Prey fights between siblings and more…it’s Wednesday in Bird World

16 November 2022

Oh, good morning to everyone! I hope that you are all well. If you have not been watching the scrape of Diamond and Xavier you are really missing something. First, there is the adorable Indigo and Rubus. They are ‘not sweet’ when it comes to prey items as the following two videos will demonstrate! But, they will be ‘out there’ defending their own prey and these little dust ups help them prepare for that. In the first video Rubus really does a good job at snatching that small prey item. He doesn’t prevail in the end but watch closely what he does. Quite the character.

Rest assured that at the end of the day, both eyases had quite enough to eat and at times were even sharing prey items.

So this is the first prey delivery, a small piece.

The second is a much more substantial bird, a Galah (pink and grey). There was more than enough for both eyases.

The fish deliveries continue to be rather scarce at Port Lincoln. It is difficult to determine if there has been an actual drop in the prey delivered or a slow down due to the imminent fledgling of Zoe and not three rapidly growing osplets. There are too many factors – the weight of the fish delivery, the portions that each family member ate, etc. It appears that at the current delivery rate, Mum, Dad, and Zoe are each getting the equivalent to one small fish per day. Is this enough?

Hoping for another fish but nothing has arrived. Mum appears to be reluctant to get too far away from the nest. Did the intrusion of the humans to band and put the sat pak on Zoe cause her stress? Is she afraid to leave Zoe? Quite possibly. Perhaps she will go fishing tomorrow but, for now it seems that she is relying on Dad.

The ospreys are not moving about much, not exerting much energy. Today, however, Zoe is doing a lot of wingersizing. Her wings are gorgeous. Just look at how big they are! It will be those big wings that will pull Zoe up out of the water when she catches her fish.

This shows what those strong wings will be doing. Just imagine. Zoe will have to catch her own fish until such time as she has a mate and has eggs in the nest.

AND THEN…a whopper of a fish arrived. Mum ate her fill and then took the fish to Zoe. Everyone will go to bed with a full crop at Port Lincoln. Relief.

Mum did not part with the fish when Dad arrived more than an hour later to see if there was any left. This whopper should take care of the hunger that she was experiencing – and Zoe. (I do hope that Dad had a fish, too).

Making News:

Even in Manitoba we are experiencing some birds that are late to migrate or who have decided to check it out and see what it is like in the winter for food. Some of those are Cardinals. This is an osprey in Idaho though! They need water and fish as we all know. Why so late?

Project Eagle will be the new home of the American Eagle Foundation The facility is located in Kodak, Tennessee and is set on 57 acres. Challenger the Eagle will be in residence there.

https://www.wate.com/news/positively-tennessee/project-eagle-in-the-home-stretch-of-building-new-facility/?fbclid=IwAR2P8t-e9ZiNLkwKCky0dQZJZokdILCmXE1HOdfooe2hb1hYt2wlr4QuYzs

In the Mailbox:

‘M’ introduced me to an Australian photographer, Georgina Steeler. All of this relates again to how we perceive our wonderful feathered friends and other wildlife. We have been having this discussion about anthropomorphising birds. We need people to care, to help all of us, to add to the numbers so that we build a huge network. At the same time, we need to recognise and educate ourselves about the emotions that wildlife have so we can try and have an intelligent conversation with the non-believers.

I urge you to Goggle Georgina Steytler and go and see her website, read her blog, look at her photographs, and ponder all the ways that you can make a difference. Oh, I like this woman and the way she thinks!

Here is one of the quotes on her site today from one of my heroines, Jane Goodall who knows that wildlife have and show emotion, pain, anger, fear, grief, and joy.

‘D’ sent me the link to this story to share with all of you. After reading about Wolke, this is another story of how much our feathered friends enrich our lives as told through budgies:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/first-person/article-feathered-friends-are-the-best-friends-of-all/

When I wrote about the Red Listed Bird, The European Starling, I had no idea Starlings were so intelligent and could mimic anything including Mozart’s concerto. Birds and their intelligence fascinate me more and more. ‘F and M’ sent me a note telling me about an incident at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. They wrote, “A week or so ago Tooronga Zoo in Sydney Australia had a breakout from the lion’s enclosure causing an alarm and the instruction “EVACUATE NOW” to sound. The lyrebird is now mimicking this alarm and instruction. It is causing quite a problem at the zoo. !!” Enjoy!

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/victoria/a-lyrebird-mimicking-the-evacuate-now-alarm-at-taronga-zoo/video/47d9e5b56f9139880f0dfc5b302eaaed

No 7 The Red List: The Dotterel

The top image is of the male Dotterel. Notice that beautiful white eye line and belly with the grey brown and espresso feathers mingled with white on the head, wings and back.

Northern NZ dotterel.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0.

This is the female. In this instance the female Dotterel has the brighter plumage than the male. The female has the same grey-brown plumage on the back of the head, wings, and back but look at that magnificent chestnut apron! With the espresso necklace and line between the eyes forming a brown and the espresso line running from the beak under the eye. What a beauty.

Banded dotterel” by Andrej Chudy is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The Dotterel is a medium sized member of the Plover family measuring approximately 20-22 cm in length. The birds are unusual in that it is the female that has the brighter plumage rather than the male. They live on insects and worms. Their eggs take 28-32 days to incubate and during this entire time the female does not leave the nest to feed. She is fed by her mate.

Dotterel face a number of threats from predators that have been introduced into their environment particularly during the nesting and breeding season. These include dogs, hedgehogs, cats, rats, stoats as well as other larger birds, and humans.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. Do stop in and watch Indigo and Rubus. You will not be disappointed! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their postings and streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Openverse, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, American Eagle Foundation, Montana Ospreys at Hellgate, Georgina Steytler. I would also like to thank those that sent in news items today: ‘M, D, F and M’. Much appreciated! It is always lovely to get mail to share with everyone.

Puffin…Puffin…and other tales from Bird World

9 November 2022

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone is well.

Oh, it is the gloomiest of days. Wet and cold. The snow was forecast to turn to rain. And it did. The garden birds do not like the damp. They do sooooo much better if it is a dry snow.

Is it possible to lure any of the European Starlings into the lilacs to feed? There are 57 of them roosting in the back trees. The owner of the bird seed shop mentioned that maybe there is still enough food out in the fields for them. I paused and then realised that their big feeding frenzy began in January. Perhaps she is right.

Mr Crow and Junior were very happy when a new bag of peanuts arrived. Did I mention they sort through the peanuts for the heaviest ones? No sense carrying off a shell with nothing in it! So smart. So gorgeous.

The hanging light makes Junior’s feathers look more intense.

Even with their favourite suet they are not budging. The squirrels are happy, the Blue Jays have come for peanuts and corn, and the Crow has been in for peanuts and to yell at me because the water is frozen in the bird bath! He gets right on top of the conservatory glass roof and caws as loud as he can – like he used to do when the cats were in the garden. Speaking of cats, it seems once the weather turned bad their owners are keeping them inside. Of course, it does appear that all of the Hedwigs have met their demise because of the cats according to the neighbour. I am certain that he is right. I have not seen the rabbits since the summer and it is unlike them – all three of them – to be away for so long. With everything at Port Lincoln, I have convinced myself not to think about it.

Day 2. The UK Red List: The Puffin.

Puffin with his catch.” by ohefin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Their name means ‘Little Brother of the North’ and they are, by far, one of the most beloved sea birds around the world. Did you know that they can dive up to 60 m in depth? This really helps when they are feeding their young 24 times a day! Yes, seriously, 24 times a day. Think twice an hour if you take 12 hours off to sleep. Do Puffins sleep? But, there is a problem. Changing sea temperatures and pressures from yes, you guessed it – those big trawling fishing boats – is causing a food shortage for the Puffins. As Beccy Speight says in her article on the Puffins in Into the Red, “If the food shortages don’t get them, pollution events and ground predators (Rats, Mink, Cats) will. If we want our Puffins to be more than jolly pencil case illustrations, then sustainable fishing, protection of feeding grounds, considerate placing of offshore wind farms, a reduction in marine pollution and preventing ground predators from reaching nesting colonies are what’s needed” (90).

Saltee Puffins” by JohnFinn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

How cute and yet, how tragic that these beautiful sea birds are so vulnerable. Here are a couple of articles discussing the challenges that the Puffins face and it is not just in the UK.

This is an article from an academic press discussing the Puffin chicks dying of starvation.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2656.13442

Many of the issues facing Puffins can be mitigated. Two serious ones that need immediate attention are over fishing (because if we have the will we can do something about this) and nest predation. It is not too late to help in these areas.

Do you remember this poem about Puffins? Here it is with sound!

In what seems like another life now, I wrote about the work of Montana ceramic artist, Julia Galloway. Ms Galloway made a series of porcelain ginger jars. Each had a motif of an endangered species on it from the New England area of the US. One of those was the Atlantic Puffin. She notes, “The Atlantic Puffin has been listed as globally endangered due to climate change, pollution, overhunting, invasive predators, and gill nets, among other factors. Climate change has caused sea temperatures to rise, and this causes a decrease in the puffin’s abundance of prey and habitat.” Of course a lack of sufficient prey causes all manner of problems with breeding and the sufficient raising of offspring. What I did not know is that motorists are asked to check under their cars during the mating season and young puffins take shelter under the vehicles because they become disoriented by the lights. Galloway does acknowledge some of the efforts in the NE US including hunting bans and conservation efforts to cut back invasive plant species that are harming the Puffin’s nesting area. Decoys have also been placed on good nesting islands to lure these quite social birds to other areas to establish new colonies.

Like so many others, Galloway believes that art and literature might be the most effective means of encouraging people to stop, look at the natural world, and then, get mad and do something to help make our planet a better more biodiverse place for the wildlife.

In the Mailbox:

I have been sent quite a few links to videos on YouTube the past couple of days. I will spread them out. Today, ‘A’ sent me a compilation of events from Middle’s life at the Port Lincoln nest. She warned me to get a tissue and suggested that I turn off the music – which I did. You can also save it and watch later!

Australian Nests:

The scrape box located on the old water tower on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange was full of prey this morning. It looked like the remains of a Starling plus two other birds. At one point, there was even a live bird in that box! Seriously. Apparently Xavier delivered it. Thankfully, Indigo lunged at the poor little thing and it took the opportunity to fly out the window.

Dad brought an early fish to the nest on the barge at Port Lincoln. Mom gave Big bites and took some good sized ones for herself, too.

Mum had a spa moment. I am so glad she is taking some time for herself. It has been a difficult season for this family.

I want you to have the link to the Friends of Osprey website. It is here that you can track our favourite South Australian male Osprey, Ervie! Here is the link and here is a good photo of Ervie with his tracker and some of his latest tracking.

Handsome Ervie.

Is it possible that Ervie is one of the best known Ospreys in the world? It sure seems so!

Is Dad safe from the eyases on the perch?

Off he goes!

Eagle Nests:

Note: Tropical Storm Nicole is set to make landfall in Florida. From the map below you can see that the nest of Samson and Gabby in the NE area near Jacksonville is going to get hit hard as this storm increases in intensity. SW Florida the home of Harriet and M15 will get a lot of rain and, of course all of the other nests such as Super Beaks in central Florida will be impacted (Superbeaks is a private nest). It could get really bad. Please send all our feathered families your most positive wishes as they ride out this storm system.

Samson and Gabby continue to work on their nest near Jacksonville, Florida. What a gorgeous couple! You can tell by their size and also their white head. Gabby is always slightly ruffled while Samson’s is normally slicked down as if he had been to the stylist before arriving on camera.

The winds and some precipitation have started at Samson and Gabby’s nest this morning. It will intensify as Tropical Storm Nicole gets closer. The nest is rocking although you cannot tell it from the still image and the rain has begun.

Thunder was perched over on the cliffs near the West End nest she shares with her mate, Akecheta.

It was raining at the nest site where the couple raised The Three Amigos last breeding season – Kana’kini, Sky, and Ahote -on Tuesday.

This morning it is simply beautiful there. Oh, it would be so nice to see the Three Amigos again. If you need a ‘Three Amigo Fix’ check out the highlights that play often on the West End Bald Eagle nest.

This still does not give you any impression of the wind and the freezing rain pelting down on the nest of Shadow and Jackie in Big Bear Valley, California.

This was the scene at Big Bear last night. The camera seems to be offline now. You still cannot get good sense of the snow coming down.

The Decorah North Eagles are around the nest. Gosh do they ever blend in with the fall look of the Iowa landscape.

Louis and Anna have been working on their nest in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. There have also been some intruders coming around the nest! If only they would find the vacant E-2 nest. There is another couple Alex and Andria on the E-3 nest. It also has a camera and great sound system.

Ron and Rita have been working on their next in the Miami Zoo and – were having a meal there the last time I checked. It is safe to say that if you go to an eagle streaming cam and rewind you might be able to see the raptors there at some point during the day.

Migration News:

Waba has been feeding on the Sudanese side of the Nile River while Bonus has been feeding in Turkey. Neither have made any effort to leave their area to go further south into the center of Africa. There must be enough food and they must feel safe. We will check back in with them in a few days but, they might have found their winter homes. No news from Karl II or Kaia as is expected. Send good positive wishes for the four members of this family.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. It is so nice to have you with us! Take care everyone. We hope to see you soon.

Special thanks to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: earth.org, There Once Was a Puffin YT, Julia Galloway, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Friends of Osprey, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, NOAA, NEFL-AEF, IWS and Explore.org, FOBBV, Raptor Research Project and Explore.org, KNF Bald Eagle E1 Nest, WRDC, and Looduskalender Forum.

Will the Melbourne Four fledge? …and other news in Bird World

7 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I am so sorry that the link I published to the story of WBSE26 did not work. The one under question 1 below works! Thank you ‘J’ and ‘H’ for alerting me to this issue!

___________________________________________________________________

It is actually 2030 on the Canadian Prairies, Sunday evening, and the snow that was forecast, arrived. The precipitation goes back and forth between snow and freezing rain so it is like a slushy drink outside. The garden birds will not be happy. Watching them during the torrential rains last spring, it is readily apparent that they prefer the snow (dry snow not heavy wet) to the rain. Their food does not ruin and they can fly easier. So many prefer to eat directly off the deck than from the feeders that I worry about them when it is so wet. Will this snow be here in the morning?

It stayed. The squirrels have run all over the place. Dyson was here early with her two kits.

The miniature weeping Caragana and Japanese lantern look lonely this time of year.

One of Dyson’s kits. The other is in the lilac bushes.

Dyson under the bird bath eating Black Oil seed and peanuts she found under the snow.

On the Bookshelf:

One of my biggest complaints about bird guides is the images. We have a locally published book on Manitoba Birds. It has drawings instead of photographs and they are lovely but, they are only helpful to an extent. Sometimes there is only the image of the adult male. There are never immatures! And definitely not an immature female bird. How are we supposed to learn which is which in the garden? Merlin ID has driven me crazy. My best book for sparrow ID has been the hefty Crosley’s Sparrows. But, what if you want to identify other species? Some have pictures or drawings the size of postage stamps and the layout designer used the size 8 font so that anyone over the age of 30 or someone with poor eyesight cannot read the text.

There is a new book out that will help those living in Europe. You might still need a magnifier to read the text or probe the maps, though. The book is Europe’s Birds. An Identification Guide. It is a weighty volume. You will not be hauling it around with you in the field but, it should be a much used reference for home. The images are far superior to any I have seen in other volumes. In Canada, the hard copy is $36…well below the average of some of the other guides that take up space but do not help one bit with IDing a bird!

In the Mailbox:

Oh, I love getting questions! There were 3 today and all of you might be wondering about one or more of them.

1. ‘J’ wrote about having difficulty opening the link to the former blog about WBSE26. I am so very sorry if this happened to all of you. Here is a link that works. 26 is inspirational and needs to be remembered for all the joy and encouragement she gave to all of us in her short life.

https://maryannsteggles.com/tag/wbse26/
January 5 is National Bird Day!

2. ‘K’ wrote: ‘Will the parents continue to feed the chicks on the ledge in Melbourne after they fledge?’

‘K’, that is a difficult question to answer. Normally, the adults would begin teaching the eyases how to hunt when they fledge. They would deliver prey to them in mid-air transfers and would be finding other places to feed their fledglings. The previous couple did not feed the fledgling falcons on the ledge. Mirvac turned the camera off at that time. These are first time parents and we will have to wait and see but I assume the answer is ‘no’, they will not bring prey to the ledge for the falcons if they have fledged. Prey would be taken to those that have yet to fly. You might also have noticed that the adults have begun to reduce the amount of prey that is being delivered. Food is a great motivator!

3. Several asked, ‘Will the Collins Street eyases fledge one by one or will they fledge together?

Like question 2, this is difficult to answer for several reasons. Males tend to fledge before females. The reason is simple. It takes females longer to produce all the feathers for their larger size than the males. At the present time, we do not know the gender of these chicks and it is likely we never will as they are not ringed nor has any blood been taken to determine gender. We should, however, expect the male to fly first. Victor Hurley has said he believes that there are 3 females and 1 male. But is the male the 4th hatch or the 1st? or the 3rd? Hatch order and gender could impact the timing of fledge. So if the male is the 4th hatch he might fly the same time as the 1st if that bird is a female because of the difference in their ages.

I have seen many nests where the eyases get so excited seeing one of their clutch fly that they all fly off within an hour. It has happened at this ledge. Now that the youngest has made it to the window ledge, I am wondering if the eyases might not all fledge within an hour or one another. We should know the answer to this question soon! I know that this does not answer your question. It might even confuse it more and my apologies. We just don’t know! They will keep us guessing until they take off…and then we will wish them safe skies, long lives, and full crops.

Fledglings depend on the parents from 4-6 weeks to help and teach them how to hunt and obtain prey. They will then leave the parent’s territory.

One of the most difficult things about getting close to the birds is not knowing what happens to them. Some people prefer to not know while others like myself, want to know every detail of their life. I think that is why satellite tracking is so interesting to me or a book such as Bowland Beth.

Australian Nests:

You might well have noticed. Mum and Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge don’t seem to be in such a big hurry in the morning to get up and off and find fish. Dad appeared to have a leisurely morning and Mum went and had a spa break. Good for her. She must eat and take care of herself.

Mum and Dad are also spending a lot of time with one another. Mum has fed Dad – a tender thank you for the food he brought when she was so desperately hungry -, they have sat together in the shed, and now they are spending time on the perch. If someone believes that they are not mourning, they need to consider the behaviour of these two beautiful ospreys who have lost two chicks. The loss of Middle had to be particularly difficult, a fully feathered osplet.

Dad flew in with a large whole fish. It looked like Big wanted that fish for itself but Mum prevailed and kept control. She remains in charge of the feeding. Is this on purpose? Big is now the age that she should be self-feeding. Big hatched on the 18th of September. If we count hatch date, Big is 51 days old. She will be ringed anytime between today and Thursday. We should be able then to confirm the gender, the weight, a name, and see Big with her tracker.

I had to laugh. One of the chatters said that, ‘Big is just an eating machine’. That is possibly why Mum still controls the reigns of the fish so that she gets fed properly, too, when an extra nice fish like the one that came in this morning is delivered.

Look at that fish. Wow!

Watchers of 367 Collins Street are having a hard time deciding if any of the eyases have fledged. They are such beautiful eyases. At 1400 all four were on the ledge.

‘H’ did a great compilation of the 4th hatch, ‘little Peanut’ branching up to the window ledge. Watch as the others come down and do a ‘cheer’ for the wee one.

Indigo and Rubus are changing every day. Like Big, Rubus is a bit of an ‘eating machine’. When Rubus hatched and was so absolutely tiny and couldn’t get up to eat – do you remember? -, I felt so sorry for Rubus. Indigo was just tall, stoic, and elegant. At one point it seemed like Diamond didn’t want to bend down to feed Rubus. And then…Rubus started jumping and stretching that neck. What a long neck and well, that is all history. Rubus practically knocks the parent over if there is food. Indigo appears to want to look out to the world beyond and feed herself. Rubus gets fed but is doing quite well at self-feeding, too.

‘Hello Everyone!’

Rubus was very happy that Indigo left some prey.

Rubus is doing a great mantling of the second prey delivery. Indigo is not interested. She ate most of the earlier delivery and is looking out to the world where she will be flying with her parents – the fastest bird on the planet!

Look at Rubus’s wing feathers. Lovely. We will wake up one morning and Rubus will look like Indigo. What a shock that will be!

At 1642 prey was delivered. Indigo expected to get it but, Rubus was quicker grabbing the item and carrying off into the corner by the Cilla Stones.

Indigo is telling Xavier and Diamond about how naughty Rubus was taking her prey!

The adults leave the kids to it…Rubus takes the prey to eat it in the back of the scrape while Indigo comes over and wants the food. Rubus turns quickly to protect his meal and heads back to the Cilla stones. Rubus has had some good fast bites.

Indigo will eventually get the prey from Rubus through the great ‘stare down’.

Need a refresher on falcons? This is a good resource on Peregrine Falcons that includes many helpful links that you might find interesting.

https://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/birds/peregrine-falcon.html

What’s Up with the Eagles?

Harriet and M15 have been working really hard rebuilding their nest that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Lady Hawk has posted a video of their progress. And guess what? Harriet is sleeping on the nest tonight. Eggs might be coming soon!

Philippe Josse posted some super screen captures of Mum and Dad at the Notre Dame Eagles nest in St Patrick’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. This is the home of our beloved Little Bit ND17 – the little eaglet that could. Their nest completely collapsed and many wondered if they would rebuild in the same place. They did and both have been walking around testing the nest to make certain it is sturdy. Thank you, Philippe!

Jackie and Shadow continue to work on their nest in the light snow in Big Bear.

And last but, never least, some great news. I have been tracking down information on ospreys that went into care before they fledged. There is an urban myth that they do not do well in care and, in particular, before fledging. You might remember the two osplets that had not fledged at Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails. Their mum pulled them off the nest by accident. One died while the other went into care. It is doing great and is being over wintered and will be released in the spring. Urban myth proved wrong. (I have been asked not to publish the name of the wildlife centre as they do not have the staff to answer queries). This is good news and details will be sent to Port Lincoln.

Banding will take place anytime between today and Thursday at Port Lincoln. I have seen no specific time or day indicated yet.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Amazon.ca, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, FOBBV, ND-LEEF and P Josse, SWFL and D Pritchett plus Lady Hawk.

Sunday Morning in Bird World

6 November 2022

Good Morning All!

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. It is lovely to have you here. I want to say, right off the top, how inspiring each of you are to me. Osprey season, for me, begins in Australia and it has been a particularly devastating start after the great breeding year of 2021 that produced Bazza, Falky, and Ervie. Fortunately, I did not share that sadness alone and I thank you again for being such an empathetic and caring community.

As migratory season winds up in Manitoba, the wetlands and estuaries that were teeming with ducks, geese, swans are silent. There are no skeins of geese flying over my conservatory and already, I am missing their loud honks. Soon our time will ‘fall back’ and it will be dark by 1615. It appears, however, that the Blue Jays and Crows are staying on. Today, one of the Crows was able to tap hard enough on the bird bath to get some water. I must now find the water heater for them. It is very important to have water when you are giving seeds. Here, during the winter, the birds and squirrels will eat the snow but, they do not get the quantity needed so a heated source is very helpful.

It is 5 degrees. There are European Starlings in the trees in the back. Last year they came and ate and filled up before moving South. This year I wonder if they are intimidated by the Blue Jays. The weather report is for snow to arrive in three hours. It has been falling north of the City for hours.

Lewis and Missy are never apart. You would think they were litter mates. I just looked down and each was eating out of their hard food dish with Lewis straddling the water bowl so they could be parallel with one another. I have not seen kittens behave like this. It is literally like they are joined at the hip.

In the Mailbox:

‘C’ sent me a very long discussion with lots of good links from the Looduskalender English Forum about siblicide or cainism. I have skimmed some of the contents and have several parts thoroughly. The information provides good definitions and also alerts you to species that practice ‘obligatory’ siblicide. It is extremely stressful to watch a nest with two healthy chicks that have hatched knowing that the eldest will kill the youngest. If this troubles you, then please avoid those species or wait to start watching.

It is, perhaps, too early to read about this particular type of avian behaviour having lost Middle but, put the link aside and educate yourself.

Making News:

This late summer, we were blessed with a Great White Egret in our City – indeed, eight or nine of them on a single tree at dusk. Here is a lovely story coming from the UK about walking in the marshes and discovering this amazing bird.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/nov/02/a-walk-on-the-wild-side-explore-the-avalon-marshes-somerset

It is unclear if was fireworks that frightened F22 at the 367 Collins Street scrape last week but, something loud that sounded like fireworks echoing between the tall buildings of the CBD in Melbourne, scared this first time Mum off her perch.

Today, The Guardian is carrying an article demonstrating how fireworks causes geese to become stressed.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/03/bonfire-night-fireworks-cause-major-distress-to-wild-geese-study-finds

Many are choosing to use drones to light up the sky but, has anyone looked into the direct damage hundreds and hundreds of drones might have on birds? If you see anything, please let me know.

Sharon Dunne has posted some information about the new season at Taiaroa Head. It is getting off to a great start!

Pentobarbital Poisoning. There is at least one Bald Eagle in the US struggling for its life because it found a euthanized prey. It laid unresponsive but not dead and was taken to a rehabber who is posting information and working hard. How did this eagle get in contact with the euthanized animal?

https://www.knowledgefun.com/pdf/secondary_pentobarbital_poisoning_of_wildlife.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3xBTkh1FlmePDXANfrSQAljI8f08LCDAwxsq-_qj83gPgjq0px38JXzVA

Here is an article about Bald Eagles surviving eating euthanized cats. Are the vets not responsible for properly disposing of the animals?

https://archive.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/bald-eagles-recover-from-eating-euthanized-cats-ns5ah7v-150542725.html/?fbclid=IwAR1vtNBYxADyL7PhOOTOGELhRLvPIISvcthjOSQnpbqmCqA2myfsk9137PY

Australian Nest News:

So far, it has been a relative quiet day in Bird World. Every nest had prey deliveries in Australia and the last time I checked there were still four eyases on the Collins Street ledge.

At the Orange scrape of Xavier and Diamond, it appears that Cilla Kinross has changed her mind and believes Indigo to be a male. Is this size? legs? lack of aggression? I have not seen her statement and only noticed this latest information when one of the chat moderators included it today.

An unplucked Starling was dropped off inside the scrape box. Indigo began plucking it. It appears that Indigo’s very active plucking frightened little Rubus for a few seconds. Rubus ran and stood on the Cilla stones and then, watching and well, Rubus is always hungry, s/he begins to think about helping.

Rubus decides s/he will go and help.

The chicks made a good effort. Indigo was very good at plucking and little Rubus helped her by holding down a part of the Starling with the talons. But they did eventually give up despite their early morning hunger.

Rubus was really working on that Starling’s head.

Rubus twisted and turned and pulled getting some bites.

Looks like Diamond came and saved the day! Both chicks reasonably aggressive but, squealing Rubus slightly more so.

When I finished watching 367 Collins Street today, there were still four eyases on the ledge.

Oh, this one wants to fly so much!

They have been watching the adults fly. It is to lure them off that ledge. ‘Hey, look, you are a bird. Flap those wings and fly’ – Mum and Dad are telling them. ‘You can do it!’

It is 12:21 and all of the Melbourne Four are accounted for – there is one that is blending in well with the scrape box and one in the gutter looking like a piece of prey!

Sometimes Mum – who is now slim and trim – can look like one of the eyases. To tell the difference between an adult and a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, look at the bars on the chest. If they are vertical, the bird is a juvenile. If they are horizontal, they are an adult.

All present and accounted for at 1417. Just look at how much the youngest one has changed. You can easily see which one or ones are hungry. See the sunken crop of the one on the ledge and the full crop of the one in the gutter. Falcons do not need to eat every day and…of course, all of us want them to have banquets but, a day will not harm them. These four have learned how to pluck and are preparing for what they are meant to do – fly! So proud of these first time parents. They overcame so much to be able to fledge these four healthy eyases – and that fledging will be soon. I hope they all wait and fly off together.

Here is a very short video of a pigeon delivery to the Melbourne Four. They are sooooo loud. Once you know that sound you will never mistake it for anything else! Poor parent. Besieged.

Mum and Big have been eating. All of the nests have had food – at least one prey drop or more.

Big is big.

Big had a monster sized crop.

Big is very aware of her surroundings and around 1322 pancaked in the nest. A few minutes later she was looking around as if there was ‘something’ or ‘someone’ about.

Mum got a chance to eat some fish on her own — in the middle of the night while Big slept. Thank goodness. Big will eat everything unless the fish is huge. We are now within 5-7 days of banding.

Brief Eagle News:

If you are a Decorah North fan, Mr North and DNF were working on their nest this morning! There is hardly a Bald Eagle nest in the US that is not now going through nestorations.

Muhlady laid her second egg. Pepe was there at the Superbeaks nest in Central Florida giving support. Muhlady was the first Bald Eagle to lay an egg this breeding season. She will have the clutch finished before most even consider an egg!

Migration News:

Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile River while Bonus remains in Turkey. There will most likely not be any transmissions from Kaia or Karl II as they were already at their wintering grounds. This is typical. In past years there has been no transmission from Karl II until he began his return journey to Estonia. This is the first year that Kaia has a transmitter.

Thank you for joining us today. I hope that your weekend has been good. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, articles, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: Raptor Education, Royal Albatross Cam and Sharon Dunne, The Guardian, Looduskalender Forum, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Decorah North, and Superbeaks.

Without words…Middle dies at Port Lincoln

2 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

When I went to sleep last night, I knew that I would wake up and Middle would no longer be with us. What an absolutely tragedy. He was so dehydrated that he was no able to lift his little head and eat despite the fact that fish after fish came on the nest….and the one time he did, Big attacked him. I apologize for this newsletter being highly disjointed. I do get upset when one dies, it digs at my heart for the days leading up to the death and then after. Somehow Middle is hurting the most. He was 43 days old, fully feathered, and his death did not need to happen.

Middle when he was still alive. Cold and needing comfort.

At this moment in time, I cannot tell you how rare it is in % for two osplets to die of siblicide on the same nest. Yes, siblicide. Textbook siblicide again just as with Little Bob. Port Lincoln is the only osprey nest that I have ever encountered where a double siblicide has now been recorded in three years: 2022, 2016, and 2015.

In 2017, the eldest threw the youngest (only 2 hatched) off the nest at 65 days. Stevie went into rehab and died a few months later. It might well be this single incident 5 years ago that makes the Friends of Osprey believe that Ospreys do not do well in care. I say now – for the future – take a bold step Port Lincoln. Get permission to remove the chicks when it is not too late. Get them to a rehabber that cares – someone like Dr Madis in your area, there must be someone in the whole of Australia! – and let’s try this again! Don’t wait for them to be thrown out of the nest or get so weak they can’t raise their head.

Claudio Eduardo and I are developing the International Data Base for Ospreys. It is to find out this % on streaming cams. No one has ever tracked predation and siblicide internationally. Sadly, Port Lincoln is our first entry for the year.

Despite the anticipation of what seemed the inevitable, I was having a really hard time anticipating the death of Middle so, as usual, I began my blog for today quite early yesterday. Dear Middle wanted to be warm and wanted some fish. And darling you, you got spunky and we just knew you would make it — against the odds of this nest – with a big aggressive female as first hatch. I am so very, very sad that you didn’t.

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Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well. There were some changes in my house yesterday. Two small rescue kittens, 11 weeks old, have come to stay. One is a soft long hair tabby female and the other is a grey tabby with white runners in front, tall boots in the back, a white bib and tummy and he is Lewis – after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver from the UK. The reason is simple – Lewis runs around the house so fast from the front of the L to the conservatory barely stopping and heading back the other direction. I fell in love with him for his energy and love of toys. The yet-to-be-named female is sweet but, like the female raptors, she let Lewis know immediately that she is one week older and is ‘the boss’. He agreed and went on playing. They are getting along splendidly.

It was a real delight to watch Lewis sitting under the table peering out of the windows at the birds. I was ever so hopeful that they would enjoy watching them…they will never be outside to bother them. Did you know that, on average, outdoor cats live to be 5-6 years old while indoor cats live to be 17-20? Less vet bills, fewer infections. It is a no brainer — and the birds live. Not killed by an overfed pet to be left lifeless on the grass. Nope. Lewis and his sister can only dream!

It is very, very dark on the Canadian Prairies as the time nears 2100. The temperature is 11 degrees C. Warm for this time of year with clear skies and lots of stars. The temperature will rise overnight until it is an unthinkable 18 degrees C tomorrow. For those used to F, that is 64.4 degrees. In Port Lincoln, it is 14 degrees C at noon; it is 13 degrees in Melbourne. Similar. But for Port Lincoln this is freezing.

There are rumours making the circuit that Middle had a ‘ps’ (poop shoot) at Port Lincoln this morning. If that is the case, then Middle has had some fish. Osplets that have not eaten much in 3 days are dehydrated, no ‘ps’. I find that somewhat promising. And then I don’t. It is extremely cold and windy for Port Lincoln.

Fish arrived. Lots of fish. Big ate and ate. Middle got none.

It is now after 1400 on the nest. Middle has had scant food for more than 3 days. He appears to be slowly drifting away. His energy is gone. He is totally dehydrated. It is a horrible way to die. With winds gusting to sometimes 50 mph, I feel that there is no hope for this little fighter. It is a tragedy. I did not ever think that I would see this when things were looking up last week.

It is 2300 in Winnipeg. I know that Middle will not be here when I wake in the morning. We weep for all the Littles and sometimes a Middle…the people in the area that live and work in Port Lincoln, that care and love these Ospreys needs to have a serious look at the depletion of the fish in that region. More on that shortly.

I cannot even express how sad this is.

In his book, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier, David Cobham says, ‘These young lives are full of hazards: they need to be able to contend with prolonged periods of bad weather; they run the risk of being shot; in the excitement of chasing prey they may collide with vehicles or overhead wires; ground predators sometimes catch them unawares at their roost sites; and inter-guild predation by buzzards and goshawks may also be responsible for culling weak and unwary juveniles.’ (90) We could change the language slightly for our Ospreys but, right now, the entire family at Port Lincoln is having to contend with a 3 or 4 day period of prolonged stormy and cold weather.

I am almost finished reading Bowland Beth. Cobham is a gifted writer. I know the ending of the story. Most that pick up the book already do but, we are draw into the life of this exceptional raptor that was cut short by the Red Grouse hunts. It is a riveting and moving book and a must read if you want to understand why it is so important to ban the annual shooting hunts on the big estates and why the burning of the heather should be banned, at the same time. It is also about the short live of a very exceptional raptor and that was enough to get me reading. Cobham draws you into the day to day life of this bird trying to survive.

Did you know that the origins of ringing birds is traced to the Reverend Gilbert White? I didn’t. He would tie a cotton ring around the leg of a swallow to see if it would return to the same nest the following year. The metal and coloured rings that we are familiar with today are credited to Harry Witherby and Landsborough Thomas of the British Trust for Ornithology in 1937.

When Bowland Beth was ringed, this was how she was described, ‘Bowland Beth was one of those birds that you come across now and then that are absolutely perfect – her plumage, a rich, glossy chocolate brown, the most wonderful eyes, yellow irises, and vivid chrome-yellow legs with formidable black talons. She’s what I call a ‘super’ hen harrier.’ (74-75) Oh, had she lived!

There are no issues with either the scrape at Orange or at 367 Collins Street. Regular meals, the eyases developing right on schedule as if they read the textbook! Rubus – I almost called the new kitten Rubus because it is so energetic – is being his usual self. Or is it a her? It will be interesting to see what Cilla says. Rubus has certainly had a spurt in growing but its legs seem long and thin to me for a female. But, I am not a falcon expert. Let’s see what Cilla has to say.

Following Diamond’s instructions, Xavier brought a Starling in for Rubus and Indigo. He left it on the scrape despite the prey begging from Rubus. These two will need to learn how to self-feed if they are to survive in the wild.

Rubus is very curious and picks on the feathers and the head under the watchful eye of Dad. Indigo is not dazed or interested.

Xavier leaves. Indigo has joined Rubus staring at the prey wondering what they are supposed to do with it.

In this image you can get a really good look at the difference four days makes in growth. Examine the length of the tail feathers and the amount of down left on the back and wings of each eyas. Rubus still looks like he has been playing in the cotton candy machine.

Rubus goes back and works on the head of the Starling.

Then Diamond arrives to feed these two…look at Rubus almost push Mum over trying to get a bite of food.

Rubus is very aggressive. S/he is very hungry!

What a bunch of characters. Just look at their eyes!

Speaking of adorable…here is a video of selfies from the Orange scrape from yesterday. Rubus and Indigo can put a smile on our face and take away the utter sadness that we feel for Middle and his plight.

There are falcons on the 367 Collins Street nest! Just look at them and look at that mess – poop shots everywhere, feathers all over the place, the messier the healthier. Seriously.

Sharon Pollock put together a good video highlighting the new female – the Mum of the extraordinary Melbourne Four of 2022.

Back in the world of Bald Eagles working on their nests and we find the female at nest E-3 at the Kistachie National Forest not liking the wires that Cody put up for the camera and the sound. Let’s hope she doesn’t decide to do serious damage! The white wire is the sound.

At the Bald Eagle nest on the campus of Berry College in Georgia, Missy and Pa Berry are getting their nest in order. They fledged B15 last year and what a fabulous fledgling he was!

The GHOWs are starting early at the Southwest Florida nest of Harriet and M15. They are already knocking Harriet off the attic branch and her and M15 haven’t even finished rebuilding the nest.

Making News:

This is a great read. One of the things that I want to point out is the thank you at the bottom to all those who voted. 50,000 Euros were at stake and that prize has gone to a place that can really use it to help protect the albatross. Next time you see a chance to vote, look over the possible recipients and make your mark. It can truly make a huge difference.

Dr Sharpe and all the researchers at the Institute for Wildlife Studies have developed a mobile hospital to take on the needs of the raptors. Now, isn’t this a great idea. Something like this might work well in places like South Australia where there are no such services for Ospreys! And if they could get an Urmas and Dr Madis on staff – willing to take on an extraordinary project to try and give birds a chance that are normally written off as not doing well in care — well, everyone would be a winner. I am still sending loud cheers to the team in Estonia who advanced knowledge in the care and rehabilitation of Black Storklings. Bonus is living proof that their theories on how to care for the storklets worked!

https://www.iws.org/mobile-wildlife-research-hospital

Someone asked me once – oh, more than once – how I can deal with siblicide. It tears a piece of your heart out every time. Today is particularly difficult. Keep Middle in your thoughts. May he fly far, never to be hungry, never to be hurt, never to be cold – again.

In the memory of Little and Middle and all the other osplets that died on this nest because of siblicide and the few who did live to fledge, It has to be asked, based on the historical evidence at this Osprey nest in South Australia, WHY is siblicide so prevalent? Is it the lack of fish in the area? the erratic fish deliveries? Are we witnessing in Australia the need to raise fish for our Osprey families because we are depleting the oceans? is climate change impacting the number of fish?

Someone needs to be asking these questions. As I was once told, Australia and New Zealand are on the front line for climate change. Australia do something bold. Show the world that you care for your wildlife. Be proactive like New Zealand is at Taiaroa Head. Feed the chicks! Feed them. Put fish on the nest at Port Lincoln. Stand up and make the argument to the Ministry of the Environment and Water. Raise the fish and place them on the nest openly and with permission. Pull an Urmas and Dr Madis – get so proactive that the world will not stop talking about your kindness and care for your wildlife.

I will be taking a day off in memory of both Little and Middle Bob. I will be back with you on the 4th of November.

Thank you for being with me today. We will collectively grieve for that beautiful second hatch at Port Lincoln who had such potential… a life that we will never witness now. Take care everyone. Be gentle on yourself.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Albatross Lovers and BirdLife Australia, IWS, KNF, SWFL and the Pritchett Family, and Berry College Eagles.

Worry for Middle at Port Lincoln as fish are few…and other bird world news

1 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that your beginning of the week has been a good one. We are on the third bad weather day at Port Lincoln and Middle has had little food. It is a very somber day. We wait to see if the weather changes and then to see if Big will allow Middle to eat. Things are not looking good. I wish I had great news for you this morning but ever so sadly, I do not.

Some of you are coming in late to the Alphabet-Name Game. It is for fun but, I have also discovered that it is a really good way to remember our feathered friends. Someone wrote that SE26 needed to be remembered and, well, the tap started running. That sea eaglet was such an inspiration to so many. I am so utterly deflated that she is not with us! — But, back to the fun part. Take a digital or physical piece of paper and put down all the letters of the alphabet. See what names of the streaming cam birds you come up with for each one. E is for Ervie. A is for ______________. Who can come up with a name for U? Anyone watching those Finnish Osprey nests? Send me your list by e-mail before midnight the 2nd of November. I will then set about collating them hopefully with some pictures! I hope to have the list complete over the weekend. Thank you to those that have already sent in their names. I saw so many that I knew and had forgotten! And do not feel bad if you come up with a lot for one letter and none for others, just send them in to me and join the challenge! That e-mail is: maryasteggles@maryannsteggles.com

In the Mailbox and Comments:

‘F’ comments: ‘The Port Lincoln nest is the hardest I’ve seen since I started seeing ospreys at the beginning of the year, very hard, the only thing missing is for the mother to be sick.’

You are so right, ‘F’. Yesterday I thought we had lost Mum and my heart just sank watching Dad try to feed the two osplets, Big and Middle, and failing miserably. It is very difficult to watch a nest that does not have enough fish. As I continue to mention, I have huge concerns over the commercial tuna fishing fleets that are based in Port Lincoln. Are they taking all the fish? I hope to find out more about this later.

NOTE: There was only 1 fish yesterday, 1 November, in Port Lincoln. Big attacked Middle many times. Mum is currently sleeping on top of Middle. I am concerned now that Middle will not survive unless there is a massive amount of fish brought to the nest. There will be no intervention. Port Lincoln would not have permission unless as Ian Falkenberg and others have said they deem the bird to be ‘near fledge’. There have been ospreys taken into care who have done well at Audubon’s Centre for Birds of Prey at Mailand, Florida such as Smedley who lived to be 28 and Bailey. I am attempting to find other factual information on Ospreys in care. If you know of any, please let me know.

Smedley and Bailey at the Audubon Birds of Prey Centre in Maitland, Florida. Smedley passed away in the past year at the age of 28. Bailey is still alive at the Centre and I understand there is another osprey in care…perhaps more. I must check with our friend ‘L’ that works with these amazing raptors to find out precisely how many ospreys have gone through the centre. Some have stayed as ambassadors while others are returned to the wild.

Making News:

Just more research findings supporting birds and nature are good for our health and might, in the future, be prescribed by doctors! Have a read and smile.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/bird-birdsong-encounters-improve-mental-health-study

There is a new article on birds and pollution by the British Trust for Ornithology. Have a read when you get a chance. We can all learn something new every day!

https://www.bto.org/understanding-birds/articles/birds-and-pollution-%E2%80%94-masterclass

Australian Nests:

One of the older siblings of the Melbourne Four looks up perhaps seeing the parents flying about. Next to her in the gutter is the wee 4th hatch, a little boy.

Victor Hurley, the head researcher for the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Research Group, has posted what he believes are the genders of the Melbourne Four on FP. Here is that announcement:

Oh, goodness. Ervie’s tracker has been off line for a few days and last night the camera went down on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge just when we were all getting more than concerned for Middle. Ervie has been seen roosting on a tree near the water so he is fine. He had flown away early probably hoping to find some fish.

The waves are really, really choppy at Port Lincoln. Rain and gales have hit the nest and the number of fish deliveries has been dwindling since the start of the stormy weather. There was only one fish delivered on Tuesday.

This is one gorgeous osprey looking at us with their crest up high.

They are hard to differentiate between unless they are standing up and you can compare size and then see both head’s. Middle is missing feathers from the nape and so is this bird with this gorgeous crest. Is this Middle? or is it Big fooling me?

‘A’ tells me that there is even snow predicted for Port Lincoln. I simply cannot believe this is happening. This nest is ‘fragile’.

Everything is fine at the scrape box on the water tower in Orange. Indigo is really flapping those wings and Little Rubus watches and then he does some precious little flaps, too. He copies everything that Indigo does – my goodness what an utter joy it is to watch these two grow up together.

Indigo works her wings all during the day. Little Rubus often watches closely and if you look, he will give a little flap to his wings.

Xavier brings in a European Starling for breakfast. Indigo gets frightened and moves back toward the wall and then scurries to the Cilla Stones.

Just look at that beautiful Dad, our loving Xavier.

Xavier decides to take the prey and prepare it elsewhere. By this time Indigo is curious and hungry and comes down from the stones. Will that Starling return?

Yes, it does. Xavier returns in about 50 minutes and Diamond flies in to take the prey and feed Indigo and Rubus. Oh, dear. Look at that is left on the stones!!! The Starling Head. Indigo is going to be scared out of her wits when she sees it.

Just look at those beautiful tail feathers now revealed. If you look at Rubus, he is now losing the soft down from around his eyes and on his wing tips.

Every time Indigo really gets to flapping more down flies through the scrape.

The eyases had a Starling feeding but the head was left. Diamond comes in to take it and Rubus rushes over to take it. Poor Indigo. Rubus is going to put it right near the wall where she is sleeping. Will she be frightened when she wakes up and there is that beak and eyes staring at her? Rubus has never been frightened and Indigo is so easily scared. It would be a trick a younger sibling would pay on its older one!

Rubus grabs the head.

He carries it over and places it next to Indigo!

Diamond returns in a few minutes and retrieves the head and feeds it to Rubus. I don’t think Indigo even moved. Rubus is an endless pit when it comes to prey. Where does he put it? Definitely not in his skinny long legs.

Indigo and Rubus had a European Starling and a Large Honeyeater (Noisy Miner) for their morning meals. Rain is forecast for Orange, too. You can see some dark clouds looming in the distance.

The Melbourne Four continue to be fed and to find out when you have to listen and watch them scurry down the gutter towards the adult with the prey. Their legs are certainly getting stronger and the oldest is starting to look like a juvenile falcon!

Just checking on some of the Bald Eagle nests in the US as the couples continue to do nestorations or rebuilding.

Jackie and Shadow’s nest at Big Bear in California.

Gabby and Samson’s nest near St Petersburg, Florida.

Ron and Rita’s nest in the Miami Zoo.

Bella and Smitty have been bringing in nesting materials to the NCTC nest.

Lady and Dad were bonding at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest.

My thoughts go out to the Port Lincoln nest this morning as we wait to see if Middle will survive. I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that it feels like our heart has been pulled out of us. The turn in the weather and the amount of fish at Port Lincoln has put our beautiful Middle’s life in jeopardy.

The other two scrapes we have been watching are doing just fine. Much of the fluff is now off three of the falcons at 367 Collins Street. There is plenty of food available at both scrapes.

Take care everyone. Thank you for being with me. See you soon.

It is freezing in Port Lincoln tonight. Turned really, really cold. Mum is working hard at keeping Middle warm. Beautiful Mum.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took the screen captures: ‘A’ and ‘H’, Audubon’s Birds of Prey, The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Victor Hurley and 367 Falcon Watchers, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, WRDC, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Early Monday in Bird World

31 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that each of you had a joyful weekend and your start to the week is showing promise.

Most Canadians are obsessed with the weather. We are also slightly superstitious. OK. Many of us are highly skeptical if it is too nice late into the fall. We fear that we will pay for it by having 5 months of -35 C with lots of deep snow. So everyone that was out today – again – in their shirt sleeves and runners with no socks hopes that there won’t be ‘a winter retaliation.’ It is seriously hard to believe. Families were having picnics! Some brought their lawn chairs to sit by the edge of the pond and take in the sun’s rays. One of the biggest delights was the fact that almost everyone said ‘hello’ to one another. Being outside really does make us happier!

The number of waterfowl is dwindling at all the city parks, however. Less than the people! Duck and geese counts today at our St Vital Park were 350+ Canada Geese, 7 Mallards, 5 Wood Ducks and 3 Ring-billed Gulls.

My photos are not the greatest. The light was ‘odd’ but, I did notice how clear the water is today compared to earlier in the year. I also noticed that the parks personnel (or a fairy) has cleared the island, the water, and the shore of human litter. It is nice!

The male Wood Duck blends in so nicely with the colour of the pond and the leaves.

So many were flapping their wings today in the water. It is impossible to see the face but I love the light going through the primaries of the wing.

Oh, these sweet little female Wood Ducks. They are so tiny and so adorable.

Notice how the plumage of the female Mallard is such good camouflage in the fall when all of those hunters are trying to lure them to the marshes and wetlands to shoot them. Oh, goodness. I have an immediate knee jerk reaction just thinking about it.

Every year Canada Geese replace all of their worn out feathers at once – this means that when they are molting they cannot fly at all. It also accounts for all of the feathers around the park in the summer. It is quite odd seeing them without any tail feathers. Canada Geese are not the only ones to do a complete moult. Townsend Warblers, after the breeding season is over but before the southern migration also replace all of their feathers.

Audubon has a short and to the point article on the basics of feather replacement if you are curious:

https://www.audubon.org/news/understanding-basics-bird-molts#:~:text=Townsend’s%20Warblers%2C%20for%20instance%2C%20go,wrap%20up%20the%20process%20there.

The water is low. The torrential spring rains flooded the island ruining all of the nests and the eggs. Many had second clutches but a large number of the ducks and geese moved northward away from the pond. You can see on the bottom of the totem pole how high those waters rose.

There were some late hatched Mallards. I could see 2 small ones today and I do not know what happened to the others. I did find my images from a few weeks ago of the two female Mallards with ‘Angel Wing’. They can swim and feed but they will never be free to fly. It was simply pure sadness that could have been avoided. The two were taken to the wildlife rehabilitation centre. They had to be euthanized. The cause is nutrient deficiency from feeding ducks bread.

Please feel free to use my picture of this beautiful creature whose life was cut short because she preferred eating bread instead of the pond plants. Ducks do not know bread is not healthy. It is junk food and it tastes good to them just like candy and chips taste good to humans.

Most people want to be good to the ducks and geese. They have no intention of harming them – they are feeding them to be kind. ‘Killing with Kindness’ – should be the next campaign slogan at the park ponds.

There were so many people walking yesterday at the pond. It was fantastic to see – young and old. There are many trails of varying lengths, some through the forest and others around the pond or the cricket pitch.

The Guardian had an interesting article on walking. Please read it. So many people I know think that unless they walk that magical 10,000 steps a day there is no benefit to them. This article points out that the use of that number was not medically driven but was part of a marketing campaign. Recent research has shown that 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is very beneficial. So forget all the fancy gadgets that you think you might need and just get moving! And if you can walk in an area where there are trees – and even better animals and birds – any stress that is sitting on your shoulders dissipates. The author of the article agrees:

“But as the contemporary American philosopher, Arnold Berleant, argues, it is when we’re actually moving through a landscape, rather than treating it simply as scenery, that we most fully connect with a place and ignite all our senses. Berleant uses the term “aesthetic engagement”, but it needn’t be quite so lofty: A walk along the river might count, or perhaps time spent practising shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), really attending to the details of the trees, the leaves, the smells and the sounds.’

Nature does cure our ills. It can be a profound sea change to our lives. Sit in the sand and listen to the ocean and the gulls. Close your eyes in a soccer field and absorb the honks of the geese flying overhead. It is very healing. And I want all of you (and myself) to live long and well with our feathered friends. If everyone understood how powerful walking in a forest and listening to birds can be in terms of changing our lives for the good, would we be so quick to cut down the trees with nests of the Bald Eagles, bulldoze another 64 acres of good agricultural or forest for houses that are big enough for 10 families but hold only a single couple?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/oct/30/walk-nature-good-for-mind-body-soul

Well, I know that I am on my soapbox and ‘preaching to the choir’ because anyone reading my blog loves all of the birds – from the tiniest hummingbird to the largest raptor and all in between. We know they make us happy and heal our souls. We just need to spread the word!

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In the Mailbox:

Responses to the Alphabet Fun Game – make a list of the Alphabet and put the name of a bird from a streaming cam by as many letters as you can – are starting to come in. Thank you! I hope it was great fun! Remember to get yours in by midnight 2 November Central Time. Email is: maryasteggles@outlook.com

Making News:

Amur Falcons are being protected in three Indian States! Nets, catapults, guns, and air guns used to harm the beautiful raptors are being banned and confiscated. This is much welcome news.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/indian-officials-ban-guns-airguns-and-catapults-to-safeguard-amur-falcons

The fast decline of many species is alarming. Sharon Dunne posted this in the Albatross group and I know that many of you will find this article both interesting and disturbing. The number of birds disappearing is frightening.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/cDTxh7HCCtKM6jM7pTnrl9/revealing-the-plight-of-the-antipodean-wandering-albatross?fbclid=IwAR1iQDVnQFSD8B-BG5YyIWu5L26l5T_0wghPUUQ63RFw4rITywDY61CXrzU

Eurasian Jays are showing how intelligent they are! Birds do not go for instant gratification showing higher intelligence. Many of us can attest to the intelligence levels of birds making decisions every day as we watch them meet the challenges that humans have given them. That said, this is a good read. As I write this my own Blue Jays are on the roof of the conservatory telling me the peanuts are all gone! They do not get peanuts at the weekend so Mondays are always a flurry.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

Do not forget to check nests during the off season. The Osprey nest at Mispillion Harbour in Delaware continues to amaze ‘H’ with its visitors. Bald Eagles have eaten fish on it, an immature Hen Harrier came to visit, a soaked Peregrine Falcon found the nest in a story, and today, a Turkey Vulture visited and cleaned up all the scraps. How grand. I love Turkey Vultures, and Condors, and Adjutant Storks. They are the vacuum cleaners of the natural world.

https://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoM

Australian Nests:

As I write this, there have been three feedings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. They occurred at 0634, 0717, and 0815. Big got the vast majority of the fish but, Middle did eat. Mum has had little and she flew off the nest around 0834. It is now past noon and she has not returned. Dad delivered a large flat fish to the nest at 11;44:45. Dad flew off and then returned at 120438. I thought he was going to fly off with the fish but the osplets were prey calling so loud that he stopped and tried to feed them. He could not. He has left the fish on the nest with Big and Middle to their own devices. It is quite clear that these two cannot self-feed. Yes, they can hork down a fish tail but they are not capable of feeding themselves. They have nibbled at the open edge that Dad created.

I have to admit that I have a bit of a lump in my throat. I hope that Mum is catching a fish for herself and is eating it. She has had little to eat for a couple of days. At the same time my mind goes back to the two osplets on the Finnish nest whose Mum died of Trichomoniasis (a parasite that causes lesions and impacts the bird’s ability to eat, swallow, etc. The 4th hatch at Melbourne scrape died of this last year). I am not saying this Mum has that deadly disease (if not treated) – far from it. I am just saying that it reminds me of that nest with the two osplets. One could self feed but Boris could not and had a difficult time. They both survived to fledge – their dad dropping off fish at the nest and both of them – to various degrees – successfully. But…these two cannot feed themselves, yet. So what has happened to Mum?

 Dad has dropped off the fish but there is no one to feed Big or Middle. They both sniff around the fish.

Dad returns and watches his two chicks struggle. Middle is at his feet calling to be fed.

Dad decided to try and feed the two. He is not successful and leaves. — Many Osprey males feed their chicks. Some will also feed in tandem with the females when there is fear that a smaller chick will not get enough. Many of you will remember how Louis and Aila at the Loch Arkaig nests shared feeding duties in 2020 when there were three chicks with little Captain, JJ7, getting a private feeding. When this happens, everyone wins. The third hatch usually gets strong enough and time passes and it survives.

Dad returned and took the fish off the nest. This is interesting. The weather has turned really nasty. Did he take the fish off so that predators would not be attracted to the nest? or does he think they are not hungry? will he break the fish into pieces and return them? or is he as hungry as Mum and will eat the fish?

The weather has turned bad. Both Big and Middle are trying to find comfort together in the nest.

Oh, my gosh. Just about the time my heart has dropped to my little toe, Mum returns. She has the tail piece of the fish and it is 125445. Dad is there. I bet he is so happy to see her arrive! The kids are ravenous and, in particular, Middle. Let us hope he gets a good portion of this fish.

Middle got bites by doing his famous snatch and grab. This makes Big very upset if Big perceives that Middle is getting more fish than her.

Middle got a couple of bites at the beginning but he is clearly afraid of Big. It isn’t a huge piece of fish but, I am sure hoping that Middle gets some.

The key is – when Mum is feeding Big if she feeds slow he will get full sooner and there will be plenty left for Middle. You may have witnessed this happening at other nests. When she feeds Middle she has to feed him fast so he can get as much fish as possible within a short time.

Middle went to snatch and grab a bite and Big furiously attacked him. This is not good. Middle needs some food.

Middle waited – not long – til Big got situated and moved up. Mum made sure that he got some bites of fish. Not a huge amount like Big got but, Middle did get some fish. Regardless, he needs more, much more compared to Big.

Mum flew into the nest with the tail end of a fish. It should be presumed that she ate the front portion or part of it before returning to the nest. She, too, as noted many times, needs to eat. Hopefully when this bad weather system passes, more big fish will arrive. That is what this nest needs.

Big with her big crop and Middle flapping. I bet he will want off this nest as fast as his wings will carry him. Oh, I wish we could hire Ervie to teach his little brother to fish!!!!!!!!!!!! Ervie and Middle could trade stories about Big and Bazza. Maybe they could even invite Dad and sit down at the shed together leaving Mum and Big upstairs. Just imagine.

I continue to be very curious about the amount of fish that the tuna fishing fleets take out of these waters that are not tuna. What impact has this local commercial fishing had on the Ospreys?

I woke up very concerned as to whether or not Middle had any more fish at Port Lincoln. He really has not had enough to keep a sparrow alive and it is concerned. There is no way to check how he did. Perhaps some of you in Australia will know for the later time in the day as the live stream at Port Lincoln is down. It is to rain again and the winds are blowing at 31 kph.

Both of the Peregrine Falcon scraps have had at least one or more meals by the time I am writing this (1900 on the Canadian Prairies).

Indigo and Rubus are eating well. According to ‘A’ and the moderator, this is a recap so far of today’s feedings: RECAP: 4:20:36 D w/prey, eats, feeds 4:57:42; 6:42:14 X w/noisy miner, leaves with chicks; 8:36:12 D w/stubble quail/ feeds; 8:51:25 D takes NM; 9:41:51 X w/rosella, he feeds.

It is often some of the expressions that occur during these feedings that are so hilarious. Rubus just stretches and jumps to get his bites. Please note, I continue to say he/his because I really believe Rubus is a male. There are times when Indigo, who is so large and already declared a female, gets the Diamond look of seriousness in her eyes. Rubus never has that. He has long thin legs like he is trying out for a basketball team or long distance running. They are quite the characters.

Indigo, however, also gets frightened! We saw it with the Starling Head and again today when Rubus was trying to eat ‘Eggie’. My goodness. Here are some of the images from today at the scrape in Orange, enjoy.

Indigo stands and looks out the window of the scrape at the world beyond, just like Diamond.

Indigo protests loudly when Diamond shows up without breakfast!

Prey is left to see what Indigo and Rubus would do with it. It is a Noisy Miner.

That beautiful plumage is coming. You can see the peach on the feathers from various angles.

Indigo was really trying to get some more bits and bites out of Mum. But…look at that tail!

Look at Rubus’s eye. ‘What is up with you, sis?’

The stormy weather has reached Orange. There was lots of lightning and Diamond spent the night inside the scrape with Indigo and Rubus.

The Melbourne Four are eating fine. They are also losing most of that white soft down off their feathers. While we may not see the parents, one of them would normally be close by keeping an eye – perhaps up on another higher ledge. The amount of ‘ps’ and feathers tells it all!

Freshly plucked whole pigeon and consumed in a few minutes.

That is not an adult. That is one of the older eyases – I think the eldest. There is hardly any down left.

The Melbourne Four are fine.

Migration News:

In migration news, there is no word from Karl II or Kaia. They had both reached Africa. There is scant service where they winter and it is hoped that they are both enjoying themselves, feeding and replenishing their weight lost in migration. Bonus was last on the Island of Levbos. He appeared to be flying in the wrong direction but has righted himself and is back in Greece heading South. Little Waba is doing well and is in Egypt – ahead of Bonus.

Send your best wishes to all our nests including the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Hang in there Middle. The weather will be better after Tuesday. Hoping for big fish to fall from the sky!

Thank you for being with me. Please take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Guardian, BBC Four and Sharon Dunne, HM, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Egg shells and pelting rain…late Saturday in Bird World

22 October 2022

Good afternoon everyone,

It is a miserable day in Port Lincoln and in Orange…I have not checked Melbourne but, it is also kinda’ miserable in Winnipeg today, too. Grey skies, bare branches on brown trees, spits of rain falling.

The view of the landscape looks dead and barren – but, we all know that, in fact, those leaves are protecting all of the pollinators and invertebrates. This is why you must Leave the Leaves! It will annoy your neighbours to no end but, you will be doing yourself, your garden, and the birds a huge favour.

Ah, I have a retraction. Books do not work for everyone. My friend, Sally Michener, a Vancouver ceramic artist, told me once that “getting old is only for the brave!” She was 83 at the time and stunningly beautiful, always in red, and still working on her ceramic sculptures. She is right. Eye sight goes. Our minds still think like the 20 somethings we once were but, sadly, not always our eyes. ‘H’ reminded me that e-Books are fantastic as you can adjust the size of the font. Of course! ‘H’ also tells me that both of David Gessner’s books on Ospreys are available as e-Books. Thanks, ‘H’.

Wow. A ‘V’ of Canada Geese just flew over my head. They were as low as the top of the telephone poles in the back lane. Incredible.

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It is pelting down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum is soaked and I wonder how miserable the kids will be with their circumstance? Dad has proven himself quite capable of catching fish in rain and wind but the waters look pretty chopping. Wishing him luck today.

The weather at Orange is rather bleak also. So bleak that Diamond was finding scraps to feed Rubus and Indigo decided she would just eat one of the egg shells being tossed around all over the scrape.

Look at Rubus in the corner flapping those little wings. Oh, this eyas melts my heart.

Indigo’s wing feathers are growing, can you see them? And if you look closely you will see the feathers on the tail coming as well. Such a beautiful healthy big sister for little Rubus.

The skies look heavy with rain – like the ones above me. But, oh, look at that green…green fields and trees. Beautiful.

The little raptors hatch so that by the time they fledge, their prey will be waking up from winter.

The first prey of the morning came in at 062814 in Melbourne. Am I seeing things? Has it stopped raining in Melbourne?

I absolutely cannot tell you what it is!

Well, Dad did not disappoint Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. he brought in a nice big fish for breakfast. I cannot tell you precisely how much fish Big got or Middle but Middle stayed by the side of Big and you could tell from his movements that he was snatching and grabbing. At one point I saw a small crop. This is all good. There was no cowering in the corner in submission to Big. Let us all send warm wishes to this nest for continued fish and both chicks eating. Here are a few images of that feeding – and bravo Dad!

It is always reassuring to see the chicks on all the nest fed first thing in the morning. The three are starting out the day absolutely fantastic. Let us hope that this continues.

Thank you so much for joining me. Everyone is good. Let us hope that all of the nests in Australia continue with many prey deliveries today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Leave the Leaves!, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Late Friday in Bird World

21 October 2022

The day turned out to be a lovely 14 degrees C. I am not feeling 100% but I do not have Covid. I am thankful but, I did call off the small celebration for my BFF’s birthday just in case. I know that some of you have symptoms of long Covid and my heart goes out to you every single day. My problem seems to be a response to the flu vaccine. Nothing serious and it will go away. Please do not worry. The chair I am sitting on is perfect and there is nothing more healing that watching the birds flit from one feeder to another and the squirrels run along the top of the fence. As a friend -who is healing from surgery reminded me this morning – watching the birds outside in the feeders is joyful and healing.

Awhile ago I posted some recent research that found that hospital rooms that had windows looking out to trees had patients who were happier, required less pain medication, and went home sooner!!!!! So look outside and smile!!!!

Making News:

The news on SE30 is coming in slowly. This is the latest from our friends down in Sydney.

Last year was tragic for Nancy and Harry at the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest. First, the dashing young Harry went missing leaving Nancy to have to not only provide security, at a time when intruders were about, but, also provide food for the two eaglets on the nest, E1 and E2. The weather was miserable. Nancy was unable to provide food for both and E1 threw E2 off the nest. E2 was euthanized. E1 went on to fledge. Nancy was, however, left alone with a beautiful nest but no mate. Well, that seems to be over.

I was thrilled to read that Bonnie Johnson consulted with Pat Burke for the name of the new male. Pat Burke has an encyclopedic memory of the Sydney Sea Eagles as well as many of the Bald Eagle nests. As a wealth of knowledge, she has graciously answered any and all eagle questions that I threw at her. She is a treasure.

Honestly I cannot think of anything scarier climbing up an Osprey nest. Can you?

The Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest on the coast of Delaware is one of the busiest nests off season. ‘H’ has made videos of the Bald Eagles coming and going, occasionally taking sticks. Today, the nest was visited by what appears to be a immature Norther Harrier. As a reminder, don’t think your favourite nest is idle, check it often!

It is often the fringe that gives the Harrier’s ID away. Their face actually looks like an owl at times and the fringe gives them the same ability to hear that an Owl has. Gorgeous birds.

It is time how to turn our attention to the Australian nests to see how they are doing for breakfast.

Dad arrived on the very wet ledge of the 367 Collins Street scrape with a pigeon at 065144. Mum flew in immediately after he landed to feed the Melbourne Four. So, despite the rain, prey is being brought up in good time – either freshly caught or from the pantry. It doesn’t matter as long as the erases get fed, right?!

Mum perched near the Melbourne Four during the night. The erases are too large to brood now and they will remain dry in the rain that Melbourne is experiencing at this end of the ledge.

I suspect something similar is happening at the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier. Dad will fly in with the breakfast and Mum will come and feed Indigo and Rubus. What do you think?

You can see some blue sky and some clouds. It appears as if it will also be a rainy day in Orange. Xavier should be bringing in prey shortly. We all worry about them when the bad weather and heavy rains come. Take care Xavier.

Every time I think of Port Lincoln, I hold my breath before I start looking at the streaming cam. Big has been in such an attack mode lately that – well, since the loss of Little, it can make one overly anxious for Middle. There is, however, no reason to believe that Middle will not fledge. If Middle is a male he might to decide to get off that nest much faster than the lads last year so that he can get away from Big!

A fish arrived early. That could be a good omen but, not always. It does get the nest off to a good start. The times was 063456. It was a nice big fish. Of course, Big had to eat first. Middle was very nervous but by 065018, Middle was trying to figure out a way to get some breakfast. In the end, he decided to just move up next to Big and eat. Middle has become very good at snatch and grab and as long as Big doesn’t tear into him – and she does sometimes when she thinks Middle is getting more food than her – Middle should’ve be able to have a reasonable feed. There is fish left.

Middle is going to be fine. Big has moved away and Mum is finding all the scrap pieces of fish she can for Middle. Now…Mum needs food! Middle has a nice crop. Smiling.

If Big could just turn her attention more to nesting, Middle might be able to enjoy a carefree life til fledge. Remember the chicks will get names and will be banded on 12-14 November.

Everyone has had food but Orange. I am certain that Xavier will come into the scrape, possibly drenched, with prey before long. Indigo is really exploring the boundaries of the scrape and looking out to the world. Rubus has now moved to exploring the corner and sleeping there – Little Brother copying Big Sister!

Thank you for being with me today. Wish for fish and prey. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, Friends of the Non-Game MN-DNR Bald Eagle Nest, Cornell Bird Lab, Nature Heaven Group, and Sea Eagle Cam.