Time to Catch up with the Royal Albatross

The 2021-22 breeding season is beginning. One of the first to arrive on Taiaroa Head was OGK (Orange-Green-Black), the mate of YRK (Yellow-Red-Black) and the father of Miss Pippa Atawhai, Royal Cam chick of 2021.

OGK arrived on the headland a few days ago waiting for his mate. The males generally arrive first and select the nesting site. Then the females arrive. Last year, YRK arrived in the middle of the month.

OGK has been making sky calls.

Look carefully. To the far right are two Royal Albatross. One of them was OGK doing his sky call. Is the other YRK? Has she arrived? The couple were first spotted doing sky calls together on 10 October at 16:22:54. Oh, I do hope so!

Wish we could see through grass! According to Ranger Sharyn Broni, there are now 30 toroa back on the peninsula. After the chicks have fledged, the new birds arrive on the headland. (The younger first time to return home since fledge birds arrive in late November and December). The adults have been at sea for 12-13 months. They will build their nests and mate. Often the male will pick a spot for his nest close to the one where he hatched and fledged. Those that breed successfully will remain until their chick fledges next September going out to sea to forage for food for themselves and the little one, returning to the headland and going out again. Because of the stress on their bodies, the Royal Albatross raise a chick every other year – not every year.

Here is a short video of OGK doing some of his amazing sky calls several days ago when he first arrived at Taiaroa Head waiting for YRK.

This year’s Royal cam chick, Tiaki, was fitted with a satellite GPS locator just like her parents. She has really been making good progress and is getting near the Chatham Islands.

Here is the link to follow Tiaki’s progress as she makes her way to the waters off the coast of Chile:

The satellite pack on Tiaki’s mother, LGL (Lime-Green-Lime) stopped working long ago. It was faulty. The one on her father, LGK (Lime-Green-Black) was functioning properly until recently. No data has been uploaded for 8 days. Ranger Sharyn Broni says this could because his feathers have moulted and the tracker is lost or a failure for it to charge properly. It could also have been a malfunction. The last option is that something has happened to LGK. It may be some time before there is any confirmation.

Mel, the manager of the retail store at Taiaroa Head, is adding more products for holiday shopping to their on line store. Check out the soft Albatross plushies and the books or the other unique gifts. You might find something for just the right person – and it will not only make them happy but will help support everything that is done for the welfare of the birds at Taiaroa. If you have questions for Mel, he normally answers quite quickly. His e-mail is: mel@albatross.org.nz

Here is the link:

https://shopalbatross.org.nz/

Here is the link to the streaming cam on Taiaroa Head:

There is lots happening in Bird World! Things will start to get complicated soon.

OTHER BIRD WORLD NEWS: Sad news today. The environmentalist and BBC presenter, Chris Packham, was the victim of an arson attack on his home in The New Forest. The perpetrators burnt his gate and set a car alight in front of CCTV cameras. This is the article on this tragic event in The Guardian. Thankfully, no one was injured but they could have been.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/10/chris-packham-vows-to-continue-activism-after-arson-attack-on-home

The Big Bird Count that took place on the 9th of October had wonderful results. 29,282 participants took part around the world. There were 6885 species and 66,020 checklists submitted. Fantastic! If you want to check out more data surrounding the results and checklists, please go to:

https://ebird.org/octoberbigday

Still waiting for news of a second hatch for Xavier and Diamond at the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt Orange University. Xavier is there with Diamond and is doing is creaky door call to welcome the day. Will check in with them throughout the day.

It is a soggy but welcome rainy day on the Canadian Prairies. Tomorrow Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving – quite different in spirit than that of the Americans south of us. For Canadians, its origin was a time to be thankful for the bounty of the fall harvest. It is a time for families to join together, if they can, and share a meal and is quite low-key compared to the American version. There are so many things and people to be thankful for. The list is long!

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

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam Project and Cilla Kinross.

Bird World Happenings

There is a lot of news in Bird World this morning. Early sat-packed Ospreys are finding their way to Africa. A 2013 hatch from Rutland, the famous 4K, arrived on the coast of guinea on 23 September at 17:00. Chris White has also sent photos of other unringed Ospreys arriving. So nice to hear they are safe.

Sharon Leigh-Miles posted a long list on the Montana Osprey FB Page. Sharon reported the following (abbreviated):

First out of the gate for migration was Avery. Many of you know Avery. She is from the Class of 2016. She returned to her nest by the Yellowstone River about April 19, 2021. This year she fledged three healthy chicks again. Dr. Marco Restani of the Yellowstone Osprey Project banded her chicks. Avery must have needed a rest because she left for her home in Veracruz about September 1st. Avery’s sister or half-sister, Boots, Class of 2018, seemed to find a home in Idaho this year. She is now on the coast of Louisiana. It is decision time for Boots. Will she fly east to Cuba, her first winter home, or will she veer back westerly and return to the Chiapas, Mexico? We believe hurricanes and tropical storms may have blown Boots off course last year and she settled in Chiapas. We have three chicks that fledged on MPG Ranch in the Bitterroot Valley. Kove was banded and outfitted on July 21, 2021. He was the eager beaver and left on his first migration on September 11th. He is currently right outside Tampico. Lupine from the Class of 2020 found her winter home slightly northeast of Kove’s location. Sainfoin was banded and outfitted on August 10th. This chick left on migration on September 16th and just crossed the border into Mexico. Rio is our last chick this year. She was banded and outfitted on August 10th as well. Rio seems to think that having fish delivered and having a full crop is just the ticket, as she is still at her natal nest being supplied by her dad. Don’t worry. The urge to migrate will soon move her south. In addition to Lupine, three additional ospreys from the Class of 2020 remain at their winter homes. Zinnia and Dahlia have made Louisiana their winter home. Lucky settled down on the coast of Tabasco, MX.” Thanks, Sharon!

Satellite Packs and even simple banding give us a lot of information about the travels of our beloved birds. Audubon FL reported that a Banded juvenile Bald Eagle Green K/48 from Florida was located far from home in Virginia. Have a read:

https://fl.audubon.org/news/banded-eagle-spotted-hundreds-miles-nest-site?fbclid=IwAR3nNRp2wMD5NjudQ_vUwAoexk2NMJiWABT6FGFBWmL6XeDxMzXYnaJsnns

There are currently only 10 Albatross chicks left on Taiaroa Head, NZ. One of those is Tiaki. Tiaki is the Royal Cam chick of the year, daughter of LGL and LGK. She is a beauty. She has already mastered hovering and when Tiaki decides it is time to fledge, we will all be cheering for her. We can also watch her travels because she also has a sat-pack!

If you are a fan of Turkey Vultures, the San Diego Zoo announced that it has successfully hatched an Egyptian Turkey Vulture in captivity.

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2021/sep/23/first-egyptian-vulture-bred-captivity-san-diego/?fbclid=IwAR32UpOxdtf2MCrJx5-3jlE62cpSE7gEG5bvTdvvlsJGWLPMQeGXl3nAWBM

Last but never the least, the Port Lincoln Ospreys had several feedings after I turned out the lights on the Canadian prairies. Dad brought in a whale at 13:56:56. Mom was still feeding the chicks at 14:29. That is a total of 34 minutes. It is good to compare this with earlier feedings that were only 6 minutes long. It will give you some idea of the amount of food the chicks are now consuming. There was another feeding at 15:04:54 and again at 16:03. The kids – each and everyone of them – had nice crops! It was a good day in Port Lincoln.

At 12:51, the trio still have crops from their earlier feeding.

Look at that great fish Dad just delivered!

More than half of it was gone at the end of the feeding. Remember when this fish would have lasted all day?

Mom cleaning her beak at the end of the feeding.

Happy babies wanting more.

Their crops are full. one is passed out in a food coma. Little Bob and one of the older siblings are holding out for a bit more. Little Bob never leaves the table early. He seems to have an endless pit.

The Port Lincoln chicks are all doing well. Little Bob is beginning to lose the soft down on top of his head and you can see the dark feathers coming in. Little Bob is 51 hours younger than Big Bob. He will be catching up in plumage very soon. There are a lot of people that think that he will catch up in size but, the general rule – rules, of course, always broken – is that the third hatch is a male. If that is the case with Little Bob then he is going to be smaller than Big Bob who is probably a female. At least 30% smaller.

Everything is wonderful in Bird Land. Lots of good stories about migration coming out.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is another grand fall day with summer temperatures on the Canadian prairies. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project and Sharon Leigh-Miles for allowing me to use their information from their FB page. Thanks to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Wednesday in Bird World

Lady Hawk has posted some close ups of the Royal Albatross cam chick, Tiaki, doing some wing exercises. Tiaki is all grown up, a beautiful juvenile, the daughter of LGL and LGK. She will fledge soon beginning her five or six year journey at sea – never touching land – til she returns to the headland to begin finding a mate. Perhaps one day Tiaki’s chick will be the Royal cam chick. I do hope so. It will mean that the seas are safer places for our beautiful squid eating birds.

“Masked Bobwhite (female ) (subspecies of Northern Bobwhite) | BANWR | AZ | 2016-04-15at07-43-413” by Bettina Arrigoni is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Audubon Society has posted some really good news. The Masked Bobwhites are once again seen in southern Arizona. They were believed to be on extinct or on the edge of extinction because of cattle grazing in the Arizona deserts. Today they are listed as ‘critically endangered’.

They are a small round quail. When I was a child, we would travel to visit relatives in Arizona every summer. Oh, was it hot! But there were always Bobwhites. It is nice to hear that they are now returning.

This photo was taken on the 10th of September. I wrote about it at the time because in migration news, this is great. The son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014 at the Pont Cresor nest in the Glaslyn Valley – and the grandson of Monty and Glesni – had reached Brittany. That was 12 days ago. He would now be further on his migration, perhaps stopping in Spain. The photo of Blue 494 was taken by Colette Leclerq.

Photo by Colette Leclerq, Brittany France

Speaking of migration and waiting and wanting news of Blue 464, it is more than time to check on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia.

First up, Karl II, his daughter Pikne, and his son Udu. They are from the Black Stork nest in the Karula Forest in Estonia. This map is taken from the Karl II migration pages of the Forum.

Udu is now in Hungary near the fishponds at Banhalma. Karl II remains around Kherson Oblata in the Ukraine. Pikne has doubled back and remains in Moldova. What I think is interesting about this map is that Udu has turned and is heading towards the Asia Minor route. There was a question as to whether he might go the western route to Africa but it seems he will be flying over Greece.

This is the data from BirdMap. You can access the BirdMap here:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

I was wanting to see about the Black stork Julge. He is Jan and Janika’s only surviving chick this year. He is now in france. You can see him still heading over the westerly routing.

The birds that are in the centre of Africa are two Ospreys!

So far everything looks in order and everyone is still safe.

I cannot bring you a late afternoon update on the Port Lincoln Ospreys. The camera was frozen for most of the day and has just returned to normal. Mom has the kids covered tight. It is only 8 degrees at 16:00 with winds blowing over the water at 11 kph.

I can show you a bit of what a beautiful day it was on the Canadian prairies. I really need to practice with my camera and my tripod. These are some images today taken at a distance of about 68 metres. I found the tripod tricky to use – I need a counterbalance for it – so these are all hand held. The set up was heavy. But there were a few passable images.

A female Mallard. This species is very common in Manitoba. They have, on occasion, fooled me so I have had to go to our local eBird expert. This is a real beauty.

The Canada Geese would like the entire pond to themselves. They swim after and honk as they pursue the ducks.

There is your dabbling duck. She knows that goose is there but is trying to ignore it.

The park was just beautiful. It was 25 degrees today. One of the fountains was not working and that end of the pond had men working. Still the geese on the other side were a bit curious.

All of the Wood Ducks were either up on the islands or down by the fountain that was working. This is a female and she is such a cutie. I sat and watched her swim in and out of the water droplets for quite awhile.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Tomorrow is a day away chasing shore birds. I hope to have a posting tomorrow evening (Thursday). Take care everyone. Stay safe. Stay Positive!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Friends of Ospreys, and to the Eagle Club of Estonia, BirdMap, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Time with Tiaki

It is 6 September in Australia and the Royal Cam chick, Tiaki, is 225 days old. She is the daughter of LGL (Lime Green Lime) and LGK (Lime Green Black). They have been together as a couple since 2017. Their very first chick was also a Royal cam chick. Karere hatched in 2019 and successfully fledged. They laid their egg this season on 4 November 2020 and Tiaki hatched on 24 January. It looks like they will also have a successful fledge this year! Congratulations LGL and LGK!

It is early morning. Tiaki is not at her nest. She is looking out at what is happening around her. It is going to be a gorgeous day with lots of wind.

Tiaki has been really exercising her wings and has hovered quite high on several occasions.

Lady Hawk caught Tiaki’s first hovering – 3 weeks ago – in a short video.

Here she is today spreading those magnificent wings. There are only little pieces of the baby down left.

Her ultimate destination – the sea.

If the average age at fledge is 232 days then it is possible that in a week, Tiaki will begin her big adventure. She will remain on the open seas only returning to Taiaro Head in 5-6 years. It will be wonderful to welcome back and to watch her do all those amazing courtship dances with the other juveniles. For those of you that adore this lovely little albatross, stay tuned to the screen. This gal really wants to fly.

It is 15:32 and Tiaki is away from her nest. It is so windy. I wonder if a parent will arrive to feed her?

Dad, LGK – Lime Green Black- had been at sea for quite some time. He has now returned on 3 and 5 September to feed his squealing daughter. I love this video that Lady Hawk posted of LGK’s visit and the feeding. Note the sky calls! And also keep on the lookout for the neighbouring chick, SSTrig. This little corner is quite the soap opera!

I just went to check on Tiaki again and look – someone is flying in. Is it LGK or LGL, the mom?

It’s Dad.

Here comes Tiaki calling to Dad so he won’t leave without giving her that wonderful squid shake. She is moving as fast as she can.

Tiaki acts like she has eaten in weeks. She is so excited and you could hear her whee, whee for quite a distance.

Tiaki gets a nice short feeding – and she always wants more and more. Dad tries to oblige her.

Tiaki doesn’t want Dad to go. Since 3 September, LGK has been in three times to feed his daughter. That is a good record.

I wonder if he knows that his time with her is growing shorter and shorter. Perhaps he will fish close to the nest and maybe fly in when mom is there, too. Wouldn’t it be grand to have a family reunion one more time? Absolutely.

Dad has stopped for a rest a little ways from Tiaki. Tiaki is in the middle of the photo and LGK is the head to the right of Tiaki. It is almost impossible to just sit with Tiaki now. She gets excited and wants more and more food. Sometimes LGK returns to do a second feeding after he has rested but, since he was just here yesterday maybe he has fed Tiaki all the squid he has.

Perhaps he will wait awhile and see if the strong winds bring Mom in?

Several times, LGK, Dad, flapped his wings at the edge of the cliff as if to show Taiki that it was a good place to fledge.

A few times I thought he had left but Tiaki would still be doing some clacking. Then dad’s wing would appear. It was hard to know precisely when he took off there were so many birds flying around.

Oh, my. Look what is happening. Is this the other parent flying in? I was not able to confirm the leg band but the camera followed the bird and we could see a chick being fed. I sure thought it was Tiaki. Hopefully someone else will be able to confirm all of this. If it was LGL then her and LGK missed one another by minutes.

The parents will not know when Tiaki fledges – unless of course they are there. I wonder if this has ever happened? They will return a few times to feed their chick and then when they cannot find her, they will take off. The couple will spend the next 14 months on the open sea building up their energy and feeding themselves. They will both meet here on Taiaroa Head in November of 2022 to begin another season in the hope of having a third chick that survives to fledge.

It is near the end of the season on Taiaroa Head. To date there have been no fledges but they will begin soon. You can still join the action, here’s the link:

I know that so many of you love the Albatross. Did you know that 15 of the 22 species of Albatross are facing extinction? It is because of the long haul fishing trawlers. Albatrosses feed on the surface of the ocean. You can see them flying about the fishing vessels who put out fish head and guts as the process the fish on board. This attracts the Osprey who get caught by the cables and are dragged under the boat and drown. The Albatross also get caught on the baited hooks of the boats. It is horrible and it doesn’t have to happen. Please check out the information on the Albatross Task Forde to fead all of the information and the solutions. There are things you can do to help!

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/#:~:text=The%20Albatross%20Task%20Force%20%E2%80%93%20an,the%20deadliest%20fisheries%20for%20albatrosses.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay well, see you soon.

Thank you also to the Cornell Bird Lab and the New Zealand Department of Conservation for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

World Ocean Day 8 June 2021

I am so proud to be a Canadian because it was, at the urging of Canada, that the United Nations declared 8 June as World Ocean Day. It is a time to increase not only our awareness of the environment but also to educate us so that we can take action to protect the valuable resource that is our oceans.

Why are oceans important to all life on earth?

Chart created by the National Ocean Service of the US Government

Scientists believe that if we do not curtail our use of plastics then by 2050 there will be more plastic than water in our oceans. Think about that for a moment.

Already artists are taking action to educate people. In the Philippines, a 70 foot whale was found on the beach dead – full of plastic. Starving to death and unable to eat. Greenpeace Philippines sponsored an art project, Washed Up, so that the people on their island nation would understand the importance of not using plastic. Here is a really good video and article about that sculpture and its impact.

Much of the plastic flows through the rivers that empty into the oceans. As a result, each of us needs to think about what we can do to help.

When I think of the ocean, I always think of the albatross – these largest of sea birds, gentle giants if you will. Here is the beautiful Taiki, the Royal Albatross Cam Chick of 2021, daughter of Lime Green Black and Lime Green Lime at her nest on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand.

Did you know that an albatross is, on average, killed every 5 minutes by the large fleet industrial fishing factories? That single fact inspired ceramic artist and professor, Julia Galloway, to create a series of Endangered Species Jars. Galloway left the funerary urns empty in the hope that people would turn the tragedy facing us environmentally around in a positive way.

Galloway’s first installation on endangered species focused on the area of New England. Isn’t this a beautiful piece of porcelain? It is the Endangered Loggerhead Turtle jar. Many of the same issues that impact the sea turtles are also responsible for the killing of the albatross.

As consumers, you can demand sustainable seafood – real sustainable sea food- when you do your shopping. Recycle all the plastic that you have and try and find ways not to use plastic – laundry detergent in paper strips, dryer balls, shopping bags – only to name a few. Switch to stainless steel, a completely recycled product. Educating children about the importance of the ocean to all life is paramount as they are the future – and set a good example as an adult for them in terms of your use of plastic and your actions as a consumer. It is believed that if everyone cut their purchases by 15% this would have a major impact on the environment. Maybe try to not buy anything new for a specific period of time – why not?

Support the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. Here is a link to their website:

https://www.acap.aq/

One of the biggest threats to the Albatross is that of being bycatch in industrial fishing. Here is a great document to help you understand what bycatch is and how easy and inexpensive it is for these large factories on our seas to eliminate it.

https://www.acap.aq/bycatch-mitigation/bycatch-mitigation-fact-sheets/1711-introduction-seabird-bycatch-mitigation-measures/file

That is a lot to take in but I do hope that you learned something. I hope that you enjoyed seeing how artists are trying to use their work to educate us. Perhaps their messages will resonate with more people than the politicians. So many times I just turn them off. Someone needs to help us understand how important it is to change our habits – stop buying things – save that money! So tomorrow on World Ocean Day stop and think about what you can do – every action counts no matter how small – to help the oceans and, in turn, all life on earth.

Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe and well!

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC for their streaming cam. That is where I took the screen shot of Taiki. The featured image is Lunan Bay on the coast of Scotland facing the North Sea. I would also like to thank Julia Galloway for allowing me to use the image of her porcelain jar.

Tiny does a flying tour, Big Red goes after mites, and Taiki gets a feeding

What do you do when you are anxious? Do you twist your hair? pick at your fingernails? doodle? I tend to clean house. You can always tell if there is something worrying me by the state of the floors. My mother was the “cleaniest” person I have ever met. You could eat off of any part of the floor, walls, any part of the bathroom – it was spotless and sanitary! I recall when I gave pottery lessons in rural Manitoba that one of the students, the most lovely woman who was moving to Williams Lake, BC, gave me a book as a parting gift. I can see the cover – it was yellow – and inside it had a lot of funny sayings another potter had jotted down over the years. One stuck out, “You can certainly eat off my floor, there are the Cheerios over there, the grapes over there…” etc. you get the drift. My floors are not that bad but they certainly would not stand the scrutiny of my mother all the time!

So today I have been avoiding thinking about the Glaslyn Osprey Nest of Mrs G and Aran in Wales. Instead of the floors, I have actually picked lilacs and my house smells like I am living outside in the middle of the bushes. It is hard to put Glaslyn out of one’s head. Mrs G has not eaten since Thursday – or perhaps Wednesday night. Thursday she had a fish tail under her that she fed to Bob 1 and 2. 3 wasn’t there yet. The weather turned, the Crows attacked, and here we are today. Aran has lost primary feathers and is not able to fish. He has been flying around the nest keeping Osprey intruders at bay. Mrs G has not removed the body of Bob 1 who died yesterday of starvation. It is truly a sad situation and unless fish jumped out of the sky, I simply cannot see the little ones surviving. Indeed, the one with the biggest chance could be the youngest. On top of this, Bob 3 at the Loch of the Lowes Nest is quite small compared to Bob 1 and 2 and Nessie is inexperienced. —— I do like a Walt Disney ending but, gosh, it is the real world and it just shows how much weather and climatic changes impact these fish eagles.

My mood is always made lighter by several other nests. So let us have a look at them. With Tiny Tot back on the nest, he has been quite the character today. I think Diane has a ‘soft spot’ for Tiny. After 2 had his fish this morning, Diane brought Tiny a whopper. He was still eating it an hour later. Then tonight, as I write this, the two of them are just finishing up another fish together. Earlier, Tiny had rushed 2 to try and steal a fish that hit the nest around 4pm. Tiny sure gave it a go and I am proud of him even if he didn’t succeed. What he decided to do was to do a fly around the nest and gosh, I figured out how to record it. So easy! Now I can share it with you. Thirty-three seconds of Tiny Tot flying. He has now done this several times. It will strengthen his wings but he won’t get lost! This kiddo is one smart cookie. After Tiny Tot leaves the nest, it will be a nano second or two til he comes around on the right. He will look like a small bird, he will turn to the left before the trees and head back. Beautiful take off and landing.

Tiny Tot does a 33 second fly around the nest and back. 24 May 2021

Tiny is simply one gorgeous, creative, persistent, patient, and alert fledgling. He will always have a place in my heart. He ranks up there with WBSE 26 for tenacity!

I also spent some time watching Big Red. Gosh, she just looks so adoringly at the Ks, just like she does every clutch, every year. She simply glows being a ‘bird mom’. The Ks are starting to stand and become mobile. Today two were interested in small bits of prey on the nest and each and everyone of them did not want their ears cleaned! The ears are on the sides of their head but they are not covered with feathers yet. Because of that, Big Red has to make sure that they are clean – just like my mother’s house – so that their hearing is not impaired. None of the Ks appreciates it when she does this! Take a good long look at them. We are three and a half weeks away from fledge!

Here is the oldest one, K1, standing. My how clean those pantaloons are.

Wonder if I can eat this???????? That little dimple, by the way, behind the eye is the ear.

Big Red is telling K2 to just hold still, it will only take a minute! K3 is waiting its turn.

Taiki, the Royal Albatross chick on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand is nothing short of adorable. Her names means ‘protector and carer of the land, the sky, and the sea’. She looks like a big fluffy cotton ball. All that fluff will begin to come off to reveal the huge wings she will need to stay flying over the ocean for five or six years before returning to land. Yes, you read that right. Once Taiki fledges, she will not return here to her natal nesting area – until she is five or six years old. She will return as a juvenile in December then and begin looking for a mate! That can also take a few years.

Today, Taiki is 121 days old. She is halfway to the average fledge of 240 days. In August Taiki will begin to hover and really put those wings through their paces. For now she does her exercises while she waits for a parent to fly in and feed her.

Here is a great little video, 14 minutes, of the parent arriving – I believe it is her dad, Lime Green Black – to give her a feeding of squid.

Oh, I hope you have enjoyed having a little glimpse at three amazing species of birds – the Ospreys, the Red Tail Hawks, and the Southern Royal Albatross. Each are at a different stage in their development. Thank you so much for joining me. I would like to be able to promise you that there will be good news from the UK Osprey nests tomorrow but, I can’t. The winds are whipping around and no one knows how long it will take Aran to heal so that he can fish.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots and videos: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Monday Nest Spotlight

The female Royal Cam Chick of 2021 now has a name. It is Taiki. There were 1016 votes cast and 31% voted for Taiki! That was 494 votes. Coming in second was Ururaki.

Every year there is a theme and this year, the theme was the Maori concept of guardianship of the seas, the land, and the sky. Taiki (tee-ak-ee) means to protect, preserve, and care. It is a beautiful name and fits the concept perfectly. Sure fits this gorgeous little princess. If you are wondering, only Royal cam chicks get Maori names in addition to their colour bands and numbers.

There is Taiki a few minutes after the official name ceremony. Isn’t she just a cutie, as soft as a cloud?

11 May 2021

Remember, you can watch the comings and goings of the Royal Albatross and the Royal Cam Chick on this link:

There is also a fun game of guessing the chick’s weight each week. Today, her dad, Lime Green Black came in an hour or so before her weight check. Could have been a spoiler! To join in, you need to join the Royal Albatross FB page.

LGK flies in to feed his now named daughter, Taiki, a squid shake and then back to the sea.
11 May 2021

I learned something today – don’t think I had ever thought about it but I am going to pass it along to you. For those of you who are not familiar with Iris, the oldest living osprey in the world, whose summer home is in Missoula, Montana, then I will give you the capsule history.

Iris is unringed but it is believed that she could be 28 years old. I have heard ages from 23-28. She has, on average, raised approximately 30-40 osprey to fledge in her lifetime. Her last responsible mate, Stanley, did not return from migration in 2017. Her current mate, Louis, has two nests – his primary one is with Starr at the baseball park. It is often called ‘moonlighting’. Iris has only successfully fledged one chick, in 2018, with Louis. He doesn’t feed her and she has to do everything alone. It is impossible! This year she returned to her nest and worked hard at getting it spic and span. She laid her first egg on May 6 and the second one this morning at 6:41 (May 10). Iris has not incubated the other egg very much. She might not incubate this one either. What I learned is this: it is hormonal. Iris will lay the eggs even if they are not fertile. She has to go through the process. — Which means, hopefully, they are not fertile and I can simply relax. Iris will not tend them and will enjoy her fish from the river and have a nice summer!——— Did everyone else know this???? Like my grandmother’s chickens every day.

Iris looked around to show her mate the egg but, of course, no mate. So she showed us!

6:41 am 10 May 2021. Iris lays her second egg.

Isn’t she gorgeous? She went out during the day and caught herself a whopper of a fish – typical Iris style!

10 May 2021

Big Red is drying out. She fed the Ks a lot before all of the rain set in and then brooded them – keeping them warm and dry – until they could be fed today. I won’t bore you with the amount of feedings those little ones have had but the pantry has been restocked. You will get very good identifying prey items if you watch a hawk nest. Unlike Iris an Osprey, who only eats fish unless she is absolutely starving, hawks are opportunistic and eat what is front of them that they can catch.

Look at that smile! Oh, her feathers are all floofed. Big Red looks like she has been down to the stylist.

The freshest item on the menu seems to be the chipmunk that Arthur brought in a short time ago.

Sadly, it appears that some goslings and a baby heron will turn into hawk.

The little ones are in need of a good scrub/preening. If there is no more rain overnight, they should be nice and fluffy tomorrow.

There is K3 standing up. He is ready for dinner! Those little ones are so spunky and this one is no exception.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope that you like the name of the Royal Cam chick. It is quite beautiful. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab, the NZ DOC, and the Montana Opsrey Project for their streaming cams. That is where I grab my screen shots.

From all the little ones…

There are so many bird babies around the world today thankful for their great moms that I thought we would stop in and check on some of them – and take a look back in some cases. I apologize if I didn’t include your favourite.

Thanks Mom Bonnie and Dad Clyde for finding us a beautiful nest tree and then stealing it from those Bald Eagles.

Farmer Derek Streaming Cam. Tree on the farm near Newton, Kansas that once belonged to the Bald Eagles but captured by Bonnie and Clyde to raise their owlets, Tiger and Lily Rose.

We did well. Look at us! Lily Rose and I fly all over the farm but we love to come back to the nest for you and dad to bring us some food.

Farmer Derek Streaming Cam. 8 May 2021

You kept us really warm and full with all those mice when it was snowy and cold.

Farmer Derek. February 2021

Thanks Mom. Look at how big we are – #1 Daughter and #2 Son.

MN DNR. Parents are Nancy and Harry. Oldest sibling is a girl, youngest is a male. 9 May 2021

Thanks Mom Gabby. I inherited your and Dad Samson’s stunning beauty and also your loud squeal – not sure Dad Samson likes it when I chase him! You and Dad have taken such good care of me.

NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF. February 2021

Thank you for keeping me on the nest and teaching me all those lessons after I got lost!

NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF. Legacy with a huge crop. 9 May 202

Mom, it’s Mother’s Day and I really thought I would be a great mom like you are. But there are people looking at the beak line and my eye ratio and the length of my hallux and they are saying I am a boy!

NEFlorida and the AEF Bald Eagle Cam. 9 May 2021

Thanks Dad Jack for coming to help Mom Harriet feed us this morning! And thanks Dad for not bringing in anymore toys so Mom can find us to feed us.

Dalgren Osprey Nest. 9 May 2021. Jack and Harriet are the parents.

Look, Mom Anna. We did it! I grew up – your first baby ever. Thank you for keeping me safe when that other juvenile came to steal my fish the other day.

KNF Streaming Cam. First time parents are Louis and Anna. This is Kisatchie named after the national park where the ancient nest tree is located.

Boy, Dad Louis sure kept that nest full of fish. Good thing we can’t smell very well, right Mom Anna? Do you remember?

KNF Eagle Cam. 8 March 2021

Thanks Mom, Annie. You are always fair when you feed us. Look how big we are growing. And just look at our pretty pantaloons!!!!!!!!!

UC Berkeley Falcon Cam. Annie and Grinnell are the parents on this beautiful nest in the Campanile in San Francisco.

Look how much we have grown! Thanks for taking such good care of us and feeding us all that pigeon.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I hatched just in time! Can I have some fish please?

Rutland Water Ospreys. Maya is the mom and Blue 33 (11) is the dad. This is ‘Little Bob’.

Aren’t I gorgeous? Just like my mom Lime Green Lime. My mom travels thousands of kilometres to find food for me. Then she flies back to Taiaroa Head to give me my squid shake. I don’t have a name yet. People are voting and I will know soon. Stay tuned.

Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC. Royal Albatross Cam Chick of the Year, Daughter of LGL and LGK. 7 May 2021
Cornell Lab and NZ DOC. One day I am going to fly like my mom, LGL. April 2021

Yeah, the sun is out and the wind is warm and our mom, Big Red is drying out just like we are. Isn’t she the best? She takes good care of us even if it is snowing or raining and flooding everything. Big Red is the best mom ever.

Cornell Bird Lab. Big Red is the 18 year old mom and Arthur is the 5 year old dad of this years Ks. 9 May 2021

Mom Big Red. You endure any kind of weather to keep your little ones safe!

Cornell Bird Lab. April 2021.

Thanks Mom for yelling at dad to bring in more fish so we both can eat. We are growing really big. And I promise to try not and be so bad to my little brother, Mom.

Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon. The Savannah Osprey Nest. 9 May 2021

Thank you Mom for staying with me when I get scared. It is lonely in this nest sometimes. You were so great at keeping me warm when it got really cold here in Colorado. But, today, what do you think of the new hair style?

Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Eagle Cam. This Bald Eagle Cam is located in Colorado. This little one has done well and is just getting its dark thermal down. 9 May 2021

Thank you Mom Eve for keeping us warm and being fair with the feeding. We both get fed and we both grow the same! You and dad Eerik keep the nest stocked with food so we never are hungry.

Eagle Club of Estonia. Eve and Eerik are the parents of the two little White-tail Eaglets. 9 May 2021

Thanks Mom for not giving up on us when you were buried in snow for a month. We are going to get our satellite trackers soon and you can follow us wherever we go after we fledge! And also Mom, thanks for not letting Big get all the food!

Duke Farms Eagle Cam, Hillsborough, New Jersey. These two are really growing fast and evening out in their size.

Thank you Mama Lucy. It’s just me so far and that is OK. You are a great Mom.

Lake Murray Osprey Cam. Parents are Lucy and Ricky and this is nest number 8 for this pair since 2013. The nest platform is brand new in 2020. What a beautiful place to raise ospreys.

Lucy and Ricky have a beautiful place and a new platform in 2020 to raise their little ones. The couple arrived in the area in 2013. Since then their nests have been destroyed by storms. Hope this wonderful new Osprey platform survives.

Lake Murray NH Osprey Cam. 9 May 2021

Mama Harriet, we had to go away and get our eye infection taken care of by CROW. Mom, I am sorry I had to have time out because I was so bad to my little brother, E18. I promise we will be the best of friends in the future.

Mama Harriet, I kept my promise. E18 and I are the best of mates now that we are growing up.

You did good, Mom. We only fight over food drops now – just like we did when we were at CROW. Sorry!

Tiny Tot: “Thanks Mom Diane for bringing in all that extra fish. It was literally life and death for me. I promise to grow into a great mom. You will be proud of me.”

Achieva Credit Union Osprey Cam. 9 May 2021. #2 sibling on left, Tiny Tot on Right

Thank you for joining me today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Bird Moms and to each of you that has inspired, raised/reared someone or something else. It takes a village!

Thank you to all the streaming cams listed under the images. That is where I captured those screen shots.

Happiness in Bird World on Earth Day

I want to wish each and everyone of you and our planet a Happy Earth Day. On the Canadian Prairies it has turned out to be jubilant. It is 17 degrees C outside which feels like summer – yes, it is going to get cold again quickly but still a break today is most welcome. All the snow in my garden is melted.

Bird World is jubilant! Look carefully at the image below. Can you spot Tiny Tot?

Tiny Tot with his crop. 22 April 2021

The last time we witnessed Tiny Tot with a crop was on 7 April. That was precisely 15 days ago and during that time he has survived by being clever and persistent. Tiny Tot used his clever mind and took advantage of positioning and the fact that 2 had eaten an entire fish late last night. Tiny had part of the first fish delivery that came at 7:18:03 as well as part of the second delivery arriving at 9:50:55.

One of the Achieva Osprey cam chatters, Vol Crush, named 1 and 2 Hoover Harley and Dyson Davidson. What a wonderful morning laugh. Tiny Tot was Phoenix – an appropriate name for him since he does seem to rise from the ashes of the nest and survive in ways that many cannot comprehend.

It is now 25 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida. Tiny Tot has let his big sister shade him. It is full sun and hotter up on that nest. At 2:20 all of the siblings are looking up. Wonder what they see?

Also take a look at Tiny. He has been getting his contour feathers and now instead of those ‘whiskers’ that he had he is also beginning to get his chest feathers. If his luck and persistence endures, he will be an Osprey to contend with being able to survive in very dire circumstances by not giving up. What a bird.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Falcon Nest has not hatched yet but gosh, look at the cuteness in those little pink beaks. Do they look like marshmallows to you?

Lime Green Black flew in to feed his girl quickly and out again he went. That was at 11:49 am. What a lucky princess! The satellite monitoring of LGK and LGL shows that they have had to go further out to forage to feed their girl.

Soon, we should have the short list for names of our Royal Albatross Princess at Taiaroa Head. Every year the Royal cam chick is given a Maori name. She will be the only hatchling of 2021 to have a name along with her band numbers. I will keep you posted so you can vote.

In Canada, our national bird is the Gray Jay. Not the Blue Jay and not the Toronto Blue Jays but the Gray Jay. Here is an image so you can get this in your mind.

“Gray Jay, Slough Creek” by YellowstoneNPS is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The national bird of the United States is the Bald Eagle. That symbol is on currency, on posters, and is celebrated at all patriotic events. And today, the only trained Bald Eagle to fly in an enclosed space – like at the Super Bowl or the 9/11 Memorial – Challenger is 32 hatch years old. He will get special salmon cakes and other treats to celebrate his extraordinary life. Happy Hatch Day Challenger!

Al Cerere, the founder of the American Eagle Foundation Founder and former President of the AEF, takes Challenger on Fox and Friends on Memorial Day in 2017 to talk about how Challenger. There are many more videos of Challenger flying and his birthday celebration in 2020. You can check them out by doing a search on YouTube.

Louis has been over to visit Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey Nest today. Gosh, I wish for once he would bring her a fish! Just once, Louis. Wouldn’t that be nice? Apparently, he does feed Star at his other nest over at the baseball park. Someone pointed out something important – this nest is in Louis’s territory and no other male would likely challenge Louis. On the other hand, I know that most people want Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, to have a mate and they would love to watch her raise her osplets again. It has been awhile. But there is also the argument that having raised no less than 30 and possibly 40 or more chicks she deserves a break. If you have watched the mothers on these nests they work hard and lose about 30% of their body weight.

Louis arrives in Iris’s life in 2016. Since then the only egg to hatch has been egg #1 laid on 27 April 2018. That egg hatched on 4 June and the chick fledged on 5 August.

There is some logic that not having to raise a nest full of chicks might be what is helping Iris to survive as long as she has. She always returns from her winter migration in great health. She is an excellent fisher. Nature will once again take its course this summer in Missoula. For me, just seeing Iris – working on the nest, bringing in fish she has caught, is fantastic and reassuring.

And speaking of eggs and hatchlings, there are still only two at The Landings Savannah Osprey nest and I am overjoyed that other egg is just sitting there. If it is pipping, I am unaware. The two are healthy and getting along. It would be such a blessing for this nest to have these two remain so.

In Latvia, everyone is still joyous over the successful hatching of Milda’s second egg. That beautiful little White Tailed Eaglet is doing great. Here it is getting a meal before the heavy rains set in later in the afternoon.

As the heavy rain falls late in the day it sounds like there also could be some hail falling. That little eaglet is snug under Milda! Nothing is going to get it wet. Mr Chips has brought in fish that can feed both mom and baby.

And over in Wales, there are smiles because one of the Dyfi hatchlings of 2018, Dinas has arrived home to Wales. Last year he was seen in Anglesey. Congratulations everyone. What a relief to see a return! Phillip Snow captured Dinas eating a fish. The image was posted on the Loch Arkaig FB this morning. What a great fish!

And, last, a report on another Louis. As anyone watching the nest of Louis and Aila at Loch Arkaig can tell you, it is becoming sad not to see Aila return. There are still ospreys returning to the UK from their winter migration to Africa and Aila has come in late previously but it appears that Louis might be with another female on the nest out of view of the camera. Fish were seen being delivered and two birds on that nest. Louis is an amazing dad and the three osplets that hatched and fledged in 2020 are a testimony to his efforts, day and night, to keep them fed. He even did tandem feedings with Aila which won my love. Oh, if that would happen on the Achieva Osprey nest I would collapse. Birds, like humans, are born into different homes with parents with different skills and means. Whatever happens up in Scotland, I know that we wish Louis well.

Have a fabulous day today everyone! Enjoy the beautiful outdoors and do something for the betterment of our planet – no matter how large your effort, everyone can make a difference.

Thank you to the following where I grabbed my images: the Loch Arkaig FB page and Phillip Snow, the Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest, the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg FL, the UC Falcon Cam, the Latvian Nature Fund and the White Tail Eagle cam at Durbe, Cornell Lab and NZ Doc Royal Albatross, and Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey Project.

Cuteness Overload in Bird World

It is Tuesday in New Zealand but on the Canadian prairies it is Monday and it is snowing! There is snow swirling all around and the birds would like nothing better than to come into the house! Poor things.

Today is the day that the NZ Department of Conservation rangers at Taiaroa Head weigh all of the Royal Albatross chicks. Every Tuesday they do this. If any of the chicks are underweight, the rangers will give them a supplemental feeding. Sometimes the winds are not conducive to returning while at other times these largest of NZ sea birds have to travel far to find food. Sadly, some of them also perish in the process. If there is only one parent feeding it is often hard to keep up with the demands of a growing albatross chick. That is when I sing the praises of the NZ DOC – they will do anything to keep the adults and the chicks in a good healthy state.

The Royal Cam chick is a female and she was hatched 80 days ago. Her nest is at a place called ‘The Flat Top’ on Taiaroa Head, a peninsula near Dunedin, New Zealand. It is the only breeding colony near human habitation for these albatross. Because raising a chick causes such stress on their bodies, the albatross breed biennially. Indeed, while it might sound like they have two years to recuperate, it will take almost an entire year to raise their chick. The 2021 Royal Cam chick will fledge and begin her five to six years at sea in September. Her parents will return to Taiaroa Head to feed her until she goes on her own journey. The parents will then go to sea only returning the following November when they will breed again. This means that the parents will not see one another for approximately fourteen to fifteen months returning to a specific spot on the planet to breed. It is a real joy and a relief when both return safely. The chick will remain at sea, never touching land, for five to six years before she returns to Taiaroa Head to begin choosing her own mate.

In the past week, the Royal Cam chick has ‘lucked out’. She had two family visits – her parents arrived yesterday around 15:00 and they had flown in together on Saturday to feed her together. It is hard to comprehend how extraordinary these family reunions are until you sit and stare at the ocean where the two go foraging for food for both themselves and the chick. It is vast.

Two months ago, Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the female and Lime-Green-Black (LGK) were fitted with small backpack satellite transmitters. These transmitters are intended to study their foraging habits. LGL has travelled 11.737 kilometres going to and from the sea in order to feed her chick. This is the graph of those travels:

What a happy family reunion! The nickname for the little chick has been a Maori word for cloud, Kapua. I think you can see why in the image below! Look at all that gorgeous white feathery down.

LGL and LGK both visit and feed their chick. 12 April 2021

Kapua has learned how to beg for food. In fact, she is often impatient during these family visits for good feedings. Sometimes her parents like to stop and visit with one another! Of course, Kapua wants all the attention on her.

The albatross chick has to clack on the parent’s bill to stimulate the regurgitation of food. Here you can see how the parent also has to lean down and the way the chick and parent hold their bills so the precious squid oil will go into the chick and not on the ground!

While her parents are away, Kapua spends time in her nest. She watches the boats go past, makes little play nests around her but never strays, at this age, far from her natal nest in case her parents return with food.

Isn’t she the epitome of cuteness?

When things get too stressful on the other nests, I always return to the Royal Albatross and my faith in the New Zealand government for keeping Kapua safe and healthy.

Yesterday was a milestone for one of the most beautiful Bald eaglets anywhere, Legacy. She is the daughter of Samson and Gabrielle at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville, Florida. Legacy has been jumping up and down working her wings and legs to get them strong on the spongy Spanish moss nest. Yesterday, though, Legacy made another milestone. She branched at 3:59. Legacy will continue now to go up on the branches of her natal tree until the point where she will fly from the nest to a branch before she takes her first real flight from the nest which is known as fledging. There she is. Legacy was a little nervous and she made her way down to the nest bowl carefully. Soon, though, she will be jumping up and down to that branch having a lot of fun! She loves the wind beneath her wings.

Legacy is a big strong eaglet. 11 April 2021

Sweet little babies staying warm and dry under Nancy at the MN DNR nest. Looks like they have rain instead of the snow we are experiencing north of them. The little ones are not able to regulate their temperature yet so they need to stay warm and dry!

Little ones staying warm near Nancy, MN DNR Nest. 12 April 2021

Izzi, the peregrine falcon has not left his natal scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yesterday he caught an adult Starling all by himself and was quite loud in announcing it to the world. This image catches his trade mark screeching on entering the scrape box:

The two owlets raised in the Bald Eagle Nest near Newton, Kansas are growing and growing. There are still many who consider them to be ‘cute’! Yesterday their mother, Bonnie, tested them. She left a duck and parts of a rabbit in the nest. She stood on a branch watching to see if they would begin feeding themselves. They didn’t but they will be self-feeding soon!

Bonnie is feeding Tiger and Lily duck and rabbit. 11 April 2021

And it is so sweet. Louis is on the nest at Loch Arkaig early to add a few sticks. He stayed on the perch branch for a long time waiting for Aila to return.

In 2017, Louis was given the nickname ‘Lonesome Louis’ because he paced back and forth on the nest when his mate of ten years did not return. The pair had failed to breed in 2016 and people were hopeful that 2017 would be different. Louis waited for three weeks and then a new female appeared. It was Aila meaning ‘bringer of light’ in Finnish. The pair raised one chick in 2017 and he was called Lachlan meaning from the lakes. Sadly, a Pine Marten raided their nest and ate the eggs in 2018. In 2019, the couple had two chicks fledge – Mallie and Rannoch and in 2020, there was the famous trio – Dottie, Vera, and Captain. Everyone is hoping for a quick return of Aila so that Louis is not ‘lonesome’ again!

Louis looks for Aila. 12 April 2021.

There are two other updates without images. Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey nest has been doing nestorations and feeding herself. Her mate, Louis, who also has another nest with Star at the Baseball park has visited twice – each time mating with Iris. The last time was 18:16 on 11 April when he made a quick visit. Louis brings Iris nothing – and yes, he is a bird but I continue to say how sad this is for the oldest female Osprey in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if she was treated like the royalty she is? And the other is the state of the Achieva Osprey Nest in Dunedin, Florida. Jack the father has not been seen for awhile and everyone is beginning to wonder if he did not die or get severely injured. The thunderstorms have been very severe. Yesterday, there were two fish in the morning and Tiny Tot did get fed from both. He has not eaten now for more than 26 hours. Diane brought a small fish this morning that partially fed 1 and 2 and she has gone out and caught another smaller fish. Right now the two older osplets are eating. There may not be enough for Tiny. She will have to go out again if she is to eat and feed Tiny. There have been rumours about a hawk in the area. So, once again, we are at a tragic point this season on this nest. Just when Tiny Tot was getting full for a couple of days and getting his stamina and health back, then the storms come. Diane cannot protect her osplets and fish at the same time. She has not eaten either and I hope that whatever threats are around the nest are gone and that Diane catches one of her whooper catfish so that everyone can be full.

UPDATE 2PM CDT: Jack has arrived at the nest with a fish at 2:41:31 EDT. Diane was still feeding 1 and 2 on the fish she brought in – her second of the day. Maybe Tiny Tot will get some food. Glad Jack is OK.

Thank you for joining me today – our wintery weather will be here for three days if the predictions are correct. Not a great time for my walks!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ DOC, Farmer Derek, the NEFLorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Woodland Trust and People Post Lottery, Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and the MN DNR.