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.

Feed me!

All of the babies, old and new, were wanting food this morning. Just a quick hop through Bird World on a Monday morning to check on how our friends are doing this Monday.

The first egg at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in Machodoc and William’s Creek in King George, Virginia hatched on 2 May, Sunday. Jack brought in a fish when Harriet was getting the little one ready for a feeding today and about pulled the baby out of the nest cup! Squint. The little one is right below Harriet’s beak.

3 May 2021. Harriet is feeding the little one. Jack just brought in a fish – not a toy!

Big Red fed K1 this morning. Arthur had a part of a rabbit in the pantry and there was also the remaining Starling that Big Red had for dinner last night.

Big Red is always so gentle with her babies picking off tiny pieces of meat to try and fit in their little beaks.

Eve and Eerik’s little ones are growing and they are always ready for a good feed! They are now old enough to understand what all of this is about. Cute little bobble heads.

Annie and Grinnell’s trio are already grabbing prey and wanting to start self feeding. My goodness the marshmallows have really turned that pigeon into falcon over the past week.

If Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot was not being harassed by Blue Jays this morning, he was eating! Looks like two fish deliveries before 11am for the Achieva Osprey Nest. Both of its siblings have fledged but Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot still has some feather development to go before fledge. I would also like for him to stay around a bit. What joy it has been to see this lovely osprey survive and begin to thrive.

The two little osplets at The Landings, Skidaway Island Osprey Nest had a nice fresh fish this morning. The oldest has been fed and now it is time for the youngest! Both of them are doing well.

The Royal Cam Chick lucked out. On 1 May, she had a double feeding from her parents LGL and LGK. How grand. Notice how she takes her bill and clacks on the side of the parent’s bill. It stimulates the parent to be able to feed the chick. LGL arrived first followed quickly by LGK.

LGL comes in to feed her precious chick. 1 May 2021

The parent regurgitates the squid and channels inside their bills allow for the little one to catch the rich liquid shake.

LGL leans over so that the Princess can get every drop of the rich squid liquid. 1 May 2021

The Royal Cam princess almost had a family reunion. The parents arrived and left within minutes of one another!

The Princess is always happy to see her dad, LGK. 1 May 2021.

Oh, the green leaves of the Minnesota forest look so good. It is still cold on the Canadian prairies where the leaves are only ‘thinking’ about bursting out. It is 6 degrees C this morning with a grey dreary sky.

The two eaglets of Harry and Nancy are growing and starting to self-feed. Do you remember when we wondered if Harry would ever catch on to what his duties were as dad to these two? Seems he was a fast learner!

E17 and E18, the juvenile Bald Eagles of Harriet and M15 at the SW Florida Bald Eagle Nest on the Pritchett Farm in Fort Myers seem to never be in need of food. Food drops are frequent with one getting all the prey and sometimes they even share!

They have had some unusual items on the buffet table including a heron chick the other day.

That is a wonderful crop on E18 who managed to keep the entire fish delivery to himself. You might still remember when E17 was bonking the daylights out of its younger sibling. That, of course, stopped and if eagles can be buddies then these two are best mates.

Kisatachie is busy cleaning up the leftovers brought in on Sunday. My goodness this eaglet is growing up quickly. Do you remember when Kisatchie and his mom, Anna, couldn’t quite figure out how to feed and eat? or when Louis had 18 fish stacked up in the pantry? I am sure there were a few other nests that would have loved some of the fish he brought on to this nest! Kisatchie will be fledging soon.

Someone mentioned to me how Legacy and Kistachie seem so lonely. Bald Eagles by their nature are loners. They spend hours and hours sitting and waiting for prey. I have learned that this is just their way of life and not to put on human feelings on the eagles.

And while all the others are chowing down, Legacy is waiting for a parent to return and bring some prey. I am so glad that she is staying on her nest. The camera mods said Legacy still had some food in her crop yesterday so she is not starving despite her squealing. Still, it would be very reassuring to us ‘aunties and uncles’ to see a parent bring in some food. Gabby and Samson were seen together at The Lumberyard last night around 8:30 so both of the parents are safe and sound. I am human and I worry – but there are lessons from Legacy’s parents that she will need to help her survive in the real world of eagles when food will not be scarce. I am breathing knowing that they raised a beautiful juvenile to fledge and that Samson and Gabby will carry her through to full independence.

Legacy is not the only eaglet waiting for a food drop or a feeding. The trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest ate so much on 2 May that they still have crops this morning. It is pitching down rain in Pittsburg and they are all cuddled together. Sometimes one or another will go over and pick at some of the bones left on the nest just like Legacy was finding old fish tails yesterday embedded in the nest.

Ah, wow. I had no more than finished loading the image above and a parent flew onto the nest with prey for the trio. Yippeeee. Maybe I should go back and check on Legacy!

Thank you so much for joining me today! I am so glad that you are enjoying what is going on in Bird World. There is so much happening. Today was a skip around the nests but more attention will be paid to Big Red and her brood once all are hatched and to the Manitoba Peregrine Falcons who have been breeding on The Golden Boy on top of our Legislative Building downtown.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Achieva Credit Union, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, MN DNR, SW Florida and D Pritchett, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, KNF Eagle Cam, and Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon.

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.

Time to go awwwwwwwww

If you have been following the saga on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida, you will know that three days ago #3, aka Tiny Tot, Lionheart, Braveheart, Tumbles, or Tater Tot, was believed to be almost dead. He had not had any food for three days, the temperatures for those days in St Petersburg had been quite hot, and Tiny Tot almost appeared to be shrinking. He had also chose to isolate himself from the rest of the family. Well, just set your speed to fast forward. Three days of good meals and full crops does wonders.

There he is standing in the back of the nest looking out to the traffic. Look at that fat little bottom and those legs. They are getting thicker too! He is also getting some juvenile plumage. My goodness what those good meals of fish have done for this little one. The regular deliveries have also stopped the food competition that has been going on in this nest. Right now everything is peaceful and we can sit back and enjoy this lovely family hoping that Tiny’s luck will continue.

And grown up plumage means that Tiny is going to be spending a lot more time preening than he has had to do! It’s a good problem for this little Osprey.

In the image below, there he is. He has sat down where he was standing above and is now busy preening every part of his body. They say feather growth is really itchy! I honestly cannot imagine how any human knows that for sure – maybe he is just busy conditioning all those new feathers.

The link to the Achieva Osprey cam is here:

And say awwww to little Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle Cam in Central Louisiana. An only eaglet, Kisatchie – nicknamed Kit and Kissie – is getting his dark juvenile plumage. Today, his mother, Anna brought in a small morsel of food to the nest and Kisatchie did an amazing mantling. Then he let Anna have the prey to feed him! Kisatchie is being taught good lessons for when he is on his own.

There is Anna arriving. Look how big her wings are as she carefully descends to the nest between the two trees. Incredible.

No sooner had Anna landed on the nest than Kisatchie went into mantling posture. Mantling claims ownership – ‘This is mine!’ The wings lowered around the prey and the head down really protect what is hidden underneath. Kisatchie is growing up. The little one is the first eaglet to hatch in this Loblolly Pine nest since 2013. That momentous occasion occurred at 11pm on 23 February. Kisatchie is 43 days old today – a day over six weeks. Did you know that the eaglets start branching and take their first flight when they are ten to twelve weeks old? You are growing up too fast, Kisatchie. I remember you as a bobble head and Anna trying to learn to feed you. Your dad Louis had eighteen fish stacked up one day on the nest! You are Anna and Louis’s first little one and they wanted to make sure you were never hungry.

The link to the KNF Bald Eagle nest is here:

Last year, I did not think another Royal Albatross chick could ever be as cute and funny as Atawhai but then along came this fluffy little one. The Royal Cam chick whose parents are LGL (Lime Green Lime, female) and LGK (Lime Green Black, , male) is 73 days old today. The nickname that has been given to her – until she gets her formal Maori name- is another Maori name, Kapua meaning ‘cloud’. And she is fluffy, just like a cloud.

This is one of my favourite images of this little albatross. She always looks like she is smiling and her beautiful indigo eye is staring right at you..

It’s OK. You can go awwwww now. In the image below she is getting a feeding of squid from her dad, LGK. When he flies in, LGK usually lands and then spends some time with his chick. He sits by her and they chat before he feeds her. LGK is wearing a satellite tracker. It shows that he is having good luck fishing near to Taiaroa Head. Because of that closeness, LGK flies in to feed Kapua at least every other day.

And while Kapua won’t be starting to hover or fledging until September, she is already strengthening her wings by stretching and flapping.

Kapua’s nest is on Taiaroa Head near Dunedin, New Zealand. There are a number of rangers employed to make sure that these wonderful sea birds are safe and in good health. Every Tuesday the chicks are weighed. Their weight is compared to a chart and if any chick is underweight it will get a supplemental feeding of squid from the rangers. Sometimes the parents are very late in returning from sea. Sadly, some of them do not return. But, if anything should happen to endanger the life or health of these beautiful cotton balls, the NZ Department of Conservation steps in to help them. I so admire their dedication and their understanding and mitigation of the perils these sea birds face.

Kapua is a big girl. Yes, they know she is a girl. She has been DNA tested and she will also get banded. Here she is being put into a laundry basket for weighing.

Today, Kapua is 73 days old and weights 6 kilograms or 13.2 pounds. She definitely did not need a supplemental feeding!

The link to the Royal Albatross Chick’s cam is here:

And now to say cute three times with the trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest. The screen shot of the three in the image below was taken today. They are all lined up in birth order. Beginning on the far right, the biggest one with a crop is H13 born at 4:21 am on 23 March. Eighteen hours later came H14 at 21:57 on 23 March. The smallest one on the far left, such a little cutie, is H15 born on 27 March at 5:33 am.

The Bald Eagle couple have been together since 2013. The nest is 8 km or 5 miles outside the city of Pittsburg. This is the first time that the couple have had three chicks successfully hatch since 2014. The arrival of all three has caused a lot of excitement in the area and for watchers on the streaming cam.

Just for comparison, the image below was taken six days ago. Look how much those cute little bobbleheads have grown. My goodness. They have more than doubled their size.

I don’t like the bonking or the food competition but there is something so sweet about a tiny little bundle of soft downy feathers.

Here is the link to the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle cam:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the birds.

Tuesday morning update on Achieva Osprey nest. Only delivery was a small fish at 10:43 – my daughter caught it. It was so small I didn’t even see that fish. Tiny Tot did not get fed. Hoping that this nest will not go back and that at least 2 large fish arrive – or 1 huge one that will feed everyone.

Thank you to the streaming cams listed above. That is where I grab my screen shots.

A day in the life of the Royal Albatross Chick

The Royal Albatross are one of the largest seabirds in the world. They are also some of the longest lived sea birds in the world with an average life expectancy of forty years. That record was, however broken when ‘Grandma’, the oldest banded bird, raised her last chick at Taiaroa Head, NZ when she was sixty-two years old. This is an excellent video by David Attenborough on Grandma and the only colony of albatross where there are humans at Taiaroa Head near Dundedin, NZ. I hope you can open it!

This year’s yet-to-be-named Royal chick hatched on 24 January 2021. Its parents are Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the mother. She is twelve years old. Lime-Green-Black is the father and he is eleven years old (LGK).

It is 5 March 2021 in New Zealand. The sun is just rising over Taiaroa Head. Already the cargo vessels are passing where the Albatross breed and raise their chicks.

The Royal Cam chick is forty days old today. This is the first time the chick has spent the night alone on its nest. It is in what is called the ‘pre-guard’ stage. The parents come and feed the chick after foraging and spend some time with them. This transition period to being completely unguarded might just be beginning. Normally the chicks are guarded during their first five or six weeks. After they spend the time alone on their nest except for feeding visits from their parents. The Royal cam chick will fledge when it is about eight months old.

Large container vessel transport

Day in and day out a myriad of different types of shipping vessels pass by Taiaroa Head. This one toots its horn and wakes the Royal Cam chick up as it passes. The sun is just coming up.

The chick will spend the rest of the morning passing the time by watching the sea and playing with the materials in its nest.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, the chick hears a familiar sound. LGL has returned from the sea and is doing a sky call. Sky calls are often described as high pitched screaming brays. Sky calls happen during socializing. Here you can listen to the sound of the sky call.

In this instance, LGL is announcing to her chick that she has arrived. Eventually the chicks will learn how to do the sky calls and will do one in return and with the parents.

The chick turns around and recognizes her mother. The mother is moving her eyes and head over the horizon. The Albatross do this often as a way of checking their surroundings.

LGL is clacking away happily. The little chick has raised its bill and is doing a gentle clacking. As the chick gets older and is hungrier when the parents arrive, this action – the clacking of the bill – will become more aggressive. It is a way to stimulate the parent to regurgitate food to feed them.

LGL does not feed her chick right away. She wants to spend time with it. She talks to the chick, acknowledges its bill clacking, and does some preening of its down.

After some time, the pair stop and check their surroundings.

The mother starts preening the head of the chick very gently.

Then she preens its back and wings. It must be like going to a spa for a massage.

After LGL is finished preening her chick’s neck, she touches the chicks bill and stimulates it so that the chick will begin clacking and tapping her bill. LGL reguritates the rich oily liquid squid shake and gives her chick a nice long feeding.

The Royal Cam chick may be only forty days old but it weighed 3 kilograms three days ago. The Chicks are regularly weighed on Tuesdays once they reach a certain weight.

This chick loves those squid shakes and has grown so much that the parents can no longer brood it. The little one wants to be close to mom so it cuddles up under her beautiful wing and tail feathers.

After a bit of a rest, LGL and the chick both look around.

Another boat is coming!

Rain has started to fall and the little one gets as close as it can to its mother so it will stay dry!

5 March 2021. Gentle rain changes to heavier rain.

The rain has stopped and LGL has spent the night with her chick. This morning she is alert. It is 5:45 am in Taiaroa Head, NZ and the boats are already passing.

Guarding chick before dawn. 6 March 2021

LGL feeds her chick before going out to fish – to feed herself and to return to her little one. Such a great mom!

LGL looks at the sea and the wind. The chick is asleep and before it wakes up she is off to fish.

This year there are satellite trackers on the parents so that researchers and the public can follow their movements. This information has show that they are feeding very close to where the chick is waiting.

I will also add that the northern island of New Zealand experienced three very strong earthquakes on 5 March 2021. Those earthquakes and the tsunamis that came did not impact the colony of Albatrosses at Taiaroa head. They reside near the very bottom of the South Island.

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Sometimes the Royal Cam chick has visitors when its parents aren’t there. Meet Henry the Heron. Henry loves to do his snake dance for the chick and he also likes to photobomb the Royal streaming camera. Hi Henry!

Thanks for popping in to check on the Royal Albatross chick. This nest is fun to watch and there is no stress. The NZ Department of Conservation keep close watch on all of the albatross making sure they are healthy. The little one is weighed on Tuesday morning NZ time. And here is the link if you would like to add this lovely family to your bird watching list:

Thank you to Cornell Labs and the New Zealand Department of Conservation for their streaming cams. This is where the scaps were taken.

Ever wonder what it is like to be a first time bird mom?

One of the wonderful things to come out of the pandemic is the number of people who started watching streaming bird cams. Testimony after testimony speaks to the transformative power of the birds. They have brought joy to so many of us. The birds have taken away the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic. Together we have marvelled at how a Bald Eagle can shake the snow off her wings but never get a flake on the eggs she is incubating. We have held our collective breathes when Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk at Cornell, was blown off her nest.

We cried with joy when Ms Pippa Atawhai literally ran with her webbed feet to get to her dad, OGK, when he returned after being at sea. We smiled when they fledged wishing we could just hold on to them for a few more days. They touched our hearts.

Pippa (left) with OGK (right). @Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC

Since the end of January there have been many Bald Eagle hatches. There are many pip watches on the horizon and eggs are being laid around North America. In fact, the Bald Eagles in Canada’s most western province, British Columbia, have recently laid eggs, the earliest in the history of the nest at Surrey. Some of the parents are older and very experienced and for others, this is their first time to lay an egg, have it hatch, and have a tiny little eaglet to care for. It cannot be easy. They have no manuals. Their mothers or grandmothers are not there to help the young mothers understand how to feed their baby and care for it. And, yet, they do. The term ‘bird brain’ is misdirected. Study after study speaks to the genius of birds in terms of their communication, navigation, and their use of tools. An excellent book on this topic for the lay person is Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds.

Along with using tools, communicating, and the migrating birds navigational system to get them to their favourite feeders in the summer, birds instinctively know that they must cover their babies in the snow and pouring rain when they have only natal down. The chicks, eaglets, eyases, or ‘babies’ as I often call them know to raise their little bottoms and shoot their ps out of the nest. They learn so fast! But wonder what it is like to be a first time ‘bird’ mother?

RTH hatchling J1, 2020. @Cornell Labs RTH Streaming Cam

At 11pm on the 23rd of February, the single eaglet on the Kisatchie National Forest nest hatched. Its parents are, as far as anyone knows, first timers. The nest is located in Central Louisiana. From the food deliveries, it appears that the area is relatively rich in prey, especially fish, which, of course, Bald Eagles love. The father understands his role as providing food to the nest, sometimes incubating the eggs, brooding the eaglet, and defense. The other evening when he took over brooding duties, out of habit he rolled the eaglet thinking that it was still an egg! The eaglet is fine but having rolled eggs for more than a month – it seems it might have become a habit, at least for the dads. The mother, in her enthusiasm, tried first to shove large bites of food in the eaglets mouth. It wasn’t working. It also was not working that she was holding her beak straight and vertical. Oh, when that poor baby got only one or two bites and the mother was ready to get back to brooding, I became the ‘auntie’ trying to explain to the young mother what to do through the screen. It didn’t work! Somehow the little thing managed grab enough of the big pieces that it survived. I admit to having my doubts for a couple of days. But then magic happened! On 1 March, the whole feeding process changed. Let me show you in a few images. I am so proud of both of them. Gold stars all around.

The chick is peeping and the mother responds by getting up from brooding. She moves to the pantry. The little eaglet is looking out of the nest bowl in the opposite direction from under its mother’s tail. This isn’t looking very hopeful.

Then the mother repositions herself.

OK. Mom is ready but, seriously. The little one is now in a different spot but still not aligned for a feeding.

The mother steps into the nest bowl, leans her head and tempts the little eaglet with a small piece of fish. She is teaching it to stand nearer to the pantry.

The little eaglet turns its head! And its beak aligns perfectly with its mothers. A nice bite of fish!

The mother continues offering bites, sometimes trying to hold her head differently. The little one continues to grab the fish. This is the longest and best feeding I have seen at this nest for this six day old eaglet. It is also getting stronger and can stabilize its head. I cannot even imagine what it is like trying to feed a bobble head.

It was almost a four minute feeding. The little one had a nice crop and it is now time to sleep and grow! For now the frequent feedings and smaller amounts are perfect. In a week we will see some longer feedings with larger bites. It is so wonderful to see these two figuring this most essential part of parenting and survival out. Fantastic!

Did you wait for a little one to be fed and then you said to yourself that it was alright for you to do something else or go to sleep? Everything just felt alright with the world. Well, today I smiled in relief. These two are going to be alright. If you would like to watch the little chick as it grows up at the KNF nest, please go here to watch the streaming cam:

Thank you for joining me today. It is almost spring…less than three weeks. Yippee.

Oh, it’s cold out there

It was so cold today, -14. It meant that my friend, Sharpie pretended he was a Peregrine Falcon and not a Sharp-shinned Hawk and tore between the houses and into the garden like a Stealth bomber. He first flew into snow on top of the back wood box and out, down between the houses and back again. I blinked and if I had done it again, I would have missed him. He certainly wasn’t after the European Starlings. They had been sitting on the tips of the Lilac bushes and then decided to eat the frozen grapes on the vines, instead of the bird seed, and were tottering all over the place when Sharpie arrived. Silly things! It’s like eating Ice Wine candies. Maybe Sharpies, like Peregrines, don’t particularly like the Starlings. I wonder if they are tough? Must be something. He totally ignored them.

Sharpie comes to visit and is puffed up it is so cold.

Sharpie doesn’t cooperate, too fast for me and the camera. This is a photo from a couple of weeks ago just so you can see what the little guy looks like. Oh, he is tiny. I think the plan is to get a camera and have it constantly running using solar power. That way I don’t frighten him peeking out the windows. I haven’t seen Sharpie’s mate for a little over a year. And, if you are wondering, yes, it is unusual for these hawks not to migrate with the other birds. We first noticed them in January 2018. There is a Polar Vortex heading our way for Saturday and the temperatures will plummet very quickly. I hope Sharpie is tucked up nice and warm somewhere.

UPDATES: The Threesome are working on their nest on the Mississippi River near Fulton. Valor I, II, and Starr moved a few big sticks around this morning. There is a blizzard and extreme cold temperatures headed for their area and the trio were not seen at the nest after 9:30 am.

Birds are incredibly smart as all of you know. And I am certain if they could figure out how to handle the computers and the green screens, the CBC would be wise to hire them as the weather forecaster. Seriously, it is so rare that the get the forecast right here. If you listen you might hear it is sunny but if you look out the window, you can see the rain coming down. Does this happen anywhere else?

The Threesome Nest on the Mississippi River, 4 February 2020. Image @2021 Stewards UMRR

E17 and E18 were improved at 4pm on Thursday. These little muffins. My goodness, they have grown, changed colour, and are getting better. They can’t go back to Harriet and M15 until they are completely clear of the ‘pink eye’. But the news today is optimistic.

And look, they are feeding themselves out of the little dishes. Wonder if they prefer fish or these nice tender, cut just right morsels of quail and rat?? E18 is on the left. He is a little whiter than E17 on the right E17 is still having to go to the time out corner. As she continues to feel better, she is taking it out on her little brother at meal time. And doesn’t E18 just look so sweet? I had so hoped they would have grown out of this phase. It makes me ache when one is bopping the other. Seriously, there is enough food to go around. You two are lucky. Your patron, Pritchett Real Estate, has a stocked pond full of fish just for you.

E18 (left) and E17 (right) enjoying their 4pm snack. Image courtesy of CROW.

And now on Friday morning, CROW has been able to return the pair to their nest. It is 24 degrees so warm. The little ones can pant to regulate their temperature and they are cheeping. But so far, neither Harriet or M15 have come to the nest. It has been several hours and I have to admit that I am getting a little anxious. And, of course, E17 already needs another time out!

It is a bit windy. The camera operator has moved it looking for the parents who appear to be at a distance hunting.

The image below is not great but it will give you an idea of the area around the nest. Dick Pritchett owns the land that the nest tree is located on and does have a fully stocked pond for the eagles. It looks they are flying around in the thermals.

CROW has permission for immediate rescue if the parents do not return to the nest. I am anxiously watching and will bring an update as soon as I have one.

It is Friday. For those of you out there working or working from home, it must feel really good to see a weekend coming. And since it is Friday, it is time for some cuteness overload. And where better for that than the Royal Albatross Centre in New Zealand.

Lime-Green-Black (LGK) is so proud of his eleven day old chick. It is so sweet how gentle he is. His eyes tell us just how proud he is of this little furry bundle. And how happy he is to be there in the warm sunshine rubbing his bill.

LGK teaching his chick to tap bills to stimulate feeding. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

Oh, and what a beautiful smile!

Hello! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

It sure didn’t take long for this little fella’ to figure out precisely how to fit that tiny bill inside dad’s great big one so that he could have some squid shake. Nature is truly amazing.

Great Feeding! Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

With the little one safely tucked in between his big paddle feet, LGK does some of his morning wingersizes. I wonder if birds get ‘stiff’ from sitting in one place for too long, like humans so?

LGK stretching in the morning. Image courtesy of Cornell Bird Cams and NZ DOC.

And since it is the weekend, I have a recommendation for you. Now, I don’t always suggest movies to people because each of us has our own likes and dislikes. The little girl down the street left me a note today in my mailbox. “There is a movie that you have to see and it will make me cry”. And then one of the FB members of the Crow, Raven, and Corvid group recommended the same flick. So, I decided to put everything aside and watch it. It is on Netflix and the movie is Penguin Bloom. The woman on the FB group said:

Penguin Bloom, is the story of a woman who has had a catastrophic injury and endures depression related to her inability to lead a “normal” life with her husband and three rambunctious young boys. One of the boys finds an injured magpie, brings it home to care for it, and well, saying more would give away much of the story. It’s a charming movie, well done, probably not an Oscar contender, but the magpie’s (named Penguin) interaction with the family makes it worth a watch”.

The New York Times had a good review of Penguin Bloom. I hope that you can open this and read it.

You will need a box of tissue if you watch the movie.

I was very interested in this movie for two reasons. One is because WBSE 26, with its wonky leg, overcame so many obstacles to fly. So many people told me how inspirational she was to them. Several with physical challenges and who were not working as hard as they should said that if 26 could do it so could they! Secondly because, just the other day, one of Daisy Duck’s very good friends from Poland sent me a note to tell me that she had found and nursed an injured Raven back to health. It was in terrible shape with the feathers on top of its head all pulled out and, of course, it was starving. She took the Raven into her home and cared for it for five months til it was ready to be re-wilded. Little tears came down my cheeks. People can be incredibly kind and loving. My heart melted when I read her letter. I hope to bring you more about her story shortly.

Birds are magical if you let them into your heart.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join me. Stay safe. See you tomorrow!

No, we didn’t forget about you…

How could anyone forget about Lime-Green-Black and his beautiful baby chick? One of the countries that I often applaud is New Zealand. I have a good friend and colleague who lives there and he is quick to say that New Zealanders love their birds! He wishes they would do more to clean up the coal industry but, he is thrilled at what they do for their wildlife. And that is where we are going to begin today: the Royal Albatross Colony on Taiaroa Head. It is on the southern Island near Dunedin.

It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. And we are checking on the Royal Albatross couple, LGL and LGK. I know. What is with all the letters, right? The New Zealand Department of Conservation puts coloured bands on the Royal Albatross. They have specific date ranges for the beginning colour so that the Rangers can tell immediately the approximate age of the sea bird they are trying to identify. So our couple is: Lime-Green-Lime (female) and Lime-Green-Black (male). You might think that Black should be B but that goes to Blue. So K is used for Black.

LGL and LGK have been a mated pair since 2017. Albatross mate for life. If one dies, then it is hoped that they find a new mate. And sometimes, there are divorces! Or Threesomes. It can get complicated. But, generally, we consider them a mated pair for life which can be very long, into the 60s and 70s.

LGL laid their egg on November 7, 2020. The parents each took turns incubating the egg so that the other could go out to sea to feed. The incubation period is approximately 80 days. The NZ DOC rangers check the eggs early to find out if they are fertile and they continue to check them. Near to hatch, they check closely as they will remove the egg and replace it with a dummy egg. This allows the chick to hatch in an incubator. It is returned to the parent once it has hatched and is dry. At that time the Rangers sprayed the nest with an insecticide so that no fly larvae can get on the wee one. The insecticide is not harmful. Until such a time as the chick can regulate its own temperature and it is safe to leave it on the nest by itself, the parents will continue their rotation. One will keep the chick warm and feed it while the other is out to sea fishing. This nesting period lasts ten months. The laying the egg and the nesting period is so hard on the Albatross that they only have one chick every 2 years. As it happens, LGL and LGK were the Royal Cam parents in 2019 and their little one received a Maori name, Karere. It means ‘Messenger’.

I bet you are wondering about the names. Normally, the people of New Zealand submit possible names for the Royal cam chick. A number are selected for a final judging and a committee picks one of these. And that becomes the name. The individual who submitted the winning name gets a trip to see the Royal cam chick in person. In practice, only Royal cam chicks get names but they also get coloured bands. In 2020, because of the pandemic, no one could see the chick so the decision was made to open the naming contest to everyone in the world. The winning name for the female, known fondly as Pippa, was Atawhai. Atawhai means ‘kindness and caring’ in Maori.

One thing that I noted in checking the history of this Royal Cam couple is that both of their chicks hatched on the same day, 24 January. Karere in 2019 and this little one in 2021.

Look at that beautiful little baby being fed by its dad, LGK?

The parent teaches them to feed by tapping on their bill. In the image above you can see the chick with its bill inside the parents being fed a nice ‘squid shake’. It does not take long for the chick to figure out the tapping so that they can stimulate the parent to feed them. The parents regurgitate an oil squid liquid from a second stomach for the feedings.

In the image below, LGK (the male) is looking on as the chick is weighed. Remember that the chick hatched on 24 January. The weighing that you are seeing was 2 February. It is normal that the chick would be weighed inside a small sock. If you look carefully you will see a linen bag in front of the elbow of the ranger doing the weigh in. The chick needed a bigger bag! Oh, my goodness. This little one is growing so fast. Only nine days old and already needing to be upsized.

Now, everyone likes to speculate on the gender of the chick and there are also games played on how how much weight the chick has gained over the week. I am going right out there and saying that this is a little boy. Male albatrosses are bigger than the females. (It is the opposite for raptors such as Bald Eagles, Peregrine falcons, Red tail Hawks, etc.). We should know in about a week.

Any chick weighing more than 500 grams will only be weighed once a day, not twice. So, what I know is that this little one is more than 500 grams but it is only being weighed once. Someone mentioned 660 grams or 1.4 lbs. But I have to verify that.

This is an image from the weighing yesterday. You can see the linen bag instead of the sock much more clearly.

The proud parent looks on waiting very patiently for the return of their baby! All is well with our little one.

The picture below is priceless. Can you spot that little cutie pie poking its head out? Precious.

I have learned so much about these beautiful birds. The Southern Albatross are the largest seabirds in the world with an average wing span of in excess of 3 metres or 9.8 feet. (I should mention that for a very long time it was thought that the Wandering Albatross was the largest both in wingspan and bulk but recent studies indicate that it is the Southern Royal Albatross or that they are the same.) When they are adults they will weigh about 8.5 kilograms or 18.73 pounds. Wow. Our little one has a long way to go. Once our chick fledges (or flies out to sea), they will spend four to six years on the ocean feeding and growing before they ever set their paddle feet on land. In fact, they have ‘sea legs’. You have probably heard that term. They can be quite wobbly. They will return to where they were born, as juveniles, looking for a mate. But they will not breed that year.

The parents are very tender with one another. They do sky calls, holding their head up proudly to the sky, and they preen one another. They see one another when they switch incubating and nesting duties. Once this chick fledges which is normally in September, they will not see one another again until the following November, if both survive. They are remarkable sea birds. I like to call them ‘Gentle Giants’.

LGL and LGK preening one another.

The Albie on the right is doing a sky call. They will raise their long neck as if looking straight to the sky and give out what some call a ‘high pitched screaming bray’. Some say it sounds like a donkey! Not so sure about that but, maybe. Definitely higher pitched. When one or another of the parents arrive, they will often do a series of sky calls. In this instance it is really a way to say ‘hello’. Eventually the little one will copy their parents in the welcome.

Skycall.

Good Morning E17 and E18! The good news about our little eaglets from Harriet and M15’s aerie in Fort Myers is that they had their eyes open this morning with little to no discharge. Isn’t that fantastic? E-17 still has mild irritation in its right eye and conjuctivitis in both eyes. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I checked. We used to call it pink eye! It is an inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eyes and covers the white part of our eyeball. You will have seen someone, maybe even yourself, where the blood vessels are visible. This is when they are inflamed and the white of the eye will appear pink or very red. That is what E-17 is fighting. E18 eyes are better. Both are really eating well. E17 is now 385 grams while E18 is 295 grams. If you have forgotten the weights from my last posting. E17 was 285 grams and has gained 100 grams and E18 was 220 grams and has gained 65 grams. Oh, they just look so much better and they are definitely gaining weight. This is so good. Maybe they can be delivered back to their parents by the end of the week. Let’s all send them warm wishes cheering them on. It looks like the antibiotics are starting to work.

There is also some good news for our Bald Eagles at Duke Farms. The snow gently fell again last night but by noon today (3 February), we can now see that it is beginning to melt off parts of the nest. Oh, this pair of eagles will surely be wanting spring to arrive. Just like I am. It is -4 and grey today. Cold to the bone but it is at least not -26 like it was a few days ago.

Take care everyone. Stay safe. Thank you so much for stopping in to check on the birds around the world with me. I hope that you have a really nice day!

And if you are looking for a different poster to send out about rodenticides, here is another. All our creatures will thank you for spreading the word. This is especially good if you live near a Bald Eagle nest.