Late Thursday in Bird World

30 June 2022

UPDATE ON LITTLE BIT 17: Message from Humane Indiana Wildlife. ” Hello! We will post an update on ND17 tomorrow. Today was stressful for him, as you can imagine, but he is doing well and receiving much needed care.”

I am feeling some comfort in the news that Little Bit ND17 was taken to Valpo to the Humane Indiana Wildlife clinic for a thorough examination and assessment at 11:40 this morning. This is the best news Bird World has had in a couple of weeks. ——–And in the update ‘much needed care’ indicates that getting him to the clinic was the right decision.

I know that the St Patrick’s County Parks staff could never have foreseen the events that would transpire at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest this season. There is an expectation of stability – business as usual – but as many know, we live in very unstable times. And so it was with the nest. The second hatch ND16 took exception to Little Bit’s existence. The aggression, the deterioration of the nest, and then Little Bit’s 60 foot drop to the ground would never have entered the minds of park staff as spring arrived in South Bend, Indiana. But, it did happen. I am grateful that they were able to get Little Bit 17 removed from the bushes and taken to the Valpo clinic. IDNR has stated that not all rehabbers will take birds now because of Avian Flu – so thank you Humane Wildlife Indiana, too.

We wait to hear how our little eaglet is doing tomorrow!


The Dyfi Osprey Project has published all the information on the ringing along with the video of the ringing and weighing and another earlier one of nest aggression attributed to the fact that all three were females. There is a map showing the rivers and a pronunciation guide to the chick’s names after those rivers. It is a good read. Have a look. This is the kind of information that becomes so useful about the nests. Here is that link:

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/bendigedig-ringing-2022?fbclid=IwAR2OAkzY88lJjf-QaZNhY8Tyvx1AfH_NW6U15ayNz_tvyLlU50BYQhVJdQo

The ringing video is a really good one to watch. They are so careful and the chicks just pancake and stay still. It takes no time. Those colour Darvic rings with their numbers tell us so much information about these amazing birds and their life journeys.

There is also images and information on the ringing of nest 1A at Kielder. This nest had four babies ——yes, I did not get that wrong – 4. I did not mention it but once because I was so afraid that something would happen to little 4. There is a picture of him in there at 1000 grams. His big sister is 50% heavier at 1560. The other two were males. The ringers could not determine the gender of little 4 because he is so small for his age. I hope he proves mighty.

I have been working on and off on a couple of stories about wildlife rehabilitation clinics. They are our go-to when it comes to getting care for our wildlife in need. Each is special in its own way. Some specialize in certain animals and will not take birds. Because of the spread of H5N1 Avian Flu this year, many will not take our feathered friends. So, a bit of a shout out to Valpo for taking Little Bit. They need your support whether it is with your time, volunteering, with a few dollars or a truck load. Every bit is appreciated. Believe it or not, old clean towels are always wanted!!!! So, while we wait to hear about Little Bit 17, I will spend a little time showing you what I did today.

This afternoon was a day to spend at our own rehabilitation clinic. It is the only wildlife clinic in Manitoba with a full time vet, operating room and diagnostic equipment and it is run entirely by donations and volunteers.

Wildlife Haven is not unique. Every facility – those that many of you know by their names – CROW, The Audubon Centre, A Place Called Hope – operate entirely on donations and the generous time offered by volunteers.

I have been working on a blog about 2 other wildlife centres that I will finish up shortly. I was moved to tell you a little bit about our facility because the first thing the Rehabilitation Manager said was, “99% of the injuries to wildlife are human caused.” Everything that we do has the potential to harm the animals that share this planet with us – it can range from kidnapping bunnies from their Mum, to road accidents, taking wildlife in our houses where they imprint on humans, to wind turbines, sticky or glue traps – the list as you know is endless. I am grateful that there is a big campaign to let people know that fishing line is dangerous. It is that time of year when people should be using non-lead fishing tackle, barbless hooks, and helping to clean up the shores as well as taking care of their own area where they fish. I had no idea that so many bunnies arrive at the care facility. Over 900 right now!

Tip regarding rabbits. If you see a brown circle on your lawn and remove the grass covering and see bunnies, do not think that their mother has abandoned them. Take 2 thin sticks and criss-cross them over the top. Go back in 24 hours. If the sticks are moved, the Mum has been in to feed the babies. If the sticks have not been moved, then take the babies to a wildlife rehabber. Put a towel in a box with a lid and holes for air and carefully transport them to the closest facility.

Our centre has been in existence since 1984 but it has only recently been able to have full vet facilities. The amount of rehabilitation work that they are able to do has increased with generous donations for flight and hunting training. That requires trained staff and intense dedication and it is precisely what Little Bit 17 will require. He is missing that by not being with Mum, Dad, 15 and 16. So he is like WBSE28. We want Little Bit kept so that he is able to successfully live in the wild and what I have learned from our local team is that this is a long slow process. It doesn’t happen in weeks. 6 months or more for some birds.

Our wildlife facility, Wildlife Haven, is determined to educate the public through open house days as well as taking the ambassadors to the schools. Start young, teach the children to love and care for the welfare of animals. So every week on Friday they will have what is called a Raptor Rendezvous Day. It was fantastic to see so many people with children at the first event. They also sponsor Open Houses and try hard to let people know how much effort there is in caring for the wildlife patients. From 5 am to 7pm, songbirds are fed every half hour. They constantly need volunteers to do this. The middle of the summer is the most crucial time. Some volunteers are trained in ways to enrich the lives of the raptors that will spend all their lives in the centre. Eagles get bored, too!

So today they introduced three of the ambassadors that help educate the public on how to respect wildlife and what to do if they find an injured animal. They were a Swainsons’ Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, and a Great Gray Owl. The Great Grey Owl is the provincial bird of Manitoba.

This is Avro. He is a light morph Swainson’s Hawk. He was hit by a car. The accident caused him to be blind in his right eye. Losing that one eye meant that Avro is unable to hunt and provide for himself in the wild.

There are lots of Swainson’s Hawks that come to the southern part of our province to breed in the summer. They migrate to Argentina in the winter. Avro is 18 years old now.

Uma is a very small Great Horned Owl. Uma’s nest was in the yard of a family that watched. They noticed that Uma was much smaller than the other owlets and it appeared ‘different’ to the other siblings. It was determined that Uma was under developed due to a lack of food — just like Little Bit 17. Uma was also missing an eye and its beak was out of alignment. Uma would never be able to survive in the wild.

Great Horned Owls are very plentiful and they adapt to all manner of environments from the forests of northern Manitoba to the deserts of Southwest United States and beyond. They have excellent hearing – a kind of shallow disk or satellite-shaped face. The tufts on their heads are neither ears or horns. The ears are on the side of the head, like all raptors, and they are covered with feathers. The tufts are feathers. You can see that Una lost his right eye. He is fed rats every day. He can fly and has a enclosure that is large enough for him to do that. Owls hunt from dawn to dusk and mostly within an hour of each of those times of day. They will hunt during the day time to feed their young, if necessary.

You can see the misalignment of the beak in the image below. Imagine trying to tear into a squirrel with that beak.

This is Zoe with Una. She gave an amazing presentation and answered every question and more.

The last ambassador today was Ash the Great Gray Owl. Ash was orphaned and his rescuers took him home to live with them. As a result he imprinted on humans and not owls. This means that Ash believes she is human, not owl. Despite Ash being in excellent health he will never be able to live in the wild and know what it is like to fly free and hunt.

With its excellent hearing, a Great Gray Owl can detect a mouse under 60 cm or 2 feet of snow. Incredible. In the image below you can see the fur covered legs and talons that help the Great Gray in our cold winters.

It was a great afternoon and came on a day to really think about the important work that these people do.

What can you do? Well you can volunteer or you can donate. Want to do something else? Talk to people about caring for the wildlife on our planet. Let them understand how important it is to get them to care quickly if it is needed. Put on window strips to stop bird strike. Talk to people about putting poison on their lawns. Have that chat about fishing line with people you know and the need for lead free equipment. Take a shovel in your car. When you see road kill, pull over. Of course, be careful but move the road kill off the road and away from it. Vultures, hawks, eagles, and all manner of wildlife will find it and it will be cleared down to the bone within a few hours. Put out bird feeders and water…..lobby for protective wind turbine blades…the list is, sadly, endless. Educate yourself and talk to the experts at your local wildlife clinic.

Several of the streaming cams are set to go offline today. One of those is UFlorida-Gainesville. We will look forward to joining Mum and Dad in the new year! Big and Middle are doing exceptionally well.

Tomorrow is Canada Day. I will be posting a short blog in the morning. I hope that some news of Little Bit will be available. I will also try to check on other nests that we are watching closely including Osoyoos, Boathouse, and FortisExshaw that have wee ones in the nest.

Thank you for joining me. Thank you to everyone who cares for our much loved feather friends and to everyone who worked hard and believed that Little Bit 17 needed to be assessed. It is a bit world out there with many polarizing opinions and intervention is one of those. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to Dyfi and Kielder for their ringing updates on their blog that I included here today – and to Wildlife Haven for all they do.

Sunday Morning in Bird World

26 June 2022

There was a lot of excitement in Bird World with the fledge (forced) of the Red-tail Hawklet at 06:17:44 from the Bald Eagle nest in British Columbia on 25 June. All day long the team at GROWLS, Christian Sasse, and David Hancock waited and watched. Twelve hours later, they were all extremely worried. Flying takes a lot of energy and every fledgling should return to the home nest before the sun sets. That way they can rest and be fed. We have had some worries in the past – Sentry at the Redding nest was gone for 4 days, I believe. Some fledglings never return like Kisatchie at the KNF nest near Alexandria, Louisiana. It isn’t always bad but…Eagles are taught how to hunt by their parents. They get their flying skills down by working on those wings and flying about returning to the nest for food. But 12 hours later, almost to the second, Malala returned to the Bald Eagles nest. It was nothing short of fantastic.

A forced fledge is when a nestling flies from the nest but did not intend to do so. Malala was frightened by the arrival of the adult with the prey and bolted. She/he is home and safe now.

At the ND-LEEF nest we are all holding our breath. Every day that the nest holds together is good for ND-17. He is old enough but it would be far better if his tail grew in a bit more and well 7 to 8 days longer on the nest would be beneficial. But, Little Bit 17 might have a forced fledge if that nest gives way. Then where does he return to rest? On a branch? to be fed? This is a very tricky situation.

Adult feeds Little Bit and then will eat the remaining squirrel pelt much to Little Bit’s surprise.

Little Bit 17 has a nice big crop. This is very good. If something should happen to this nest tomorrow, he had a really good feed that will hold him til everyone figures out how to handle the situation.

If it were my nest, I would be on the phone to Ron Magill at the Miami Zoo and the WRDC nest – and that other nest that fell with the eaglets in it – and find out how to get a large basket nest up there asap. Fill it with nest material and maybe, just maybe the adults would use it to feed Little Bit.

Little Bit on the crumbling nest alone. The rim is really falling off on the right, more and more causing the nest to appear to be tilting. Is it? I don’t know.

Keep this nest in your thoughts and send all the positive energy you can this way. We know the nest is going to completely collapse and the adults will rebuilt but, please just let it wait another week – or until 17 fledges on its own.

Each extra day we get is truly a blessing for Little Bit.

As of Sunday morning the nest is holding. At least one fish, a Blue Gill, has been delivered by Mum. Little Bit got the fish. 15 jumped down but the nest is so narrow that he cannot get passed 17 if he is mantling. This could get really dicey. There is not much room and they could both go tumbling over.

The two long-since-fledged Ospreys at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest are still having quite the dust ups over fish. Middle initially gets the fish but Big will take it at the rim of the nest. What a pair!

Ferris Akel usually ends his Saturday tour at the Cornell Campus. He will go through Montezuma, Wildlife Drive, and then to Sapsucker Woods (and sometimes other areas) before reaching Ithaca. Tonight he found a lovely Barred Owl and Great Blue Heron before reaching the hawks.

What a beauty. Great Blue Herons fascinate me by the way they quietly walk through the shallow water of wetlands or little streams and rivers and silently catch their fish. Beautiful birds that build their nests in the tops of trees. In the summer, many migrate to Manitoba and last year there was even a visit from a rare to us Green Heron.

I am used to looking at the feet and talons of raptors that I found it fascinating when Ferris focused on those of the Great Blue Heron.

Ferris was able to find both Big Red and Arthur and the three chicks. The fourth, L3 is in care for a fractured shoulder. She is expected to have a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and will be trained in flying and hunting skills before letting her into the wild.

At one time both Big Red and Arthur were on the light stands keeping their hawk eyes on the Ls.

L4 is quite the character. He is watching Arthur and when he sees him move he immediately takes off and flies to the nest. Ferris caught a glimpse of Arthur doing a prey drop but he thought it was on top of the Emerson Building not the nest.

L4 watching.

Positioning himself to take off.

Up and away. According to those on the ground, L4 is quite the little flier. That is always good news.

A strange Black Stork flew past the nest of Karl II and Kaia. The storklets watched it go past and were frightened. I wonder who it was?

The four storklets of Bukacek and Betty at Mlade Buky are growing and growing and growing. The nest also has to deal with intruders. In one instance, Betty and Bukacek are on the nest and the storklets are pancaked.

Everything is fine on the nest. Just look at the size of the eldest compared to Dad! These storklets are very healthy.

Betty and Dad are both on the nest making sure nothing happens to the storklets. When I see this I think of the Cowlitz PUD Osprey nest and wonder if both adults were on the nest protecting the chicks would the outcome have been different?

Eating some fish later.

Louis says “If Idris can do it, so can I!” And with that he landed a monstrous fish on the Loch Arkaig nest for Dorcha and the chicks. Just look at those legs – my goodness these Osprey leg muscles must be strong.

Louis removed the remainder of this fish – the last for the day and brought it in a little after 0400 for breakfast. How do you tell a fresh fish from one stored in the pantry? The fresh fish is flexible and bends; the stored one is stiff.

Today we got a good look at CJ7’s and Blue 022’s chicks. They are large enough that their heads are now higher than the nest!

Windy with some wet on the Loch of the Lowes nest of Laddie and Blue NC0. Chicks hunkered down.

It’s windy in Wales, too. The babies are tucked into the side of Telyn keeping their heads warm. I understand that the two days for ringing that are preferred are Tuesday or Thursday for the Dyfi chicks. The key in the UK is to try and get all of the chicks – every one of them – ringed. What a huge effort this is. Lovely.

It looks like Blue 33 and Maya are trying to see if any of their girls can break into that Mullet! Lessons in self-feeding.

All the rain in Wales makes it really beautiful – like here! Dylan and Seren have had to contend with intruders again today!

Mrs G and the trio are in utter misery with the cold and rain in the Glaslyn Valley today. It has been two days of damp for them – last year this type of weather happened when Aran was injured. The combination of the injury and weather and no food killed the three wee ones. So glad these three are older.

I want to share with you a wonderful story that happened precisely a decade ago when the highest waters and a huge storm hit Wales. It is from the Dyfi nest and the adults at the time were Monty and Nora. It is a tale of a rescue and a chick – of why interventions help and why ringing is important.

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/perfect-storm?fbclid=IwAR04gEdOvzC-8DHSssMzNJd7-Q0EXpyvWa-ivXxTUpw_xCTR3_uh6eYhL6c

Ceulan was such a remarkable bird that I would also like to post the last two blogs about him.

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/ceulan-back-dead

And this one:

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog/emyr-mwt/ceulan-life-remember

Please continue to send positive wishes for Little Bit 17 that the nest will continue to hold. We take it a day at a time. Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, FB pages, and/or blogs where I took my screen captures or shared their stories: Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, CarnyXWild, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Wildlife Trust, Friends of Loch Arkaig, People’s Post Code Lottery, and the Woodland Trust, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, LRWT, Poole Harbour Ospreys, ND-LEEF, Mlade Buky White Storks, and the EMU.

Ervie? and other news

Last night Michael Aird took some amazing images of Ervie fishing. Please go to the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page to see them – and thank him. You do not have to be a member of FB. Just do a search for Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Ervie did not sleep at the barge last night. Dad brought in a fish at 20:44 for Ervie. Dad waited a bit and then ate the fish on the ropes. Dad slept on the perch. Will Ervie return to the barge? The last image I have of him is the one below on the nest.

Everyone knew that we were overdue for Ervie to leave. That the minutes were precious.

This is the nest today – very lonely without our boy. Dad is on the perch.

If w do not see you again, fly high and safe, Ervie. Catch lots of good fish. Live long! You brought us much joy.

Falky was seen and photographed on 19 February at Port Augusta, 350 km north of the barge nest. There have been no sightings of Bazza.

In other Bird World News, Richmond has been coming to the nest on the Whirley Crane on a regular basis to check to see if Rosie has arrived from her migration. She is expected any time. Come on Rosie. Richmond is anxious to see you as we all are.

The two osplets on the Captiva Osprey nest on Santibel Island, Florida are doing well. There were five feedings yesterday and at least two so far today.

It looks like it is going to be a nice day on the Captiva nest. There have been some alerts. Let us continue to hope that predators stay away.

Both are eating well.

Lena is very loud and Andy responds to her request for fish for the babies by bringing a nice one in for them.

There. Just look at the two of them. Adorable.

So cute. It doesn’t take much fish to fill these two up!

At the Great Horn Owl nest on Skidaway Island, a pip on the egg has occurred. Mama Owl is quit beautiful albeit a we bit wet this morning.

Cornell Lab supplied this video showing the pipping egg:

There are now three eggs at the Pittsburgh-Hayes Bald Eagle nest. Here is a clip of Dad seeing egg three for the first time.

You might recall that I have been in constant praise of Louis on the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest. There have been 10 fish on the nest along with a turtle and a Coot. Well, Louis broke the record with 20 fish yesterday!!!!!!!!! What in the world is his thinking? Many are covered by moss, some still flapping!

Louis and Anna have one eaglet, Kincaid. He is there inspecting the fish getting his beautiful juvenile feathers. Lots of fish for him and Anna. Kincaid was up there trying some self-feeding, too.

I could be wrong but I haven’t see NE26 or NE27 be fed today and it is nearing 13:00 in Florida. Those two might like of that fish on the Kisatchie nest! These two had big crops in the middle of the night so there are no worries – none at all.

The snow has been blowing about the Canadian Prairies. It looks like only a small amount is falling now. Incredible drifts everywhere. It is a good day to hunker down at home.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagle, Golden Gate Audubon and SF Bay Ospreys, Window on Wildlife, and Cornell Bird Lab.

Encounters with a GHOW

As many of you know, there are problems for the Bald Eagles with the Great Horned Owls wanting to take over their nests. We saw Bonnie and Clyde be successful in stealing a young eagle couple’s nest in Newton, Kansas located on the grounds of Farmer Derek. Those two have visited the nest as recently as 2 days ago. Great Horned Owls have taken over the Savannah Osprey Nest and laid eggs so no more Ospreys there, sadly.

Those are two instances on streaming cam where the owls have been successful. It has to be more common in the wild. I imagine that you could also provide me with several more examples. We know that a GHOW has been systematically attacking M15 and Harriet on their nest in Fort Myers, Florida. Just a few minutes ago a GHOW flew and knocked the female adult eagle off the US Steel Eagle nest at the Mon Valley Works–Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA.

The camera operator for the USS Bald Eagle nests is panning around the area. It is not a search and they said that the panning does not imply a search is needed. They are simply looking to see where the GHOW might be. These are the time stamps for the events this evening according to the camera moderator: “18:52:20 GHO swipes USS female(?) off her roost, 18:55:42 USS male(?) reacts to nearby swipe, 18:58:07 USS male relocates, chatter from both follows through 19:01”. The eagles cannot be heard on the streaming cam. Previously you could hear them so they are probably roosting at a distance and are safe and sound.

This is a daylight view of the nest. It is a gorgeous area.

Here is a link to the USS Bald Eagle cam:

The situation in PA at the USS Bald Eagle nest is unclear. It is my understanding that neither eagle has been seen on the streaming cam this morning. Everyone is hoping that they will show up so that worries can be put aside.

I was reminded, by someone using a three letter code for the Great Horned owls, to provide you with a listing of the proper four letter Alpha codes for all birds. Great Horned Owls are GHOW. The listing provided by the Carolina Bird Club also discusses the origin of the codes. Have a look:

https://www.carolinabirdclub.org/bandcodes.html

Liberty (f) and Guardian (m) were on the nest doing renovations and checking out the nest cup at Redding today. This couple raised triplets last year: Honor, Glory, and Rebel. We should be looking for eggs to be laid mid-February. Wouldn’t Valentine’s Day be nice?

Here is a history of the nest from last year’s breeding season by Judy B on the Hancock Wildlife Forum:

“A new camera was installed at the Turtle Bay nest for the 2021 nesting season (big thanks to Terri/Eaglewoman and the Friends of the Redding Eagles!) – and happily the eagles chose to use that nest! They laid three eggs in mid-February, and the three eaglets hatched March 21, 22 and 24. They were named Honor, Glory and Rebel by a poll of viewers. All three fledged successfully, if a bit non-traditionally. It was very hot in late May/early June as the eaglets turned 10 weeks old, frequently going above 100F/38C. Oldest eaglet Honor (who had never branched) had a very intentional fledge on June 3rd (74 days old). The following day, youngest eaglet Rebel left the nest as well, possibly slipping while trying to branch (the angle of the cam made it hard to be sure); Rebel was 72 days old. Happily local observers found both of them on the ground with an adult perched above; they landed near the river, and were able to have a drink of water. Middle eaglet Glory apparently liked having the nest all to his/her self, staying there another two weeks before fledging on June 18 (88 days old). All three fledglings were seen together perched beside the river on June 22, and all were seen through July 5. Both adults and two fledglings were seen in the area July 18, and one fledgling was around a few days later (it might be Honor who left first, but not sure). A happy year in spite of the challenges of the very hot weather.”

Why did I bring up the Redding nest? Because on 7 November 2021 a GHOW comes to the Redding nest! The video below uses slo-motion, graphics, and a narrative to highlight the encounter between Liberty and Guardian and the GHOW. The video is very insightful into the behaviour of Bald Eagles in alert and attack mode – if they are experienced:

Here is the link to the Redding Eagles streaming cam:

As breeding season continues, we might see more GHOW invasions. While GHOWs look soft and cuddly and through children’s stories we learn they are ‘wise’ – often portrayed as teachers – they are formidable adversaries. Liberty and Guardian are older and more experienced than the young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas that gave up their nest easily to the owls. Better to be safe than injured or dead.

Harriet and M15 have been the constant targets of GHOW attacks. Just go to YouTube and search for GHOW attacks M15 and you will find pages of videos going back years to the more recent occurrences. Here is one good example just 8 days ago:

On different occasions, M15 has been hit and has fallen down into the nest with Harriet and either eggs or nestlings. If you are a regular watcher of this great eagle couple, you will have seen M15 with injuries on his head because of the stealth attacks during the night.

In other Bird World News:

The first egg was laid at the Venice Golf and Country Club Osprey Nest (VGCCO) yesterday at 08:45. I know that some of you really enjoy this watching this nest in California.

Here is the link to this nest:

Still waiting at Achieva:

Two Osprey cams in New York say it is way too early to be thinking about eggs! Are either of these on your list to watch? Oyster Bay and PSEG?

After the fright the other day, everything appears to be relaxed and back to normal at the KNF nest. I am hoping we get the list of three possible names for this adorable eaglet today!

The eaglets on the WRDC are nice and full. Their thermal down has come in nicely. R1 still has some dandelions on its head. Soon we will begin to see thee contour and flight feathers on R1 and R2.

There are still cute fuzzy nestlings at NE Florida! They are doing great, too.

And just look at the change in Harriet and M15’s ‘babies’! Wow. I love seeing the plumage develop from that light soft down still on NE26 and 27 to the juvenile plumage that is really coming on E19 and E20.

No checks on Ervie. PLO is offline. Warm thoughts going out to the USS Bald Eagles. I am sure this is not the first time they have had to deal with this owl or another. Still, there is always cause for concern. That was a particularly ‘hard hit’ yesterday. Waiting for the final 3 names so voting can take place for the name of the little eaglet at KNF.

Thank you for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: USS Steel Bald Eagles and Pix Cams, Redding California Eagles, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Achieva Credit Union, VGGCO, Oyster Bay Ospreys, PSEG Ospreys, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagles, Savannah Great Horn Owl Cam, and the WRDC.

Friday in Bird World

Just about the time I begin to think, and then say, that it looks like the parents at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge are slowing down with fish deliveries, they bring two nice sized fish to Ervie. There was a huge chunk at 07:34 and another nice fish arrived at 15:20. Ervie didn’t actually start eating it until 16:25. Ervie was the only lad about. Bazza was last seen on Sunday the 9th and Falky was last seen on the ropes with Mum and Dad at 19:40 on the 12th. Will Ervie stay or go?

Ervie is still full from the morning fish when the afternoon delivery arrives.

Ervie is still eating at 17:34! My goodness those were nice fish brought to the nest. Ervie finished off his fish and flew off the left side of the nest.

Will that be our last sighting of Ervie on the nest? No one slept on the barge last night. We wait.

Missy has been feeding the little one on the Berry College Eagle Nest. It appears to be doing fine. Everyone is watching for the second egg. Sadly that broken shell has really attached itself to that egg.

I believe this is Missy’s first eaglet to survive. She is figuring feedings out!

B15 is getting stronger. You can see the issue with the second egg clearly here. I cannot tell if the extra piece of shell is over the narrow or wide part of the egg. The eaglets pip on the wider end. Pip watch coming for that second egg.

The nest is empty this morning at Big Bear, California but everyone is on egg watch for Shadow and Jackie.

Anna let Louis brood the chick this morning! Last year she waited a long time and Lous is delighted to be involved with his chick. Both Anna and Louis have been on the KNF nest this morning and the eaglet is eating well. Lots of nice fish for everyone on that nest!

There seem to be two words used for Harriet and M15’s E19 and E20. They are ‘nice’ and ‘cute’. Look at the feathers coming on E19 and E20 and then look at Anna’s baby above. They change so quickly!

This is a great little film about the Kakapo. Since it is breeding season and we are looking at eggs, it seems like a good time to refresh what we know about this very endangered non-flying parrot and how they are cared for. The update on the numbers is that there are now 202 Kakapo down from 208 the beginning of last year.

Daisy the Duck has not returned to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest to lay eggs since she visited with her mate on 1 January. That was two-weeks ago. Fingers crossed she has found another spot and is successful. One of the women who visits the centre was to send us images of Daisy paddling but nothing so far. Maybe Daisy is away from the area of water around the Discovery Centre and the Duck Pond.

Great Horned Owls have been mating on the Savannah Osprey Nest and the GHOWs have been mating on the nest that was stolen from a young Bald Eagle couple in Newton, Kansas last year. The couple who became known as Bonnie and Clyde raised two of the cutest little owlets on this nest. When the eggs are laid, I will definitely let you know.

For the most part the Owls and the Eagles live cooperatively but I really don’t like the owls when they try to knock the eagles off or hurt their eyes and heads as at the WBSE Nest by the small BooBook Owls and at SWFlorida when it is a GHOW hitting M15 and knocking him off the branch into the nest, sometimes.

One thing I did not know is that there are no Great Horned Owls near the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade County. The Coot delivered yesterday, the second one to arrive as prey on the nest, is gone! They seem to love the taste of that waterfowl. My eagle expert tells me that the WRDC are thinking about putting up more nests like this one for the eagles. Fantastic. It seems to be a really good design and they can work out any kinks watching this nest.

R1 ate well and now Dad is making sure that R2 is full to the brim. Ron, you are a great Dad! You can see R1 passed out in a food coma and Ron has even moved across the nest to feed the youngest sibling. Fantastic.

Today is Day 40 for the eggs at Captiva Bald Eagle Nest on Sanibel, Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Clive. There is some chatter that the eggs might not be fertile. Let’s wait and see.

I haven’t seen any of Ervie’s tracking uploaded since 26 December. I will be checking on the PLO nest during the rest of the day to see if anyone returns to the barge at Port Lincoln. That wing of his could be our last sighting of the Erv until people along the coast send in images of him. There appears to be a huge interest ‘and caring’ for the Osprey in the region. That really helps!

Take care everyone. Have a great end to your week. Thank you for joining me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Berry College Eagle Cam, KNF Bald Eagles, Friends of Big Bear, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Forest, Captiva Bald Eagles, Farmer Derek Owl Cam, and the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest.

Friday in Bird World

There is an update on WBSE 27 but, first, some background for those that do not know what happened. White-Bellied Sea Eaglet 27 had a forced fledge. The Pied Currawong were attacking 27 who was alone in the nest after WBSE 28’s fludge. 27 flew to the camera tree and then was, more or less, escorted out of the forest by the Currawong. A few days later, 27 was spotted. It was on some pavement. When it flew up, the Currawong began to attack its head. 27 fell to the ground. Thankfully help was at hand! WBSE 27 was taken into care and checked. Luckily there was nothing broken. The latest news is promising. I do really hope they will keep 27 til it is a very strong flyer. Maybe we will also find out if 27 is a male or a female.

This is the latest update this morning from Judy Harrington: “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

Oh, it is so good to hear that 27 is improving.

Photo taken by Cathy Cook.

There is a lot of discussion and concern for Grinnell, the mate of Annie, at the Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley in San Francisco. An undergraduate student wrote a great article on the falcon family for The Bay News. I was excited when I read it because it mentions Holly Parsons, who runs the FB group for Xavier and Diamond on the Charles Sturt Campus, and the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery Project in the city where I live and the City’s 19 year old female falcon, Princess. The article is really informative. What a good writer this undergraduate is. Have a read:

I was hoping to have an image of the Spotted Eagle Owlet in Joburg back in the nest but it isn’t there.

In fact, the Mum has just noticed that one of the babies is out of the nest box. You can see its fluffy head under the Mum’s left leg. Poor little thing. It must be scared and hungry. I understood that someone was to place it back in the nest box. Hopefully this will happen soon.

Xavier flew in with a Starling to the Peregrine Falcon scrape on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange. Yurruga had been waiting and watching!

Yurruga spends a lot of time looking at the world outside the scrape. She is 28 days old today.

Here comes Xavier with a freshly caught Starling. Yurruga is so excited!

Dad can hardly get the bird into the scrape.

Yurruga is tugging and pulling.

Xavier looks like he really wants Diamond to fly in and feed Yurruga.

Yurruga reaches up and bites Dad’s beak. Look at how big ‘she’ is! Notice also that the down is coming off from around Yurruga’s eyes. She will look like she is wearing goggles tomorrow. Yurruga is right on track in the transitioning from the down to her juvenile feathers.

Xavier cannot prepare the Starling with Yurruga wanting to eat ‘now’.

He opens up the bird and feeds Yurruga some of the nice meat.

Then he flies out of the scrape with the remainder of the bird. He will either put it in storage for later or eat it himself or give it to Diamond. Clearly Yurruga is very healthy and doing quite well. It is nice to see Xavier feeding the little one. Maybe Diamond needs to rest her leg. No doubt Yurruga will have a couple more feedings today. Fingers crossed. She needs all the lunch she can hold.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Dad brought in a fish tail. Little Bob got it and Big Bob tried to take it. No real tussle and it looked like Little Bob was able to keep it. Just look at the strong mantling (putting wings over prey to protect it from being stolen). These three are going to be a handful to band on Monday!

Despite the mantling, the chicks definitely were remaining civil. This was not a real tussle for food.

Good practice for the future. Dad is so cute. He acts like he isn’t paying attention but he is. These parents are watching everything the three of them do. Everything is about being able to survive in the real world. They have done an amazing job.

Friday has started out pretty good. I hope it continues that way. Diamond is healing but still a bruise on her foot. 27 is improving and so is Grinnell. Yarruga is growing like a bad weed and soon will be bigger than Xavier. There are still four falcons at 367 Collins Street and it is hoped that someone will put the owl back in the box – again.

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone and have a great day.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, EcoSolutions JoBurg Owl Cam, and the Sea Eagles FB Page for the image of 27.

The Migratory Bird Acts – do they really protect the birds?

It has been a little over a week since the furor erupted at a local park in our City when a public utility company was clear cutting trees near a Cooper Hawks Nest. The outpouring of anger by residents and concerned citizens paused the clear cutting until fall when there would be no active nests. A victory for the birds!

Several of us were pretty certain that the migrating birds were protected under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 – an act originally passed in 1917 and updated in 1994 and 2005. But, we were wrong. Raptors are not protected under the federal act. They are protected by the Wildlife Act of Manitoba!

As Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project reminded me:

The original Act was written to protect birds that migrated between Canada and the US and  were either a) beneficial (songbirds eating agricultural pests or waterfowl which were hunted) or b) harmless to humans (puffins for example).  Birds of prey – dead or alive, whole or their constituent parts – are generally protected under provincial and territorial Acts.  In Manitoba all vultures, eagles, ospreys, hawks, falcons and owls are designated as protected species under the Wildlife Act – the Act protects them, their nests and habitat.

As I sat reading Tracy’s words, I began staring at two books on my shelf. The first one was Rosalie Edge. Hawk of Mercy. The Activist who saved nature from the Conservationists and Winter’s Hawk. Both paint a picture of wanton killing of birds, not protecting them. Rosalie Edge will use her influence and money to establish a protective area in the United States called Hawk Mountain. She will take on Audubon and all the men she knows who love sport hunting and the bagging of raptors. What a woman. Hawk Mountain is the site where the thermals are so good and birds migrating from eastern Canada and the US pass through to get to their winter grounds. You can visit Hawk Mountain and you can go there and help count migrating raptors. Google it.

Rosalie Edge was a very special woman. She was not afraid of going against the establishment. Rachel Carson has often been given the credit for sounding the early alarm against DDT in her book, Silent Spring. In fact, it was Edge that was raising concerns fourteen years before Carson. Edge was a leader in seeing the need to really conserve the birds and protect them against humans.

The book is a good read. It shows the real attitudes towards birds at the turn of the century – the impact of sport hunting. Edge had the strong constitution to take on some of the most powerful men at the time and win. Hawk Mountain remains today a place of refuge for the migrating birds and, of course, my dear raptors. I am actually including provincial wildlife acts of Canada at the bottom of today’s blog. If you wish to read The Migratory Bird Act of Canada (MBAC) it can be accessed by Googling.

So lesson learned: When demanding protection for raptors in your province, you need to go to the provincial wildlife acts which I have included below!

I went to check on Little Tiny Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria. He has been getting stronger and growing the past few days. He also appears to have gained some confidence – a very good thing. We saw that in Tiny Tot as he began to get so clever in order to get food. Blue 35 has been doing really well feeding the trio. I am really proud of her and White YW keeps the fish coming in.

All of the Bobs were full. Little Tiny Bob just wanted to go to sleep and there was enough fish for mom to have a good meal, too. Any food insecurities seem to be dissipating on this nest. Yes! That is a good thing on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Tiny Tot was waiting on the nest and hoping for a fish drop early this morning. Jack did not disappoint. He arrived with a fish at 7:40:36.

“Thanks, Dad!”

Jack took off and left Tiny to his fish. Tiny continued mantling. He knows there is an adult intruder in the area and he doesn’t want to loose his fish.

Sadly there has been no fish delivery at the Cowlitz PUD nest. Those babies have gone through all that food they ate yesterday. They were starving. They are once again food begging. Electra called out to Wattsworth for a long time. She left the nest and I thought she was returning with a fish for the babies but she wasn’t gone long enough – she came in with bark. Of course, Wattsworth had to come sniffing around. What a lazy Osprey! I guess Electra will have to leave the babies and go fishing again today if they are going to survive.

The babies were cold and crying for food.

No sooner than Electra had that piece of wood on the nest than Wattsworth appears thinking it was a fish. Does he have another family? Is he just a lazy osprey? Yes, I do believe that birds have individual characteristics. Or is he just completely inept? Reminds me too much of Louis and the way that he treats Iris on the Hellgate Nest. Thankfully the Ravens took Iris’s eggs this year before there could be any starving chicks.

While it is true that this nest needs some rebuilding on the sides, it surely needs fish to keep the babies alive so they actually need the crib sides!!!!! Wattworth – go fishing! You make me disappointed.

I always check on Tiny Tot, Little Tiny Tot, and the Ks every morning. This time I took a deep breath. I could only see one of the Ks at the very far end near a good spot to fledge. My mind was racing telling me that they are not ready to fledge yet. I had counted the rings on K1s tail and concluded that and yet, where are they??!!!!!!!!

At that moment I remembered that there is a second camera at the Cornell site. Well, it made me feel a little better. There all three of them were but one of them is over where Big Red has been standing – on the fledge ledge. It is going to be soon. Better watch these kids while there is time!

Thank you for joining me today. Send warm wishes, as always to those wee ones who need warmth and food – the Cowlitz Kids.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH. Thank you to Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery for pointing out the difference in the wildlife acts.

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Here is the wording for the Canadian provincial and territorial laws:

Birds in Canada are protected under provincial and territorial statute in addition to the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Please consult the legislation of the relevant jurisdiction before making any decisions regarding the protected status of a bird species in Canada. The following links are provided for convenience, but may not be current.

This table provides information on legislation of other jurisdictions regarding migratory birds in Canada.

Province/TerritoryLawURL
British ColumbiaWildlife ActBritish Columbia – Wildlife ActDesignation and Exemption Regulation: Schedules A and C
AlbertaWildlife ActAlberta – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulation, Schedule 4
SaskatchewanWildlife Act, 1998Saskatchewan – Wildlife Act (PDF; 155 KB)The Wildlife Regulations, 1981 (PDF; 216 KB)
ManitobaWildlife ActManitoba – Wildlife Act: Schedule A
OntarioFish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997Ontario – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997: Schedules 3, 7 and 8
QuebecAn Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of WildlifeQuebec – An Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife
New BrunswickFish and Wildlife ActNew Brunswick – Fish and Wildlife Act
Nova ScotiaWildlife ActNova Scotia – Wildlife ActGeneral Wildlife Regulations
Newfoundland and LabradorWildlife ActNewfoundland and Labrador – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulations: Schedule B
Prince Edward IslandWildlife Conservation ActPrince Edward Island – Wildlife Conservation Act
NunavutWildlife ActNunavut Wildlife Act: Subsections 6(2) and 6(3)
Northwest TerritoriesWildlife ActNorthwest Territories – Wildlife ActBirds of Prey RegulationsWildlife General Regulations: Schedule General
Yukon TerritoryWildlife ActYukon Territory – Wildlife Act : Schedule H

As the sun goes down

Typically I check on ‘the babies’ many times a day. This evening there is a soft glow coming across the eagle nest onto Gabby and little NE24. The Japanese have a name for this particular light that shimmers down through the trees causing everything to appear slightly golden. It is komorebi and it is magical. It looks like the universe is laying a soft warm blanket around Gabby and NE24.

Just look into Gabby’s eyes gazing down on NE24. Pure love.

It is just turning 6pm. The setting sun is softly lighting the Spanish moss hanging down from the old tree, too. And up in that deep nest where Samson was born is Gabby and Samson’s little one, NE24. NE24 is nine days old today.

It is a Slash Pine tree. Sometimes these trees are called Swamp Pines because they grow in the watery swamps of Florida.

Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, brought the very first twig for this nest for the 2008 breeding season. They placed twig after twig in that spectacular ‘V’ about eighty feet off the ground. And every year they added more. It is now estimated that the amount of sticks and leaf debris, moss, etc. making up the nest would weigh more than a metric tonne. For ten breeding seasons Romeo and Juliet successfully fledged every eaglet they reared in that nest, nineteen in all. There was plenty of food and little sibling rivalry.

No one knows anything about Gabrielle. She appeared one day, a female looking for a mate and Samson liked her out of all the others. We know that Samson was born on this very nest on 23 December 2013. He fledged on the 22nd of April 2014. Samson returned four years later and bonded with Gabrielle. Their first breeding season was 2019-20. The administrators for the NEFL Eagle cam named the eaglets Romy and Jules after Samson’s parents. Both fledged successfully.

The same soft glow of the day’s end falls over Bonnie, the GHO in the Eagle’s nest. Bonnie must be anticipating that her mate, Clyde, will come in with some treats for her. It has now been sometime since she had a meal because of the frigid temperatures. The temperature may stay in the range around 6 degrees F so there might be hope that those mice Bonnie loves will be running about tonight so Clyde can catch one for her.

As the sun set, Clyde was ready to wake up and go hunting. It wasn’t long until he brought Bonnie her first mouse of the evening.

I wish that my hearing and my eyesight were as good as Bonnie and Clyde’s. It is said that a Great Horned Owl has such good hearing that if a mouse steps on a twig they can hear it even if they are 23 metres away (75 feet). And, from observing Bonnie, we know that she really can turn her head for a complete 360 degree view. But, even though she is called a Great ‘Horned’ Owl, she doesn’t have any horns! How silly. But she does have those soft feathery tufts coming off of her incredible ears that resemble horns. Bonnie’s feathers are not hard like other raptors; they are very soft. The ends of Clyde’s feathers are round which allows him to fly virtually undetected – like a Stealth bomber – just not as fast. Bonnie hears him; she sits up in anticipation as he nears the nest (below).

Clyde flies into the nest with the mouse.
Bonnie quickly took the mouse.
After dinner they had a wee bit of a conversation.

We are so fortunate to be able to see the exchanges with these owls – what a rare treat! And aren’t they cute together?

Updates on all the gang will come later tonight. Have a fantastic day everyone.

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Thank you to NEFL Eagle cam and Derek the Farmer for their streaming cameras where I took my screen shots.

So excited, had to share

Today is my wedding anniversary and we had a lovely breakfast – croissants with lovely marmalade – and my husband bought me two books and I can’t tell you how excited I am. One is Raising Ducks and the other is Wilding. The Return of Nature to a British Farm. Can he read my mind? Ducks! I wonder if the city would give me a permit? I was threatening to dig up our 10 x 10 lower deck for a little pond for ducks the other day. Oh, how to breed, care, and keep healthy ducks. Yes.

Oh, I miss Daisy the Duck!

But three other things also caught my attention just have I had posted my earlier blog. The first is an update on E17 and E18, Harriet and M15s kiddos. They still have their eye infection and they still are eating CROW out of house and home. Gosh, those eaglets love being fed by tongs! But what I noticed was a feisty attitude in the images and I had to share them with you.

In the top image, E17 and E18 look like little angels. They are getting pin feathers (oh itchy), losing their egg tooth, and they are grey with little tails starting to grow. Precious.

Image courtesy of CROW FB

Ah, this is more like it. E18 with its beak open ready to start the bopping game! These two look like they could climb out of their fresh white towel nest at any moment! But look, I think they are also enclosed in an aquarium. Smart.

Oh, I love to see the cheekiness. It means they are getting better. Just like us when we are sick and fighting an infection.

Image courtesy of CROW FB

Here they are on January 31. Look at the difference in their colouring from then and until today and those eyes are so much better. They are not out of the woods on that infection. I had hoped to hear they might be returning to their nest in Fort Myers tomorrow but, no. Poor darlings.

Image courtesy of CROW FB

Some of you will be very familiar with my rant against rat poison. Several years ago I had the most gentle cat, Duncan. She would go outside and sit with me while I drank my morning coffee on her leash. The minute Duncan smelled the coffee she would sit, back straight, right at the end of the kitchen counter waiting to go outside. She was an angel of a cat. She never tried to get away. One day Duncan caught a mouse in our house. At the time, the mice were very bad in our neighborhood despite there being feral cats still out and about. Duncan died because of the rat poison. It does terrible things to cats. I was devastated.

Duncan had been one of three kittens born to a feral cat that my neighbour, Bert, took care of in his old school van. He fed all of the feral cats and any time one of them was to have kittens, Bert would take it into the van, feed it, and then find homes for the little ones. I took Duncan when she was not ready to leave her mother because the other two would not allow her to nurse. She was raised on a bottle and well, she was just the sweetest cat! To lose her was terrible but it also made me realize how the new designer pesticides and rodenticides could cause many more to lose their pets. We have sense filled in every hole with copper mesh so that the mice cannot get in the house. There is also the hawk that visits our garden. I hope he enjoys them. BUT, I don’t want this tiny Sharp-Shinned Hawk to die either.

Since the death of Hope and Peace at the Captiva BE nest, there has been a concerted effort across the state of Florida to ban these anticoagulant killers. I don’t live in Florida but I belong to the group to raise awareness. Below is an image of an owl that was in care because of poisoning and an image of the d-Con boxes of this poison.

So why am I so happy? d-Con has announced that it is pulling this highly effective anti-coagulant poison from the shelves! This is an even more effective killer than the one that Duncan died from. The cats don’t even hate to eat the poisoned mouse, they just have to bite through the skin. Well, my hats are off to d-Con.

Now spread the word. If you know of anyone that has used this, is using it, or has some in their cupboard, ask them to find out where in their community they can safely take the box to have it disposed of. Do not put these boxes in the garbage. It may take you a bit of time during the pandemic to even find the place to turn these poisons in for destruction.

Images courtesy of EarthJustice.org

I can promise you that no one wants to get me started talking about wind turbines. As I continue to say, I will be the first one on my block to stand up for the environment but I have a problem with wind turbines. The older ones are real killers of birds. As my son reminded me, cats are the number 1 killer and that is actually a sore spot with me, too. But today, let’s just focus back on the wind turbines. To power our homes, shops, factories, and cars, I am all for alternative sources of energy. In the case of wind turbines, I am concerned about the lack of regulation and where big companies are proposing to position these contemporary wind mills. More and more birds are being killed. It is a fact. One solution is to paint one of the blades black. But, here today, is news of another way to stop Bald Eagles from being cut to shreds.

The smart camera systems stops the wind turbine before the birds get killed. The URL is below so so that you can read the article that has me smiling by copying and pasting. For some reason it will not embed properly.

https://interestingengineering.com/smart-camera-system-saves-eagles-from-wind-turbine-deaths

What a grand day. There are good people working hard to protect the world’s wildlife. And everyone can help in their own little way. I am attaching the poster that we made for our campaign to get rid of rat poison. Feel free to share it on Social Media. And also remember to check your own cabinets and tell your friends and family. Good old human interaction often works best!

Thank you for checking in with me today. I have some ‘bird’ stories that will warm your hard coming up this week. Take care and please stay safe.

For birds and ducks, it seems that the term ‘hawk eye’ really applies, updated

I have to make a confession. It has been a long, long time since I ‘considered’ ducks, ducks of any breed. As a young child, I had a pet white domestic duck that my father brought in his pocket one Easter. Along with a hoard of cats, a three-legged dog, the duck was one of my greatest companions. I spent much time at the zoo but where I really loved to go was to the ‘Duck Pond’ at the University of Oklahoma.

Fall on the University of Oklahoma and part of the large duck pond.

Hours and hours were spent feeding the ducks and just sitting and looking at them. When I visited with my children, they, too, learned to love all of the ducks at the Duck Pond. It is an institution in Norman, Oklahoma, that Duck Pond. I have no idea how long it has been there. It is much beloved and I continued to visit it until the very last time I was in Norman. But I haven’t actually thought about ducks. Hawks, yes. A Sharp-shinned hawk visits my garden regularly in such of prey. The garden is full of birds that can attest to my devotion to feeding them and I have written extensively not to feed birds of any kind – crows, our Canada geese, the ducks at our duck pond at St Vital Park – bread. Feed them corn and peas. Crows love hard boiled eggs, dog kibble, and grapes. But ducks did not get into my head until Daisy. When she first came with her mate in December to check out the nest of the WBSE, I didn’t think too much of it. But, it is what I have learned watching her, talking with others, and researching that has me totally enthralled. I hope you are, too. Just some facts that astound me. Daisy will have lost half her weight in creating the eggs and brooding. They also have the calcium in their system partially depleted. It is hot in that seventy-five food high nest in Sydney, Australia and they tell me it is going to get hotter in the next few days. While this helps the eggs to stay warm when Daisy has to go forage, it also means that she must hydrate more often. Each time she leaves the nest, the eggs are vulnerable. Today before leaving at 14:02 for foraging and a cool down, she gathered up some of the down that the WBSE and the Pied Currawong tossed. She put some of it on the nest but the wind has been blowing and one of the eggs appears to be exposed.

Daisy has been slowly pulling the down that was removed by the WBSE and the Curra closer to her nest cup.

The exquisiteness of her nest woven with nothing but what she has found left on the sea eagle’s nest – leaves, sticks – and the down she pulled from her breast was nothing short of remarkable. A contemporary artist would have difficulty coming up with something so beautiful and organic if they tempted to replicate her work.

And I admire this little duck more than I can ever say. Is it the old David and Goliath story? Think about it. This is a little duck who knows nothing about the forest. She has, for all purposes, made her nest in the ‘King Pin’ of the forest, Dad, the White Bellied Sea Eagle’s nursery!

The last visit that Dad paid to check on his nest was on January 18. That was three days ago. That day he stayed for about six hours waiting for the intruder to return. He did not realize how smart our little duck is!

There are Ravens and Currawong that would destroy her nest and eat her eggs quickly.

Pied Currawong courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Daisy is one brave little tenacious duck, intent on brooding her eggs and having ducks jump over the edge and make their way to the water with her. On the way, if we make it to that point, there are other dangers including foxes. As a result of watching her, my admiration for all of the birds has grown immensely and I want to know more about them and how I, someone writing a blog on the cold Canadian prairies, can help them.

Daisy brooding her seven eggs on the WBSE nest.

Today, Daisy left well before dawn to go and forage and cool off. It was 4:20am. She returned an hour later, about forty minutes before dawn. Most hawks, falcons, and eagles will venture out at dawn and settle to roost at dusk. That, of course, does not apply to birds like owls who hunt at night. My question is how can Daisy manage in that light? It seems that she might be creating a pattern of leaving before dawn and right before dusk to forage with a break in mid afternoon. But, I cannot say for certain. It will take more days to make that kind of a generalization. But what about her vision

Daisy is back at her nest before dawn. Note that she has one eye on each side of her head. They are not situated together on the front of her head like humans.

Almost all birds have some of the most sophisticated and advanced vision of any animals. And their eyesight is much better than humans! Ducks, like Daisy, have monocular (single) vision. Humans have binocular (stereo) vision. Look at Daisy. Her eyes are located on the side of her head. She does not see in 3-D like we do but, if you have ever noticed a duck or a raptor bobbling their head back and forth, that is what they are achieving but with more precise sight than we ever could have without the aid of a device like a powerful spotting scope. Our eyes have blood vessels. Ducks do not have blood vessels in their eyes. Instead their blood is contained in the pecten. The pecten is a small organ at the back of their eyes that contains the blood. Daisy (and other birds) also have something else that humans do not have, panoramic view. She can see almost 360 degrees. This really helps to protect her from predators. So to sum, it up, ducks have eyes that are capable of seeing at least two or three times farther than humans. Their eyes have other characteristics to help them survive in the wild. This includes being able to see ultraviolet light because their eyes have cones. It is also known that they are very good at differentiating colours which, luckily for them, causes duck hunters many problems. They can tell between someone wearing camouflage that isn’t quite the colour of the environment that surrounds them. Good for you Daisy and all Ducks. You might just outwit the hunters. And, speaking of hunters, many in Australia are saddened by the new duck hunting laws for 2021 after seeing Daisy.

Along with her excellent sight, Daisy relies on her hearing. While she is relative unfamiliar with many of the animals and birds who live in the forest (remember she normally lives by the river, not in the forest), she does listen for vocalizations. She tends to raise her neck if she hears alarm calls by other birds nearby. A good example is the calls of the Raven because the Ravens tend to follow the sea eagles if they enter the forest. The ravens are not a direct threat to the WBSE but they are an annoyance. And, of course, Daisy often sleeps with one eye open!

Daisy raises her neck high to listen.

Notice how Daisy raises her neck high in the image above. She can never really relax completely. She must always be alert to any noises or disturbances that might threaten her. On occasion, she has had to leave very quickly and has been unable to cover her eggs. That is what happened the other day when Dad the WBSE arrived on an adjacent tree and she has to leave very quickly. It was that same day that the Curra tried to eat the egg that Dad had rolled out of the nest cup.

Daisy literally sleeps with one eye open so that she can not only hear but see any predators.
Late afternoon shade is almost completely covering the nest.

So far, since Daisy left to forage around 14:00, no predator has arrived at the nest to do harm. In fact, the forest is relatively quiet. Most of the activity occurs at dawn and at dusk. It is a good time for Daisy to forage. As it hears 15:30, Daisy should be returning within an hour and a little bit to start her brooding. She might, like last evening, sneak out for another dip in the water to cool her off before dark.

Thanks for coming to read about and check on this precious duck. She is, according to locals, the first bird that has ever made a nest in the White Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. She is one brave duck and there are thousands of people watching and wishing her well.

Stay tuned for an update in the morning. Nite all, stay safe.

Well, thanks to Daisy’s good eyes and quick reflexes. She was flying into the nest around 16:49 when spotted ‘Dad’, the White Bellied Sea Eagle landing on the branch of the nest tree! She aborted her landing very quickly. Dad had arrived with Lady around 16:01 and both were on the camera tree. One of the sea eagles left and another flew to the parent branch of the Ironbark Tree. See the images below. It is quite windy and hot and the eagle is busy looking around everywhere from his perch. Did they see Daisy?

Dad? Lady? is using his ‘Eagle Eyes’ to look around everywhere hoping to catch the bird who is brooding their eggs in his nest!

The wind was blowing frantically. The WBSE left at 16:58. Where did they go? Neither went to the nest. It looks like it was a quick fly in to see if they could catch the intruder. It is difficult to say if it was Dad or Lady who remained behind. They looked a little ragged suggesting that it is Lady who has not finished their moult. Maybe they left to catch some fish before dusk. Spotters on the ground say that Dad and Lady have returned to their River Roost on the Parramatta River.

Wonder if either will return to check on the nest again? Remember, their vision. They will not come after dusk! The only bother for Daisy during the night is BooBook Owl.

Wind gusts blowing Dad’s feathers ever which way.

Thank you to Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre for providing the camera for my scaps.