Tuesday in Bird World (updated)

Redwood Queen is keeping an eye on that egg. If this is a successful hatch – and there is no reason to think it won’t be – it will be the first chick for Redwood Queen and her second mate, Phoenix. The egg is believed to be laid between 26 February and 3 March. What a wonderful event for this giant Redwood scorched with Iniko, Redwood Queen and Kingpin’s chick from 2020, inside. Both of the parents of this fortunate chick have survived major fires in the area. We know that Redwood Queen survived the Dolan Fire last year and Phoenix survived the Basin Complex Fire in 2008, the year he hatched. Redwood Queen is much older, having hatched in the Los Angeles Zoo, in 1998. She might have survived other fires. Let us all hope that the entire population of Condors – a little over 500 – is safe from any wildfires this year.

The Ventana Wildlife Society issues the following statement on 26 April:

“Redwood Queen and Phoenix are still incubating and we are hoping their egg will start hatching any day now. The hatch date of 4/24 was our best “guesstimate”, we could be off by as many as 2-4 days. We first observed the egg on March 3rd and estimated the egg was laid on 2/26. This was based on radio telemetry data and movements of the pair from the week prior. If Redwood Queen actually laid closer to March 2nd, which is possible, then the egg wouldn’t start hatching until April 28. So we have a 3-4 day hatch window.”

Speaking of eggs, an intruder eagle came to the nest of Milda and broke her remaining egg and made a mess of her nest. It is one of those blessings in disguise. It is believed that the egg in the nest was the first one that Milda had laid on the 12th of March and that it was non-viable. I am not an expert and cannot tell. The intruder eagle ate most of the insides of the egg. Now Milda can forage for food for herself and build up her strength. She is not a mate of Mr Chips (Cips) yet – they did not mate. I hope that she finds a really extraordinary mate and that she will have a successful clutch next year.

Grinnell has his hands full today. It looks like the little fluff balls of his and Annie’s are growing so fast that they will not fit under him anymore. Look how they look at their dad. Grinnell, you are so cute!

Isn’t Grinnell handsome? 27 April 2021

And talk about cute – have a look at this adorable little Moli waiting for its parents to come and feed it. This is a special Laysan Albatross chick. It is the 39th chick of the oldest banded bird in the world – Wisdom. Wisdom is 71 years old and her band number is Z333 (Red and White). Her mate is Akeakamai. Her baby has a temporary band so it is easy to recognize and that number is 33 in honour of its mother.

A bit of relief over at the Savannah Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island. The dad has brought in a fish and both are getting fed. Maybe this will ease the food competition and let these two get on to growing and enjoying one another’s company.

Yesterday it was a feast on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Today it is hot, 29 degrees C, and there has been only one delivery. That came at 7:02:16. Tiny Tot got enough of that fish that he had a nice little crop. Still, he is at the quick growth stage and he needs more food more frequently. It is 4:30 on the nest. Fingers crossed for a couple of late night deliveries.

Tiny is grabbing the shade from Diane around 10am in the image below and Diane is calling. Chicks thought it might have been a delivery for a bit.

You can still see Tiny Tot’s little bit of a crop.

At 13:38:31 on 27 April 2021, a mysterious stranger with a metal band on its right leg landed on Iris’s nest at Hellgate. Well, now. This could get interesting.

I am going to say ‘he’ in the hope that ‘he’ might be a fantastic mate for Iris and claim this part of Louis’s plot.

Everything is just fine on the Red Tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell University Campus of Big Red and Arthur. There are three eggs being incubated and we are heading into hatch watch.

Thanks for joining me today for a peak at the nests. All of the Osprey Nests are doing grand in the UK except for the Loch Arkaig Nest. Hope that Aila will return from her migration to raise a family with Louis is quickly dissipating. Louis has been bringing fish to another female on platform 1 and they have been mating. It is an arduous migration. Many hope that if Aila did not arrive in Scotland that she settled somewhere else – she was loved by so many. And there is news that there are now three eggs on the Osprey nest in Urdaibai, Northern Spain. Take care. I hope it is nice where you are. The weather is grand on the Canadian Prairies and it is time to go and take care of the birds in my garden. The water bowls need filling. Everyone is enjoying a good bath today.

Thanks to the following streaming cams: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Cornell Bird Lab and Red Tail Hawks, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, UC Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, and the Latvian Wildlife Fund. Thanks also to the Midway Atoll FB Page where the image of Wisdom’s Moli was posted.

Four eaglets…really? and some Sunday nest hops

There is a conservation zone in Wisconsin on the Fox River near Kaukauna. There are four healthy eaglets in a Bald Eagle Nest in that zone – four! Just look, they appear to be getting their thermal down. My goodness those parents are busy! Amazing. I always get nervous when there are three. How do you coordinate feeding four?

There are four! 24 April 2021

Down in Fort Myers, Florida E17 and E18, Harriet and M15’s eaglets of 2021, are enjoying playing in the pond this morning. They had baths and had great fun splashing one another. That pond is near their nest and the Pritchett family stocks it with fish for the eagles.

Wow, This is fun. Their first taste of water. 25 April 2021

The egg on the Big Sur California Condor Nest of Phoenix and Redwood Queen is pipping. The Ventana officials say that it takes 2 to 3 days from pip for hatch, if all goes well. Keep watching! The little condor started using its egg tooth yesterday to work its way out.

Pip started 24 April 2021

The downpour during yesterday’s storms over Savannah and the Southeast US have given way to a cloudy dry day. The two little eaglets on The Landings Nest on Skidaway Island were kept warm and dry by Mom. Here they are enjoying their lunch today.

Lunch and the two osplets are healthy and hungry. 25 April 2021

There was an intruder or intruders at the White-Tailed Eagle Nest near Durbe, Latvia today. The winds are blowing and it is 1 degree C. Mr Cips has brought in food for the little ones but, for the most part, he has been protecting the nest while Milda has been incubating. It is so cold the little ones can’t be left out in the weather long or they will get hypothermia.

Mr C is protecting nest from the intruders.

There is still no sign of Aila at the Loch Arkaig nest. Local spotters have seen Louis with another female at platform 1 mating. Louis has also been bringing fish into that nest. A slim version of Aila – that had everyone wondering and comparing photos – appeared at the Loch Arkaig nest with the camera (below). Louis did not bring her any fish. He attempted and failed at mating twice. I wonder if this beautiful nest is going to be empty this year?

Beautiful nest feels so sad when it is empty. 25 April 2021

The following nest news is wonderful. When Ospreys are ringed and fledge making their first migration to southern Spain or Africa (more likely) it is an arduous journey. The survival rate varies but no more than 50% make it. Normally the juveniles will stay there for 2 or 3 years before returning to the UK.

For the birds that are ringed people wait patiently – sometimes forever – for news of a sighting. At Loch Garten near Abernathy, Cairngorms National Park, Blue AX6 was spotted with an unringed female. Blue AX6 was ringed on 1 July 2016 at Glen Affric. He was the only survivor of the nest of three at that time. This is the first reported sighting of Blue AX6 since he fledged. Just splendid.

Loch Garten is one of the important nests in the history of Osprey introduction. The nest was opened to public viewing in 1959. The belief, at the time and promoted extensively by George Waterston, was that an educated public would help protect the Ospreys. 14,000 people visited the site that first year during the seven months it was open. The most famous and formidable Osprey on that nest was EJ. She fledged 25 osplets off the Loch Garten nest in fifteen seasons. She was 21 years old in 2019 when she did not return from migration. Grass grew on the nest with the hope that a new pair might locate here. Fingers crossed for 2021 -.

This is EJ in 2018. Gosh, she is beautiful. Those dark eye markings are amazing they way they dip and go down her shoulder to her back.

@ RSPB

The image below was taken yesterday. It is AX6 and the unringed female. Oh, there will be so many cheers if they stay and raise a family! Thanks to Mary Kerr who posted this on the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB page.

Loch Garten might have a new couple. 25 April 2021

And everything is pretty much as usual at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. The nest and the chicks survived the winds from yesterday. Typically, Tiny Tot grabbed the first fish delivery of the day at 7:53:53. He protected himself and got some good bites.

My fish! Tiny gets the first delivery of the day. 25 April 2021

Six minutes later, 8:03:21 one of the older siblings (I think 2) got its talon in the tail and took the fish away from Tiny. That was a good lesson. 2 hasn’t bothered earlier but Tiny will need to learn to dig his talons in that fish and stand on it like 2 does.

Tiny Tot lost its fish to 2. 25 April 2021

Mom will take the fish from the older sib and Tiny will be watching. Tiny grabs a bite meant for 2 and at 9:13:27 mom feeds Tiny.

Tiny Tot enjoying some of the fish. 25 April 2021

He has a little crop.

Diane went fishin. She brought in a catfish with its head on at 12:01:22. You can always tell if Diane catches the fish because Jack always eats the head before he delivers dinner.

Diane caught a catfish for the kids. 25 April 2021

Tiny Tot will be fed from 12:28:34-12:54:49. Tiny will also command the carcass which he is still eating at 2:02.

Two other interesting things happened on the Achieva Osprey nest this morning. Chick #1 is now hovering. 6:50:44 They need to practice their take off and landings – it is amazing watching the Ospreys and the Royal Albatross hover.

1 is hovering. She has been flapping and Tiny Tot has his head down for protection. Too bad helmets aren’t issued on these nests! 25 April 2021

That chick had a grand time! This chick is also the one who stands at the rim of the nest and extends her wings to catch the air. It is lighter in weight (or appears to be) than 2 and more interested in flying than eating. Just a beautiful strong Osprey. Lovely.

The second thing was an intruder or two – Blue Jays. I caught one of them flying by the nest at 8:01:53.

Blue Jay is flying out of the frame on the left. Been tormenting the nest all morning. 25 April 2021

I will close with two more images of the Achieva Osprey Nest. The first one is Tiny Tot with food coma (totally oblivious to anything 1 and 2 are looking at) and the second shows you how healthy he is beginning to look.

Wow. Flying. Let’s do that soon!!!!!!! 25 April 2021
Tiny is in the middle. He is getting really healthy and confident. 25 April 2021

Thank you so much for joining me today. There could be a hatch at the Big Sur condor nest tomorrow. I will keep you informed. Stay safe, stay warm. Smile.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Latvian Fund for Nature, Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, SWFL Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Loch Garten, Wooldland Trust, People Postcode Lottery, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, 1000 Islands Conservation area FB, Loch Arkaig FB, and the RSPB.

And then there was a pip – and other news

Congratulations to Redwood Queen #190 and Phoenix #477 on the pip of their egg. It came at 2:44 pm PDT on 24 April 2021.

Redwood Queen is one of the captive bred California Condors. She hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo on 10 May 1998. Redwood Queen is a survivor. As many of you know, my interest is in the social behaviour of avians. In particular, the long term survivability of birds – large birds like raptors, condors, and vultures – who have been treated marginally by their group. Redwood Queen was just such a bird. She was forced by her flock to eat last and then only if there was anything left on the carcass. However, the most dominant male Condor, Kingpin #167, chose Redwood Queen as his mate and her status within the group went from the bottom to the top! The pair raised five biological chicks together. One of those was #1031 Iniko, a female, who survived the Dolan Fire of 2020 in this very tree where Redwood Queen’s new chick will hatch. Sadly, Kingpin #167 has not been seen since the fire. Phoenix survived the Basin Complex fire of 2008 as a young hatchling; he hatched on 22 April that same year This will be the first chick for this new bonded pair.

Condors are very susceptible to lead poisoning. They eat the carrion or dead animals as well as the innards of the deer and other animals that hunters leave behind in the woods and forests. The Ventana Wildlife Society along with many wildlife rehabilitation and FB groups are working to get lead banned from hunting and fishing equipment. Here is a safe alternative promoted by the Ventana Wildlife Society:

There are thunderstorms brewing in the US Southeast today – many areas are expected to have heavy rain and baseball size hail and there could be tornadoes.

One Osprey nest that got hit hard was Skidiway Island. Mum has got those little osplets tucked in nice and dry.

That rain continued and ten hours later you can see all of the water and the nest still soaking at The Landings.

Weather was on the agenda in Durbe, Latvia, too, with snow falling on Milda and the White-tail Eagle Nest.

The balance to keep the babies fed but dry and not suffer from hypothermia must be a real challenge for these amazing bird mums.

Heavy winds whipped the Achieva Credit Unions artificial Osprey nest around in the afternoon. Someone thought Tiny Tot might have gotten sea sick! The winds did stop but the local weather shows they could get a thunderstorm later tonight or tomorrow.

Tiny Tot managed to snag that fish away from #2 this morning and have a good feed but #2 remembered that incident later in the day when he bonked Tiny aggressively. Tiny lost out on the afternoon fish but he will be fine. Tomorrow is another day!

From the looks of it I am going to have to stop calling him Tiny Tot though. Look at that young lad standing nice and tall. Amazing what a little food can do! (Tiny is the one at the back. Look at those nice pantaloons he is getting).

Tiger and Lily have had a good day on that Bald Eagle Nest their parents, Bonnie and Clyde, commandeered. Look at them standing on that branch having a chat! They are now flying from the branches to the nest. Oh, my, they are growing fast.

We haven’t checked on Solly for a week or so. Will she surprise us and be somewhere besides Streaky Bay? Let’s check! Ah, our girl loves this area. The fishing must be fantastic. Solly is 217 days old on 25 April. Amazing. I am so grateful that she has a satellite tracker. Just wish we would get some news of DEW.

This is nothing more than a quick check in. I wanted everyone to know about the pip at the Big Sur Condor Nest. It is really exciting. Take care of yourselves.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams; this is where I get my screen shots: Farmer Derek, Latvian Fund for Nature, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, Ventana Wildlife and Explore.org. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and their FB page for the graph on Solly’s travels.

Rising from the ashes – how the Basin Complex Fire and the Dolan Fire are threads that bind

Today was ‘supposed’ to be the day that I re-organized my books and my desk – plus dusting – but, several wonderful distractions came in the mail. Always happy to talk about our beloved birds than doing the dusting!

Ventana Wildlife Society in Monterey California and the condors at Big Sur are featured in an article by Joy Lanzendorfer in Alta Journal. I am going to post the link and hope that you are able to read it for free. It is joyous-an article that pulls at your heart strings as Lanzendorfer talks about witnessing the release of the first condors bred in captivity. Here is the link:

https://www.altaonline.com/dispatches/a35588538/california-condor-sighting-joy-lanzendorfer/

“California condor” by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

What also caught my eye was a story about the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. It reminded me of the Dolan Fire last year and baby Iniko – and now there is a thread that binds the tragic life of the birds of those two fires.

In 2008, the Basin Complex Fire burned through the Redwood trees.

“Finding Phoenix alive after such a devastating burn was truly a miracle, however, locating his nest tree and climbing that massive redwood took all the adrenaline I could muster, it was the toughest and scariest climb of my life! (Condor Recover Program manager Joe Burnett). Here is a very short video of that moment:

In 2020, the Dolan Fire began on 18 August and continued to burn until 31 December 2020. If the miracle of the Basin Complex Fire was the survival of Phoenix 477, then the miracle of the Dolan Fire was the survival of Iniko. Iniko’s father, King Pin 167, is believed to have died in the blaze but his mother, Redwood Queen 190 survived. Iniko was found in her charred nest tree alive.

Iniko fledged but was injured. She was taken into care at the Los Angeles Zoo and will be released into the wild this year. It is amazing.

The thread that binds these two fires is Iniko’s mother, Redwood Queen 190 and Phoenix 477 that survived the Basin Complex Fire. The two have formed a bond and have laid an egg together which they are incubating in Redwood Queen and Iniko’s nest tree.

Redwood Queen 190 calls to her mate Phoenix 477 on 4 March to show him the newly laid egg.

Here are the parents today incubating the egg. If the egg survives, it is expected to hatch at the end of April. Iniko will be a big sister!

Redwood Queen just leaving for a break. 15 April 2021
Phoenix arriving to incubate his egg. 15 April 2021

You can watch this miracle unfold here:

One of the reasons that I wanted to get this blog out quickly is a Zoom webinar scheduled for Wednesday, 21 April, 12:30 Pacific Time. Kelly Sorenson will be joined by Joy Lanzendorfer to talk about the return of the condors from extinction. It is free but you must register. Copy this link and you will see the information and the tab to register:

https://www.altaonline.com/events/a35951377/alta-live-california-condors-kelly-sorensen/

Thank you for joining me on this quick update on these magnificent birds. How can you not love a condor? And the story of Redwood Queen, Iniko, and Phoenix is a miracle. Let us all hope the little one arrives safe and healthy!

Thank you to Ventana Wildlife Society and explore.org for their streaming cam. That is where I picked up my screen shots today.