Late Monday and early Tuesday in Bird World

Oh, goodness. Bazza spent the night on the nest in the same spot as Ervie did. Bazza has been there all day waiting for a fish delivery. No one thinks this is unusual – it is Bazza! But, when Ervie did the same thing, we worried. It was out of character for him.

It is windy and the water is choppy today, too. Falky and Ervie are no where in sight. It is Mum and Bazza on the barge. Maybe Ervie and Falky are out trying their luck fishing with Dad.

Ervie will eat that fish tail that he left last night when he wakes up.

Bazza is certainly a handsome Osprey.

Sometimes Bazza hunkers down duckling style on the nest when it is windy or he is tired of standing up. You can just see Mum on the ropes at the right near the bottom of the image.

No fish deliveries so far despite Bazza’s fish calling.

In the video clip below, Xavier calls Diamond up to their scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University at Orange today. Their bonding ritual with its bowing and eh-chupping is fascinating. It took place a few minutes ago. What a beautiful couple they are!

Right now OGK, the male Royal Cam Albatross parent, is incubating his egg for a straight 13 days, 14 tomorrow. His mate YRK has not returned. There are two possibilities: she has had to travel so far to find enough food to eat to sustain her on incubation duties or she has been caught and killed by the long lines on the fishing trawlers. As we are aware, the oceans are warming. At the same time there are countries who have huge trawlers scooping up the fish 24/7. Each are causing havoc for our sea birds and it will get worse. Let us all hope that YRK is alright. The NZ DOC rangers have already removed the fertile egg from under OGK and put it in the incubator. OGK is incubating a dummy egg in case he has to leave to save his life before YRK returns, if she does. The rangers are also prepared to give OGK supplementary feedings. In terms of their birds, NZ is enlightened. They recognize what climate change and humans have done to destroy the environment for the animals and the birds and they are doing something positive for them. I hope that YRK shows up while I am writing this. It would be the best thing!

I have been trying to find live bird cams in Japan for one of my readers, ‘A’. I found this one that has three different cameras for three different wildlife or bird boxes. The boxes are located at the base of Mount Lizuna which is northwest of Tokyo. One is for Mandarin Ducks, another is for Ural Owls, and another is a wild bird feeding station. Please enjoy and if you know of other streaming cams in Japan, please let me know so I can spread the news!

It is the beginning of a new year for all of us and what could be a better time than now to reflect on the beauty, the inspiration, and the sheer joy that our feathered friends brought to us over the past year. They taught us so much. How many times would we be able to see a Peregrine falcon couple bonding? or a Bald Eagle tenderly feeding its chick? or a third hatch be clever and courageous? We are so blessed. I am starting to make a short list of resolutions for this year and they include writing to everyone I know to try and end the harm that longline fishing is doing. I also want to work towards a ban on the manufacture of rodenticide, which causes secondary poisoning to birds, and lead in hunting and fishing equipment. All of those require persistent e-mail mails. Protective covers for power poles need to be put in place and there needs to be awareness of the dangers of monofilament line and a clean up of the shores of lakes and rivers. That is a start! I am certain that you can think of many more ways to make the lives of our birds better. Maybe you have made some resolutions, too. I would love to hear about them!

Thank you so much for joining me. It is always a pleasure to have you with me. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC.

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.

Good News in Bird World

There is a lot to celebrate in Bird World this evening. Everyone on the Taiaroa Peninsula and perhaps the whole of New Zealand are celebrating the arrival of the 2021 Royal Albatross Cam Princess, Tiaki, at the feeding grounds just 70 km off the coast of Chile – safely! This really is amazing. As was pointed out on the Royal Albatross FB page, this young bird fledged on 25 September and arrived in the waters off the coast of Chile, 8500 km away, in 35 days. Incredible. Congratulations!

For those watching the return of the Royal Albatross to Taiaroa Head for the upcoming breeding season, OGK has flown off the peninsula to feed. He continues to wait for his mate, YRK. I have asked and been told that OGK is not the only male still waiting for its mate. That gives me some hope that this adorable couple will still be reunited. They were the parents of last year’s Royal cam princess, Pippa Atawhai.

There has been no new tracking data for Karl II but, on the 28th of October, he had reached Umm Harazat in the Sudan close to where he winters. Udu was at the Farafa Oasis in Egypt on the same day and Pikne was along the Red Sea. I expect that Udu and Pikne could be further into Africa by the time the next transmission comes in.

The Farafa Oasis is an area known as the White Desert.

Udu made a splendid flight across the Mediterranean Sea. The White Desert is home to a number of wells and there is farming in the area. It is most know for its white rock figures.

Pikne’s position:

Karl II’s position:

Moving away from the migrating birds back to Australia, little Yurruga took some big steps today. What a sweet little falcon! Here is a short clip I made of this momentous event.

Yesterday, Dad fed the 367 Collins Street Four in an area that could be viewed easily. There are, of course, concerns that the falcons will fledge from the end where there is no camera view. The owners of the cameras have stated that they will not change the direction of the camera again as it is too disturbing for the birds. That is quite understandable at this stage. No one wants to frighten these lovely eyases and have them fly and fall to their doom. And there is no telling which end of the ledge they will fledge. We just simply wait. They are so strong and healthy. Mum and Dad have been heroic in their efforts to sustain them. So please keep feeding the pigeons in Melbourne – our falcons need them!

There has been no word from the vet team about the condition of WBSE 27 since it was attacked by the Pied Currawong and found on pavement near to the Sydney Olympic Forest.

The Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB page had originally posted WBSE 27 on the pavement unconscious. This disturbed some people so it was replaced with the image below. I have said that no news is good news but this has been several days since the incident. Send all the positive energy to this beautiful bird that you can!

There is good news at the Kakapo Recovery. The team has discovered that the eggs that are laid but do not hatch are not always infertile. Since the beginning of trying to help the Kakapo to recover numbers, it was always believed that the eggs were simply infertile and that is why there was no chick to hatch. The chicks are dying at an early stage. If they can figure out what is the cause, they might be able to assist these lovely non-flying parrots to have more successful hatches. Here is the posting on the Kakapo Recovery FB page. It talks about their efforts with the University of Sheffield to understand the issue and be able to have more live births of this critically endangered bird. Bravo!

The ospreys on the PLO barge are doing great. Little Bob is 45 days old today. Fledging is coming soon. Oh, how I am going to miss this wonderful trio. They have delighted hundreds and hundreds of people this season. Pure joy!

Look at Little Bob showing off! Besides loving to eat Little Bob really does like to give those wing muscles a go. I don’t think Big Bob is very amused.

In the image below, from left to right: Middle Bob (2), Little Bob (3), and Big Bob (1). If I were to have to base a guess on their gender due to the legs, I am afraid that I would have to change my prediction.

Middle Bob’s legs are definitely shorter and stockier than either Little Bob or Big Bob. Big Bob’s legs look like those of a male. That leaves us with Little Bob that I continue to believe is a female. Oh, I cannot wait for those measurements. They are not 100% certain but, perhaps, they will also do DNA testing on the three when they ring them!

Little Bob gives its two older siblings a big hug.

There is Little Bob looking off to the left after the morning breakfast. Three gorgeous nestlings. Ringing, naming, and measuring will take place the week of 8 November. I will keep you posted to the more exact date when I find out.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that you are all well. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots, video clips, and maps: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Birdmap, Kakapo Recovery FP Page, Wikimedia Commons, and Wildlife Computers.

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Time with Tiaki

It is 6 September in Australia and the Royal Cam chick, Tiaki, is 225 days old. She is the daughter of LGL (Lime Green Lime) and LGK (Lime Green Black). They have been together as a couple since 2017. Their very first chick was also a Royal cam chick. Karere hatched in 2019 and successfully fledged. They laid their egg this season on 4 November 2020 and Tiaki hatched on 24 January. It looks like they will also have a successful fledge this year! Congratulations LGL and LGK!

It is early morning. Tiaki is not at her nest. She is looking out at what is happening around her. It is going to be a gorgeous day with lots of wind.

Tiaki has been really exercising her wings and has hovered quite high on several occasions.

Lady Hawk caught Tiaki’s first hovering – 3 weeks ago – in a short video.

Here she is today spreading those magnificent wings. There are only little pieces of the baby down left.

Her ultimate destination – the sea.

If the average age at fledge is 232 days then it is possible that in a week, Tiaki will begin her big adventure. She will remain on the open seas only returning to Taiaro Head in 5-6 years. It will be wonderful to welcome back and to watch her do all those amazing courtship dances with the other juveniles. For those of you that adore this lovely little albatross, stay tuned to the screen. This gal really wants to fly.

It is 15:32 and Tiaki is away from her nest. It is so windy. I wonder if a parent will arrive to feed her?

Dad, LGK – Lime Green Black- had been at sea for quite some time. He has now returned on 3 and 5 September to feed his squealing daughter. I love this video that Lady Hawk posted of LGK’s visit and the feeding. Note the sky calls! And also keep on the lookout for the neighbouring chick, SSTrig. This little corner is quite the soap opera!

I just went to check on Tiaki again and look – someone is flying in. Is it LGK or LGL, the mom?

It’s Dad.

Here comes Tiaki calling to Dad so he won’t leave without giving her that wonderful squid shake. She is moving as fast as she can.

Tiaki acts like she has eaten in weeks. She is so excited and you could hear her whee, whee for quite a distance.

Tiaki gets a nice short feeding – and she always wants more and more. Dad tries to oblige her.

Tiaki doesn’t want Dad to go. Since 3 September, LGK has been in three times to feed his daughter. That is a good record.

I wonder if he knows that his time with her is growing shorter and shorter. Perhaps he will fish close to the nest and maybe fly in when mom is there, too. Wouldn’t it be grand to have a family reunion one more time? Absolutely.

Dad has stopped for a rest a little ways from Tiaki. Tiaki is in the middle of the photo and LGK is the head to the right of Tiaki. It is almost impossible to just sit with Tiaki now. She gets excited and wants more and more food. Sometimes LGK returns to do a second feeding after he has rested but, since he was just here yesterday maybe he has fed Tiaki all the squid he has.

Perhaps he will wait awhile and see if the strong winds bring Mom in?

Several times, LGK, Dad, flapped his wings at the edge of the cliff as if to show Taiki that it was a good place to fledge.

A few times I thought he had left but Tiaki would still be doing some clacking. Then dad’s wing would appear. It was hard to know precisely when he took off there were so many birds flying around.

Oh, my. Look what is happening. Is this the other parent flying in? I was not able to confirm the leg band but the camera followed the bird and we could see a chick being fed. I sure thought it was Tiaki. Hopefully someone else will be able to confirm all of this. If it was LGL then her and LGK missed one another by minutes.

The parents will not know when Tiaki fledges – unless of course they are there. I wonder if this has ever happened? They will return a few times to feed their chick and then when they cannot find her, they will take off. The couple will spend the next 14 months on the open sea building up their energy and feeding themselves. They will both meet here on Taiaroa Head in November of 2022 to begin another season in the hope of having a third chick that survives to fledge.

It is near the end of the season on Taiaroa Head. To date there have been no fledges but they will begin soon. You can still join the action, here’s the link:

I know that so many of you love the Albatross. Did you know that 15 of the 22 species of Albatross are facing extinction? It is because of the long haul fishing trawlers. Albatrosses feed on the surface of the ocean. You can see them flying about the fishing vessels who put out fish head and guts as the process the fish on board. This attracts the Osprey who get caught by the cables and are dragged under the boat and drown. The Albatross also get caught on the baited hooks of the boats. It is horrible and it doesn’t have to happen. Please check out the information on the Albatross Task Forde to fead all of the information and the solutions. There are things you can do to help!

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/#:~:text=The%20Albatross%20Task%20Force%20%E2%80%93%20an,the%20deadliest%20fisheries%20for%20albatrosses.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay well, see you soon.

Thank you also to the Cornell Bird Lab and the New Zealand Department of Conservation for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

A day in the life of the Royal Albatross Chick

The Royal Albatross are one of the largest seabirds in the world. They are also some of the longest lived sea birds in the world with an average life expectancy of forty years. That record was, however broken when ‘Grandma’, the oldest banded bird, raised her last chick at Taiaroa Head, NZ when she was sixty-two years old. This is an excellent video by David Attenborough on Grandma and the only colony of albatross where there are humans at Taiaroa Head near Dundedin, NZ. I hope you can open it!

This year’s yet-to-be-named Royal chick hatched on 24 January 2021. Its parents are Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the mother. She is twelve years old. Lime-Green-Black is the father and he is eleven years old (LGK).

It is 5 March 2021 in New Zealand. The sun is just rising over Taiaroa Head. Already the cargo vessels are passing where the Albatross breed and raise their chicks.

The Royal Cam chick is forty days old today. This is the first time the chick has spent the night alone on its nest. It is in what is called the ‘pre-guard’ stage. The parents come and feed the chick after foraging and spend some time with them. This transition period to being completely unguarded might just be beginning. Normally the chicks are guarded during their first five or six weeks. After they spend the time alone on their nest except for feeding visits from their parents. The Royal cam chick will fledge when it is about eight months old.

Large container vessel transport

Day in and day out a myriad of different types of shipping vessels pass by Taiaroa Head. This one toots its horn and wakes the Royal Cam chick up as it passes. The sun is just coming up.

The chick will spend the rest of the morning passing the time by watching the sea and playing with the materials in its nest.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, the chick hears a familiar sound. LGL has returned from the sea and is doing a sky call. Sky calls are often described as high pitched screaming brays. Sky calls happen during socializing. Here you can listen to the sound of the sky call.

In this instance, LGL is announcing to her chick that she has arrived. Eventually the chicks will learn how to do the sky calls and will do one in return and with the parents.

The chick turns around and recognizes her mother. The mother is moving her eyes and head over the horizon. The Albatross do this often as a way of checking their surroundings.

LGL is clacking away happily. The little chick has raised its bill and is doing a gentle clacking. As the chick gets older and is hungrier when the parents arrive, this action – the clacking of the bill – will become more aggressive. It is a way to stimulate the parent to regurgitate food to feed them.

LGL does not feed her chick right away. She wants to spend time with it. She talks to the chick, acknowledges its bill clacking, and does some preening of its down.

After some time, the pair stop and check their surroundings.

The mother starts preening the head of the chick very gently.

Then she preens its back and wings. It must be like going to a spa for a massage.

After LGL is finished preening her chick’s neck, she touches the chicks bill and stimulates it so that the chick will begin clacking and tapping her bill. LGL reguritates the rich oily liquid squid shake and gives her chick a nice long feeding.

The Royal Cam chick may be only forty days old but it weighed 3 kilograms three days ago. The Chicks are regularly weighed on Tuesdays once they reach a certain weight.

This chick loves those squid shakes and has grown so much that the parents can no longer brood it. The little one wants to be close to mom so it cuddles up under her beautiful wing and tail feathers.

After a bit of a rest, LGL and the chick both look around.

Another boat is coming!

Rain has started to fall and the little one gets as close as it can to its mother so it will stay dry!

5 March 2021. Gentle rain changes to heavier rain.

The rain has stopped and LGL has spent the night with her chick. This morning she is alert. It is 5:45 am in Taiaroa Head, NZ and the boats are already passing.

Guarding chick before dawn. 6 March 2021

LGL feeds her chick before going out to fish – to feed herself and to return to her little one. Such a great mom!

LGL looks at the sea and the wind. The chick is asleep and before it wakes up she is off to fish.

This year there are satellite trackers on the parents so that researchers and the public can follow their movements. This information has show that they are feeding very close to where the chick is waiting.

I will also add that the northern island of New Zealand experienced three very strong earthquakes on 5 March 2021. Those earthquakes and the tsunamis that came did not impact the colony of Albatrosses at Taiaroa head. They reside near the very bottom of the South Island.

——

Sometimes the Royal Cam chick has visitors when its parents aren’t there. Meet Henry the Heron. Henry loves to do his snake dance for the chick and he also likes to photobomb the Royal streaming camera. Hi Henry!

Thanks for popping in to check on the Royal Albatross chick. This nest is fun to watch and there is no stress. The NZ Department of Conservation keep close watch on all of the albatross making sure they are healthy. The little one is weighed on Tuesday morning NZ time. And here is the link if you would like to add this lovely family to your bird watching list:

Thank you to Cornell Labs and the New Zealand Department of Conservation for their streaming cams. This is where the scaps were taken.

Time to check in with the birds

Wonder what Port Lincoln’s female Osprey fledgling is up to today? Solly was born on a barge tied at Port Lincoln. She is 163 days old today. For research purposes, Solly was fitted with a satellite tracking systems. You can see it on her back in the picture below taken by C. Crowder at Streaky Bay, Australia several weeks ago.

Solly at Streaky Bay. Photo by C Crowder posted on Port Lincoln Osprey FB Page.

The transmitter has worked perfectly and early on Solly’s travels away from her natal nest changed what was known about the movements of the Eastern Osprey. Solly travelled north to Streaky Bay and then further to Eba Anchorage and on to Perlubie and then on to Haslam. At that point she turned back, spent several days back in Eba Anchorage and today is back in Streaky Bay.

These are the latest satellite images of Solly’s tracking. In the images below, you can see Solly’s movements. She has a central place of interest and from there she flies out to fish.

Solly seems to love this house for some reason. @ Port Lincoln Osprey
Solly’s movements around the house at Streaky Bay. @ Port Lincoln Osprey

The most fascinating information coming from these satellite images is that Solly has chosen to stay close to people. The image below shows the house where Solly spends much of her time.

Solley loves the trees around this house! @Port Lincoln Osprey

Just think how much our knowledge of these large birds is changing with the introduction of satellite tracking devices, light weight enough to fit without harming the bird.

“Golden Eagle” by Just chaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2018, satellite trackers became part of a criminal investigation into the loss of a Golden Eagle. Raptor Persecution UK investigated a ‘highly suspicious’ disappearance of Fred, a golden eagle, in a nest in the Scottish Borders. Scotland is trying to reintroduce Golden Eagles and Fred was one of a breeding pair in that region. At the time, investigators thought that the Golden Eagle was killed and the body and its tracker dumped in the North Sea to hide the evidence. The Environment Secretary for Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham, said that they were taken this disappearance ‘very seriously.’

The Golden Eagle was in the Pentland Hills before its tag signal was lost. That signal was then picked up on 26 January 2018 off the coast of Scotland near St Andrews. The problem is this. Golden Eagles do not, of their own accord, fly out over large bodies of water. So what happened? Did someone accidentally kill the eagle and want to dispose of the evidence? was the eagle stolen and the transmitter destroyed? Both are sad possibilities.

“snowy Pentlands 02” by byronv2 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Royal Chick is too big to brood. @ NZ DOC and Cornell Labs

The Department of Conservation in New Zealand gave permission and provided two solar powered GPS satellite trackers to follow the parents of the Royal Albatross Cam Chick at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand. Those Royal Albies with the trackers are Lime-Green-Black (father, LGK) and Lime-Green-Lime (mother, LGL). The twenty gram trackers were carefully and quickly attached to the feathers on the back of these large sea birds. Like many other trackers, they will continue to operate until the Royal Albatross molts in about a year.

Lime Green Black has just had his solar powered satellite transmitter installed. @NZ DOC and Cornell Labs.

What do trackers tell us about the birds? The Department of Conservation is hoping that the tracking will help them understand more about the locations where the birds hunt for food, the legal and illegal fishing activities that attract these birds (and sadly some become bycatch), and how climate change is impacting them. It is getting hotter and hotter in the Southern Hemisphere where these lovely seabirds live. How can people and government agencies support the Albatross long term survival? That is another question the researchers want to ask. Tracking information will be shared on the FB page of the Royal Albatross group on a regular basis.

Below is an image of the last posted tracking information on Lime Green Lime, the Royal Cam chick’s mother.

@NZ Doc provides tracking images for the Royal Cam Albatross FB Page

You might enjoy the comings and goings of the Royal Albatross at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. These are extremely social birds and the little fluff ball who will be given a Maori name before it fledges is now in the ‘pre guard’ stage. This means that the parents will leave it alone for periods of time easing it in to when both parents will go to sea to forage to feed their baby. As the chick grows so does its needs for more and more squid shakes! The Royal Cam is on twenty-four hours a day every day of the week. You can access it here:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/albatrosses/royal-albatross-toroa/royal-cam/meet-the-royal-family/

“Dunedin. Taiaroa Head at the end of Otago Peninsula. The buildings on the headland are the Royal Albatross Centre. The only mainland albatross nesting site in the world.” by denisbin is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Thank you for joining me. There will be late updates today on N24 who is fighting Avian Pox. Let’s all hope its immune system is working to its fullest. N24 had a good breakfast today.