Saturday happenings in Bird World

Since Legacy fledged on 26 April, returned, and then left the nest at 9:53:51 on the 28th, I have worried – like so many others – about where she was and if she was alright. Was she injured? did she get chased from the territory by smaller birds? Samson and Gabby came to the nest tree with fish and called – they spent hours scanning the top of the trees for a sight of their Legacy. We just wanted to get one more glimpse of the most beautiful Bald Eagle who had survived Avian Pox and who had grown up just to be a magnificent eagle. Stunning. We wanted to know that she was alright – that nothing had happened to her! She was given the name ‘Legacy’ because she would carry on the lineage from Romeo and Juliet, her grandparents, who had hatched Samson in that very same nest in Jacksonville. How could she just be gone? poof!

Yesterday, I was certain that Legacy did a flyby at 9:35:15. In the 47 seconds it took for Samson to get to the nest tree, Legacy was gone. Has their timing just been bad?

One of my eagle experts tells me that the fledglings have to ‘imprint’ the way back to the natal nest.

This morning Legacy returned to her natal tree at 10:41:31. It is the first time in three days that one or both of her parents were not sitting on the Lookout Branch trying to locate her! Legacy spent the day calling. During this time individuals noticed that she had done a couple of crop drops and she also did a ‘ps’. There is some yellow – the ps should be white – indicating slight dehydration according to my eagle expert.

I thought her call sounded hoarse but I am a worrisome auntie of this beautiful bird. She waited on the nest all day long and is, as I write, looking out over the trees from the Lookout Branch. I hope she spends the night in her nest resting and that Samson and Gabrielle return in the morning with a nice big fish for Legacy’s breakfast.

And, of course, we are all now worrying where the parents are! If anyone told you Bird World was serene and peaceful, they were joking!

Sibling #2 at the Achieva Osprey nest fledged – and I should have been jumping up and down with joy but, I was consumed with Legacy. That fledge took place at 6:57:10. It was a really nice take off but 2 almost taloned Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot with a rather undignified return landing at 7:04:43.

Barbara Snyder put together an 8 minute video of the take off, the wait, and the landing. Here it is:

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot the Raptor has eaten and grown and eaten and grown today. I will never forget this bird for the hilarious poses with its full crop. Today there were a few more of those to enjoy. Everyone can rest easy. Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is full. Here is one of those funny crop shots.

The two little ones at the Estonia White-tailed Eagle nest of Eve and Eerik are growing and they love their feedings. Both of them really perk up when Eve gets up and announces it is meal time. So far there is nothing to worry about on this nest! Whew.

The two osplets on The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest were alright this morning. I am so used to the nests having food in the pantry that I get a little nervous checking on this nest. That lack of fish has caused the older sibling to have some food security issues. Things were peaceful when I checked in several times this morning and right after lunch. They were, however, hoping for a fish delivery when the image below was taken. You can see that the smaller one, at the back, does not have a crop.

Well, there are no food insecurities of any kind in San Francisco. The three eyasses of Annie and Grinnell have the ‘food thing’ all figured out. They are even grabbing at the prey when it is delivered breaking off chunks and eating them! These three are incredible. Self-feeding 101.

I so wanted to get a good image of Tiger and Lily Rose, the two owlets of Bonnie and Clyde, who took over the Bald Eagle nest on a farm near Newton, Kansas. They have thrived under the great care of their parents. Both have been introduced to eating mice, then snake, graduating to rabbit, and birds. There is a rumour floating around that they had a tug-o-war with a snake yesterday. I am so sorry I missed that – it would have been hilarious.

Images taken from a streaming cam are deceiving. Sometimes the angle makes a part of the owl’s body look larger than it actually is – or smaller. I remember viewers of the White-Bellied Sea Eagle cam horrified that the right foot of WBSE 26 was swollen to three or four times its normal size. It was, simply, the angle of the camera. Because Tiger and Lily Rose are in this huge nest – 2 metres wide – they appear small. Their round feathers that will allow them to fly in silence look so soft. Someone told me today that they really just wanted to pick one of them up and cuddle it. What do you think? wise idea?

Bonnie and Clyde will feed Tiger and Lily Rose in the nest and off. They will continue this even though Tiger and Lily are catching their own food and until such time as the two little ones leave the territory.

The trio at the Pittsburg Hayes Bald Eagle nest were having their afternoon siesta when a cute little red squirrel decided he would climb the nest tree and take a peek to see what was inside that big nest. Oh, my. Good thing he got away quick – he would have been a nice snack!

Harry spent a long time with the two eaglets that hatched on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Bald Eagle cam five weeks ago. This evening he came roaring in and, of course, the eaglets thought food delivery.

But there was nothing between those talons. So Harry went to check in the pantry and couldn’t find anything either.

It’s 8:20 pm. It is wonderful that the daylight lasts so much longer now than it did in the winter. Harry might just have time to grab a fish or maybe that is what Nancy is doing right now – hunting.

Things on the nest calmed down. If you look at the eaglet on the far left you will notice that it has a crop. These kiddos can wait til morning if nothing arrives now. They are fine. The parents are a super team and this is not a nest that I worry about. They had a nice big feed of fish earlier. You can see that big crop on the little one sitting by Nancy (below).

Big Red is still incubating three eggs. When you want something to happen, time just seems to drag. Simply cannot wait for the hatch of these little ones. You talk about amazing avian parents – Big Red and Arthur are it! Hands down.

Arthur has spoiled me. I am used to seeing an egg cup lined with prey just ready for Big Red to grab it and feed the the eyasses. I cannot even imagine an empty pantry.

In closing, I want to brag a little. The Newfoundland Power Company set up a number of Osprey nests. One is called the Snow Lane Nest and I will leave the link so you can check on that nest. The resident male Osprey, Beaumont, just returned to Canada on 30 April.

The camera was launched on 29 May 2019 but the story began three years earlier when Newfoundland Power was contacted by Rob Bierregaard of Drexel University in Pennsylvania. Drexel had an interest in tagging some of the osprey hatchlings from Newfoundland so their migratory journey to and from South America could be plotted. The Newfoundland Osprey are believed to winter at the border of Columbia and Venezula. One of those Ospreys was Shanawdithit. That name was bestowed on the Osprey as a memorial to the last known living member of the Beothuk people. The Beothuk are the original inhabitants of Newfoundland. Shanawdithit is a female and she was tagged. Shanawdithit had an unnamed partner so the power company held a competition for the name. A grade 5 student, Aurora Hickey, picked the name Beaumont. That name is a tribute to the Newfoundland regiment that was almost completely wiped out on 1 July 1916, in France during Word War I, the Beaumont-Hamel. Sadly, Shanawdithit did not return in 2018 but it was too late for Beaumont to find another mate. In 2019, Beaumont bonded with Hope. They raised one chick in 2019 and two in 2020. Beaumont is waiting to welcome Hope back to Newfoundland now.

And that is a wrap. It has been a day of waiting. So instead of worrying about Legacy, we will all begin to worry about Samson and why there is no fish on the nest for his beautiful fledgling. I promise – we will worry til he flies up and surprises Legacy. I hope their timing is good tomorrow!

Thank you so much for joining me. Stay safe. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thank you to the following you supplied the streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF, Achieva Credit Union, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, UC Falcon Cam, Farmer Derek, Hays Pittsburg Bald Eagle Cam, MN DNR, Cornell Bird Lab, and Newfoundland Power Company.

Open Wide!

The grey skies and the cold to the bone weather on the Canadian prairies just added to the sadness at the Latvian White-tailed eagle nest. Parallel with the events of the two chicks dying from hypothermia came a wonderful letter from the LDF answering many questions I had about Milda and the nest. I will write up that information in a couple of days.

Milda was starving. She is a devoted mother but she had no food for her or her chicks and Mr C appears to be an on again, off again mate. It is unclear if there were intruders in the area. Mr C is on the branch watching the nest while Milda eats a nice big piece of fish – this fish arrived 24 hours after the nest ran out of food when Mr C removed the few remains of the Crow Milda had been feeding to the chicks. Sadly, she is now incubating the unviable egg.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon nest in the Campanile must have been removed. The three little marshmallows are getting some pin feathers. It is hard to believe! They are consuming vast amounts of pigeon and transforming it into the fastest raptor on the planet. Here Annie is saying, ‘Open Wide!’

Annie and Grinnell are such devoted parents. Look at those little ones all tucked under mom right after their feeding.

Sometimes ‘open wide’ does not necessarily relate to food and a feeding. In the case of N24, our beautiful Legacy, it meant open your wings and fly. Legacy fledged this morning at 9:01! All of the aunties and uncles and grannies will be crying tears of joy and sadness. Legacy is a magnificent fledgling Bald Eagle now. She overcame Avian Pox and is the pride of Samson and Gabby and her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet. Look at the gorgeous profile of that head! And that deep, deep espresso plumage. Stunning.

There she goes at 9:01:54.

Lady Hawk put a video together from the three separate cameras. You can watch this historic event in this eagle’s life here:

In the case of Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, we can talk about opening wings and mouths. Tiny Tot loves to open his wings like a Lamborghini. Wonder if the car designers looked at the birds for inspiration? Certainly those that built the bullet train in Japan did – they used four different birds to help them get the fastest train on the planet (at the time).

Tiny Tot had a crop all morning. There were three fish deliveries before 11am! Jack has really been working to keep this pantry full. There were deliveries at 6:50:30, 9:35:05, and this is the third delivery at 10:59:18:

Tiny is really growing with all the food he has been eating. Sometimes you have to look really close to figure out which chick he is now. His ‘whiskers’ are settling down and he is getting the white plumage on his chest. There he is in the middle. You can see his nice crop.

Tiny had a good feed last night and had lots of fish from 2 out of the 3 deliveries before 11 am on 26 April. The trio are waiting for delivery 4!

Tiny Tot ate lots from fish 1, none from fish 2, and plenty from fish 3. In the image below he is being fed from fish 1. Sibling 1 had some bites and sibling 2 had a couple but, as is typical first thing in the morning, the older sibs are not as interested in eating then as they are later in the day. Tiny will eat anytime! Open wide, Tiny Tot!

Here is Tiny running to get up to the fish!

Tiny does not get anything from the second delivery but he does in the third and has a very nice crop.

Tiny is really full when the fourth fish arrives but he goes up and gets some nice pieces anyway – not a lot but remember, he is full.

Tiny Tot opens his wings wide!

Tiny Tot has eaten well today and no doubt, since it is only 3:30, there will be more fish to come. Jack, you are amazing. Diane has had some fish and everyone is doing great!

And speaking of opening wide, all eyes are on the California Condor nest in Big Sur where the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix is between pip and hatch.

The burnt tree in the centre is where the nest is located. The Dolan Fire ravaged this area from August to the end of December in 2020. Iniko survived the fire – he was the 2020 chick of Redwood Queen and Kingpin. Iniko is at the Los Angeles Zoo and is set to be released with a group of captive bred birds later this year.

Sadly, Redwood Queen’s mate, Kingpin, did not survive the fire. She bonded with Phoenix and this is their egg in the same nest that Iniko hatched.

Redwood Queen has just returned from having a short break. There is a stream close to the nest and she might have gone for a cool drink. It is fine to leave the egg for a short amount of time.

Thank you to each of you for joining me today. I know that we all wish that the situation at the Lavian White-tailed Eagle nest were different. I will be writing a history of the nest and looking into the weather in the area. Normally the birds time their hatches to when the animals will be coming out of winter hibernation so there is lots of food. I am curious if the cold weather has caused issues with getting prey for Milda and Mr C.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Explore.org, Latvian Wildlife Fund, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Achieva Credit Union, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Dire situations unfolding in Latvia and Florida today

There are two situations unfolding as I write this in Bird World. The first is at the White Tail Eagle Nest in Latvia. The nest is in Durbe Municipality. The White Tail Eagle couple have three eggs on the nest. The male disappeared on 27 March. It is believed that he might have been killed by a rival male wanting to claim the female and the nest but, all that is known for certain is that the male has not brought food to the nest for four days and is presumed dead. The female has not left incubating her eggs. She will have to leave at some point or she will starve to death. Will she accept the intruding male? Will he care for her? and the eggs? Or is there a rival couple trying to take over the entire nest?

As many have noticed, the female is getting weaker and the intruder is able to get closer to the nest. You can see it at the top left just flying in to land and the female on the nest calling to it. Soon she will be too weak to protect herself and the nest. This reminds me of the situation with Klints last year where the father also disappeared. It was later in the year and Klints was almost ready to fledge but his mother would not leave him and, as a result, she could only find small mice for his food and he starved. Unfortunately, it takes two adults working full time to raise a family on one of these nests. And it is also reminiscent of the NE Florida Nest when Juliet was injured and presumed killed by a female intruder when her eggs were about to hatch. Romeo tried to take care but could not do all the jobs of both the male and the female. The intruding female took the hatched chick when he had to go and hunt for food for it and him. Romeo left the nest despondent and never returned.

You can watch as this event unfolds here:

At the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, the male brought in two very small fish yesterday and another small one this morning. The three chicks are at a critical point. The two biggest require more food daily to thrive. The little one requires food just to live. The next couple of days are critical. It is now believed that he has another family that he is also providing for. The female on that nest is Diane and she has not had much to eat. The third chick, the very small one, Tiny Tot, has not had food for 2.5 days now going on three. It is 28 degrees C and he is dehydrating. Storms are moving into the area. Sadly, this is a scenario that has played out many times in the Osprey world. I am thinking of Iris, the oldest known living female Osprey, at 28 whose mate, Louis, had another family and her nest suffered. Even with two parents, it is often difficult to maintain the level of food for four – the three little ones and the mother. The smallest in the Port Lincoln Osprey nest in Australia died at eighteen days of age from siblicide. He was called Tapps. It was not a case of the father having two nests that I am aware of but, rather, issues getting fish or the father simply not going out fishing.

If you feel so inclined, you can watch the Achieva Osprey nest here:

We need some good news to balance all this out.

So briefly, the female, Bella, at the NCTC Bald Eagle Nest noticed that one of her small chicks, E5 had ingested fishing line. She acted quickly and pulled it out!

E5 ingests the fishing line. 30 March 2021
Bella is removing the fishing line. 30 March 2021

This is a great Bald Eagle nest to watch. These are very attentive parents and there is lots of prey. Below is the link:

I would like to leave today on another positive note. Big Red and Arthur. What can I say? This couple is dynamite when it comes to raising Red Tail Hawks. Arthur has been trained well and rises to the occasion every time. When the eggs hatch and the Ks are with us, Arthur will have that nest lined with prey – like a fur lined bed.

Arthur is on incubation duty right now!

Here is the link to the streaming cam set up on the Cornell University campus to watch Big Red and Arthur. Once the eggs hatch there will be a live chat as well.

There is lots of news on Osprey arrivals in the UK and I will bring those to you this evening with an update on the two nests I am watching – the White Tailed Eagle nest in Latvia and the Osprey nest in St. Petersburg.

Thank you for joining me today. I wish all of the news was joyful but, sadly Mother Nature is not a warm fuzzy mother. She can be very cruel.

Thank you to the following streaming cams: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Labs, NCTC, and LDF tiesraide.

Owls, Eaglets, and Ospreys

Farmer Derek lives on the Klingenberg Farm near Newton, Kansas with his wife and daughters. His father and his three brothers are also working at the farm – it is a wonderful family endeavour. It is on this farm where the now famous hijacking of a Bald Eagle nest by a pair of Great Horned owls took place on 1 February. This family loved the eagles that lived on their land and were disappointed when the owls ousted them from their tree but now the entire family has embraced Bonnie and Clyde and their owlets. Farmer Derek’s father is going to build Great Horned Owls boxes for them this summer and we will see what happens. It is called Value Added Agriculture and Farmer Derek just gave an interview on a PBS Nova show called Market to Market. The interview begins with some chat about other things but most of it is focused on the owls. You can move the time forward or listen to it all, here:

Lots of the birds have been growing beyond belief and it is time to check in on some old friends. First off, Harriet and M15’s little ones (did I really say little?), E17 and E18. You might remember this image of little 18 in the striped donut towel and 17 having to have time out because she was so aggressive towards her sibling especially during feeding times.

E17 and E18 getting treated for AC at CROW, Fort Myers, Florida. @CROW FB

The image above shows the two little eagles at CROW. Aren’t they precious? Their eyes have been cleaned. They were crusty and covered over and permission was given by the USFWS to remove them for treatment. That was the first week in February. Their test results came back today and confirmed they had Avian Chlamydophilia psittaci or AC, for short. That is what CROW suspected based on their symptoms. It is a disease caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittacia. Birds catch it from other infected birds – dust, feather, droppings. The symptoms range from a cough, to the crusty eyes, or to sudden death. So glad that a system known to be so slow worked fast for these eaglets and that E17 and E18 were treated! The pair were at the clinic for five days, returned to the nest only when the bacterial infection was gone.

This is E17 and E18 being fed this morning, 16 March, some five weeks later. They now have juvenile plumage. The only way you can tell the two apart is that E18 has a white strip of feathers at the base of the tail. In the image below, E18 is in the middle and E17 is the farthest away.

Breakfast for E17 (left) and E18 (middle). 16 March 2021. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

For a long time, E18 was the underdog but she quickly became the ‘Queen’ (or King) of the snatch and grab and grew big. When food is brought on the nest for self feeding, the majority of the time E18 mantles it and eats! Very capable and no longer intimidated. As is so often the case, if the little one survives they figure out ingenious ways to eat and they thrive. Lady Hawk (Sharon Dunne) did a video of a squirrel arriving three days ago and E18 mantling it and feeding. Here it is:

They have turned into such beautiful birds. Here they are looking out at the big world that will be theirs. They are now more than halfway to fledging.

16 March 2021. E17 (left) and E18 (right) looking out at the world of possibilities. @D Pritchett Eagle Cam

Little Legacy isn’t so little anymore either. She has overcome, on her own, Avian Pox which is fantastic. She will be immune for the rest of her life. The image below is from a week ago. Legacy still had soft down on her head but her feet were getting large and she had quite the full crop. There were jokes about her on the Internet as being a big ‘pudgy’. Oh, the benefits of being the only eaglet in the nest!

This is Legacy this morning on the nest with her mother, Gabby, waiting for a food delivery. The fluffy dandelions on the top of her head are almost all gone and now instead of grey down she is almost 3/4 covered with her juvenile plumage. They grow sooooooo fast and she is very beautiful. She copies her mother working on the nest, incubating and rolling ‘Eggie’ and will, one day add to the legacy of her grandparents, Romeo and Juliet.

16 March 2021. Legacy (left) and her mother Gabby. NEFL Eagle Nest, Jacksonville, FL. @AEF and NEFL Eagle Cam

You might remember the female Bald Eagle encrusted in snow for most of the incubation period – that was the mom over at Duke Farms. Two of the three eggs hatched and those two are growing and growing. These kids have some very different meals than Legacy who eats mostly fish (a few mammals) and many times people are left guessing what the two had for dinner. Despite a lot of prey available, there is some concern for the second eaglet who is consistently pecked down by the older at feeding time. It is the reason that I cringe when I see three eggs. Sometimes two is more than enough – and there are definite advantages to being an ‘only’ eaglet or Osprey. Fingers crossed for this little one.

It is unclear to me what precipitates the feeling of food insecurity that results in siblicide. I have printed and read all of the academic material – it is sitting in front of me – and I am still baffled by which nests experience siblicide and which do not. Are there real predictors?

The little one at Duke Farms wanted to eat and the older one kept blocking it this morning.

Older one at Duke Farms pecking and deliberately keeping little one from eating. 16 March 2021. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

So, the little one waited til the older one’s crop was ready to pop and finally got around to eat. Smart. Let us hope that this keeps up.

Yippee. Older going into a food coma. Little one eating. Well done. @Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Yesterday I gave the dad, Jack, a ‘beef’. He is the mate to Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. Those osplets hatched on the 7 and 9 of March. I fully expected when the fish did arrive that there could have been mayhem because it was so late in the day and it had been so hot but – it didn’t happen. And hats off to Jack (did he hear me screaming at him), he brought in another fish later. It is entirely understandable that it was so hot that the fish went deep in the water and Jack had to wait til it cooled off to fish. Everyone was full heading to sleep and this morning at 9:35 he brought in an early morning fish. Those Osplets lined up nicely for the meals and did not bother one another at all. They ate. So maybe I will take that beef back, Jack! These are the most well behaved siblings to one another.

16 March 2021. Breakfast for the trio. @Achieva Osprey Nest

I have included the image below because you now see the beautiful reddish-brown feathers coming in on the head of the osplet closest to the front.

And he isn’t an Owl, an eaglet, or an Osprey but Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon is the cutest thing on the planet. He is inside the scrape box of his parents, Diamond and Xavier (talk about beautiful parents) and many are wondering if Izzi will ever leave. Last fall, Izzi went to sleep on the ledge of the scrape box and fludged. He was returned to the box on top of a water town on the campus of Sturt University Orange Campus, Australia. The second fledge and he hit a window and was rescued by Cilla Kinross, the researcher, and taken for care. Five days later Cilla Kinross climbed the 170 stairs to return him to the scrape box where he successfully fledged for a third time some days later. Maybe he thinks this box is his? I guess we wait to find out. Izzi loves to look at himself in the camera!

Look at those eyes. Besides their stealth speed at aerial hunting, these little falcons are adorable. Seriously I could take him home!

So glad you could join me as we check in with some of our bird friends who have been a little ignored lately. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to Derek the Farmer, SWFL, NEFL, Achieva, Duke Farms, and Cilla Kinross and Sturt University Orange Campus Australia for their streaming cams where I grabbed my scaps.

N24 has a name – Legacy!

Several environmental and wildlife researchers believe that if you give a specific bird a name, people are more invested in its welfare. They will, therefore, transfer the caring from the named bird to wanting to create a more sustainable environment for them and, thus, all wildlife.

I am not totally convinced that a ‘name’ makes a difference (but if it does, I am all for it!). Those who watched White-Bellied Sea Eaglet 26 (WBSE 26) hatch, grow, and overcome her physical challenges to fly would not have cared any more for her if she had a name. It has been six months since she died and all it takes is for one of ‘our bird group’ to simply say ’26’ and we ‘see’ her. Maybe it is when she was with Maggie the Magpie honking at the Pied Currawongs. Or perhaps it is the little bobble head with WBSE 25. Maybe it is the last image of her with the sun gently caressing the side of her face. I will argue that it would not have mattered more if 26 had a name and not a number. The donations and the strong feels of wanting to help in some way came regardless.

Many successful birds are known by a number or band colour or a name or – all three. Followers of Wisdom, the oldest banded Laysan Albatross in the world, know she wears a red band with the number Z333. They also know her by her name. It is equally true that we might not know the other Laysans whose nests are near to Wisdom’s on the Midland Atoll and that is because Wisdom or Red-Z333 is special. She is the oldest living banded bird in the world and at the age of seventy, she just hatched another moli.

If you have any thoughts one way or the other, I would love to hear from you.

“Wisdom incubating her egg, December 2018. Photo credit: Madalyn Riley/USFWS Volunteer” by USFWS Pacific is marked with CC PDM 1.0

One of the ‘Name the Bald Eaglet’ contests has just ended. At the time of its birth, the eaglet born to Samson and Gabby in 2021 on the Northeast Florida nest was given a number – N24. Today, N24 received a name —- Legacy.

The public were invited to submit potential names. Out of those the list was narrowed down to six. Then members of the American Eagle Foundation voted for their favourite name on the list. 266 people voted for Legacy over the other five names. It is a good symbolic choice for this nest. Legacy is the grandchild of Romeo and Juliet. That mated pair were first seen on this very nest on 3 September 2009. The couple raised nineteen eaglets to fledge – they were 100% successful. During the 2018-19 season, Juliet was injured by an intruder and left the nest area. Romeo was ultimately unable to do the work for two even though he tried very hard to succeed. This included incubating the remaining egg, hunting for food to feed the one that hatched and himself, and the protection of the nest. When Romeo was away hunting, on Christmas Day 2018, a female intruder snatched the just hatched eaglet from the nest and ate it. Romeo consequently left the nest area. Neither Romeo or Juliet have been seen since and it is presumed, by many, that both are dead.

Legacy sitting next to its dad, Samson. 7 March 2021. @NEFL and AEF Eagle Cam

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. He was born on this same nest on 23 December 2013. Samson returned to his natal nest on 26 August 2019, taking over the territory his father, Romeo, once ruled. Samson was ‘courted’ by many females but he chose his current mate, Gabrielle or Gabby for short. Their first breeding season was 2019-20. The pair fledged N22 and N23 – Jules and Romy – named after the grandparents. This year only one of two eggs was viable. The eaglet was given the number N24. N24 carries on the legacy of Romeo and Juliet. It is a sentimental choice but a very good one out of the other possible six choices.

The other news is that Legacy has overcome Avian Pox. The lesions are almost completely dried up. Pin feathers are coming in all over the little one’s body and it spends much of its time preening. Those feathers must be awfully itchy!

Another sweet little eaglet is waiting for a name. This one resides in the KNF – Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana. The public submissions of names is now closed. A committee will narrow down those to a list of three. I understand that a number of individuals have suggested names associated with Caroline Dormon, the woman who led the reforestation of the area after all of the trees had been cut down for timber early in the twentieth century. Voting for the final name will take place from 11-16 March with the announcement of ‘the name’ on St. Patrick’s Day.

This little eaglet has grown like a bad weed. Once the chick was no longer bobbling its head and learned to grab food hard with its beak and once mom figured out how to hold her beak (sideways), there was nothing stopping this little one from growing. That growth is helped by a dad who simply cannot stop catching fish and delivering them to the nest. Someone counted twelve today! Twelve fish. Not just for the baby – mom likes to eat, too! There must be a fabulous source of food nearby for this lucky family.

Is anything the matter with N24, our little cutie pie?

N24 was born on 8 February 2021 at the NE Florida Eagle Nest in St Augustine. He is three weeks old today.

N24’s parents are Samson and Gabrielle. We know that Samson was born on this same nest on 23 December 2013, the son of Romeo and Juliet. Samson fledged on 22 April 2014 when he was 120 days old. Four years later, there was a tragedy at the nest. Samson’s mother was injured by an intruder just days before her eggs were to hatch. She left the area and never returned. Romeo was left to do the work of both the mother and the father. That meant that he not only had to protect the nest but he also had to do the hunting and the feeding. One of the eggs hatched and while Romeo was getting food, the tiny eaglet was taken by a rival female. Forlorn, Romeo left the nest never to return. In 2018 Samson came and took control of the nest and its territory eventually bonding with Gabrielle (Gabby). There is no knowledge of Gabby before she appeared at the nest.

Samson with N24 when he was 12 days old. 20 February 2021.

There were originally two eggs in the 2021 clutch of Gabby and Samson but one was unviable. Gabby still incubates the egg on occasion but this is becoming less frequent. Meanwhile, N24 has discovered that ‘the egg’ makes an excellent stool to sit on.

N24 sitting on the egg. 24 February 2021.

N24 is meeting all of its milestones, growing big and strong. He is adorable. This little one was crawling up to the pantry when it was five days old. He is strong and curious. He plays with the materials on the nest picking them up and doing nestorations like his parents.

Looking beyond the nest. 28 February 2021.

And then on 27 February, one of the camera operators noticed something wrong. There appears to be a sore or a blister on the bottom of the beak on the left side and another on the top of the beak on the right where the cere begins.

28 February 2021

You can see it if you look carefully. The cam operators are able to zoom in to check on any concerns.

27 February 2021

The image below was taken at 4:59 today. You will first notice that N24 has a very large crop. He is eating well and his ps is normal.

4:59 pm 28 February 2021.

If you look at the area of the beak that was raised and red on the 27th, it appears to have changed.

Below is an image taken at 2:08 am on 29 February. N24 is awake and just did a ps and is looking around.

2:08 am N24 is alert.

I am not a veterinarian nor am I a wildlife rehabber and will not even speculate, for a second, if this is something minor or serious. However, the American Eagle Federation (AEF) is keeping a very close eye on N24. There are very strict rules for an intervention and it is a very complicated process involving permits from the United States Fish and Wildlife Services. Here is a chart provided by the AEF showing the process:

Let us all hope that our little cutie pie, N24, sleeping with its pinecone and the egg that would have been its sibling, N25, is just fine in the next couple of days and requires no intervention at all. The family is doing so well and it is such a joy to watch them in their every day activities.

12 days old.

Thank you for joining me. Please send positive wishes over to little NE24. He will be three weeks old tomorrow and we want him (or her) to have a long and healthy life.

Thank you to the American Eagle Foundation for the streaming cam at the NEFL Bald Eagle site. I obtained my scaps from their streaming footage.

As the sun goes down

Typically I check on ‘the babies’ many times a day. This evening there is a soft glow coming across the eagle nest onto Gabby and little NE24. The Japanese have a name for this particular light that shimmers down through the trees causing everything to appear slightly golden. It is komorebi and it is magical. It looks like the universe is laying a soft warm blanket around Gabby and NE24.

Just look into Gabby’s eyes gazing down on NE24. Pure love.

It is just turning 6pm. The setting sun is softly lighting the Spanish moss hanging down from the old tree, too. And up in that deep nest where Samson was born is Gabby and Samson’s little one, NE24. NE24 is nine days old today.

It is a Slash Pine tree. Sometimes these trees are called Swamp Pines because they grow in the watery swamps of Florida.

Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, brought the very first twig for this nest for the 2008 breeding season. They placed twig after twig in that spectacular ‘V’ about eighty feet off the ground. And every year they added more. It is now estimated that the amount of sticks and leaf debris, moss, etc. making up the nest would weigh more than a metric tonne. For ten breeding seasons Romeo and Juliet successfully fledged every eaglet they reared in that nest, nineteen in all. There was plenty of food and little sibling rivalry.

No one knows anything about Gabrielle. She appeared one day, a female looking for a mate and Samson liked her out of all the others. We know that Samson was born on this very nest on 23 December 2013. He fledged on the 22nd of April 2014. Samson returned four years later and bonded with Gabrielle. Their first breeding season was 2019-20. The administrators for the NEFL Eagle cam named the eaglets Romy and Jules after Samson’s parents. Both fledged successfully.

The same soft glow of the day’s end falls over Bonnie, the GHO in the Eagle’s nest. Bonnie must be anticipating that her mate, Clyde, will come in with some treats for her. It has now been sometime since she had a meal because of the frigid temperatures. The temperature may stay in the range around 6 degrees F so there might be hope that those mice Bonnie loves will be running about tonight so Clyde can catch one for her.

As the sun set, Clyde was ready to wake up and go hunting. It wasn’t long until he brought Bonnie her first mouse of the evening.

I wish that my hearing and my eyesight were as good as Bonnie and Clyde’s. It is said that a Great Horned Owl has such good hearing that if a mouse steps on a twig they can hear it even if they are 23 metres away (75 feet). And, from observing Bonnie, we know that she really can turn her head for a complete 360 degree view. But, even though she is called a Great ‘Horned’ Owl, she doesn’t have any horns! How silly. But she does have those soft feathery tufts coming off of her incredible ears that resemble horns. Bonnie’s feathers are not hard like other raptors; they are very soft. The ends of Clyde’s feathers are round which allows him to fly virtually undetected – like a Stealth bomber – just not as fast. Bonnie hears him; she sits up in anticipation as he nears the nest (below).

Clyde flies into the nest with the mouse.
Bonnie quickly took the mouse.
After dinner they had a wee bit of a conversation.

We are so fortunate to be able to see the exchanges with these owls – what a rare treat! And aren’t they cute together?

Updates on all the gang will come later tonight. Have a fantastic day everyone.

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Thank you to NEFL Eagle cam and Derek the Farmer for their streaming cameras where I took my screen shots.

It’s Cold out there

The Polar Vortex has come down to the Canadian Prairies. Outside it is -33 with a wind chill that makes it far colder out there. Today, two BlueJays appeared at the feeder along with the chickadees and the sparrows. The sparrows were floofed up to keep warm, so much so that they were the size of those amazing navel oranges I got as a child in my Christmas stocking. Mother Nature seems to take care of the birds.

You might also be feeling some of this Arctic air where you live. So stay safe and warm!

The eagles at The Duke Farm in Hillsborough, New Jersey got hit by the same storm that dumped rain on the Northeast Florida eagles. More snow arrived progressively through the early hours of the morning and the day. And, just think, everything had melted for this Bald Eagle couple and the nest was drying out.

Despite all of the snow, those eggs must be toasty. My only concern is when there is the exchange of incubation duties and the snow falls down on them. The new parent’s temperature will certainly thaw that snow and, let us all hope that the pores of the eggs do mot get clogged.

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For Bald Eagles, the time between the egg laying and hatch is 35 days. There are three eggs under our mom at Duke Farms. The first was laid on January 17, the second on the 20th, and the third on the 23rd. So, there are approximately 22 days left until we hold our breaths for the first egg to pip.

And speaking of pipping, Gabby and Samson got drenched with all of the rain in Northeast Florida. This was the same system that sent snow into New Jersey (or so I am told). The rain did not stop their first egg from pipping at 5:31 am yesterday. I will bring you updates as they are available.

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2pm 7 February. Pip is now a crack.

The nest that Samson and Gabrielle use originally belonged to a long time mated couple, Romeo and Juliet. For ten years, they fledged every eaglet that hatched. That was nineteen eaglets in total. Then something tragic happened and this is why I always mention intruders. It might be all well and good to think that eagles lay their eggs, find food, raise their babies and life is simply golden but, it is not. By now you know many of the things that can happen. In 2018, several eagles tried to take over the nest of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet was injured in one of the battles trying to protect her eggs just days before they were due to hatch. Romeo was left, just like Daisy the Duck, to take care of everything by himself. That is, as you will imagine, an inordinate task as he has to feed himself and the eaglets, brood them so they are warm, as well as protect the territory and chase off intruders. The little eaglets are very vulnerable in this situation once they hatch. On Christmas Day, 2018, the first of the eggs hatched. Almost immediately a female eagle appeared when Romeo was away and snatched the eaglet taking it away. Romeo was so distraught that he left the nest like Juliet and never returned. Neither Romeo or Juliet have been seen since.

The intruding eagles did not take up residence on the nest. Eventually a male eagle appeared. My heart skipped a little beat when the was identified as one of the eaglets born on this very nest to Romeo and Juliet. It is always terrible to see such a pair of wonderful eagle parents be injured and driven off their nest. If there is a silver lining, it is the fact that one of Romeo and Juliet’s children will raise their grandchildren on the nest. The male’s name is Samson and he was born in 2013.

There were a lot of females that flitted in and out of the nest trying to get Samson’s attention but he was not interested until Gabrielle appeared. And, if it couldn’t get any better, Gabrielle was not the female eagle that attacked Samson’s mother, Juliet. This is Samson and Gabby’s second year together as a mated pair. Both of their eaglets in 2020 fledged! This year they also have two eggs – and as you know from above, one of those is pipping right now.

By early afternoon, the rain had stopped. Gabby was getting hungry. Samson first brought her a little fish which she ate right while incubating. It really was that small, like an appetizer! Gabby must have been disappointed. But not long after, Samson came in with the main course, a nice fresh possum!

Did I ever warn you that people who love raptors wind up trying to identify a lot of prey brought to the pantry?

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Gabby was quite impressed and jumped off the eggs and tucked in.

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She stopped long enough to check on the progress of the pipping before settling down.

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Back to incubating those eggs!

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We can’t see Samson in the image below but he is on a branch just out of the picture frame watching over Gabby while she gets some sleep and protecting the nest from intruders.

Isn’t it amazing how they can bend their neck and tuck it under their wings?

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Gabby asleep.

Hatching is one of the first survival tests the little eaglet goes through. If the chick is not strong enough to break out of its shell using that special tool called the ‘egg tooth’, it will not be strong enough to survive in the wild. And speaking of hatching, E24 hatched and E25 has its egg cracked all around. Congratulations Samson and Gabby!

Oh, look at that little fluff ball cuddling with Gabby. It can melt your heart instantly!

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E24 and Gabby.

E24 looks straight at us and is a sweetie. E25 is working hard to get out of that shell. Gabby and Samson are going to be busy tomorrow feeding these little ones. Oh, I hope that there is no bopping.

And for those of you not quite familiar with the egg tooth, see that white bit on E24’s beak – that is the egg tooth!

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Samson is busy stocking the pantry with fresh fish! Best way to stop any bopping that might start, fill the kiddos so full of fish they pass out!

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One of the real heartaches is watching these little ones grow up and then poof – they are gone and we never know what happens to them! It is only if there is something so unusual about them, like the torn wing of WBSE 21, that makes them instantly recognizable, that we know if they are alive or dead. It is very difficult to get permission to band the birds. And it is even more expensive to both band the birds and put satellite trackers on them. There is some headway being made in the use of trackers especially with the Albatross and the Ospreys. Many are using trackers on the Albatross to plot their interaction with the large international industrial fishing vessels. People are working diligently to try and get laws passed that would apply to all fishing vessels no matter what flag they fly under. For example, the laws would regulate the use of specialized hook covers (or other methods) so that the Albatross do not become bycatch. Those trackers are also allowing for the discover of illegal fishing vessels and they also allow an understanding of how far these amazing birds fly.

Eastern Osprey are severely endangered in Australia. This year three were born at Port Lincoln in a nest on a barge. Two lived to fledge: Solly, the oldest and female, and Dewey, the male. Both were banded with metal identification tags and coloured bands. Solly wears an orange band and Dew has a burgundy one. The research team at Port Lincoln were able to get permission for two satellite trackers. One was attached to Solly. (The other went to a male that had hatched in a different nest.). Solly took her very first flight off the barge on 24 November 2020. On 3 February 2021, Solly was 136 days old. She made history as the tracker showed that Solly travelled more than 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the barge at Port Lincoln. Even more surprising was the fact that she flew inland, not along the sea where she would catch fish! She stayed at Mount Wedge for two days, Tuesday and Wednesday before flying to Streaky Bay.

But wait! Don’t let that term ‘inland’ make you think that Solly would stay in a place for two days if it didn’t have fish. Solly loves her fish. And there are some very beautiful lakes up on the peaks. She’s a smart girl.

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Solly with satellite tracker at the barge at Port Lincoln.

The map below shows the Eyre Peninsula. At the point and just to the right is Port Lincoln. This is the location of the barge where Solly hatched. Today, the tracker has her heading north up at Streaky Bay. The closest named town near Mount Wedge is (I believe) either Kyancutta or Lock.

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To give you some perspective on where Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay are in relation to the rest of Australia, here is another map. If you locate Adelaide, Port Lincoln is not marked but it is across Spencer Bay to the left at the first blue anchor. Solly is heading north from Port Lincoln. I wonder if she will begin to head north west and wind up in Perth? Will keep you posted as Solly continues to make Osprey history.

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In the image below, an individual riding their bike along the shore at Streaky Bay came across Solly! The individual was David Lewis and he only had his iphone with him. But, does that matter? While we can’t see Solly very clearly, it is always – and I do mean always – a relief to have the bird spotted.

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Photo by David Lewis posted on Port Lincoln Osprey FB page, 8 February 2021.

Every time I look at this image from Australia, it reminds me that spring will be coming to North America in a few months. All of the birds will start migrating in. How grand! It will be nice to even see the Dark-eyed Juncos who, for some reason, like to tear the threads out of my outdoor carpet for their nest. Who cares?! It is going to a good cause.

Have a wonderful rest of your day everyone. Thank you for stopping in to catch up with the birds! See you tomorrow.