Less can be more

Hopefully today’s ramblings will make a point on how to help our birds. Bear with me. I love to tell stories and revisit memorable moments.

More than a decade and a half ago, I was in Beijing teaching some special workshops at the International School and also giving lectures on the history of Chinese ceramics. Yes, you read that correctly. A Canadian was in China talking about Chinese pottery! I had been there several times before and always enjoyed myself and treasured the friendships that I made. This particular visit I was staying in a hutong that had been converted into a small guest house. Hutongs are the traditional courtyard houses, many torn down now. During breakfast I met a very interesting lady whose name was Fanny Farkles. She had retired from owing a restaurant, catering, and cooking school in New York City. I asked her, being terribly curious, what she was going to purchase and take with her as a reminder of her time in Beijing. What she told me has stuck with me. She said, ‘I spent the first 50 years of my life acquiring stuff and I will spend the last 50 getting rid of it’. Instead of ‘something’ she was going for an experience – a 17 course Ming-Dynasty meal fit for the emperor.

It wasn’t until later that I fully grasped the wisdom of what Farkles was saying but when I did, it hit me hard and, like all great insights, you wish you could turn back the clock and start again sometimes. Stuff. This coming year I will be spending much time finding new homes for ‘the stuff’. Thankfully, my resolution for 2021 was not to buy any new books. I almost made it had it not been for Chris Packham’s Back to Nature or Emyr Evans, Monty. Almost any book can be purchased used from a myriad of international sellers but not those two when I checked.

Speaking of Emyr Evans’s book on Monty, the DFYI on line shop is now open. If you are interested, here is the link to their on line shop:*

https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/

A signed copy is 15 GBP. If you live in the UK, the postage is a very low flat rate. The round the world flat rate is 11.99 GBP. If you are a fan of the Dyfi’s Monty, the super star of the male Osprey world (by some), it is a great book or gift. It is also a fundraiser for the Dyfi Osprey Project.

One other year a young woman asked women around the world not to buy any new clothes. To wear one thing and switch it up with what was in the closet. It was the year of my black sheath dress. The money saved was given to young women in India to purchase school uniforms because we all know that education is important but you cannot go to school without a uniform in India. It was a brilliant idea.

An article in the environmental section of The Guardian today talks about ‘stuff’ and how to save the environment by not buying. Several months ago, an economist suggested that if everyone in the world cut their spending of non-essential goods by 15% it would have a major impact on climate change. If it is good for the environment then it is good for the birds. Have a read.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/20/we-need-to-stop-buying-stuff-and-i-know-just-the-people-to-persuade-us

A quick check on those adorable feathered creatures that inspire us to leave the world a better place reveals that Middle Bob and Little Bob on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge had a tug o war over the fish tail this morning. I think Middle Bob won but, that’s OK. Little Bob won when he pulled with Mum!

Despite their amazing growth and those awesome curved juvenile feathers, you can still tell Little Bob from the circle on top of its head. You can also count on Little Bob being as near to where Mum is handing out the food as anyone. They line up and he is there, right at the beak with gleeful anticipation in his eyes.

Mum is happy to oblige!

The feeding is over and Little and Middle are tugging for the tail. The osplet behind Mum is Big Bob. It looks like a circle on its head but it isn’t. It has lines radiating out when you can see the full design.

Middle Bob is eating the tail and Little Bob is checking to see if Mum finds any more food on the nest. Oh, he loves leftovers, too. First up to the table and normally the last to leave. Sounds like Little Bob is a female to me. They need about 25% more food than the males.

Yurruga is currently sleeping off that entire Starling that Xavier fed it for breakfast. It is a wonder the baby didn’t pop but, like a good falcon, when Xavier suggested it eat more and made that chumping sound, Yurruga ate. It is learning to eat when food is available. You don’t always have the luxury of a stash in the corner of a scrape box in the real falcon world.

At least one of the Collins Street Four looks like it wants to try out for one of the local rugby teams. My goodness these chicks are enormous. Look at those feathers coming in. One day we will wake up and they are going to look like their Dad and Mum – it will happen in a blink I am afraid.

No other news from the little sea eaglets that flew off the nest yesterday. Keep them in your positive thoughts.

Thank you for joining me today. Everything at the nests is just fine. What a lovely relief. You take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

* I might mention books or other things in my blog. I do not make any money if you purchase the items and never will. My purpose is to simply bring news of the birds as they add so much joy to our lives and to alert you to ways that you can help make the world a better place for those birds.

Izzi’s very noisy sibling

Tomorrow I am going for the annual tour at our local wildlife rehab facility, Wildlife Haven. Every year they do this as a fund raiser but it is a good way to get a really good look at the varied and in-depth work that these people do. There doesn’t seem to be an animal or bird too difficult to try and help mend. I do not know if they will allow photographs but, I will try and take some to show to you.

This video was posted. It is the little ‘waiting to get a name’ eyas in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. Prey items come one after another. The chick already has a fine crop but will be fed more. But, turn the volume up and listen to this little one. Last year’s only chick, Izzi, was know to be such a character and part of it was his very loud voice. Everyone is beginning to wonder if this chick will be even louder than Izzi!

Have a look. It is such a cute clip.

One of the things that you can see are the chick’s ears. Look closely. It is also scooting around, and there are some pin feathers coming. This chick is, of course, doing very well under the excellent care of Xavier and Diamond.

Clearly as Dr Hurley notes, an Only chick gets all the food!

For those fans of Anna and Louis whose Bald Eagle nest is in the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana, both eagles were working on the nest this evening around 18:54.

Wrestling with sticks seem to be what all the Bald Eagle couples are doing now – as well as trying to keep any would be intruders out of their territory.

It wouldn’t be right not to go and check on those gorgeous osplets at Port Lincoln before I sign off. They are just simply so beautiful in their full juvenile plumage. Here is the trio looking out probably seeing the parent flying in with their lunch.

That lunch arrived a few seconds later.

Everyone lined up and as I write this, they are still eating.

This is a reminder that Xavier and Diamond’s chick needs a name! This is the information as Cilla Kinross posted it under the information for the streaming cam:

VOTE FOR NAME FOR THIS CHICK You have until Friday 5 pm 22nd October to vote. You can only vote once. Note that multiple votes will be deleted. All names are in the Wiradjuri (local indigenous) language and relate to weather terms: cloud etc. Here is the link: https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

Cilla Kinross, Charles Sturt University

I want to note that Cilla would like everyone to cut and paste the link into their own browser. So the time for voting is closing quickly. Why not join in?!

I will not be posting my newsletter until tomorrow late afternoon or evening depending on the tour at the wild life facility. Fingers crossed I can get you some good inside views of what goes on when animals come in needing attention.

Thank you for joining me. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, the Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

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.

How do you say ‘cute’ in Falconese

One of the last feedings for the little eyas at the scrape box in Orange, Australia was around 18:19:00 yesterday.

This little one is eight days old. It has sure grown!

I took three video clips to cover the entire time Diamond was feeding the chick. Watching the movements and the interactions instead of seeing a still image can give you a more in-depth look at the size of the bites and the sheer cuteness of the moment.

The total number of fish delivered to the Port Lincoln Osprey nest was 7 yesterday. They were delivered at 7:11:22, 8:23:54,12:47:30, 13:52:18, 14:54:09, 16:37:00, and 18:08:37. This is a capture of Dad delivering the fish at 7:11 and Mum coming to the nest from the perch as well as a capture from the 14:54 feeding:

There appeared to be an adult on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida yesterday. The marks on the crown of the bird seem to be that of the male, Jack. Today, another adult showed up at the same nest at 11:16:09.

Jack appears to be alarming.

This is the image of the adult from yesterday (right) and an image of Jack bringing Tiny Tot Tumbles a fish on the left. It seems likely that the adult visiting the nest is Jack. There is a lot of prep work to be done before Diane returns.

The White Bellied Sea Eagles 27 and 28 entered hatch watch the other day! That date range for fledging is 75-80 days from hatch. WBSE 28 was 77 days old on 16 October (yesterday) when it branched! Watch closely to see what 28 uses to make the leap.

Fledging is getting closer for these two. No doubt they will have contests to see who can get higher up on the tree!

Today is starting off as a fantastic day in Bird World. While there are little ones to feed or fledge in Australia, staff at many of the nature centres in the UK are refurbishing Osprey nests. A new pole and platform has been installed at Lyn Brenig and today the work was completed on Pont Cresor, the nest of Aeron, Z2 and Blue 014.

Thank you for joining me today. It is beautiful and sunny. All of the garden animals are having their lunch and the world is simply right with itself. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my video clips and screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest in St. Petersburg.

Late Thursday in Bird World

For those of us who only have the Internet and not any television or cable stations, it might be a bit difficult to watch the documentary on the Ospreys, Season of the Osprey on Nature PBS. For those of you with cable television, this is a reminder to check your local station for when Season of the Osprey is showing. For the rest of us, I will be checking for the release of the DVD and, also, to see if the documentary will be streaming on the Internet. Will keep you posted! Do check your local stations. You do not want to miss this if you love ospreys!

I am including the URL for the company that is distributing this special. Why? Because, if you scroll down, you will see that there are a host of podcasts that you might be interested in.

https://www.seasonoftheosprey.com/?fbclid=IwAR1Dvhmb2FiSaIBg0VV-ha87ZiCWeq29iYuF2dRKy5sa2bAZNfi6N8RrHIQ

Oh, what amazing birds. I am already getting excited about our local nests and the birds have only been away for two months! This year I will be checking on several nests and submitting information on arrivals, hatches, juveniles, fledges, and departures. It is an honour to add the Ospreys that consider Manitoba their summer home and breeding territory to the lists of nests from around the world.

Speaking of migration and raptors around the world, Jean-Marie Dupart reports that there were 50 birds this morning on the shores at Casamance, South Senegal. He has counted 432 arrivals so far this season and said he has 10 more locations to check. That is fantastic.

Many of you will be members of one or another of the many groups pressing for businesses and residents to stop using rodenticide. You might also be lobbying various levels of government to ban these designer poisons. It is well known that it is not only cheaper financially but also much more effective to use raptors. Raptors will clean up the critters – just don’t poison the mice and rats because, ultimately, they will also poison cats and birds that eat them. It is a horrific way for a raptor to die.

Today, in the Fall 2021 issue of Bay Nature magazine, the leading article is a vineyard that is employing Red-tail Hawks to keep the rodents out of the fields. They are turning away from using rodenticide. Oh, this could seriously be a start of a movement. Here is that article:

Xavier and Diamond’s only eyas is one week old today. Only Bob can see the world! And Xavier has had some time to spend with his wee one. Here he is brooding Only Bob. How precious.

I have not reported on the White-Bellied Sea Eaglets in their nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest for several days, if not a week. It is really interesting watching the two of them interact together. One will do something and the other will try to outdo the first. Here they are flapping their now very large wings.

I really hope that they do not knock one another off the nest. The more they flapped those wings the more energetic they got and the more air they stirred up. It was like the centre of the nest became a trampoline.

WBSE 27 and 28 will have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6 to 7 feet. If I remember correctly, the nest in the old Ironbark Tree is 1.8 metres or 6 feet across to give you some idea of the wing size of the pair today.

WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July 2021 and WBSE 28 hatched on 31 July. This makes the little sea eaglets 78 days old (27) and 76 days old (28). The average fledge period for the nest is 75-85 days. We are now in that window. Ideally, the eaglets will do some branching, will make their first flight, and return safely to the nest where they will strengthen their flying and be furnished prey by the parents. In reality, the Pied Currawongs often chase the newly fledged chicks out of the forest. It is hoped that the parents are providing food off nest or the eaglets find a beach area full of carrion (what most juvenile sea eagles survive on til they hone their fishing skills).

This nest has produced two very healthy Sea Eaglets this season. Just look at them spreading their wings, one looking over the rim of the nest. That first flight could happen at any second. It has been a fantastic nest to watch this year and I do hope that these two strong eagles will survive and have very long lives. Lady and Dad have done an amazing job.

The Osplets at the Port Lincoln Barge nest are not ready to fledge – thank goodness! But they are growing like wild weeds in my garden. The juvenile feathers are now growing in thick and fast. They have had several fish deliveries today. I reported on two and there was a third at 11:28:54 and there will be more during the day.

Mum trying to get the fish off of Dad’s talons.

Little Bob is lined up waiting for some more fish. He is on the right. You can see the more circular mark on the top of his head and the white painted effect under his eye. It coats the lower lid a little like white eyeliner might do. From this angle you can also see some of the white on the cere. Little Bob has a rather large crop. It seems to be sagging from the weight.

Now when I write ‘Little’ Bob it seems a bit silly because he is definitely not little! It will be nice when they get their bands, satellite packs, and names in a few weeks. I wonder what they will name these three?

While we can only see two of the osplets, both of them have big crops. Little Bob is looking out from the nest on the right and another is preening, showing off its big ping pong crop, in the middle.

Look at how those lovely dark grey/black juvenile feathers tipped with white are. They are growing fast. Soon they will cover all of that dark grey wooly down. Much of the fish they are eating is helping them produce these beautiful feathers, feathers essential for their success as raptors. They cannot fledge without them.

Everything is looking good. I cannot wait for their measurements to be taken. Little Bob looks like he could be the biggest or close to it. Little Bob certainly does not take anything off Big Bob.

Thank you so very much for joining me. Take care everyone. Have a terrific Friday.

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

Thursday Late in Bird World

It might still be drizzly and cold on the Canadian Prairies but the rain has stopped on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest – Thankfully! The kids had a last feed at 19:44:28 yesterday. Today, two fish were delivered before 08:30.

Dad is eating his share before the delivery to the nest.

The second fish that arrived, in the image below, is a flat fish. The previous one was a round. You can check the difference quickly. There are Leather Backs and Mullets in Australia. But, sadly, while my father and sons and grandson could tell you the names of most fish, I can’t.

Little Bob is the only one left eating.

Little Bob is usually first to the table and the last to leave. That may be the only way that we recognize him in the future.

Even Little Bob finally got full down to the tip of his talons and Mum was able to enjoy some of that nice fish. Beautiful.

Yesterday, Xavier delivered a food item to the scrape box at Orange. Diamond was not home! He looked at his little one and went over and fed it some of the bird. What a sweet moment.

There have been several feedings already this morning. Diamond and Xavier’s Only Bob can see them – its eyes are wide open.

Peeking out!

Remember that very tired little one that could not hold its head still so you could count to 3? Look today! Those eggies will turn out to be props and toys to play with for this little one other than competition in the nest.

It looks like the Collins Street Four were treated to having a pigeon plucked in the scrape box. Here is the before. The scrape isn’t all that tidy but…

Did Mom make this mess? Or was it Dad?

That is the little one that look so hawk like with that bulging crop. Cute. Everything that they see they imprint. By plucking the pigeon in the nest they will quickly learn the method.

Everything is alright in Bird World and there is still most of a day to come.

This is a quick check on everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Port Lincoln chicks ate well!

The streaming cam has been down at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge most of the morning. It was also a dreadfully wet and miserable start to the day. Mum tried as she might to snuggle up with her three babies (can we call them babies anymore?). At 10:30 they were wet, cold, and probably hungry.

The first fish arrived at 11:09:12. Even the sun came out for the occasion. Mum was still feeding the trio at noon.

In the image below, Dad is eating his share and making certain the fish is dead before he delivers it to Mum and the chicks.

Mum has the fish and she is getting ready to feed the three hungry chicks. It is late for the breakfast fish.

There is Little Bob at the end. What is he looking at so intently?

I wonder if it is Dad flying away. Look at the expression on his little face.

Whatever it is, Little Bob is more interested in what is happening off the nest than eating his first fish of the day. That is pretty incredible. Little Bob is always the one who wants to be fed first!

Oh, two of the chicks are watching instead of eating. Is Dad giving a flying demonstration? These chicks are developing just as they should. They are becoming much more interested in things happening outside of the world of the nest. They are standing more and beginning to flap their wings. Think they are dreaming of flying? Little Bob is 29 days old today. The two older siblings are 31 days.

For those that are worried, Little Bob has stood up to ‘sometimes nasty’ Big Bob. Little has done that twice that I am aware. This nest is really calm and the chicks are so big that we should all expect them to fledge with their satellite packs. I understand they will be ringed, get their sat paks, and get their names in early November. Oh, I cannot wait to find out what the names will be this year.

When the three fledge, this will be a historic moment for this nest. Perhaps with the first fledgling of all three hatches, the curse of this nest will be lifted. These two adults have demonstrated clearly that they are highly capable parents and can easily raise a nest of three chicks from hatch to fledge.

Oh, look at Little Bob and look carefully – there is another chick looking up in awe, too. What an expression!

Now down to the business of breakfish!

After eating for 40 minutes, the chicks are beginning to get nice filled crops.

By noon, the fish is finished. Everyone is full and ready for a bit of a snooze.

The three osplets had no more than settled down when the second fish arrived on the nest at 12:35:28. Little Bob is on the right. He is turning around and probably cannot quite believe what he is seeing – another fish!

The role of the crop is to grind up the food before it enters the stomach. It also serves as a storage tank. The chicks can ‘drop their crop’ when they need nourishment. The reality of a raptors life is that they might eat well one day but not have any food for another two days. They need to eat as much as they can when they have the opportunity.

There they are lined up very politely for Mum again. I do not believe I have ever seen such a civil nest of growing ospreys. They might have their spats but not at the table. They line up and Mum feeds them. She is very fair. I have not noticed her favouring one over another. She does, in fact, often feed them as they appear in the line – one bite each and then back to the beginning. The other thing that is noticeable is the chicks do stop eating when they are full allowing the line to close so the other two are only being fed.

Is this behaviour down to the simple fact that they are so close in age? There is only 51 hours separating Big Bob from the time Little Bob hatched.

Just look at how close they are in size.

One of the chicks has left the table. Little Bob (see the roundish spot on the top of his head?) is still hungry. Of course, he is.

The second fish was done and dusted by 13:02. Little Bob is still looking. Maybe he sees some fish skin? or is there a piece of tail? He has a very nice crop.

In terms of size, I can no longer tell Little Bob from the other two. If the roundish spot disappears I will no longer be able to identify him as easy. He is growing so much. Wonder if Little Bob is a female?

Ah, it is silly to try and guess the genders but we all do it. They will measure the chicks when they are ringed. Of course, the measurements are not foolproof. Only DNA or an egg or mating can confirm.

Once the three are fed and all is well, it is much easier for me to sleep. The wee eyas of Xavier and Diamond’s have also had several meals today. You can clearly see that it has more than doubled in size from hatch.

Xavier is on the ledge while Diamond feeds the chick the prey he delivered. Look at the size of the wee one’s wing. Is it looking over to Xavier?

When Xavier turned around, I thought it was last year’s chick, Izzi.

Only Bob is looking directly at the beak and eyes of Diamond. Diamond is so delicate with the tiny little bites she feeds her baby.

The chick’s neck is now so much stronger. It can hold its head still for longer so that Diamond can feed it. The bobbling days are pretty much over. Notice, at times, that the chick instinctively keeps its balances by placing its wing tip on the gravel.

I absolutely love this image of Xavier looking so tenderly at his baby.

All full. The little one has now had four meals. Unlike the Ospreys, Only Bob needs many meals and fewer bites. Her crop is tiny. She is now collapsing into a food coma.

Awww. I wonder if Xavier wishes that Diamond would let him brood the chick? Perhaps she will in a few days but the falcon mothers are extremely protective in the beginning.

The Collins Street Four have been eating, sleeping, growing, and decorating the walls around the scrape. Their world is that of the scrape box. They are not as interested – yet – in what is happening outside of their world. They will become more interested, just like the Osplets at Port Lincoln, in a couple of weeks.

As the days pass, we will begin to notice a difference in size. This is not due to the amount of food the eyases eat individually. It will be because some of them are males and some are females. The females will be approximately 30% larger than the males and they will consume about 25% more food (nothing staggering). When fledge time comes, it is normally the males that fledge first. Their feathers will have covered them quicker because they are smaller! It is that simple.

Last year we did not notice a difference in size in the triplets. That is because they were all females. I do hope Dad gets a break this year and has a couple of males. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and feed four large females!

They are beginning to look slightly different in their faces. Notice the one facing the back who looks more ‘hawk’ like.

These eyases are more than full. Look at that shiny big crop. My gracious.

If you missed the live streaming of Iniko 1031 arriving at the pre-release containment area at Big Sur, here is the video of that moment. The condors are so endangered and there is no telling how many more wildfires will rage. Fingers crossed!

It is late on the Canadian Prairies. Our damp is supposed to go away on Saturday. Meanwhile, it is the annual birdseed sale at our nature centre this weekend. It is a great time to get high quality feed for a big discount and help out the centre as well. You might check and see if your local nature centre does this. The savings can be substantial. I will also continually remind people that if you have a local feed and seed store, you might be able to find Millet, corn, Black Oil seed, peanuts in their shells at a substantially lower price point. My neighbours introduced me to this years ago but, sadly, the big feed store moved. The distance makes it no longer viable as a source.

Thank you for joining me. It is always a pleasure to receive your notes and letters. I appreciate the time you take to write to me whether it is an e-mail or a public comment. You take care. See you soon. All of these nests are doing so well that we can all rest easy. Life is good!

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

Late Wednesday Bird World check in

The streaming cam is now back on line at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. Instead of being late Wednesday it is Thursday. It is a wet miserable day there, too. The osplets are waiting for their breakfast fish to arrive. It is currently 10:30.

The stark contrast between that gorgeous blue of the Port Lincoln waters and the white of the talons makes it almost appear as if Mum and the chicks had gone shopping for those vinyl ‘mod’ boots of the Twiggy era.

Mum is amazing. She tries absolutely everything to try and crowd the chicks under here so they will not get wet. Of course, their feathering will not keep them dry but there is nothing so nice to keep a chill off as being toasty warm under Mum.

The chicks are standing a bit more. Isn’t that one cute? You can really see the development of the tail. Their pantaloons are showing, too. The term has been adopted for decades when talking about the upper leg feathers of the raptors. Originally, the casual name for them was ‘britches’. They are actually the crural feathers and they cover the tibial area of the leg. They continue up to the chest.

Look at those wing and tail feathers! Wow. Growing before our eyes they are.

The skies open again around 9:37 and Mum works hard to crowd in next to the chicks.

Once the rain stops she is off to try and catch a fish for everyone’s breakfast. She has been fishing more and it is certainly keeping the wee babes happy – and full.

It is really beginning to be difficult to tell which chick is which. Each had some type of a mark on their head. Little Bob had a big circle and he had the white webbing pattern on his cere with a huge white swipe with a wide paint brush under his eye. If that him in the middle?

Big ‘sometimes-not-so-nice’ sibling is in the very front. Her eye is much darker with a wider eye stripe. She has always appeared much darker than the other chicks. Did you know that professional ball players adopted adding a black line under their eyes to keep off the glare?

You can really see the very dark wooly down on the chick standing up. You can also see how the crural feathers continue on to the chest area easier, too.

Now look. Is that our Little Bob at the back? I think so. The circle and the white are there as is the white on the cere. Oh, but they could be fooling us. Even their sizes are coming together so that it is difficult to recognize one from the other.

Let us hope that a nice fish for their breakfast arrives soon!

Ah. There is Little Bob turned around facing Mum in case a fish lands right there.

Awwww. Xavier. What a sweetie. He has arrived with the third item of prey for the baby at 10:14 but Diamond is ignoring him. The chick is full having had two feedings already. Maybe Xavier will get a chance to enjoy that Starling himself.

Remember to go and vote on the names for Xavier and Diamond’s baby. Cilla Kinross selected Maori names for weather. You can find the form here:

https://forms.gle/iPQhxDCLtEh19jp38

As the sun sets in central Louisiana, Anna and Louis are still on the nest making adjustments for the upcoming eggs. They have now flown off and are roosting elsewhere.

Wish for a fish! The trio at Port Lincoln will be very hungry when it arrives.

Take care. Thank you so much for joining me this evening.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

I needed to check my glasses

It took me a few minutes to comprehend what I was looking at. For several weeks now the osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge nest have been looking more like dinosaurs than fish eagles. But, this morning with the rain, their plumage looked much different. There was a strange white over the water so my first response was – the camera has a problem. Then the water was blue and the chicks were having their meal and well——.

Here they are lined up for the 12:36:06 delivery. Gosh, they had to have been hungry despite all those feedings yesterday. The weather must have hampered Dad’s fishing.

Still, there was no fighting. The chicks are all lined up as normal with Tiny Little right up at Mum’s beak! Oh, this kid really does love its fish.

So let us remember what we know about osplets plumage. When they hatch, they are covered with a very light greyish coat of down. You can see this in the image below.

It is 21 September. That was 22 days ago. Little Bob is 5 days old; the other two are 7 days old. Note the prominent dark eye line and the light soft down. Gosh they were so little! The hatchlings will keep this light coat of down from hatch until they are 10-12 days old, according to Alan Poole.

Oh, just look at Little Bob. So cute with that great big crop. He is the one closest to the viewer.

It is 5 days later. A darker charcoal coloured woolier down replaces that soft light grey down.

This is a huge period of change in terms of plumage. As the dark wooly down comes so do the feathers. The feathers show up first on the head and back and then on the body, later on the wings and tail. The feathers on the head and neck are a coppery-gold colour. This phase is called the Reptilian phase because they look more like their ancestors of 65 million years ago than the juvenile ospreys they are becoming.

You can see those coppery-gold feathers in the image below. The osplets are also growing at a fantastic rate.

The image below of Little Bob was taken three days ago. He was definitely in the Clown Foot stage! You can also see the dark grey wooly down as well as a few of the copper feathers on the back of his neck.

The image below was taken yesterday. You can see that the juvenile plumage is really starting to come in. It appears as little round tufts growing out of the blood quills.

In the image below, Little Bob is eating the prize fish tail. He is in his usual spot near the beak of Mum!

The image below was taken just a few minutes ago. I realize that feathers, like hair and paint, can appear darker when wet so use your imagination. It is as if a huge amount of juvenile plumage came in since last evening. Those feathers are really pushing out of those quills!

That is Little Bob at the very back. He is facing to the left and looking down slightly. He still has that spot and the white on the cere with the white swipe under his eye. Right now I can still find him but I might not be able to tomorrow.

In a blink. We will begin to notice considerable changes in their size along with the continued growth of feathers. The very last feathers to emerge will be the primaries and secondaries also known as the flight feathers. Only when all of their feathers have emerged from the blood quills will the osplets be ready to fly. We will know that when they really begin to exercise those wings and attempt hovering.

To give you an idea of the ‘look’ of the plumage and the size of the feathers I have included an image of Tiny Little, the third hatch of the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. This was taken on 24 August just before she migrated. Blue 463. Look at the length of her tail and the beautiful symmetry of her feathers. This is how the trio on the Port Lincoln nest will look by the time they are 50-60 days old.

As a reminder, Little Bob hatched on 16 September so he is now 26 days old. They have a long way to go but their plumage and their size are going to change right before our eyes. We really do not need to get our glasses adjusted! It is them, not us.

Beautiful Tiny Little Blue 463 survived and became the dominant bird on the nest. She is on her way to Africa. We hope to see her again.

I couldn’t wait to show you those miraculous changes in the plumage of the three. It really is miraculous. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope to see you soon. Take care.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.