Joy in Bird World – Legacy is home! (updated with video)

This morning at 10:41:31 Legacy, the fledgling of Samson and Gabby at the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam came home to her natal nest. Joy rang out through the community.

Legacy is calling out to her parents who, on any other day, would have been waiting for her at the nest tree! She is tired and hungry. What a relief! Samson is going to be over joyed to bring Legacy a fish!!!!!!! Legacy is calling and calling. She is ready for a snack. I hope Gabby and Samson are nearby soon.

Deb Steyck put together a video of the return. Here is the link:

It is 2:48pm EDT on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville. Legacy continues to call for her parents. Oh, how I wish I knew bird calls better! There are lots of songbirds but a few unusual calls and Legacy seems to have settled in to wait for the arrival of a parent. I was so afraid that she was going to leave. Hopefully – for all of us – she is tired and hungry and will stick to that nest til Samson or Gabby appears. Oh, what a relief to have our girl home!

As we celebrate the great joy and relief it is to see Legacy, in north Wales today people are wondering what is happening to the care and kindness for wildlife. The Lyn Brenig Osprey Nest was destroyed by an individual or individuals arriving in a boat in the dark. The mated pair from last year did not return and the community was so excited when a new couple came to the platform and laid an egg. Now that egg and nest are completely destroyed. The Ospreys that were there are, hopefully, not traumatized and will relocate to a nearby nest in which a dummy egg has been placed to entice them. How sad for everyone. The person or persons responsible would have know the area well. Indeed, they might even live on the lake and for reasons of their own decided to rid the lake of these wonderful birds that Wales is trying so hard to reintroduce. The North Wales Police are out in force to find the persons responsible for this destruction.

And the continued well being of Tiny turned ‘Biggie’ Tot continues on the Achieva Osprey Nest. The first fish delivery was at 11:23:06 and it looks like Biggie Tot got the majority of it. This is nothing short of a miracle. This little one survived three days without food several times – and in total – 12 full days without food. Tiny is now growing and putting on weight. So good to see. Tiny is truly a survivor.

The other news on the Achieva Osprey Nest is the fledge of sibling #2. It was a magnificent take off with a crash landing right on Tiny Biggie Tot.

There she goes! It is 6:57:10.

Oops. The return was at 7:04:43. I don’t think Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot was impressed.

Take care everyone. I will be checking in on the nests later today. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union and the NE Florida and the AEF streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots. Thank you also to the North Wales Wildlife Trusts for the images of the destroyed nest at Lyn Brenig. Truly a tragedy for the community.

Happy Earth Day from Bird World

There are some days in Bird World where I just need to sit and appreciate the joy and magic that these feathered creatures bring to my life. Whether it is the hundreds of birds that are eat from my feeders every day or the ones on the streaming cams hundreds or thousands of kilometres away – each and every one has brought me great joy.

It is Earth Day and I want to think about what else it is that I can do to make their lives easier. I hope that you will join me in considering every way that you can to ensure a safer planet for all of the wildlife that enrich our lives. Perhaps make a donation to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or to a streaming cam. Maybe spend some time picking up litter from a highway or cleaning up around the shore of a river. Put up a bird feeder and keep it stocked with healthy food for birds. Write a letter to someone who can help push for ridding hunting and fishing equipment of lead. Write a letter to rid the world of hazardous poisons like rodenticide and sticky paper traps. Tell a friend it is OK to have balloons but don’t release them. Take them home and cut them up good! Plant flowers for the bees and the butterflies. There is so much you can do – the list is endless. Even putting out bowls of water for birds will help them so much.

Nothing brings a smile to my face bigger than a chick with a nice big crop, tho! Look at those happy eaglets. It looks like they have swallowed balls and look at their chubby little tummies. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to look like that today.

Decorah North Eaglets. 18 April 2021

This is the Decorah North Bald Eagle Nest in Decorah, Iowa. It is the home of Mr North and Mrs DNF. DN 13 is 27 days old (right). It hatched at 7:21 am on 25 March. DN 14 is 25 days old having hatched on 27 March (first time this one was seen on camera was at 7:21 am) (left).

The eaglets have their layer of dark charcoal grey thermal down. It is thicker than their natal down and gives them really good protection from the cold. At this stage their metabolism is developing that will help them be able to thermoregulate their temperatures. The thermal down grows out of a different follicle than the soft baby down. In fact, the thermal down just covers the baby down. You can see some of the dandelions. Eventually contour feathers will grow out of the baby down follicles.

They are adorable. The video below shows the eagles entertaining themselves in the nest with their great big crops. It is about 11 minutes long.

Legacy is such a beautiful eagle. She is exploring all of the branches of her nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida. She gets amazing height jumping up and down on the Spanish Moss lining of the nest. Soon she will fledge. It can happen any day now. She has given so many people such joy this year. We will miss her terribly.

Legacy. 21 April 2021

Legacy spends a lot of time playing with the branches and pinecones in her nest – pretending they are prey items!

And it seems every time I check on the two eaglets in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nest they have grown much more. It is hard to imagine that Legacy was once this small – and despite using the term ‘small’, the eaglets are actually quite large. The young 4 year old Bald Eagle dad, harry, has done a terrific job along with his mate, Nancy.

21 April 2021
21 April 2021

In San Francisco, Grinnell is busy catching pigeons for the three little ones. Hatch watch tomorrow for the fourth eyass at the UC Berkeley campus.

More food please! 21 April 2021

Jackie and Shadow have given up any hope of having a family this year at their nest at Big Bear, California. Their first hatchling in the second clutch died trying to get out of the shell. The second hatchling stopped developing. When the egg broke the other day you could see an eaglet form. The Raven took the rest of the egg away. So sad for these two devoted eagles who tried twice to raise an eagle this year. We can only hope that next year will be better.

Jackie and Shadow will try again nest year. 21 April 2021

Meanwhile, the three eaglets are really keeping the parents busy on the Pittsburg Hayes Nest.

The nest is full with the trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest. 21 April 2021

And news from Wales is that Seren and Dylan on the Clywedog Osprey Nest have their third egg. Seren laid it at 8:45 pm.

Seren just finishing a snack. 22 April 2021
Middle of the Night on the Clywedog Nest. 22 April 2021
Dawn is rising. Dylan is with Seren on the nest. 22 April 2021

Tiny Tot update: There were three fish today. The first arrived at the Achieva Osprey nest at 8:27. Tiny Tot did not get any of that fish. The second fish came in at 1:07:24. Tiny Tot got to eat a little of that fish – for about six minutes. Diane offered it the tail. Diane left the nest and might have caught a big fish. She brought it to the nest around 8:50. Because of the light it is really hard to tell who got what. At 8:52:20 Tiny Tot was up by Diane and the fish and sibling 1 and might have gotten a little fish. Mostly it was 2 eating as far as I could tell. There simply is not enough fish coming on this nest and for Tiny Tot to really benefit, the fish need to come in closer together. Get 2 full and then Tiny Tot has a chance to eat. All in all it was not a great day for Tiny Tot getting food. But, Tiny Tot did well yesterday. Poor thing. Today he attacked 2 twice bonking him. Of course 2 took it out on Tiny – really going after Tiny’s neck. And I don’t buy the term ‘survival’ that is tossed about. 2 is monopolizing the food when the benefit for the nest at this stage -where the older sibs should be hovering and thinking about fledging – is for all to survive and fledge. Today 1 and 2 are fifty days old. The USFWS says that Ospreys in the US normally take their first flight at around sixty days. That is ten days away. But it doesn’t mean that Tiny Tot is alone on the nest to eat all the fish. Oh, no, the older sibs will return to the nest to be fed by the parents, too!

And just a correction to the location of this Osprey Nest. It is not in Dunedin but it is in St Petersburg, my original location. Here it is on Google Maps. There are some fresh water areas and Tampa Bay for fishing. It is the Credit Union location, red $ sign, nearest the top.

Thank you for joining me today. Happy Earth Day to all of you! Stay safe and wish for an abundance of fish on the Achieva Osprey Nest – it is all we can do.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Clywedog Nature Reserve, Achieva Credit Union, MN DNR Bald Eagle Nest, Pittsburgh Hayes Bald Eagle Nest, Decorah North and Explore.Org, UC Falcons, Raptor Resource Project, NWFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Friends of Big Bear.

N24 looks so much better!

Just some background before breaking into the good news.

Avian Pox (AP) is a slow-developing bird disease caused by a virus
belonging to a subgroup of poxviruses, the Avipoxvirus. There is no cure. AP is an international problem for every species of bird. One of the first ways of noticing that a bird has AP is the appearance of lesions on the non-feathered areas such as the face, feet, mouth and beak area, as well as the upper respiratory tract. Sometimes these lesions resemble warts and other times they look like blisters. Birds catch AP from mosquitoes, by eating infected prey, or being in contact with other birds or surfaces contaminated by AP. Researchers believe that the disease ranges from mild to severe but that it is rarely fatal (Wrobel et al. 2016). Birds are more likely to die if the virus impacts its respiratory tract. Additionally, secondary infections can be fatal. The USFWS found that the number of cases occurs less frequently in dry climates while the highest number are in hot and humid climates such as Florida and Louisiana. Those climatic conditions are perfect environments for mosquitoes.

Lesion on N24’s mouth/left beak area. 27 February 2021. @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam
2 March 2021. @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam

One of the biggest issues is that there has not been a large study of Avian Pox in the Bald Eagle population. The study conducted by Wrobel et al found that the frequency of raptors having Avian Pox is far greater than the outward signs such as lesions would suggest. Of the 142 raptor specimens in their research project, ten were Bald Eagles. Of those, 30% had antibodies related to Avian Pox. The researchers admit that their study, which focused on urban and suburban raptors admitted to a Central Illinois clinic, had more small raptors such as Kestrels and Barred Owls. What they did learn is that 50% of all of the raptors had antibodies indicating that they had, at one time, Avian Pox or Conjunctivitis (effects the eyes such as we have seen on SWFL E17 and E18). That is a far higher amount than the scientists expected and their results indicate that the number of raptors exposed to either or both AP and Conjunctivitis is far more prevalent than anticipated. The researchers said that the free living or wild birds in the study indicate that most raptors are able to ‘mount a full adaptive immune response against these pathogens’ (291). This, of course, is excellent news for our raptors if it is correct.

As you are aware, if you have been reading my column or following the NEFL Eagle Nest, the eaglet N24 was observed by individuals of the American Eagle Federation to have Avian Pox on 20 February. On 27 February, the lesions were noticed by many people. Some posted videos expressing concern on YouTube such as Lady Hawk. I mounted a campaign in support of N24 in case an intervention became absolutely necessary. Neither Avian Pox or Conjunctivitis are caused directly by humans. The eaglets at the SWFL Nest, E17 and E18, had Conjunctivitis and were treated by CROW. Their eyes fully healed and they were returned to the nest. It was hoped that little N24 could receive similar help should it respiratory system become compromised.

The good news today, 2 March 2021, is that N24 has a very good appetite. N24 cast a pellet at 6:32 am. It is now 6:40 pm on the nest. There have been at least two feedings. (Pantry was bare til first feeding) The first was around 10:36. Samson brought a fish and started feeding N24. Gabby took over at 10:50 with Samson leaving and returning with another fish. The parents have been very attentive to the little one over the past few days. And, yes, of course. They knew he was sick! All parents know when their kids are not feeling well.

I want some more fish! @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam

The second feeding began around 4:21pm.

N24 devouring the fish. @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam
More, faster! @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam

A third feeding began around 5:46. A few minutes earlier Gabby offered fish but N24 did not appear interested in getting out of the egg cup to eat. He is leaning on ‘the egg’. Around 5:47 Gabby begins feeding the eaglet stretching to reach it in the nest. N24 has a large crop.

I can see no further lesions on N24’s face or mouth area. In fact, it appears that the lesion on the left of the face is reduced. Can you see me jumping up and down?

Mom, Can I incubate the egg while I eat? @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam
Thanks, Mom! My tummy is full! @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam
It isn’t a close up image but any lesion on the left side of the mouth appears to be much smaller or gone altogether. @AEF and Audubon NEFL Eagle cam

I am not a vet or a wildlife rehabber. Every research paper that I can find on AP indicates that the lesions can persist for 1-4 weeks. It has been ten days since the first lesions were noticed. I am hopeful that N24’s immune system is really working to heal this lovely ‘cutie pie’ whose permanent name will be Uno, Scout, Kendi, Storm, Journey, or Legacy. Voting for AEF members ends on March 5.

Just to give you a laugh and to thank you for joining me today, ‘the egg’ became quite an amusement today. N24 leaned on it for a feeding, brooded it in the nest while eating, and even Gabby wasn’t sure what to do with it all the time.

References:

E. Wrobel et al, ‘Seroprevalence of Avian Pox and Mycoplasma Gallisepticum in Raptors in Central Illinois’, The Journal of Raptor Research 50 (3): 289-294.

Field Guide to Wildlife Diseases: General Field Procedure and Disease of Migratory Birds, US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Publication 167 (1987): 135-141.