. Oh, she is gorgeous.

Did you know that the Latin word peregrinus means ‘foreign, wandering’? Apparently they noted that the bird was constantly on the move!

Sharpie came to visit the other day and I was reminded, looking at him, that he is just so much smaller in size that the Peregrine Falcons which are medium to large size hawks.

I love how the raptors can close one eye with their nictitating membrane, that third eyelid unique to them.

It was comforting to see Diamond in the scrape. Breeding will not take place til the late summer but if you are longing for Peregrine Falcons, it is time to turn your attention to Annie and Grinnell at the UC-Berkeley Campus. Egg laying should be taking place in a couple of weeks.

Both of the chicks have hatched at the Eagle Country nest of Abigail and Blazer. The oldest was given the name Thunder and the youngest is Fern. Fern gets some bites amidst a bit of bonking from Thunder.

There is a pip on at least one of Andy and Lena’s eggs at the Captiva Osprey Cam. I thought it was on two eggs, some think only one.

Here is the link to the cam:

I grew up in Oklahoma. Sadly, one of the oldest living eagles, Taurus, who was an ambassador for the Sequoyah State Park in my home state died. Taurus was 43 years old!

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article258434148.html

At the 07:10 feeding on the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Samson and Gabby, NE27 did the old snatch and grab. It got right under the parent and up so it could grab ignoring a couple of earlier pecks by 26.

NE27 needs to keep its head and neck away from NE26. It seems to know that. It is also figuring out how to circumvent NE26 and get up front quicker. Clever little eaglet.

Later NE27 stared down 26 with the older sibling not reacting. Well done, Little Bit.

That cheeping by Little Bit is because it is hungry. Some eaglets do it more than others.

We are in the third week. We should be seeing this competitive behaviour by 26 easing up in the next week. NE27 is going to be fine and much better suited to deal with the outside world where there will be huge competition with other raptors.

If you missed it, Liberty and Guardian now have three eggs as of yesterday! I missed that one for sure. Last year this couple fledged three juvenile eagles. The Redding California Bald Eagle nest is one to watch!

Here is the link to the Redding Cam:

The sun is shining bright and it is getting a little colder. I am off for my walk and to check on the chickadee at the park. There is a small bag of seeds for it in my pocket today.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Captiva Osprey Cam, and NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Sunday in Bird World

Yesterday my friend, ‘R’ saw an article in her local newspaper in PA, the Philadelphia Inquirer, by Rita Giordano. Its title was ‘Copper Bullets could help with eagles being poisoned by hunted animals’. Today, one of the FB groups that I belong to trying to end lead poisoning in birds – both flying and waterfowl – posted some information. I would like to add fishing equipment to these topics, not just bullets. That article, ‘Those Bullets that kill Birds’ will be coming tomorrow. Sadly, those that hunt and fish with lead equipment will probably never read my blog but, hopefully, it will inspire you to reach out to those you know who do fish and hunt with the consequences and how they can help be part of the solution.

I am also working on Avian Flu and falcons. That is coming up.

It started off a wet yucky day in Jacksonville at the nest of Gabby and Samson. By mid-day, the eaglets were drying out. Poor Gabby needs to go to the stylist!

Gabby is an amazing Mum. I love watching her take care of her babies. She tries so hard to get them under her so she can keep them dry. She was also spread out like a huge Mumbrella at one time.

It’s a nice fresh fish for the family. Those babies are getting their mohawks.

It was the same for Harriet, M15, E19 and 20 at the Fort Myers Bald Eagle nest on the property of D Pritchett. The one difference between Harriet’s eaglets and Gabby’s is their age and their plumage. E19 and E20 have their juvenile feathers and the rain and cold can be controlled by them – but not by E26 and 27 yet.

still Harriet tries to stuff those big babies underneath her!

R1 and R2 were soaking wet when they woke up at the WRDC nest in the Miami Zoo, too.

Ron and Rita’s nestlings look more like eagles now. My goodness. They are catching up with E19 and E20.

The Osceola Bald Eagle nest looks dry. The Mum was there feeding the eaglet this morning even though it can easily feed itself now.

It is difficult to tell if there is a pip on the first egg for Andy and Lena at the Captiva Osprey nest. Lena has been rolling the eggs and calling for Andy to bring her some food! He brought in a small fish earlier but she is still hungry.

The poor Mum at the Duke Farms nest is under some snow! Dad has brought in food and has done some rotations in the incubation rota with her.

It is pretty nice down in Louisiana. Kincaid always looks so lonely on the nest when he is there by himself, just like the little eaglet at Berry and Osceola. The truth is that Bald Eagles are solitary birds, most often. It probably doesn’t bother them at all – just me! Anna is going to feed that entire fish that Louis just brought to Kincaid! His crop will pop.

The forest rangers are going to add an IR light that will light up the canopy of the tree, more sound, and a new camera. The sound they have now is incredible. This morning Kincaid was food calling and those little cheeps just tugged at your heart strings.

Are you a fan of Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Horned Owls that took over the Bald Eagle nest on Farmer Derek’s property last season? If so, the GHOWs are back! They have visited the nest but no egg was laid last night.

You can see one of the Owls on the branch above the nest at dawn.

Remember that the owls are active during the evening and night – and most active at dusk and dawn. Once Bonnie lays her first egg, she will remain on the nest taking some breaks with Clyde providing food.

Here is the link to this camera:

On the 11th of February, three days ago in Orange, Australia, that little cutie pie Xavier chased a Wedge-tailed Eagle – the largest raptor in Australia – out of his territory! The encounter was caught on the new tower cam. Xavier, you are amazing.

This is the best I could do from the streaming tower cam. You can see the wings of the Wedge-tail eagle in a downward stance to the right of the image. Below and to the left you will see a small dark spot. That is Xavier.

Here is a 3 min 20 sec video on this magnificent bird so you can see how large a Wedge-tail Eagle is and then you can marvel more at Xavier’s ability to get it out of his territory. A short introduction to the Wedgie.

We are in the midst of another blizzard. The snow coming down is not big flakes but it sure is blowing. I thought I caught Dyson eating the nut cylinder but when I cropped the images it was Scraggles eating all those nuts. Dyson is sure missing out! Yesterday, no one in the garden had hardly touched this lovely nut cylinder and by the end of the day, Scraggles might well have eaten it all. Do squirrels get tummy aches?

The snow is sticking to Scraggles’s fur.

I love how Scraggles moves around eating the seed cylinder and hanging on. That cylinder was more than triple the current size when Scraggles started out. He is eating well and looks quite healthy except for his tail which is actually growing back. We believe he had a bad encounter with one of the local cats.

The Sparrows are all puffed to stay warm.

I put some chopped peanuts, meal worms, and Bark Butter balls on the snow for those that wanted to eat off the ground. It was nice to see the Starling and the Sparrow sharing the food.

Little Red has decided to stay inside his penthouse today. I have not seen him out at all. That suet he ate yesterday should keep him full for several days.

The Port Lincoln Osprey cam is offline again. It has just not been the same since the big storm. Hopefully it will be back up shortly and we can check on Ervie.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida and the AEF Bald Eagles, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Duke Farms, Osceola Bald Eagles, KNF Bald Eagles, Captiva Osprey Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, WRDC Bald Eagles, and Farmer Derek.

A Good Day at the Hamlet

The day started off with a beautiful morning sunrise at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Samson and Gabby, NE26 and 27, commonly known as ‘Little Bit’. This nest was and is often called ‘The Hamlet’.

It is going to be partially cloudy in Jackssonville, Florida with none of the horrid rain the eagles had the other week. It is 22 C. The wind is blowing at just 8 kmh.

NE 26 hatched on 26 January with 27 hatching on the 25th. Tomorrow, NE26 will be two weeks old!

Nice siblings making a cuddle puddle.

They are a couple of wiggle worms eating and sleeping and moving all over their big nest.

The little nestlings are becoming curious about the environment outside the nest.

Samson and Gabby make sure that both eaglets are full. No one is left out. There are no worries at this nest about Little Bit not getting his share.

In fact, Little Bit hogged most of a feeding today. Meanwhile, 26 sat and watched. 26 still has a crop from an earlier feeding!

Even so, both were fed as much as they could hold.

These little cuties know where the food is but they are not curious like some of the older eaglets on other nests – yet. Notice the clown feet stage is upon us! These two are right on time in terms of development. Those footpads and talons are growing. They are turning yellow and if I could get a close up of their talons we would see that they are now black, not pink.

You can also see the dandelions from the natal down slowly being replaced by their thermal down.

These two are well fed and very healthy. Their eyes are clear. There is no hint of the Avian Pox that Legacy had last year and just look at those fat legs and bottoms!

More feedings! That is Little Bit up front. This is some kind of bird that Samson has brought to the nest.

The feedings are averaging 30 minutes a session – that is a far cry from when these two were ‘wee ones’ and could only eat a couple of flakes of fish at a time.

The eaglets spend between 75-80 days, typically, in the nest before fledging. The first 35 or 40 days are spent eating and growing. We sure see that. The second half their flight feathers come in and they work on skills, such as wingersizing, to help them after they fledge and playing pinecone which helps them learn to grip with their talons.

We are entering week 3 (days 14-21) for both of these eaglets. You will see some changes. The natal down will disappear from their heads last. It might look like they have mohawk hair cuts. Pin feathers will begin to grow in. You will also notice that Gabby and Samson fill up the eaglets even more so that their crops often look so big they can hardly move. It is an exciting time for these babies. At the end of week 3 they will look less like little fuzzy babies and more like eagles.

The feathers will grow and cover their ears, too. It is so exciting – and, at the same time, a little sad. They are so cute when they are wee.

If you haven’t been watching Samson, Gabby, 26 and 27, these wee ones are growing fast. Here is a link to the streaming cam:

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the NEBald Eagles and the AEF for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures today.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

Ever since our big storm with all the snow and -35 temperatures the number of birds visiting the garden feeders has decreased. The European Starlings that once graced the Lilac Bushes and all the neighbouring trees are down to a handful from a record number of 58. The regulars are here along with about 40 Sparrows. That is also a huge decline. I wonder what is going on?? It is -9 and the wind has ranged from 23 kph to now 16 kph. It was the first time that my fingers felt like they were freezing when I was on my walk. One bird and lots of squirrels running around, a few people walking dogs. The garden was so peaceful.

Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest laid her third egg this morning, 9 February, at 07:36. She has been incubating the other two eggs since the second was laid. 37 days is the average for hatching to begin. So the middle of March there should be bobbleheads on this nest. My intention will be to stock up on all manner of ‘calming’ teas should sibling 1 turn out to the brute that it was last year.

The third hatch survived only by its sheer determination not to die many times over and finally, Diane recognizing this and she began to go and catch catfish and made sure it ate. Chatters dubbed #3 ‘Tumbles’ because it was tripping over its feet. I called it Tiny Tot and then merged the two names together. Turns out that Tiny Tot Tumbles became the most formidable chick on the nest, taking over control and staying to even help Jack defend the nest. She was an incredible bird.

The nest is located in a parking lot of an Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida. There is a chat connected with the streaming cam but there has been no moderator. Here is the link to the Achieva Camera:

This morning Big Red and Arthur paid another visit to the Fernow Tower Light Stand. This has been Big Red’s nest choice for the past few years. The nest is on the grounds of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The hawks live on their campus territory year round.

The couple will continue to refurbish this nest for at least another 5 weeks. The earliest Big Red has laid her eggs as on 13 March and she did that only once. She laid the first egg on 14 March once and the 16th twice. I tend to think of her as laying on average around the 23rd but, the birds are surprising everyone this year.

Arthur flew in with a stick at 09:56:36.

Getting the right placement of the twigs on the nest is important as Big Red is very particular.

Here comes Big Red to join Arthur with her own big stick.

Oh, there is our beautiful Big Red, the Queen of all Red-tail Hawks, in good form landing on her nest. She is 19 years old. Hatched in 2003 in Brooktondale, NY, just down the road from Ithaca. Banded on 10 October of that same year. Arthur is from a nest adjacent to Big Red’s territory. Arthur is 7 years old this year. Big Red and Arthur became a bonded couple after Big Red’s first mate, Ezra, was killed in 2017. This will be the 5th breeding season for Big Red and Arthur! Can’t wait.

Both are carefully looking at what needs to be done to whip this nest into shape for this season.

If you look carefully, Arthur has already had breakfast. The evidence is on his talons. Oh, I hope this is a good year for chipmunks for the Ls. Yes, they will be the Ls.

Arthur flies off to get more twigs and Big Red settles in to work on that nest cup.

And here is Arthur. Big Red has flown off and he is giving this nest cup a once over, too. Look at that magnificent tail. That is what makes the Red-tail Hawks ‘red tails’. The hawks do not get their red tails until they are a year old. Until then they have to settle with two colours of grey stripes. In fact, when Big Red picked Arthur out of other possible mates, he did not yet have his red tail! That tail is almost like a badge of honour. If you survive your first year, you get the mark of the red tail. In reality, only 1 out of 3 eyasses survive their first year. The challenges for the youngsters are enormous.

I am going to start marking the days on my calendar. There are two cameras and a dedicated team of moderators on the chat. You will learn everything you wanted to know about hawks and more. Once the chicks fledge there are birders on the ground (BOGs) that submit photos and videos so that we can keep up with them til they leave the territory.

Here is the link to one of the cameras:

Sadly, the streaming cam to the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge is still off line. Oh, I wonder how Ervie and Mum and Dad are doing.

The Netherlands is reporting the third White-tail Eagle killed by a wind turbine. This is 3 out of 15 specially banded birds. There is an easy fix for the birds – install bird alarm systems and/or paint one of the blades black so that the birds can ‘see’ the moving blade. It is well known that this really helps in diminishing the numbers of birds deaths. As we build more and more wind farms, measures must be taken to protect all of the birds, not just eagles. Painting one blade black is a cheap easy fix that can be done in the factory that has been known about for a number of years. So why isn’t this being done?

There was another ground search for Bella at the NCTC Bald Eagle Nest with no luck in finding her. Meanwhile, Smitty and the new female have been working on the nest and mating. I hope that Bella is somewhere recovering from her injuries.

Harriet and M15s eaglets continue to change into juveniles right before our eyes. They sure love to eat! And they have gorgeous juvenile plumage with only a few dandelions lurking about. The top image is E20. What a crop. Don’t need to worry about this one getting its share anymore.

Harriet and M15 keeping the babies full.

Things are going alright on the WRDC in Miami. Both R1 and R2 are progressing in their feather development. Both are getting much more steady on their feet and there is a nice big fish on the nest for dinner. R2 has survived. Worry time is past (for me anyway).

NE26 and 27 are doing great. They survived all the torrential downpours in Jacksonville two days ago. Gabby was such a trooper keeping those kids dry and fed. I was ever so impressed.

Still on egg watch at the Pittsburgh-Hays nest. The adults are busy watching a train pass on the upper tracks at the moment.

Here is a link to their streaming cam:

There is egg watch for Liberty and Guardian at the Redding, California nest. My goodness the wind is just blowing and howling there.

Here is the link to their streaming cam. Also watch out for those very informative videos by Gary.

This coming weekend it is hatch watch for Lena and Andy at the Captiva Osprey Nest on Santibel Island, Florida. I cannot find that streaming cam live anymore. The owner of the property said that he would cut the power once the eggs hatched so maybe it is just offline. I will check again later and report back if i find it operative tomorrow.

Everything is just fine at the Kistachie National Forest nest in Louisiana. The pantry has food and Kincaid is growing like crazy. This is the best set up to actually hear Eagles chitter with one another. Yesterday little Kincaid joined in. It was precious. Highly recommended. There is not a lot of action since the feedings are spread out but it is a great nest ‘to listen’ when the parents are about on and off the tree.

This is not even a dent into all the on line nests. B15 at Berry College is doing great as are the pair of eaglets at Hilton Head. Jackie and Shadow continue to incubate their eggs. So far so good. The same with Thunder and Cheta. While we wait for Big Red to get her clutch started, the wait is also on for the return of all the European birds from African to their spring and summer homes in Europe and the UK. In addition, Lady and Dad have been visiting their nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Expect eggs around the beginning of June. Wow. Time melts.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am so happy to have you here with me and the birds.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Achieva Credit Union, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, WRDC, KNF, Pix Cameras, and Redding Eagles.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

First, in my blog Birds and Drones Don’t Mix, the number of Tern Nests evacuated because of the drone crash on Huntington Beach in June 2021, was 3000 not 300 as I reported. Incredible. Can you imagine a whole generation of birds completely wiped out? That is what happened.

This morning Kincaid was waiting for his breakfast when I left to go for my walk. Louis brought seven fish on to the nest while I was away. Kincaid has a full crop. He is such a cutie. The sound is so good at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest that you can clearly hear the eagles chattering. Today, little Kincaid, all interested in what they were doing joined in with his own vocals. It was nothing short of adorable.

My goodness Kincaid is full to the brim! I wonder if that full of a crop is uncomfortable?

Are we heading into a food coma?

Louis is on the nest and Kincaid wonders, even with that huge crop, if he might get a few bites of fish!

Oh, gosh. How do you spell cute? Is it NE 26 and 27?

Samson did a great job of feeding his babies this morning. 26 and 27 both ate really well, had crops and were wonderfully behaved!

The storm has really wiped out the wifi at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. No news on Ervie. I am sure they are OK but I wonder how much Ervie has had to eat. With choppy weather, Dad excels at fishing but I doubt Ervie is good enough at fishing to be successful in stormy weather.

Big Red and Arthur both came to the Fernow Light Stand Nest today at 06:57 to check on it. Arthur stayed longer actually rubbing the nest cup to check on it. We are about six weeks away from egg laying – unless Big Red is early!

Falconer Laura Culley will be joining in on the morning chat discussions. It is a great time to learn everything about Red-tail Hawks that you thought you would never want to know.

This is the 25th anniversary of Cornell’s Backyard Bird Count. It takes place this year from 18-22 February. It is free and I urge all of you to join in. This is citizen science at its best – helping to establish which birds are where and how many before the spring migration. Please do take part. Please go to https://www.birdcount.org/participate/ to sign up. You can participate for as few as 15 minutes a day. You can use the Merlin Bird App on your phone or use your desktop or laptop computer. It is fun and it really helps understand bird population growth and decline.

Thanks everyone for joining me today. My regular blog will be coming later in the afternoon for the next week. Take care. Stay safe. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, KNF, and Cornell Bird Labs Red-tail Hawks.

Florida Baldies

There are a number of Bald Eagle nests on streaming cams in Florida: Captiva, NEFlorida, SWFlorida, the WRDC, and Osceola to name five. Three of the nests have eaglets who are getting their blood feathers and beginning to look like gorgeous dark espresso juveniles. One nest did not have viable eggs on its first clutch and NE Florida has eaglets who are, on average 14 days old.

Gabby and Samson really had a weekend of bad weather. Rain and high winds rocked the nest but it did not rock this great eagle couple. Samson piled the fish on the nest so the entire family could eat regardless of the weather and Gabby did an amazing job of keeping NE26 and 27 dry and fed. This is an incredible team!

NE 26 is 15 days old and NE 27 is 13 days old today.

The eaglets at NEFlorida are in the process of losing their natal down and getting the thermal down. At that time they will be able to more regulate their own temperature.

At the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita, the eaglets are getting their blood feathers or juvenile feathers. I say the word ‘blood’ feather because the middle area of the feather – often called the quill – is full of blood. If it should break, the eagle could bleed to death. Just this morning Rita stepped on R2’s wing and there was concern.

R1 is 37 days old and R2 is 36 days old today.

That is R2 nearest the adult. Note the lovely thermal down and the dark feathers. They are growing in through the follicles where the natal down was (or so I am told). What is interesting to me in terms of eaglet behaviour is that R2 is beginning to walk. He is not fully steady but he will move from one side of the nest to the other on his feet.

There he made it. You can see that R1 has more juvenile feathers than R2. It is a good way to distinguish them.

Here is some information on the stages of development.

https://journeynorth.org/tm/eagle/annual/facts_nestlings.html

The eaglet at the Osceola Bald Eagle Nest is ahead of the eaglets at the WRDC in terms of its plumage development. There are three Bald Eagle nests with only one hatchling so far: Osceola, Kistachie National Forest, and Berry College. The single at Osceola is actively looking over the edge of the nest to the world beyond. An adult is providing security on a branch to the left.

It might look like E19 and E20 are alone on the nest but just like the eaglet at Osceola, they aren’t. Harriet or M15 or both will be up on the higher branches keep guard over their nest and their territory.

The plumage development on the SWFlorida Eaglets is between that of Osceola and WRDC it appears with Osceola being the most developed.

The Captiva Bald Eagle nest on Santibel Island of Connie and Clive did not have any hatchlings from the first clutch of eggs. It is unclear whether Connie and Clive will try for a second clutch. They each worked burying the egg yesterday and placing palm leaves over it. Surely a means of closure and new beginnings.

Other Bird World News:

Richmond continues to come to the Whirley Crane and spend time waiting for Rosie’s arrival. Today he stayed for over half an hour. Normally Rosie arrives right around Valentine’s Day. To get you in the mood for baby Ospreys, here is a compilation from last year and the triples: Sage, Poppy, and Lupin. It is nice to remember that Ervie was once this small! Oh, they grow and leave us way too fast.

Ervie is on the nest crying for Dad to deliver him a fish at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. The last fish delivery was yesterday at 15:07 so Ervie is very hungry this morning.

And breeding season has started at The Campanile Peregrine Falcon nest of Annie and Grinnell!!!!!!!!! Oh, how exciting!

I went to one of our local nature centres for my walk and to check on the little woodpecker that had a beak issue today. The temperature was only -7 C but the breeze off the lake made it feel much more colder.

The food in the feeders was almost gone. The Nuthatch was trying to get thee last of the suet.

There were a pair of Black-capped Chickadees feeding on Black Oil Seed.

The little woodpecker was not at the feeders when we departed the centre or returned.

It is hard to describe to anyone how much snow we have had. Here in the park it is almost at the top of the picnic tables.

We walked across the frozen lake and back. It was so quiet. The snow is dry and it crunched under our feet.

It was a lovely day despite the chill to be outside. I felt blessed.

If you are interested in what is happening on the high seas in terms of fishing, I will provide you with a link to the Sea Shepherd site. Paul Watson is a Canadian and he is intent on bringing to justice those who fish the seas illegally. Sea Shepherd also works with countries helping with illegal fishing in their waters. In September I had a friend taking photographs on the Faroe Islands when the largest pod of Dolphins was forced on shore. That report with images and why it was considered an illegal hunt is on the Sea Shepherd site under News. The fishing impacts the sea birds like the Albatross. If huge illegal trawlers continue to harvest 24/7 seven days a week, the fish stocks in the ocean will be depleted. That along with warming waters is a huge threat to the Albatross and Petrels.

Once you go on the site, to find the latest news you have to click on Media and then news.

Thank you so much for joining me today. There is so much happening with the Bald Eagles that my mind has to stop and focus on a few at a time. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, WRDC, Osceola Bald Eagles, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project.