I did not expect that anything could match the banding and putting the sat pad on Port Lincoln’s largest female osplet, Zoe BUT, something did happen.
This afternoon at the scrape on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange an event took place that no one believed would be possible yet – eventually but, not yet. Well, it happened.
Indigo saw Diamond fly to the scrape with prey. He would have heard Rubus screaming, too. Indigo flew into the scrape and took the prey. Indigo was obviously famished. Diamond and Rubus were in utter shock.
It is unclear how much prey Indigo has received from the parents but, this is wonderful – simply marvellous – as it means that both Rubus and Indigo are getting fed. From the way that Indigo grabbed and ate that prey – and we must remember that Indigo has never been aggressive like Rubus – it appears it might been awhile since he had a prey drop.
Very reassuring to see Indigo in the scrape. This means that he has the strength to fly at the angle to get into the scrape. It was a fantastic fly in. It also means that we might see Indigo get more food drops there.
Oh, just lovely. You do not need my narrative. Write your own!
Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. I will be posting my Monday November 14th newsletter mid-afternoon. See you then!
Thank you Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for your streaming cam where I took my screen captures.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to their Saturday. It is -8 degrees in Winnipeg, heavily overcast with some flakes of snow drifting down. The Blue Jays have been scurrying back and forth for peanuts since dawn.
The following quote is from an article that ‘K’ sent me and I wanted to share it with you. I do so treasure these feathered friends of ours. They have brought me so much love and joy. I cannot imagine – for a single instant – life without them. When I park my car on the street and walk to my house, I can hear them. Singing. What happiness that brings!
“All is an Ocean. All flows and connects so powerfully that if, in this life, you manage to become more gracious by even a drop, it is better for every bird, child, and animal your life touches than you will ever know.” (Dostoyevsky’s, The Brothers Karamazov)
The pictures are from the day before the snow. Mr Crow is here, Junior and one of the three siblings, a White-breasted Nuthatch came to visit, too.
This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledglings this year. Junior normally stays all winter. How do I know it is Junior? His feathers are a little duller but it is the thin eye line that extends further back. You can compare them. Junior is sitting on the edge of the bird bath while one of the fledglings is down getting a peanut.
Black isn’t just Black but depending on the light it is a green black or an iridescent purple blue with green as in the second image. Mr Crow is beautiful. My heart warms every day that he comes as it does for all the others.
It was the first time ever I have seen a White-breasted Nuthatch at the feeders in a long time. The last was on the 13th of October in 2019. A little over three years. According to the recent bird surveys, the Nuthatch population is on the rise in Canada and the rest of North America. We normally recognise the Nuthatch because it moves along the tree branches with its head facing downwards.
The squirrels have all been here, too. They have not cooperated for photos! Most of the time they are trying to get as many nuts off the solid seed cylinders as they can!
Oh, we all love those shy flightless parrots who are more than vulnerable. There is new research that might help in caring for these marvellous characters. Adorable. Simply adorable.
Halfway around the world, a much anticipated California Condor release took place a week ago. The Condor is as vulnerable as the Kakapo is. These releases are always great moments, full of emotion and excitement. I missed this event and am so grateful that the release of these four birds back into the wild has been archived so that we can see it at our leisure.
In the Mailbox:
‘N’ writes: Today this was posted by one of the moderators at one of the streaming cams: “We’ve been trying to discourage anthropomorphic stuff for years, I’m afraid. It’s a losing battle. people project human emotions on the birds all the time.” You have mentioned this subject several times. Is it possible for you to repeat what you have said?
I would be happy to, ‘N’. First I would like to introduce Dr Marc Bekoff who is the international authority on animal emotions. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I am extremely impressed with the work that Dr Bekoff and other Cognitive Ethologists are conducting. Cognitive Ethology is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of animal minds. This includes their emotions, their beliefs, their reasoning and processing, their consciousness, and self-expression. The keen interest, ‘N’ in animal cognition is not new and it is extremely important for animal welfare and protection. Bekoff sees the field as all encompassing in terms of understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals.
In his research, Dr Bekoff has consistently said that as humans the only language we have is our own and it is the only thing we have to describe animal emotions. If we do not look at them and use the words joyful, grieving, then what words would we use to describe what we are seeing? We have nothing more than what we have. Dr Bekoff continues in his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals, by saying that he knows no researcher who, when working with their animals, “DOES NOT FREELY ANTHROPOMORPHIZE. THIS ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, BY THE WAY; AS ALEXANDRA HOROWITZ AND I HAVE ARGUED…THESE SCIENTISTS ARE SIMPLY DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY. ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS AN EVOLVED PERCEPTUAL STRATEGY…IT IS NOW LARGELY ACCEPTED AS FACT, THAT ANIMALS, SHARE THE PRIMARY EMOTIONS, THOSE INSTINCTUAL REACATIONS TO THE WORLD WE CALL FEAR, SURPRISE, SADNESS, DISGUST, AND JOY.” (10). The capital bold letters are mine.
I could continue on for pages ‘N’ but, it is upsetting when someone makes the statement that you have written. I am sorry but they are not informed by the current science. There are many who believe that animals do not feel pain or fear. It makes it easier to kill them! We know animals feel pain. I have seen eagles and other raptors grieving along with the Corvids in my own neighbourhood. I have seen Grackles celebrate the fledge of one of the chicks in my garden (they invite the extended family) and we have all heard and some have been blessed to witness the rituals associated with Crows when one of their group dies. I hope this answers your question and provides you with a beginning from someone expert in the field, Dr Bekoff, to rebuff those statements. I also urge everyone who is interested in this topic to get a copy of this amazing book. It is paperback and can be ordered through library loan as well. It will provide you with a clear foundation on this subject backed up by clear examples, not anecdotes.
In other mail, ‘K’ sent me a wonderful letter and an article, “Cherish This Ecstasy” by David James Duncan from The Sun written in July 2008. I want to share the topic of that article with you – bringing back the Peregrine Falcons from extinction. It seems so appropriate as we just watched Indigo and 2 or is it now 3 of the Melbourne Four fly and await Rubus’s triumphal departure.
Now do you know what the invention was that brought the Peregrine Falcons back from sure extinction? It was the Peregrine Mating Hat invented by one of Cornell’s Ornithologists. The ornithologist would put on the hat. He would sing Chee-up! while, at the same time, bowing Buddhist style. You have seen our falcons do this in their bonding rituals. The male falcon copulates with the hat. The scientists remove the sperm and inject it in the few females they had at the time. The hatchlings were raised in a DDT free environment – and that is how we now have Peregrine Falcons living almost everywhere.
Here is an example of the hat and the process. Turn your sound down a wee bit.
While we are talking and thinking about everything falcon, it is a good time to mention some of the really good books that are out there. They are in no particular order but each is loved and well worn and I pull them off the bookshelf often.
Falcon by Helen MacDonald. I love MacDonald’s books. That is not a secret. This little paperback volume is the social history of falcons from the gods of the Ancient Near East and Egypt to the hunting falcons of Europe and the Middle East. Everything you wanted to know about falcons and more including their use in the military. It really is a good read particularly if you want to known more about falcons than just scientific data – their entire cultural history of falcons in a wonderful narrative. My first pick always for a book on the subject of falcons (not just peregrines) other than a guidebook.
On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by Alan Tennant. Ever wanted to fly? to understand how falcons migrate? This is the view from Tennant’s flying and tracking of the falcons as they migrate. Tennant narrates the voyages tracking the birds with the tiny little transmitters on their tails. I like it because the science is woven in with the narrative.
Queen of the Sky by Jackie Morris is a beautiful little book. It not only includes the stunning watercolours of Morris and gorgeous photographs of Hiss and her friend, Ffion Rees, who rescued this dying falcon from the sea and nurtured it back to health. This is a profoundly personal and moving book. There is a deep connection between Ffion Rees and Hiss that develops over time but which began the minute Rees looked into the eyes of that raptor. They looked into the souls of one another. Highly recommended for the art work alone but the story will certainly move you.
The Peregrine by JA Baker. Baker tracks a pair of peregrine falcons during their daily lives. He is transfixed by them. You get to know their habits – everything about them – through the eyes of Baker. Many consider this a ‘must have book’ for the shelf.
There are more but these would get you started – but, as I said, out of all the MacDonald is first. Since I love the paintings of Morris and the positive story of a falcon rescue and release the Morris is second.
And one last falcon bit. Dr Cilla Kinross (the researcher at Orange) went out looking for Indigo today. Xavier and Diamond saw her. I imagine they did not want her to get too close to their beautiful fledgling. The video will not win any awards but it does give you a fantastic idea of the sounds the adults can make if they are anxious about someone being near their offspring.
Before we check on any of the other nests, let’s see how Rubus is doing in the scrape alone. It would appear that some of those dandelions are shedding but there are lots to go. Rubus also appears to be only interested in the visits by parents if they have prey! My goodness Rubus is ferocious when there is prey about. Diamond has been flying up and checking on Rubus quite a bit this morning.
The beautiful golden glow of dawn falls over our dear little one, Rubus, who now looks out to the wide world of Indigo and the parents. Rubus, you will fly too but…it is going to be awhile. You need to get rid of most of that fluffy down. Flap those wings and shake, shake, shake.
Dare I say that Rubus is missing Indigo?
Rubus would love another prey delivery.
Diamond goes over to check on Rubus.
At 367 Collins Street, it is anyone’s guess as to how many of the eases are now fledglings. We know from a video clip from ‘Bathroom Guy’ that at least one has fledged. It is now believed that there are two. This morning very early there were three erases on the ledge waiting for a prey delivery – or at least hoping for a prey delivery! Did one return for breakfast? We know that the eyases can easily reach this height.
Here is a group of photos of the erases on camera this morning. Looking, listening, eating, and loafing.
Loafing has spread around the world…starting with Alden at UC-Berkeley. What an influencer he is!
It seems as if two have fledged and two remain to fledge – but, in truth, we have no idea! That is the nice thing about the scrape at Orange. You can be absolutely certain when the eyas flies for the first time!
The streaming cam remains off at Port Lincoln. This morning when it was back on there was a note that Big had two fish meals both of them brought in by Mum. Thank goodness Big is older and Mum is a good fisher. It is difficult to determine what is going on with Dad but, whatever it is could be linked to his two seizures seen on camera during the early incubation stage.
5 Red Listed Bird: The Mistle Thrush
I first saw an image of this lovely bird after the ospreys had started their migration to Africa. For the life of me I cannot remember if it was the Glaslyn or the Dyfi nest in Wales but, on one of them was this stunning little bird, the Missile Thrush. The scientific name Turdus viscivorus means ‘devourer of Mistletoe’. It is a large songbird with a grey-brown head, back, and wings. Its breast is spotted with the same grey-brown on ivory. Piercing deep espresso eyes with an ever so slight eye ring. The pop of colour comes in the pinky-peach legs. One can only imagine that this combination in haute couture would land it on the Paris runways. In its behaviour, this Thrush is powerful and aggressive. It eats insects, invertebrates, and loves berries. They do love mistletoe but will also eat hawthorn or holly berries. The largest of the warblers in the UK, their son is loud and is carried for a distance from their perch high in trees. Actually, it isn’t a song but a rattle.
These lovely birds are globally threatened. Their numbers have declined dramatically, as much or more than 50%. The cause is a lack of habitat. Hedgerows where the find food and wet ditches because of the drainage of farmland has led to a lack of earthworms and other invertebrate that the Missile Thrush relies on for its food. Cow pastures and woodland have also been lost or degraded.
Research conducted by the RSPB suggests that ‘Farming measures likely to help song thrushes include sympathetic hedgerow management (with tall, thick hedges), planting new woodlands on farmland, and planting wild bird seed mixtures including leafy cover.’ In addition, the RSPB found that preventing the soil from drying out during the summer would be of great benefit to the thrushes. Hotter summers have brought more rain so perhaps, there is some hope here.
Bonus remains in close proximity to the area he has been in Turkey for the last little while. Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile but has moved slightly south.
It is so wonderful to have you with us. Thank you so much for being part of this marvellous international family of bird lovers. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!
Special thanks go to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, Ventana Wildlife Society, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.
The sky is gradually turning blue and there are 57 European Starlings in the trees and 49 Old World Sparrows. Two Blue Jays have also already been to the feeders. There is so much snow. It was blowing and coming down hard around midnight and in certain places in the garden it is more than a foot deep. Winter has set in.
In the Mailbox:
Oh, I get the most marvelous mail but today ‘A’ reminded me of a very poignant moment last year. The 4th eyas at 367 Collins was dying. The entire family – including the siblings that had fledged – returned to the ledge to spend the night and keep the wee one warm as it passed. So, yes, the Collins Street falcons can fly back up to that ledge! Thanks, ‘A’. I remember that moment well. It is one of the finest examples of caring and grieving in Bird World. Do you remember?
I also received a fantastic letter from ‘K’ that reminds us of just how one single invention from an Ornithologist at Cornell saved the Peregrine Falcon population after its demise because of DDT. Do any of you know what that invention was? Think about it! I will bring it in to tomorrow’s newsletter.
Friday has been a very eventful day in the Australian nests and it kicked off with Indigo’s fledge at 0700:34. My goodness what a beautiful flight and it appears that Diamond and Xavier kept a good eye on Indigo and may have just delivered a nice piece of prey to her in the trees – prey that Rubus thought might have been coming to him!
Off she goes. Rubus did not notice – too busy eating his breakfast.
An adult almost immediately comes into the scrape and feeds Rubus. This is a great strategy. Rubus is no where near fledging. Keep him full, keep him in the scrape. No premature fledging.
Oh, Rubus is clearly starting to look like a little falcon. Look at those eyes. Rubus stayed facing the camera when Xavier came in with the prey. Having no screaming Rubus, Xavier immediately departs with food and flies down into the trees where Indigo is.
Sleeping standing up. Notice the beautiful barring coming on Rubus’s chest.
Moderators RECAP: 06:42:35 X w/prey, Indigo takes; 07:00:33 Indigo fledges; 07:00:38 D follows Indigo; 07:01:33 D feeds leftovers; 07:25:43 juv star, X feeds; 09 26 07 D feeds scrap; 10:10:51 D w/prey, feeds…12:44:00 D with prey, Rubus takes; 15:54:13 X with prey, Rubus takes; 18:48:54 D with prey, Rubus takes.
There is a storm forecast for Orange on Sunday. Let us all keep positive thoughts flowing to Indigo. It will be day 3 after fledge.
When the excitement of the fledge at Orange had settled a wee bit, it was time for Melbourne and, much to the delight of everyone, a gentleman who has a view of the ledge from his bathroom actually filmed one of the eyases fledging this morning! Brilliant. It was quickly removed from the FB page but, the more than 500 viewers who saw it knew that there were no only 3 or, perhaps, 2 left on the ledge of 367 Collins Street. Two could be seen clearly. IF one was in the gutter, flat, loafing, then maybe three were left but, it is probably save to say that two have fledged in Melbourne.
For all the fledges may you always be safe, maybe your crop always be full, and may you feel the wind beneath your wings for decades.
At Port Lincoln it is a question of ‘where is the fish’. The water around the barge is a little choppy. A fish came on the nest at 0835 and Mum, thankfully, ate her fill. She gave some bites to Big. Dad has not been up to his usual standards in terms of delivery numbers. Did the storm stir up the sediment and is the visibility poor for fishing? is it the choppy water? is Dad not feeling well. I noticed the other day when they did a close up of Dad’s talons that he had a lesion on one of them. All of know that he was unwell when eggs were being incubated. Let us hope that this is just passing and that all will be back to normal at Port Lincoln. This family has faced enough challenges this season. Big is not scheduled to fledge for at least another 8-10 days at least.
Ah, a fish has come in. Mum caught it and is eating her good share before taking it over to Big who is fish calling on the nest. Hold your horses Big – the order is: territory protected, parents fed, offspring fed.
And, if you are wondering, yes, this is Mum. She has gone out and caught the fish. Dad left earlier and has not returned. She is sure going to eat her share before she hands it off to Big. Just do a drop and dash – Big needs to self feed! Gosh. It has been 15 minutes. Wonder if Mum will eat the entire fish?
At 1509 Mum flew to the nest with the fish to feed Big. So far she has kept control of the fish and is feeding. Maybe she will eat some more herself.
Gosh, that fish is tough to get the flesh off. Mum is really working at it giving Big a few bites and some that she could eat on her own.
Mum is feeding slowly and she is eating fish, too. At 1546 Dad flies in with a headless fish to the nest. Mum is in the background eating fish as fast as she can. Big and her will have enough fish for today. Let us hope that Dad had a good portion, too. It is so nice to see Dad. He was gone for awhile. I hope he was out fishing with Ervie in those choppy waters.
Mum in the back eating the rest of her fish as fast as she can. Dad’s is not big. He could have just eaten it but, he doesn’t. He leaves his small offering for Big and Mum. Thanks, Dad! I do hope you ate. Big has a crop and is fine.
Port Lincoln has said there will be no banding on Saturday. So, perhaps, the banding will take place on Sunday or Monday.
Mum went over to cover her only surviving osplet when the rain started. What an amazing parent she is! Little Dad is down in the shed. Let us hope that these two are alright. Everyone was so worried about Dad yesterday. He was away for so long.
Right now it is pitching down rain at Port Lincoln. The forecast I am seeing so a high chance of rain all morning at Port Lincoln.
In some countries, birds are of least concern while, in others, they are vulnerable and, in the case of the Cirl Bunting, on the Red List in the UK. It is of LC in the United States.
This lovely little bird is a relative of the Yellowhammer. Just pause for a moment and look at the image above. How would you describe it? First, it is difficult to understand the size of the bird without any reference. Normally they are approximately 15 cm or 6 inches in length. During the breeding season, the males have a distinctive black chin. Below is a drawing of a male and female. In this you can get a better feel for how the male should look with its two yellow eye lines, black chin and crown, yellow line at the neck with a grey-olive collar and yellow underbelly. The female is much more striated with a vertically barred chest and a touch of the same olive-grey at the top of the wing. They are lovely little birds.
So why are the Cirl Buntings under threat of extinction? Farming practices is the main issue. The bird was once common all across the southern half of the United Kingdom. In the 20th century their population numbers began to spiral downwards when farming practices switched from spring sown cereal crops to autumn sown. Habitat intrusion and the use of pesticides also impacted the population numbers.
The RSPB worked with farmers in south Devon to switch back to traditional farming practices. The result was an increase in the numbers of Cirl Bunting along the cost. What had once been only 118 pairs in 1989 became 1000 pairs in 2016. This is fantastic news and all it meant was a return to the traditional sowing practices of farmers, the growth of shrubs and hedges, etc. Here is an excellent article from a farming on line journal that speaks to the challenges and what can be done for the Cirl Bunting to save it. Think rewilding!
There is still cause for concern. Farmers across the rest of the UK and elsewhere need to heed the use of pesticides and they need to pay particular attention to how their cycle impacts wildlife. The decline could lead to extinction just as quickly as the population numbers climbed over the past 30 years.
I am so grateful to ‘B’ for alerting me to Indigo’s fledge but he also sent me a note telling me that Samson and Gabby were in their nest as Tropical Storm Nicole plummeted the area near Jacksonville. Well done you two. Riding out the storm together like Harriet and M15.
Jackie and Shadow are another power couple. They have really worked on this nest and they sure didn’t want a storm to take it away!
B’ wrote me first thing to say that both Gabby and Samson are fine and so is SWFlorida. Nicole has now passed through them. Fantastic.
Samson and Gabby
Sunrise over Samson and Gabby’s nest near Jacksonville, Florida.
Everything looks intact at the NEFlorida Nest. Maybe we need to get the Eagles to be our designers. These nests are amazingly strong.
Harriet and M15 have both been seen at SWFlorida and this looks like Harriet aerating that nest getting it ready for those precious eggs.
As Nicole moves out of Florida, there is sunshine on the nest of Harriet and M15. It is so good to see that they are fine and so are Samson and Gabby. The camera is still offline at Big Bear. It could have been damaged during the storm but, let’s all hope that it wasn’t.
Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. It is time for me to do some shoveling and fill the feeders! The Starlings are waiting for their Butter Bark. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up the screen captures in my post: Farm Life, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, NEFL-AEF, and SWFL and D Pritchett Family.
Gosh, I cannot believe it is November. Today marks the beginning of the cooler weather for the Canadian Prairies. It is -5 and the Crows and the Blue Jays have been telling me all morning that we need to bring out the heated bird bath! The problem with the heated baths is that you must, in my climate, put small boards across the surface so they can drink and not bathe. It is too cold. Well, actually it is easy to put the boards across the top, it is the Crows that whack them out of alignment causing the entire exercise to be futile.
I can see no more double digit days ahead – maybe not until May! The Snowy Owls continue to arrive in the province while the number of Canada Geese, Mallards, Wood Ducks, and Dark-eyed Juncos is dropping dramatically. I do not blame them! I need to go out and have a last check at three local ponds and do the duck and geese count but, I have been having so much fun watching Missey and Lewis play that I just have not done it.
In the garden, the Blue Jays are here and so are the Crows. The Black Capped Chickadee stays all winter as does the Downy Woodpeckers. There are about 40 or 50 Old World House Sparrows that remain also. The numbers feeding drops substantially but, there is always a huge push for food from those migrating and that happened on Tuesday.
I am so glad that you have enjoyed the photos of the kittens. To all who realized what a wonderful distraction they are for the sadness at Port Lincoln, it is true. Lewis and Missey have really helped ease that tragedy. There is nothing more wonderful than your own animal or bird friend at home. The energy of Lewis and Missey is unmatched in my mind as my last cat, a lovely Red Aby rescue, was 14 and much slowed down when she passed away in July 2021. It took awhile to get ready for other fur ball companions. There is not a place that these two haven’t explored. I will include more pictures tomorrow!!!!!!!!!! But for now, ‘H’ cheered me up with this compilation of the two Lewises. So cute.
This image of Big at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge pretty much sums up this nest for this season. Look at Big’s crop. I would also like to see that size on Mum!
Big is massive.
Dad brought an enormous fish to the barge early yesterday morning. He had a good fill, so good that Mum was screaming at him to get that fish over to her and Big.
She is not too happy thinking Dad is going to eat that entire fish! He wouldn’t but…what we have to still consider is that during the stormy cold weather – our dear Middle got little to eat. At the same time, Mum had only the head of a fish more than Middle and some bites she could ‘steal’ while feeding Big. She was absolutely famished and still is hungry. You know I always say how much these adults lose in terms of body mass raising their chicks, it can be tremendous. I am hopeful that Mum will step back and, while feeding Big, take some care for herself.
The fish was estimated to actually weigh more than Dad. He had some trouble dragging it on to the ropes. It was just the kind of fish this family needed to start the day. Good work, Dad!
Mum and Big ate for an hour and a half.
There was some fish left for Mum, too, at the end which she ate by herself. Big was full – can you believe it? And moved away from the beak.
Last evening Mum went down and spent some time with Dad in the shed. Remember these two are grieving the loss of two chicks. Mum has fed Dad and now she has slipped down so they can spend some time together. I actually do not recall Mum being down in the shed very often. This has been a difficult season after the triumph of last year with the three males.
The attention at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne is not how much prey is brought to the nest but when the eldest eyas or two will fly. They are sure getting ready! Here are a mixture of images from today.
Dad missed the ledge – thanks, ‘H’.
Most of you will be familiar with the term ‘branching’ when it comes to eaglets. The flight from the nest to the branch. Well, there are no branches for either the Collins Street or Orange flacons but, ‘H’ caught the eldest having flow up to the other ledge at Collins Street – branching Melbourne style!
Rubus seems to have taken over the entire Orange scrape. From that tiny wee eyas that had to really jump to try and get any prey in its early days to now when it intimidates Xavier and seems to be eating everything, Rubus is a force to be reckoned with. Indigo, meanwhile, is becoming the most beautiful falcon, just like her mother Diamond.
Indigo reminds me of Izzi in this picture!
Rubus has been self feeding and plucking. He made quick work of a Starling head the other day. I wonder what he will do with this piece of prey?
I still say he but that does not mean Rubus is a ‘he’. Indeed, Rubus is eating so much and growing so big that we might be looking at another female. I don’t think Cilla has declared yet – if you know and I missed that, let me know please.
In Taiaroa Head, the first egg of the Royal Albatross breeding season has been laid and everyone of the NZ DOC rangers is looking forward to an exciting season! If you want to watch a mostly ‘unstressful’ nest, the Albatross is your seabird of choice. Why? The NZ DOC rangers take such good care of their birds. Eggs are removed right before hatch so that fly strike will not happen, eggs are shifted around between parents if a foster family is needed, and — there is normally no starvation as the chicks are weighed and topped up if their parents cannot supply enough food or if one or both are lost.
I will not say that the nests do not have their sadness. They do. We waited and waited for the return of OGK this year – he was last seen in mid-May-. He was young! Albatross can live to be quite old. Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, from Midway Atoll, will be 71 or 72 this year.
The NZ DOC has posted a video of what to expect:
On the Bookshelf:
I am not certain that this isn’t a book that all ages would enjoy. It was intended for children – to introduce them and convince them that birds are stunningly extraordinary. The topics cover every aspect of a birds’ life from their ancestry, to their behaviours, how we can help protect them and how to make your garden more bird friendly. The images are gorgeous and, the message is clear – protect the birds they are amazing! It is by David Lindo. Published in the UK, price varies but roughly $22 CDN for the hard cover. Highly recommended as a fantastic holiday or birthday gift.
The Name Game:
I want to thank everyone who took the time and sent in some of the names of their favourite streaming cam birds. It was quite fun.
Finally this morning, the ‘Name Game’. Thank you to absolutely everyone who sent in names. There were many duplicates and quite a few that I did not know. The letters in brackets are meant to help you figure out the nest but some, like (BS) stand for Black Stork. The Welsh names are either the Glaslyn or Dyfi nest. There were 3 names that tied for being submitted the most – 27 times each: Ervie, Izzi, and Xavier!
A: Annie and Alden (UC-B), Aila (LA), Andor (FP), Akecheta (WE); Andy (Captiva), Arthur (Cornell), Aran (Glaslyn), Aeron (Pont Cresor), Axel, Abby (EC), Alex and Andria (KNF), Audrey (CC)
B: Bazza (PLO), Big Red (Cornell), Blaze (EC), Bonus (BS), Blue33 (Rutland), Betty and Bukachek (Mlady Buky), Bella (NCTC), Brooks (SF), Baron Blue and Baroness Barefoot (WTE), Boone (JC), Bailey (HI), Barb (BPF), Bonnie (GHOW), Boris (Finnish nest)
C: Chase and Cholyn (2H); Captain JJ7 (LA), Carson and Cade (UC-B, 2020), Connie and Clive (Captiva), Ceulan, Clarach, Cerist, CJ7 (PH), Cookie (BBV), Charlie and Charlotte (Charlo Montana), Claire (USS), Clyde (GHOW)
D: Diamond (Orange); Dorcha (LA), Doddie (LA), DEW (PLO 2020); Daisy Duck (WBSE 2021), Dylan (LC), Dinas, Delyth, Della (MH), Dory (Boathouse), Diane (Achieva), Decorah North Mom and Dad, DM2, Duke and Daisy (Barnegat L)
E: Ervie! (PLO), Einion, Eitha, Eerie (BS), E9 and all the Es (SWFL)
J: Jackie (BBV), Jasper (NEFL), Joe (Captiva), Juliet (NEFL), Jan and Jannika (BS), Jack (Achieva), Jack (Dahlgren), Junior (GI), Jolene (JC)
K: Kaknu (UC-B), Kana’kini (WE), Kindness (GG), Kaia and Karl II (BS), Kincaid (KNF), Kisatchie (KNF), Klints, Kalju (GE), Kingpin (CC)
L: Louis (LA), Lady (WBSE), Lotus (NADC), Lena (Captiva); Little Bit ND17 (ND), Legacy (NE FL), Lindsay (UC-B); Lancer (2H), Lillibet (FP), Lawrencium/Larry (UC-B), Love (GG), Liberty, Louis (KNF), LGK and LGL (RA, Taiki’s parents), Louis (HG), Lily (GHOW), Lady (LOTL), Laddie LM12 (LOTL), all of Big Red and Arthur’s Ls
M: M15 (SWFL), Mama Cruz (FP), Mr. President (NADC), Monty (Dyfi), Merin, Menai, Mrs G (Glaslyn), Martin (Captiva), Mitch (HH), Maya (Rutland), Mahala (GI), Missy (BC), Molate (SF), Malin (CM), Ma Berry (BC), Mom Decorah, Milda (WTE)
N: Nancy (MN-DNR), Nora (Dyfi)
O: OGK (RA)
P: Pedran, Padarn, Peace (GG), Pa Berry (BC), Pikne (BS), Pa Decorah, Phoebe (HI)
R: Rosie and Richmond (SF), Rocket (NEFL), Rick, Rubus (Orange), Rocket (NEFL), Ron and Rita (WRDC), Romeo (NEFL), Rachel (HI), Redwood Queen (CC)
S: Shadow (BBV), Samson (NEFL), Solly (PLO), Simba (BBV), SE26 for the brave eaglet she was (WBSE), Spirit (BBV), Seren (LC), Star and Sentry (RE), Skiff (HI), Sloop (HI), Schooner (HI), Slapjack (HI), Sarafina (Loch Arkaig), Star (WE), Smitty (NCTC), Spilvie, Superman (WE), Swoop (Dunrovin), Salli (Finland)
T: Thunder (WE), Takoda (NADC); dear Taps (PLO), Taiki (RA), Telyn (Dyfi), Tuul (BS), Titi (FN), The First Lady (NADC), Tom (CC), Tiny Tot Tumbles (Achieva), Tiger (GHOW)
U: UV (KF), Udu (Black Stork)
V: Victor (FP), Vera (Loch Arkaig), Voldis (WTE)
W: Wek Wek (UC-B), Willow (Loch Arkaig), Warren (MH), Waba, Wilfred and Wilma
Y: Yurruga (Orange), Ystwyth, YRK (RA)
Z: Z1 aka Tegid (AO4, Wales, one of Monty’s boys), Z2 aka Aeron (PC, one of Monty’s boys)
Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their videos, streaming cams, and posts that make up my screen captures: ‘H’, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and the NZ DOC.
The weather on the Canadian Prairies continues to be balmy. It is 10 degrees C as I write to you and it is just past 2030 Saturday evening. The one thing I enjoy so much about living in Canada is that we will never let a good weather day at the end of October pass us by. Visitors at the wetlands today were in their shirt sleeves — short ones! Everyone had come to try and spot the Tundra Swans. There were 13 of them on the water yesterday including the family that I had seen in September.
It promised to be a good day as the sound of Canada geese honking filled the sky. On the way to Oak Hammock, I passed more than one field of corn being harvested. This is a huge bonus for the geese and ducks landing here now on their way south. Lots of food and the weather is supposed to be warm and dry for several more days. The geese will have those fields cleaned up in short order.
I have mentioned Oak Hammock Marsh before but, for those that are new, here is a short description. It is a huge area of wetlands northwest of Winnipeg measuring 36 sq kilometres or 13.89 square miles. The area is owned jointly by Ducks Unlimited and the Province of Manitoba. The landscape changes from season to season and month to month. There are many educational programmes, tours, canoes, and an interpretative centre. It is one of two large nature centres near the city where I live. The other is Fort Whyte Alive. The main difference between the two is the fact that Ducks Unlimited – while restoring wetlands to protect and grow the number of waterfowl – are also proud promoters of duck hunting. That is difficult for me. At the same time, I am grateful that there are expanses of land for waterfowl instead of housing divisions or paved parking lots.
The main building has a little shop, a display of miniature ducks that have won the annual contests, lots of computers set to eBird, and walls of displays – historical finds on the land when they were building, a class room, and cases full of beautifully carved ducks. I forgot my phone or I would have images of these for you – the lens on my camera simply cannot focus that close.
We had so much water in the spring. It rained and rained and rained every day. Torrential rains. This area of the flat prairie flooded in many parts. It made for soggy earth where bull rushes grew. They grew so tall. The Red-winged Blackbirds were eating the seeds the last time I was here. Today, there was no a single one. They are on their way south!
This female Downy Woodpecker was looking for bugs and insects and flitted around the path going in and out of the shrubs. She seemed to care less if I was there with her so focused was she on finding food.
Such a gorgeous Greater Yellowlegs.
There were two American Coots towards the end of one of the trails in ‘Coot Pond’. It was also there that I found the Snowy Owl I had gone to see – one seen flying over the marsh this morning. Sadly, it was dead.
Overhead two raptors were enjoying soaring in the thermals. There are Northern Harriers that I have seen at the wetlands but, there was always only one. These two look as if they were having fun and their silhouette looks like the immature Bald Eagles in both of my books with raptor silhouettes. I just wonder if one of these might be responsible for the demise of the Snowy Owl.
I saw six Great Yellowlegs today. They were all very busy poking around at the edge of the pond looking for food.
The Tundra Swans alluded me today. That is perfectly fine. It was a joy to see them in September!
On my way home I stopped at a park that I frequent occasionally checking for Wood Ducks. I was not disappointed today. A cute little girl, about three or four years old, was feeding the ducks cracked corn – a perfect food for them! This had brought the 20 or so ducks up to a single area. Many looked as if they had already eaten lots of corn and were back in the water swimming. And the light was so strange – the water looked metallic. Everything had a reflection and this cute little female Wood Duck seems to be looking at hers. I wonder if she knows how gorgeous she is.
This Mallard couple sat so still and their plumage was so vibrant and perfect that they appeared to be decoys. And then they moved!
The golden glow of the sun as it was getting lower in the sky caught this precious female Mallard. She looks like she has been eating very well and it is time for the last of the sun’s rays to warm her.
The forecast is for it to be 18 degrees C on Wednesday. I am going to check e-Bird and see if there are any hotspots with shorebirds and ducks still in southern Manitoba!
I know that many of you have pets, perhaps more than one. One of the wonderful things about them is how happy they are to see you when you get home. Well, when I pulled up and parked the car, I could hear a sound. I didn’t recognize it at first but, then, I saw her. There was Dyson running down the branch of the tree to greet me. She said all of her hellos and beat me – she was already waiting on the deck for peanuts – by the time I sat my camera down. Now how did she know that there was an enormous sack of fresh nuts just purchased for her???
Suzanne Arnold Horning was out and about today and she has photos of Big Red, Arthur, and L4 on the campus today. Oh, L4 looks so grown up. Remember that little one clamoring over its siblings to be right up and front at feeding time? and L4 being the first one to catch their own prey? Beautiful juvenile. I am so glad that L4 is staying in the territory. Wish this juvie had a band!
Look at those beautiful Juvenile eyes. Looks like L4 is over around the field by Highway 366.
Beautiful Big Red. Our fabulous Mama who will be 20 years old in the spring of 2023. Incredible.
This is another image of Big Red today from Ferris Akel’s tour. Isn’t she a stunner? And she has her dinner!
L4 will get her ‘red tail’ when she turns one. It is really a mark of honour for so few survive. Gradually, L4’s eyes will get darker and darker and one day she will look like her gorgeous Mum.
The Illegal trade in Song birds coming out of Indonesia. Oh, however so disgustingly sad. There are moves around the world to stop the illegal trade in birds and many places are banning the sale of parrots and other exotics to try and stop this practice. What is happening where you live?
There was a big fire across from the nest of Harriet and M15!
The weather is truly miserable at Port Lincoln. It was pitching down rain and there was concern that Dad would not be able to bring any fish to the nest but, Dad is extremely dependable. If there are fish – even small ones – he will bring them to Mum, Big, and Middle. It was between small and small medium size. Middle got the first good bites and that is a good thing because at 085754 Middle got up to walk away and then turned as if he might want another bite. At 085757, Big takes exception and gives Middle a brief reminder that she is eating – and eat she did – all the rest of it! It is certainly true that things appear to be civil but, when Middle eats his fair share before Big or Big thinks Middle is going to eat all the fish, she doesn’t put up with it. There was a ‘look’ from Big at Middle at 091225 that said it all.
Oh, the family was soaked.
Breakfast arrived at 08:49. Middle will get the greatest share of the fish for the first six minutes of the feeding. Indeed, Middle will have a small crop. Middle is on the left and Big is on the right. You can see that the fish is not huge but it is not tiny either. Dad is extremely reliable.
All is forgiven as the pair try to get some warmth as the rain continues.
The rain stopped by the winds are blowing at 31 mph. It could be very difficult for Dad or Mum to bring any fish to the nest in these winds. Send this nest your best wishes, as always.
Middle is hungry. Big has gotten the lion’s share of the fish for yesterday and that was not much, just the two deliveries due to the stormy weather. So Middle was peckish and pecked – yes, he pecked Big – twice. Here are some images of the last encounter. BTW Big does retaliate but, it is not as viscious as previous times.
What precipitated the event was the sighting of a parent and the hope of some fish. The two followed and did a wee bit of fish calling. Middle puffed up real big before pecking Big —-oh, please let there be lots of fish on Monday in Australia!
At 367 Collins Street, the falcons did survive the fireworks but, at the same time, it was so apparent that Mum was frightened out of her wits. She returned to her perch above the scrape before dusk. Very grateful all is well.
It is impossible to know when the Melbourne Four are being fed unless you see them being fed at the end of the ledge above or hear them squeeeeeeing which they are doing now at 1400! I am not worried about them. These parents have done a smashing job feeding these four and learning how to care for them. ‘A’ tells me it is blistering hot in Melbourne today and the eyases know to stay in the shade. So they are eating and they are sleeping in the shade and isn’t that wonderful — all is well.
Oh, goodness they are loud! Rewind to 1404 to hear them. It is a wonderful sound. You can just picture them jumping a bit with their beaks wide open snatching that precious prey.
At 1411 one of the eyases is heard running down the gutter. Then they mantle once they get to the scrape box. They have a piece of prey and they are going to self-feed. How exciting! This wee one keeps looking back to see if anyone is coming to try and take its treasure.
All finished and the fluffy eyas is running down the gutter back to the feeding wanting more!
The Melbourne Four had their usual four feedings yesterday despite the fact that we cannot always see them. Great parenting! Glad things are now quiet.
‘A’ reports that she saw that dreadful synthetic spider web decorating a property in Melbourne for the first time yesterday. This needs to be banned before it becomes ‘the thing’ to do. It is dreadful for all the small birds and other animals including pets that can get tangled up in it.
No more had Alison said this and there is an article in The Guardian urging Australians not to adopt the spiderwebs as they continue to follow the Americans trend of Halloween.
All is well at the scrape in Orange of Diamond and Xavier. We are so lucky that there are several cameras covering all the angles including the outside of the water tower at Orange. It gives the viewer real insight as to what is happening everywhere.
There were two feedings in the morning. At 0648 Diamond arrives with a pigeon and feeds Rubus and Indigo. Then at 1027, Xavier arrives with an Eastern Rosella Xavier will begin the feeding and Diamond will take over. She loves her Rosella, too. Just look at Indigo and Rubus. Look at their size. Gone are the days when Rubus was so tiny he could not get to the beak for food. Now it is watch out or Rubus will get it all. I do wonder if Rubus – who is four days younger and that is a huge amount of time in a falcon’s early life – is not a female.
Rubus is really getting all of the first part of the feeding. What an aggressive youngster. Reminds me of Izzi.
Rubus also gets full and goes over to the Cilla Stones making it easy for Indigo to finally get some breakfast.
But then…Rubus decides he would like some more prey. Poor Indigo. Just look at that adorable face. How could anyone ever get mad at that?
Rubus is still like a fluffy cotton ball with sparkling decoration around the edges.
Just close your eyes for a second and remember little Rubus trying to jump up and get prey and now look. Snatching it right out of the parent’s beak!
Diamond slept on the edge of the scrape box for part of the night departing sometime after 0100 to go up to the top of the tower.
The nest with prey delivery problems is Port Lincoln and that is because of the weather. The forecast is for rain and wind on Monday and Tuesday.
Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Take care everyone…and remember to work on your Bird Names Alphabet. I cannot wait to see all of the names you come up with! See you soon.
Thank you to The Guardian, Suzanne Arnold Horning for her photographs of Big Red’s family including the phenomenal beauty, L4, Ferris Akel’s Tours, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
It was so nice to hear from so many of you. I am glad you enjoyed seeing some of the feathered friends at my local zoo. I have not been there for years and it was simply a delight to see how zoo management has changed. One of the big features is our Polar Bear Conservation Project. Children love them. The place was packed – that made me happy but, I wish more people would sit and watch the birds and not be so attracted to what they are told is exotic – aka, ‘the tiger’.
Alaska to Tasmania in one 13,000 km epic journey?! It seems a Godwit has set a new record!
Please don’t put all your leaves into bags. If you must, rake them and put them in a pile, Lovely Greens made this great poster to remind us that it is better for the birds if you just leave the leaves! Look at all the wonderous creates that will thank you.
The Kakapo Recovery Group – those great people that monitor, care for, assess, and generally make sure that as many of these critically endangered non-flying parrots live – have opened up adoptions for the next year. I can say as someone who waited too long – if you are intending to make a donation to the Kakapo by adopting one of the birds, do it now! Don’t wait. My Kakapo lives in one of my huge plants, often hiding, just like the real ones.
If you are looking to help out other wildlife groups or nature centres, many are busy making money selling their annual calendars now. Check out the individual websites.
Checking on the Australian Nests:
The takings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest would not win any awards today. It is now 2100 on the Canadian Prairies on Friday night and it is 12:17 in Port Lincoln. There have been two deliveries: 061847 and 093829. Both were small! And I do mean small. The first appeared to be a chunk of fish and the second was simply a teaser. Let us hope something bigger comes on the nest soon. Still, it has been pleasant and that is fantastic.
Another fish, a little larger, came in at 131223. Big got the lion’s share of this fish. Middle is hungry and was doing a bit of snatch and grab but at 1315, Middle pulled away as if he was afraid Big would attack. Big continued to eat and at 1324, Big took the tail and ate it. This nest needs 2 big fish to come on it. Middle will be fine but both Middle and Mum need to eat, too.
Middle pulls away. He has had some bites but Big had domineered the feeding.
Middle watches Big eat the fish tail.
I don’t know if anything could get cuter than the antics of Rubus and Indigo. Particularly when prey is delivered. The pair of them seem to go after Xavier much more than Diamond – jumping, and pulling, and trying to take the prey out of Dad’s beak. I wonder if Xavier and Diamond have noticed that it is double the work taking care of these two than it was when they had only Yurruga last year or Izzi in 2020? Mind you those two were a little like energetic Rubus!
This scrape is the real winner in terms of prey deliveries. They had six deliveries yesterday of which 5 were Starlings. Today, there have been three deliveries already – a Starling at 060733, a parrot at 063831, and a Noisy Friar at 091333.
Here is a video of the earlier feeding:
It is getting much more difficult to tell when the Melbourne Four have been fed. They had a whole pigeon early and if you rewind you will not see any feedings. Still it is 1300 and, based on past performance, we know that the adults would have been in with prey. The sun is shining and so far there is no rain falling.
There is some serious concern over the Mum at 367 Collins Street. She was abruptly woken last evening and flew off the perch at 213426 and has not returned. It sounded to me like it was people partying in the CBD. Were there fireworks set off? Was it the Spring Carnival Fireworks? If that is truly the case, this is a very good reason not to have fireworks! It definitely disturbs the wildlife! I hope that Mum is perched somewhere safe. If you live in Melbourne and know what was happening around this time in the CBD, please send me a comment. Thank you!
‘H’ caught it all on video. Thank you ‘H’ for alerting me to this happening and creating this video for us. It is much appreciated. There are falcon sounds coming from the ledge above a few minutes later.
Continuing with the loud noises that happen when there are big gatherings, dozens of people were treated for cardiac arrest in Halloween celebrations last night. Perhaps it is time for civic leaders to recognize the harm to all by loud surprising noises bouncing off of tall buildings in urban spaces.
All of the Bald Eagles in the US are building their nests or renovating their old nests. Sometimes hearing that Xavier brought in another Starling can be like fingernails on a chalkboard. So ‘A’ and I have come up with something that we hope is fun and helps oil everyone’s brain! ‘A’ began making a list of the names of streaming cam birds that correspond to the alphabet. Then she sent it to me. Oh, it was fun trying to remember all the names and clear up the few missing bits. So, we both thought you might enjoy it, too. So, get a sheet of digital or real paper, get out your pen or your keyboard and put down all the letters of the alphabet. Then start adding the names of the birds next to them. Let’s give ourselves until Midnight Wednesday 2 November -CDT. I will give you a count down so you remember. I will post the results as soon as I can collate all of them. You can send them to me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To get you started. Can you think of a female Peregrine Falcon living at The Campanile whose name starts with an A. It is ____________________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!
Take care everyone. Thank you so much for being here with me. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts and/or their streaming cams where my screen captures came from: ‘H’ for her alert and video of 367 Collins, ‘A’ for her fun game idea, Lovely Gardens, CBC Canada, BBC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Kakapo Recovery, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
So happy to have you here with me. I set out ‘in my mind’ last evening that I would get up early and head out to find Snowy Owls sitting on large round hay bales near Oak Hammock Marsh. I got a text from a friend – ‘no’ owls seen. So, determined to see a Snowy Owl today, I did something entirely different! I went to the zoo.
How long has it been since you have been to a zoo? With all the criticism against keeping animals in small cages, our Assiniboine Park Zoo set out to try and make the enclosures for the animals considerably larger. At the same time they addressed issues of ‘boredom’ and the environments that the animals would live in if they were out in the wild. It was a much more pleasant place to visit because of those major changes.
One of the zoo volunteers saw me looking at the map and asked me what I wanted to see. The answer was Snowy Owls and Birds. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn’t say ‘tiger’ or ‘cougar’. As it happened we were very close to the Snow Owls and it was feeding time. Fluffy yellow chicks raised specifically for the purpose were being dished out. For several seconds, it seemed that a woman standing near to me was going to pass out she was so overcome by seeing the owls eat the chicks. I stood in wonderment trying to figure out if she thought that they ate lettuce – our zoo purchases an inordinate amount of Romaine lettuce – or fruit. It is a good thing that she was away from the cougar or the Stellar’s Eagle compounds at that specific moment.
The real character of the entire four hours was the Toucan. He made eye contact immediately. What an incredibly beautiful bird he is.
This is the Toco Toucan. They are the largest of the species at 62 cm long with a bill/beak that is 17 cm long. Their lifespan is approximately 20 years. The Toco Toucan is native to South American rainforests where its numbers are decreasing due to deforestation.
I wish we could have had a conversation. This chap was a real cutie pie.
These little Sun Conures were tiny in comparison to the Toco Toucan. No wonder they have the ‘sun’ as part of their name. Oh, those faces ranging from yellow to orange to red are the colours we painted the sun as children. They are native to northeastern South America. They are approximately 30 cm in length but these certainly did not look that big unless you count that long olive green tail in the measurement! These little cuties were using their bill and their feet to dig around the edge of their enclosure. They have a stubby quite muscular tongue that helps them move their food around in their mouth.
This beautiful Golden Eagle was finishing up its breakfast and not the least bit interested in anyone looking at it. What a beauty. It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, about the same size as a Bald Eagle. Unlike a Bald Eagle whose legs and talons are bare, the Golden Eagle has feathers on its legs. In Canada, they are ‘at risk’. Their meals consist of small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels.
The Stellar’s Sea Eagle is the largest of the sea eagles. With its striking bright yellow beak and legs and its espresso brown/black and white plumage, it is easy to recognize this raptor. It has a wedge-tail and fine pointed wings. They are rare. In the northern areas they will stand on the ice and fish and love the salmon in the north. It is thought that they almost exclusively breed in the north of Russia. You may recall that there is a Stellar’s Sea Eagle that has come to Newfoundland, Canada travelling south to parts of New England. I believe it is back in Newfoundland.
There were so many little Red Squirrels. This one is eating a ‘helicopter’, the seed of the Maple Tree.
Little Red stuffed these Maple Tree seeds in every part of the old shed. There were boxes full. Never knew if he used them for insulation to stay warm as well as eating. There is a large box full of them in his new home if he ever moves in!
It was great fun. Lovely to see families out with small children running about. Next time you are looking for a place to go – think the zoo!
A very small fish landed on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge at 061847. Middle got some of the tail but Big got most of it at 062652.
Breakfast arrived at 0618 on the ledge of 367 Collins Street for the Melbourne Four. Another plucking lesson, too!
This big one has run off with a nice piece and is self-feeding.
After eating it was running to get those legs strong, finding scraps of prey, and flapping those wings. What a brilliant place for these eyases to get exercise! I wonder how being able to run and flap freely – running a great distance – might give these falcons an edge in terms of physical strength that would help them survive? Just a thought!
This is the Recap for the morning feedings at Orange. Goodness Xavier has been busy hunting!
BirdieCam RECAP: 6:07:33 starling, X leaves, 6:20:58 D feeds; 6:38:31 X w/RRP?, he feeds; 09.13.33 X w/Noisy Friarbird, D feeds
Everyone has had breakfast, some more than others. Wish for fish – a big one for Port Lincoln.
Take care all. This is just a quick check and all are doing well at the 3 nests we are watching in Australia.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
It has simply been an extraordinary day on the Canadian Prairies. Here it is 2113 and the temperature is +10 C. Earlier it was 13 C. There were individuals walking around with their summer flip flops! Fall is such a harbinger of the cold, cold winter that well, it is nice to have a break. I am starting the news for tomorrow because it is happening right now in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to get out early and find some Snowy Owls in the fields north of where I live. Perhaps a Northern Harrier or two and might there be a duck?
Snowy Owls arrive in Manitoba when the temperature begins to drop. You can see Snowy Owls on the utility poles, hay bales, and in the fields of Southern Manitoba. They rarely venture to the center or the north of our province. They blend in perfectly – their beautiful white plumage with its dark flecking – with the snow covering the land. Their eyes are a bright yellow as are their legs. They feed on grouse, lemmings, rabbits, and weasels in the winter. Any that remain here in the summer live off of voles and mice in the fields. We always think of owls as hunting from dusk to dawn but, the Snowy Owls hunt during the daytime. They range in size from 50-70 cm with reverse sex size dimorphism (the female is noticeably larger than the male).
Update on the status of SE29. Oh, my goodness, a broken leg above the talon. Sweet baby. So glad 29 is in good care!
Missing Annie and Alden? They were bonding in the scrape box yesterday!! ‘H’ caught it!
Progress is being made on the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle’s nest that collapsed. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Parents working very hard to get it ready for the upcoming breeding season.
Australian Nest News:
Friday on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge has simply been ‘interesting’. The day arrived with a small fish and deep breaths as I wondered whether Big would attack Middle. Or would Middle decide to give Big a peck again? ‘H’ calls what Middle got last night as ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – it certainly was! But, today both have been civil. That said, something else is happening.
If one of the chicks does something, the other immediately does the same thing. Now seriously bear with me. This meant that both of them stuck their little bottoms in the air and did a PS in the window of 1030 and 1031. I kid did you not.
Big was sleeping and Middle was looking out over the water with a really nice crop.
Middle begins flapping his wings.
Then Big stands up and flaps her wings.
Middle raises up its fat little bottom with its head bent down low and gets ready. At the same time Big begins to lower her head and raise her bottom.
Middle goes first. Just look at that incredible ps. This chick has been eating well…if we did not know it we could ascertain that from the volume and the velocity of this incredible perfectly white ps. (There are some sticks there as well, check above or below so that you can tell what is ps. Middle has strong legs and a fat bottom and is growing like an incredibly bad weed.
Nine seconds separate the ps of each osplet.
Then Big decides to do some wing flapping.
Then Middle! The one good thing about their method is that it allows room for both to flap on the nest. I sure wonder what Mum thinks when she watches these two.
Then they both quiet down.
Dad arrives with another fish. It is 1232.
Gosh, I couldn’t see the size of that fish but Mum was still feeding the osplets at 1300. Big appears to have gotten the largest share. In the image above you can already see the crop that is large and — it will continue to grow!
At 1301 Middle had to stop eating and have another ps. Then he went back to the table probably hoping to get some more good bites which he did get. Now will he get that important fish tail?
Then – all of a sudden – the two osplets look up and there is Dad landing with another fish. Can you believe this?
Dad lands with a very small fish. A good practice fish for self-feeding. Mum ignores him and continues to feed Middle. She also gives some bites to Big who seems to always be able to find room for more.
At 1315 Dad takes his unwanted little fish and I presume goes over on the ropes to have his own lunch.
Dad returns empty taloned. He is looking closely at the fish that Mum is still feeding Middle and Big. Mum has been feeding the two and herself for over an hour. That was a BIG fish!
Incredible. At 1350 Mum is just finishing up that fish. Happy to see her eating well today, too.
Middle and Big had another meal at 1945. Wow. Dad is having some excellent fishing days.
Rubus and Indigo are adorable. Indigo ran off the Cilla Stones this afternoon to join Rubus in the corner. Oh, these eyases are so cute! That cuteness comes in part from their behaviour – their facial expressions, their interaction with one another and with Xavier and Diamond and their environment inside the scrape.
Rubus has been playing with the feathers. Is he looking for food scraps?
Indigo is over on the Cilla Stones watching her little brother as he intently stares at a feather.
Wow. That was a bit of a leap. Has Indigo been secretly going to gymnastics classes? I wonder how many points she would get for that landing?
Indigo is so curious as to what Rubus is doing and finding in those stones in his corner of the scrape.
Ah, two little sweeties! ‘A’ tells me that Cilla is certain that Indigo is a female as she is already as large as Xavier and still growing but, will not declare gender of Rubus for a bit. Four days younger and he is growing and growing. I have always called Rubus a ‘he’ and said ‘little brother’ but, in fact, Rubus could be a little sister for Indigo.
‘A’ notes that Indigo is losing all of her cotton fluff and will be looking much more like a falcon as Rubus continues to copy everything she does and remains a ball of cotton. From the time stamps that ‘A’ sent me, these two had a few good meals yesterday. Looks like there were five – that is appearing to be the daily average for the scrape at Orange.
The Melbourne Four seem to have relocated – for part of the afternoon – to the other end of the ledge.
The eyases are running up and down and then resting. All is well. No need to panic! ‘H’ caught them doing their famous gutter stomp heading to the other end for prey!
The weather report from ‘A’ for the eastern coast of Australia is rain and more rain. Storms put out power and pumps were working over time. This could inpact hunting for the Melbourne adults. We wait to see.
Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care of yourself. See you soon! (Please be advised if the weather is grand, I could well be out birding until late Friday. There might not be a late evening newsletter going out after this one. If that is the case, I will see you Saturday morning!).
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ for her video clips of Cal Falcons and the Melbourne Four, ‘A’ for her over view of the nests, the Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.
Oh, the forecast for the Canadian Prairies was spot on. We went from -1 to 13 degrees C right now. The sky is blue with only a whisp of a cloud but, there is some wind. It was a lovely, lovely day. It should be this way tomorrow and for the weekend and maybe even into early next week. I went out to a small market in the country hoping to see some of the Snowy Owls that are returning but, alas, none. The most activity is in my garden where the Crows are alerting the rest of their family that the buffet is open – peanuts, cheesy dogs, cheese, and eggs. Here they come!
In the Mailbox:
‘H’ sent a question to the mailbox and I bet a lot of other people are wondering about the use of the term ‘predation’. ‘H’s question was: If a Crow steals an Osprey egg, is that the same as saying that the egg was predated by the Crow?
The answer is a simple yes. The egg was not allowed to develop into the Osprey, ended any hope of life. I found an article on Crow’s predating Cormorant eggs using the term ‘predation’. It is helpful to see how others apply the term.
Breakfast in the Australia Nests:
The oddest thing happened at the Orange scrape this morning. Xavier landed on the ledge of the scrape with a freshly caught Starling. Diamond and Xavier appeared to have a chat. Indigo ran over and wanted to take the breakfast prey item and then quickly ran to the Cilla Stones but returned. Both eyases indicated that they were hungry but, nothing happened. Xavier flew off with the Starling and has yet to return!
I suspect Diamond asked Xavier to take the Starling and prepare it. Oh, if we could only speak falcon. How frustrating that we can’t!
Diamond left and returned. It is 0728 and the Starling has not been returned to the scrape yet.
Ah, Xavier returns with ‘a’ Starling, unplucked at 0830. Rubus and Indigo also get a plucking demonstration but they are starving and Rubus, especially, is jumping and biting at Dad’s beak.
Xavier was doing a pretty good job considering he is being run over by his very large ‘babies’. Can we really call them babies now. Just look at how big Rubus is getting…my goodness. Indigo really has to work for her prey bites now.
Then Diamond shows up. Mum stands at the ledge and watches what is going on before her eyes. Xavier continues to feed Indigo and Rubus. He is doing a pretty good job.
Then Diamond decides it is time to take over and feed the kids.
She gets the prey and little Rubus, for some reason, runs over to the other side of the scrape.
Oh, but don’t worry. Rubus can’t be somewhere if food is elsewhere. He quickly gets back over and starts leaping for bites!
Both Indigo and Rubus have finished their meal. Indigo has stretched and now, for some reason, each has decided to go into a different corner. This won’t last long. They love to have a cuddle puddle.
Just look at Indigo’s wing feathers as she stretches.
I wonder how long they will stay like this?
Not long is the answer! Indigo goes over to join little Rubus. Well, OK. ‘Little’ Rubus is not going to apply for long. Aren’t they just sweeties?
At the scrape on 367 Collins Street in Melbourne, Mum slept on her perch above the four eyases. She flew off early.
An adult returned with a freshly caught pigeon (I could recognize it this time easily, thank goodness) and began plucking and plucking and plucking. The Melbourne Four will be very capable of plucking their own prey with all of these lessons. This was followed by a pretty good feeding. It looked like all that was left of the carcass was the backbone holding the wings when the parent flew off. One eyas appeared not to want to eat. I wonder if it is getting ready to cast a pellet? Eyases are often not hungry when this process is happening and many are very frightened when their body begins to regurgitate a hard clump of bones and hair!
Middle doesn’t look the worse for wear after the dust up with Big last evening. I wonder if Middle learned anything from pecking Big when everything was otherwise going quite well?
The breakfast fish that arrived was small, a bit of a teaser but, if both of the osplets behave each will get some fish. Dad landed with it at 070928.
Big got the lion’s share of the fish. Middle waited and was a wee bit nervous. Middle did wind up getting the fish tail which he turned away (Big was eyeing it) and horked.
Middle did wind up with a nice little crop. And the meal was civil. Hopefully Middle will just eat and leave Big alone today.
Everyone has eaten. That is a great start to the day in Australia. No one is traumatized. Everyone will sleep or pick at the leftovers on the nest until the next meal arrives.
Thank you so much for being with me for this early report on the breakfast offerings in the Australian nests. Take care everyone. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.Thanks ‘L’ for the report on electrocutions and how to cease those unnecessary deaths and ‘H’ for the great question on predation.