The Daisy Chronicles Day 16

Is that Ring-tail possum responsible for Daisy not leaving the nest to go foraging til later? It was spotted on camera at 04:27 climbing around the rim of the nest and on the branches and again at 04:47.

Ring-tail Possums are not a direct threat to Daisy’s eggs – they will not eat them. That said, the possum is looking for nesting material and Daisy does not know if it is friend or foe. She must be uneasy because she has always stayed on the nest not leaving for the foraging until the possum goes into his hole in the base of the big nest and goes to sleep.

They are a Marsupial – not like the opossums in North America.

“Ring-tail Possum” by _Stickybeak is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Once the possum is not moving about, Daisy prepares to leave for her foraging. She covers the nest well with all that soft fluffy down.

She flies off at 05:08:41 for her breakfast.

How many of us get tense when Daisy does not return from her foraging? I sure do in the morning. Scared to death that those Ravens are going to set the alarm and be out in the forest early.

While Daisy was away, the cam operator gave us a really nice close up of that nest! It is so beautiful. I never thought a bunch of duck down and old leaves could be so stunning.

Daisy returned at 07:01:38. She took her time, checking around to see if any predators were near, and drying off her feathers.

Daisy had settled in nicely and those fabulous Rainbow Lorikeets could be heard arriving to wish this amazing little duck a good morning.

It is certainly difficult to see Daisy on the nest unless you know you are looking for a duck!

I have heard the Ravens in the distance at 07:50:11 but they have not come to the nest – yet. The Rainbow Lorikeets did return again. They have such a sweet voice.

Daisy, like all ducks, did not get serious about taking off down until she was finished laying eggs. Every day the amount of down seems to grow making that lovely cloud bigger and bigger. She is an amazing Mum.

Daisy’s nest is really quite comfy looking. Look at her extended esophagus or crop, it is quite full. She had a nice foraging venture this morning. That is good. It is set to get warmer today on the nest – up to 34 C. She will need the hydration.

Daisy heard them before I did —— the Ravens flying through the forest. They landed on the high branches of the nest tree but did not come down to the nest near Daisy. They are definitely checking to make sure she is incubating those eggs. I must plot their fly through times. It seems that it is always around 09:00 or so in the morning with possibly 2 others pass throughs later.

Daisy got still and put her head down a bit when they were up in the tree. Her eyes change. You can tell she is afraid but she certainly does not let the Ravens know that. She gave it to them twice. So interesting they don’t bother trying to get her off the nest with their threats.

Other Bird News: I feel so guilty not checking on the Port Lincoln Osprey fledglings. So, after Daisy returned this morning I went to their streaming cam to see how the boys were doing. Mum and Dad are still delivering meals and Ervie, dear Ervie, is still dominant. At the end of the afternoon, yesterday, Ervie had finished one fish. He was so full. Then he got the next fish. He literally ‘sat’ on that fish for an hour and a half before he started eating it. Today, Ervie got the first fish at 06:06:21. Falky got the next delivery at 06:21. Bazza is waiting his turn. What do you want to bet that Mum brings her baby boy a nice fish?

Gabby has been on the nest this morning. Will this be the day for an egg for her and Samson at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville?

And Gabby did! It was 17:19:21. Congratulations Samson and Gabby! I think that they count the egg that did not hatch – so Legacy was NE24, ‘Eggie’ was NE25 so this must be NE26. So excited.

We will check back on 20 December for egg 2. This is splendid. This will be Samson and Gabby’s third breeding attempt as bonded mates. They fledged Romey and Jules (2020) and Legacy (2021). Samson is using the nest that belonged to his parents, Romeo and Juliette. — and where he hatched.

Harriet and M15’s eggs are set to hatch at the Bald Eagle Nest in Fort Myers in a week (egg 1). Can you believe a snake came on that nest?! They love eggs. Harriet was able to stomp on it and kill it without harming those two precious eggs. Here is the video:

So for something a little different. Need a holiday pick me up? The other evening I found the most amazing site – a feeding station for Roe Deer. Every day the same man brings pellets and hay but he delivered carrots today! Here is the video of the delivery.

Here is the live stream to this amazing site. It warms one’s heart to see the generosity and caring for these beautiful animals. The deer live around Saaremaal, the largest island in Estonia. They are a small reddish-brown deer that live in the coldest of climates.

It is -13 degrees C in central Canada with snow due to start falling at 23:00. Everything is grey or brown! We woke up to a fresh white blanket covering everything. There were 29 European Starlings sitting on the tips of the lilacs waiting for the Bark Butter delivery! Squirrels were scurrying everywhere and there was evidence that Hedwig had been out at night eating the birdseed on the ground. I should have called her Dyson, too!

The morning light is filtering through the branches of the Old Ironbark Tree and Daisy is illuminated. Just gorgeous in that light.

No sooner had I taken this image than a few minutes later Daisy is frozen in fear. She will remain like this until 09:52:43 – almost three minutes. It was hard to see her even take a breath.

Daisy remains cautious. You can see the shadow of a bird flitting around. The vocalization sounded like a Pied Currawong – the bird that harasses Lady and Dad and the fledglings, the bird that sent WBSE 27 into care from a mob attack. I hope they move along and leave Daisy in peace.

Daisy appears a little more relaxed but she is very alert. Fingers crossed that things settle down in the forest and the rest of her day is uneventful. I will monitor Daisy throughout the evening here in Canada and the wee hours of the morning.

Thank you so very much for joining me. I am so grateful for all of these amazing birds. They give me joy (and anxiety) each and every day. I hope that they bring the joy to you! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, and RMK Hirvekaamera.

The Daisy Chronicles Day 15

Oh, my goodness. I missed it. Sharon Dunne posted a video of the Lorikeets visiting yesterday but, in that video is a split second visit of Lady to the nest. She is chased by the Pied Currawong – they simply do not just harass the fledglings – they also harass the adult WBSE. Lady was more interested in the Currawong and did not notice Daisy’s nest. Lady was on the nest for just a blink, nothing more while Daisy was away foraging! ——— Seriously, this is one lucky duck!

I took that screen capture from Sharon’s video that is posted on YouTube. You can watch the entire visit of the Lorikeets and Lady. Thanks, Sharon! Here is the link:

It is Day 15 and is 17 December in Australia. Daisy has already had two breaks today. She appears to now be taking shorter breaks but more of them. She first left for foraging at 01:10 returning at 03:10. This departure is right in the middle of her usual foraging breaks.

She returns and spends time drying off her plumage so that the down will not stick to her wet feathers.

Her second break of Day 15 comes at 05:09:04. She returns at 06:36:15.

There is no indication that either of the White-bellied sea eagles came to the nest this morning while Daisy was away. The Lorikeets did return in mass to say good morning to Daisy.

Some of the Rainbow Lorikeets were climbing in the top of the tree. Maybe they will lossen some of those dry leaves so Daisy has some more material to cover those eggs.

So far, the Lorikeets and the Noisy Miners have been the only birds to visit — so far this morning! The possum has been moving about, too. It is no danger at all to Daisy just maybe to that fluffy down.

The shadows are across the big nest. You can hardly see Daisy but she is there.

Daisy is sleeping in the warm sunshine. Look at all that down. It looks like our smart and brave little duck is sleeping on a cloud of twinkling stars.

Oh, just look at that purple/blue sometimes green (depending on the light0 wing pattern. How beautiful.

Daisy is very content to sleep and do her little wiggle moving the eggs. She takes time to fix the down, move the leaves, and sleep. Did you notice that there are a few more leaves that have fallen down to the nest?

Thank you cam operator for these great close ups!

The Lorikeets are returning to the tree. You can just see one on either side in the middle ground. You can hear more of them in the background.

What amazing colour patterns these beautiful birds have!

I hope that they climb around on the branches above Daisy. They could really help with leaf collection.

They must be so curious about this quiet little duck who has taken on a ‘time lease’ on the WBSE nest. They have been coming to visit more often each day.

The camera operator checked the Parramatta River. One of the WBSE – Lady or Dad – is on the River Roost!

Sometimes Daisy’s eye gives her away. Despite the fact that she has her beak tucked in behind her wing as if she is sleeping, she is very much alert and away. Has she heard something in the forest that concerns her?

I love how the leaves are getting tangled in with the down. Better camouflage to help conceal those eggs.

It is after lunch and so far all has gone well. Our little brave duck has weathered today with two breaks. I hope that she can wait til sunset to go for her last one of the day. Sunset today is 20:03. No showers or rain in the forecast. The temperature is 23 – a far cry from the 40 degrees C last time she had a clutch of eggs. Join me in wishing Daisy an uneventful afternoon incubating eggs!

Thank you so much for joining me today to check on our brave little duck. We might have to start calling her the ‘brave lucky duck’. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

WBSE 27 found on the road being attacked by Currawong

WBSE 27 who flew off the nest in the Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic forest was found lying on the road being attacked by Currawong yesterday. This was the posting on FB:

Ranger Judy provided an update:

The sea seaglet was so fortunate that someone experienced came along and offered immediate assistance. In the picture above it looks like WBSE 27 is awake. However, if you look at the top image carefully you will immediately see that at least one talon is injured as well. We saw these injuries with WBSE 26. Those can get infected quickly. It is really good that 27 is in the care. It can eat, get fluids, and heal.

The challenges that the fledglings have are enormous. These are made more difficult, if not life-threatening, when the Pied Currawong rush them out of the forest not allowing them to return to the nest for food from the parents. They are denied the opportunity to get their hunting skills established and imprint the map of their area.

I was not planning to write anything this morning but I knew many of you watch the nest but, maybe are not on FB. I will keep you posted this evening on any developments. Please send all your warm wishes to WBSE 27 as it recovers.

Catching up with WBSE 27 and 28

The WBSE are both in the 11th week after hatching. With the average of 75-80 days after hatch for fledgling, WBSE 27 and 28 are ready. Their feathers have developed, they have grown, and you can see them getting excited with all the wing flapping and catching air enabling them to rise above the nest.

What are they watching so intently from the nest? Is it a Pied Currawong?

Of course, the Pied Currawong are right there. The Pied Currawong is closely related to the Butcherbirds or the Magpies in Austrlia. They are a medium sized passerine. They have a large black beak with yellow eyes.

Here is a short video of the calls/songs the Pied Currawong make:

The Currawong become more of a menace around fledging time. Their attacks increase in number and they could injure the chicks, knock them off the branches, or chase them out of the forest before they can imprint the route back to the nest in their mind’s GPS system.

Lady was on the nest honking and flapping her wings at the Currawong so the eaglets could finish their lunch. At other times, the eaglets have to learn to defend themselves or hunker down really low in the nest. Because the WBSE are at the top of the ‘food chain’, they will always be followed and attacked by the smaller birds. What do the smaller birds want? They want the WBSE to pack up and leave!

Lady is honking really loud, warning the intruder to leave.

Lady was in the nest much earlier feeding both of her eaglets. Many of you have probably noticed that despite the fact that the nestlings are fully capable of self-feeding, she seems to enjoy feeding them.

The eaglets know to stay alert for intruders while flapping their wings and jumping to stretch their legs.

They honk at the Currawong just like the adults.

The Pied Currawong are very brave. Indeed, their attacks on the almost-fledglings is relentless. Ironically, I don’t believe the WBSE eat Currawong. Sometimes I think that they should rethink that!

Both of the nestlings have branched. They are standing on the parent branch looking around. Soon they will fledge.

It has been a wonderful season for Lady and Dad at their nest. Both of their eggs hatched and both of the nestlings thrived under their care. Both are healthy and fit and we hope that they both fledge successfully, returning to the nest or other areas so Lady and Dad can continue to feed them while they learn to fly better.

We wish them a long and successful life. It has been a remarkable year.

Lady and Dad are ‘honking’ their duet in June. It is a really special way to end another good day!

Thank you for joining me this evening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took these screen and video captures.

Dad brought in a whopper

At 8:56:34, Dad brought in a massive fish (despite having eaten his fair share) to the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest.

The image below shows the size of the fish a little better despite much of it hidden under mom. Imagine that the top part is up at her beak where she is feeding one of the chicks to get an idea. Little Bob is in the middle. You can see the white lace on his cere and the black circle on top of his head.

Dad returned at 9:11:33 to see if Mum was finished feeding the chicks. She wasn’t and she did not let him take the fish.

The trio lined up again. Big Bob, who had eaten first, is full and is moving away from the feeding line. She is letting the two younger siblings have their share.

Middle and Little are right in there. Their feathers are growing so quickly. Look along the edge of Little Bob’s wing. They are beginning to look like fringe.

Oh, goodness. Dad is rather anxious this morning. He returns a second time at 9: 28:20.

Mum is still feeding Middle and Little Bob. Oh, and look. Big Bob is waking up again. Is he ready for another round of fish?

You can see that there is still lots of fish left. The chicks have now been eating for 34 minutes and it looks like half the fish is left. Dad is really having a close look. Mum does not give the fish to him, again. She seems to have decided that he is not going to rush her today.

Ah, Big Bob is back up at the end of the line wanting some more. This is such a polite nest. Big Bob does not push his way to the front of the line, she waits.

By 9:29, Mum decides to move the fish around to the other side. Maybe she thought Dad was going to take it. She continues to feed the chicks and herself.

Despite the fact that the chicks have moved so that they can pass out in their respective food comas, Mum continues to feed Little Bob.

Little Bob is ‘stuffed’ and has turned away from any more bites of fish. Mom is doing a good job eating that nice fish near the tail. She needs to eat, too! Dad seems to have nodded off waiting! In the end, I do not think Dad even got a nibble of the tail. We have to remember that he did have a big chunk before he brought the fish to the nest.

The trio and Mum finished off that extra large fish in 47 minutes. Amazing.

Dad brings another fish to the nest at 13:29:38. Everyone is fed and it is not even the middle of the afternoon. This is a good example of how the feedings change. When the three were wee, they needed more feedings with less fish at each one. Now they will eat much more fish but, there will be less feedings. They are really, really growing. Little Bob is 24 days old today while Middle and Big are 26 days old.

Xavier watches from the ledge of the scrape box as Diamond feeds their wee babe. So far there appears to be no pip or crack on a second egg. It is unclear if there is even a pip.

It is the middle of the afternoon and Xavier is again resting on the ledge. He was seen limping and he is probably resting that leg. Instead of Starlings and Parrots, Xavier has been bringing in pigeon which is a much larger prey item. He might have strained his leg when he was hunting.

I also wonder if he can hear the second chick? or if he just wants to be there with Diamond in the scrape? or wants to brood the chick and incubate the eggs?

The waiting must be frustrating for these two. Big Bob (or Only Bob) is poking its head out from under Diamond to the right of the egg. Cute.

At the nest of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles in Sydney’s Olympic Park forest, a Pied Currawong will not leave WBSE 27 and 28 alone. It has been harassing them on and off all day. It is the Pied Currawongs who are intent on chasing the little sea eagle fledglings out of the forest. Normally, eagles fledge and return to the nest for the parents to feed them while they strengthen their flying skills. Many will return to the nest for feedings for up to a month. If they are rushed away, the ‘map’ or return to the nest might not be imprinted in their memory.

27 and 28 are smart. They can hunker down duckling style and watch but the Currawong cannot harm them. These birds can knock them off if they were standing on a branch or injure them if they were standing up.

These two will be branching so soon and then fledging. They can walk and stand and both are self-feeding. We are entering the 11th week. From hatch to fledge for the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagles is 80-88 days. The median is 83.1.

Here is a video of WBSE 28 stealing the prey from 27. Fantastic!

At the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape, Mum has left the scrape box and is off for a break and to retrieve prey for the eyases. Look at how much room they take up today!

They look like a large white Persian cat if you squint.

Time for your mid-afternoon pigeon everyone!

Dad had it prepared and ready for Mum to bring and feed the youngsters.

Yummy.

The oldest two are getting more hawk like in their appearance.

Except for the Pied Currawong’s harassment, all of the nestlings are doing very well. It is, indeed, a pleasure to be able to watch them grow from hatch to fledge. How fortunate we are!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 365 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

White-Bellied Sea Eagles and the birds that visit their nest

In a 2014 article in The Smithsonian Magazine, Rachel Neuwer asks why there is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in a Renaissance image of the Virgin and child, Madonna della Vittoria. Rebecca Mead examines the image by Andrea Mantegna, painted in 1496. You can see the painting of the Madonna and child with saints in the article below (sorry, it has a copyright so I can’t show it). The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is above the Virgin’s part in her hair a little to the left.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-there-australian-cockatoo-italian-renaissance-painting-180950227/

As I drank my morning coffee several days ago, I flipped through the latest New Yorker. In that 5 July edition, there is an article, Invasive Species.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/07/05/where-did-that-cockatoo-come-from

Each writer considers how the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo made its way from AustralAsia all the way to Italy focusing on the initial discovery of the bird in the painting by Heather Dalton, a British historian living in Australia.

The Mantegna is not, however, the first time that a parrot is included in a picture. Parrots show up in the murals of Pompeii, the Italian city buried by ash when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. They are also the subject of floor mosaics in the region. Indeed, exotic birds (not just parrots) appear as subjects in many mosaics and frescoes in the Roman domus.

Alexander the Great’s army went as far as parts of India before stopping on their eastern expansion of his empire. Their presence on what is today the Indian subcontinent heavily influenced the art of the Gandharan region. In turn, Alexander acquired a parrot from the Punjab in 327 BCE. If parrots were in Italy 1700 years before the Mantegna, one might begin to ask what is all the fuss? The Barber Institute of Fine Art in Birmingham, England hosted an exhibition solely on parrots in art in 2007. They were exotic, they were status symbols, and it appears that they were present in the art of the Italian Peninsula for some 2400 years to today. Of course, they were not all Sulphur-headed Cockatoos and that could well be the reason for the continuing discussion about the Mantegna. Other species of parrots came from the southeastern coast of Africa and from the region of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos originate in Australia and the islands of Indonesia and it was surely the trade through the islands of Indonesia that spirited the bird all the way to the port of Venice along with black peppercorns and other spices.

“20121210 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) – a first-time visitor” by Degilbo on flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are extraordinarily beautiful and are the largest of the white parrots. I have never seen them in the wild. Indeed, it was not until I watched the White-Bellied Sea Eagle streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park that I heard them before I saw them. It sounded like someone being murdered in the forest! Seriously. One of the moderators answered the question, “What is that?” Later, these lovelies were seen climbing all over the old Ironbark Tree.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are nut, root, and fruit eaters and live for up to eighty years. They make their nests in tree hollows where the female lays one to three eggs. Those eggs are incubated for thirty days. The little ones remain in the nest being fed by the parents for a period of approximately sixty-five days after hatch. The breeding season for these parrots is August to January in the Southern Hemisphere.

Why am I talking about these parrots today? It is because of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE), Lady and Dad. The two eggs that Lady has been incubating will be hatching in approximately two weeks. There is a live streaming cam that is on day and night, 24/7 year round except for maintenance. If you like birds of Australia, you can often see them coming and going around the Sea Eagles nest. The birds are either curious as to what is going on in the nest or they would like the Sea Eagles to leave! The streaming cam in the Sydney Olympic Park is the only one in the world that observes the second largest eagles in Australia.

It is in the middle of the night. This is the WBSE nest in the Ironbark Tree in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park.

The Rainbow Lorikeets are curious. They come as a group climbing all over the branches of the tree. They are easy to spot!

“rainbow lorikeets” by cskk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every once in awhile the Galahs come to the Ironbark Tree. I think they are adorable. One of the WBSE chatters from Australia said that if anyone visits Australia and someone calls them a ‘Galah’, it is an insult meaning the person is not very smart. I have no idea how the Galah got that reputation except that I have seen several in the talons of Peregrine falcons in Australia.

“Galahs in Love” by David Cook Wildlife Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Noisy Miners are definitely heard before they are seen. They are a constant in the forest around the WBSE Nest.

“Noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) (24 – 27 centimetres)” by Geoff Whalan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Pied Currawong flits around the WBSE nest all the time. I do not like them! Once the nestlings have fledged the Currawongs gather and try to chase them out of the forest. They did this on the first try with WBSE 25 last year and during the re-fledging of WBSE 26.

“Pied Currawong” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Then there is the smallest owl in Australia, the BooBook. Isn’t it cute? This owl, like all others, flies silently and it can see very well in the dark. It comes in the night hitting the WBSE has they roost for the night. They fly low over the nestlings trying to hit them and make them leave. One attack injured Lady’s eye last year. Despite their size they are to be taken very seriously. The BooBook often has a nest in the forest the same time as the WBSE so it is very protective and wants the eagles gone for fear they will eat its young.

“Boobook owl” by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is a compilation video of Lady and Dad after the first egg was laid through the 23rd of June. It shows the actual labour of the second egg and a changing of the incubation shift from Lady to Dad.

Here is the link to watch the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park:

https://www.twitch.tv/seaeaglecam

Be sure to check out the time difference. One of the most beautiful moments of the day is when the adults do a duet at sunrise. It is an amazing way to start the day. It wakes up the forest but it is also a continuous bonding method between the birds. The nestlings will join in with their parents when they are older. It will warm your heart. Here3 is a video clip I made after Lady laid the first egg. She leaves the nest and joins Dad on the branch for the singing.

Thank you for joining me today. It is now three days since Tiny Tot was at the nest. We are all having Tiny withdrawal. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the WBSE Streaming Cam, BirdLife Australia, and the Discovery Centre and Twitch TV where I took my screen shots and video clips.

Nest hopping and Legacy update

I got caught off guard this afternoon with Legacy not returning to her nest. The very last official sighting of her at 10:30 pm EDT was at 9:53:51 when she flew from the natal tree.

Prior to that she had an early morning conversation with that fabulous mother of hers, Gabby.

Most of us believed that Legacy would be at the natal tree longer. After all, E17 and E18 hatched on 23 January 2021 before Legacy did on 8 February. Both E17 and E18 fledged but, continue to be seen at their natal tree – flying in and out and playing in the pond together. There was never a thought that she would – well, we just weren’t prepared to not see her again. Let us hope that everyone wakes up tomorrow morning and squeals because she is sitting in the middle of the natal nest eating a fish! That would be a perfect start to the day.

There was a ‘possible’ sighting of Legacy doing a fly by caught on the tree camera but it cannot be confirmed. The time was 8:41:16.

At 11:09:45 Samson brings a fish lunch to the nest for Legacy. You can see him flying in from a distance. Others thought they heard the parents calling Legacy a few hours earlier.

To be clear, the eagle parents do not physically take their young out and give them instructions on how to hunt and fish – like Big Red and Arthur, the Red-tail Hawks at Cornell, do with their fledglings. But the juvenile eagles ‘watch’ their parents unless they are completely out of the territory. Fledglings often find other groups of juveniles and search for carrion going up and down the coast and pond, like a scavenger. They have to learn how to use their talons and beaks and all of that takes time. That said, while they are honing their skills, the parents will supplement the prey of their fledglings – if they are in the territory, if they come to where they deliver the prey, etc. Clearly Samson is trying to get Legacy to the nest to give her food if she needs it.

If any of you watched the White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE), they also used food to try and lure WBSE 26 back to the nest. She had fledged but because of her injured leg (early after hatch), she had a difficult time. She often got herself into some ‘pickles’ landing on weak branches or being harassed by smaller birds. When 26 did return to the nest, the parents provided food for her until she was chased from the territory by the Pied Currawongs and wound up on the balcony of a 22nd floor condo the following day after a storm.

The images below were captured between 5pm and 7pm on 28 April. They are of Harriet and M15’s magnificent twins, E17 and E18 who are always together.

28 February 2021
28 February 2021. E17 and E18 waiting for a food drop.

They were up in the branches of the tree around 9:30 am on the 28th of April surveying the landscape.

And here they are being fed only thirteen days old. Their dark thermal down is just starting to grow.

8 February 2021. SWFlorida Eagle Cam with E17 and E18.

Time passes so quickly! And our friends in Bird World grow up, fledge, leave the nest, and we hope live happy lives with lots of of prey and successful clutches. The sad reality is that only about 1 in 3 are alive at the end of their second year and, if they are not banded, we will never know how their destiny unfolded.

I want to spend a little more time with E17 and E18 before they leave the parental territory for good – and I will continue to check in just in case Legacy returns for one last glimpse of that amazing eagle.

The trio at the Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eagle nest are growing by leaps and bounds. They are already fond of looking over the edge of their nest at that big world beyond.

Talk about growing fast – those two on the Osprey nest on Skidaway Island seem to change daily. The aggression of the eldest seems to have slowed (or maybe I have just tuned in at a different time). Here they are having their supper. Look at the plumage. My goodness. They were just fuzzy little ones a couple of days ago.

Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk on the Cornell Campus nest, is restless. She is up and down continually looking at her eggs. Is there a pip? Maybe when the cam operator comes back on in the morning there will be a close up of those three eggs and we can see if anything is happening. Oh, my! It is eggciting.

Big Red woke up to rain on the morning of the 29th. It is a soggy day for hatch if it comes!

Big Red has an amazing mate in Arthur. Arthur has helped rebuild their nest after the Js, he has incubated the eggs, delivered take away, and will be ready to take on stealth hunting so their eyasses grow strong. I wish I could say the same for Louis at the Hellgate Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana.

Louis arrived, as usual, empty handed for a lunch time ‘quickie’. Indeed, he brought in a fish for Iris two days ago. It felt wonderful. Louis has been rather attentive since a banded Osprey landed on Iris’s nest yesterday. He has been coming around more, mating more.

Iris’s nest is in Louis’s territory along with his nest with Starr. Would this banded bird try to displace Louis? It is an interesting thought. So far Iris has laid no eggs. Oh, it could be a blessing.

The saga of ‘Louis and How the Nest Turns’ continues.

Louis arrived at 12:26:12. He flew off at 12:27:22.

Checking in at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest, Annie and the trio are fast asleep. There was a very minor earthquake in the San Francisco area this morning and Annie woke up from her nap the minute she noticed. This evening, as you can see, everything is fine. Eyasses are growing leaps and bounds!

The Decorah North Bald Eagles are the pride of Iowa. Their nest is in an idyllic setting. There should be lots of prey and not a lot of glass for these little ones to strike when they fledge. Peaceful.

Spring is just arriving and the animals are waking up from hibernation. This means that there is a lot of prey for these growing youngsters of Mr North and Mrs DNF (Decorah North Female) welcomed their first hatch, DN13, on 25 March. DN 14 hatched on 27 March.

Sometimes silly ‘crop’ poses are just too hard to resist!

The eaglets are just over a month old. This great close up, below, shows how their plumage is changing.

It is a frosty morning in Estonia. Eve looks tired and the sun is just rising. This is the oldest known breeding area for the White-tailed Eagle in Estonia. It is in the Matsalu National Park. In this nest alone, from 1996 to 2020, 29 eaglets have fledged. Isn’t that amazing?

I worry when I don’t see food on a nest especially if the little one is more than a day old and is hungry. I worry when the weather is frosty like it is here in the early morning. Will the sun warm up the earth and send the critters out from their burrows so that Eerik can catch them for Eve and the baby?

It is not long til Eerik arrives on the nest. I am hoping that he will be giving Eve a break but it sure would have been nice if he had come in with prey. Eerik is also acting like there is an intruder around. Fingers crossed.

It is time for me to call it a night. In a few hours the sun will be rising on the UK’s raptor nests. It is time to check in on them. Tomorrow also could be a big news day. There could be a hatch at the Red tail Hawk nest in Ithaca and all eyes are on Big Sur and the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix. The condors are critically endangered and every healthy birth and fledge is something to really celebrate.

I am also happy to report that I do not go to bed worrying whether Tiny Tot will have some flakes of fish to eat or will be starving. Tiny Tot is really growing and the mood on the Achieva Osprey nest is quite positive. It seems that Tiny Tot got some fish from every delivery on the 29th. He had quite the crop.

Tiny Tot standing tall. 28 April 2021

Tiny Tot is still eating at 8:26. Oh, that little one sure loves its fish. And the great feedings of the last several days are really showing in terms of feather and muscle development. Even though sibling 1 fledged today, it will be awhile for Tiny Tot. His tail needs to get longer as do his wing feathers. He is beginning to raise and flap them. Lookin’ good little one. Oh, the worry you gave to all of us. Must have aged us ten years!

Thank you for checking in on Bird World. There is always something going on. Let us hope that it all stays positive.

Thank you to the following for the streaming cams. It is from those cameras that I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Pittsburg Hays Eagle Cam, UC Falcon Cam, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey Project.

Sea Eagle arrives! No time to cover the eggs.

Daisy had no more than returned from her dabbling at 16:18:07 and settled in for a wee bit of a rest when the ravens sounded an alarm at 17:55:58. Daisy stretched her neck to listen.

In the image below, Daisy is alerted by the sound of the ravens approaching. Remember that the ravens often follow the White-Bellied sea eagles into the forest.

Daisy stretches her neck. The distance from the river roost of the sea eagles is only about 1.2 kilometres to the nest in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park.

The sea eagles fly really fast and there is no time for Daisy to cover up her nest. She hurries off to the left of the nest tree tree. Daisy is just a blur in the image below.

You may remember that it has been raining and that the sea eagles have come to the nest sometimes tearing off the down. Lady made a mess the other day and Daisy took her time and moved all of the eiderdown back onto her nest. But this evening she did not have time to cover the eggs and it is cool in the forest, only around 21.8 degrees C.

You might also remember that wet down. Look how fluffy it is now. The temperature from Daisy’s body and the wind as well as the rain stopping have fluffed up the down again so it now has its insulating values back. This is so good!

The sea eagles are still mystified about the little nest holding seven eggs right in the centre of their big nest. Dad arrives and looks. He can see the eggs instantly but no Daisy! He stands and stares at them. What are these eggs doing in my nest? I sometimes giggle because it reminds me of a story that I my mother and grandmother read to me when I was little and, in turn, I read it to my children: Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Do you know that children’s story?

WBSE Dad moves cautiously towards the eggs.

Dad leans down to take a closer look. The only eggs that he has ever know are those of his eaglets that Lady lays. But these are not Lady’s eggs! but they are in my nest!

Again, ever so slowly he moves towards Daisy’s nest just staring into that beautiful nest cup.

And then he sticks his beak in! Oh, no. Is he going to try and roll out an egg to eat it like he did before?

In the same amount of time that Dad took to closely inspect those big white eggs, he raises his head and looks off the nest. Does he know that the owner of the eggs is watching him? does Dad think they are a threat? does Dad associate Daisy with these eggs, a little innocent Pacific Black Duck?

And then he looks down again. Each time Dad looks into the nest cup he rolls the eggs for Daisy! Thank you, Dad sea eagle.

The Dad raises his head and looks off in the other direction. You will remember that Daisy flew around the nest quacking the last time both sea eagles visited the nest. She was very frightened but also, as much as she was scared, she knew she needed to get back to her single focus, incubating her eggs.

The behaviour of the sea eagles towards the little duck’s nest is of great interest to anyone wanting to learn about bird behaviour. No one that I know of has had a close look at the interaction between the largest birds in Australia and a tiny little duck that doesn’t belong in the forest.

Dad simply is stumped. He stands for the longest time staring at the eggs. Then he rolls them one more time and turns around and gets back on a branch of the nest tree.

Dad stands on what is called the parent branch looking around. When Dad and Lady raise their little eaglets in this nest, this is the branch that they roost on to protect the little ones. It is also the first branch that the eaglets attempt to walk and fly to as they get ready for their fledge.

Is Dad looking for Daisy? is he looking for a bigger bird? He flies off the parent branch and back towards his roost on the Parramatta River at 18:06. His visit lasted four minutes. Doesn’t seem like he is too concerned, does it?

Daisy might have taken the opportunity to go and forage some more. She does not return to her eggs until 19:27, an hour and nineteen minutes after Dad has flown out of the forest.

Still she is ever so cautious. In fact, Dad could be lurking off camera hoping to catch her. She stops and looks this way and that.

The rain started between the time Dad left and Daisy returned. Her beautiful fluffy down is all wet again! Let’s hope that her eggs did not cool down too quickly. That would be just so sad for our brave little duck.

And then she stops and listens. Dad was on the nest remember for four minutes and Daisy takes four minutes to make certain that he is no longer a threat.

Daisy slowly lowers herself onto her wet nest to warm her eggs. Remember that eggs need to be held at 37.5 degrees to hatch.

The sun has set and the light on the soggy nest has changed. Daisy knows that the sea eagles will not be back again tonight. Except for BooBook Owl, Daisy can rest. And we know Boo is just curious about Daisy. He is not going to hurt her.

Indeed, I often wonder what the other animals in the forest are thinking when they see the sea eagles coming and going and Daisy returning to her eggs time after time. Daisy is afraid of them but not enough to keep her from brooding. Her hormones and instincts and her entire self are tied to the hatching of the eggs now. She is ‘hard wired’ for incubation.

Thank goodness. Daisy had a very quiet night. It is now just before dawn. Because the sea eagles could have spent the night at the river roost, Daisy is being very careful to listen for the vocalizations of the other birds. She can tell which ones mean the eagles are coming. Daisy has learned much about the forest.

It’s after 7:30 and the sea eagles have not shown up today. It is rainy. The area around where Daisy has her egg cup is soaked with water.

Daisy has a visitor. Can you see the little grey and white bird with the black mask and yellow beak peeking down to see Daisy? Look carefully in the top right corner. They are grey with a black head, an orange or yellow beak and yellow feet. There are white tips on the tail feathers.

It is a Noisy Miner. These birds are loud and create all kinds of havoc in the forest. They like to chase other birds away. They eat insects but are also opportunist especially in cities. They are called ‘honeyeaters’.

The Noisy Miner is a nuisance to Daisy because it can be so loud but it is not such a threat that I am aware of, certainly not like the Ravens and the Currawongs. I am not even sure the sea eagles are a threat anymore. It is really that they keep Daisy off the nest and away from her incubating duties and her eggs are exposed and could get too cool to hatch.

The golden glow of the morning is moving across the nest.

It is going to be a cool day for Daisy and her eggs. The morning temperature is 19.4 degrees C. It is not supposed to get higher than 20 C with rain again for today. It sure is a change from when it was 40 degrees C a few days ago. Then we were worried about the eggs getting too hot. Today we worry about exposure and cold.

Everyone send Daisy your positive energy. Our brave little duck sitting on the big sea eagle nest needs all of it. Daisy is grateful to all her friends who check in to see how she is doing. From around the world – from Canada and the United States, Mexico, Brazil to Australia, Singapore, Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Poland, Denmark, Germany, and France – each of you has joined to wish Daisy good luck. Thank you!

An update on Daisy’s Day in about nine hours. Please check back.

Thank you also to the Sea Eagle cam, BirdLife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the camera that provides the feed for me to take my scaps.

Incubation Day 13 or the hottest day in Sydney

Daisy has been on the nest quietly but alertly brooding her eggs. She took a very early morning break from 4:13:44 to 5:16:34. Possibly a bathroom break for a duck or a chance to grab a quick breakfast and cool off in the water before one of the hottest days on the nest. It is 14:06:40 and our cute little duck is panting quickly in order to regulate her temperature despite the fact that there is now shade on the nest.

There is finally shade on the nest but it is still very very hot for our favourite duck.

Someone asked me about the ducklings. Is it safe for them to hatch and jump from a nest in a tree 75 feet high? Yes, it is perfectly safe. The ducklings are not harmed because the down on their body absorbs the impact. In fact, I am told that they actually bounce. It is hard to imagine! Last year a pair of Canada Geese laid their eggs in an Osprey nest in Minnesota. The goslings were recorded leaping down to the ground to everyone’s amazement. Some geese are known to build their nests on cliffs 150 feet high to be away from predators. No harm has come to the goslings when they have left from those nests.

Here is a video of a Wood Duck whose nest was in a very high tree. It is only 1.33 minutes long. Have a look. This is what Daisy’s ducklings will do. She will leap down to the forest floor and they will jump! Enjoy.

Wood Ducks Leaping from a very high nest in a tree.

Of course, there are many fears for Daisy. Remember, she is effectively a single mother in an environment that is unusual. Her ducklings will hatch and immediately start peeping. This will draw attention to the nest. It is only twenty-four hours after hatch that they take their ‘leap of faith’ jumping off of the big nest on the Ironbark Tree. But first, before they can do that, they have to survive any predators and somehow make their way through all those twigs to the rim without getting their little paddles caught up in them. And then there are the predators on the ground. I have often wondered why WBSE Dad has not damaged any more eggs. Is he just dropping by to check, waiting for them to hatch? Him and Lady are well known for bringing in the Silver Gull chicks to the nest for their eaglets. And then there is Mr. Raven and all the Pied Currawongs and last, but never least, the foxes. I am told that they have been removed from the park. I hope so. That would be one less thing for Daisy to worry about. But for now, we will just simply rejoice in every hassle free day that Daisy has. We are now half way in the incubation period to hatch watch: February 6-10.

It is now late afternoon in the forest. The sun is back shining on Daisy’s head and the nest cup. It is so hot that there are no sounds of any birds. Everyone is trying to keep cool.

Daisy begins to tuck the down in around her nest along with pulling leaves closer to her nest. Then she sees a shadow of a bird cross the nest and she stops! She waits and listens. Five minutes later she resumes her preparations for concealing her nest and heading to the water to eat and cool off. She flies off the nest to the left, to the closest water source, at 15:11:10.

Daisy moves her quickly to tuck in the down and pull leaves towards the nest.
Daisy finding some last plant material to conceal her eggs before leaving.

It was so hot yesterday and it is even hotter today. If Daisy follows her pattern of late, she will return to the nest between 19:45:00 and 20:00. And if the Sea Eagles are being typical, if they are coming in to check it will be around 17:00 and Daisy will be gone!

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Daisy wants to say hello to all her friends in Poland and she welcomes her new viewers from China. Thank you for joining us on Daisy’s journey.

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

Day 11 of incubation

It is noon on Daisy’s nest in the Sydney Olympic Park forest. She has started to pant as the sun shines directly on her. Like other birds, panting is a way for Daisy to regulate her temperature; she does not sweat like humans. It is, as summer days go, hot. The weather at Homebush Bay indicates that it is 34.1 degrees C. I wonder if it is actually hotter on the nest?? It is normally understood that heat rises. And, as you can see from the image below, Daisy is in direct sunlight right now. Some parts of Australia are bracing themselves for very hot weather in a few days, up to 39 degrees C.

The hot sun at high noon is shining directly on Daisy.

Many have thought that Daisy would need to take more breaks during the day as the heat builds. However, since it is 12:30 and she remains, I am thinking that she will follow her regular pattern of going off in the afternoon to forage. She has now gathered up more down to cover up the eggs from predators.

At 13:18 Daisy begins to take the down of the nest cup and fold it over inwards. Sometimes she just does this and then will turn and do her cute tail wiggle. Occasionally, she does this when she is rolling her eggs but, most often, it is a sign that she is thinking about leaving to eat. Remember, Daisy does, if all things go serenely, have a pattern of leaving the nest between 1300 and 1400 to forage. Yesterday it was 14:02. And yesterday, she returned at 16:49 but noticed both WBSE on the camera tree and aborted her landing on the nest. So, on average, if voluntarily, it appears that she takes about a two and a half to a three hour break.

In the images below, Daisy begins to tuck the down in around the egg cup. Once the down is folded onto the top of the eggs, she then goes about placing leaves and plant material, and small twigs to further disguise the location. It took her eight minutes to get everything right so that she can leave. She departed at 13:26.

Daisy is busy folding the down that lines the nest cup inward.
Very methodically she continues folding the down in a clockwise direction.
After folding the down, Daisy begins to use her bill to bring in plant material.
It is not always easy to move the leaves and twigs with her bill but Daisy is tenacious.
Once she is satisfied that the eggs are covered as best she can, she leaves to forage to keep up her strength. It is very hot in Hornbush Bay and she needs food and water.
Daisy’s nest is nicely concealed.

All birds have predators and Daisy is particularly vulnerable as she is an outsider to the forest. Her presence and her seven eggs have caught the attention of some, like the Raven and Pied Currawong, that would eat her eggs. Like Daisy’s plumage that serves as camouflage, the manner in which she has concealed her nest is meant to distract any potential threats. She has used the leaves and plant material on top. They blend in perfectly, there is absolutely nothing that would call attention. Daisy is also very discreet and alert in her comings and goings from the nest. Every move is slow and calculated unless she is frightened off by the approaching sea eagles or if she notices their arrival in another tree. Then she leaves quickly!

This is day 11 of Daisy’s brooding or incubation. Even though the eggs were laid on different days, Daisy did not start hard incubation until the last egg was in the nest. Imagine that one minute there are eggs, and within a few minutes the nest will be brimming full of peeping and clacking ducklings. This is precisely what will happen. This is known as synchronized hatching. The number of incubation days to hatching varies but is normally 28-30.

Daisy’s little ducklings – should the nest survive and they make it through the forest to the water – will be covered with fuzzy yellow down. They will have a characteristic dark chocolate brown-black line running from their bill through their eye. There are some white patches on their wings. They will be ever so cute!

Black Pacific Ducklings

Daisy’s ducklings are precocial at hatch. This means that they do not need Daisy to feed them. Daisy’s role will be to lead them to the water where they can forage themselves. Daisy will also help them to learn about predators and she will keep them warm in the evening. In a couple of months their new plumage will be that of an adult Black Pacific Duck, like Daisy.

They are known as ‘dabbling or puddle ducks’. They feed by tipping rather than diving to the bottom of the shallow water. They often forage at the edge of the river and lake like they are doing in the images below. They do not, however, hunt for food on land.

Black Pacific Ducks foraging on the shore. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Dabbling along the muddy shoreline. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A great image of a Black Pacific Duck foraging in shallow water. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It is due to be another hot day in the forest tomorrow. The prediction is that it will be 37 degrees Celsius. This might turn out quite well for Daisy as the White Bellied Sea Eagles could be at Goat Island enjoying the cooler weather near the water. It is 16:42 and Daisy has not returned to her nest. She will be enjoying the cool waters of the canal and the river and, since it is so hot, might decide til near dusk when it is safe for her to return to her nest. The sea eagles are normally roosting then.

An uneventful day is a good day for Daisy the Duck.

Thanks for dropping by to check on the little duck who is occupying the large sea eagle’s nest in Sydney Olympic Park forest. Stay safe everyone. See you tomorrow!

I am grateful for the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery centre for the cameras they support. This is where I get my scaps.