Early Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

As is my usual routine, I am starting my blog for Sunday morning late on Saturday evening. That flu shot has had me a bit under the weather and I have not ventured out to check on the local duck populations. I hope to do that tomorrow with some new images for you. The number of birds in the garden is certainly dwindling. Instead of 40 or more Dark-eyed Juncos there are only a handful and the number of sparrows is about half. The squirrels continue to hoarde the peanuts at the dismay of both the Blue Jays and a single crow. All four of them are in the neighbourhood but, one family has taken to feeding them bread. Crows love bread – it is sweet and salty. It is junk food. And the ones that come to my garden would much rather have bread than healthy nuts, fruit, and protein. Drives me crazy! Angel Wing is why – when we went for a walk around the local duck pond on Thanksgiving, we found two Mallards with Angel Wing. They have since been taken to the wildlife rehab clinic. It is unclear if they will survive. People believe they are helping because the ducks come running for the bread. Sadly, not.

Have you ever heard of Angel Wing? It is a condition in waterfowl caused by a nutritional deficiency. The wings droop or are crooked. The birds cannot fly. It is normally caused by humans feeding bread to the ducks and geese! It can kill them. Feed only high nutrition feed such as wild bird seed OR do not feed them at all.

Making News:

The United Kingdom has been hit particularly hard by Avian Flu. Indeed, scientists now believe that this deadly disease for wild birds and commercial poultry farms will remain in the country year round. The plan is to require anyone who has poultry to move them inside — no more free range eggs or chickens. That is very sad and, well, it is known by Virologists such as Thijs Kuiken -who examines the spread of Avian Flu – that factor farms are the likely cause. I wonder if what is being done in the UK will spread to other European countries?

The finalists in the funniest wildlife shots of the year:

Do you like Chimney Swifts? Have you ever gone birding in Central Park? Are you wondering what the 33 year old Pale Male, the resident Red-tail Hawk of 927 Fifth Avenue is doing? (Yes, he really is 33. He hatched in 1990 and has his own Wikipedia page!). I urge you to check out the blog of Bruce Yolton. Yolton is an excellent wildlife photographer and knows Central Park and its surrounding area as if it were his own hand. He has recently changed his blog template and it is easy to search using the box on the right. There are recent YouTube videos of the swifts as well as one of Pale Male from the 1st of September. Yes, he is still alive. Just do a search using Pale Male on Yolton’s site to see the latest video.

Urbanhawks.com

‘H’ wrote and said she had just watched the film about Pale Male. With all that has gone on at PLO, it is sometimes easy to forget what brings one happiness. So, if you haven’t seen it or if you are like me and you need to watch something that clearly demonstrates just how people can influence a hawk’s life, check it out. It’s free and it is very heart warming and uplifting.

thelegendofpalemale.net

LGK (Lime-Green-Black) is one of the favourite male Albatrosses and is the father of Taiki, last year’s Royal Cam chick. LGK has returned to Taiaroa Head! Here is the announcement by Sharon Dunne:

Damon and Gabby continue to work on restorations on their nest. Just look at the huge stick Samson brought in!

Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest and rebounding.

Nest News:

The eyases at 367 Collins Street are simply having a fabulous time wandering up and down the gutter. It seems to cause some confusion in the adults still but everyone is coping well. Mum loves her perch and as ‘A’ notes, the pair of them don’t seem to fully understand their duties so both are hunting and bringing prey. I love it – cooperative parenting. In fact, Osprey Mums often start hunting when the ospreys turn 30 days. It really helps during then and fledge when more prey is required.

The Melbourne Four were fed 5 times yesterday. In fact, five seems to be the average feeding per day. I have not sat down to compare delivery times. Once I tracked a hawk family that delivered prey 7 times a day at almost the exact same times. It was like they had a food supply delivery! The four ate at 0628 for 20 minutes, then again at 1108 for 7 minutes (a snack), at 1209 for 22 minutes, at 1540 for 17 minutes and their last meal at 1915 for 16 minutes. Mum continues to perch above the scrape box.

This adorable video of Diamond feeding little Rubus and Indigo popped up on my screen. It is now 6 days old but, it just shows hot cute these two eyases are and how much they have changed. Indigo was a cotton ball then. Poor Little Rubus. I wondered if he would ever get any feathers. Rubus is quite the character, full of vinegar and mischief with as loud a voice as his brother, Izzy. ‘A’ says he is as loud as Yurruga, too!!! It is hard to imagine how much they have grown in 5 days. Just look. They are all white down with no pin feathers.

Meals are coming in on a regular basis for Indigo and Rubus. The pair of them are a delight. Like any younger sibling, Rubus wants to do everything that Indigo does. He has now migrated over to Cilla’s stones to stay with Indigo! And he is enjoying the camera.

The weather appears to not be so good at Port Lincoln. It is now 1439 and I have not seen a fish arrive on the nest since the large breakfast fish. It is entirely possible that Dad has not been able to catch anything. There is an image of Mum eating a fish by herself at 2016 (the clock on the camera is incorrect). She is the one that I worry about. She needs to eat – a bite for Big, one for Middle, and then one for Mum. That would be good! She does not require as much prey as Dad as he is actively fishing but, she has been out fishing and will probably continue to do so to supplement the takings.

If you have been watching the Port Lincoln nest and noted more deliveries to the ospreys on Sunday in Australia (when they wake up it will be Monday), please do let me know.

The cam operator did some really good close ups of the ospreys yesterday. You can see how their feathers are developing and once again, we get a look at those gorgeous amber eyes.

Migration:

We have been following the Black Stork family of Karl II from Estonia to their winter homes in the central part of Africa. There has been no recent transmission from the female, Kaia. Her last transmission was from Chad on the 16th of October. There has been no news from Karl II. His last transmission was from Egypt on the 18th of October. It is likely that both of the adults form the Karla National Forest nest are out of range for transmissions. The two fledglings with satellite transmitters are Bonus and Waba. Waba flew 161 km and is now in Turkey near Antalya along the coast.

Bonus flew 106 km and is near the village of Gravita in Romania.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Wish for fish at Port Lincoln. All is well at the other nests. The Bald Eagles are busy building and there is word that an artificial nest might go up for Connie and Clive at Captiva as the trees are mostly destroyed – the ones good for Eagles. Take care everyone – see you soon! Please note that my check on breakfast feedings in Australia will be coming out late. Just wanted to let you know.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sharon Dunne aka Lady Hawk videos, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, AEF-NEFL, Looduskalender, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, BBC, Royal Albatross FB Group, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam.

Updates on the Ls, Red Kite shot in Epping Forest and more news in Bird World

8 September 2022

Oh, good morning to you! I hope that your week has been a really good one. I see changes…in the colour of the vines growing up the hydro poles which are now turning a beautiful burgundy and the number of children going down the sidewalks in the morning and afternoon with their backpacks. Truly summer has just about come to an end although the official day for the beginning of autumn is a couple of weeks away. The temperatures are still in the mid-20s C and I am not ready to box up the linen just yet.

It was a gorgeous evening with a nice crisp breeze. The sun was setting and it looked like a Monet painting as it reflected on the pond where the ducks and geese were gathering. To my surprise there were a pair of Loons and about 8 Greater Yellowlegs punching in the soft mud at the edge of the pond for a meal with those long bills.

A pair of Loons
Greater Yellowlegs
A couple of American Coots in with the other water fowl

It is always good to get outside if you can. I remember when my mother fell and broke her hip. She was reluctant to get up and walk again and her doctor was quite stern in his response – “Either use them or loose them!” It is good for me to remember on those days when I would rather curl up with a book instead of getting out in the fresh air. The long hours of book reading and sipping hot tea will be here soon enough!!!!!! It was not a terribly long walk around the pond and blood was given to the mosquitoes! It is a shame that they love to come out at dusk and feed right when all of the migrating birds are landing and settling down for the night.

I want to go back to this location during the day to see the shorebirds better. Wish me luck! There is a chance that a Blue Heron might be there as well.

In the Mailbox:

Question from ‘A’: “I am worried the new mum at Collins Street is inexperienced and this may affect the success of the breeding season. Today, at least 10 days into hard incubation, she left the eggs for nearly two and a half hours. Dad did not arrive to take over. It is a relatively warm but very wet and overcast day in Melbourne, so there was no warming sunshine to maintain egg temperature. How dangerous could such a long gap in incubation be to the developing chicks inside?”

This is a very timely question, ‘A’. Thank you for asking it. There has been quite a bit of concern about the new female at the Melbourne scrape. We learned much and were incredibly surprised about incubation times with Milda at the White-tailed Eagle nest. Her mate died and she stayed on the nest for 8 solid days before seeking food. It was cold and wintery. At one time the two eggs were left for 8 hours and at other times for shorter but considerable time. No one believed they would hatch but hatch the two did. Sadly they did not live because Mum was starving and there was no food even from a male that seemed to want to play Dad. Now these eggs were in a big twig nest that holds heat but the temperatures were much lower than those in Melbourne which are in a scrape. The gravel will hold heat but perhaps not as much as the twig nest. Dr Victor Hurley has stated on FB that an hour and a half will cause no damage at all. I would think that the time she was away is fine but my concern would be if the surface of the eggs were damaged at all by the rain. This can cause undue problems. We wait. There is often a failure for first time parents – in this case just the Mum. Dad and our former Mum worked like clockwork – they were a great team but that takes time to know the other partner well. We will wait but my hope is that only a couple of the eggs develop well as it will be easier for a first time Mum to cope. Many experienced females have difficulty with four!

I found this article on the issues with egg development and incubation that might be helpful:

https://sheffieldperegrines.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/the-failed-eggs-explained/

Question from ‘B’: “Do male Osprey fledglings migrate before female Osprey fledglings?”

That is a fantastic question and I do not have the scientific data at hand to state that the males go first although many believe that this is true. I want to check some data and will get back to everyone on Saturday morning with a data driven answer to this question. The research will be limited to the UK birds because they are ringed and measured. Let’s see what we can find out. Thanks, B!

A rant and a question from ‘J’: “There is a lot of arguing going on over calling the parents of nestlings Mum and Dad at the Melbourne scrape. There is a person telling everyone to stop and use male and female so that we are not anthropomorphizing the birds. What do you think?” Thank you so much ‘J’ for sending me this question. I actually went and found the post and made a comment – something that I do not often do but I feel very strongly about this particular subject and I am happy to address how I ‘feel’ about this!

I get outraged when I see someone jump on another individual for giving human qualities to a non-human. In the study of animal behaviour, anthropomorphizing is attributing human characteristics to non-humans. That is the simple definition. Using words such as joy, grief, embarrassment, anger or jealousy are anthropomorphic terms. Dr Marc Bekoff, an expert in animal behaviour and emotions, and his colleagues use human terms all the time when they are dealing with the emotional lives of animals. “Being anthropomorphic is a linguistic tool to make the thoughts and feelings of other animals accessible to humans.” (123) Bekoff continues, “If we decide against using anthropomorphic terms we might as well pack up and go home because we have no alternatives. Should we talk about animals as a bunch of hormones, neurons and muscles???” (124). “When we anthropomorphize, we’re doing what comes naturally, and we shouldn’t be punished for it. It’s part of who we are.” (125).

Bekoff continues for many pages noting that we observe animals being happy, feeling grief. You have seen these behaviours. Anyone watching a streaming cam of any raptor will, at one time or another, note joy, anger, and all too often, grief. I can still “see” Connie and Clive standing over the dead body of their eaglet who had been flapping and jumping and broke a blood feather. She died of rodenticide poisoning like her younger sister. The blood in the growing feather should have coagulated but it didn’t because someone decided to poison the rats and Clive brought one to the nest. It was an incredibly moving time and Clive never got over the deaths. He left the nest.

We must acknowledge that animals experience joy, passion, grief, and suffering. They feel love and they feel pain. If we fully grasp that the animals and the birds are really no different than we are, then we might stop to think about how we treat them. That would be the beginning of real change in our world. I personally believe that it is our duty to make the planet a better place – to do all that each of us can do to make the lives of non-humans better. If calling them Louis or Sarafina helps to do this then fine. The adults at the Collins Street scrape are parents as we know it. The female is the Mum and the male is the Dad. What in the world does it hurt to call them that!?

Making News:

The only surviving Osprey chick from the Pitkin County Open Trails platform is now out of ICU and in the flight aviary! What fantastic news. In June, the female pulled her two chicks out of the nest when her talons inadvertently got caught on nesting material entangled with monofilament line. One chick died as the result of the long fall; the other was lucky that passersby took immediate action to get it into care.

Sharon Dunne posted some really good information about issues related to plastic and sea birds today. Thanks, Sharon, for reminding us that humans seem to use the ocean as their garbage can – or as is the case with the UK reporting, as their toilet for releasing raw sewage. We need to clean up our act.

Can you image if this beautiful little Albatross chick was fed that plastic horse? Thankfully the parent seems to have regurgitated it on the ground. It could have killed them also. We want the sea birds to eat fish and squid and not fill up on plastic so they are not hungry and die. That is just horrid.

Fledgling osprey from the UK flies west and gets into a bit of a pickle landing on the RRS Sir David Attenborough west of Sula Sgeir. Thankfully they are heading into port. This youngster will get a second chance to get his flight coordinates set!

Two announcements have come for L4 and L3. The first was for L4 who appears to have done so well that release is now almost at hand. This was followed by a statement that L3 is also a candidate for release at a later date. This is great news. L4 was the first of the four siblings this year to catch its own prey and was a real favourite of many of us. I will never forget the fearlessness when L4 wanted to be first at Mum’s beak and scrambled over the older bigger siblings to get there. If you are wondering — will L4 be fine. Absolutely!

Another raptor has been shot in the UK. This was a Red Kite that was shot at Epping Forest! It is now undergoing extensive rehabilitation and vet treatments. The police are appealing for help in finding the perpetrator.

Nest News:

Sarafina had to go between Louis’s legs to get her tea time fish! ‘B’ reminded me that Sarafina is now 97 days old today (Wednesday), the same age as Vera in 2020 when she fledged. If Sarafina stays on another day, she will have the record for Loch Arkaig’s longest lingering fledgling.

Yes, Sarafina now has the record for the longest lingering fledgling at Loch Arkaig! She may also get the award for tackling Dad with her landings to get the fish he continues to supply.

Padarn now has the record at the Dyfi Nest for the longest lingering fledgling.

Aran still has his entire family at Glaslyn this morning. No sign of anyone thinking of packing their suitcases.

Xavier is really enjoying incubating those eggs in the scrape in Orange. I love how he talks to them in ‘falconese’. Diamond is not always obliging in his requests for ‘eggie time’. Xavier is simply adorable. Oh, let us all hope that there is one great big healthy chick this year like Izzi. And if there are more – let them be healthy too…and let the pigeon population increase so that everyone is full to the brim.

Xavier hoping for some more time with the eggs…

The Sea Eagles are nothing short of gorgeous. They are now almost completely covered with their juvenile plumage. It is SE29 standing. SE30 is still a little lighter at the shoulder and the beard.

Just look at the expressions on their face – so intently watching and taking in ‘something’ outside the nest. Great development.

The Sea Eagle FB page reminds individuals that there is an entire website devoted to the Sea Eagles. There is all kinds of interesting information there. Have a look if you are interested. Here is the link:

https://sea-eaglecam.org/?fbclid=IwAR0J6f2m0AzrMyfnpm2kgnNCZtzJ2tAwYfU7NRYQiRcu8RXr8VNlhqZHF-Q

Mum has been doing quite a bit of yelling at Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge for the last couple of days. Sometimes Dad will slowly eat the fish he has caught and bring her the leftovers….don’t think she is any too happy about that. Maybe if he brings her another big fish she will take it and let him incubate the eggs longer. Could be a good strategy Dad!!!!!!!!!! Just like Xavier, Dad loves time with the eggs in the nest.

Marrum shows her partner, Partney, the second egg of the 2022 breeding season on Tumby Island, South Australia. Congratulations!!!!!!

Migration News:

Rutland has confirmed that all of Manton Bay Ospreys are now officially deemed to be on migration and away from the nest. Here is the announcement with the last image of Maya before she departed. What a grand year it was and what beautiful daughters they raised.

A great article on Osprey migration with maps and dates to answer almost all of your questions and to refresh our memories.

avianreport.com/osprey-migration/

Here is a good article on the tools that scientists use to study bird migrations. Thanks Sharon Dunne for bringing this to my attention!

https://theconversation.com/birds-migrate-along-ancient-routes-here-are-the-latest-high-tech-tools-scientists-are-using-to-study-their-amazing-journeys-187967?fbclid=IwAR0DxCrzhLBZsSaMSy5jZwPacTBBUSil5tufCL6ZUcj6HxlvBKreVVVXgdM

There is still no tracking data for Karl II who is known to have been in the Kherzon region of Ukraine where the fighting is said to be intense as Ukrainian forces seek to take back the region from Russian forces. There are 2 reports for the 7th of September. Bonus remains in Belarus and we have heard from Kaia who is in Ukraine but appears to have found a good spot to fish.

Kaia did not fly far. She is fishing in the Desna River.

Tweed fledgling positively IDed and photographed on the Iberian Peninsula.

On 1 September at 17:44 Iris stood proudly with her mate, Louis, at the Hellgate Canyon Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana staring straight into the camera. It is one of the most poignant, beautiful, eerie and haunting images (all wrapped up into a lot of emotions) of this year. It felt like goodbye. Is this the last image of the year? I hope not for forever – but that is why it strikes me as so strange. Sealed in our memories in this singular instant is the fact that Iris is happy to stand next to Louis, happy with the way things are, happy with her life. They look beautiful together. If they were humans they would be having this image printed on cards to send to all their friends.

Safe travels dear one…we hope to see you in late March or April.

There have been a lot of questions about the Melbourne scrape and a lot of anxiety amongst viewers. I propose a deep breathe or several and let us wait and see what happens. Not every nest is a success. Xavier and Diamond often lay 3 eggs with only 1 developing and hatching and this could be a good thing for the new Mum in Melbourne. One healthy eyas is a great thing! A blessing. We will continue to keep our eyes on those UK nests for migration but no one appears to be wanting to go on a holiday to the south as yet. We just had a hummingbird in the garden and the rabbit was on the deck eating being protected by the crow who was above it in the bird bath. How beautiful!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams, their Tweets, etc where I took my screen captures: Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ, NZ DOC, Hugh Venables, Cornell Hawks, Raptor Persecution UK, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Friends of Osprey, LWRT, Looduskalender, Conservation without Borders, and Montana Osprey Project.

An ‘Almost’ Fledge and more nest news in Bird World

6 June 2022

Oh, what a day it has been. Pretty exciting stuff happening on the nests. I was just told by my friend ‘G’ that a hatch is happening at Cape May Osprey nest. If you follow that nest, check it out!

First news first. Ahote returned to the natal nest of the West End Eagles, Thunder and Akecheta at 06:54:08 this morning. Whew! He spent 4 days over on Transmission Hill. It is sure nice to see the Three Amigos back together.

Thunder and Akecheta have not delivered food. One of the eaglets has flown off the main nest. It is not clear which male it was. Kana’kini is on the branch on the ocean side. It is thought to be Ahote but no confirmation.

Ahote is back on the nest. So controlled. Oh, I hope those parents get some food on this nest. He needs a big reward for all that effort.

As many of you are aware, Urmas Sellis undertook the rescue of Jan and Janika’s storklets. He originally placed a fish basket for Janika in the hopes that she would find it and be able to feed herself and the four storklets. He also put a pail of small fishes on the nest. Janika did not find the fish table. Two days later, Urmas returned to take the storklets after cold nights without warmth, etc. Sadly, the fourth one died right before the rescue. The three surviving chicks are in incubators. There is a fundraiser. Here is the information if you feel so inclined to contribute.

Fledges are going to overlap one another once they start. At the Red-tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur, the average age to fledge is 46.5 days. Today L1 is 46 days, L2 is 43, L3 is 42 and L4 is 39 days old. It is believed that to fly well, the hawklets need to have at least 5 dark bands showing. L1 has her 6th band peeking out. L2 has the 5th band peeking out while L3 has 4 dark bands and L4 has 3.

Big Red brought in some unidentified prey and some wanted to eat while others wanted to run and flap. It was rather chaotic!!!!!

The hawklets are pretty sedentary on the nest – even with all the flapping. After fledging, during the first 3 weeks, their activity level is believed to double. After 6-7 weeks, they will begin to catch small vertebrae. The parents will continue to feed them (more at first) and teach them hunting tricks until they leave the territory.

To my knowledge, Little Bit 17 at the ND-LEEF has not had prey yet today.

At the UFlorida-Gainesville nest, Middle almost fledged today. He would have if a storm had not quickly rolled in with high winds, rain, and some hail. Have a look at a couple of clips of Middle’s hovering. He is impressive!

At least twice today, Middle got the fish and Big did not! His confidence level is growing and growing.

Even soaking wet, Middle just doesn’t want to give up. Expect a fledge anytime!!!!!!! Nothing is going to stop him.

Middle is full of vinegar. Is this osplet going to fledge soaking wet?

How lovely it is going to be when Middle flies off with confidence. There was a time when it was not clear if we would get to this day. Middle has grown into a fantastic, getting more confident, healthy bird. Am I saying it twice? how nice the feathers are on these two? Mum and Dad can be proud. We lost Little Bit but will have two super fledglings when Middle takes off. I hope he finds his way back to the nest as easily as Big. OGK and YRK have been a bonded pair since 2006 – 16 years.

If you watch the Royal Albatross cam, today marks the 21st day that OGK has been away. Let us hope he returns to QT chick soon. Mum YRK is doing double duty at the nest and the NZ DOC rangers on Taiaroa Head are providing supplementary feedings for several chicks.

D

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Institute for Wildlife Studies and Explore.org, the Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys.

Late Saturday in Bird World

It has not been a great day for Lena on the Captiva Osprey nest. She has had only 2 fish for her and the hungry osplets and no break to go down and get that yucky fish juice off of her. In other words, she is loudly calling Andy as the sun sets desperate for a break and to fill those babies up for bed. If the last feeding was at around 13:30 they will be ravenous by the time the fish lands on the nest in the morning.

While Lena might be rather upset, everything seems really good over at the Dale Hollow Lake Eagle nest. Obey came in to see what he needed to bring to the pantry around 17:00. He then helped River with a tandem feeding of the youngsters while also eating some of the pantry himself. This really is a fabulous nest!

I honestly cannot believe that I had never heard about this nest until today. It is wonderful. Very experienced adults and healthy twins. Still one to hatch. Those little eaglets are tucked under River sound asleep. Happy Eagle dreams!

Ferris Akel found both Big Red and Arthur who were sitting on top of Bradfield enjoying the view. Arthur is on the left with his gorgeous scapula V plumage and Big Red is on the right. She is much darker than Arthur.

Arthur is such a cutie pie. I often just want to cuddle him!

Big Red was doing a lot of preening and simply didn’t seem to want to look at the camera.

So gorgeous. Both are busy bees working on their nest on the Fernow light tower on the campus of Cornell University.

There has been an update about HH3 – the eaglet who fell out of the nest at the Hilton Head Island nest.

There has also been an update on the Port Lincoln Osprey Project FB on Ervie’s tracker. It looks like he is extending his travels over to the right of North Shields and the airport.

Ervie always seems to roost at the same spot. I wonder if PLO knows where this is?

Early this morning the cam operator gave everyone a great view of the Calypso Star as she set out for the day. It is a good thing to remember that the Port Lincoln Osprey Project sponsors our camera view of the barge and the barge out of the earnings from the Calypso Star. They take no donations. So, if you visit Port Lincoln, take a tour with them as a way of thanking them.

At the nest of Jackie and Shadow, Mum is being very limited in her movements and allowing us any view of the eggs. She has been aerating the nest cup which improves the softness of the nest cup as well as providing oxygen during hatching and brooding. Is there a chick pipping under there? The answer could be just maybe there is!

The Quarry Track Royal Cam Chick aka QT is really too large for the adults to brood. They must be thrilled that the little one is out of the nest so they can actually rest their legs! I promise you this is one big boy. If not, I will make a donation to the Albatross Centre!

In the image below, YRK has to stand all the time in order to brood the chick. In the image above she is able to lay down! It must be quite nice. I wonder when they will have the contest to name the chick? And when the parents will stop staying with QT only returning to Taiaroa Head to feed their ever growing chick?

If you are in need of more Osprey nests, the male at the Williamsburg Landing has returned to the nest early – on the 23rd of February. He is working feverishly on this nest.

This Gloucester Point, Virginia nest can be viewed here:

This is an overview of a view of the birds that I do not always cover. I really hope that Andy brings in a huge fish for the Captiva nest very early in the morning. Speaking of Captiva, Connie and Clive were working on the Bald Eagle nest at Captiva this evening together. Will there be a second clutch? We should know tomorrow if Jackie and Shadow have a pip! Life is good except when eagles are falling out of nests. Will continue to monitor the Hilton Head situation for everyone.

Thank you for joining me. I hope Ervie visits the barge today! What a treat that would be. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Captiva Osprey and Window on Wildlife, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Eagles, Ferris Akel Tours, Williamsburg Landing, Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagles, Friends of Big Bear, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Thursday in Bird World

Oh, we started out with more snow this morning! And with it came the return of the European Starlings – a few of them! The phone caught the flakes coming down reasonably well. For now it has stopped and the small feeders with the butter bark, mealworms, and hand chopped peanuts have been filled for the third time. Gosh, they love those mealworms in the winter.

Poor things. This is before we cleared a bit between the piles of snow. You can see one Starling down with thee Sparrows trying to find seed that had dropped from the feeder.

There are at least 60-75 House Sparrows (at a quick count) in the Lilacs. Dyson, our seed sucking Grey Squirrel, has found a litre of Black Oil seed in the square feeder with the dome. He sits and eats and sways like he has his own personal swing. No one bothers Dyson when he is eating but they do hope he gets off balance and dumps a lot of seed below. We won’t tell Dyson that in the evening we put our special food under that feeder for Hedwing, the garden rabbit, who has been showing up at dusk and dawn and sometimes in the middle of the night. It appears he lives under our deck.

So my birds are fed and as happy as they can be til the wind and the snow start again in a few hours.

There is some good news in the world today and there is some very sad news regarding wildlife. Lots of animal rights issues rising to the top of the news. Brief highlights:

The City of Dallas, Texas is protecting two of the cities favourite raptors!

https://dallas.culturemap.com/news/city-life/02-09-22-bald-eagles-white-rock-lake/?fbclid=IwAR3j0kOCOyuruYEWEsoR0wtkkaeceODJB8zLsnaWWodWzzPi3rilKJ3a31Y

As Dallas protects, people in Britain are calling for criminal charges to be laid to the individuals that killed 2 of the 5 White-tailed Eagles reintroduced to the Isle of Wright. The shooting took place near or over a shooting estate. Chris Packham and other environmentalists have called for the end of killing animals for fun!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/10/two-white-tailed-eagles-found-dead-in-southern-england

Criminal charges have also been laid against one of England’s footballers for dropping and kicking his cat. The fine is set at 250,000 GBP – yes, you read that right. You can find the story on line if you are interested. Now if we could please get all authorities involved and people educated on the rights of animals – and our beloved birds.

The one thing that sent my granddaughter to becoming Vegan six years ago was the culling of male chicks. At the time they were simply tossed alive into a machine not unlike a wood chipper. Today, Germany has ended the practice of culling the male chicks from the females.

Everyone continues to wait to see how the current H5N1 highly pathogenic avian flu will impact European birds. It has been around since 1998 according to virologist Thijs Kuiken. It is rearing its head this year in the UK and has already crossed the Atlantic into Newfoundland, Canada. At least one wildlife rehabber has had almost all the birds in their care killed because of it. Very sad. That was the Whitby Wildlife Centre. They will not be able to resume caring for the wildlife injured for at least 1 year, perhaps 2.

The camera is working on the Port Lincoln Barge and so is the sound. We just can’t see anything but the deck! Ervie was definitely there earlier. I had to turn the sound down. He even sounded like he was getting hoarse and then everything stopped. I hope he got a fish or flew off to find one.

Gabby and Samsons, NE26 and 27 are really changing. They are certainly no longer little fluffy balls. Today they had the rest of the bird on the nest following by some fish. They were really full!

The weather has really improved in Jacksonville.

It is a gorgeous day to incubate eggs over at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ.

OGK has returned after three days at sea to relieve his mate, YRK at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, home to the Royal Albatross. The image below is actually of YRK feeding the Royal Cam chick that I took late last night. How touching.

To date 26 Royal Albatross eggs have hatched out of 35. The other 9 will not hatch due to embryo deaths.

Dennis Brecht makes frequent and regular visits to the nest of The Love Trio on the Mississippi River near Fulton, Illinois. So far this year he has not spotted Valor I working with Starr and Valor II on the nest. This trio was extremely unique and popular. The question is: does Valor I have his own nest or has something happened to him? We wait for an answer. Brecht has contacted the Stewards of the Mississippi for assistance and finding the answer to the mystery.

The Ventana Wildlife Society is releasing a few condors into the wild currently. One of those was Condor 340 who was treated for lead poisoning.

Condor 340 hatched in 2004 in the Oregon Zoo. Its name is Kun-Wac-Sun. It was released into the Pinnacles National Park in 2005.

Wheeee. How beautiful. A wild Condor flying free again in the Pinnacles.

Kincaid at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle nest of Anna and Louis was 4 weeks old yesterday. Oh, this eaglet is getting so big! Finishing up getting its thermal down and you can see the tips of a few juvenile feathers.

I was so happy to see the Captiva Osprey Cam back up and running. Lena is rolling eggs and calling Andy wanting a fish and a break.

You can see the three beautiful eggs. Oh, let us all hope that by laying their eggs a month early this couple will be able to fledge Osprey chicks off Santibel Island.

Hatch watch begins this weekend.

Those are just a few of the many nests to check on. I am really hoping to see Ervie today with a fish! Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Osprey Cam, NEFlorida and the AEF, Duke Farms, KNF Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, and Ventana Wildlife.

Late Monday in Bird World

The ‘Alberta Clipper’ is just starting to impact Winnipeg with some light snow flakes. We are in an extreme blizzard warning area until tomorrow morning when the winds and snow – getting up to 90 kph (or 55 mph) – dissipate. The garden birds were a little strange today. They ate and left. Normally they come and stay all day but a couple of waves of different groups came and went. I suspect they were going to try and find a place to hunker down for the duration. This storm system is also going to impact a huge part of the US including my childhood state of Oklahoma.

It is snowing on the Storks near Freiburg, too.

There is wind and blowing snow in Durbe, Latvia, the home of Milda, the White-tailed Eagle. The sound from the camera’s microphone makes you shiver – the wind is just howling through the forest.

The female Bald Eagle at Duke Farms is also under some snow and it looks like she might get more as this weather system moves through the eastern US.

There is good news in Bird World. Both of the USS Bald Eagles were seen at the nest today. The worry last night over whether or not there was an injury melted away. Nice.

The thermal down is coming in on the eaglet at the KNF in Central Louisiana. The light natal down is giving way to dandelions. Notice how much longer the beak is and how large the cere has become. The cere is the soft fleshy part above the black beak, seen below. The cere varies in shape, size, and colour amongst raptors. The beak will turn that beautiful yellow when this eaglet is approximately 4-5 years old and be pure yellow by the time it is 6 years old. At that time, it will also finish getting its adult plumage including that full beautiful white head.

The meals are more spread apart but the eaglet is eating longer and its crop is getting much fuller. Just look below. The crop is a pouch along the espophagus. It stores food before it gets to the stomach. It also processes prey items that cannot be processed in the stomach. The raptor will regurgitate a compressed pellet of those items that do not go to the stomach.

The Wildlife Biologist has just confirmed that this crop is at least 3-4 inches (10 cm) long! Wow.

Poor Baby. It took some maneuvering with the weight and flopping of that crop for it to get in a position to PS. Obviously the crop weighs more than the chick’s bottom does.

This baby has really grown in the last 4 or 5 days and is changing more and more with every blink it seems.

Despite being full to the brim and hardly able to move, Anna is making certain that the little one is topped up before bedtime.

NE26 and 27 are awash in Spanish Moss. The nest seems to be covered with it and fish. Lots of fish.

There are those sweet little fluffy dumplings in the nest bole.

Sleeping quietly under Mum.

At the WRDC Nest in Miami, R1 and R2 have popping crops, too. The pin or blood feathers can be seen coming in through the thermal down.

R1 is closest to you. R2 without the fluffy hair is in the back and also has a large crop. Both eaglets are doing well and there is plenty of food on the nest.

The 2022 Albatross Count on Midway Atoll is completed. Here is the information as it was posted by Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge today:

YRK flew in and switched places with OGK yesterday at the Royal Albatross Quarry Track Nest in New Zealand.

Lady Hawk caught that sweet reunion.

The camera is still offline in Port Lincoln. Would love to have had a good look at our Ervie.

Tuesday February 1 is Lunar New Year for many of our friends. For all of you celebrating the Spring Festival, we wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous Year of the Tiger.

Thank you for joining me today. So happy to have you with me. Stay safe, stay warm!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Friends of Midway Atoll Wildlife Refuge FB Page, KNF Bald Eagle Nest, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, WRDC Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, Latvian Fund for Nature, and the Stork’s Nest Livestream.

Late Friday in Bird World

There is excitement on Taiaroa Head. The Royal Cam chick for 2022 pipped its egg today and the NZ DOC rangers promptly removed that egg from under YRK replacing it with a dummy. Why you ask? Fly strike is when flies lay their eggs, in the hot summer months, on various things including hatching Albatross chicks. Fly strike can be fatal as the fly eggs hatch into maggots that eat their host. So, for the safety of the very endangered Royal Albatross, the eggs are removed at pip to hatch in an incubator. The chick will be returned to the parents to feed and brood as soon as it is safe to do so. Last time OGK was on the nest. Wonder if he will fly in just time time for the return of the chick? Oh, it is so exciting.

The NZ DOC made a short video of the removal of the egg:

At the end of the day, the Kisatchie National Forest yet-to-be-named eaglet was fed 14 times between 06:52 and 17:41. That is 14 feedings in 10 hours and 45 minutes. Wow.

Anna wanted to feed the little eaglet at 17:08 but the baby had something over its beak. You can see it in the image below. Turns out it is some of Anna’s underbelly feathers. Anna tried to feed the chick but it could eat with that big wad over its beak.

Anna realizes the problem and begins to pull the fluff off the little one.

To the relief of everyone, Anna removed the fluff without a problem and the baby had its penultimate feeding of the day.

This is one of the most hilarious Bald Eagle couples I have ever seen. Louis fills the nest with food, so much it could not possibly be eaten. If he comes around to try and have a snack without having to go fishing, Anna perks up.

This is precisely what happened below. Anna was brooding the eaglet and she sees Louis arriving. She makes this very interesting vocalization and gets up and goes over to move a piece of fish. Louis is watching all of this. The little one says, ‘Sure, Mum, if you want me to, I will eat again!’

Louis decides he will be cool and he plays ‘hide the baby’ while Anna is trying to feed the eaglet (again). In the end, Louis winds up digging in the nest and finding a piece of old fish bone which he takes with his beak and flies off the nest. Meanwhile, the little eaglet is still being fed by Mum! That was the last feeding documented before the camera froze. Maybe you had to be watching. The interaction between these two parents is so funny. Louis did do something very useful today. He brought in some more branches to build up the walls of the nest. There are places with holes in them that will need to be covered.

Dad delivered Ervie’s breakfast fish to the nest at 08:30:59.

Here comes one dedicated Osprey dad with a fish!

Ervie was so happy when he saw Dad flying in with a fish.

Later, the cam operator gave everyone some really nice close ups of Ervie staring at the water looking for fish.

Ervie focused.
Even when he was looking for fish, Ervie was prey calling to Dad.

I made a short video clip. It was wonderful to see Ervie interested in the water and the fish! Enjoy. There is a severe weather warning for Port Lincoln. The warning is for intense rainfall, severe warnings for heavy rain beginning at 16:00. Later in the evening possibilities of thunder and lighting. Stay safe Osprey family!

At the WRDC nest, it has been hot. Tomorrow they are looking for temperatures around 18 with a 40% chance of rain. I am happy to report that R2 ate and both eaglets seemed perky and happy. In the image below, R1 is full and looking out of the nest while R2 is eating.

R1 full and distracted so R2 can get a nice feeding.

Happy sleeping babies.

R1 and R2 in a food coma.

CROW has announced a virtual speaker series. Some of you might be interested. The guest is Ron Magill, ‘Mr Miami Zoo’ who is responsible for this human made nest for Ron and Rita. It sounds like a really interesting topic.

It will get down to 11 degrees C at the nest of Samson and Gabby in Jacksonville, Florida. That is 51.8 F. There is a chance of rain on Saturday.

Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest. 21 January 2022. Gabby rolling the eggs.

The American Eagle Foundation posted the following information today about hatching. Super informative as we wait for Gabby and Samson’s eggs to pip!

Hatching is hard work. Before starting to break out of the egg the chick has three things it must accomplish. It must first switch from being dependent on the oxygen diffusing through the pores in the eggshell into the network of blood vessels that line the inner surface of the shell and start to use its own lungs to breathe. The chick takes its first proper breath and fills its lungs the moment it punctures the air cell inside the top of the egg. (Internal Pip) This step is essential because by this stage of development there is not enough oxygen diffusing through the pores in the shell to support the chick’s respiratory requirements. Taking a breath from the air cell provides the oxygen and the energy necessary to break through the eggshell. Before it takes that first breath, the chick has to start shutting off the blood supply to the network of blood vessels that line the inner surface of the shell, and withdraw that blood into its body. The blood vessels are programmed to close off at the point where they emerge from the bird’s umbilicus, and just before the chick starts cutting round the shell. Third, the chick has to take what is left of the yolk and draw it into its abdomen. It does this by sucking up the remaining yolk through the stalk that connects the yolk to the chick’s small intestines. This “yolk sac” is a food reserve for the first few hours or days after hatching.

Hopefully we will have a pip tomorrow at NEFlorida. We are also watching the Achieva Osprey nest of Jack and Diane. There have been gifts of food and mating on the nest. Diane normally lays her eggs on the 22 or 23rd of January. Oh, so close! Stay tuned for news. So we are on pip watch, hatch watch, and egg watch! Crazy.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and my video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the WRDC.

Wednesday afternoon and all is well in Bird World

It has turned out to be a really good day for both the garden birds and E20 and R2. The blowing snow and wind yesterday kept the birds away from the feeders in my City but, all of the reports this morning are that the birds are back in full force. That is wonderful. I have an onslaught of European Starlings while others have a yard full of Redpolls. I would love to switch with them just for a couple of hours. Outside of the City the Snowy Owls are rather abundant and when it is warmer than -25 I really hope to get out to see them and take some photos to share.

In my last blog, I hoped that M15 would step in and feed E20. Well, he did! Maybe each of you wished that too. It is amazing what positive energy can do. The two just finished a different feeding about an hour or so ago. E20 waited and then was fed and both have enormous crops.

That is E20 at the top. E19 is in food coma at the bottom. Relief. Eagles do not have to eat every day. Indeed, in the wild, it is often the case that there is feast or famine. However, growing eaglets certainly do better and have no feather stress if feedings/food deliveries are stable. Harriet and M15 have never lost a chick to siblicide and I don’t think they are going to now. It is, however, difficult to watch – the bonking or beaking.

I did peek at the WRDC nest. R2 had been fed twice. I have no idea how many times R1 had eaten but when I checked, R1 was eating and eating and eating. R2 was keeping its head down and out of the way. It tried to squeeze in to get close to Mum but it seems the fish was eaten. Still R2 had a crop, not nearly as big as 20s but a crop nonetheless.

R1 is the eaglet eating. You can see R2s crop as he looks out of the nest to the world beyond.

40 minutes later, R1 is full to its beak but it does not like R2 trying to move in close to Mum. Too bad that R2 didn’t start pecking away at that fish he was on in the image above. Maybe he will become very clever and do that!

B15 is doing great. Both Pa Berry and Missy have been feeding and feeding that cheeky little eaglet. Squirrel and fish were on the menu this morning. The adults have also been cleaning up the nest cup, making it soft and nice for the eaglet.

This eaglet is seriously sweet.

At less than a week old, B15 can make its way around the egg cup quite well. This morning it had its eyes and beak focused on that fish.

The winds have been terrible in the Kisatchie National Forest. One big gust blew Anna right onto the baby! Right now it is 23 degrees C and the nest is in the area of a severe thunderstorm watch until 19:00.

Cheeky (and hot) baby trying to get out from under Dad!

Louis is on the nest. The sound is so good you can hear Anna out in the forest ‘talking’ to something. There is so much food on the nest. No worries if rain comes. Let us just hope the strong winds stay away from this nest at the top of a Loblolly Pine.

And everything is definitely alright with the world when Ervie is on the Port Lincoln Nest screaming his lungs off (???) wanting breakfast!!!!!!

What everyone really wants is for the Erv to see a fish in the water while he is on the nest and dive in and bring it back and eat it. That would just be like the best present everyone could get.

As we get close to the hatching of the Royal Cam chick, the NZ DOC has provided us with a document telling us what to expect. I hope that you can open it. Hatch watch 27 January – yes, that is 6 days away. (You might have to cut and paste).

/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/albatrosses/royal-albatross-toroa/royal-cam/what-to-expect/?fbclid=IwAR05icSK-au13aCXIrpMFcFaEVM7UhZVOM1BcFDJwybS0UBxbLW3O7AtvWU

It is very windy and there are Albies flying around everywhere. OGK does some stretches and seems perfectly content incubating his egg. I wonder if YRK will blow in today? She might if her foraging has gone well but, it is early days to expect her return.

Having a chat with his egg. Precious.

What a peaceful nest to close this newsletter. If you want to watch the action as we approach hatch in New Zealand, here is the camera link:

There has been a sighting of an Osprey with a yellow leg band at Port Augusta which is 350 km north of Port Lincoln. Both Falky and Star have yellow bands but opposite legs. We wait to confirm which leg it is. All I can say is Wow. That is further than Solly who was on the opposite side of Eyre Peninsula at Streaky Bay and up to Eba Anchorage.

Oh, it is a good day. Thank you 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 captures: Berry College Bald Eagles, WRDC, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, and the KNF Bald Eagle Cam.

Did Tiaki fledge?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need a relaxing bird nest to watch?

After the trauma of the Cowlitz and Osyoos Osprey Nests, it is time sometimes good to pull back – to breathe – and watch a bird nest where there is absolutely no drama. Right now, these nests can be hard to find. The juvenile Bald Eagles in almost every nest in the United States have fledged. The Osprey chicks in certain areas of the US have already fledged. The Osprey chicks in the United Kingdom are preparing to fledge. In Australia, Lady and Dad have two eggs on their White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest while Mom and Dad at Port Lincoln are thinking about eggs (or were the last time I checked). Xavier and Diamond have yet to kick Izzi out of the scrape box at Charles Sturt University in Orange and nothing as yet is happening with those two cute Peregrine Falcons on the CBD in Melbourne. So I am going to recommend two quite different nests for you to try. The chicks are nothing short of adorable. I have mentioned both of these nests at one time or another but they both need to be mentioned again.

Kindness is nothing short of cute. She just has her nice charcoal thermal down and she is just beginning to take steps. It doesn’t get much better than the Bald Eagle Nest up at the Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska, this time of year. Her dad sometimes gets six big fish up to the nest in a day!

Kindness is 41 days old today. As per the average fledge age in Alaska, she is not even half way there. Look – she still has cute little dandelions on her head! 89 days to fledge in Alaska. So, please check her out.

Kindness is having her evening meal. Look at that crop and dad is still feeding her! (I think it is dad). She is going to be a big healthy girl.

Here is the link to watch Kindness:

The second nest is always calm. It is the Royal Albatross Cam on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand. Join the FB group administered by Sharon Dunne otherwise known fondly by so many of you as Lady Hawk, guess the chick’s weight every Monday, meet some nice people, and learn about the challenges these beautiful sea birds have.

This year’s royal cam chick’s name is Taiki. She is the daughter of Lime Green Lime (LGL) and Lime Green Black (LGK). She is old enough to be left alone on her nest while her parents fly out to sea to forage for food for her. And don’t worry. It isn’t like sitting around wondering if Wattsworth will ever show up with a fish or will Jack bring one to Tiny Tot – if something happens the NZ Department of Conservation Rangers will jump into action. Any chick that does not get fed and is under weight gets supplementary feedings of squid. If they get hot, they have their own sprinkler system! NZ knows that wildlife is at risk because of climate change. No one needs to ask for permissions that take days or weeks to come to help a bird.

Taiki is 157 days old. Her name means protector and carer. She weighed 8kg at the last weigh in. That is 17.64 lbs. The weight of the chicks is stabilizing now. Instead of gaining they will level off. Taiki will fledge in mid-September. So you have quite awhile to watch her build play nests, flap her wings, and change from a chick into a beautiful looking fledgling. Her black wings are coming through nicely.

Here is one of the feedings a few weeks ago. More of Taiki’s black wing feathers are visible now.

You can watch the Royal cam chick, her parents flying in to feed her, the rangers doing the weight checks using a laundry baskets, and Taiki visiting with adults and the chick close by. Remember to also check out the Royal Cam FB group.

Here is Taiki just waking up in New Zealand today. She will stretch her legs and wings as she looks out over the beautiful landscape.

Here is the link to the camera:

Thank you for joining me. I hope that you will check in on these two nests once in awhile. They can bring a lot of comfort when other nests get stressful.

Thank you to the Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam and to the Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC for their streaming cams. That is where I took my screen shots.