Tragedy to tragedy. Late Monday and early Tuesday in Bird World

13-14 June 2022

The Cape Henlopen State Park Osprey nest kept me occupied for a large part of Monday . It is a very complicated situation. There are two intruder birds. They are distinctive in the very thick eye band. One has quite a good necklace and the other does not. Their eyes are close and often look like when we say ‘snake eyes’.

As the sun was setting both of the adult birds were on the nest. You can see their distinctive eye bands that are thick and go right to the shoulder. Except for their necklaces you might want to think they are twins.

One of the birds has some feather damage. It is the one who moved the chicks out of the nest. At first I thought the little chick had its wing caught in the talon but watching the bird try to remove and then in a second try achieve getting one of the bigger chicks off the nest – it was deliberate. She just didn’t have a good hold on that wee third hatch and it is probably – or was – at the base of the platform.

This bird has some interesting feather damage in at least two areas. I hope to get someone who knows about feather issues to examine the photo. It looks like a section around the scapula V on the right has been cut or torn or there are feathers missing. You can see the feather on the right hanging. The bird has flown on and off the nest carrying the chicks but returns quickly so she is just dumping them close by.

It appears that there is a third bird that is around the nest that these two are concerned about and it could be the Mum of the three dead chicks. Of course, this is simply speculation on my part. We have not seen that bird and none are ringed.

There are no adult ospreys on the Cape Helopen Osprey nest tonight, 13 June.

I have received word from ‘A’ and ‘EJ’ that the two intruders were at the Henlopen Osprey nest this morning and at one time a fish was brought and removed. The female intruder has also removed the third dead osplet from the nest. ‘A’ mentions the third osprey that has been bothering me. Is it Mum? is she injured? If it is her – our hearts go out to her. She has sadly lost her entire family.

I remember in an online discussion and chat with Sean and Lynn at Cal Falcons, they mentioned that the problem with the success of reintroducing these species is that there are too many birds. There are territorial fights, etc. Perhaps also it is the amount of habitat loss due to population growth and building, climate change and being able to get adequate food that is also a problem. For the Osprey there is then the issue of trees. Unlike Bald Eagles, Ospreys like to have their nests at the top of a dead tree. So many trees have been lost to deforestation and wildfires and in my community if someone sees a dead tree, it is cut down. Only in the marshes and mangroves do I see them. In South Australia they are busy building platforms in good places for the Ospreys if they have seen Ospreys nesting like Turnby Island. The new platform is up and the Ospreys are already on it along with most of their old nest. Do we need to get building more platforms? And if lakes and streams can be stocked for people to go fishing, what about the birds? It does appear – from many nests – that the success of both the Osprey and Eagle reintroduction programmes have caused issues for established nests – some outright tragedies. There must be some solutions.

Little Bob at the Loch of the Lowes was shut out from the evening feeding. Indeed, he had not eaten all day Monday that I am aware. Both Little and Middle stayed well out of the way of Big and just let him eat. Then Middle went up. By the time Little got up to the table the fish was gone. If this is a problem with Laddie not bringing in enough fish now – then Blue NC0 needs to step up the game and go fishing.

Big ate almost all that fish and has a big crop and so does Middle. Poor wee Bob. They can last for several days. We have seen this on many nests but it is time Little Bob had a good feed. Fingers crossed for Tuesday.

This is Blue NC0 defending the nest and chicks against the intruder.

The situation at the Loch of the Lowes has not improved. There is a ringed intruder and as such Laddie and Blue NC0 are both dealing with that. A fish finally came in at 16:00 but both Little and Middle Bob are getting pounded. Little Bob did not even raise its head and beg for food. There are any number of people worrying about this nest. I will be checking on it later. Some of the Osprey groups are already posting thoughts for Little Bob – he cannot go much longer if he is to live. I do not think he will make it either. So sad. Middle ate yesterday.

I started making a list of all the sadness at the nests this year and will post it later today. It has been a year of tragedy.

The West End fledglings – Ahote and Kana’kini – are really using their wings and learning how to land. Two of the chicks on the natal nest watch one of the siblings (I believe it is Kana’kini) fly off the nest and land on Transmitter Rock.

Perfect landing.

Kana’kini was still on Wray’s Rock Tuesday morning. She had flown there on Monday. Tuesday morning Ahote and Sky were on the natal nest when a fish delivery came in at 05:42. Waiting for Sky to fledge.

Kana’kini and Ahote have since flown off leaving Sky on the natal nest.

At the Two Harbours nest of Chase and Cholyn, Lancer will be 10 weeks old (70 days) tomorrow, the 15th. Cholyn is still flying in to feed their big girl!

There are big storms moving through the area of the ND-LEEF nest. The camera is out of sorts. This could seriously impact any prey deliveries for tomorrow. Little Bit 17 really needs a good meal tomorrow.

The system is going to impact a large area that have nests.

The camera is down because of the storm at the ND-LEEF nest. The eaglets are ND15 75 days old, ND16 74 days old and Little Bit ND17 is 70 days old. It sure would be a shame to lose this little fighter now. What a time to have a storm – backed up with days of little food. My goodness.

I haven’t checked on E1 and Nancy at the MN-DNR nest lately. Nancy made a prey delivery, E1 mantled quickly and was very aggressive to the adult. This is normal behaviour in eaglets getting ready to fledge.

There was a lot of strong winds and rain over night at the MN-DNR. The system is due to be about the same as the one in my city. It will calm down and may begin again. E1 survived it fine – thank goodness.

At the nest of Big Red and Arthur, it appears that the only eyas left to fledge is L4. Little cutie pie. And little cutie pie took advantage of having its big siblings off flying and getting prey elsewhere to eat up two prey items on the nest and get an enormous crop! Sometimes there are advantages to having your other siblings fledge. This might also work for Little Bit if everything came come together to get the parents able to find prey to deliver. I understand that this time of year at this particular nest prey deliveries suffer.

Big Red’s kids do not have that problem. Arthur is excellent at delivering food and Big Red is often hunting herself. They did a marvellous job this year. Amazing.

L4 could fledge. He has 5 going on 6 dark stripes and he is 47 days old. remember the average age of fledge is 46.5 days at this nest.

I love the stretching exercises after the meal. He stretched both sides like this.

The UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys are not sleeping on the natal nest tonight.

The adults are dropping off fish on the nest and both of the fledglings, Big and Middle, make their way there when they see the parents flying in that direction. Big had the fish and then Middle got tired of waiting and took it. Both had a decent feed. These two are doing fantastic.

It is always good to remember that what you want to see are the chicks being fed by the parents on the nest after fledge. At other times, they will feed them off nest like they did with Little MiniO at Captiva. Often times the fledglings bolt and well, they need to get home. You might recall if you watched the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest that Legacy (2021) was missing for about six days. She was so glad to find home she didn’t leave for another month!

It is early morning in The Czech Republic and Betty is feeding the four White storklets at the Mlade Buky nest. Oh, look. They are getting their pin feathers. Fantastic. Note: The smallest, the 5th storklet was eliminated on Sunday.

It is also lousy weather in Estonia but Karl II has been out fishing for these babies. Did you know he flies 10 km to get the little fish? It is monitored by his tracker.

Liz did a lovely – and short video (I always appreciate her short videos getting right to the heart of the matter) – of the three Black storklets of Jan and Janika’s in care late Tuesday having a meal. They are doing so very well. I think that you are witnessing an intervention that is going to go very, very well.

All three osplets on the nest of Aran and Mrs G in the Glaslyn Valley are doing quite fine. Just look at that face of Mrs G. I certainly would not want to mess with this Osprey Mum. In the second image all have crops after their afternoon tea time meal.

Idris taking the head off of the tea time fish for Telyn and the three Bobs. There is definitely not a problem at this nest!

Little Bob is in the middle and Telyn has been feeding him – and he will be fed til his crop is full! (or they run out of fish)

Llyn Brenig Ospreys have had their troubles. The third hatch died but the two surviving osplets appear to be doing very well. Let us hope that the horrible weather that has swept through the nests dissipates and gives these families a break!

The two surviving osplets at the Loch Arkaig nest have been enjoying all that nice fish that Louis brings in. The tea time one was a little too close to the lads or lasses but both got fed. Big Bob looks like he could be a problem. Let us hope that he isn’t! There is always fish on this nest of Dorcha and Louis.

They have had their problems up at Llyn Clywedog but it looks like those are behind them. Dylan brought in a huge Mullet for Seren and the three Bobs at 16:00:03. Just look at their crops after their tea.

That is a hop, skip, and jump through the nests with troubles and some of those that are doing so well. Seeing those three at Llyn Clywedog after the fear that Dylan was missing just warms the heart.

Last, Alden delivered what appears to be a pigeon. Annie gets it and this translates into a food fight between Lindsay and Grinnell, Jr. Neither have fledged yet but it is just morning in California! Fledge watch at Cal Falcons.

We may never know what ultimately happens at the Cape Henlopen State Park Osprey nest until we see who is on the nest for the next breeding season. If it is Mum who has been trying to get her nest back, let us hope that she either does so safely or she leaves the territory in good health to find another nest and mate.

I am working on two different pieces for you. One of Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres and their importance and another on the birds that we have lost since last 1 July. It is sadly a very long list. I had hoped to have the one on the rehabilitation centres finished this week but the events at some of the nests took over.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages or videos that I have captured and used for this blog: Liz M, Cape Henlopen State Park Ospreys, Cornell RTH Cam, ND-LEEF, Friends of the Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, CarnyXWild, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dfyi Osprey Project, MN-DNR, Explore.org and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Llyn Brenig Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Llyn Brenig Ospreys, Eagle Club of Estonia, Mlade Buky White Storks, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and NOAA.