Peace at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and other news in Bird World

26 October 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

Oh, gosh, golly. Tomorrow I will be telling you what a wonderful day it is but today, it is another grey, cloudy, and miserable day. The joy is seeing all of the birds in the garden this morning. There is a row of lilac bushes about 13 metres long. Every branch is moving a little. If you look long enough, you can see the birds. (There are still leaves on those bushes). So happy that you could be with me and the birds.

Little Red and I hope that you have a fantastic day today!

Making News:

Lori Covert posted an image of the new Osprey platform for Lena and Andy. Oh, my goodness. Isn’t this wonderful! Thank you Lori and Connor at Windows to Wildlife.

There she goes!

It is always nice to have a really good news story and this is one of those. Thinking back on the eaglets from last spring, you might well remember the eaglet from the US Steel Nest, that ‘fludged’. Rosie was taken into care and on the 21st of October, after being in care for 5 months, this beautiful eaglet was released into the wild. Read the full story here:

https://triblive.com/local/shes-a-big-girl-now-rehabbed-steel-mill-eagle-rosie-released-with-a-7-foot-wingspan/?fbclid=IwAR1_oN5Jh-Lolusjh8w3fT–bsAPgl597KbzTHy5OGx_NdH-x63SkqtEhCI

https://www.observertoday.com/news/latest-news/2022/10/audubons-bald-eagle-liberty-dies/?fbclid=IwAR0mVfXhkw59mBB1xiw3a68JL63yA40RVVTbDcK431cB95pMfa4d9qBDvRA

The Audubon Centre’s beautiful Bald Eagle ambassador, Liberty, has died. She is going to be sadly missed by all the visitors and the staff she has delighted for decades.

Here is her story:

Liberty, Audubon’s Bald Eagle has passed

One of the things that I am looking forward to, when I next visit the UK, is a murmuration. There are many places to travel to see these amazing images of Starlings (and others) – hundreds if not thousands – flying and changing direction is a distinct coordination. A murmuration will take your breath away the first time you see one. Check to see if there are any local happenings near you!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/22/country-diary-a-vast-murmuration-of-lapwings-and-starlings

If you are unfamiliar or just want a refresher on murmurations, here is a very good to the point short article by The Woodland Trust.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/11/starling-murmurations/

I would add Gretna to that listing.

Australian Nest News:

Checking on the Australian nests later in the day, another nice fish landed on the Port Lincoln barge at 12:04:11. Oh, I thought Big was going to be a bit grumpy but, she wasn’t. She always demands to be fed first and Middle began his snatch and grab and eating – he is behind Mum – about half way through the fish. Oh, Middle is getting so smart! He is now eating very well in part because Big has calmed, there are big fish arriving on the nest, the pair eat more at a sitting but require less feedings…and also Middle being clever. He can really read the environment and he watches and listens and knows when to stay out of Big’s way!

Middle is behind Mum enjoying the last half of that fish. Big will, like usual, want some late fish but there is lots.

Big decides she wants another bite!

Mum gives Middle some fish scrapes but she also gets to eat a few bites herself.

There is absolutely no discord. All is going well. Dad brought in a bedtime snack late in the day. It was 1953.

The cam operator took some lovely close ups of Big and Middle earlier.

If you have been avoiding Port Lincoln for fear of further beaking, now is the time to return. The nest is very harmonious. These two are getting their beautiful juvenile plumage and they are beginning to be much steadier on their walking. They will be measured, weighed, banded, given names and their genders will be revealed at a time to be determined from the 12-14th of November. Here is the link to their streaming cam:

At Orange, Diamond picked around through the scrape finding tidbits of scraps to feed to Indigo and Rubus around 1050. At 10:54:36, Xavier arrives with what looks like a well prepped parrot. Indigo got the first of many good bites but, then, all of a sudden, Rubus, who had been standing on the Cilla stones, decided he was famished. My goodness is Rubus aggressive when there is food around!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a cute video of the 1530 feeding at Orange yesterday. There are some great images of Rubus! It is nice to hear the sounds and see the eyases moving and wanting food!

This video was shot from the side cam but ‘A’ is telling me to make sure we look at the ledge cam often as it covers the corner that Indigo and Rubus are liking for sleeping.

Melbourne’s pigeon population is dwindling — OK. I doubt if the number of pigeons will even be noticed but, normally, on an Osprey nest with three chicks, anywhere from 450-500 food items are eaten. I wonder how many on a Falcon nest? Five feedings a day?? Yesterday was an interesting one. At 0834, there was a tug of war and a small prey item was taken and the eyases were self feeding.
After breakfast, there was another pigeon delivery at 1013:07 and then another one at 13:51. The 1013 feeding lasted 10 minutes with Mum and Dad feeding the eyases. The 1351 lasted 18 minutes.

Food is such a great motivator. The eyases will, eventually, get themselves up out of the gutter where they have been running and sleeping for that lovely pigeon.

The Melbourne Four will have another two meals before the day is over. At 1437 there is a terrifically short feeding of two minutes with the longer evening meal lasting seventeen minutes at 1849. Thank you to ‘H’ for providing those feeding lengths and confirming my times.

Just look at those wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This image is from that self-feeding frenzied moment earlier in the day.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, posts, and videos that make up my screen captures: Liz M and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Lori Covert Instagram Post, Observer Today News, Tribilive, Port Lincoln Ospreys and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.


Monday in Bird World

11 April 2022

The tributes continue to come in for Grinnell! It is more than heart-warming to know that this little falcon touched the hearts and lives of so many in such a positive way.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/11/peregrine-falcons-grinnell-annie-captivated-audience

I have not seen the list of names chosen by Cal Falcons in the naming contest. Will keep you posted.

A soap opera saga is playing out in the Glaslyn Valley in Wales. The four players are Mrs G, the oldest UK Osprey; her mate, Aran, Monty’s son Aeron Z2 at Pont Cresor, and Blue 014. With the late arrival of Aran and Blue 014, Aeron Z2 and Mrs G got a little too comfortable over at Aeron’s Pont Cresor nest. When both Aran and Blue 014 returned yesterday things got a little sticky. It looks like the guys are going to leave the girls to fight it out. I am just not clear which Aran or Aeron Mrs G wants!!!!!!!!

Aran is really handsome and looks in tip top shape. It is interesting, in terms of bird behaviour, what happens to a couple after there has been a loss of chicks on a nest and, to add to that, an injury to the male. That is precisely what happened at Glaslyn last year. We will wait to see how this sorts itself out.

Handsome Aran. 10 April 2022

Aran is enjoying his fish and keeping watch over his nest while the ladies fight it out.

While the drama continues to unfold in Glaslyn, the folks down in Poole Harbour are rejoicing at the reuniting of CJ7 and Blue 022. These two are totally committed to one another. What is at stake? The first Osprey to hatch in Poole Harbour in over 200 years! It is really exciting. CJ7 waited a couple of years for a mate and Blue 022, a youngster, showed up last year very keen – very keen, indeed.

The list of Ospreys left to return to the UK is growing shorter by the hour. Both Louis and Dorcha returned to the Loch Arkaig Nest safe and sound. So happy!

Some of you will remember the 2020 Osprey season at Loch Arkaig with Louis and his mate, Aila. They raised three amazing fledglings. Sadly, Aila did not return last year. Louis moved to a different nest and bonded with the female that is now called Dorcha.

I adore Louis. He is a great provider and a fabulous father. Here he is bringing Dorcha a fish. Louis knows how to take good care of his family.

It is very windy at Loch Arkaig today. It is hard to get a good image of Louis and Dorcha. Louis is on the left and Dorcha is on the right. Notice Louis’s beautiful necklace. I saw someone on one of the chats the other day comment that they thought only females have necklaces. That is not correct; there are quite a few male Ospreys with exquisite necklaces – the envy of many females!

Here is a link to camera 2 at Loch Arkaig:

I started the other day, with my friend ‘S’s list of favourite Osprey nests. So I want to go back to that list because Chesapeake Bay is on that list of great Osprey nests to live stream. The nest is on Kent Island just off the coast of Maryland. It is on the property of ‘The Crazy Osprey Family’. This family has been sponsoring a streaming cam for the Ospreys since 2012.

The Chesapeake Conservancy Osprey nest is the home to Tom and Audrey. Last year, after a couple of eggs broke in the nest, the couple fledged one chick, CJ.

Some viewers have been concerned about what appears to be a cut on Audrey’s chest. I say ‘cut’ because it does not appear to be blood from bringing in a fish. It is amazing how quickly wildlife heal and the water around the nest is 50% salt which is excellent to help cuts heal (Thanks ‘L’ for checking on that amount of salt here). Audrey should be fine.

The couple who returned to the nest from their winter migration to South America – Audrey on the 18th of March and Tom on the 25th – have been caught on camera mating today. If mating is successful, it takes three days to produce an egg. Keep watching!

Here is the link to Tom and Audrey’s camera:

The Osprey family on the light stand at the University of Florida at Gainesville survived the ball game yesterday. All three chicks were wide awake and ready for fish this morning! It is too early to tell how this nest is going to turn out. Middle and Little Bob still do not control their head as well as Big Bob who is right up front for food.

Here is a link to this cam:

https://wec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/ospreycam/

Richmond and Rosie, the bonded pair of Ospreys whose nest is on a World War II crane at the Richmond Shipping Yards in SF Bay are hilarious. I highly recommend this nest – yes, absolutely. Solid Ospreys.

However, Richmond got a little carried away and decided to bring a small tree to the nest. In the process, he almost broke all the eggs! Richmond!!!!!

Then later Richmond decided he wanted to incubate the two eggs and was tired of waiting so he sat on Rosie! Richmond, maybe Rosie is thinking of laying a third egg??? What do you think?

Doing a quick check on Middle Little at Dale Hollow shows both eaglets ate well, both parents on the nest and a couple of nice hunks of fish. No sign of any monofilament line. All is well.

Middle Little is growing really well and eating good! Look at that big hunk of fish.

Sitting on the Canadian Prairies you would not know that a super storm is set to hit the area tomorrow. Most people are being extremely cautious. Our rivers are full to overflowing and they are predicting ‘the storm of the century’. Is it weatherman hype? In this case I hope they are entirely wrong! Thousands of Dark-eyed Juncos have just descended on our City, the Geese are nesting, the Snowy Owls are migrating north, and more song birds are moving in by the day.

This was Sunday in a rural area. The water is now up over the banks there.

There are tens of thousands of Canada Geese in Manitoba and more arriving daily.

Normally the geese leave you alone unless you get too close to their nest. Then watch out!

This little red squirrel had a stash of corn kernels at the base of the tree in the park.

He was such a cutie.

Oh, he looks like my Dyson with part of the fur on his tail missing. Poor thing.

Speaking of Dyson, I need to go and make sure that there are plenty of solid seed cylinders placed in various locations so that the squirrels can get to them during the storm. It should not be arriving until tomorrow evening – plenty of time to restock wood for the Jotul stove in case the electricity goes out, find candles, and generally get ready to sit back and read for several days. Can’t wait!

I hope that all of you are well. Thank you so much for joining me today. It is a pleasure to have you with us.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, Woodland Trust and Friends of Loch Arkaig, Explore.org, SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, UFL Ospreys at Gainesville, DHEC, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, and Poole Harbour Ospreys.

Late Monday in Bird World

Any worries about the bopping that Big Bob seems to want to inflict on Little Bob as of late should be cast aside. Little Bob is a survivor and he won’t let anything Big does keep him from his favourite fish! At the feeding around 15:00, all three Bobs had enormous crops. Little Bob was the last one to leave the table.

Each of the trio looked like they would just about pop.

Everyone is hot at the Captiva Osprey nest. The chicks are panting to help thermoregulate.

Lena decided to go for a dip in herr own private area of the Gulf of Mexico to cool down. Lena has a pretty enormous crop, too. She went for her dip right after feeding the chicks. One thing Lena seems to really dislike is fish oil on her feathers. She has returned and is trying her best to keep the babies shaded, too.

It’s Monday and the fishing is good.

Meanwhile in Big Bear Valley, Jackie has fed the wee babe again at 13:01. I sat and giggled at the size of the pieces she was offering the eaglet.

Would you like some fish tail, darling?

Or, perhaps this is a better size????

It was quite humorous. I had a feeling, at one point, that Jackie was trying to demonstrate horking to the nearly four day old chick. Horking meaning to eat very quickly a large piece that would otherwise be eaten in smaller bites.

Jackie then settled into feeding the wee one smaller bites til it had a nice crop and was ready for another nap and some more growth.

Adorable.

NE 27 continues to do the snatch and grab rather well. He stole an entire fish from Samson today. 27 was already full, almost to the brim. Perhaps Jasper will get some time to practice his self-feeding if and when 27 gives up on the fish. Meanwhile, this is a short clip (don’t blink) of NE27 walking and doing some wing exercises.

B15 at the Berry College nest of Pa Berry and Missy is the sweetest little eaglet. It still has that adorable face it had when it was wee and a great big curiosity about the world around it. Pa Berry has been bringing in all manner of prey items. A squirrel landed on the nest for breakfast.

It scares the wits out of me when the eaglets look over the rim of the nest like B15 is doing below!

I missed him! Did you? This is the most recent tracking report on Ervie.

Awwww. Would have given anything to see Ervie. Bet I was watching Big Bear at the time.

There was a report of 130 Mallards and 1 American Black Duck at an open piece of water in one of the two big rivers that flows through our City. This one was the Red River. And, yes, they were there. Hard to see as I was scandalously far away and didn’t have my 2x adaptor.

Just before I took off to find the ducks and that small open piece of water, Little Red had been waiting, warming himself in the sunshine, while another Red squirrel had their eyes on his penthouse. Little Red wanted some of the peanuts I put out before Dyson got them but he decided to protect his territory instead.

Dyson, on the other hand, was being a right little trouble maker today. I put out a new square hanging feeder full of a mixture of Butter Bark, peanuts, and Black Oil seed. So what does Dyson do? He creeps through the Lilac bushes and takes a flying leap at it! About 2 litres of seed fell on the ground. What a mess!!!! Dysonnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!

Dyson saw me watching. Whether or not he was concerned is another story as he sat and stuffed his cheeks for more than ten minutes. Then when I moved to another window, he decided that sitting inside the lilacs and eating his prize seeds was best. He was still going in and out for quite a long time.

As it warms up the squirrels seem to be coming out more. There are rabbit tracks all around the garden so we know that Hedwig is around and the Little Woodpeckers – both Mr and Mrs Downy – have been around most days at the suet feeder. Sharpie even flew through at least once yesterday causing everyone to flee hither and yon. Thankfully the European Starlings have dropped considerably in numbers at the feeders. There are now only about 7 or 8. It gives the other birds a chance to flit in and out including the Black Capped chickadee who visits daily.

I hope that this quick and short newsletter finds you well. Again, most of the bird nests are doing fine. There seem to still be intruders about at some nests and the wee one at Duke Farms still has trouble getting to the table. I am going to hold my breath and check on it and Dale Hollow in a couple of days.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care.

Thank you to the following streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Friends of Big Bear, Berry College Eagles, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, and Friends of Big Bear Valley.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

It turned out to be just a grand day for a walk at our park. In fact, while it was -11 C my winter walking clothes rated for the extreme winter temperatures to -30 C proved to be way too hot! It was hard to get the attention of the Red Squirrels because they were thinking ‘spring’ as they chased one another up and down the paths and up a tree, over a branch to another tree.

The photo below should go in the bin. When the little Red squirrel heard me, it stuck its head out of its nest. Before I could even get the camera focused, it was down on the ground. Sadly, the bars of the fence around The English Garden were very much in the way. But, there he is. Cute. Wanting some seed!

S/he scurried down the tree in anticipation of some seeds.

Quite the cutie and much more comfortable with humans than the squirrels in my garden.

Gosh, they are quick. Several big leaps like this and this wee Red almost landed at the fence.

Properly rewarded with some peanuts and Black Oil Seed.

This gorgeous Black-capped Chickadee landed right above me. I could hear the call but could not see the little songbird. So I turned quickly, turned the camera lens all the way to 600 mm and just hoped that I had an image.

When I finished my laps of the garden,, I returned to where I began. The little red squirrel was still eating its seed. No other squirrel cut in and took any. How wonderful.

There is always the question of feeding the animals at the park. Signage went up at the duck ponds not to feed the waterfowl. This was to stop people from feeding them bread so that they did not eat the plants growing in the water. But in the dead of winter? Habitats are lost, the seeds that might normally be available might not be. It is difficult. I have chosen to feed the wildlife. Make sure if you do that you always place the food in a safe place for them.

Annie’s return was cause for a major celebration. Cal Falcons posted a video of that moment! There is a close up at around 15:00 minutes.

This one shows Annie in the scrape reclaiming her ‘nest’.

Everything just feels right at The Campanile with Annie home.

The ospreys at Captiva, Florida had three good feedings today. The last one was at 18:14.

Lena arrives with a piece of fish. There was some concern as she had been away from the nest for 20 minutes leaving the chicks uncovered. Now that there are Crows about, this is a wee bit dangerous.

You can see how Big Bob is gradually changing and getting so dark. His head is like black oil and if you look carefully there are some coppery feathers coming in. Big Bob still has his crop from the earlier feeding at 15:51.

Little Bob is in the middle. The older siblings are rapidly changing in appearance.

Oh, look at those fat little bottoms. These chicks are doing well.

Bedtime! And look who is peeking out!!!!!!! Little Bob with a nice crop. Fantastic.

There is some concern at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest. Squirrels had been making holes in the nest. Diane had laid three eggs set to hatch in about 10-14 days. She has been seen spending less and less time on the nest. It is thought that the eggs have rolled down the holes created by the squirrel. There is only one camera and we cannot see down into the nest. There are certainly not any eggs visible but maybe the egg cup is just really deep. Still the behaviour indicates that something has happened. We wait and watch.

Today at the WWII Whirley crane in the Richmond Shipyards, Richmond and Rosie was taking in the view of their territory together! Looking forward to a great year from these two!

Aren’t they a gorgeous couple?

The feedings at Dale Hollow are going well. The twins wanted to exert their seniority at the table today but, in the end, a female Bald Eagle with at least 17 or 18 years experience raising eaglets can handle anything. River is an excellent Mum and Obey also likes to tandem feed the kids. I have no worries about this nest.

It is a gorgeous day at the nest of Jackie and Shadow in Big Bear Lake, California. We remain on pip watch.

Shadow is on incubation duties and you can hear the Ravens in the background. Jackie and Shadow have to be extremely careful not to be tricked or lured by the Ravens who desperately would like those eggs.

According to the mods, the eggs are 35 and 38 days old. Again, due to the high elevation, pips will come later than other nests at lower elevations.

Thank you so much for joining me on a quick check of some of the nests we are watching. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear Valley, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, Golden Gate Audubon and SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, and Achieva Credit Union.

Late Saturday Bird World News

I have spent the morning sorting books and clearing out paper and all that gets accumulated before you realize it. In the midst of all of that I found a really nice letter from the Director of the 1000 Islands Environmental Centre in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. I think that each of you will be interested in the contents of this letter – indeed, I know you will.

“Bald eagles typically have a clutch of 1-3 eggs laid in late February or early March and hatch approximately 34-36 days later…Observations on the nest of the 1000 Islands Conservancy Zone confirmed a successful hatching with video and photo evidence of eaglets. Over the weekend, additional video of the nest was able to show that the adult pair have successfully hatched four eaglets.”

This is an extremely rare occasion. Nowak continues, “Successfully hatching four chicks in one nest is a very rare occurrence for bald eagles and it is an event to celebrate and safeguard. There have been very few documented cases of nests with four eaglets, and despite the success the eagles have had to this point, the adults face a significant challenge to provide enough food to sustain the young eaglets until they are independent this summer.”

There are the four nestlings being fed by Mum. Can you imagine how busy those parents were providing food?!

Here is a video of one of those feedings:

And guess what? The four eaglets fledged!!!!!!!! So if anyone ever asks you if you know of a Bald Eagle nest fledging four, you can now say ‘yes’ with confidence. This is one of those really feel good stories.

Today, I have spent more time cleaning than checking on the birds. Ferris Akel has his tour going on behind me and he has made me really miss the ducks in our City. I am just counting the weeks until April when they return.

In other Bird World news, we are still eggspecting Liberty to lay her second egg today. Lots of people watching and waiting. I continue to check.

UPDATE: Liberty laid that second egg today, as expected, at 14:42. I have to say I even felt for her as she was in labour! Congratulations Liberty and Guardian.

Andy is giving Lena a bit of a break at the Captiva Osprey nest. We are now on pip watch for this couple. It remains unclear to me if the owner still intends to shut off the camera after a hatch. The Ospreys have had bad luck in the past with the Crows taking the chicks. My understanding is that the camera is to be shut down until such time the chicks would be too big for the Crows. We wait to see.

And sadly, the camera at Port Lincoln is off line again. This is the last available image of Ervie and Dad on the barge. I always keep these. You never know if this will be our last sighting of Ervie for some time.

UPDATE: The Port Lincoln Osprey Barge camera is now up and streaming again. Ervie is watching the water! That is a good sign. Oh, wouldn’t we love to see him catch a fish off that barge! And not a Puffer or a Toadfish, please, Ervie.

It is a beautiful blue sky with sun here creating deep shadows on the snow. It is -19. Today’s garden adventure is brought to you by Little Red. A week ago I put a suet bell on a hanger for Little Woodpecker. Someone has been working very hard because they got the heavy suet off the holder, took it across the snow and got it on top of the small wood shed in the back. At that point the suet got stuck on a branch. (I lay them on top of one another on the top so the birds can get inside and hide if Sharpie comes!). That someone is Little Red! What a surprise. He deserves every bite of that suet. What a character! And a hard worker.

There is the object of desire. That little squirrel really managed to get it quite far.

Little Red got big bites of the suet. He would then run up to Sharpie’s post and eat it in the sun and then run back and get some more.

Isn’t this squirrel adorable?

Oh, the joy and the giggles these garden animals bring!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Little Red says to remember to leave some food for the squirrels, too! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB page where I took my screen captures: Redding Bald Eagles, Explore.org, Captiva Osprey Cam, and 1000 Islands Conservation Zone FB page.

Good night from Thunder and Aceta at the West End Bald Eagle Cam on Catalina Island. Looks hot.

d
Catalin

Blame it on Dyson

According to all of those pop-ups on the computer that can drive you mad at times, today is Black Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving to kick off a season of buying – all those things we want but don’t need, everything to put a smile on someone’s face for the holidays, etc. I said that I would not buy anything on a Black Friday sale. Famous last words?

Dyson is our resident grey squirrel with the ‘good tail.’ There are 2 others, another small one with a weird tail and the big grey one. Dyson got his name because he can suck up more bird seed than all of the birds in our garden together and in record time.

Dyson was regularly coming to take the corn cob away from Mr Blue Jay.

For several days Mr Blue Jay, Mrs Blue Jay and Junior thwarted Dyson’s attempts. And then Dyson got clever. OK, he is clever he just worked faster to get that cob out of sight.

The little grey squirrel would push and pull until he got the cob off the deck. He had to move it over cinder blocks and flower beds before getting it on the grass. Then he pushed and pulled and got it about 5 metres away. Then the cob disappeared.

Where his winter’s supply is, we do not know.

From the corn cobs Dyson advanced to the hanging tray feeder where he could sit or pancake himself eating all the glorious nuts and berries. That was until Little Red explained to Dyson that the hanging feeder is ‘off limits’.

Little Red cleared Dyson out of the hanging feeder in no time. I wonder if he has a silent alarm that lets him know if someone steps on that feeder?

Little Red enjoying a nut in the hanging tray feeder.

Dyson then discovered the ‘new’ chipped peanut and sunflower seed feeder with accompanying tray. No effort at all, just sit and vacuum out the goodies! I am certain the man at the birdseed store was laughing as I left the store the day he sold me that tray!

So, word of warning. If you have a persistent squirrel around that you love – and I mean who wouldn’t love Dyson? – don’t put a tray on your feeder so the seed won’t fall to the ground. All it does is act like a squirrel platform! Dyson has even be caught napping between meals on that tray!

Even though Dyson has found the ‘gold mine’ of feeders, he does not like to share his space with Little Woodpecker – and, yes – Dyson has figured out how to get at the suet cylinders, too! I went off today to see if there was ‘something’ for the woodpeckers that Dyson would not like. And that is how it happened.

I walked into the door of the seed store and was promptly met by the cheerful owner who put a bag in my hand and told me that it was their Black Friday Sale and everything that would fit in the bag would be 20% off. Dyson!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow’s challenge for Dyson will be the new wire mesh feeder with the chopped peanuts mixed equally with the Bark Butter Bits for Little Woodpecker. The owner smiled and said, ‘Make sure you don’t put a tray under the feeder!’

From Dyson and all the gang in the garden, we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday the 19th in Bird World

It has been a bit of a day in the bird and wildlife world. Coming hot on the heels of the banning of trail hunting on Natural Resources Wales land and the National Trust properties in the UK, the State of Washington in the US has suspending bear hunting. It was well known that the adults were killed right when they came out of hibernation leaving cubs to fend for themselves, often dying. People, like you and me, called for these archaic practices to halt. The government listened. Remember that because every person can make a difference! You want hunting suspended in your state or province, phone and find out who to talk to. Write an informed letter. Demand change. Ask like-minded people to join you.

I am not going to start off with the streaming cams just yet. It was a grey damp day – with a little sunshine at times – on the Canadian prairies. The garden was full of birds, mostly sparrows and some Starlings. Mr Blue Jay came and went quickly. He does not seem to like the frozen corn cob. And, of course, there was Dyson & Company, along with Little Red.

All these years I have pondered the sheer amount of ‘bird’ seed that we go through in a week. It is true that there are normally 250-300 birds singing and eating daily but, how much can they eat? It appears that not all that new seed – seedless chipped sunflower and peanuts – is going to birds!

Dyson didn’t like the frozen corn either and didn’t bother to even take it for later. He has discovered how to vacuum out that new bird seed. I think I now know who broke my other feeder. Dyson has no shame. He lives to eat.

Dyson looks a little thinner in the image above but the one below is more of a likeness of this little one. Dyson brings us so much joy that we are thrilled he is healthy going into what might be a very bad winter.

With Dyson occupied on the sunflower/peanut feeder, it meant that Little Red could sneak on the tray feeder and eat all the cashews, fruit, Brazil nuts, and peanuts. If you are wondering, yes, the birds and animals possibly eat better than I do! Little Red is so cute.

Little Red lives in the penthouse. It is a ‘shed’ the size of a garage that is taxed like it is a new garage by our City. We haven’t had the heart to evict the little fellow even thought he fills everything up with Maple seeds and knocks everything off its hooks and generally makes a complete mess of the space.

There were a few European Starlings still in the garden. They will migrate returning next April but they are lingering just like some of the ducks and the Northern Cardinals. Who knows? Maybe they know what winter will be like better than anyone. They certainly have enjoyed eating the suet cylinder.

Others felt like Black Oil Seed today.

Isn’t she cute with her rosey legs and slightly pink tinted beak? Female house sparrows get short shift in the bird guides. It is a pity. They are quite lovely.

Last year I planted Scarlett Runner Beans and at the end of the summer the sparrows went wild shredding all of them and eating the greenery. What you are looking at below is a Flame Willow shrub. In winter the branches are red – super beautiful in a world of grey, white, and beige. There is some little vine or plant growing on that shrub. The sparrows have discovered it and they are doing the same thing – shredding and eating. Has anyone seen this behaviour?

And now back to the streaming cams for a quick update.

Port Lincoln Osprey Barge: By 09:30, three fish had been delivered to the nest. Bazza initially got the first fish when it arrived at 06:23. Ervie took it away from him. Bazza did nothing to try and get it back. Falkey got the 06:49:38 fish. The third fish arrived at 09:11:09 and Falkey got it, too. Ervie had a huge crop. He wasn’t bothered. Yesterday Cilla Kinross of the Orange Peregrine Falcons said that “Shrinking violets will not last long in the real world.” Bazza is hungry and he needs to challenge his brothers despite that he might be fearful of another incident like he had with Ervie.

Falkey has the fish. Bazza is crying to Mum and Ervie with his big crop is looking out to sea on the right. Will Mum take the fish and feed Bazza?

The White Tailed Eagle Nest in Durbe, Latvia. Milda and Mr L were at the nest working on more renovations. It was getting ready to rain and the image is a little ‘foggy’. Sorry about that. It is nice to see Milda. I hope that this will be a successful year for her after the tragedy of spring 2020.

The Minnesota DNR has turned on its Bald Eagle cam. Here is a video of that amazing couple – the sub-adult male who fathered his first chicks at the age of four last year – and the older female. This video was made on 18 November. It looks like Dad has his adult plumage this year! How wonderful. He will have turned 5.

Cornell Red Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca. The camera has been frozen for awhile. I wrote to the Cornell Bird Lab to inform them and to also ask them if there have been any confirmed sightings of Big Red since the last one on 16 October. I will keep you informed.

Annie and Grinnell. I have not seen any updates. As well, nothing on the WBSE juvenile.

You might remember Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. That little one is a fine example of a third hatch so tiny everyone thought it would die and well, she became the dominant bird on the nest. Her number is Blue 463. I am watching all of the announcements for her arrival in warmer climates. Today, however, the 2016 hatch from Foulshaw Moss, male Blue V8, was spotted in Tanji Marsh in The Gambia. He was seen there in January 2021 and was in Cumbria during the summer of 2021. This is the good news you want to hear. Survival.

And on that wonderful sighting, I will close. Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend. Stay safe. Thank you so very much for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Latvian Fund for Nature, Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and to Lady Hawk for her video on the arrival of the two Bald Eagles to the MN DNR nest.

Fall to winter

The beautiful weather that we had on the Canadian Prairies yesterday was due to dramatically change over night.

Footpath linking Portage Avenue with Assiniboine Park over the Assiniboine River

Our weather will go from nice blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures to snow and then snow mixed with rain. It is currently 0 degrees C and will warm up to a balmy 2 degrees C in the morning when the precipitation begins. My daughter messaged me to tell me there were still some Canada Geese and ducks in the Assiniboine River. It seemed like a good time to get out and go for one last nice walk.

The little Red Squirrel at Assiniboine Park knows that the warmth is not going to last. It was busy pulling off the seeds from a Maple tree and cramming them into holes and in the grooves in the bark of a tree. He was so busy he did not even notice the people standing and watching him.

The geese were looking for any blade of grass to eat they could find.

Some were in the duck pond flapping their wings trying to stir up the plants from the bottom of the pond.

Others were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the warm sunshine.

It gets dark around 17:00 and as I was leaving some of the geese were flying away. Are they heading south for the winter?

I really hope that the geese and ducks got out of the City last night like the ones above taking flight. As promised, we have snow. Mr Blue Jay has come to visit and the sparrows are trying to find seed under the snow.

There are many feeders filled with sunflower chips, suet, black oil sunflower seeds, and then that wonderful ‘trail’ mix which looks better than what I make.

The sparrows in the snow on the deck know there are goodies underneath. Why they are not back at the feeders I cannot tell you. There is room for everyone there.

What a handsome little House Sparrow this fellow is. You can always tell them by their grey caps!

So how do birds cope with winter? This article was published by Daisy Yuhas in 2013 but it is still accurate now. Have a read – it is really interesting:

“Each autumn as many birds begin epic journeys to warmer climates, there are always some species that stay put for the winter. These winter birds have a better chance of maintaining their territory year-round, and they avoid the hazards of migration. But in exchange they have to endure the cold.Like us, birds are warm blooded, which means their bodies maintain a constant temperature, often around 106 degrees Fahrenheit. To make enough heat, and maintain it, they’ve evolved many different strategies–some similar to our own.Sparrows, for example, seek out shelter in dense foliage or cavities to avoid the elements. They also huddle, bunching together to share warmth, and try to minimize their total surface area by tucking in their head and feet and sticking up their feathers. Cardinals, impossible to miss against the snow, and other smaller birds puff up into the shape of a little round beach ball to minimize heat loss.”Big birds, like geese and grouse, do what we do,” says physiologist David Swanson at the University of South Dakota. “They put on insulation.” Their insulation often involves growing an extra set of insulating downy feathers.Birds can also put on fat as both an insulator and energy source: More than 10 percent of winter body weight may be fat in certain species, including chickadees and finches. As a result, some birds spend the vast majority of their daylight hours seeking fatty food sources, making feeder food even more precious for surviving a frosty night.When asked which birds are toughest winter survivors, Swanson points to little ones like chickadees. These small creatures can’t put on too much bulk for aerodynamic reasons. Instead, explains Swanson, they are experts in shivering. This isn’t the familiar tremble that mammals use to generate heat. Birds shiver by activating opposing muscle groups, creating muscle contractions without all of the jiggling typical when humans shiver. This form of shaking is better at retaining the bird’s heat.Another adaptation shared by many species is the ability to keep warm blood circulating near vital organs while allowing extremities to cool down. Take gulls. They can stand on ice with feet at near-freezing temperatures while keeping their body’s core nice and toasty.Keeping warm when the sun is up is one thing, but few winter challenges are more daunting than nightfall, when temperatures drop and birds must rely on every adaptation they have to survive their sleep. Some birds save energy by allowing their internal thermostat to drop. Hummingbirds are a famous example of this, undergoing torpor nightly as their body temperature drops close to outside temperatures. But torpor is not too common in winter birds, because the morning warm up would take too much extra energy. Instead, black-capped chickadees and other species undergo a more moderate version of this, reducing their body temperature as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit from their daytime level in a process called regulated hypothermia.One simple way to help birds when the weather outside is frightful is to hang feeders. To attract a diversity of birds, select different feeder designs and a variety of foods. A tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower or mixed seeds, for example, will attract chickadees and finches. Woodpeckers devour suet feeders. And a safflower or sunflower-filled hopper feeder entices the usual visitors plus larger birds like cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. The birds benefit from the backyard buffet, and you’ll have a front-row seat to numerous species flocking to your plants and feeders.” Some raptor species, lower their body temperatures. More on that another day as we shift from fall to winter.

It is not clear how many birds are on the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The Mum was there overnight with one – the one with some floof still on its back and wings in the scrape box below. There were two. Where is the other one? at the other end? flown off? difficult to tell. The one on the scrape box has just vocalized and headed down the gutter. I suspect it could be breakfast.

It is almost flying along the gutter now.

Fledging will be happening soon down in Port Lincoln and if you want to see how a hungry falcon acts just go over to the scrape in Orange. Yurruga is a week younger than the eyases in Melbourne. It is really foggy in Orange this morning so breakfast could be delayed. That link is:

Look for a lot of wing exercises and hovering from the trio at Port Lincoln. Ervie was doing a fabulous job yesterday.

Oh, I am really going to miss these lads when they fly to find their own way. Last year it was this Osprey nest that almost put me off my interest in third hatch ospreys. Siblicide is horrific. And it is this same nest (along with Achieva and Foulshaw Moss) that gives me hope that things can turn around for the good for the chicks. It has been incredible this season.

It is time for some hot tea. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Gorgeous day for birding

It is a gorgeous day today. 24 degrees C. We still, for at least today, have summer weather. This meant seeing new and old friends today at the park. There were at least 12 male Wood Ducks, as many females, a host of female and a few male Mallards, and, of course, Canada Geese.

This adult male Wood Duck with its distinctive red eye and green helmet thought that I might have some seed for him to eat. He did not seem to want to take ‘sorry’ as a proper answer.

The duck below is all wet from diving around in the park stream.

Their plumage is absolutely outrageously gorgeous.

There were a few adult female Wood Ducks but not nearly as many as the males at Kildonan Park today. Because there are issues with identification between the juveniles and those in eclipse, I have come upon a bit of a foolproof method for me. The duck below is an adult female Wood Duck. She lacks the red iris and eye ring of the adult male; she does have a yellow eye ring and a distinctive white eye patch. Her bill is dark. I do not want the iridescent green on the top of the head to fool me. This bird is lacking in the 2 pale lines from the throat extending around the neck and onto the cheek. To see those, look at the images of the adult male.

There were a number of Mallards, both male and female.

All of the animals were having a wonderful morning around the duck pond. There were many who brought specialty bird seed just for them. Others, like this little Red Squirrel, were finding acorns and seeds in the grass.

As I was sorting through these images to show to you, there were several knocks on the front door. Several times I went out and no one was there. There are times that sounds carry but, then the knocking got louder and louder. This time I caught the visitor! My house is covered with cedar shakes. It looks more like a cottage in a forest but there is someone who loves those cedar shakes. When I opened the door he flew to the apple tree.

Unfortunately the automatic focus set its mind on the leaves and not on the woodpecker! And she was not certain that he wanted his picture taken or not.

I say ‘she’ because that gorgeous read crest would extended all the way down to the bak if this were the male. But, it is not, it is a female.

You can see that its body is mostly covered in black feathers with a flaming red crest. There is a white throat and its beak is a long dagger shape sadly hidden by the leaves. This particular Pileated Woodpecker lives around my garden year round (and the neighbour hood). She will make her nest in the cavity of a dead or dying tree lining it with wood chips. When she is knocking on my cedar shakes she is looking for ants, wood-boring beetles, and insect larvae. She also likes berries and nuts and I have seen her on the large suet cylinder as well as the telephone pole drilling away. The woodpeckers particularly like the bug and nut suet if you are trying to attract them.

I am particularly concerned for both this Pileated Woodpecker and the male and female Downy that live around my garden. My city has sprayed orange dots on two of the 119 year old Maple Trees in front of my house on the boulevard. If they are to cut them down, is one or both the home and nest of the woodpeckers?

The Grey Slated Juncos are still here today along with a few White Throated Sparrows and Song Sparrows.

It is easy to tell the White-throated Sparrow because of that distinctive white patch under the beak forming the throat – hence, the name. There are also two black bands and three white on the crown along with two very distinctive yellow patches above the eye. The White-throated Sparrows come to Manitoba to breed during the summer. By the end of the month, all of them will be gone to their winter homes.

The Song Sparrow comes to Manitoba also for summer breeding. Soon they will also be away on their journey south. For now, a few are in the garden scratching around the grass and leaves for insects and bug larvae. They are beautiful with that plumage of rust and grey with streaks of white.

It has been a lovely day. I have it on good authority that all of the nestling falcons are fine as are the osplets at Port Lincoln. Yesterday, they once again had 7 feedings! Speaking of feedings, the list of what Mum and Dad have brought in for the Collins Four is anything other than 99% pigeon. This year they have averaged 7.4 prey items per day with 3 being the lowest number of deliveries and 11 being the highest. They have had pigeon, New Holland Honeyeater, Rainbow Lorikeets, Quail, Silver-eyed Gulls, Sparrows, Spotted Pardalotes, Starlings, Wattlebirds, and a White plumed honeyeater. This is quite the surprise. Normally the urban falcons exist primarily on pigeon. I wonder if the people in Melbourne are no longer feeding the pigeons so that the falcons have to look to other species? In Orange, the diet is varied with lots of parrots and Starlings.

A late delivery yesterday was a green parrot. I do not specifically recognize the ‘type’ but will try to find out.

The only streaming cam I have not checked on today is the one for the White-bellied Sea Eagles. Indeed, WBSE 27 was jumping all over the tree and it or both might have fledged. I will alert you if this is the case.

Thank you for joining me. I hope you enjoyed the ducks! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the Collins Street Falcon Cam by Mirvac where I took my screen shot of the delivery of the green parrot.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.