Wow! Just look at the PLO Chicks

I am sorry to be so late in sending off my newsletter today. It was not intended and if you have worried, I apologize. The day wasn’t meant to be so busy but it simply turned out that way with a last minute trip to get 200 lbs of bird seed tacked on to the end.

Just look at these beauties. Overnight the three osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge turned into juvenile beauties. Those are serious feathers! Just look, all pushed out from their quills, perfect layering with that gorgeous white line and tip of the juvenile. Each one also seems to have grown a perfectly white beard over night. Their eyes are also that dark amber colour that will, when they are adults, turn to yellow.

Gosh. I can hardly take my eyes off of them. They are stunningly beautiful. If I could look like a bird it would seriously be a juvenile Osprey.

Mum was looking out over the water hoping that Dad was off fishing – and he was. He landed on the nest at 7:46 with a breakfish for everyone.

Little Bob, the closest to Mum’s beak and the front, is 34 days old today while the two older siblings are 36 days old. There is a ways to fledge – thank goodness, but, for now, we can enjoy how grown up they all are and how wonderful this Eastern Osprey nest has been this year. It has brought nothing but tears of joy! It goes to show how having chicks that hatch close together and plenty of food deliveries are a great combination to success.

Dr Victor Hurley heads up the research on the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. He has been doing this for many years. He wrote a very good article about what the differences are for the two falcon nests in Australia with streaming cams – 367 Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne and Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross. The 367 Collins Street scrape box had 4 hatches this year while the Orange scrape box of Diamond and Xavier had one. So what is the difference to the falcons? is it better to have one or four? Dr Hurley believes for the falcons it is better to have four eyases and be run off your feet feeding them because the chance of one of them surviving to adult hood is greater than a scrape having only one chick. He believes, however, that it is beneficial to the chicks to be the ‘only One’ instead of one of four in terms of food resources. Still, others believe that the stress on the parents to feed four instead of one is immense but, we are looking at it from the chick’s perspective. Anyone watching the scrape boxes just know these growing chicks just want food!

While Dr Hurley did not address other issues, I wonder if being part of a larger hatch group helps in terms of understanding how to live in the real world where there will be pressure from others. Maybe it doesn’t matter? Last year, the male from the Collins Street scrape used to come into the nest and pluck a freshly caught pigeon. It was a terrific mess but those three girls could sure pluck a bird – and do it fast before they fledged – a skill essential to survival. Catch, pluck, eat, and go! I beg to be corrected but it seemed that Izzi had some difficulty with plucking even after an age when he should have had his own territory. So I wonder if they learn quicker and faster as part of a group??? and having plucking imprinted on them so many times?

The little eyas at Orange is 13 days old today while the Collins Street Four are starting their third week. Each is right on track in terms of development. Indeed, the little Orange eyas has been scooting around on its tarsus for a couple of days now and is very strong and healthy. – slightly ahead of the curve The plumage is changing radically on the Collins kids and they are standing and walking.

Kate St John did a wonderful blog on the developmental stages of the peregrine falcons. I want to share that with you.

Dad is trying out larger pieces of pigeon on the four. The prey came in one after another the other day. They are losing the soft down around their eyes and getting the juvenile feathers and they are also getting their wing feathers.

I am afraid that I got a little carried away with the images of Xavier and Diamond’s eyas. Not only is it loud – soon to rival Izzi – but it can also make the cutest faces.

They are all doing well. Last I checked the Bald Eagles in the United States are all still working on their nests. There is some intrigue at the Captiva Nest and the speculation as to who the male will be this season. Joe is gone and it appears Martin has been ousted also. Meanwhile, Harriet and M15 along with Samson and Gabby are steady as you go! To my knowledge there has not been a fledge at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic forest but this could happen any time. And – for the lovers of Jack and Diane – it seems that the couple might be back on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg together. They have a lot of nestorations to do!

Thank you for joining me for this quick catch up. I will be shaking my head and smiling at just how beautiful three juvenile ospreys look in the PLO nest. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Lots happening in Bird World and it is just Tuesday!

My goodness. Monday and moving into Tuesday in the UK turned out to be a blur. Mrs G officially had her and Aran’s first hatch at Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales at 00.08 18 May. Mrs G, with her great experience – this is her 47th hatch – removed half of the shell. Good work, Mom. You can see the little Osprey to the left of the white egg – that sweet little stripe down its back.

There is Aran coming to check out how Mrs G and Q1 are doing in the early morning. Mrs G told him it won’t be long til Q2 is here – there is a big crack in that egg.

Little Q1 wanting some more fish. Oh, goodness. Not even 24 hours old and look how strong!

Here is the link to watch Aran and Mrs G with what will soon be the two Qs.

NC0 had her first hatch ever! The little one just needs mom to nudge that shell a bit. It has a really loud cheep that can be heard on the microphone under the nest cup.

And here is the little one getting its first feeding! So tiny.

No one gives the Ospreys a manual and it takes time to get to know how to feed a bobble head. I remember aching every time I saw Anna feeding Kisatchie at the Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana. Now Kisatchie is ready to fledge – it all worked out. Nessie (Blue NC0) is trying hard to connect with the little one to feed it and Laddie (LM12) seems to understand he is to deliver fish. Fingers crossed. I am certain they will have the feeding all sorted quickly before number two arrives.

Here is the link if you would like to check out this nest.

White YW (male) and Blue 35 (female) celebrate the arrival of the first hatch of 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria.

There is a lot of excitement at the Poole Harbour Nest and ironically, I was just reading through Roy Dennis’s account of when they were first setting up the nests at the most opportune locations in Poole Harbour in his new book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding our skies, woods, and waterways. It is very interesting how they use Google Earth to help pick out the best places for the artificial nests.

CJ7 flew in with a fish and lo and behold, there is a male. It is Blue 022. They have been seen mating on the camera pole. Late eggs?

Another nice view of female CJ7 with her catch. Oh, the folks at Poole Harbour would be elated if there was a new pair at this nest! Blue 022 is a 2019 translocated Osprey.

The Cal Falcons need a name and the folks at UC Berkeley have narrowed down the field from 650 suggestions. If you would like to vote to name Annie and Grinnell’s vivacious boys, please go to the link below. There they provide information on the names submitted and then you just choose three. Why now join in the fun?

https://calfalcons.berkeley.edu/names/

Here is Grinnell giving the three their morning breakfast. They were fantastic for their dad, all lined up and being nice. Sometimes they run all over the place when Annie tries to feed them later in the day. Nice, healthy falcons!

You can catch the action here when they are inside:

And this is the link to the outside camera:

Oh, those babies of Big Red and Arthur’s get more adorable every day – even with their pin feathers starting to show. Glad to see Arthur snagged a chipmunk for the gang. Did you realize there is a shortage of chipmunks in 2021? It isn’t just Ithaca – across the state of New York. I also wonder about squirrels. Did Arthur wipe out the colonies of squirrels and chipmunks last year when he delivered 2x the normal amount of prey to the nest? It has to take many more Starlings – and I understand that hawks and falcons don’t particularly like Starlings. Wish for a chippie!

They are sure growing but immediately you can still tell which is K1, K2, or K3. Oh, the little wings and tails.

The little ones at The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island (Savannah Ospreys) are doing great. It is easy to tell them apart. The youngest one has a very dark breast. That one struggled for awhile but the feeding has levelled out and both are fed well and growing. This morning the youngest decided to try walking for the first time! Wow. What a milestone! These two have beautiful peach in their plumage.

Checking in on Iris, she brought in an amazing catch yesterday at 12:45 pm. She could hardly pull it into the nest and then she decided to fly off with it to the pole.

Iris already had a pretty full crop when she caught this one. She has to be the envy of everyone there on the river in Missoula.

Iris is such a beauty. I wonder if she remembers how nice it was to have Stanley for a mate? someone to share these precious moments with? to help her with the eggs and the chicks? Those are, of course, human questions but, you can’t help but notice when a chick is born how quickly the female wants to show it to the male. Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, is much loved – by tens of thousands.

Iris is not tied to her eggs. Thank goodness. She spent the night on the perch and did not go down to the nest til 8:44 am and was gone by 9:06. She is taking care of herself this year knowing that a single parent cannot raise a family of Ospreys. It is very interesting to me. I would love to have a coffee with Iris and hear what she thinks about Louis! Can humans learn Osprey speak? Probably not. It remains a great unfortunate in the Osprey World that Louis has two nests and that he doesn’t have the energy of Monty to try and keep both thriving.

It won’t be long until Tiny Tot fledges. He is getting a lot of good height and is exercising those wings.

Tiny and Diane are waiting for a fish delivery. The pair enjoyed a late night delivery the other day from Jack and were eating well into the night. It is hot and windy in St Petersburg today, 30 degrees C. Fishing might not be that good.

Tiny has grown into a beautiful osprey. Such joy he has brought to everyone who cheered this little one being clever and wanting to live. It is one of those good news stories from 2021 for sure.

Legacy is still with us! Samson brought in two fish today for her – two at the same time! This is really amazing as there is a high rip tide warning for the coast between Jacksonville and Georgia.

Samson waits and protects Legacy while he eats.

We are so lucky to have this extra time with Legacy. He has not strayed since he was missing for three days. That must have been very scary. Samson is doing a great job feeding Legacy and keeping him on the nest.

Thank you so much for joining me today. We are once again on hatch watch at the Glaslyn nest of Aran and Mrs G. If I look at the other potential hatches in the UK, things are getting busy. It is difficult to keep up.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, UC Falcon Cam, Poole Harbour, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Oh, pretty baby

The three eaglets at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest are doing fantastic. They are well fed, no one gets left out and, at times, they are so full they look like those blown up Michelin men that fly above some of the tire stores.

Annie and Grinnell decided that the fourth egg was a dud and moved it out of the way yesterday. The three little ones are growing like crazy and you can easily see they are getting their pin feathers. Like Pittsburg Hays eaglets, these three peregrine falcons are well looked after.

Annie and Grinnell have a great source of pigeon for the little eyasses.

This morning the oldest is exercising its wings!

Dennis Becht takes amazing photos of the Trio and their three eaglets on the Mississippi River nest near Fulton, Illinois. He shared the image below on the FB page of The Love Trio group and I hope it is alright to show it to you. Dennis takes wonderful photographs of the eagles on the river and of the trio and their life and sells them on his website. If you are interested, please Google his name and have a look.

The image below is Valor II on the left and Starr, the mum, on the right. Valor I is not in the photo. Both of the males help Starr with the kids – incubating which seems to be a favourite pastime and, of course, hunting. Babies are too big to brood! Just look at how happy they are. Everyone is smiling and playing.

Early in the morning the first egg of Eerik and Eve hatched. The first egg was laid on 20 March at 18:58. The second was laid on 24 March. Oh, that little one is so tiny. The parents will move the empty egg out of the nest. It is a very cold morning in Estonia, 1 degree C, and it was the father, Eerik who was on the nest when the little one hatched.

Oh, precious little baby. It was much warmer later in the day and the old egg is now gone. The nest of this pair of White Tail Eagles is in Matsalu National Park. It is recognized as the oldest breeding territory for the eagles in Estonia dating from 1870. This nest was established in the forest in 1996. Between 1996-2020, 29 eaglets have fledged. Let’s hope that number changes to 31 for 2021!

Congratulations Eerik and Eve!

The last time I checked there was no obvious pip on Big Red and Arthur’s eggs. I stared and stared at that middle egg almost thinking I was seeing a bit of a crack. Wishful thinking on my part it seems.

Arthur is on incubation duty on the Fernow light tower nest on the Cornell Campus in Ithaca, New York.

Yesterday Big Red was listening to the eyasses cheeping inside the eggs. Hatch is getting close when she can hear them. You might remember if you watched Annie and Grinnell’s falcon nest that both Annie and Grinnell listened to and talked to their babies so they will recognize the parents when they hatch. The Royal Albatross were actively listening this year to their egg as hatch approached also.

While I keep one eye on all nests, the other one is looking straight at the Achieva Osprey nest. #1 hatch fledged this morning at 7:38:34. It was a perfect take off.

The first fish of the morning came in at 8:55:51. #2 got the fish but Diane took it away at 9:23:13 and Tiny Tot pulled it away from her and did a magnificent job self feeding.

Tiny Tot is getting more confident and is less afraid of #2 now. Of course, there has been regular fish deliveries and this really helps to give the little ones a sense of security.

The fish changes hands a few times. By 10:45, in the image below, the fish is consumed and Tiny Tot has a bit of a crop. Both Tiny and #2 are busy watching something. Is it #1 flying?

A second fish was brought in by Diane at 11:48. #2 took charge and Tiny is staring at the fish letting mum and #2 know that it expects to get some of that yummy catch.

There are no worries. Diane is very good to make sure that Tiny Tot gets fed. He is enjoying his fish in the image below.

And then….something happens to disrupt that! At 12:13:09 #1 returns from her maiden flight. Is she right in time for a bit of fish?

Oh, dear. It is a bit of a tangle.

When everything calms down, Diane makes sure that #1 gets some fish along with Tiny Tot.

Well done #1. You deserve a whole fish to yourself! That was a brilliant fledge.

And last, but not least, there has been some concern about the food deliveries on the GHOW nest on the farm near Newton, Kansas. I do not know what Tiger and Lily had to eat during the night but, a bunny was delivered to the nest for them at 5:33am this morning, the 28th.

Check out the size of the owlet in the nest and the parent on the branch. You can clearly see the bunny that Clyde left just before dawn now. That bunny will not last long!

It is a great day in Bird World. Looking for more hatches in the next few days. Right now, all is well.

Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Farmer Derek, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH at Ithaca, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcon Cam, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, the provider for the Merikotkas: Haliaeetus albicilla solar cam, the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thank you also to The Trio FB page and Dennis Becht for the still image of Valor II, Starr, and the three eaglets.

Open Wide!

The grey skies and the cold to the bone weather on the Canadian prairies just added to the sadness at the Latvian White-tailed eagle nest. Parallel with the events of the two chicks dying from hypothermia came a wonderful letter from the LDF answering many questions I had about Milda and the nest. I will write up that information in a couple of days.

Milda was starving. She is a devoted mother but she had no food for her or her chicks and Mr C appears to be an on again, off again mate. It is unclear if there were intruders in the area. Mr C is on the branch watching the nest while Milda eats a nice big piece of fish – this fish arrived 24 hours after the nest ran out of food when Mr C removed the few remains of the Crow Milda had been feeding to the chicks. Sadly, she is now incubating the unviable egg.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest in the Campanile must have been removed. The three little marshmallows are getting some pin feathers. It is hard to believe! They are consuming vast amounts of pigeon and transforming it into the fastest raptor on the planet. Here Annie is saying, ‘Open Wide!’

Annie and Grinnell are such devoted parents. Look at those little ones all tucked under mom right after their feeding.

Sometimes ‘open wide’ does not necessarily relate to food and a feeding. In the case of N24, our beautiful Legacy, it meant open your wings and fly. Legacy fledged this morning at 9:01! All of the aunties and uncles and grannies will be crying tears of joy and sadness. Legacy is a magnificent fledgling Bald Eagle now. She overcame Avian Pox and is the pride of Samson and Gabby and her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet. Look at the gorgeous profile of that head! And that deep, deep espresso plumage. Stunning.

There she goes at 9:01:54.

Lady Hawk put a video together from the three separate cameras. You can watch this historic event in this eagle’s life here:

In the case of Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, we can talk about opening wings and mouths. Tiny Tot loves to open his wings like a Lamborghini. Wonder if the car designers looked at the birds for inspiration? Certainly those that built the bullet train in Japan did – they used four different birds to help them get the fastest train on the planet (at the time).

Tiny Tot had a crop all morning. There were three fish deliveries before 11am! Jack has really been working to keep this pantry full. There were deliveries at 6:50:30, 9:35:05, and this is the third delivery at 10:59:18:

Tiny is really growing with all the food he has been eating. Sometimes you have to look really close to figure out which chick he is now. His ‘whiskers’ are settling down and he is getting the white plumage on his chest. There he is in the middle. You can see his nice crop.

Tiny had a good feed last night and had lots of fish from 2 out of the 3 deliveries before 11 am on 26 April. The trio are waiting for delivery 4!

Tiny Tot ate lots from fish 1, none from fish 2, and plenty from fish 3. In the image below he is being fed from fish 1. Sibling 1 had some bites and sibling 2 had a couple but, as is typical first thing in the morning, the older sibs are not as interested in eating then as they are later in the day. Tiny will eat anytime! Open wide, Tiny Tot!

Here is Tiny running to get up to the fish!

Tiny does not get anything from the second delivery but he does in the third and has a very nice crop.

Tiny is really full when the fourth fish arrives but he goes up and gets some nice pieces anyway – not a lot but remember, he is full.

Tiny Tot opens his wings wide!

Tiny Tot has eaten well today and no doubt, since it is only 3:30, there will be more fish to come. Jack, you are amazing. Diane has had some fish and everyone is doing great!

And speaking of opening wide, all eyes are on the California Condor nest in Big Sur where the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix is between pip and hatch.

The burnt tree in the centre is where the nest is located. The Dolan Fire ravaged this area from August to the end of December in 2020. Iniko survived the fire – he was the 2020 chick of Redwood Queen and Kingpin. Iniko is at the Los Angeles Zoo and is set to be released with a group of captive bred birds later this year.

Sadly, Redwood Queen’s mate, Kingpin, did not survive the fire. She bonded with Phoenix and this is their egg in the same nest that Iniko hatched.

Redwood Queen has just returned from having a short break. There is a stream close to the nest and she might have gone for a cool drink. It is fine to leave the egg for a short amount of time.

Thank you to each of you for joining me today. I know that we all wish that the situation at the Lavian White-tailed Eagle nest were different. I will be writing a history of the nest and looking into the weather in the area. Normally the birds time their hatches to when the animals will be coming out of winter hibernation so there is lots of food. I am curious if the cold weather has caused issues with getting prey for Milda and Mr C.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Latvian Wildlife Fund, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Happy Earth Day from Bird World

There are some days in Bird World where I just need to sit and appreciate the joy and magic that these feathered creatures bring to my life. Whether it is the hundreds of birds that are eat from my feeders every day or the ones on the streaming cams hundreds or thousands of kilometres away – each and every one has brought me great joy.

It is Earth Day and I want to think about what else it is that I can do to make their lives easier. I hope that you will join me in considering every way that you can to ensure a safer planet for all of the wildlife that enrich our lives. Perhaps make a donation to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or to a streaming cam. Maybe spend some time picking up litter from a highway or cleaning up around the shore of a river. Put up a bird feeder and keep it stocked with healthy food for birds. Write a letter to someone who can help push for ridding hunting and fishing equipment of lead. Write a letter to rid the world of hazardous poisons like rodenticide and sticky paper traps. Tell a friend it is OK to have balloons but don’t release them. Take them home and cut them up good! Plant flowers for the bees and the butterflies. There is so much you can do – the list is endless. Even putting out bowls of water for birds will help them so much.

Nothing brings a smile to my face bigger than a chick with a nice big crop, tho! Look at those happy eaglets. It looks like they have swallowed balls and look at their chubby little tummies. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to look like that today.

Decorah North Eaglets. 18 April 2021

This is the Decorah North Bald Eagle Nest in Decorah, Iowa. It is the home of Mr North and Mrs DNF. DN 13 is 27 days old (right). It hatched at 7:21 am on 25 March. DN 14 is 25 days old having hatched on 27 March (first time this one was seen on camera was at 7:21 am) (left).

The eaglets have their layer of dark charcoal grey thermal down. It is thicker than their natal down and gives them really good protection from the cold. At this stage their metabolism is developing that will help them be able to thermoregulate their temperatures. The thermal down grows out of a different follicle than the soft baby down. In fact, the thermal down just covers the baby down. You can see some of the dandelions. Eventually contour feathers will grow out of the baby down follicles.

They are adorable. The video below shows the eagles entertaining themselves in the nest with their great big crops. It is about 11 minutes long.

Legacy is such a beautiful eagle. She is exploring all of the branches of her nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida. She gets amazing height jumping up and down on the Spanish Moss lining of the nest. Soon she will fledge. It can happen any day now. She has given so many people such joy this year. We will miss her terribly.

Legacy. 21 April 2021

Legacy spends a lot of time playing with the branches and pinecones in her nest – pretending they are prey items!

And it seems every time I check on the two eaglets in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nest they have grown much more. It is hard to imagine that Legacy was once this small – and despite using the term ‘small’, the eaglets are actually quite large. The young 4 year old Bald Eagle dad, harry, has done a terrific job along with his mate, Nancy.

21 April 2021
21 April 2021

In San Francisco, Grinnell is busy catching pigeons for the three little ones. Hatch watch tomorrow for the fourth eyass at the UC Berkeley campus.

More food please! 21 April 2021

Jackie and Shadow have given up any hope of having a family this year at their nest at Big Bear, California. Their first hatchling in the second clutch died trying to get out of the shell. The second hatchling stopped developing. When the egg broke the other day you could see an eaglet form. The Raven took the rest of the egg away. So sad for these two devoted eagles who tried twice to raise an eagle this year. We can only hope that next year will be better.

Jackie and Shadow will try again nest year. 21 April 2021

Meanwhile, the three eaglets are really keeping the parents busy on the Pittsburg Hayes Nest.

The nest is full with the trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest. 21 April 2021

And news from Wales is that Seren and Dylan on the Clywedog Osprey Nest have their third egg. Seren laid it at 8:45 pm.

Seren just finishing a snack. 22 April 2021
Middle of the Night on the Clywedog Nest. 22 April 2021
Dawn is rising. Dylan is with Seren on the nest. 22 April 2021

Tiny Tot update: There were three fish today. The first arrived at the Achieva Osprey nest at 8:27. Tiny Tot did not get any of that fish. The second fish came in at 1:07:24. Tiny Tot got to eat a little of that fish – for about six minutes. Diane offered it the tail. Diane left the nest and might have caught a big fish. She brought it to the nest around 8:50. Because of the light it is really hard to tell who got what. At 8:52:20 Tiny Tot was up by Diane and the fish and sibling 1 and might have gotten a little fish. Mostly it was 2 eating as far as I could tell. There simply is not enough fish coming on this nest and for Tiny Tot to really benefit, the fish need to come in closer together. Get 2 full and then Tiny Tot has a chance to eat. All in all it was not a great day for Tiny Tot getting food. But, Tiny Tot did well yesterday. Poor thing. Today he attacked 2 twice bonking him. Of course 2 took it out on Tiny – really going after Tiny’s neck. And I don’t buy the term ‘survival’ that is tossed about. 2 is monopolizing the food when the benefit for the nest at this stage -where the older sibs should be hovering and thinking about fledging – is for all to survive and fledge. Today 1 and 2 are fifty days old. The USFWS says that Ospreys in the US normally take their first flight at around sixty days. That is ten days away. But it doesn’t mean that Tiny Tot is alone on the nest to eat all the fish. Oh, no, the older sibs will return to the nest to be fed by the parents, too!

And just a correction to the location of this Osprey Nest. It is not in Dunedin but it is in St Petersburg, my original location. Here it is on Google Maps. There are some fresh water areas and Tampa Bay for fishing. It is the Credit Union location, red $ sign, nearest the top.

Thank you for joining me today. Happy Earth Day to all of you! Stay safe and wish for an abundance of fish on the Achieva Osprey Nest – it is all we can do.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Clywedog Nature Reserve, Achieva Credit Union, MN DNR Bald Eagle Nest, Pittsburgh Hayes Bald Eagle Nest, Decorah North and Explore.Org, UC Falcons, Raptor Resource Project, NWFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Friends of Big Bear.

Owls, Eaglets, and Ospreys

Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:

Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.

E17 and E18 getting treated for AC at CROW, Fort Myers, Florida. @CROW FB

The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.

This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.

Breakfast for E17 (left) and E18 (middle). 16 March 2021. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:

They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.

16 March 2021. E17 (left) and E18 (right) looking out at the world of possibilities. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!

This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.

16 March 2021. Legacy (left) and her mother Gabby. NEFL Eagle Nest, Jacksonville, FL. @AEF and NEFL Eagle Cam

You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.

It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?

The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.

Older one at Duke Farms pecking and deliberately keeping little one from eating. 16 March 2021. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.

Yippee. Older going into a food coma. Little one eating. Well done. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.

16 March 2021. Breakfast for the trio. @Achieva Osprey Nest

I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.

And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!

Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!

So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.

Books, bird count, bunnies, and beak bites (yes, a shark bit an eagle)!

The pandemic and the onset of winter and, now, the Polar Vortex, mean that more often than not, my friends are tucked up under an old quilt or duvet, sipping hot tea, and reading. It is a favourite pastime of Canadians in the winter! And a lovely one at that. It is so nice to find articles in the strangest of places remarking on how we have all come to love books in the past year and have supported small book sellers. Many of my friends order an armful of books each week. Sadly, our libraries have been closed. It has encouraged me to seek out small publishers and second hand shops.

A nice surprise arrived in the post today. It is a book I ordered several weeks ago from an on line shop that specializes in used book. The book is called On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by Alan Tennant. I haven’t finished my last book but I was tempted to peek inside. Gosh. That first page got me really excited. Let me quote some of the lines: “With no companion, guided only by the ancestral memory she carried within, our little hawk was staking her life. Nothing like the abstract idea of migration that I’d imagined, it was humbling even to be a spectator to the mortal intensity of what the tiny, determined speck below was doing”. “No one would ever know what she thought, but it was clear as we watched, something had swirled to life within this falcon, becoming the driving force of her entire being”. Tennant was in a Cessna Skyhawk, 2000 ft in the air, following a female peregrine falcon, with a tracker glued to her tail feathers, from Padre Island to the Arctic. Oh, I can’t wait to join him on this journey!

And, speaking of migration, before it happens, there is the Great Bird Count from 12-15 of February. And everyone can take part from toddlers to seniors, experts to backyard birders. It is fun and it is free. You just need your eyes (OK, mine aren’t so good because of glaucoma but I can still spot those feathered creatures luring around), a good memory or a note pad and pencil, and a computer to submit your findings.

Just imagine everyone around the world looking out their windows from Friday to Monday counting the birds that they see. You can spend from fifteen minutes each day to as long as you wish. Everyone goes to birdcount.org and reports their counts. Then researchers at places like the Audubon Society, the Cornell Ornithology Lab, etc will create a giant map of where all the birds are. Bird counts happen several times a year. All those counts reveal how recent weather patterns impact the birds and their movements. I hope you will join in the fun!

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And now for some updates on some of our favourite birds.

First up is the NorthEast Florida Eagle cam nest near St. Augustine. E24 is filling itself up with nice big bites of fish for such a little one. Samson brought in several nice big fish today and stocked up the pantry. No worries for Gabby if she is hungry or E24. Not a worry in the world. One of the things I love is seeing the dad fill that fridge up good. It looks like armadillo could be on the menu tomorrow. If only Gabby had a fridge and some non-harmful insecticide spray. There are so many mosquitoes there.

Look at that little one, so fluffy and round.

Well, the second wee one has a problem. A half of the shell from the first hatch did not get out of the nest fast enough and it slipped itself right over the other egg. So, it is making it much more difficult for E25 to hatch. That is why it looked like the chick had pecked all the way around the middle. It was an illusion. Gabby is looking down at a new hole the one inside is making as she tucks E24 in for a nap.

This happens often. Sometimes it takes so long for the little one to hatch that the first born is just so much older and bigger and the second born doesn’t survive. The older one totally dominates everything.

You can see how the shell got slipped over. It looks like the little one inside cracked this egg all around but it didn’t. Look carefully. There is a pip on the left end toward the bottom corner of the picture. Let’s hope it works and gets out of there soon.

I wonder if it is hotter in Fort Myers where E17 and E18 are growing up. The eagles in NEFL just don’t seem to be panting as much today as Harriet, M15 and the twins are.

Just look. You would think they are the best of buddies sharing a joke. Born within two hours of one another, they are twins. But that doesn’t mean, as we all know, that there isn’t fierce competition when it comes to food.

They both had a great big breakfast this morning. Just look at that crop. E17, the oldest, can’t even see its feet.

And here’s E18, just as stuffed. Sometimes I just want to poke one of those crops to see how they feel.

As the day progressed and the temperature rose, the little eaglets searched for any shade they could find around the nest.

It wasn’t long until Mom Harriet flew in and rescued her babies from the scorching Florida sun. She is like a ‘mumbrella’.

Right around tea time, Dad comes in with a snack for the youngsters.

In the book I am reading, Late Migrations. A Natural History of Love and Loss, the author Margaret Renkl says: “The cycle of life might as well be called the cycle of death: everything that lives will die, and everything that dies will be eaten. Bluebirds eat insects; snakes eat bluebirds; hawks eat snakes; owls eat hawks. That’s how wilderness works, and I know it. I was heartbroken anyway”. Renkl was referring to the wrens eating the bluebird eggs in the nest box on her porch. But today, for a snack, M15 found a fluffy little bunny. My friend, Michelle, always tells me that the bunny will become an eagle. It still makes me sad. The hawk that comes to our garden and I have an agreement. He can’t touch the rabbit that lives there or the little Downy Woodpecker. Sparrows are fair game.

M15 has once again made sure that the eaglets are too full for E17 to cause any mischief to her little brother, E18.

But the day is not over. It is 6pm on the nest and the twins are getting fed the rest of the rabbit. E18 has watched and learned well. He is now the master of what we call ‘snatch and grab’. I have seen him do this several times today. Pretends he is not interested, parent offers, he rushes and grabs. It turns out the eat far faster but, hey, whatever works. It is hard to see but both have huge crops and will sleep like babies the rest of the night. Great work Harriet and M15. Gotta’ love this family. If only every eaglet were as lucky (or every child) to have such great parents.

I have not checked into the Captiva Nest on Sanibel Island for several days. The last time there was an intruder and after reading about Romeo and Juliet or the Trio, I just couldn’t stand another heart break. I call the Captiva nest “the sadness”. It has not always been this way, just this year. This is where Peace and Hope, the beautiful eaglets of Connie and Joe died from rodenticide poisoning. You will remember how remorseful the parents were. And then there was an intruder. But, things happen in an instant on these nests and to my shock, when I clicked on the camera for the Captiva Nest today, there was Connie wrestling with a small shark! Seriously, a shark. It actually bit her beak. You can see the blood. (Just a note, it wasn’t blood from the shark). She fought with that thing and didn’t let it get the best of her. And for all the bother, she had a massive lunch. That shark is now an eagle – a fish with feathers. The bleeding was reported to CROW and the vets watched the footage and noted that the blood had stopped. No need for an intervention. Yeah. A quiet little yeah. I honestly don’t know how you would try and help a full grown eagle if it didn’t want to be helped.

Connie must have been very proud of herself. You can see the water in the distance and that shark was alive when she landed on the nest with it. These female eagles really do impress me!

Joe came in to check and see if everything was alright. And Connie allowed him to share her fish when she was finished – but not before!!!!!!!!!!

You can see the blood on her beak form when the shark bit Connie.

This is an image from the other camera monitoring this nest. Looks like a small shark to me.

Over in Hillsborough, New Jersey, the Eagles at Duke Farm are experiencing very different weather from Florida. It is currently 1 degree C. or 34 degrees F. at the nest. Over the next couple of days the temperature will rise to 2 or 3 C and that snow should melt. And then, wham. Just about the time you think it is over for this nest, the snow comes back heavy on Saturday and Sunday.

I promised an update. It is nearing 9:30 pm on 9 February. Across North America the birds are trying to sleep. In Australia, they have been awake for a few hours.

Tomorrow we will check on the Royal Albatross and see if Gabby has one eaglet or two.

Sleep well everyone. Take care of yourselves and don’t get out in this extreme weather unless it is absolutely essential. Check out the site to put in the birds you count in a few days – just so you know where to go. It is such a joy to share my love of these beautiful creatures with you.

Thank you to the NEFL eagle cam, the SWFL cam and D. Pritchett Farms and Real Estate, Captiva eagle cam, and Duke Farms eagle cam for their streaming cameras. This is where I get my screen shots for you.