Late Wednesday in Bird World

30 March 2022

I definitely needed a diversion today – away from the problem of monofilament line – and, in this instance, the line on the foot of Little Middle at Dale Hollow. Little Middle is only one. How many birds ranging from the largest eagles to the smallest duck – wind up in rehabilitation or dead because of fishing line! Every day there are reports of how deadly that thin fishing line is. It is horrible. Of course, the other elephants in the closet are lead in hunting and fishing equipment. Indeed, the biggest cause of fatalities in Bald Eagles could be from lead, according to most of the wildlife rehabbers that post on FB. Lead can be replaced with stainless steel or copper. Rodenticide is another. Soccer nets are another – ones left out over night. Mesh fruit bags. Imagine trying to remove the tiniest leg of a songbird caught in one of those openings in the bag? I suspect that every person reading this knows all of that. I suspect that many of you use your scissors to cut those plastic tabs on bread bags in half so that a bird doesn’t get one over its bill. There are so many, many things we can do to help them.

The three eaglets at the Pittsburgh-Hayes Bald Eagle nest are corkers. My dad used that term to mean ‘getting into mischief’. One is already out of the nest bowl, another is beaking its sibling, and everyone of them has way too much energy — and they are decidedly full of cuteness.

Cute moments at the National Arboretum Nest of Mr President and Lotus. How do you measure cute? These little fur balls at PH and here are so adorable.

If you haven’t watched this nest, you might want to give it a try. This is the first chick in four years for Mr President. One of my readers observed Mr President wanting Lotus to show him the new baby. She wasn’t budging. This is what ‘L’ wrote, “Last night, when DC9 had just hatched and Lotus was barely giving anyone a peak, Mr. P showed up on the nest. It must have been around 2am. He wanted so much to see the chick, but Lotus wasn’t moving, so hilariously he started aerating the nest right next to her, I mean literally next to her and moving all around her as close as he could get. She kept trying to tuck and then was awakened by his persistence of trying to get her to move. Eventually he gave up but I laughed and even shed a tear because this wonderful eagle, who hasn’t had a Little on his nest in 4 seasons, so wanted to see his chick. Warms my heart. Love Mr. P.” ——- How sweet! If the number and size of fish on that nest are any indication of how Mr President intends to stock the pantry from now until fledge, this little one is going to need help getting lift off!!!!!! It is a precious little one. This is the nest that had the intervention when the eaglet’s foot got stuck. I don’t think we have to worry about not being able to get help if needed!

Gosh, there is something wonderful about the colour green. On the Canadian prairies we look for the snow to melt, the trees in the distance to get that hint of green, and the Crocuses to push up from under the snow. The other marker for the return of spring are the Canadian Geese…but it is the colour green. The nest of Liberty and Guardian in Redding, California is just bursting with the most beautiful green leaves! Gorgeous.

Harry and Nancy at the MN-DNR nest might some of that California sunshine. Their two little ones are doing great and Harry is proving himself, once again, to be a fabulous hunter. There is so much prey piled up at the end of the nest this couple could easily feed 3 or 4 – although I would not wish that on them!

Nancy is working really hard to keep the nestlings warm and dry. The weather has been miserable there – rain and snow and then more.

Eagles do not mind the cold but it is not good for little hatchlings.

Cute!

Look at the little one above and then look at the trio at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta. Blink. Those wee ones above will be as big as those at WE.

Each of the nests above are doing fabulous! What a wonderful relief. Just look at the three at the West End. The triplets at Pittsburgh Hayes will grow big and strong like these!

One last giggle. Everyone thought that Mother Goose on the old unused Decorah Eagle nest was finished laying eggs with the 4th. No! She laid her 5th today.

Father Goose is up there helping protect the nest. Gosh, golly. I sure wish Daisy the Duck who laid her eggs on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest had a mate that incubated and stood guard! We might have seen some little Pacific Black ducks – this is a nice change for an unused nest and for each of us. A bit of fun.

Like all of the raptors you can sometimes tell when the egg is coming. The female will puff up and her tail will go up and down as she pushes the egg out. The egg will be wet and soft and will need to be allowed to air dry before the female covers it.

It is night and Little Middle is asleep on the nest. He has eaten really well today. Someone might even want to ask what is wrong with Big? Hopefully it is just their ages and all of that is passed. Keep sending good wishes. There could well be no intervention so let us hope that the piece of monofilament line comes loose and gets buried in the nest never to harm anyone again.

Thank you for joining me and for all of your notes. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Pix Cams, Redding Bald Eagles, NADC-AEF, West End Eagles, MN-DNR, and Explore.org

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.

How often does an eaglet eat?

Ever wondered how often an eaglet eats? At lots of the streaming cams there are individuals who are conducting research or others, for their own interest, are collecting data. This could include the times of day the nestlings eat and what they are fed. It could be the times when the parents change shifts, the weather, the wind, and anything else of interest.

After doing a quick scroll to see how the KNF eaglet had fared today and where the Razor-backed Musk Turtle had moved, I began to note the feedings of the eaglet. It seemed if I blinked Anna or Louis were filling its crop. This really does account for the fact that you rarely hear this little one crying for food despite the excellent sounds system!

I only have times after 11:00am. There would have been several feeds before then extending back to right before dawn.

The times I noted were: 11:12, 12:52, 13:52, 14:58, 15:29, 15:57, 16:35, and 17:27. Those are time stamps when the eaglet is being fed, not the start or the end times. So the 8 day old baby is being fed approximately every hour and perhaps more as bedtime approaches. Anna and Louis are excellent parents. While it is true that this nest could have fed two other eaglets, it is very satisfying to have one super healthy and strong nestling. These frequent feedings will begin to change when the eaglet can consume more food at a sitting.

Anna looks over at the pantry. Note where the turtle is. Anna has just moved it there. The turtle is still alive. It will make its way to the edge of the nest and get under some moss. Last year there was also a turtle that escaped from this nest!

For the first day or two, Anna and the eaglet worked out their system of eating and feeding. It was a little bumpy but not now. The little eaglet, hungry or not, promptly steps up to the edge of the egg cup by the pantry and waits to be fed. It knows precisely where to stand. Louis knows where to lave the fish, and Anna has the feeding all sorted.

Some of these images may look like duplicates but they aren’t. I just snapped a single image during each of the feedings.

At 10:18 the eaglet is not being fed but it already has a nice crop so it was fed prior. The images just won’t go back so I can’t see it actually eating but it would have been close to this time from the other time stamps.

Notice that Anna is moving the turtle with her beak. The eaglet is going into a food coma. Another indication of a recent feeding.

Apparently the eagles prefer these Razor-backed turtles because they are easier to pick up than the domed-shaped ones.

The turtle gets busy and moves while Anna is occupied feeding the baby.

You can just see it now off the side of Anna’s left shoulder.

Open wide!

The eaglet just sits. It often doesn’t even open its beak til Mum gets the food down near it. What an amazing system they have worked out. A perfectly contented nestling. I am impressed.

Can you see the eaglet’s crop?

At Anna’s table it is always, ‘just have one more bite!’

This baby is full to the brim. It will sleep nice and snug under Mum as she keeps it warm from the cold. Yes, it is cold in Louisiana today!

Have you submitted a potential name for this cutie? If not, you have until the 30th of Jan. Name suggestions should be sent to nameknfeagle@gmail.com Please enter! Show the rangers down in the Kisatchie National Park how much we appreciate their efforts with the camera, the sound, and the great informed chat. Show them your love! Pick a great name for this eagle.

Oh, at 17:42, the turtle is out of sight. It might also hope it is out of the minds of the eagles and finds a way to get itself down to the ground!

It is a bit silly but I wanted to share this with you. There is a reason this eaglet doesn’t cry for food – it is always full!!!!!!! Simply a sweetheart! Thank you for joining me. Take care.

Thank you to Cody and Steve and the KNF Bald Eagle streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Seeing Double?

If you are starting to wonder what is going on with the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne, you are not alone! Early this morning there was only one falcon (I believe a female) left on the ledge of the building to fledge. She was pretty frantic early in the morning looking up and acting like there was a bird – maybe on the next ledge. She ran back and forth excited stopping to look. Then an adult brought in prey, she ran down to the other end of the ledge away from the camera to eat.

She was quite excited seeing the other bird.

Something really interesting happens after 11am. It has started to rain and the eyas on the ledge is quite dry. She is not agitated like she was a few hours earlier leading me now to believe that it was an adult with prey trying to lure her off the ledge as opposed to a sibling. Without another camera, we will never know for certain.

What we do know is that around 11:00, the lone eyas on the ledge began to look around. It is raining in Melbourne. You can see it on the ledge of the building and in the distance.

It is fairly dry – this ledge is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Something has her curiosity.

Ah, maybe it is just time to see if there is any leftover prey in the gutter.

After exploring, she gets very close to where the camera is and acts like she is going to run to the other end.

She does a pivot and runs back.

She finds an old piece of bone with some feathers in the scrape box and begins playing with it.

Then she stops and just looks out over the horizon very calmly.

Our girl cannot believe her eyes. Look at who is running down the ledge – a sibling!

People wondered if she might be lonely. It would certainly be different going from four to being the only one left and seeing the others flying about.

She turns her head really funny to see the sibling in the scrape.

Within a couple of minutes they are both sitting on the ledge, trying to stay dry. Whether or not they are enjoying one another’s company is anyones guess.

Yes, you are seeing double. People always wonder whether or not the falcons will fly back to the location of the scrape box. You now have an answer: yes, they will.

With hawks, the fledglings might continue to come back to the nest to be fed, sometimes they sleep on the nest or perch, and in other years, they never come back to the nest preferring to roost in trees or buildings. So, the answer is it varies from year to year and nest to nest. It sure is nice to see another one though, isn’t it? It just confirms that at least two of them are safe and sound. One fledgling, one nestling.

Maybe this returnee will encourage the nestling to fledge – after it stops raining. Falcons know that it is much easier flying with dry feathers than wet ones!

For those of you that might have been wondering what is going on, I thought I should let you know that there are two on the ledge. It could become more. Funny. The one that fledged has more fluffy down still stuck to its juvenile feathers. There is a tiny little mohawk on the crown.

Take care all. See you soon. Thank you so much for joining me and thanks again to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and video clip.

Teaching nestlings the value of food

By the time the three Red-tail hawks have fledged off the light stand at Cornell University, many of you might well be tired of listening to my natterings about the good parenting of these amazing raptors. Every day there are new lessons or repeated ones for the eyasses so that they can live a full and healthy life without relying on their parents. Isn’t that what all of us really want for our children? To sit back and smile knowing that they can take care of themselves if we are not there?

Today’s lesson involved a pigeon.

Just before the nestlings bedtime (around sunset), Arthur, the tercel (male/father) delivered a pigeon right in the middle of the nest and fledge area.

Arthur delivering the plucked pigeon.

Food to the nest has been dispersed sparingly as the nestlings approach the time they will fly off the natal nest. From morning til about 6pm, each had something to eat. And now it is right before bedtime. This is an easy snack! Their dad even plucked it for them. But the nestlings go about playing and picking up sticks and dreaming of flying and ignore the prey.

One of the nestlings near the prey but it shows no indication of being hungry or ready to eat.

Big Red (the mother/formel) comes to check on the state of the pigeon about ten minutes after it has been delivered. Ten minutes after this she comes with a branch and does some nest reconstruction. The youngest chick starts chirping wanting to be fed and the other two approach her as if she will fed them. Big Red has other ideas.

In the real world of hawks off the nest, prey can be scarce and young fledglings have to learn to eat when food is available, not ignore it. That was the lesson for today. Big Red looked around for a bit, picked up the pigeon with her talon and with nestlings chirping, she left with it. She does not bring it back even if they beg. It is gone. Too late. Too bad. Adios.