Happenings in Bird World

Holly Parsons, the administrator for the Orange Peregrine Falcon FB group, has posted the following from Cilla Kinross regarding Yurruga:

I took some images of beautiful Diamond throughout the day.

We would expect the parents to visibly be supplying prey to Yurruga. Many of you will have seen the adults at 367 Collins Street bringing in prey. You might recall how the Dad tried so hard to feed the little male when he was too sick and could not eat or swallow anything. Just pause and remember the healthy chicks at that nest and the noise they made even prior to fledging when food was around. Then remember Yurruga and how he behaved when prey came to the scrape. The falcons are loud in their food begging just like the four lads at Port Lincoln. The little ones simply cannot go without eating and while they are learning to fly they are also being taught how to hunt. It is unclear how instinctive hunting is. For example, the adult Ospreys do not teach their fledglings how to fish. They simply are hardwired to do it. Peregrine Falcon parents spend much time passing prey around, dropping it for the wee one to catch, etc. Certainly Yurruga had at least a days training because he was seen flying around with the parents prior to the big storm. There would be several prey drops during a day. No one has anything confirmed after last Thursday in Australia, 9 days ago now. I know that each of us wants this outcome to be different and I would like nothing better than for someone a mile away to phone Cilla and tell her that Yurruga is on their roof or in their garden. The long sessions in the scrape together may be Xavier and Diamond bonding in grief. There is also the additional issue of the absence of the eggs. Diamond has spent an inordinate amount of time scraping where the eggs were. My heart really goes out to her.

Sad news is also coming out of California. The California Condor chick #1075 died at the Los Angeles Zoo on 12 November. He had sustained injuries from adult male condor #247 during a territorial dispute. I know that many of you watched that streaming cam. Their lives are so very very fragile and to have a death of a promising chick due to fights is extremely difficult to process. There seems to be a lot of territorial disputes. You might remember that California Condor #1031 Iniko who survived the Dolan Fire was actually injured when an adult male came to the nest tree. —— Which reminds me! Iniko will be released back into the community of condors where he hatched on Saturday along with two others. This is great news coming on the heels of grief.

We really need some good news in Bird World. Iniko’s release is, of course, one of those. I really hope it is OK to cut and paste this amazing story from that Valerie Webber posted on the Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB page. It is a marvellous tale of German Osprey Black 1FO seen in Portugal in Dec 2005/Jan 2006 and again in September 2021. So the question that is being asked is where has this bird been? It is more than 16 years old and this is truly remarkable – 3 sightings only in all those years. He really is a very handsome bird.

More good news come in the form of a Pacific Black Duck named Daisy who has now laid her first egg in the Sydney White-bellied Sea Eagle nest. An earlier blog today gave more images and some details. So nice to have her back! I am so excited about Daisy’s return that I can’t sleep! You can catch her on the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam. She laid her first egg today. She must have rushed to get to the nest OR she had made a nest elsewhere and predators came. We might not know. She will begin lining the nest with the down from her breast. That down will not only make it soft for her and the eggs but also will help cover the eggs when she has to go forage. She will also mix the down with leaves on the nest and cover the nest with those leaves. I hope there are lots of them!

Every one of the lads on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest has had a fish today. Port Lincoln also says that the three have been seen at the shore going for a bit of a swim or a bath. Fantastic.

The three are over on the perches and ropes near Mum. What a beautiful image. I wish that Dad was there, too. The fledglings are gradually spending more time on the perches and ropes and flying around. They are growing up and shortly might be off on their own. I need to check and find out when Solly permanently left the barge. That might give us some clue.

I know that many of you are familiar with the Welsh Ospreys, Aran and Mrs G at the Glaslyn Nest. You might also know that one of Monty and Glesni’s sons, Aeron Z2, and his mate Blue 14 have their nest close by at Pont Croesor. Glaslyn has announced that the new hide is finished and visitors will be able to observe the nest of Z2 and Blue 14. That is great news.

That is it for me. I am sufficiently exhausted from the excitement of Daisy that I might be able to sleep. This is my Friday newsletter. I will bring updates later tomorrow (Friday the 3rd) evening.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Loch Garten and Other Ospreys FB, Orange Peregrine Falcon FB, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sydney Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross.

Falcon and Red-Tail Hawk Cams

I had a lovely note form ‘M’ asking about other peregrine falcon cams. Thank you for your letter, ‘M’.

Each one of us feels a little ’empty’ when the eyases fledge. Without trackers, we have no idea what happens to them. We just wish them well and I know that everyone is working hard to make their environment better. The only birds on the nest who have fledged and not left permanently are the PLO Lads – Ervie, Bazza, and Falky. It is winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the birds have migrated to warmer climates. I will, however, be checking on nests in Asia to see if there are any for you to watch.

This is not an exhaustive listing but it is a beginning and I will be adding to it for all of you as the camera streams return. We have streaming cams on the falcons in Winnipeg as part of the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery. I will post those at the beginning of the summer. Most of our birds are in southern Texas or Mexico right now.

So here goes – and if you have a favourite falcon or hawk cam, let me know!

One of my favourites are the Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne. They are known as the CBD or 367 Collins Street Falcons. The cam is currently not live. Will come back on line September 2022

Cornell Red-tail Hawks (Big Red and Arthur), Ithaca, New York. The construction work at Bradfield has caused a power outage on the Athletic Fields. Those building works are winding down and this camera should be live shortly. Big Red and Arthur will be very busy once late February and March roll around. There are only two Red-tail hawk streaming cams in the world and this is the best. Big Red is 19 this year. Arthur is 5 or 6 years old. They are a fantastic couple that normally fledge three eyases a year. There are birders on the ground that keep track of the fledglings so you get to see the parents do team training in hunting, etc. Highly Recommended.

Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam in Orange, Australia. Yurruga has fledged. Look for egg laying in the fall of 2022. This is the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier. They are a well established couple. For the past two years three eggs laid but only one fledgling each year which is fine. It is a nice comparison with the Melbourne falcons who fledge 3 consistently. Orange is more rural and, of course, Melbourne is urban. The camera is left on and the falcons come and go regularly.

The Campanile Falcons on UC-Berkeley. This is the scrape box and cams for the Peregrine Falcon Couple, Annie and Grinnell. Grinnell was injured by a male interloper on 29 October. He was in care, as a result, and has been returned to his territory. The male interloper is still at The Campanile. It is unclear which of the males Annie will choose. Nesting activity late March, 2022. Annie and Grinnell are incredible parents who traditionally fledge three adorable babies.

The following are falcon cams that I have watched ‘on and off’ and that have come highly recommended to me from viewers:

Illkirch, France:

Great Spirit Bluff, Minnesota

Anacapa Island, California. There are current a large number of Pelicans to watch.

I will definitely be posting more including a couple of streaming cams from the UK. All of that action will begin when spring arrives. I also want to post some sites in Asia which I will do over the weekend. There will also be the Northern Hemisphere Ospreys, White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, as well as the returning storks to Latvia and Estonia.

For now, things are really pretty quiet except for the Port Lincoln Ospreys, Diamond and Xavier coming in and out of the scrape box in Orange, and the Bald Eagles laying eggs in the US. There are two nests that you might wish to consider and if you have never watched a Royal Albatross nest then you definitely need to check out the Royal Cam Family in New Zealand who are incubating an egg laid on 9 November. They are very experienced and adorable parents, OGK (Orange Green Black) and YRK (Yellow Red Black). They are already grandparents. I often suggest this site to individuals who have a difficult time watching any nest if there is sibling rivalry. The Albatross lay one egg every two years. Parents rotate all of the duties. Last year the Royal Cam chick, Tiaki, had a sat-pak attached to her. We are currently watching her fish off the coast of Chile.

It is a bit wet in NZ this morning. This is YRK’s 6th day on the nest. OGK will be flying in soon and they will switch. Should something happen, the NZ DOC rangers are there to step in and intervene. No one goes hungry, injuries are taken care of, etc. It is a great site and in the process you will bear witness to a country that really protects its wildlife!

There are way too many Bald Eagle streaming cams to list them all. For now, I am only going to recommend one. These are experienced parents Harriet and M15 at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest on the property of the Pritchett Family. Their eggs are due to hatch soon – December 25-28. Once Gabby lays her egg in NE Florida I will post that information. For now, you can have fun watching Harriet and M15 change places. The only un-fun thing is the GHOW that attacks the eagles regularly.

There is no word on Yurruga. Cilla says she will look for a few more days. Just so you know the building that Yurruga was last seen on is a gabled (triangle) pointed roof, a bit steep. It is a single story building with clay tiles. Yurruga is not there – not alive, not dead. He was there on Thursday – seen twice during a big storm. I would expect to hear this fledgling screaming for food. Falcons are loud! Is it at a distance from the tower? is Yurruga injured? is Yurruga somewhere else? There are no answers I am afraid. If I hear anything you will be the first to know. Now, it is time for me to go and take care of all my feeders. The gang will be here soon!

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

Oh, for the love of Ervie

It is no secret that my long-term research project on third hatch Ospreys that survive can cause a whole lot of heart ache. The opposite side of that is the sheer joy in watching these ‘thirds’ come into their own. Some suffer much more than others. In 2021, one of the worst was Tiny Tot Tumbles on the Achieva Osprey nest in Florida.

There is Tiny Tot Tumbles beside sibling 1. I often called her ‘Big Nasty Sister’. She is the reason that many people do not like to watch the Osprey nests. That said, sibling 1 stopped a lot of the beating on Tiny Tot because sibling 2 started. That nestling would purposefully eat and eat and eat so that Tiny Tot had no food.

Beaten and starved. It was hard for anyone to imagine Tiny Tot Tumbles surviving. There she is all submissive, literally starving, while the others eat.

What a beautiful bird Tiny Tot Tumbles became.

Elegant. Tiny Tot Tumbles is one of the most striking juvenile ospreys I have ever seen. Before she left the nest, her plumage was super espresso with only the thinest of white scallop revealing she was not an adult. She was smart. She remained on the nest honing her flying skills, getting stronger, learning how to fight off intruders. It is a shame she is not banded but she has a very distinctive pattern on her crown.

At Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria, no one expected Tiny Little Bob to survive more than a couple of days. The weather was miserable and the two older siblings were 4x her size.

The size difference increased. That is how she got the name ‘Tiny Little Bob’ because she was just so small.

I love this image. Tiny Little Bob really wants some of the flounder that Mum, Blue 35 has. She has watched and waited til the older siblings are full. Then she will make her move. She exhibits all of the hallmarks of a third hatch survivor – patience, fortitude, and ‘focused watching’. They can read the nest.

I wish I had this video recorder earlier so that I could have captures Tiny Tot Tumbles ousting the intruders from the nest! Or more of Tiny Little Bob. I did get it in time to show you Blue 463 in the nest. It is the third week in August. All three of the Foulshaw Moss chicks have fledged. White YW is an incredible provider and he will stay until Tiny Little Bob migrates before he leaves. She will be the last one to leave. Smart girl. She really fattened up for that migratory trip. I only hope that she survived. Few British Ospreys have been spotted in The Gambia and Senegal. There are lots without bands along the coast of West Africa but not the ringed British. Where are they?

Tiny Little Bob is banded as Blue 463. She is the bird on the back of the nest on the right. She is food calling. I want you simply to notice how big she is. Tiny Little Bob became the dominant bird on the Foulshaw Moss nest for 2021. She could fight for the fish with the best of them. Most of the time she used her patience and ‘snake eye’ to get the siblings off their lunch!

At Port Lincoln, Bazza aka Big Bob, tried several times to dominate but, Ervie aka Little Bob wasn’t having it. If you have been following me most of the time you will know that when the three males were banded, Little Bob got the sat-pak because he was the biggest of the three. Unlike Tiny Tot Tumbles who missed 12 full days of meals in the first five weeks of her life, Tiny Little Bob made sure he was right up front by Mum’s beak. I don’t think he ever missed a meal and he would certainly stay til he was full. On the morning of the banding, Little Bob had landed the breakfast fish. That probably helped a lot with that weight in!

There is Little Bob in front with his beak wide open. Just look at those little wings. Oh, my goodness is there anything cuter than a recently hatched osplet?

The thing about the third hatch survivors is that they have lived out of sheer willpower and cleverness. I can almost hear Ervie say, ‘I am not taking anything from you, Bazza!’ They become kinda’ street wise. They watch, assess, and attack. Does anyone remember Tiny Little Bob staring down both of her big siblings? They were not going to get anything by her. You might also remember that Tiny Tot Tumbles took on any intruder protecting the nest. She was fierce. That is how they survive — and I believe that they are actually better able to cope out in the world of Ospreys far away from the nest than their siblings.

Ervie sure showed us what he is made of today.

Bazza had the fish and had been eating. Ervie really likes the back portion and the tail. So he is watching Bazza. I could have made this into a video but what I want you to do is focus on the ‘look’ on Ervie’s face and his actions.

Ervie is the bird on the right. Bazza is in the middle with the fish tail. Falky is on the left and is not interested.

Look at Ervie’s eyes and his open beak as he lands on the nest. He is telling Bazza he wants that fish tail now. Ervie means business.

Ervie is twisting his body. He is not looking at Bazza’s face. He is looking at the fish tail.

Ervie moves up and over pushing Bazza’s head. Ervie raises his wings.

Ervie is totally in front of Bazza. Notice that Bazza is not looking at the fish.

Ervie turns his head around. You can draw a line from his eye and beak to the fish. Ervie is completely focused.

He goes for it.

Ervie dives down to get the fish tail.

He has it. He turns his body and raises his wings. Bazza is being pushed out of the way so Ervie can turn.

He’s got it. Wow. Just look at the impressive wings of Ervie.

Ervie moves over to the other edge of the nest where he finishes the fish tail. The entire take over bid took 19 seconds.

Bazza does not seemed phased and Falky probably wishes he were somewhere else!

These three have just been a joy to watch. I wish each of them had been given a sat-pak so that we could watch their lives unfold. I hope that the hydro poles in South Australia have their protective covers placed on them just as quickly as it can happen. The loss of Solly was a tragedy in terms of understanding the dispersal and long term survival of these Eastern Osprey.

I hope that I have not bored you too much with these third hatches. Each is really a miracle and for me, remembering them helps honour the pain and suffering that they went through to live.

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.,

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or my video clips: Achieva Credit Union, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Wednesday in Bird World

Let’s start off with what is on everyone’s mind: Has there been a confirmed sighting of Yurruga? Yesterday, Dr Cilla Kinross was inspired by a very quick prey drop at the scrape. Diamond flew into the trees. Cilla was in the trees looking half an hour later – she only saw Diamond. Diamond returned to the scrape with quite a large crop also. Some believed they had heard Yurruga calling but, Cilla is unable to confirm that. So the answer is – we simply do not know. Yurruga has not been seen since last Thursday when he was on a building during a storm. We can only wait.

My goodness that little one was such a cutie.

October 20. Yurruga and Diamond

Diamond was really beautiful this morning as the soft glow of the sun worked its way through the fog.

Both parents, Xavier and Diamond, have been inside the scrape – scraping. They also had some bonding moments this morning at sunrise.

My heart aches for them.

The second question of the day is what is going on with Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon of the Campanile, mate to Annie, that was injured by a male intruder that is trying to cosy up with Annie? Here is the latest news.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation rangers on Taiaroa Head are shutting down the streaming cam so that they can move it to the site of the Royal Albatross family for 2021-22. There are lots of guesses as to who the couple might be. The announcement is due tomorrow.

One of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Samson and Gabby, at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville have been putting the finishing touches on their nest. They are perfecting the Spanish moss lining the nest cup. Now all we need are some eggs!

Gabby doing some final inspections this morning.

The three lads at the Port Lincoln all had fish yesterday. Falky had more than Ervie or Bazza. Falky has become a master at slipping the fish out of Dad or Mum’s talons. A magician.

There is a lovely shot of the PLO Mum. She has done an extraordinary job raising these three boys to fledge this year (with Dad’s good help). Yesterday she even spent some time feeding Bazza. He is definitely a Mum’s boy!

Bazza can be a bit naughty. I know that the banders were certain that there were three males. Someone looking at Bazza’s legs and that beautiful necklace in the image below might mistake him for a lovely female.

Bazza and Falky sleep with their heads tucked under their wings – adult style – standing on the nest. Ervie is sleeping over on the perch or the ropes. They are all doing well. I continue to pinch myself. This Osprey nest really turned itself around this year to fledge all three hatchlings.

There are many articles coming out in international newspapers and academic journals on the effect of warming oceans on the seabirds including the beloved Osprey. I picked one of those for you as some are frustrating. They allow me to embed the article but then want you to subscribe to read it! That is a major irritant to me – like Subarus are to Ferris Akel!

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-threatens-survival-of-albatross-60906

It is a grey damp day, 3 degrees C. The snow is melting. There are lots of birds at the feeders. A large European Starling is sharing the peanut and bark butter feeder with some cute little House Sparrows.

The tiny suet balls called Bark Butter by our supplier are a really big hit since winter has set in. Junior has been around to get the corn while Dyson was busy elsewhere. Nice to see all of them.

One of my former students posted this today on FB. It is a perfect little giggle for all of us!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and NE Florida Eagle and the AEF for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

Was it Yurruga?

My goodness. It is just past 09:00 on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge and already there have been three fish delivered – one of those was really quite a bit one!

Ervie got the first fish that arrived at 06:16.

There was another delivery at 07:22 and Falky takes that fish. Falky is still eating when Mum flies in with a bit of a whopper. At the time of this delivery, Ervie is on the perch and Bazza is on the nest rail. Falky quits eating the old fish (not much left) and starts eating the big fish.

In the image below you can see Falky with that prize fish. That is a nice one.

Falky is still eating at 8:56! Bazza has given up and has gone down near the mancave to put in a personal request to the parents for breakfast. Ervie has found some leftover fish around the rim of the nest – remember he is really good at that. But I am also thinking that Ervie knows Falky is going to get full and stop eating that fish! He wants to be on hand when that happens.

The only time I have seen a sibling eat and eat so that a sibling could not get food – eating beyond the norm of comprehension – was sibling #2 at the Achieva Osprey Nest in Florida last year. #2 would eat and eat so that Tiny Tot Tumbles did not get anything or there was only a little left.

Ervie is smart. The third hatch survivor. Falky did finally get full and Ervie is now eating that Mullet. Bazza is still on the deck below by Dad’s cave.

It has been snowing in Northern Europe. In Durbe County, Latvia, snow is covering the nest of Milda. Still, her and Mr L have come home to the nest to check on it today. Liz caught it in a video:

There are some concerns about a thin red line on the right ankle of Mr L which you can see directly below the arrow to start the video. Here is another view. Milda needs for this to heal so that Mr L can provide for her this year and their chicks will thrive. Observers say that Mr L appears to be moving fine. Thank goodness.

Oh, it looks so dreadfully cold for the White-tailed Eagles. I hope there is plenty of prey for them that is not sleeping. There should be no worries about any egg laying until spring. It is normally timed so that when the chicks hatch the little animals are coming out of hibernation.

If you research the floods that are happening in Canada’s province of British Columbia or some of the flooding in the eastern provinces recently, there are many causes. In British Columbia the logging of old growth forests has proven to be tragic. In their discussions, Christian Sasse and Dave Hancock talked about the impact to the wildlife of these events. They also mentioned that some of the birds caught in the horrific heat during the summer of 2021 that survived and had trackers put on them —- those birds flew straight to Alaska. As the climate warms, the birds, including my beloved Osprey, will be looking for cooler temperatures where fish and their eggs are not dying from the heat nor are the larvae that the fish eat dying. Look north to Alaska and parts of Canada. These areas need protection.

An article has just appeared that discusses the Tongass National Park in Alaska and the changes in some laws that are coming in to place to make certain that the old growth forests are not logged. If you are interested, here is that article.

Last there is some confusing information coming out of Orange, Australia, about Yurruga. I had received an e-mail this morning from Cilla Kinross where she expressed her concern at not seeing Yurruga since Thursday, her worry and also her love for the wee one. This morning Xavier delivered prey to Diamond in the scrape and she flew out of the box quickly and into the trees. I have personally never seen Diamond eat prey in the scrape unless she was feeding a chick. While we all remember Izzi coming to the scrape, normally the prey deliveries and feeding would take place away from the scrape for the fledglings.

In the chat room, Cilla Kinross said of the delivery and departure, “The prey transfer looked hopeful; I couldn’t hear the calls. I need to get a new speaker.” Individuals have said that at 8:32:55-56 they believed they could hear Yurruga prey calling.

Here is the sequence of images related to that prey drop to Diamond. You can see the time stamp in the corner to understand why Cilla could be thinking that this is very quick and hopeful.

Diamond gets the prey.

In the image above that white spot between the trees right above the ‘s’ in the word ‘trees’ that I typed, is Diamond. Cilla has indicated that she knows the tree Diamond landed in and she is going to check in at work and then go and search that area.

I will bring you any news as I hear it. If you want, you can watch the camera and at least see the chat, if you go to this link. To access the ledge cam – for a better overall view – go to the link below this cam once you get on Youtube.

At 10: 33:55 you can make out a person walking among the trees. It could be Cilla or a helper. Chatters and mods are hoping that they walk further back as that is where they saw Diamond go. We hold our breath. It has been a sheer roller coaster.

In the image below you can see them – that bright white spot. You can see how tiny she is compared to the trees. If Diamond is like the hawk that visits our garden, they can be almost invisible sitting ever so still so as not to be seen.

The person is still looking at 10:49. She is in the whitish coat to the right of the green tree in the centre. Again, look at the height. If Yurruga is in a hole in the tree or somewhere on those trees with leaves it could be difficult to see him. I wonder if Diamond is still there?

We wait for word. That is all we can do. Wait, hope, send warm wishes and prayers. My friend, ‘T in Strasbourg’ reminds me that miracles do happen. Yes, they do. I hope this is one of them.

Thank you for joining me. It is a been a day full of up and down emotions. That is the only thing for certain about this Tuesday – or Wednesday – depending where you live. Take care everyone. If I hear anything at all, I will let you know. Pardon any serious grammatical or spelling mistakes. I am writing this quickly so you will know what is happening on the ground in Orange.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, the Latvian Fund for Nature, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

New Zealand’s falcon, the Karearea

It is almost the end of November and in about 25 days there will be at least one bobble head, if not two, on the Fort Myers, Florida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15. Bald Eagles are strikingly beautiful – the gorgeous pure white head of the adult with that large bright yellow beak, espresso brown body plumage and watery light blue eyes. The hatchlings are just as adorable with their light grey down. They are called ‘bobble heads’ because they do not have the strength

While we are waiting for those eggs to hatch in Florida, there is a new streaming cam focused on a small New Zealand falcon, the Karearea.

Wikimedia Commons

They are adorable. Thanks Sharon Dunne for mentioning this new cam. The chicks are delightful! Here is the link:

Here is a short video of the chicks trying to get settled in the nest cup.

The Kareara are indigenous to New Zealand. At present, they are very vulnerable. They believe that there are between 5-8,000 birds in the whole of New Zealand. Their threats are loss of habitat, cats, mustelids (they are like wolverines), and hedgehogs. Hedgehogs like their eggs.

The falcons have also been found on several islands but, the area with the highest population is the Kaingaroa Forest between Rotorua and Taupo on New Zealand’s central North Island. You can see Taupo on the map above. The Kaingaroa Forest is the largest forest plantation in New Zealand and is the second largest forest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is 190,000 hectares. The first trees were planted in the early 1900s. They are harvested for the construction industry.

“Kaingaroa Forest” by russellstreet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons

The adults are 40 cm and 50 cm in length. Like almost all raptors, the females are larger than the males.

Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the female can weigh almost twice as much as the males who weigh between 240 g and 350 grams. The females are between 410 g and 720 grams. They cannot fly nearly as fast as the Peregrine Falcons but the Karearea do reach speeds of up to 100 kmh. They are also capable of catching prey that is larger than they are. Wow! They do not eat carrion (dead animals). Their diet consists of mammals, lizards, birds, and insects. These small falcons hunt by watching from a high point flying fast, grasping the prey with their talons and then killing it with a bite to the neck.

Wikimedia Commons

Oh, I hope that you enjoy these adorable little falcons. It is a perfect time to watch them. The Port Lincoln lads will be taking the fish deliveries off the nest to eat them soon. Ervie has already tried fishing and last night he slept on the post not in the nest. He is growing up! No word yet on who will be the Royal Cam family and Cilla Kinross is planning to hunt in unexpected places for Yurruga. And one of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Gabby and Samson, have been working on their nest. Oh, they are a stunning pair.

Gabby on the left and Samson on the right. Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest, Jacksonville.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF and Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the D Pritchett family.

Monday in Bird World

There is news coming this morning from everywhere so this blog might feel a little disjointed.

In Canada, Prince Edward Island veterinary surgeons at the Atlantic Veterinary College will be the first to try and replace a broken spinal column in a Bald Eagle!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-bald-eagle-surgery-1.6263782

A Eurasian Hobby has been seen for the first time in Australia. The tiny raptor is similar to the Australian Hobby. The bird has been named Hubert and is the care of a veterinary due to a wing injury. Raptor specialists believe that the arrival of this bird is associated with climate change.

Jean-Marie Dupart has provided his Osprey count along the coast in Senegal and the word he used was ‘incredible.’ 950 Ospreys have been counted for the month of November along the coast and marsh.

Chris MacCormack at the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head announced that 29 eggs have been candled and all are fertile. Seven more to go!

Most of you will be aware of the flooding – and the continual flooding – in British Columbia, Canada. It is also flooding and tearing up highways and rail lines in parts of Eastern Canada. Mother Nature is not happy. Yesterday I listened to a conversation with Dr Christian Sasse and Dave Hancock, Hancock Wildlife, about the flooding and its impact on the wildlife. I tried to embed that link and the system that Christian is using will not allow me to do that – or even post it! So I will give you some of the highlights – they are very enlightening and sobering.

Sumas Lake was the largest wildlife area in Northwest North American prior to the nineteenth century. Millions of birds stopped at Sumas Lake coming and going from the Arctic. One of the attractions was the intense number of mosquitoes which were food for the wildlife but were highly annoying to the people of the area. The Indigenous Population lived on stilt houses because they recognized that the area flooded from time to time.

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The area flooded the Fraser Valley before 1894. There was another huge flood that came down the Fraser River in 1948.

Wikimedia Commons

Sumas Lake was drained and pump stations installed so that people could build on the flood plain. In 1990 and now in 2021, the main highway connecting Canada, the Trans-Canada or number 1 highway, has flooded. Dave Hancock was unequivocal: The Sumas Lake wants to be Sumas Lake! The flooding this year was compounded by the waters from the US flowing into the Fraser River. The Nooksak River.

Today 35-50,000 Bald Eagles winter in the Fraser Valley. They are in dire straits. They have lost their supply of food, the salmon, because of the flooding. The large land mammals could walk out (perhaps) but the smaller mammals and rodents which many falcons and hawks live on were drown in the flood waters. Dave Hancock is proposing that the carcasses of the dead cattle that are normally sent to Alberta to be burnt in the Tar Sands be kept in British Columbia. He is suggesting that half a dozen feeding stations be set up with these carcasses for the Bald Eagles. Hancock reminds everyone that the eagles are clever and will find the feeding stations. He also said that once the flood waters are pumped out the eagles will also find the carcasses of the salmon.

I like Dave Hancock. This man loves wildlife and the Bald Eagles and he doesn’t hold back any punches. He says the balance of nature has been lost in the area. The heat that the region experienced in the summer was just another indication of the impact of climate change. He says as it continues to warm the bird and fish eggs will not be viable. They are really susceptible to the slightest change in temperature. He reminded everyone that heat stress killed many raptors during the summer of 2021 as did the raging wildfires in the same area as the flooding. Several raptors were saved. Hancock Wildlife Foundation put trackers on them. He said once they were out of rehab they flew straight north to Alaska. Hancock wonders if they will return to British Columbia. It was a very sobering conversation and one that continually emphasized how human degradation of the environment is causing a huge shift to the extreme weather conditions impacting the birds and animals. Christian Sasse asked Dave Hancock if he had a solution and Hancock said, ‘It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.’ He continued, ‘There are far too many people in the world. Human animals need to stop breeding.’

This is the link to the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. (He is Canada’s equivalent of Roy Dennis!). You can find the tracking information and the live streaming cams that the Foundation supports.

There has been an update by Cilla re Yurruga:

Nov 29: “No sign of Yurruga today. I looked for him at the roost trees this afternoon after seeing a raptor (possibly Diamond) there earlier (too far for photo). I’ve looked every day, but he’s not been seen since last Thursday when spotted on a roof. It’s of concern, but he might simply be well hidden.”

Speaking of Peregrine Falcons, their range is expanding and they are returning to upper New York State. Some of you, if you have gone on Ferris Akel’s tour, will have seen the Peregrine Falcons roosting on the Bradfield Building near to where Arthur and Big Red normally roost. Here is a great article about this change.

I am not seeing any other updates on raptors we have been monitoring this Monday morning.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my images: Jean-Marie Dupart FB posting, NZ DOC Royal Albatross Centre FB, and Wikimedia Commons.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is that posting:

Tears.

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

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

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

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

PLO lads are being lads

Oh, goodness. Things can get a little rowdy on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. It is almost like the adrenalin is rushing at various times of the day. Today it hit mid-afternoon.

I first checked on the boys and they were still waiting for breakfast at 10:46. No doubt Mum and Dad are hoping that they will at least attempt getting their own fish. For the Western Ospreys that migrate, catching that first fish normally occurs after migration but with the Eastern Ospreys that do not migrate, the lads should be watching, learning, and trying. I know they are genetically hardwired to know precisely how to fish but it sure would help to follow dad and observe where he finds his good catches.

It is tiring just trying to keep up with what is going on so I just want to give you a snippet.

Bazza has a fish from dad at 14:37. At 15:16:36 Bazza thinks that Falky is getting too close to his meal and he shoves Falky off the nest. (Ervie is minding his own business out of the way).

I am thankful that they can all fly. Still a sudden plunge in the water could prove disastrous even now.

Bazza is quickly earning his nickname, ‘Big Bad Bazza.’ Bazza goes back to eating his fish after he gets rid of Falky.

At 15:18 Mum arrives with a fish. Bazza, not content to continue eating his own fish, decides that he wants Mum to feed him hers. Meanwhile, Falky who is looking on, has returned to the nest at 15:28. Mum is going to feed him, too!

Ervie is minding his own business eating a fish that Dad delivered at 15:23.

At some point, however, Ervie even crashed Mum’s party and wanted her to feed him! Then he went back to his own fish.

Poor Mum and Dad. Mum still wants to be motherly and they want to be mothered. Dad is just busy hauling in the fish. Indeed, the three are so loud with the fish calling that they might be heard all the way to Streaky Bay! I don’t believe that we have to worry about any of the boys. By the time they leave this nest for good, each will be more than capable of fending off any interlopers. I am just so glad they saved the rivalry til they were fledglings. It was that beautiful civil nest that allowed for each to thrive and fledge.

Thanks everyone for stopping in. This was just a quick check on this nest as it is one of the only ones with any action happening at the moment. Take care. See you soon.

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

Saturday in Bird World

Are you having Peregrine Falcon withdrawal since the Collins Street kids and Yurruga fledged? Did you know that there are a pair of falcons living in Baltimore, Maryland that do not migrate? Their names are Barb and Boh. Barb will lay her eggs in March (normally) but for now the camera is live every day! The history of the scrape is located on the web cam page.

Urban hawks are very fascinating as are the amount of wildlife that exist in the very large urban parks such as Central Park in NYC. I always recommend this site. There are some good videos on Cedar Waxwings and the Peregrine Falcons as well as the RTH’s. The blog is run by Bruce Yolton who is extremely knowledgable. Check it out if you are interested in how wildlife survives in some major cities like New York.

https://www.urbanhawks.com/

There is also an Osprey streaming cam in Maryland that you should have on your radar. It is the home of Tom and Audrey 2 on the property of The Harrison Family.

This Osprey family, Tom and the original Audrey, were the subject of a book full of wonderful images, Inside An Osprey’s Nest. A Photographic Journey through Nesting Season. The images and text are for year 2015 when Tom and Audrey became adoptive parents – twice! The story is as good as the images showing the arrival of the two chicks to the nest and then, a little later, another chick lands on the nest and wants to be part of the family.

The eggs of Tom and Audrey are determined to be non-viable. The eldest two nestlings are removed from a nest with four chicks. Imagine Audrey’s surprise when she returns to her nest from a break to find not three eggs but two chicks and an egg. It is a very heart-warming story!

One of our readers asked if I would share some information from that big book on Australian birds of prey – and the answer is definitely yes! It is too difficult to find that volume and too expensive to purchase but, oh so wonderful to share! We will work our way through Australian birds of prey!

The latest news on two peregrine falcons that we are watching – Grinnell, the mate of Annie at UC-Berkeley’s Campanile – and Yurruga, the recent fledge at Orange is no news. The last posting from UC Falcons is that the interloper male appeared briefly on the ledge and was greeted by Annie. It was raining in Orange. Diamond and Xavier were about but Yurruga was not seen. He could be in the trees staying quiet out of the weather. Perhaps he will be spotted today.

The boys at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge are doing fine. Bazza decided to be a little aggressive when he received one of the morning fish deliveries from dad. Afraid that Ervie might steal his late breakfast, Bazza decided to mantle and then thrust himself at Ervie just to make sure Ervie understood.

Bazza was very quick to protect its fish and mantle Ervie. The mantling is not the problem it is that beak. They can do a lot of damage to one another if they decide that is what is necessary.

Bazza finally settles and goes back to eating his fish.

Later. All is forgotten. Simply beautiful fledglings. Falky is on the right, Bazza with his great crest is on the left and Ervie is behind with his sat-pak.

Someone said that Falky had a wing or feather injury but I can see nothing to indicate that in these images. Falky is definitely one beautiful elegant bird. He has really come into himself in terms of flying. I also hear rumours that Ervie is trying his hand at fishing. Wonderful!

Just beautiful. Sometimes I just stare at these three boys. What joy they gave to us this year. I wish each had a sat-pak because we get so attached to them and then – poof. Nothing. What happened? Rather than think things are well, I like to know. If something happens, then we need to deal with it. Like Solly’s electrocution. Put the protectors on the poles. It is simple.

As we prepare for Bald Eagle season, I want to stop and say that there are so many many nests. You have your favourites and I have mentioned mine in the last few days. Some of the first eggs that will hatch belong to M15 and Harriet at the SWFlorida Eagle nest in Fort Myers on the property of the D Pritchett family. Those eggs are set to hatch from the 25-28 of December. They are an experienced family with little trauma – the GHOW being the exception. If you are after an eagle family to watch, SW Florida should be your first go to this season. There are three cameras. You can find the others on YouTube.

Ithaca, New York is the same temperature as the Canadian prairies today, 0. Yes, it warmed up and the sun is out! Ferris Akel’s tour is live at the moment. He is on Wildlife Drive and it is snowing but he did find some beautiful swans.

If you are reading this at the right time you can still join the tour. On Thursday Ferris found Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus. Maybe he will do the same today!

I am also happy to report that so far, knock on wood, Dyson has not found the new feeder for Little Woodpecker! Yippee.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you have a marvellous Saturday. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Ferris Akel.