25 January 2022
Good Morning to Everyone!
It is almost the end of January. Just a few more days. It is cold today. -21 C. Bright beautiful sun, though.
There are countdowns ongoing and contests beginning to start on when the UK Ospreys will return. Then, of course, there is Iris. When will she arrive at her nest in Missoula? As for me, I am glad that there is still a bit of a reprieve before all the Bald Eagle nests and Ospreys come on line.
As I sit here at my desk looking at an image of Aran with his wings outstretched on the perch at Glaslyn, there is a part of me that just can’t wait! If I skip the pages to get to March on the Glaslyn calendar, I see that Mrs G returned on the 26th of March with Aaron Z2 returning to Port Cresor on the 31st. That time with the two of them alone in the valley before Blue 014 and Aran came home from their winter migration was almost as good as a soap opera…no, actually it was better. Aran arrived on the 10th of April followed by Blue 014 the next day on the 11th. Mrs G’s first egg was laid on the 19th. Good thing those two got down to business right away or Aran might have been kicking those eggs out of the nest!!!!!!!!
On the opposite side of the bulletin board is the Loch Arkaig calendar with its notation that Louis and Dorcha returned on the 11th of April in 2022. So, the clock is ticking and it is normally Blue 33 and Maya that arrive first at Rutland – around the 23rd of March. Let’s see if that happens this year.
Also just quick note – the storms going through Louisiana took out some of the boxes on the cams at the Kisatchie National Forest. Cody will get them up and operating as quickly as he can. He says “The eagles are all OK”. Good news.
In the Mailbox:
Geemeff has written with a request. Did you watch the The Flight of the Osprey series? If you did, they would like your feedback!
“️We’d love to get your feedback on the Flight Of The Osprey expedition, the communications you received, and what you’d like in the future. The survey takes under five minutes and will allow us to continue to build on and strengthen our work. #TogetherWeFly Thank you!”
‘L’ sent me a listing of the wildlife rehabbers in the US and Canada. If you do not know who your nearest wildlife centre, check the list (I cannot vouch that it is 100% complete). Put their number and address in your cell phone. If you are out and see an injured bird, you can phone them and ask what to do. And if you really want to get serious about volunteering, you can check out their workshops. Every rehabber needs help. They do not earn salaries. Everything is by donation. That includes the driving of injured wildlife to their clinics. So check, see what you can do…and keep up the mantra of gently used and clean towels and sheets – they use lots of them. Do a collection in your neighbourhood in the spring when people are cleaning out! Petfood is another item, bleach, detergent…the list is long. Thanks, ‘L’.
There could be a reason we are not seeing Thunder and Akecheta at the West End nest. Are they building a new nest elsewhere? I wonder if the fright of the eaglet falling out of the nest and having to be retrieved by Dr Sharpe has caused this change?
CROW is taking care of a very tiny bald eaglet that fell out of its nest tree.
Did you know that there is a Superb owl (Super Bowl for Owls) contest? The winner will get $5000 for their wildlife rehabilitation centre? I did not know today until the Audubon Centre for Prey wrote and asked me to vote for Sanford.
You can see the competition and vote here:
Audubon also put out its special anniversary edition of Eaglewatch. There is some seriously interesting information inside the pages of this report.
Conservation without Borders has received many requests about the whereabouts of Blue 708 Glen (Tweed Valley Juvenile) – he seems to like Morocco!
The latest announcement from GROWLS. It does not sound like there will be any camera at all during the breeding season for 2023.
At the Nests:
It seems to be a good day at the nests without any undue problems of beaking or lack of prey. So nice! Would love a period of calm before the storm of the Osprey arrivals!
Sometimes when it all gets too much or you just need a break, head over to the Royal Albatross family. They are nothing short of sweet, adorable, and gorgeous. One chick every two years. This little one is very special.
GLY has returned home and has seen his chick for the first time. What lovely moments! L is now out foraging.
There will be a contest to give Sweet Pea its Maori name. Ranger Sharyn says it will take place after mid-February when the last egg has hatched.
Elain is giving us beautiful updates and a feeding of the Royal Cam chick. Thanks Holly Parsons for the posting!
Gabby and V3 were at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest at 0730 doing some restorations. Gosh, they are a beautiful couple.
If you can see both of the right sides of their faces, you can easily tell them apart. Look at the shape of their heads and beak but, the real giveaway is the ‘V’ shaped nick below the cere of V3.
It has been raining in Webster, Texas. At the time Paul White published this video, the eaglets were having their second meal for the day. Ringo got a lot of the first bites, then Boots had some and then when Ringo was getting full, Boots starting getting all the fish. Both eaglets had nice crops and were full at the end of the feeding. It was very civilised.
Little CE9 was also fed well. CE9 will have a name on the 26th of January. Have you sent in a suggestion? If not, message Lori Covert on Instagram. And just a note, the Ospreys Mabel and Andy are named after Lori Covert’s maternal grandparents, not parents.
We all love Indigo and will be sad to see this beautiful juvenile falcon leave its parents territory. It is difficult to get so attached and have them leave and go on their way. It is, of course, why I like banding and sat paks. With banding, there is a chance to find out about the dispersal and survival rates. We can also find out about the history. Of course, with sat paks – which are much more expensive – we can track the long journeys of migrating birds as well as the ones who stay close to the nest.
It is always a treat at this time of year to have the juveniles still around, returning to the scrape so we can see them. Hello Indigo!
The Berry College Eaglet B16 is doing fantastic. It continues to be one of the cutest, chubbiest little babes. Adorable. Not sure what is up with B17 but if there is only one hatch, that is just fine!
Pa Berry was feeding his baby early this morning.
At the KNF-E3 nest, 02 has mastered the snatch and grab but, at the same time, he often gets bony pieces because he can’t or won’t wait. Several times Andria has had to save him. Here is an example that Rhonda A caught.
If you have been following my blog, you might remember that I have sung the praises of Joan E Strassman’s 2022 volume, Slow Birding. The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard. No fancy pictures just great writing and a challenge to all of us to learn about the birds that live near to us, to study them, to get to know them intimately.
One of the things that drew me to Strassman’s book was the fact that it was not a guide and it was not a book that would encourage you to run or drive or fly hither and yon to add to your Life List of Birds. Indeed, it is quite the opposite. Over the years I have received many letters from talented women who told me their lives were ruined by their fathers who stuffed them in the car before dawn on a weekend morning to go ‘birding’. The problem was…the male ran off leaving the wife to care for the children, often in the car, for hours. One told me that the best thing was ‘the donuts’. Another told me that she is just now, at the age of 65, learning to love birds.
All of us know about these life lists. E-bird often encourages it. But what we need isn’t a bird ticked off on a list but a real understanding of a bird’s behaviour, an intimate observation over time – days, weeks, years. Strassman challenges us to see the things around us and to understand them.
The book that I want to talk about today was written long ago by Florence A Merriam. Birds through an Opera Glass was published in 1896. 127 Years Ago. It has to be the first book, written by a woman, on ‘slow’ birding. It has been out of print for decades. The Leopold Classic Library prints copies on demand. Like Strassman’s, there are no colour images but, rather, black and white illustrations from Baird, Brewer and Ridgway’s History of North American Birds. Also like Strassman, Merriam is an excellent writer bringing her observations of the birds living around her to life with their strange behaviours and song.
This is a quote on how the nuthatch got its name:
“But his most interesting name is – nuthatch! How does he come by it? That seems riddle. Some cold November day put on a pair of thick boots and go to visit the beeches. There in their tops are the nuthatches, for they have deserted the tree trunks for a frolic. They are beechnutting! And that with as much zest as a party of school-children starting out with baskets and pails on a holiday. Watch them now. What clumsy work they make of it, trying to cling to the beechnut burr and get the nuts out the same time. It’s a pity the chickadee can’t give them a few lessons! They might better have kept to their tree trunks. But they persist, and after tumbling off from several burrs, finally snatch out a nut and fly off with it as clammy as if they had been dancing about among the twigs all their days. Away they go till they come to a maple or other rough-barked tree, when they stick the nut in between the ridges off the bark, hammer it down, and then, when it is so tightly wedged that the slippery shell cannot get away from them, by a few sharp blows they hatch the nut from the tree! Through my glass I watched a number of them this fall, though some of them wedged their nuts far into cracks or holes in the body of the tree, instead of in the bark. One of them pounded so hard he spread his tail and almost upset himself. The fun was so great a downy woodpecker tried it, and of all the big school-boys! The excitement seemed to turn his head and he attacked a beechnut burr as if he would close with it in mortal combat!”
Merriam writes about The Kingbird: “The sobriety of his plain blackish coat and white vest are relieved by a coloured patch that may sometimes be espied under his crest, and also by a white tip to his tail, which when spread in flight, has the effect of a white crescent.”Birds Through an Opera Glass, 1896
The list of birds that Merriam covers is massive but she also gives hints to people who want to observe birds. 1) Avoid light or bright coloured clothing. 2) Walk slowly and noiselessly. 3) Avoid all quick, jerky motions. 4) Avoid Talking. 5) “If the bird was signing, but stops on your approach, stand still a moment and encourage him by answering his call. If he gets interested he will often let you creep within opera-glass distance. Some of the most charming snatches of friendly talk will come at such times.” 6) Make a practice of stopping often and standing perfectly still. “In that way you hear voices that would be lost if you were walking…” 7) Conceal yourself against a tree or pulling a branch in front of you. Merriam also advises that anyone wishing to observe birds should consider the time of the day and the weather. “They follow the sun!” “In spring and fall you will find them in the fields and orchards early in the morning, but when the sun has warmed the south side of the woods they go there; and in the afternoon they follow it across to the north side. During heavy winds and storms you are most likely to find birds well under cover of the woods, no matter at what time of day; and then, often on the side opposite that from which the wind comes.”
Merriam challenges us to begin with the simplest – the birds that you see and hear on a daily basis. For her it was the Robin. What would be your bird?
I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to learn more about Robins, Crow Blackbirds, Ruffled Grouse, Nuthatches, Chickadees, and 65 other species. It is $19.66 CDN from Amazon. There is a link in the book for a free digital copy. It will be the best $20 you have spent. I promise. Just remember it is full of a great narrative and knowledge but not beautiful photographs!
Thank you so much for joining me today. It is always a pleasure to send you the news about our feathered friends, especially when it is all good. Take care. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their tweets, posts, announcements, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Geemeff, ‘L’ and Birdwatching Daily, CIEL and the IWS, Dana Campbell and the Cornell Hawk Cam Chatters plus CROW, Audubon Raptor Centre and Bonusfinder, Audubon Raptor Centre, Conservation Without Borders, Celia Aliengirl and Bald Eagles Nest Cam and News and GROWLS, NZ DOC, Elain and the NZ DOC, NEFL-AEF, Paul White and the Webster Texas Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Rhoda A and the KNF-E3 Bald Eagle Nest.