Royal Cam Family for 2021-22

Just go OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. It is OGK and YRK, Princess Pippa Atawhai’s parents. Oh, how lucky we are! Here is the announcement posted by Sharon Dunne:

Oh, my gosh. I am speechless. This is such wonderful news. Is there an Albatross Jig that we can do to celebrate?

You can watch the Royal Albatross family for 2021-22 right here:

Wow. Just wow. OGK has to be one of the greatest dads to land on Taiaroa Head. This is going to be such fun.

Wednesday in Bird World

Let’s start off with what is on everyone’s mind: Has there been a confirmed sighting of Yurruga? Yesterday, Dr Cilla Kinross was inspired by a very quick prey drop at the scrape. Diamond flew into the trees. Cilla was in the trees looking half an hour later – she only saw Diamond. Diamond returned to the scrape with quite a large crop also. Some believed they had heard Yurruga calling but, Cilla is unable to confirm that. So the answer is – we simply do not know. Yurruga has not been seen since last Thursday when he was on a building during a storm. We can only wait.

My goodness that little one was such a cutie.

October 20. Yurruga and Diamond

Diamond was really beautiful this morning as the soft glow of the sun worked its way through the fog.

Both parents, Xavier and Diamond, have been inside the scrape – scraping. They also had some bonding moments this morning at sunrise.

My heart aches for them.

The second question of the day is what is going on with Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon of the Campanile, mate to Annie, that was injured by a male intruder that is trying to cosy up with Annie? Here is the latest news.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation rangers on Taiaroa Head are shutting down the streaming cam so that they can move it to the site of the Royal Albatross family for 2021-22. There are lots of guesses as to who the couple might be. The announcement is due tomorrow.

One of my favourite Bald Eagle couples, Samson and Gabby, at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville have been putting the finishing touches on their nest. They are perfecting the Spanish moss lining the nest cup. Now all we need are some eggs!

Gabby doing some final inspections this morning.

The three lads at the Port Lincoln all had fish yesterday. Falky had more than Ervie or Bazza. Falky has become a master at slipping the fish out of Dad or Mum’s talons. A magician.

There is a lovely shot of the PLO Mum. She has done an extraordinary job raising these three boys to fledge this year (with Dad’s good help). Yesterday she even spent some time feeding Bazza. He is definitely a Mum’s boy!

Bazza can be a bit naughty. I know that the banders were certain that there were three males. Someone looking at Bazza’s legs and that beautiful necklace in the image below might mistake him for a lovely female.

Bazza and Falky sleep with their heads tucked under their wings – adult style – standing on the nest. Ervie is sleeping over on the perch or the ropes. They are all doing well. I continue to pinch myself. This Osprey nest really turned itself around this year to fledge all three hatchlings.

There are many articles coming out in international newspapers and academic journals on the effect of warming oceans on the seabirds including the beloved Osprey. I picked one of those for you as some are frustrating. They allow me to embed the article but then want you to subscribe to read it! That is a major irritant to me – like Subarus are to Ferris Akel!

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-threatens-survival-of-albatross-60906

It is a grey damp day, 3 degrees C. The snow is melting. There are lots of birds at the feeders. A large European Starling is sharing the peanut and bark butter feeder with some cute little House Sparrows.

The tiny suet balls called Bark Butter by our supplier are a really big hit since winter has set in. Junior has been around to get the corn while Dyson was busy elsewhere. Nice to see all of them.

One of my former students posted this today on FB. It is a perfect little giggle for all of us!

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

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and NE Florida Eagle and the AEF for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

Monday in Bird World

There is news coming this morning from everywhere so this blog might feel a little disjointed.

In Canada, Prince Edward Island veterinary surgeons at the Atlantic Veterinary College will be the first to try and replace a broken spinal column in a Bald Eagle!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-bald-eagle-surgery-1.6263782

A Eurasian Hobby has been seen for the first time in Australia. The tiny raptor is similar to the Australian Hobby. The bird has been named Hubert and is the care of a veterinary due to a wing injury. Raptor specialists believe that the arrival of this bird is associated with climate change.

Jean-Marie Dupart has provided his Osprey count along the coast in Senegal and the word he used was ‘incredible.’ 950 Ospreys have been counted for the month of November along the coast and marsh.

Chris MacCormack at the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head announced that 29 eggs have been candled and all are fertile. Seven more to go!

Most of you will be aware of the flooding – and the continual flooding – in British Columbia, Canada. It is also flooding and tearing up highways and rail lines in parts of Eastern Canada. Mother Nature is not happy. Yesterday I listened to a conversation with Dr Christian Sasse and Dave Hancock, Hancock Wildlife, about the flooding and its impact on the wildlife. I tried to embed that link and the system that Christian is using will not allow me to do that – or even post it! So I will give you some of the highlights – they are very enlightening and sobering.

Sumas Lake was the largest wildlife area in Northwest North American prior to the nineteenth century. Millions of birds stopped at Sumas Lake coming and going from the Arctic. One of the attractions was the intense number of mosquitoes which were food for the wildlife but were highly annoying to the people of the area. The Indigenous Population lived on stilt houses because they recognized that the area flooded from time to time.

Wikimedia Commons

The area flooded the Fraser Valley before 1894. There was another huge flood that came down the Fraser River in 1948.

Wikimedia Commons

Sumas Lake was drained and pump stations installed so that people could build on the flood plain. In 1990 and now in 2021, the main highway connecting Canada, the Trans-Canada or number 1 highway, has flooded. Dave Hancock was unequivocal: The Sumas Lake wants to be Sumas Lake! The flooding this year was compounded by the waters from the US flowing into the Fraser River. The Nooksak River.

Today 35-50,000 Bald Eagles winter in the Fraser Valley. They are in dire straits. They have lost their supply of food, the salmon, because of the flooding. The large land mammals could walk out (perhaps) but the smaller mammals and rodents which many falcons and hawks live on were drown in the flood waters. Dave Hancock is proposing that the carcasses of the dead cattle that are normally sent to Alberta to be burnt in the Tar Sands be kept in British Columbia. He is suggesting that half a dozen feeding stations be set up with these carcasses for the Bald Eagles. Hancock reminds everyone that the eagles are clever and will find the feeding stations. He also said that once the flood waters are pumped out the eagles will also find the carcasses of the salmon.

I like Dave Hancock. This man loves wildlife and the Bald Eagles and he doesn’t hold back any punches. He says the balance of nature has been lost in the area. The heat that the region experienced in the summer was just another indication of the impact of climate change. He says as it continues to warm the bird and fish eggs will not be viable. They are really susceptible to the slightest change in temperature. He reminded everyone that heat stress killed many raptors during the summer of 2021 as did the raging wildfires in the same area as the flooding. Several raptors were saved. Hancock Wildlife Foundation put trackers on them. He said once they were out of rehab they flew straight north to Alaska. Hancock wonders if they will return to British Columbia. It was a very sobering conversation and one that continually emphasized how human degradation of the environment is causing a huge shift to the extreme weather conditions impacting the birds and animals. Christian Sasse asked Dave Hancock if he had a solution and Hancock said, ‘It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.’ He continued, ‘There are far too many people in the world. Human animals need to stop breeding.’

This is the link to the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. (He is Canada’s equivalent of Roy Dennis!). You can find the tracking information and the live streaming cams that the Foundation supports.

There has been an update by Cilla re Yurruga:

Nov 29: “No sign of Yurruga today. I looked for him at the roost trees this afternoon after seeing a raptor (possibly Diamond) there earlier (too far for photo). I’ve looked every day, but he’s not been seen since last Thursday when spotted on a roof. It’s of concern, but he might simply be well hidden.”

Speaking of Peregrine Falcons, their range is expanding and they are returning to upper New York State. Some of you, if you have gone on Ferris Akel’s tour, will have seen the Peregrine Falcons roosting on the Bradfield Building near to where Arthur and Big Red normally roost. Here is a great article about this change.

I am not seeing any other updates on raptors we have been monitoring this Monday morning.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my images: Jean-Marie Dupart FB posting, NZ DOC Royal Albatross Centre FB, and Wikimedia Commons.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

Thanksgiving Thursday in Bird World

Our wildlife rehabilitation clinic has seen a 21% increase in patients in the last week. If you live in Manitoba and have the finances, send them a donation, however small or large. They receive no government funding. Everything is done on a donation basis – as is the case with most wildlife rehabilitation clinics. They have a long list of items they need on their website and all monetary donations are tax deductible.

I know that many of my readers live elsewhere but if this is happening here then perhaps it is happening all over.

There was a very sobering article on that cute little Korora (Tiny Blue Penguin) that is doing well in NZ. Its sibling died because the parents have to go so far to feed. For those that love those New Zealand birds such as the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head and wildlife that depend on the oceans to survive, what they are seeing is warming waters which mean the fish move or even die (like the trout did in Montana when the Clark Fork River got too water). It is time we demand that governments get serious and take radical steps to try and stop the situation from getting worse.

I want to remind everyone of Ferris Akel’s tours. You can go to YouTube, search for Ferris Akel, and hit the subscribe button to the live stream. He has lots of archived video tours as well. They normally take place on Saturdays at noon, Ithaca NY time. Ferris is out at Sapsucker Woods today for Thanksgiving and he has just found a beautiful juvenile Red-tail hawk that is hunting.

Notice the ‘eyebrow’ that helps to keep the glare away from its eyes when hunting. Oh, isn’t this a beautiful raptor?

Ferris just caught a Belted Kingfisher close to the RTH. There have been other birds this morning included Canada Geese and maybe another Kingfisher.

In the summer and fall, Ferris finds lots of shore birds and in the winter there will be owls! You can leave Ferris on like a radio if you are busy or you can watch as little or as much as you like. There is also a chat function with great people who can answer questions.

I am so thankful for Ferris Akel and his tours and his generosity in allowing us to share his images. I have learned so much from him over the years just wish I had a better ear to know which birds are out there by their beautiful voices.

Little Yurruga, the Peregrine Falcon fledgling at Orange, has been seen on top of a building so it is flying alright. Xavier and Diamond have been seen taking food in and out so she/he ? is being provided for. Isn’t this wonderful?!!!!!!

Below is the image that Dr Cilla Kinross took the day Yurruga fledged. She placed it in a tree. What a lovely little falcon you are, Yurruga.

This appeared on the FB Page of the Orange Peregrine Falcons today.

Have you ever wondered about the colour morphing of birds? The Audubon Society has a nice ‘Ask Ken’ article on that very topic! Thanks BM for letting me know!

The NZ DOC rangers at Taiaroa Head are deciding which Royal Albatross couple will be the Royal Cam family this year. There are 36 eggs and they believe that is all for this year. The favourite couple, WYL and BOK, who have made us so happy with their cuddles have not laid an egg – maybe next year! Will keep you posted!

It is a quiet day in Bird World and that is something to be very thankful for – no drama, nothing horrible happening.

Take care everyone. Have a marvellous day. To those having Thanksgiving, enjoy. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures or their FB pages: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Ferris Akel Tours, Orange Peregrine Falcons FB page and the Cornell RTH FB Page.

Thursday in Bird World

Peregrine Falcon, Grinnell, is making all the headlines out in San Francisco. He was released yesterday and was seen on the Campanile. There are watchers on the ground but so far, everything seems to be relatively quiet. Everyone is cheering for Grinnell to get back with Annie. Only time will tell but, for now, stay safe Grinnell!

Was it a fludge? a recovery? not a real fledge? I have no idea but yesterday after having a robust encounter with Ervie, Bazza found himself in Dad’s man cave. He quickly figured out he could fly to the ropes and then to the perch – which he did in record time (2.5 hours). Then he flew overhead before landing on the nest wanting fish.

Bazza was rewarded this morning with the first fish of the day. Congratulations! That delivery came at 06:28:00.

Both Falkey and Ervie are very interested in Bazza’s fish. Very interested.

Oh, dear. Ownership of the fish is being challenged.

Ervie got it!

Ervie is still working on that fish. Maybe he will pass some of it along to Falkey who is getting closer to wanting to try and take it.

Oh, my. Mum has decided to fly in and get that fish! Here she comes. Mum is teaching them a good lesson about how they can lose their dinner – from another bird flying in and taking it.

Mum gets the fish from Ervie and flies off with it. A good lesson for the lads. Eat fast! Protect your fish. Another bird can swoop in and take it.

News coming out of the Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, NZ, is that there are now 34 eggs laid. The NZ DOC rangers have candled 11 of those eggs and everyone of them was fertile. Amazing. There are still eggs to be laid and it is noted that there are quite a few first time breeding birds. Their eggs have been placed in an incubator and will be returned to the parents once a regular pattern is established for them to incubate. Until then, they will have dummy eggs. For those of you wondering about Button and his partner (Button is Grandma’s son), they have yet to lay an egg. Fingers crossed! No Royal Cam family has been selected yet.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Late Saturday in Bird World

It is difficult to try and describe the weather we have been having to someone who might never have experienced it. Someone took a video of the blowing snow on the highway, a huge buck, and some of the issues people face trying to drive on the road in a storm. When you cannot see the road for the blowing snow, we call it a ‘white out’. This is the time of year we also call ‘the rut’. The bucks dig and spray marking their territory. We are seeing many in the fields around the city and in larger treed forests within the City.

Ah, but I am not here to talk about the horrible winter weather we are having.

My last blog focused on Ervie, the third hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in South Australia. Ervie managed to get the first fish of the day. He only left the tail for Falky. To show how congenial these three are, Ervie did not even try to get the 10:48:28 delivery from Dad. Instead, Bazza (Big Bob) snatched it.

There he is enjoying his fish.

The camera is zoomed out in case one of the lads decides to fledge. Oh, I do hope they stay a little longer – another week, maybe.

Little Yurruga at the Charles Sturt University falcon scrape had 5 prey items for breakfast today. Yesterday was not a good day for feedings but, Diamond and Xavier have made up for it today. I am thinking that the parents might be teaching Yurruga that there are days with little food and some days with a lot.

Yurruga was really hungry when Xavier came with breakfast! Really hungry.

Yurruga has just finished that breakfast. Another prey item sits on the scrape, a Starling, and Xavier has brought more food. Notice that Yurruga is not running up and tackling Xavier to get the prey. Yurruga is probably wondering why there is so much food today.

Diamond came in to help Yurruga finish up that delivery. The Starling is still where it has been all morning. Diamond really dislikes Starlings!

Yurruga has an enormous crop. It isn’t her crop that interests me, however, but, the change in her plumage. Much of the fluff has disappeared. Peregrine Falcon juveniles have beautiful banded chests. Their bars are vertical. When Yurruga is an adult, the bars will be horizontal. Notice also the beautiful dark head and the tip of the wing. Oh, she is morphing right before our eyes into a very beautiful juvie.

She does not seem to be interested in the Starling that she pulled over to the rocks earlier. Oh, wait…maybe she is!

The feathers are almost off the left side of Yurruga’s head. Notice her beak. We get a chance to see how it has developed in this profile image. Yurruga is becoming very ‘falcon like’. Those chest feathers – that coppery brown – are just lovely. She looks like she has a feather boa around her neck – something she might need where I live today.

Oh, Yurruga means business. She is going to do something with that Starling.

She is showing us how strong she is! There are still some soft pantaloons but the down is coming off with every flap of those wings. Is there anything cuter than a little peregrine falcon at this stage in their development?

She is dragging that old bird back into the centre of the scrape.

There is our Peregrine Falcon with her large beak standing victorious on her prey. This pose really reveals how much Yurruga has grown. All of the feathers necessary for flight are growing in. Amazing.

Awww. Yurruga gave up on that old bird. No one seems to really want it. Wonder if Starlings have ‘Best Before’ dates on them?

WBSE 27 @Chris Bruce

If you missed it, here is the latest update on White Bellied Sea Eagle Fledgling 27, three days ago:

I wanted to bring you an update and some good news. The Port Lincoln Osplets are doing fine and I am certain that Falky will have a fish before the end of the day. Yurruga has already eaten enough to last her well into tomorrow. It also appears that WBSE27 is doing extremely well in care. The last update on Grinnell was on 10 November. He was getting to go into foster care for a few days before being released. All of the Kakapo are alive and the NZ DOC Rangers at Taiaroa Head will not decide which Royal Albatross couple will be on the Royal Cam until all eggs are laid.

Thank you. It is really nice that you are joining me. Take care wherever you are. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB news where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagle Cam, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

YRK lays her egg at Taiaroa

It is still the middle of the night in Australia and New Zealand so not a lot is happening in Bird World.

The rangers at Taiaroa Head in NZ shocked everyone when they announced that OGK’s mate, YRK, laid her egg yesterday. She obviously snuck in and visited with OGK and no one saw her. Chris McCormack shared an image of OGK and YRK at the nest OGK prepared down the hill from where Atawhai hatched. This was on the Royal Cam Albatross FB Page. Thanks, Chris. This will be the couple’s 8th breeding attempt. As most of you know, they were the parents of the Royal Cam chick in 2020.

For all Royal Albatross fans, the rangers also announced that 111 birds are on the island and 15 eggs have been laid. Eggs take approximately two months to hatch.

There are still two Peregrine Falcon chicks to fledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. The first fledged at 06:34 on 8 November and the second at 07:46 on 9 November. Take note that those are early morning times. Falcons typically fledge in the early morning or early evening but not normally during mid-day.

The adults have brought prey onto the ledge for these two. In fact, the parents will continue to provide food to all four of their chicks until the chick makes its ‘first kill’. These two could fledge at any moment.

What you are looking at below, is an image of Bazza (Red band) looking enviously at the empty talons of Ervie (Dk Green band). Ervie managed to take the fish tale from Falky (yellow band) and didn’t share a scrap. Bazza was hoping there would be some left. No. Never. Fish tails must be very special – everyone wants them!

There’s Ervie eating that precious tail. Awwww. It is nice to know that having that sat-pak has not changed Little Bob at all!

I am a raptor person but so many enjoy watching the feeders for the Boreal birds. There is one that is just up and running, sponsored by Cornell. It is located in Northwestern Ontario. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

Last but not least, those pesky Spotted Eagle owlets in Joburg. Yesterday there was only one owlet left in the nesting box. The adoptee and one of the resident owlets are both wandering around in the garden of the owner. Mum, in the meantime, is having to feed the one inside the box and then go and feed the other two. She is busy! Here is a short video of the one in the box. It is really watching its siblings and well, who knows, it could be down there any minute!

It is 17:35, still day light, and the little one is still in the box.

This is just a quick check. There have been no updates on the satellite trackers of Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Stork family from the Karula Forest in Estonia. It is hoped that they are out of range and enjoying their winter vacation. If so, we will have to wait until next spring to find out if they are alright. There is also no update on WBSE 27. The last one was 5 November. There is, however, going to be a webinar where Ranger Judy talks about her work with the WBSE as well as other guests. It is later in November. If you are interested in joining in, check out this link and follow the instructions.

Thanks so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: EcoSolutions, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and to Royal Cam Albatross FB Page and Chris McCormack for the image of OGK and YRK.

Monday in Bird World

On the Canadian Prairies, it is 8 November and it is 11 degrees C. There are some birds still around the southern part of our province including a large number of Great Horned Owls (GHOW) and Barred Owls (BADO). Several hours from where I live there are some hawks and Bald Eagles still making their way south. In celebration of such a gorgeous day with the promise of snow and plummeting temperatures on Wednesday, we decided to make one last check at Oak Hammock Marsh.

It was simply grand. You could see for miles.

The walk was great. It was sooooo quiet, a wonderful change from the noise of the city. If you were intent on counting tonnes of birds and seeing lots of species, then it was a bust! There were about 60 Canada Geese scattered about and a couple of Mallards, a male and a female.

They were all feeding on the tender marsh grasses below the surface.

Even the geese were quiet, no honking, nothing. Just working hard on those plants.

The two Mallards were quite interesting. They were sort of breaking down the grasses as they moved through forcing them under the water with their paddles and then eating them.

Beautiful little female Mallard.

The ducks were not bothered by the geese – everyone seemed intent on eating and enjoying the warm sunshine. The farmers in the area have finished harvesting their crops and the fields are bare. In several hours only six or seven Canada Geese flew into the wetlands.

It might have been quiet in rural Manitoba but there was a lot of things happening elsewhere. First up, for all of you that watch the Royal Albatross, OGK’s mate since 2006 has been YRK. OGK was first in on the peninsula excited to see her and build a nest but…she didn’t arrive. Time passed and she didn’t arrive. Today, 9 November YRK landed on Taiaroa Head. If people could have rung bells they would have. Instead many of us sat and shed tears. The fear is always there. OGK and YRK were the parents of very popular Royal Cam chick, Atawhai (aka Pippa) in 2020. This year will be their 8th breeding attempt.

In other Royal Albatross news, the new couple – Red and BOK (Blue-Orange-Black) have really been entertaining us. They are so sweet. Well, today, Red got some new bling. As one of a mated pair, he is now WYL (Whit-Yellow- Lime).

The image below shows the Ranger giving Red his new bling and identity. BOK is walking off the nest. She will return once everything is over.

Could this new couple with their first attempt at breeding turn out to be the Royal Family of the year? We wait.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Mum decided it was time to go to the spa. She flew off the barge and went over and had a lovely bath in the warm Australian waters of the cove yesterday. It is well deserved. Her and her mate have raised three healthy boys this year.

Isn’t Mum just beautiful?

It is hard to keep up with the 367 Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. I ‘believe’ that there are two (probably female) still on the ledge.

Yes, still there. There is a lot of noise and it could well be the parents trying to lure these two off with prey.

There are theories about gender and fledging times in falcons and hawks. Because the females are substantially larger, it takes longer for their bodies to feather. Therefore, they generally fledge after the males. I do not know how accurate it is but I hear this often.

In Orange, Diamond’s foot is doing much better. At 8:11 Xavier, the male Peregrine Falcon of the scrape on the water tower of Charles Stuart University, delivers a Starling to Yurruga. Xavier does not wait. He drops the breakfast prey and gets out. I don’t blame him. It could definitely save his talons.

Notice how big Yurruga is compared to Xavier. Think Yurruga is a female like her mum, Diamond?

Yurruga is a very good plucker!

Cilla Kinross just posted a video clip of Yurruga. It is really short. Have a peek. I do not think those eggs are going to last much longer.

Everything is as it is expected at Port Lincoln. Dad flew in with a really nice fish but instead of letting the chicks do a grab, Mum got over quickly, mantled the breakfast, and proceeded to take control of the feeding.

It should, by now, not surprise anyone to the identity of the chick right up at Mum’s beak. Now the chick can be identified quite quickly – it’s Ervie! aka Little Bob.

The rule of thumb is that the males return to make their own nests near their natal nest. I hope there are three or four more barges available.

One last nest. NEFlorida with Samson and Gabby. They are both very busy working on that nest. They have been bringing in a lot of big twigs. Here is Gabby moving some of those around.

Cute little Samson looks like he is standing very still in his tight black jeans waiting for orders. What a sweetie.

Samson is a very good listener and Gabby is giving precise instructions. Looks like they are already thinking they need high rails this year.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we check in on some of ‘my’ favourites. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Checking on the birds

Oh, how they have entertained us. How we waited to see if that fourth egg would hatch. How we watched as Dad was incubating during the earthquake. It has been quite the season with the Melbourne Peregrine falcons. Today, there is another nice article on the 367 Collins Street Falcons today. I have attached it in case you missed it!

We are so lucky that the four of them have decided to come out so that we can see them. Those downy feathers are disappearing quickly and they look like grown up falcons capable of taking on the skies of Melbourne -for awhile – til Mom and Dad boot them out. Certainly Mom and Dad have been doing flying demonstrations trying to lure them into thinking about taking the leap! They are a little over 5 weeks old today. Forty days and onward is approximate for fledging.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/for-melbourne-s-falcons-and-their-fans-a-new-domestic-drama-20211001-p58who.html?fbclid=IwAR1bgeKR4w2H622TETCdcJ0r0bgzLtVEE9BoK_35wrlcuWA4b0BzJ9VC0JI

Over in Orange, or should I say ‘up’ in Orange, Yarruga was one hungry chick waiting for supper that did not arrive. S/he had two feedings yesterday so she is going to be ravenous when breakfast arrives. There is no need to worry, though. She had a nice crop, larger than Diamond’s and Yarruga will not starve. In the world of raptors there are days of plenty and days of naught. Little ones need to learn that, too. Yarruga is 28 days old today. Four weeks.

Diamond was seen putting her entire weight on her right leg in the middle of the night to clean her talons. This is very good news. She has moved over to the ledge to grab some sleep before dawn and Diamond seems to be doing much better. How grand.

The Port Lincoln osplets are sound asleep. Little Bob is 50 days old today – while the two big siblings are 52 days old. We will be keeping an eye on those numbers because last year Solly fledged at 65 days (in the Northern Hemisphere it is 49 days onward). Solly was banded at 47 days and DEW at 46. On Monday, 8 November, these three will be banded, named, measured, and at least one will get a tracker. They are just wonderful – the three of them. I am surely going to miss this nest – perhaps the most civilized brood I have ever seen.

There is sadly some commotion going on at Taiaroa Head. Our beloved OGK may have realized that his mate, YRK, is not returning. He tried to mate – rather vigorously – with BOK who is also waiting for her mate to return. Being the gentleman that he is, OGK, returned to apologize in the Albatross way by doing a sky call with BOK later.

If it happens that YRK, Pippa Atawhai’s mum, does not return, it will not be from old age but from being caught in the lines of the fishing trawlers. I hope that you will think about our beloved Pippa and what a horrible death that would be – and it is entirely preventable! I feel rather gutted because these are all useless deaths that never have to happen. An albatross does not need to be decapitated every 5 minutes! The fixes are really easy. They include setting the lines at night, line weighting, and bird scaring lines. Some organizations are supplying these measures for free to the boats. The deaths are preventable. There needs to be international laws. Every country needs to stand up and demand that the fishing factories take these simple steps or not be able to fish. Write letters, phone your political representative – do it for Pippa. Then check out what the RSPB is doing. They are working alongside the Albatross Task Force to help end bycatch. Check out their website, ask who to contact. And remember – writing e-mails does help. Public pressure helps.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/policy-insight/marine-and-coastal/saving-seabirds-globally/the-albatross-task-force/

The Bald Eagles are really busy working on their nests in the US while the ones who came to Manitoba for their summer breeding are very slowly making their migration. Images of 30 or 40 along the river in my City have been posted locally the last few days but are not available to share beyond the Manitoba Birding and Photography FB page. I still have a few Slate Grey Juncos and today that meant a trip to the seed seller to get some more Husked Millet for them. The day is just starting in Australia and New Zealand so no telling what will happen. I long for YRK to fly in and just land on OGK’s head! That would be a rather dramatic entrance fitting for this very patient male who has been working on a nest for about six weeks now. No doubt Yarruga is going to be screaming for breakfast! I will post the updates on Grinnell tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, thank you for joining me and take care everyone.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.