Early Friday in Bird World

14 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Some snow fell last night and it was still here – not melting – until half an hour ago. Everyone has been in the garden this morning and Canada Geese have been flying overhead. Everyone is visiting the garden. The number of Dark-eyed Juncos has increased, and the Starlings are here waiting for me to go and get Meal Worms and Butter Bark. I plan to do that shortly. They do cause chaos, but they are such beautiful birds and they also deserve a good feed on a cold day.

Making News:

Oh, I adored Rosa and Martin’s 2022 eaglet, Orion, at the Dulles-Greenway Bald Eagle nest. What a gorgeous chick. Orion hatched on the 13th of March. Well, guess what? Orion returned to the nest! But it gets better ———— Martin and Rosa were there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is the video:

Harriet and M15, the famous Fort Myers Bald Eagle couple, have made The Washington Post with their rebuilding activities! The raptors can show us all the way. Don’t grumble about what life throws at you, just get on making it better!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/10/14/bald-eagles-rebuild-nest-hurricane/?fbclid=IwAR2VxX84BEELvFGm6uHJXCm2lIm2qfvsDUHwDj4GLnnYCx9GTfPR0YsTYZU

Abby and Blazer from Eagle Country are on their nest tree. Just look at what Hurricane Ian did to their wonderful nest. I wonder if they will rebuild in the same place?

Do you adore the Kakapo, the charming green flightless parrots of New Zealand that are so threatened? Well, I do and am always thankful for the care they are given. They were New Zealand’s Bird of the Year for two straight years but, because of that, they have been struck from the ballot this year. Some are wondering if that is fair.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/12/new-zealand-bird-of-the-year-contest-favourite-kakapo-blocked

New research comes from all the poo samples collected of the Kakapo. Here are the results that shows gut health is key to their survival.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2022/10/kakapo-gut-bacteria-key-to-its-survival.html?fbclid=IwAR3ArV1bv8gLBVh4wIP0drEOQQICOkkxbimeWUZwoMlwQTou2g6UZz5S3Is

Nest News:

Today, at Port Lincoln, Big is 27 days old, Middle is 26, and Little Bob is 23 days. Those four days and, perhaps, a gender difference with Big Bob certainly being a female, sure set those two apart. According to Port Lincoln’s data chart, there were 4 fish delivered with 5 feeds. That does not tell us much about what happened on this nest. I was, however, delighted to see that Little Bob had a feeding around 0100 Friday morning. That is interesting as the night before, Middle had been the recipient of those precious bites. I could not rewind to see how much fish Little Bob got but, on Friday in Australia, Big ruled the roost in frenzied attacks on all the siblings. Little Bob had some fish around 10:45 before it was attacked by Big three minutes later. That feeding was highlighted in my last blog.

There was a feeding at 12:36. Little stayed rolled up tight and did not get any. The third feeding at 16:28 Middle got some but Little did not. It was the break through very large whole fish that helped Little Bob. It arrived at 17:17:45. Little Bob moved up to eat with Middle at 17:36 getting its first bite at 17:37:58. After that Mum worked that fish tail again giving Little huge bites at the end. Little Bob went to bed full of fish. That is a good thing.

There was not a late fish delivery like there had been the night before. It sure would have benefitted Mum and Little. Big is out for the count so full after gorging all day. I remember the second hatch at Achieve Ospreys in 2020. That osplet would eat and eat and eat so that Tiny Tot could not get any food. We wondered how it could even hold another bite.

Looking at Port Lincoln and the age of the Osplets, let us remember that the beaking started on day 8. The late and only fish delivery that day came after 1500. It was also the onset of the Reptilian phase. We are now moving out of the Reptilian Phase and this nest should settle —- if it is going to. It is why the ages of the osplets are now important as the development of their juvenile feathering. Oh how I wish we could measure their hormonal levels leading up to that Reptilian Phase and then coming out of it.

The chicks at Melbourne were once again left out in the hot sun yesterday. I am mystified at the female at this scrape. I have never seen a female consistently leave her chicks for an hour and a half or longer every day. They were so hot. Hopefully in another week – when, according to the Melbourne weather reports it is to get hotter – they will be able to run to the other end of the gutter for shade. I want to say ‘should Mum leave them alone in the hot sun again’ but, it seems that a pattern has formed and that is precisely what Mum will do, sadly.

Indigo and Rubus are being well fed and taken care of. Rubus now gets lots of food and you can see that it knows precisely where Mum’s beak is. The eyes are open and they are focusing. When Rubus is an adult it will be able to see a prey item a mile away. There were six feedings yesterday at Orange.

Rubus and Indigo are just cute little buttons of things. Indigo is so calm and Rubus seems to be a live-wire. I do love watching Indigo take food out of Rubus’s mouth – but, only if, Diamond replaces it for Rubus!

There is no news about SE29 or SE30. I will be back with updates on migration later today along with the breakfast news from the nests. For those watching the Finnish Ospreys, Salli left Finland on August the 25th and she arrived at her winter home in Rwanda on the 13th of October. She is now feeding at Lake Llaema. Fantastic. The adult Royal Albatross have been arriving on Taiaroa Head. Some have been around Lillibet’s nest. Check it out.

Thank you so much for being here with me. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their news, their posts, and their screen cams where I took my screen captures: ‘A’ and ‘H’, Dulles-Greenaway, Osprey Friends, Eagle Country, Kakapo Recovery, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

OGK sees his chick for the first time!

OGK returns to Taiaroa Head, the home of the Royal Albatross colony, at the end of the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand on the 28th of January 2022.

“Taiaroa Head Lighthouse, NZ” by Don Shearman

OGK (Orange-Green-Black) has been away from the Quarry Track nest for five (5) full days and a lot has happened while he has been foraging out on the seas. His chick, the Royal Cam chick for 2022, hatched at 19:40 on the 26th of January. On the nest when the chick was returned from the incubator was OGK’s mate of fifteen (15) years, YRK (Yellow-Red-Black).

Before anyone could even sense that OGK was near, YRK started looking around and then she broke into a sky call at 12:32:19.

At 12:33:07, OGK appears. He has landed up above and walked down to the Quarry Track where the nest is located.

OGK breaks into a sky call as he gets nearer to the nest and YRK. Sky calls are a way of greeting.

The formality of the greeting was followed by gentle allopreening between the couple.

Preening is when a bird grooms its own feathers. Allopreening is when it grooms the feathers of another bird. In the case of this Royal cam couple, the allopreening is a form of bonding, of renewing their ties, of a rite of courtship.

The Royal Albatross spend so much time away. The opportunities when they switch duties when there is a small chick on the nest are rare moments. When the chick is older, they will both be out foraging. They may or may not arrive back at the nest at the same times. In the past we have been lucky to see them and to watch them spend time together.

YRK stops and spends some time sitting on the grass by OGK and their chick before leaving for foraging. She departs at 12:45.

OGK is perfectly content brooding his new chick!

The NZ Department of Conservation put together a short information page about Albatross behaviours. They might have included some you have been wondering about. Check it out!

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/albatrosses/royal-albatross-toroa/royal-cam/royal-albatross-behaviour-on-and-off-royal-cam/

Here is a short video clip by Liz of YRK feeding the chick. It is absolutely fascinating and a delight to see how this wee bill and Mum’s go together to get nourishment. The chick is checked two times a day and weighted to ensure that it is getting enough ‘squid shake’. If not, the rangers will step in and supplement the feeding. There are no worries here. The chick is steadily gaining weight!

The Royal Albatross are so gentle and so loving. The streaming cam for the Royal Cam couple of the year is certainly a place to turn to if you are feeling stressed out by the happenings on other nests. It is very calming for the soul. You will also gain an acute appreciation of the New Zealand Government and its Department of Conservation. All of the birds are cared for. They get medical attention, spraying when it is too hot, and supplementary feedings whether they are a chick or an adult. It is certainly a place that gives back to these beautiful sea creatures for all the joy they bring us.

Here is a link to the live streaming cam. It won’t be long until there will be a contest for the name of the chick. That is always exciting.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is just wonderful news that OGK is home safe! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Just a quick note: My Friday blog might be late. The garden birds will finish off all their seed and suet tomorrow so I will be off to replenish their stock. I am hoping that the weather is conducive to checking out some more of our local birds. Maybe even see that Bald Eagle! Wish me luck.

Late late Sunday in Bird World

Is there a better way to spend a snowy Sunday than to watch little eaglets being fed in their nests?

Gabby and Samson’s NE26 hatched at 03:04 on the 23rd of January. It was caught in an image that Pascale Ragon posted on FB. What an adorable little eaglet! It is also very strong, holding its head up high and not bobbing along so much!

The image of this sweetie below shows clearly the very sharp egg-tooth that was used to break out of that shell. It looks like 26 has already caught on to the latest in eye liner styles!

This ‘new born’ is also eating large flakes of fish. I could not believe it. Oh, what a sweet little tongue.

Gabby and 26 have this all worked out. Mom tilts her big beak 90 degrees and baby brings its beak straight up the middle. Bingo! I cannot tell you how impressed I was with what was going on at this nest today — but mind you, Samson and Gabby are always at the top of my list for Baldie parents.

Look at this sweet one looking up to Mum. That is simply adorable.

Hi there.

I feel like a new grandparent showing off pictures — I could seriously have cut and pasted so many you would be bored to tears. It is hard to take your eyes off a 12 hour eaglet!

The eaglet at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest had 10 feedings today, again. They began at 06:47 and ended at 17:40. I compares the times from one day to another. So, on Friday, the first feeding was at 06:52 and the last one at 17:41. There was a similar pattern for Saturday. Does Anna have an app that tings at the same time each day? Or are the feedings linked to dusk and dawn? Bald Eagles are diurnal. They hunt and eat during the daylight hours. The little eaglets are trained and treated as such from the time they hatch.

You can see that this eaglet -who is 11 days old today- is beginning to change. The light grey fluffy down is giving way to the darker thermal down. This will mean that once that thermal down is all in, Anna will not have to brood the eaglet so much.

Today, Anna let the eaglet have quite a bit of warm, not hot, sunshine. Both her and Louis were close but they let the little one have some air!

In the image below, the ‘baby face’ is also disappearing. The beak is growing longer and the egg tooth is almost totally gone. If you look at the wings you can see little black lines. Can you believe feathers are coming??

I have had the Big Sur condors on my mind and was very thankful when Ventana Wildlife Society posted this message on their FB page today. What a relief! Little Iniko 1031 was only released back into the wild six weeks ago, on 4 December 2021, after being caught in the Dolan Fire and having a long rehabilitation.

The Kakapo Recovery are also very happy. This is the ‘white board score board’ for the eggs. It looks like it could be a really super year if they all hatch and the chicks survive.

Each time I went to check on Ervie, the nest was either empty or there were pigeons doing clean up.

Then, all of a sudden, at 13:00:51 Ervie comes flying in. He was sure putting on the breaks. Just look at those magnificent wings. Oh, Ervie, you are so special.

Ervie must have a motion detector for when Dad is coming to the nest with a fish! It was 13:01:09. Ervie arrived 15 seconds before Dad!

That timing is not a coincidence. So where did Ervie see Dad with the fish? Was Ervie on the old barge while Dad was fishing?

It was a really nice fish and Ervie will enjoy every morsel!

Ervie spends several minutes mantling and alarming before he digs into his lunch.

Ah, thank you Port Lincoln! Ervie is a beautiful bird.

Two hours later and Ervie is screaming for more fish!!!!!!!!! I bet they could hear him across the bay!!!!!! No wonder Mum and Dad don’t stay on the barge when Ervie is about.

R1 and R2 were well fed today. This is the coldest day Miami has experienced this season. It is currently 16 C – which on the Canadian Prairies would be considered a nice summer day! But, if you live in Miami, everyone would be cold.

Rita was making sure that everyone was eating.

Both eaglets had nice crops before Rita informed them it was bedtime!

Rita tucked both eaglets in as best she could to keep them warm from the wind and what would be to her, the cold temperatures.

There has been a bit of concern by the watchers of the Berry College Bald Eagle Cam. Missy stepped on the left wing of the eaglet. Something startled Missy about 20:12 and she got up abruptly. Is it hurt? I do not know. We will have to wait and see how it is doing tomorrow.

The eaglet was moving its wings fine at the time of the image below.

All is quiet now and then something startles Missy.

She gets up, looks to her right and stumbles around the baby.

Send warm wishes to this little one that everything is alright. They are so fragile at this stage and B15 is doing so well. Something startled Missy about an hour later, too. Everyone is tucked in now and we wait to see how the baby is doing tomorrow.

I will leave you with a nice shot of Ervie with his crop. What a handsome osprey you are, Ervie.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. With the exception of the worry at Berry College, Bird World is looking good. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: The Kakapo Recovery, Ventana Wildlife Society, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Cam.

Kakapo Breeding Stats

I have posted some rather sad news today – the death of the 20 year old Peregrine Falcon, Princess, who was the anchor of the Manitoba Falcon Recovery and the spread of HPAI.

So it is time for a little fun and giggles.

New Zealanders love their flightless parrot, The Kakapo, just about as much or perhaps more than they do their Albatross. It is breeding season for these highly endangered birds. There are scorecards!

So yesterday, Nora, who has been breeding and raising chicks since 1981 mated with two males, one for 83 minutes. Seriously.

The New Zealand Herald did such a great report that it should do all the talking.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/nora-the-kakapo-puts-in-effort-to-save-species-with-mating-marathon/XP45FP2E3R3WPZK6KLATBPNSEA/?fbclid=IwAR18wsIDk3wTj-XoKF_a6aTFxApVm6KTaqKO_e4PTGFSYHcIWuxIDitGu6Y

Thank you so much for joining me. Sorry for sending out four posts. This is the last! We needed some fun.

Featured image by Andrew Digby.

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.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

Oh, Bazza Baby

The Port Lincoln Lads seem to always be up to something. This morning Falky was flying about and Bazza and Ervie were on the nest. They had to have been full because there was a lovely fish tail on the nest and neither one of them were paying any attention to it.

It was very windy and Bazza entertained Ervie for about half an hour trying to land and stay on the perch. Have a look.

Are you finding that sometimes you could just use a little bit of ‘cute’ as we wait for new bobble heads in the raptor families to be born? What about a Korora?

They used to be called Little Blue Penguins. They are the smallest of the New Zealand penguins. This little one will weigh about 1 kg and be about 25 cm tall when it is fully grown. Their population is in decline due to dog, cat, stoat, and ferret kills. This group of predators has arisen because of the destruction of the penguin’s natural nesting sites for development. Sad.

And I want to give a shout out to ‘TAS’ for introducing me to this cute little non-raptor!

WBSE 27 has been observed being hounded by the Pied Currawong. This report comes from Cathy Cook on the ground:

As is usual in the Reserve, SE27 found herself being escorted & swooped by Noisy Miners, Magpies, Currawongs and Ravens, from the time she hopped out of the carrier. We saw her take 4 seperate flights, with her finally being observed (by credible people in the wharf cafe) to cross over the Parramatta River, just a little west of River Roost. The last picture shows SE27’s individual flights within the first 40 minutes after her release — at Newington Nature Reserve, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cathy posted pictures and a short video. I hope she does not mind my including one for you.

@ Cathy Cook

The saddest part about being a juvenile Sea Eagle is that for the rest of his life, 27 will be hounded by the smaller birds who, as you already know, are very effective in driving the juveniles out of the forest. I hope that Lady and Dad return to the River Roost on the Parramatta River to find 27 so they can feed her.

For all of you celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends, families and/or other loved ones in the USA, have a wonderful day. For those in Canada who celebrated in October, tomorrow is just another day. Take care. Always be thankful. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for its streaming cam where I video captured Bazza and to the Sea Eagles FB Page and Cathy Cook for the update on WBSE 27.

Thursday in Bird World

Peregrine Falcon, Grinnell, is making all the headlines out in San Francisco. He was released yesterday and was seen on the Campanile. There are watchers on the ground but so far, everything seems to be relatively quiet. Everyone is cheering for Grinnell to get back with Annie. Only time will tell but, for now, stay safe Grinnell!

Was it a fludge? a recovery? not a real fledge? I have no idea but yesterday after having a robust encounter with Ervie, Bazza found himself in Dad’s man cave. He quickly figured out he could fly to the ropes and then to the perch – which he did in record time (2.5 hours). Then he flew overhead before landing on the nest wanting fish.

Bazza was rewarded this morning with the first fish of the day. Congratulations! That delivery came at 06:28:00.

Both Falkey and Ervie are very interested in Bazza’s fish. Very interested.

Oh, dear. Ownership of the fish is being challenged.

Ervie got it!

Ervie is still working on that fish. Maybe he will pass some of it along to Falkey who is getting closer to wanting to try and take it.

Oh, my. Mum has decided to fly in and get that fish! Here she comes. Mum is teaching them a good lesson about how they can lose their dinner – from another bird flying in and taking it.

Mum gets the fish from Ervie and flies off with it. A good lesson for the lads. Eat fast! Protect your fish. Another bird can swoop in and take it.

News coming out of the Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, NZ, is that there are now 34 eggs laid. The NZ DOC rangers have candled 11 of those eggs and everyone of them was fertile. Amazing. There are still eggs to be laid and it is noted that there are quite a few first time breeding birds. Their eggs have been placed in an incubator and will be returned to the parents once a regular pattern is established for them to incubate. Until then, they will have dummy eggs. For those of you wondering about Button and his partner (Button is Grandma’s son), they have yet to lay an egg. Fingers crossed! No Royal Cam family has been selected yet.

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

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

YRK lays her egg at Taiaroa

It is still the middle of the night in Australia and New Zealand so not a lot is happening in Bird World.

The rangers at Taiaroa Head in NZ shocked everyone when they announced that OGK’s mate, YRK, laid her egg yesterday. She obviously snuck in and visited with OGK and no one saw her. Chris McCormack shared an image of OGK and YRK at the nest OGK prepared down the hill from where Atawhai hatched. This was on the Royal Cam Albatross FB Page. Thanks, Chris. This will be the couple’s 8th breeding attempt. As most of you know, they were the parents of the Royal Cam chick in 2020.

For all Royal Albatross fans, the rangers also announced that 111 birds are on the island and 15 eggs have been laid. Eggs take approximately two months to hatch.

There are still two Peregrine Falcon chicks to fledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. The first fledged at 06:34 on 8 November and the second at 07:46 on 9 November. Take note that those are early morning times. Falcons typically fledge in the early morning or early evening but not normally during mid-day.

The adults have brought prey onto the ledge for these two. In fact, the parents will continue to provide food to all four of their chicks until the chick makes its ‘first kill’. These two could fledge at any moment.

What you are looking at below, is an image of Bazza (Red band) looking enviously at the empty talons of Ervie (Dk Green band). Ervie managed to take the fish tale from Falky (yellow band) and didn’t share a scrap. Bazza was hoping there would be some left. No. Never. Fish tails must be very special – everyone wants them!

There’s Ervie eating that precious tail. Awwww. It is nice to know that having that sat-pak has not changed Little Bob at all!

I am a raptor person but so many enjoy watching the feeders for the Boreal birds. There is one that is just up and running, sponsored by Cornell. It is located in Northwestern Ontario. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

Last but not least, those pesky Spotted Eagle owlets in Joburg. Yesterday there was only one owlet left in the nesting box. The adoptee and one of the resident owlets are both wandering around in the garden of the owner. Mum, in the meantime, is having to feed the one inside the box and then go and feed the other two. She is busy! Here is a short video of the one in the box. It is really watching its siblings and well, who knows, it could be down there any minute!

It is 17:35, still day light, and the little one is still in the box.

This is just a quick check. There have been no updates on the satellite trackers of Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Stork family from the Karula Forest in Estonia. It is hoped that they are out of range and enjoying their winter vacation. If so, we will have to wait until next spring to find out if they are alright. There is also no update on WBSE 27. The last one was 5 November. There is, however, going to be a webinar where Ranger Judy talks about her work with the WBSE as well as other guests. It is later in November. If you are interested in joining in, check out this link and follow the instructions.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: EcoSolutions, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and to Royal Cam Albatross FB Page and Chris McCormack for the image of OGK and YRK.

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