Tears of the Albatross

As we prepare for the 2021 Royal Albatross to fledge off Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, it is a good time to think about these beautiful sea birds.

Last year I came across this document, The Tears of the Albatross. It gives you the history, the mythology, and the environmental challenges that the Albatross face. It is an excellent read and I want to include it again. You will learn so much about these magnificent sea birds.

Also highly recommended is the website of the ‘Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.’ This is more up to date information on what the ACAP is doing to protect the birds.

https://www.acap.aq/?fbclid=IwAR1CzLWh-w3-Zcr8ka0KBllcN8HWlaAKuMxeu7EmIbFRMvko8v3uFE7G_wo

As far as I know Tiaki is still with us. The remaining chicks of which there are 26 at last count could fledge anytime.

This was the view of the camera installed by Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC so that we could watch Tiaki as she grew from a hatchling to a fledgling. It seems Tiaki is off around the bend or down the hill! It would be so nice if we could see her fledge! Come home Taiki! We want to say goodbye.

It is a quiet day in Bird World. The female at Port Lincoln doesn’t seem to have a pip in the first egg yet although it could be anytime. The Bald Eagles in the US are bringing in stick and twigs and refurbishing the nests from last year. There is no confirmation of Iris one way or another. Aran was seen at 13:47 tucking into a nice fish and at 17:00 in the Glaslyn Valley so he is still with us. The Peregrine falcons continue to incubate eggs. We are just about at the half way mark to fledge.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care, stay safe. I hope you enjoy The Tears of the Albatross.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my images: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Credit for the feature image: “Albatross” by AdeRussell is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As the Nest Turns 11 Sept

The female on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge woke up to some rain and by mid-day there was rough weather. The moderator of the PLO chat said they hoped that the chick would choose to stay in the egg!

It is currently 12 degrees C with a wind speed of 42 km/h or 26.09 miles per hour. Blustery. Not good for fishing. Best wrapped up in a cosy blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. Hang in there mum.

Aran is still in the Glaslyn Valley. Doesn’t he look grand on one of his favourite perches looking over ‘his’ territory. As much as others might have their eyes on their natal nest, Aran doesn’t intend to hand it over to either Tegid or Aeron, Monty’s boys, Z1 and Z2, respectively.

Some are worried. My notebook just said that ‘Aran migrates after the middle of September.’ That was accurate but not precise enough.

As it happened, Tiger Mozone on the PLO chat and so I was able to ask him. Immediately – literally – there was a link to ‘Tiger and Chloe B’s Osprey Data’.

https://www.imagicat.com/Glaslynstats2021.html?fbclid=IwAR1uxYgOaHJ85Yo7zbbEpttPlKvHn_N4zWrrL-TLutWheHwn_AQQRZPLr8c

These are the dates that Aran was last seen at the Glaslyn nest from 2015-2020:

  • 2015. 25 September
  • 2016. 16 September
  • 2017. 12 September
  • 2018. 22 September
  • 2019. 16 September
  • 2020. 15 September

The average is September 17th. That is six days from now. There is no need for anyone to be alarmed that Aran is still in the Valley, worrying that he is unable to migrate due to his earlier injury. Aran is ‘being Aran.’

Everyone that watches the Royal Cam Chick at Taiaroa Head, Tiaki, you should be giving a shout out to Ranger Sharyn. She located Tiaki 150 metres from her natal nest and the streaming cam. She carried her back to the general area of the nest – and just in time. LGL flew in and fed her daughter shortly after.

Here is Tiaki seeing her mom and coming quickly for that delicious squid shake. These chicks can really move when food is involved — or running away from ‘the dreaded basket’ when the rangers come round to weigh the chicks.

Victor Hurley, the Peregrine Falcon specialist who uses the streaming cam in Melbourne to study the falcons, is looking for some help. He was on the 367 Collins Street Falcons FB page today asking for individuals to accurately provide the time stamp for the incubation hand over duties. Later, he will be looking for time stamps for prey delivery. If you would like to help, please go to the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers and PM Hurley.

Here is a great example of what he is looking for. Mum is getting off the eggs and Cutie Pie ‘Dad’ is falcon walking on the ledge. They are such a good team.

It is windy in Sydney, too. WBSE 27 and 28 had a tiny bird – looks like another gull chick – around 6:29. 28 held back until almost all of the bird had been eaten by 27. That is a bit unusual for the first feeding in the morning. Normally 28 is right up front ready to go.

Notice that 27 stood for its breakfast! Oh, these two are really developing. Both have been standing more and trying to walk.

Another food item comes to the nest around 10:00. This time Lady splits the meal between both of the chicks.

28 is on the left and 27 on the right. You will notice that while the wing and back feathers are growing in nicely on both, 27’s tail is longer and 27 is noticeably larger.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner reminds readers that at the time of migration the juvenile Ospreys are transformed in appearance from when they were first fledglings. Gone is the white scallop on the feathers, gone is most of the down, the eyes are yellow, the dark feathers are darker, and the birds have ‘slimmed down’ somewhat.

So today an Osprey appeared on the Achieva Nest in St Petersburg. Help me out here. Could we be looking at a slightly older Tiny Tot?

The top two images are of the visitor today. The top one looks more like the face of Tiny Tot with the trademark ‘heart’ on the top of the head.

These are the first images that I grabbed of Tiny Tot out of the hundreds that I have. I wish that I could get both of the birds in the exact position.

Of course, it could be my mind playing tricks. I would dearly love for this to be Tiny Tot.

When I was scrolling for images of Tiny Tot, I cam across this one of Tiny Little. The Two Tinys are the stars of survival for 2021. The most amazing, clever, determined to live little birds who beat the odds. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to have a Darvic ring! Then we would not be guessing who is on that nest.

I will leave all of you with this mystery and a reminder of how inspiring these two little ospreys are to all of us.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: PLO Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Achieva Credit Union St Petersburg, 367 Collins Street Falcons, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

As the Nest Turns 10 August

Ranger Sharyn Broni of the NZ DOC confirms there had to be adjustments made to the data coming in about Tiaki. She is on the headland -probably down the hill – and has not left!

Tiaki is 230 days old today. She is definitely in the range for fledging. Let us all hope she comes back up the hill so that we can see her take off on this amazing adventure – her life.

The Juvenile Green Heron was still south of my city on a small river fishing this morning. I am hoping that he might still be there this evening. While Blue Herons are common in my province, a Green Heron is a very rare bird. It has created much excitement in the birding community here. A friend sent me an image from early this morning. Isn’t this a lovely bird?

Ever wondered about those beautiful lochs in Scotland where the Osprey live? My bucket list includes a trip to Loch Arkaig – the home of Louis and Aila and now Louis and Dorcha. Louis and Aila sealed my love for Ospreys when they took such good care of little JJ7, The Captain, last year. Someone posted a link to a video and it is grand. I want to share it with you. It is a quick trip around Loch Arkaig — the scenery is beautiful.

Today has been the day of sharing. My friend ‘N’ sent me the link to an article about parrots. I wish I knew more about these lovely birds other than seeing them as food for our raptors in Australia! Have a read! (I do hope you can open it!).

In other bird news. The wait is on for the first hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. This will be followed by the Orange and Melbourne peregrine falcons towards the end of the month. The sea eagles are doing well. Jean-Marie Dupart who works at Nature et Oiseaux Senegal posted the images of the first two Ospreys to reach the shores of Senegal this year. If you want to have a look at some stunning avian images, check out Jean-Marie’s FB page! You do not have to be a friend to enjoy the variety of wildlife in Senegal. It appears that Aran has finally departed the Glaslyn Valley and started his migration. There has been no positive sighting of Iris and we await confirmation that she is still in Missoula or has left for her winter home.

We are being blessed with beautiful weather. In years past, there was always a frost in Manitoba in August but not this year. All of the flowers are still blooming. Indeed, my Hibiscus which has out performed any of the others has lots of new buds. One of them opened this morning. So happy to wake up and see that beauty in the middle of September.

Take care everyone. Have a great Friday. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shot: Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC. Thank you to ‘N’ and ‘B’ who sent me the article and the photo. I really appreciate these.

Did Tiaki fledge?

The winds were blowing strong over Taiaroa Head yesterday. Albies filled the skies.

Even the container ship was pulling to one side they were so strong.

Hovering chicks were trying their wings. One, in particular, caught the eye of the camera operator.

Is this Tiaki fledgling? the 9th of September at 18:18? at 229 days old? If it is, the Rangers were really lucky to have gotten her GPS tracker on her yesterday.

We will have to wait for confirmation from Ranger Sharyn on Friday. Wow. I wonder how many other hovering chicks fledged yesterday in those strong winds? See how the Albie catchies the right wind and they are simply off. That is what Albatross and Ospreys do. They catch the winds. This allows them not to expend so much energy flapping. They are like gliders covering great distances with little effort.

Have a great day everyone. I will watch for the announcement and confirm later today. Ranger Sharyn and her team will have to be out checking all of the chicks to see who is still with them. Hopefully, they will go and check on Tiaki first. She did not sleep in or near the nest last night.

Thanks to your GPS we will get to see Tiaki’s location til her first molt. Yippee.

Tiaki practicing her hovering earlier. Stay safe Tiaki – good winds and lots of fish.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clip.

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.

Late Friday and Saturday in Bird World, 28 August

It is late Friday night on the Canadian Prairies. The much needed rain has paused and the weather news says it will start again soon. The rosemary and thyme growing in the garden boxes are thriving as are the Vermillionaires, planted specifically for the hummers. Perhaps they will find them as they return to their winter grounds.

This is the first year that there have not been hummers in early July around the flowers.

The tracking information for Pikne and Udu is in. These are the two fledglings of Karl and Kaia. Sadly, Tuul passed.

26 August tracking map shows Pikne flew only 11.5 km from her last stop. The Forum postings says, “S/he is still between the villages Mykhailivka, Khvoshchivka and Stavychany, Khmelnytskyi Oblast in Ukraine.” Do not let this short distance worry you. She has found a nice place to rest and feed for a day or two.

It looks like a beautiful area for Black Storks to pause in their long journey.

“File:Khmelnytskyi, Khmel’nyts’ka oblast, Ukraine – panoramio (59).jpg” by durik1980 is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The report for Udu on 26 August indicates that he is also taking a bit of a break. He flew only 6.19 km. He is eating and gaining strength from all the flying near a wildlife park in Niezgoda, Poland.

There is also a big water area for Udu similar to where Pikne is eating and resting.

This is the latest map for Udu:

The only surviving Black Storkling, Julge which means brave one), seen recently on Jan and Janika’s nest has begun his migration. This is remarkable – five days after fledging. He travelled 224 km and appears to be flying the same direction as Udu, Karl II’s male fledgling. Well done Julge. You have survived the horrors of the forest and the Raccoon Dogs that killed your siblings and you are flying. Stay safe!

One of the chatters for the Latvian Forum has been to the feeder to check on it and on Grafs and Grafiene’s storklets. The heron that we see often in the photographs remains at the feeder. Live carp could still be seen in the pond. While there, two black storklings came flying over him and into the forest. Sadly, in the excitement, he lost the card from his camera so there are no pictures. But the good news is that the feeder still has fish and that the two storklings of Grafs are together and alive. The third is believed to have followed Grafs off the nest and is feeding in a different area. This is all fantastic news.

There appears to be no activity on the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria. Polly Turner caught White YW looking for our Tiny Little but no Tiny Little. She is believed to have begun her first migration. White YW and Blue 35 raised three lively chicks. Dad stayed on until Tiny Little had the call of the winds to leave and made sure she was fed well. This is a great nest and we look forward to the return of White YW and Blue 35 next spring and to Tiny Little, Blue 463 (remember that number), when she returns in two years.

That nest looks so lonely and empty without Tiny Little there screaming her head off! The visual clue for an Osprey fledgling wanting food is that yelling that Tiny Little to White YW every time she saw him —- in case he forgot that she was hungry!

Diamond is still holding that egg! She had everyone excited yesterday but no, no egg yet.

Mrs G and Aran are still in Wales. The lovely couple sitting close to one another on the perch looking over the beautiful valley that is their territory and fighting off any intruders.

Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in the United Kingdom. Lovely. We hope they both return safe and well to raise a lovely clutch next year.

The camera operator gave a tour of the other side of the nest. Have a wee peek.

The nest has everything! A river with fish!

What a magnificent valley, so serene.

Maya is still at the Rutland Water Manton Bay nest with Blue 33. She was caught on camera for a couple of brief seconds today. So like Mrs G, Maya is still hanging back from starting her migration.

I have received word that WBSE 28 ate well and had a crop at one of the feedings yesterday. Here is a video that the Sea Eagle Cam posted to reassure everyone.

At Taiaroa Head, the Royal Cam Princess for 2021, Taiki, is getting really good at hovering. She is busy as a bee these days wandering around and visiting with her neighbours. If you want to see more of this little fluff ball, now is the time to watch her. It is near the beginning of September and fledge is usually the middle of the month. Perhaps she is precocious and will fly off earlier!

Can’t you just hear her saying wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! She is destined to spend the next 5 or 6 years of her life flying over the seas of the Southern Ocean in search of food. Remember – every chance you get lobby to stop long-line fishing without bird protections. They are easy fixes and every fishing trawler can use these covered hooks and sparkly lines without much cost. They can bait the hooks and lower them at night at no cost with no harm to the sea birds.

About the time Tiaki flies off, Gabby will be arriving at the Bald Eagle nest to meet her handsome Samson near Jacksonville. Doesn’t time go by so quickly?

Every day I learn something new. In researching nature centres and the rights of animals I have come across some interesting information. I thought I would share it with you in the form of a very short little game. Meant for fun!

  1. Approximately how many birds were killed in 1886 to provide feathers for women’s hats in the US? a) 10 million; b) 15 million; c) 2 million; d) 7 million; or e) 5 million.
  2. Which of the following, mixed with Xylene and fuel oil, was sprayed in the Patuxent River in 1945? a) chlorine; b) Agent Orange; c) DDT; d) 2.4 D; or e) MPCA.
  3. Which of the following began in elite hunting circles? a) environmentalism; or b) conservation
  4. Which of the following was first concerned with air and water pollution? a) environmentalism; or b) conservation
  5. Who is the individual credited with lobbying to protect the Bald Eagle from hunters in the early 20th century?
  6. Can private citizens in the US sue over alleged violations of the US Endangered Species Act on behalf of a tree, an Osprey, spotted owls, red squirrels, etc? a) Yes or b) No
  7. Jackie and Shadow are Bald Eagles who have their nest at Big Bear, California. What chemical, not outlawed for nearly 50 years, continues to cause their egg shells to be thin?
  8. In 2021, deep sea explorers discovered something horrific off the coast of Catalina in California. It was a dumping ground for barrels of what pesticide?
  9. What is the biggest killer of songbirds in Canada?
  10. I am a nestling raptor. I am flapping both of my wings up and down in unison with my head held low. What am I doing?
  11. I am a nestling raptor. I am pancaked in the nest cup, keeping my head as low as I can. Am I happy that food is arriving on the nest? Afraid of a predator? or signalling that my mum is flying to the nest?
  12. How many deer hunting licenses were sold through the Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin (or on line) in 2020? a) 226,718; b) 873,001; c) 174,569; d) 820,299; or e) 547,223

Thank you so much for joining me. It is cool and the day promises more rain on the Canadian prairies – and that is a good thing. After the heat of the summer, so many are telling me the crisp air of fall is their favourite time of year.

Several are working behind the scenes to get the information over what happened to Malin and what the outcome might have been — remember that video by Scotty Watson rescuing the juvenile Osprey on its initial flight — to the responsible authorities of Collins Marsh. This may take time but it is done so that Malin’s tragedy is not only remembered but also used to educate those who have Ospreys in their care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross. I would also like to thank the Forum with the tracking for Karl II and his family.

Here are the answers to the fun quiz. Maybe we should do another just about the birds we love one day!

  1. The answer is 5 million, E. Birds of every species was used in millinery not just in the United States but also in Europe. It was one of the reasons that our beloved Ospreys became extinct. Some women decorated their hats with not only feathers but the stuffed remains of entire birds with their beaks, feet, and glass eyes!
  2. The Patuxent River was sprayed with DDT mixed with Xylene and fuel oil, C. When individuals returned from World War II having used DDT in various ways, it was accepted that it was harmless. Almost immediately, when DDT began to be used as an insecticide, problems were noted but this was not before vast areas of rivers were sprayed with DDT to lessen the mosquito population. The result was dead fish floating to the surface within days.
  3. Conservation is linked to the elite hunting and fishing clubs, B. Conservationists believe/d sport hunting was a worthwhile pursuit and they sought to protect entire species so that they could be hunted!
  4. Environmentalism is focused on a global connection and a global vulnerability of all life on the planet. Their early work was on air and water pollution and how they relate to every species. They promoted the interconnectedness of every living thing. When one thrives, we all thrive.
  5. Rosalie Edge took on the Audubon Society and hunters and lobbied to get the Bald Eagle protected. She eventually purchases Hawk Mountain and puts an end to sport hunting there.
  6. The answer is ‘yes’. The Endangered Species Act was signed into law after an argument before the US Supreme Court on giving legal representation to natural objects. The argument was first presented in a law review article titled, “Should Trees Have Standing?’. Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas wrote the preface. The first case was The Sierra Club versus Disney Corporation. The Sierra Club lost but, various legal arguments have been held to uphold the rights of owls, Florida Key deer, etc.
  7. The residual DDT in the ground and Big Bear Lake continues to wreck havoc on the shells of many birds including Shadow and Jackie at Big Bear. See Pesticides Documentation Bulletin, Volume 2, Issues 21-24.
  8. Deep sea divers have discovered leaking barrels of DDT at 3000 feet below sea level off the coast of Los Angeles near Catalina as reported in the LA Times, 26 April 2021, by Rosanna Xia. https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-04-26/ddt-waste-barrels-off-la-coast-shock-california-scientists
  9. Cats. Some areas are now requiring that domestic cats be licensed and kept strictly inside. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/cats-the-no-1-killer-of-birds-in-canada-1.3130437
  10. Mantling to protect my prey item.
  11. Keeping still so a predator near the nest will not see me.
  12. 820,299. The sales of hunting licenses during the first year of the pandemic were up 3.5% in Wisconsin. https://www.uppermichiganssource.com/2020/12/01/wisconsin-dnr-releases-deer-hunt-harvest-totals-license-sales-information/

Checking in on Australia

It is raining in parts of Australia. Orange got 50 mm and there are floods about while there was 37 mm out at the Campus where the scrape box of Peregrine Falcon couple, Xavier and Diamond, have their scrape box.

Diamond has spent time on the ledge and going back to the scrape box looking like she is concentrating on that first egg. What do you think? Maybe today?

Sadly, the poor weather might be impacting Dad’s ability to bring in prey to the two babies in the Ironbark Tree. Until now, there has been little to no demonstrations of dominance but yesterday the prey diminished and WBSE 27 started telling the little one who is boss. It is unclear if WBSE 28 had any of the morning fish. WBSE 27 is 26 days old today and WBSE 28 is 24 days old. Oh, I hope this stops. There is enough for everyone! Most people say that the parents will not step in. And, as you know, if I hear survival of the fittest one more time I might scream loud enough for someone to hear me in Australia! All you have to do is to think about Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest or Tiny Little — those tortured little ones turned out to be a force to be reckoned with. I wish Tiny Tot had a tag and a satellite transmitter. I sure would like to see what she is doing in a couple of years. If there are two Ospreys that will survive it is those two. And they started out like WBSE 28. Of course, only worse for Tiny Tot.

Mom was looking particularly beautiful over in the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. The colour of the water contrasted with the nest lining — well, it is gorgeous.

The female at Collins Street in Melbourne certainly looks like she is going to lay her second egg today. She is getting full in the bottom just like Diamond. She is certainly plunked down in that scrape box with that stern look she can give. It must be quite uncomfortable laying eggs!

I don’t do a lot of reporting on the Albatross despite the fact that not only am I fond of them but I really want our oceans to be cleaned up and the fish stocks renewed so that all of the sea birds are promised some kind of a decent life. Sharon Dunne does a great job running the FB group as well as keeping us abreast of everything ‘Tiaki’, the Royal cam chick of the 2021 year.

Ms Pippa Atawhai was just the cutest little albatross chick and her parents were incredible. She was the 2020 Royal Cam Chick. Her nest was close to the visitor’s centre. Tiaki’s nest is down close to other nests. Some are less than 3 metres away. This has led to a lot of ‘drama’ between the chicks! Seriously. I thought it was only the juveniles that caused mischief. Oh, no. These gals can seriously get with the squabbling.

The Cornell Bird Lab caught that on camera today. Have a look:

It reminds me of my garden. Before I seriously started watching birds and their behaviour, it seemed they all got along and lived in some kind of sing song happy land. Oh, geez. There is even a hierarchy in our garden! Incredible. Have you noticed this behaviour at your feeders? Is this why we say ‘Pecking Order’?

This was a quick check in. I am restless – not knowing for sure if Malin is alive or dead or nothing can be determined. But I want to leave you with an uplifting story and a lesson. Yesterday I reported on the Osprey that had been hanging upside down in a tree for two days because of being entangled in fishing line. The beautiful bird had pulled all of its muscles from being upside down. The bird, at 45 feet, was ten feet more than the climber could reach so he used an extension net and a pole saw to cut the line and catch the bird in one swoop. On the ground the bird was detangled from the line. A stainless steel treble hook – for catching 3 fish at once – had gone through the talons of this baby. Today, this young one is healing. The lesson is ——- clean up after you go fishing. Join in groups to clear the shores of rivers and lakes of fishing debris that gets caught in them. Help our water birds!

I took these screen shots from A Place Called Hope’s FB page. They have a wonderful video on their site of this rescue and I urge you to search FB, find their home page, and watch it. It is very moving. What wonderful people these people are – there is not a situation too challenging and if a bird can be saved, A Place Called Hope will give it that chance.

Thank you for joining me today. I am certain that Collins Street will have another egg tomorrow and well, Diamond might have one as well. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Cornell Bird Lab, The Falcon Project with Cilla Kinross and Charles Sturt University, the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and A Place Called Hope FB page.

Tiny Little finds a whole fish, Only Bob does a proper fledge and other tales in Bird World

Whenever there are sad moments in Ospreyland, I find it is always comforting to head down and spend some time with Taiki, the Royal Cam Albatross in New Zealand. Taiki was 170 days old today and she weighed 8 kg. She was at 8.2 kg. Around this stage in their lives the weight of the chicks stabilizes – meaning they will not gain vast amounts of weight as they will be focusing on getting their wings strong for flight. If, however, the chick’s weight drops too much, the rangers will provide supplementary feedings. Taiki is right at that point where they are watching her.

Lady Hawk posted a video of Lime-Green-Lime, the mom, coming in to give Taiki a feeding. If you haven’t seen the adults feed their chicks, please have a look. Taiki will be making food callings and her bill will be clacking at the parent’s. That is to stimulate the feeding. Taiki was taught this when she was just a day old. How precious. LGL does beautiful sky calls.

Tiny Little spent his first night alone in that big Osprey nest at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria. When asked if Tiny Little would be lonesome for his older siblings now that they have fledged, one person on FB said, ‘Not the way they treated him’. Yes, Tiny Little might not have survived but he did! And we are all so happy. Tiny Little was flapping his wings hard wanting to fly but it will be a few days more. Hopefully he won’t get too restless.

Both White YW and Blue 35 have been alarming and flying on and off the nest. This happened around 6:10 am.

Tiny Little did what he had been taught. Stay as still as you can and don’t move – keep your head down!

By 6: 19 the disturbance seemed to be over and Tiny was looking around hoping for a fish delivery.

There are advantages of being on the nest alone. Tiny Tot at Achieva was a pro at finding fish scraps. Look what Tiny Little finds around lunch time! You got it – an entire fish hidden in the nest!!!!

He looks around to check and see if anyone else is around and then he tucks in. He is still eating when Blue 462 lands in the nest two hours later.

Tiny Little is not showing 462 what he is mantling. Meanwhile 462 is pecking around the nest to see if there are any fish scraps left. Smart one Tiny Little!

What an absolutely tranquil scene at the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. The cows are out in the fields and Dysynni was in the nest with his sister, Ystwyth, waiting for a breakfast delivery from dad, Idris.

It is a beautiful day up in Scotland at Loch of the Lowes and both fledglings, LR1 and LR2 are in the nest waiting for breakfast, too.

Those two are just beautiful. Well done Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0. Looks like they decided to pose and look at the camera instead of turning away. Thank you! You are both gorgeous fledglings!

The Rutland Manton Bay nest is growing grass after the Two Bobs fledged. Little birds have been around but seldom do we see any of the Ospreys —–until there is a fish drop and then everyone seems to show up.

Blue 33 shows up with a nice Bream and both 095 and 096 land simultaneously. 095 gets the fish in its talons.

You can see Blue 33 flying off leaving the two kids to sort the fish.

Blue 33 returns less than a minute later. Is he looking for Maya to feed the chicks? He leaves as quickly as he arrives.

Blue 095 is starting to eat the fish. No worries there will be plenty for 096.

Have a look back in time. Here are 095 ad 096 exactly two months ago tucking into a Bream. Just imagine. They are so tiny and now they are preparing themselves to migrate in about six weeks. Gosh they were cute!

It is now around noon in the UK. Only Bob, Blue 496 decided to take a flying spin around the Llyn Clywedog Nest straight to the trees where Dylan goes around 11:47. Yesterday, Only Bob flew to the camera post but today they are counting this as his official fledge! It was a great one, too. Mom, Seren 5F was on the nest with him watching her baby take those next steps.

Seren leaves and Only Bob moves over to the rim of the nest looking at his target. Those trees that he sees dad come out of.

And he’s off. If you look at the right side of the image you will see his two legs flying and heading for the trees! Gosh that must feel fantastic.

A couple of hours later, Seren has a nice fish on that nest trying to lure Only Bob over to have some lunch. It was really interesting watching Seren look at or for Only Bob. At times it sounded like she was talking to him – has slipped trying to land on the rim and is on a lower branch of the tree. Only Bob is 50 days old today.

What a great day in UK Ospreyland. Things are going really well. Aran was seen flying high over at Glaslyn today which is a good sign of an improvement. Hopefully he is not having to contend with intruders. Z2 actually landed on the Glaslyn nest the other day – his nest and chick are at the Pont Cresor nest which many consider to be close to Glaslyn. Sadly, one of the chicks on the Charlo Montana Osprey nest died because of bailing twine. If you don’t know, it is what farmers use to tie up large hay bails. So sad. Montana seems to be having a rather bad year with this twine winding up in the nests.

That is it for me today. Thank you for joining me to check in on all the babes. Take care. Enjoy your Tuesday wherever you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots and to Lady Hawk for her videos: Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, LRWT and the Rutland Manton Bay Osprey Nest, and Carnyx Wild and the Clywedog Osprey Nest.

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.

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.