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.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 5. The Ravens Arrive

No more than Daisy laid her 5th egg at 06:32:55 and got comfortable, you could hear the ‘caw’ of the Ravens in the distance. At 07:32:04 those calls are loud!

Daisy is frightened. She knows they are on the branches above her nest. Look at her eye!

There are two Ravens on the nest attacking Daisy! They were relentless.

At 07:39:17 the Ravens are gone. Daisy held them off for 13 minutes. My goodness this little Pacific Black Duck is brave.

Our brave little duck puffed herself up to look larger than she is. She stretched her neck and was fearless in trying to keep the Ravens away from her and those precious five eggs.

It appears that Daisy has thwarted the Ravens for the time being. This is one brave little duck. It is now 08:02 and our little Daisy seems to be alright. I cannot hear any Ravens in the distance only the nectar and plant eating birds of the forest.

Laura Culley has always said that worrying means that the outcome has already established itself, wrongly, in our minds. Still Daisy has a very difficult situation. There was one raven visiting the nest sniffing about on day 4. Two came today. Now the ravens know that there is an egg cup there. What does Daisy do? She has no mate to help her with security. Will she cover the eggs and leave today? We don’t as yet know how many eggs she will lay.

It is 08:09 and I can hear the Rainbow Lorikeets on the nest even though the cam operator is not showing them. Perhaps the Ravens are off elsewhere? For the moment?

Are they trying to tell Daisy something?

Daisy appears relieved, more relaxed, with her friends surrounding her.

The Lorikeets should alert Daisy to the arrival of those birds that would do her or her eggs harm. They are still about Daisy and the tree at 08:20.

I wonder if Daisy tried to lay her eggs elsewhere and predators came and then she rushed on Day 1 to lay her egg in the WBSE nest? It is curious. This might mean that Daisy might not lay any more eggs. I guess time will reveal the answer to that question and to whether or not Daisy can leave the nest during the day without the Ravens consuming her eggs. It has certainly been a harrowing morning for our beautiful Daisy.

At 08:29 Daisy begins to gather leaves. Then she settles back down. Normally she would leave about 2 hours after laying her egg. Today that would be around 08:32. Let’s see if she does.

At 08:35 Daisy rolls eggs and begins to gather leaves. She is still on the eggs at 08:45. Much later than normal.

I will bring updates later tonight or – if everything goes well for Daisy’s eggs the rest of the day – you will not hear from me til Day 6. You can watch Daisy here:

In other Bird World News: If you watched the new Bald Eagle couple, Anna and Louis, at their nest in the Kisatachie National Forest, you will be excited to learn that Anna laid egg 1 for the 2021-22 season on 5 December at 20:44:51. All of the lads were fed at least one fish yesterday at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. They continue to thrive. Gabby and Samson have had a sub-adult female on their nest this morning. Gabby escorted her out of the neighborhood! The Bald Eagles at the Wildlife Rescue of Dad County now have three eggs. The female at Berry College has also laid her first egg of the season. Oh, it is going to be really busy towards the end of December and January with all the Bald Eagle eggs hatching.

Thank you for joining me. Please send your most positive energy to our brave little Duck! Take care everyone. Stay safe.

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

The Daisy Chronicles, day 5

Daisy, that little Pacific Black Duck, arrived at the old Ironwood Tree deep in the Sydney Olympic Forest at 05:10:31 on 7 December. She is due to lay her fifth egg today.

Little is Daisy aware that a Raven came to the nest on Day 4, yesterday, and became curious. It did not, however, disturb the eggs. I am led to believe that this is because they cannot smell them. So if Daisy is able to gather more leaves – these are large eggs – she will be able to thwart the Ravens until such time she runs out of leaves and twigs and must use her down.

Also unknown to Daisy is the fact that Lady and Dad have returned to their River Roost from Goat Island. The streaming cam picked them up today roosting. Will Day fly into the nest to check today? He often does a quick security run.

See the two white dots on the tree in the middle. That is Lady and Dad.

The camera could not focus in on them but it is definitely the White-Bellied Sea Eagle couple that own this nest!

Last year Dad broke one of the eggs and ate it. He did not like the taste. Neither sea eagle likes the down – it sticks to their beak. They simply do not understand it – it is foreign to them. They were curious as to who was using the nest and Dad understood that eggs are not bothered. Indeed, one time I thought Dad was going to incubate those eggs of Daisy’s!

Daisy arrived at 05:10:31. Once again she was very cautious approaching her eggs.

Look who has come to see Daisy! Last year 8 or 9 Rainbow Lorikeets would come and visit Daisy every morning. They were all over the tree surrounding her. It was simply beautiful.

The bird coming down on the top right is called a Noisy Miner. Noisy Miners are members of the Honeyeater family. They are grey with a black head, a yellow-orange beak and feet with a light yellow patch behind the eye. There are also white tips on the tail feathers. They will not hurt Daisy or her eggs. They are curious but it is possible that they could draw the attention of other birds, like the Ravens, that could predate Daisy’s eggs.

The Lorikeets seemed to come every morning like they were saying hello to Daisy. And here they are today. The one must have told the others that their friend, the little Duck, was back in the nest of the sea eagles.

I don’t know about you but I had to run and get a tissue.

No words necessary as the Lorikeets continue to gather around Daisy.

We are nearing the time that Daisy laid her egg yesterday. I can still hear the Lorikeets and the Noisy Miner.

Oh, how grand it was to see the Lorikeets come to welcome Daisy!

Yesterday Daisy laid her 4th egg at 06:19:36. Egg 3 was laid at 06:55:07. I am hoping that it is earlier for Daisy today so that she can wait for the egg to harden, cover the eggs well, and get away from the nest before the Raven or the Sea Eagles arrive. Fingers crossed they stay away!

Daisy began gathering leaves around 06:23.

With the Sea Eagles back at the River Roost, I am so nervous for Daisy. Last year Dad visited often – curious to find out who was using his nest. I do not believe they would harm Daisy but Daisy and Dad certainly played tag with one another. I hope it is more peaceful for our little duck this year but who knows! Wonder when Dad will come and check on this nest?

It is 06:28 nest time. Daisy hasn’t laid her 5th egg. You can still hear the Lorikeets in the tree. Last year they seemed to be around when the larger predators weren’t. Come on Daisy, hurry! Lay your egg and get out of the forest.

At 06:32:55, Daisy lays her 5th egg!

Daisy moves around in the nest bowl clockwise.

She is moving the eggs about but she appears also to be using her paddle feet to enlarge the egg cup. How smart is that?! She needs those eggs to sink down low especially if she is going to lay several more. Notice how big those eggs are. It takes a lot of nutrients out of Daisy’s system to lay all those eggs.

Daisy has settled down lower than on previous days. She has also brought in some more leaves closer to the egg cup.

Daisy is trying to rest. If today, follows what has happened on the previous four days, Daisy will stay on the eggs for about 2 hours, cover them and depart. Let us hope that she is not disturbed and has time to get those leaves over so that nothing seems out of place if Dad or the Raven come calling.

At 06:42, there was only one Sea Eagle at River Roost. Is Dad fishing? or is he coming to the forest? We wait.

Daisy is way down on the eggs, her head tucked in. So far no Sea Eagle coming. Sometimes last year Daisy just got away in the nick of time. She needs to cover those eggs well though and not be in a rush.

Thank you for joining me today. I will continue to monitor Daisy until she departs and check on the nest throughout the day. If anything happens, I will let you know. Take care. Keep sending your positive wishes to our little duck, Daisy!

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

Rainbow Lorikeets miss Miss Daisy

The Rainbow Lorikeets came to check on Miss Daisy Duck almost every day that she was incubating her eggs in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park. Yesterday was no exception. The beautiful coloured parrots showed up in droves yesterday wondering where Daisy had gone. You could almost hear them saying , ‘Where is Daisy?’ to one another.

Despite the fact that Daisy isn’t there incubating her eggs anymore, it really does put a smile on your face to see these beautiful parrots coming early in the morning to check on their friend. Daisy had not even been away from the nest for twelve hours when they arrived. I wonder if they will come and check again? They were chattering so much to one another. Maybe they thought that Daisy had covered her nest and gone out dabbling? It is possible. Will keep everyone posted if they return.

For the Rainbow Lorikeets it must have been a shock to see the gentle duck on the nest of the big sea eagles. These parrots, too, would be at the mercy of some of the bigger birds such as the Ravens and no doubt the Ravens have raided their nests as well. Thinking about the Ravens got me to wondering about the White-Bellied Sea Eagles. The behaviour of the Ravens was the same as normal, what you would expect from a Raven. They wanted Daisy out of there so they could eat her eggs! No doubt about it. They came several times when she was incubating and knew that there were eggs. They just waited when she was no longer on the nest.

Daisy happily incubating her eggs.

But it makes me wonder. The WBSE were perplexed and curious. At first, they were upset about ‘something’ trespassing on their nest and their territory. Lady tore more duck down off the nest than Dad who has mellowed over the years. He is now 19 and I believe that Lady is about 6 or 7 years old. I expected the sea eagles to eat all of the duck eggs but they could not manage them with their bills in the same way the Ravens could with their sharp pointed beaks. But the sea eagles kept coming to check. Were they trying to catch Daisy? what were they thinking? and why were they not very aggressive? And then it occurred to me last night and you know what? I was glad that the Ravens got the eggs before the sea eagles came and killed the ducklings when they were born. If all of the eggs had hatched and we certainly know that the one was fertilized with a growing duckling inside, then imagine the peeps and peeps in the forest and Daisy trying to keep the ducklings quiet til they were 24 hours old, old enough to take that leap of faith to the forest floor and follow their mom to water. The sea eagles and the Ravens and other predators would hear those same peeps.

A very sad day when the ravens arrive and eat Daisy’s eggs.
WBSE Lady is very curious about those eggs.

In a way, the Rainbow Lorikeets and Daisy, the Pacific Black Duck, had a lot in common. Kindred spirits I would like to think of them. They both enjoy eating plants, pollen, the nectar from flowers. Like the ducks, the Rainbow Loris do not hunt prey like the sea eagles and the ravens. In fact, Rainbow Lorikeets are known to be terribly territorial and are parrots that do not like other birds. I am sure that they were very curious by the gentle duck in the big sea eagle nest. Indeed, both would be a meal for the sea eagles if the eagles decided that was what they wanted. And both of their hatchlings would also warrant attention by birds of prey. I wonder if that was what drew the lorikeets back to the nest, a kind of kinship?

Hi. Just dropping in to say hello, Daisy.

Daisy understood which of the birds coming to the nest were friendly and which were predators. She seems to always have welcomed the Rainbow Lorikeets!

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the streaming cameras where I captured these images.

Ravens threaten Daisy!

Daisy’s Monday morning in Australia (Sunday in North America) started out as beautifully as it ended the evening before. She had gone to forage returning at 19:45 yesterday evening. It appears to be a growing pattern, leaving in the heat of the afternoon and returning right before dusk. This pretty much ensures that she will miss the sea eagles if they come.

While she was away yesterday, the Rainbow Lorikeets came to visit Daisy, full of energetic chatter but, at the same time, wondering where she was! They are so cute. They almost look like stuffed plushies someone has placed on Daisy’s nest tree.

Where’s MY Daisy?

It is going to be hot again today for Daisy. They are predicting temperatures of 34 climbing to 39 tomorrow. Our pour little duck needs a paddle pool up there with her!

Daisy decided not to leave this morning for a bathroom break or to forage. Instead, she stayed on the nest. The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos can be heard around 7:15 but it is an Unkindness that rattles Daisy’s world at 8:04. A group of Ravens is called an Unkindness and they were certainly not nice to Daisy. In fact, they were downright threatening. They moved from the top of the tree down closer. It was impossible to get am image of them in the tree (see second image below) but their shadows could be seen and their noise was deafening. Daisy was so frightened.

Australian Raven. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Look at the image below. Notice that Daisy has spread her feathers out in a manner similar to when a raptor mantles its prey. Her tail is fanned out and the feathers on her back are raised. She is protecting her clutch of eggs from these predators. The Ravens try harder and harder to get Daisy off her nest of eggs so they can eat them!

Daisy flattens her feathers and her head against the nest.

The Unkindness bullied Daisy trying to get her off her nest for five minutes. It must have seemed like a life time. And then they were away!

Except for the heat, the rest of the day has been relatively uneventful. The birds and animals of the forest are trying to expend as little energy as they can and remain cool in the hot Australian heat.

Daisy gathers up leaves and methodically covers her clutch of eggs and flies off to forage at 13:04:44.

Daisy leaving her nest to forage.

Notice how Daisy has moved leaves over on top of her down and tucked it in tight today. She might be worried about the Ravens coming back to try and find her nest. Or maybe she thinks the sea eagles might stop in to see if anyone is incubating the eggs.

Daisy flies from the nest.

Look at the image above. You can just see Daisy flying off. It got really hot on the nest today. The afternoon is the worst. Daisy left a little earlier than usual. Eggs are incubated at 37.5 degrees. It is possible that the heat from outside and the down stuffed around could keep the eggs toasty warm until later today. I wonder if Daisy will return around 17:00 or if she will wait til almost dusk.

Update: It was a very short foray for Daisy. She was gone only until 14:32 – so under an hour and a half. When she returned it looked like she was pretending like she had just landed on the nest. Like always, she looked around and walked very slowly before going over to her nest. What I find interesting is that she does not immediately move the leaves or open the down. It is always like she is simply waiting a little more being overly careful. Daisy is so cautious. What a good little mother!

Thank you for joining us and checking in on the little duck that built her nest inside the nest tree of the big sea eagles.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the cameras that provided the images.

Wonder what will happen today on ‘As the Nest Turns’?


Before I begin today, I want to thank all of Daisy’s fans from Poland who come every day to check on her well-being. It is so nice to have you with us on her journey.

Zanim zacznę dzisiaj, chciałbym podziękować wszystkim fanom Daisy z Polski, którzy codziennie przyjeżdżają, aby sprawdzić jej samopoczucie. Miło jest mieć cię z nami w jej podróży.

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I have to admit that the time difference between the Canadian Prairies and Sydney, Australia often means that I am awake at 1:30 am waiting for Daisy to return to the nest from foraging. Last night it caught up with me and I turned out the light. Daisy is being smart. She waited til the sun was beginning to lower itself before returning to the Ironbark Tree. It was 17:07.

Daisy approaches her nest cautiously. Remember, she has, at the last minute, looked up and glanced the White Bellied Sea Eagles sitting stone cold still on the camera tree and had to leave quickly. I am impressed with her approach. She lands on the old creaking tree, stopping and looking, and slowly proceeding to her nest. Someone might think she is just a curious visitor. But we know better! So far this little Black Pacific Duck has outwitted the sea eagles!

Daisy continues to be cautious as she slides onto her nest.

The sun lowering on the horizon leaves a beautiful filtered light on our beautiful little duck. For those of you who have been following along every day on Daisy adventures, you will notice that she is really cleaning up the down that was tossed about and getting it back on the nest.

It is 4:40 am in Sydney and Daisy is enjoying the cool before the heat of the day arrives.

The Homebush Bay weather says it is now 21.9 degrees C at 5am. It is expected to climb to 33 degrees C at the height of the day. Oh, Daisy, it is going to get pretty toasty on that nest!

In an article for the Smithsonian Magazine, Brian Handwerk says in ‘Defying Stereotypes, Ducklings Are as Clever as They Are Cute’ that “a duckling’s ability to imprint confers a remarkable ability for abstract thought, often associated only with primates and other animals considered highly intelligent. Ducks even outperform supposedly “smarter” animal species in certain aspects of abstract reasoning. Just hours after birth, those yellow fuzzballs understand concepts like “same” and “different,” remember them, and apply them to never-before-seen objects with no social cues or training” (14 July 2016). In being able to distinguish likeness and difference, the ducklings are demonstrating that they are not ‘bird-brained’ but, rather, they have a high level of abstract thought.

I was so glad to see someone writing something positive about ducks. It isn’t that I have found negative statements about ducks but, rather, it is the absence, the invisibility of ducks in recent popular books on birds. For example, in Jennifer Ackerman’s, The Genius of Birds, there is not one mention of a duck! Magpies, yes. House Sparrows, yes. Even one little mallard, no. I would like to think, from observing Daisy, that ducks are as capable of complex behaviour as every other bird discussed in the book. I think that you might agree with me. She has, thus far, outwitted the boss of the forest, the largest seabird in Australia, the White Bellied Sea Eagle. Let us hope that this pattern continues!

I begin to look at my bookshelves and realize that I have been focused entirely on Red Tail Hawks and falcons. There must be as many beautiful books on ducks. Surely people have adopted ducks, made ponds for them and feed them in the same way that people in the English countryside have swans or wildlife rehabbers have Red Tail Hawks. Perhaps you know of some books on ducks that I should read. Lists are always appreciated. When I looked on line, there are pages and pages of children’s stories about ducks and geese. There are some about making duck decoys and how to line them up so that ducks can be shot. Sorry, I don’t wish to shoot them. I would like them to live happily in a pond or at the edge of the water like our Dabbling Duck, Daisy.

It is 5:57 and the forest is beginning to wake up. Daisy hears ravens cawing in the distance. Ravens normally follow the sea eagles in the forest. She stretches her neck to listen intently and then relaxes again.

There are enormous demands and dangers for Daisy while she is nesting. She has pulled off the down on her breast to line the nest. This also creates a bare spot which is the ‘brood patch’. The heat from Daisy’s body goes directly to the eggs. Periodically during the day and night, she will rotate the eggs. Daisy has, as mentioned before, lost a lot of her body weight creating the eggs and lining the nest. She also is not able to go and forage as frequently as she would when she is not nesting. We know that she goes out to replenish herself but that is on average about three hours a day. Otherwise, she is alert and on the nest tending to her eggs. Daisy is not like larger waterfowl, like geese and ducks. She does not have a fat reserve to draw on when she is incubating. So besides the danger of her own health, there are also other animals in the forest that are predators. We have met many of them in the days that Daisy has been incubating – Ravens, the White Bellied Sea Eagles, the Pied Currawong, and perhaps BooBook Owl, Magpies, and possums. Sadly, a lot of wild ducks have an even bigger danger created by humans – the loss of their habitat.

There is no need to create any drama around Daisy. Right now she has out mustered all of the other birds and animals in the forest. As I said yesterday, an uneventful day is a good day for Daisy – just like it is for us!

The sun paints a rose-gold hue over the nest as it rises over the forest.

Our little duck uses this quiet time to do some aerating of the nest and some preening.

Look at that beautiful down nest lining! Wow.

The only visitors so far have been the Rainbow Lorikeets and they have spent their time on the bowl of the big nest.

Daisy heard them but she could not see them at first. They were climbing around on the bottom of the big sea eagle nest. When she realized that they were the beautiful rainbow coloured parrots and that they would not bother her or her eggs, she relaxed.

Daisy relaxes when she sees the Rainbow Lorikeets.
The beautiful parrots are all curious about Daisy.

I have this thought that always comes to mind when I see the Rainbow Lorikeets climbing over the nest tree. They are not frightened and that must mean that the White Bellied Sea Eagles are not close! That is a very good thing. The Lorikeets are still climbing around on the nest. They have been there for more than an hour. Daisy can relax and enjoy a nice morning.

I am so happy that you have joined me today to find out what has been happening in the world of little Daisy. I will bring updates as I try to do everyday in about six hours. Stay tuned to find out if your favourite Black Pacific Duck had any more adventures today!

Thanks to WBSE Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Center for the cameras so I can take my screen shots.