Wednesday in Bird World

Oh, gosh, golly. Just when you think the day is going to be quiet, Missy at the Berry College Bald Eagle Nest in Mt Berry, Georgia, has a pip. The announcement of the pip was posted on FB this morning.

I just took this image a few minutes ago. The chick is making good progress! That is not a video. That arrow just shows up when you try to take a screen shot on their camera.

Speaking of cameras, Berry College has three – an approach one, one above the nest, and one closer to the nest. If you want to see thee action on hatch, I think the camera closer to the nest is the best. Their cameras are not on YouTube.

https://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/nest2

What spells Bald Eagle Fluff Ball better than cute? Be prepared to melt. Anna and Louis’s 15-hour-old chick is adorable.

Oh, the fluff balls grow too quick and get pin feathers in a blink. Soak them in when they are like this. So precious.

Bald Eagle parents work on instinct. There isn’t a manual on eagle parenting tucked under the nest. This is only Anna’s second chick. Last year I almost had a sore throat yelling at Anna to get closer to Kisatchie to feed him and for Kisatchie to turn around, face Mum (or Dad, Louis feeds his babies), and open that beak wide. Anna and this little one are struggling too. The little one is ready to eat and opens its beak wide and tries the grass in the nest! It has its back to Anna who is trying to feed it. She gets closer and the little one takes its first bite. This will only improve as Anna remembers and the little one figures out its part in the feeding-eating process.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinics work on donations and the sweat, tears, and love of volunteers. Our local clinic, Wildlife Haven, put out a call for donations to help a Snowy Owl in December. Today they were joyful in sending out a short video on its release. So happy to have been a small part of this success story!

There is currently no pip at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. Waiting for Friday!

There is also no Daisy the Duck on the Sea Eagles nest in Sydney and that is a good thing!

Down at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Ervie is on the nest crying for a fish delivery. Twice now he has flown off the nest as if he saw an adult with a fish. He returned quickly the first time. Let’s see if he comes back with a fish the second time. No, empty taloned!

In Durbe, Milda and Mr L have returned to the nest to move around some sticks. There is still lots of snow in Latvia, just like Manitoba! I am really looking forward to Milda laying eggs and having a successful fledge of chick or chicks this spring. That would be so wonderful. Losing her long term mate, Raimis, last spring just sparked more and more sadness.

Just like Milda and Mr L, Annie and Grinnell are hanging out on The Campanile. Their scrape box is ready and waiting for those precious eggs in a couple of months. Cal Falcons posted this on their Twitter site today. So happy it will be Annie and Grinnell. The interloper has not been seen for a month! Yeah!!!!!!!

Annie is still there several hours later. Can you see her by the camera, perched on the pipe?

For other baby eaglets, it looks like it is fish dinners in Miami-Dade County and over in Fort Myers. R2 and R3 really seem to enjoy the fresh fish that Dad brings in. There have been several other varieties of prey items including a parrot and a coot. Did you know that Bald Eagles fish in both fresh and salt water?

E19 and E20 are also having fish. It is so hard to tell them apart. There is a white line under the cere of one of them but E20 does not seem to be that much different in size from its older sibling, E20. It is difficult to tell who is who sometimes. I ‘think’ it is E19 at the bottom of the screen and E20 in the middle.

Oh, tomorrow, the chick at Berry College will have fully hatched, the little one at the KNF nest will be stronger with its eyes more focused, and then there should be a pip coming at Captiva. Goodness.

There has been more snow on and off all day on the Canadian Prairies. There were 57 European Starlings in the Lilac Bushes and back trees this morning. They are still here. The feeders were filled twice. It is now 16:08 and it will not be long til every bird goes off to roost. It is normally dark here by 16:45. It is now 16:25 and all the birds are gone. It is absolutely still in the garden as new snow falls.

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

A big thank you to the following for their streaming cams, Twitter, or FB pages where I took my screen captures: KNF Bald Eagle Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Berry College Eagles, Cal Falcons, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, WRDC Bald Eagle Nest, SWFlorida and D Pritchett Bald Eagle Nest, Wildlife Haven, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cam News, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

There is never a dull moment at Port Lincoln

How many times have I said that watching the Port Lincoln Osprey lads are better than anything streaming on the telly? From hatch to today, they have not disappointed.

To recap. Bazza, the eldest, has not been seen since 9 January – 2 days ago. It could mean many things. Bazza could be off camera on the nest barge. He could be over on the old barge with Mum. He could be somewhere near to the nest barge OR Bazza could have left to find his own territory. It is interesting to note that Mum has not been seen since yesterday morning and Bazza could be with her. I did often call him ‘Mama’s Boy’. Yesterday, Falky, the middle hatch, caught what I believe is the only fish by a juvenile on camera at the nest. That was just fabulous. He was brilliant. As one of the watchers noted ‘JL’, to celebrate Falky flew a victory lap around the barge! I suspect Falky was so proud of that fish he caught he wanted everyone to see including Mum and Dad!

Ervie was ‘prime time Erv’ today. He might have been on the nest for several days and not moving too much but, there is nothing wrong with his flying and his attitude. Twice this morning Ervie engaged with Falky in what can only be described as ‘aerial dog fights’ just like you might have seen in movies or airshows about World War II. It was Ace Pilot Ervie at his best.

There are two main events with an intermission.

As you can see I cut out some of the time in between. In those minutes, you could see the shadows of the two going over the barge but, you could not see them. When they landed, before Ervie took after Falky again, they had both arrived wet so somewhere the pair of them went into the water. Good gracious. Is this really boys playing? or is this dominant Ervie deciding he wants the nest and barge all to himself?

That attitude of the third hatch wanting to take over the nest completely as the dominant bird has been seen elsewhere. Tiny Tot Tumbles at the Achieva Nest returned and even fought off adult interlopers. I clearly think that Ervie would do the same if that same instance happened.

I wonder. Will Ervie return to this barge and want it for his nest in a few years time? Only time will tell. So glad that he has a tracker on.

Ervie is not behaving like Falky is on the barge. When he sees someone he fish calls but he doesn’t appear to be willing to give up that nest to go out fishing independently – yet – since his return from his long flight a few days ago.

Here is the link to the Port Lincoln streaming cam.

I was going to bring you a report on the lack of streaming cams for raptors in Japan today but this will be delayed by a few days. I have not had time, sadly, today, to put all the strings together.

I have also not seen any news of any pips although Anna at the Kisatchie National Forest Nest looks like she is expecting something. She has been rolling the eggs and try as we might it is difficult. There is a mark on the egg but I think it is vegetation and not a pip. Perhaps later this evening.

The first egg at Berry College Eagle nest of Pa Berry and Missey is 35 days old today.

Gabby and Samson have been listening to the egg and rolling. They are getting really close to a pip watch.

R2 and R3 continue to do really well over at the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade country. Rita removed the Coot that had been on the nest and had a big meal herself. You can ‘sort of’ see the nice crop she has. The kids are well fed, no worries!

It is a wrap for today. We will wait together for those pips at Captiva, KNF, Berry College, and NEFlorida Bald Eagle nests!!!!!! Waiting is hard.

Thank you for joining me. I am delighted to have you here with me. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and my video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, and the WRDC Eagle Cam.

Ervie, ‘the main man’

I cannot possibly tell you what joy – sheer joy – the Port Lincoln Osprey nest has brought to me this year. There is a huge lesson in that statement. The biggest one is: Do not let something that happened on a bird nest in a previous breeding season deter you from returning to that nest. There are so many different factors that impact a season from the time the eggs are laid to the chicks fledging.

These factors can be as simple as the weather – and we all know that weather is not simple. Chicks can die on a nest from cold damp or extreme heat. They can also thrive, of course. A parent might be injured or die. This year Aran, the male at the Glaslyn Nest in Wales, was injured in a territorial battle and could not provide fish for his family. At the same time, the Glaslyn Valley was hit by a bitter wet storm that lasted days on end. The three chicks of Aran and Mrs G perished. Aran and Mrs G survived through the generous donations of fish on a feeding table. Some eggs are thin and break easily due to lingering DDT in the area even after it has been banned for 50 years. Food supplies can shift. Predators. The list is long including the gender of the siblings on the nest and the number of days between hatches.

I disliked Solly so much last year after Tapps died of starvation that – well, it was hard for me to return to the Port Lincoln nest. The history of the nest told me that the likelihood for another siblicide event was acute. Many of you felt the same. My need to witness and try to understand the survival of third hatches, ultimately, compelled me to return to the PLO barge.

What then are the adjectives to describe the 2021-22 Osprey breeding season at the Port Lincoln barge? Beautiful. Serene. Delightful. Joyous. Come on, you can help me! It certainly was enlightening and instructive. It will also be unforgettable for all the right reasons.

It is possible to do a full scale analysis of weather, wind, fish deliveries, etc. Port Lincoln keeps all of the information on a myriad of events on the nest and everything could be fed into a computer. A really quick glance of fish deliveries tells me that this year is pretty comparable to last year. Certainly Mum and Dad didn’t change their behaviour. Is it possible then that it comes down to the time between hatches and the gender of the nestlings? Does it have anything to do with how the third hatch presents itself to the oldest? I don’t yet know the answer to those questions but, I am hoping to have more insights after another decade for collecting data. For now, I just want to celebrate the achievement of this nest. Three fledges! A first for them. Well done.

Let’s go back in time – almost four months ago. This video clip is a feeding from 16 September.

This feeding is 6 November, not quite two months later.

This year, on the Port Lincoln Barge, Ervie is the ‘main man’. Hatched 51 hours after Bazza, the oldest, Ervie did not have the challenges that many third hatches have. He was not that smaller than Bazza after several days of eating. We still worried because Bazza was picking on Ervie. Ervie, however, didn’t take it. He refused to be submissive or lose his place at Mum’s beak. Indeed, he insisted that he was the first fed!!!!!! Talk about an attitude. I openly admit to adoring this bird for his spunk, his confidence, and determination. Yes, I really do believe that there are some birds that are more confident than others – just like humans.

When it came time to measure, band, and put a satellite pack on the back of one of the three, everyone believed that it would go to a male bird so that the data could be compared to that provided by Solly’s tracking. Did they think there were three males on the nest? I wonder. Someone must have decided then that if all three were male, the biggest would get the tracker. That morning Ervie weighed the most. Ervie, who came from third to be the dominant bird on the nest, got the sat-pak. It really was an inspired choice.

A few days ago we worried because Ervie spent the night and the next day on the nest with his head held down. Granted it was very windy and having noticed the others doing this, that behaviour was not worrisome. But Ervie – all night and day on the nest??!! I have now joked about there being a kind of rota chart for nest time.

For a couple of days after Ervie spent all that time on the nest we didn’t really see him much. He flew in around 13:00 yesterday and, typically, with his arrival, chaos ensued. Ervie enjoyed the last fish of the day before spending the night sleeping on the nest.

When Ervie woke up in the morning, Dad delivered the breakfast fish – and because Ervie was on the nest, he got it. It was 07:02. Falky would have liked it but he stayed on the ropes.

Ervie also got the 09:36:52 fish delivery from Dad. This time Falky was again on the ropes but this time, Falky flew to the nest to try and get the fish. He failed. This means that Ervie had the last three fish deliveries!

At 11:00 both Ervie and Falky are on the nest. Falky finds a fish tail left from Ervie. He grabs it and flies over to the ropes to have a snack.

At 11:12:56 Falky flies over to the nest to join Ervie. Falky probably wants to see if Ervie left any more tasty tidbits.

The arrival of Falky on the nest does not sit right with Ervie and there is a dust up.

Ervie decides he has had enough and leaves. After all, he has had 3 of the last 3 fish deliveries.

Falky gets the 12:45 fish delivery from Dad.

Falky is on the left and he has relieved Dad of the fish. Dad is on the right. You can see that the fledglings are as large as their parents.

Two hours later, Falky remains on the nest. I wonder if this is his reservation day??? We wait to see.

Will Falky occupy the nest and get the next three or four deliveries? Will he spend the night on the nest? We have to wait and see.

I hope that each of you really learned a lot from this Osprey nest and that all of you will tell a friend to watch with you next year.

The Fosters do a great job with The Port Lincoln Osprey Project. They have successfully advocated for satellite trackers for the birds and we have learned much from Solly’s travels. Now we have the opportunity to learn from Ervie. The Fosters also advocate for safety measures for the birds including covers for the hydro poles. Hopefully they will post how that is going on their FB page. I am very grateful to them for this streaming cam and for their FB page. That is where I took today’s screen captures and video clips.

Thanks for joining me! Take care everyone. See you soon.

It’s a Food Coma for the Es

A week ago all of us held our breath as E19 and E20 sorted out their sibling rivalry. There was never a worry. Harriet and M15 are so experienced at parenting and both of them step up to the plate and take on dual feedings. The rivalry has, it seems, diminished so much that any events are rare.

This afternoon the pair enjoyed some nice cat fish. No narration required! Harriet might want a quiet afternoon so she fills up both of them. They fall asleep with large crops!

Adorable!

Thank you for joining me. Take care all.

Thank you to SWFlorida Eagle Cam and the D Pritchett Family for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

New Zealand’s falcon, the Karearea

It is almost the end of November and in about 25 days there will be at least one bobble head, if not two, on the Fort Myers, Florida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15. Bald Eagles are strikingly beautiful – the gorgeous pure white head of the adult with that large bright yellow beak, espresso brown body plumage and watery light blue eyes. The hatchlings are just as adorable with their light grey down. They are called ‘bobble heads’ because they do not have the strength

While we are waiting for those eggs to hatch in Florida, there is a new streaming cam focused on a small New Zealand falcon, the Karearea.

Wikimedia Commons

They are adorable. Thanks Sharon Dunne for mentioning this new cam. The chicks are delightful! Here is the link:

Here is a short video of the chicks trying to get settled in the nest cup.

The Kareara are indigenous to New Zealand. At present, they are very vulnerable. They believe that there are between 5-8,000 birds in the whole of New Zealand. Their threats are loss of habitat, cats, mustelids (they are like wolverines), and hedgehogs. Hedgehogs like their eggs.

The falcons have also been found on several islands but, the area with the highest population is the Kaingaroa Forest between Rotorua and Taupo on New Zealand’s central North Island. You can see Taupo on the map above. The Kaingaroa Forest is the largest forest plantation in New Zealand and is the second largest forest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is 190,000 hectares. The first trees were planted in the early 1900s. They are harvested for the construction industry.

“Kaingaroa Forest” by russellstreet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons

The adults are 40 cm and 50 cm in length. Like almost all raptors, the females are larger than the males.

Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the female can weigh almost twice as much as the males who weigh between 240 g and 350 grams. The females are between 410 g and 720 grams. They cannot fly nearly as fast as the Peregrine Falcons but the Karearea do reach speeds of up to 100 kmh. They are also capable of catching prey that is larger than they are. Wow! They do not eat carrion (dead animals). Their diet consists of mammals, lizards, birds, and insects. These small falcons hunt by watching from a high point flying fast, grasping the prey with their talons and then killing it with a bite to the neck.

Wikimedia Commons

Oh, I hope that you enjoy these adorable little falcons. It is a perfect time to watch them. The Port Lincoln lads will be taking the fish deliveries off the nest to eat them soon. Ervie has already tried fishing and last night he slept on the post not in the nest. He is growing up! No word yet on who will be the Royal Cam family and Cilla Kinross is planning to hunt in unexpected places for Yurruga. And one of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Gabby and Samson, have been working on their nest. Oh, they are a stunning pair.

Gabby on the left and Samson on the right. Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest, Jacksonville.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF and Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the D Pritchett family.

Should we stay or should we go?

As 8 November was beginning to reveal itself in Melbourne, all four of the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon chicks were at the end of the ledge, near the scrape box where they had slept during the night.

At 06:34, Victor Hurley confirmed the first fledge of the 2021 season.

It was absolutely perfect. The sibling on the ledge did not even notice!

and off.

Interestingly, at 08:41:00 when the camera was turned to the other side in anticipation of catching more fledges, there were three falcons at that end and one at the other.

So, did the bird that fledged return? or did it quickly run down to the other end when the camera was turning?

With the camera now pointing to this gorgeous penthouse view of the falcons, we may never know.

These three entertained themselves, bobbing their heads, eating, and watching Mum and Dad do some aerial manoeuvres.

They ate and found scraps of food.

They love walking along the ledge.

In the image below, notice the difference in size. Yes, there is the camera angle and one in front and another behind. Victor Hurley suggests that there are two males and two females this year.

The one in front is likely the much larger female. The smaller male at the back. I think I will go so far as to add that it was probably a male that fledged first also. That tends to be the norm.

They are, of course, perfectly capable of flying. That one flew from the ledge overlooking the street to the window ledge. No problem.

So will these three stay or will they go?

It is nearing 11:10 in Melbourne and all three are on the ledge of 367 Collins overlooking the river.

It is hard to believe that they were ever small fluff balls like they were on 22 October, 17 days ago.

Oh, they still have their pink bills and legs. It is 8 October. The image below was precisely four weeks ago.

This was 1 October. We were all worried that the little one wouldn’t get enough food. That was a bit silly. 39 days ago.

It has been another fabulous year for the Mum and Dad and their chicks at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. Victor Hurley has given us wonderful information on the FB page of the group, sharing all of his knowledge of Peregrine Falcons in the state of Victoria. The camera has been shifted at least twice. Thank you for that! No one wants to miss anything. It has been a great experience. When these three do decide to take the leap of faith and become birds – indeed, the fasting flying bird in the world – we will, indeed, miss them. But oh what a joy they have brought to each of us. We will always be grateful.

And a lesson learned. Falcons need pigeons, so feed them! Don’t put rodenticide up on your roof trying to kill the pigeons. It could be a beautiful falcon that eats that pigeon and dies. Tell your friends and family, too. Let’s make the world safe for these gorgeous birds.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I am still a bit zonked from staying up for the banding of the Port Lincoln Ospreys last night. Those chicks were also very healthy with beautiful feathering – just like the Collins Four.

Thank you to the 367 Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and to Victor Hurley for being so patient with all of us and for his ongoing research on the peregrine falcons.

How is Grinnell?

It was a great discussion by Lynn and Sean from Cal Falcons and Cheryl from Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on Grinnell. I taped it to post here but the file size is too large. Lynn and Sean archived the discussion. Here is the link:

Grinnell is the male Peregrine Falcon whose mate is Annie. Their territory for the past five years has been the campus of the University of California at Berkeley in San Francisco. Their scrape box is in the most iconic building on campus, The Campanile.

On 29 October, Grinnell was observed to be in a territorial fight with two intruder falcons. He was found 1.5 miles away from the Campanile grounded. The eight year old falcon was taken into care. Grinnell had minor surgery related to an injury on his wing. He also had a significant injury to one of his legs, his top beak end was also broken and there were other injuries related to the fight. Grinnell is on medication twice a day that includes anti-inflammatories, anti-parasites, as well as antibiotics. It is not clear if Grinnell could have survived without human interference since he was grounded. He was given fluids and was very hungry and ate on his own instead of being fed by clinic staff. This means that they put food in his hospital cage and he eats when he wants. They checked the sutures in his wing and the wound has not completely healed. They will continue to check that and Grinnell’s parasite load. All birds have parasites at various levels and of various kinds. They do not know for certain but Grinnell will be in care for another week to a month. He has to be fully healed and capable of hunting and flying before he will be released. His beak tip is keratin like our fingernails and will grow back. It is not like a broken bone. At this time they do not know where they will release Grinnell. The experts note that if Grinnell wants to return to his territory even if they released him 100 miles away with the falcon’s keen navigation systems he would find home. So there will be continuing discussions about an appropriate location.

One of the most asked questions was: what about Annie? First, Annie and Grinnell have been together for 5 years raising chicks. Grinnell is an excellent falcon dad partaking in many activities raising the chicks – more than most falcon males who simply do the hunting. This is a big plus for Grinnell. Annie does not know where Grinnell is. He is just gone. Not there. Annie is currently maintaining her territory on top of the Campanile. Annie has been scraping in the scrape box, displaying breeding behaviours towards the ‘new guy’. The falcon experts say that Annie will not likely enter into a fight with the interloper. She does not want to get injured and not be able to breed next year. If Grinnell returns to fight the interloper, she will likely stay out of it to avoid injury. Someone asked if Annie would know Grinnell if he returned. The answer was ‘certainly yes’. Annie would know Grinnell by a sound of his voice miles away. But right now, Annie just knows that Grinnell is not there. She does not know where he is.

Annie in the scrape box. 5 November 2021.

I hope you will listen to the discussion. The questions and the responses were quite informative.

There has been an update on the Joburg Spotted Owls – the foster owlet put in the box with a mother and her two. It has been returned to the box once and has jumped out again. It is now in the garden of the owners. There is a carport and the parents will continue to feed it. They are opting not to return it to the nest box because it will only jump out again.

The weather was grand. 10 degrees C. I visited two of our parks in search of Wood Ducks and was not disappointed. At one there were 25 Mallards, 2 Wood Ducks, and about 400 Canada Geese. At the other there were 6 Wood Ducks, a few Mallards, and about 50 Canada Geese. I will post images tomorrow.

Take care everyone. I hope your weekend is starting off well. See you soon.

A new book by Roy Dennis

My intention had been to go to the nature centre to check on the geese and ducks but that didn’t happen. First, a note came in my mail about a new book by Ron Dennis and second, I spent way too much time talking about bird feeders, seed, and trays at my local seed store.

First up is Roy Dennis’s latest book, Mistletoe Winter.

The description on the web site says:

Times of darkness offer opportunities to reflect. In Mistletoe Winter, Roy Dennis offers his reflections on the natural world from the past year – from the welcome signs of change to the ongoing problems we are posing for nature, and what humankind must do about them.

roydennis.org

Signed copies can be purchased through roydennis.org I have ordered a copy and will tell you all about it when it arrives.

We feed several hundred birds a day. I am not Kathleening!!!!!! One of the biggest problems is the seed or shells falling on the ground and accumulating, particularly in winter. It is not difficult to clear in the summer and early fall except when it rains. In the winter it is a real chore. We have tried various types of seed and feeders. Today’s experiment is a feeder with a tray that can be screwed on the bottom, covered by a dome, and filled with chipped sunflower seeds. Fingers crossed!

There are definitely changes with the Australian birds. The three osplets at Port Lincoln are looking more and more like juveniles. That is Little Bob there in the very middle looking towards Mum.

I did not see it but it was reported to me that one of the trio mantled a prey delivery at 16:12 yesterday.

Little Bob has turned around and is calling to Dad – helping Mum. How cute. The other two are completely oblivious to what is going on. Maybe Little Bob is in training for its role as the female????

There is a bit of a flurry when Dad arrives.

Little Bob has a nice crest from the blowing wind. It doesn’t look like anyone is mantling at this feeding.

All lined up nicely for the last meal of the day.

The Collins Street Four are one month and one day old. The fluffy down on their backs covering their juvenile feathers is falling off fast! This was early morning. I imagine that there will be more juvenile plumage revealed as the day goes on. It is hard to imagine but in a fortnight these four could fledge.

Yurruga is trying to stand and walk. That cannot be an easy feat in the scrape box. She seems to like to sleep tucked into the corner. Meanwhile, Diamond will move the eggs close together trying to keep them warm. I feel so sad for her.

Little Yarruga face planted in the corner!

Cilla Kinross posted a very short video of Yarruga trying to stand up and walk two days ago.

I want to give you a giggle. Richmond and Rosie are the Ospreys on the Whirly Crane in the Richmond Shipping Yards. Richmond is known for bringing interesting items to the nest. Rosie doesn’t particularly like all of this stuff! This video was posted yesterday on their Throwback Thursday videos. It is very short. Be sure to watch until the very end.

The incident took place in 2017. Thank goodness. If this were live we would all be worried that Richmond is going to get his head caught in that back opening of the cap!!!!!!! That is actually very dangerous for birds.

Thank you for joining me. It is a nice day in the garden. Mr Blue Jay is eating his corn on the cob and Dyson is busy at one of the feeders! Take care everyone.

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

Beyond sad. N24 has Avian Pox (updated)

Avian Pox is a virus that effects any number of birds. It is actually widespread throughout North America. Where do the birds get the Avian Pox? There are various ways. One is through mosquitoes or other biting insects. Anyone watching the nest will have noticed mosquitoes. Other ways of catching the disease is being fed an infected bird or animal or even in nesting material. Sadly it is highly contagious and does not degrade for several years. The virus is often found in hot and humid areas such as N24’s natal nest in St Augustine, Florida.

There are various strains and each will impact a specific species of birds differently. Lesions (white, pink, or yellow) develop slowly on various parts of the body but most often are on areas without feathers such as the eagle’s face, its feet, and its talons. The dry pox (Cutaneous type) is the most common in North American raptors and has been seen in Bald Eagles. The other form is the wet pox (Diphtheritic) and this impacts the mouth and the ability of the bird to breathe. The mortality level in Bald Eagles is, according to the University of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, ‘high’.

The cutaneous form of AP is characterized by proliferative wart-like lesions on the unfeathered parts of the bird, such as the beak, eyelids, nostrils and the legs and feet. Clinical signs start as a red swelling that eventually cracks to become raised lesions. These lesions are usually self limiting and may persist from 1 week up to 4. Many birds recover with few or no permanent defects; however, young birds are usually more severely affected than adults. In some instances the lesions can cause permanent damage to the affected areas including blindness, beak malformations and loss of toes and feet. Following infection, lifelong immunity is thought to occur to that strain of virus. Excerpt taken from Avian Pox, Virginia Wildlife Centre, https://www.wildlifecenter.org/avian-poxvirus

N24 had lesions on its beak area yesterday. This morning those lesions are beginning to show up on its talons.

27 February 2021

In a review of the literature, cases appear to range from mild to severe in intensity rarely causing death unless the virus impacts the mucous membranes in the mouth or the respiratory tract. There is, however, no treatment and the American Eagle Association cannot ask for an intervention because it is not directly caused by humans.

The camera screen is foggy today but you can clearly see the lesion. It has changed some from last night in my earlier posting.

N24 has a crop and was playing when I captured this image.

28 February 2021

I am, at this time, trying to ascertain whether or not N24 has the dry or wet form of the Avian Pox. He is young and this virus will substantially impact the little eaglet who is just three weeks old today. It might well impact both Samson and Gabrielle as well as the overall condition of the nest. I will provide updates as they are available twice daily. Please send positive thoughts to this little one, our little ‘cutie pie’.

This is the statement put out by the AEF:
AEF cam staff diligently monitors and inspects the adults and eaglets through the season. On February 20th, our volunteer staff noticed the appearance of two lesions on NE24, after consultation with our veterinary staff, we believe the eaglet is showing symptoms of a potential Avipoxvirus (also known as Avian pox) infection.
Avian Pox is common in warm, humid areas, and can be traced to seasonal mosquito increases.
Avian Pox can range from mild to severe. In mild to moderate cases, it can cause permanent scarring, with more severe cases, fatalities can occur.
The Northeast Florida (NEFL) Nest is a wild nest and infections such as Avian Pox can naturally take place. American Eagle Foundation policy, crafted in conjunction with USFWS guidelines, prohibits interference in a wild nest unless the situation can be directly linked to a man-made threat.
As always, viewer discretion is advised.

To learn more about avian pox, visit the links provided below.
https://www.northeastwildlife.org/disease/avian-pox
https://www.michigan.gov/…/0,4570,7-350-79136_79608…
http://wildlifedisease.unbc.ca/avian_pox.htm

Thank you to the AEF for the streaming cam at the NEFL Eagle Nest where I took my scaps.

Sadness and Hope in Latvia

Spilve is a northern neighborhood of Riga, Latvia. It is most famous for its airport that was operating during World War I which is still busy today training pilots. The word Spilve means a type of ‘cotton grass’.

Spilve Airport with its classical facade. Wikimedia Commons.

Spilve is also the name of a very young and extremely beautiful female Golden Eagle and she is the heroine of our story.

The Golden Eagle is one of the largest raptors in the world. This strong eagle is capable of killing cows and horses but normally subsists on medium sized mammals and large birds. They also eat carrion (dead animals, mostly road kill). Golden Eagles are about the same size as Bald Eagles. Their plumage is a beautiful golden brown and their heads are brown with a gold nape. Their average life span is thirty-two years. In Latvia, they are only a few Golden Eagles. They are extremely rare. They are listed in the Red Book (both in Latvia and Russia) and are highly protected. The European Union Directive 2009/147/EC and Article 4 of the Bird Directive also protect their habitats. Various other laws set up protection zones around nests – year round and seasonal. Anyone must have a permit to enter as human interference is prohibited. With the advent of human-made platform nests, there is a slow increase in the number of Golden Eagles.

In 2010, Ugis Bergmannis, Senior Environmental Protection Agent, built an artificial Golden Eagle nest on an isolated island in a bog. That site is managed by Latvian State Forests. Eaglets were raised on that site up to and including 2016 when the male, Virsis, lost his mate. (No one knows how old Virsis is). There were many females that came around the nest that Virsis protected but no bonds were made. Then in 2019 a dark eyed, dark feathered beauty came to the nest. She was too young to breed but Virsis must have been attracted to her. In the late winter of 2020, the pair began to bring twigs to the nest. During March they were mating. Streaming cam watchers along with the people of Latvia were excited because it had been more than three years since a little Golden eaglet had hatched on that nest! Golden Eagles are extremely rare. Eyes were glued to the streaming cam feed and then at 16:30 on the 28 of March 2020, Spilve went into labour for three minutes. At the end she was chorteling to Virsis to come see. The first egg was fully laid at 16:33. So many people in Latvia and around the world celebrated. On 1 April, Spilve laid her second egg.

Spilve looking at her spotted egg.

Golden Eagles take from 40-45 days of incubation between the day the egg is laid and hatch. Local statistics state that only 8% of the Golden Eagle nests having two eggs actually fledge two juveniles. Of Spilve’s eggs, only one hatched. The first egg was unviable and the second hatched on day 38, the 9th of May 2020. The young eaglet was named Klints which means ‘Rock’. The word for Golden Eagle in Latvian is ‘Klinsu Erglis’.

Little Klints is born on 10 May 2020. Spilve looks down seeing her first eaglet.

The early prey was just small birds brought to the nest. The normal prey for Golden Eagles is rabbits and fawns and some wondered if this area had enough food for the family. Images on the streaming cam show the parents arriving with full crops but often there was no food on the nest. This begins to change after about a week. On 17 May, Spilve catches a large rabbit while Virsis cares for Klints. It is a feast for the whole nest including Klints who is chirping away. After this, a variety of food is brought to the nest including a fox cub, more hares, and even ducks. Food items are plentiful and Klints thrives.

I can stand up – on my ankles!

Virsis and Klints looking into one another’s eyes. How touching.

Klints with Virsis.

By June 1, Klints is strong and is standing.

Klints. 1 June 2020. Standing and looking over edge of nest.

Family portrait on 5 June. Virsis on the left, Klints in the middle and Spilve on the right. Virsis made five small prey deliveries on this day. Everyone is doing well.

Family portrait. Virsis on the left, Spilvie on the right and little Klints with a full crop in the middle.

The following day, Virsis brings the legs of a rabbit and its spine to the nest along with a raccoon for the pantry. Watch out Klints!

Food delivery! Watch out below.

Klints watches, in anticipation, his father deliver the heavy raccoon to the nest. Klints is in his accelerated growing phase and needs a lot of food.

By now Klints is very steady when he is standing and you can see the gorgeous black feathers coming in at the wing tips. What a beautiful eaglet!

Did you order a raccoon?

Parents begin to leave Klints on the nest alone by itself. They bring small prey items and Klints mantles and tries to eat them whole without a lot of success. Spilve feeds him. On the 12th of June only a small bird is delivered to Klints by Virsis. It is raining off and on and it is getting hot and humid. 13 June is a much better hunting day for Virsis and he brings a large prey item into the nest. There is enough for everyone!

On 16 June Spilve arrives at the nest with a limp. There is a big thunderstorm and no prey items on the nest for Spilve and Klints to eat. Both are cold and drenched.

Cold and shivering.

Once the rain stops, Virsis brings food to the nest for Klints. Shortly after, Spilve arrives with a small bird. There is lots for everyone to eat. Klints is not self-feeding and he relies on Spilve to feed him. He is meeting each and every one of his milestones. Look at the gorgeous dark plumage coming in on Klints’s wings and back.

Virsis brings prey to Klints.

21 June. Huge milestone. Klints begins self-feeding! Like every other eaglet, it depends on the prey item as to how much success they will have. Spilve is not far away. She watches over Klints so no intruder will harm him. Klints has a difficult time and on 23 June Spilve is at the nest to feed him a late morning breakfast.

23 June Spilve feeds a breakfast of leftovers. Mom and little one kissing.

On 22 June, Vrisis brings in two baby cubs and an adult Black Grouse. This is a bounty. Everyone eats well. Adult eagles can travel as much as 10 kilometres to hunt. Vrisis makes it clear that there are ample prey items to bring to the nest.

23 June. Exercising in the 28+ C temperatures.

June 22 is the last time Virsis is ever seen. He will be presumed dead. Without Virsis to bring in large prey items, Spilve is limited to the area of the nest for hunting. The female eagle’s main job is to take care of and protect the eaglet at the nest. She will only then only hunt around the nest for both of them to survive. Owls and other predators do live in the area. Spilve brings the small prey item which is on the nest near Klints’s talons but he cannot eat. It is too late.

As one of the researchers said, a week without enough food caused this very healthy Golden Eaglet to die of starvation. They said it is clear that one adult cannot feed the baby. And, indeed, after Virsis disappears, owls are around the nest and Spilve knows she cannot leave her baby.

30 June 2020

Klints dies of starvation on 1 July 2020. Spilve brings a small food item and tries to wake Klints to eat. She brings food twice before she comes to understand what has happened. How very, very sad.

1 July 2020

Spilvie was seen visiting the nest in August. She was very careful around the body of Klints which is partially covered with pine needles. Some eagles are known to cover the bodies of their dead in the nest, sometimes moving them periodically. Others cover them and leave them for a few days and then remove them. Eagles have their mourning rituals. At the Captiva Bald Eagle nest in Florida, little Peace was kept in the nest for a number of days and then removed. When Hope died, the parents stood vigil over her body until it was removed for a necroscopy. Both died of rodenticide poisoning, something that could easily be avoided. Peace was young but Hope was big and strong like Klints. So very, very sad.

Spilve is very, very careful. She finds the little bit of food that she brought to Klints after he had died and she eats it.

I am trying to find out if this is a last visit to the nest for Spilve before she migrates for the winter. If anyone knows, please write to me.

On 25 February 2021, a stranger comes to the nest.

Soon Spilve and the new male are making nestorations. It appears that they have bonded. Klints body is covered with more pine and twigs.

You can see the video here;

I would like to thank one of my readers, Etj from Brazil, for alerting me to this wonderful nest and to the plight of this family. All of the scaps of Virsis, Spilve, Klints, and the new male are taken from the Latvian Golden Eagles/LVM Klinsu erglis streaming cam. (Be aware of the time difference. I am not showing images during the night and either the cam is down or there is no IR). Let us all hope that Spilve and her new mate have many successful years together and healthy fledges.