Want to get up close and personal with some Bald Eagles?

I am just home from a wonderful day outside. Did not see a single bird! Yes, seriously. I did spot a lot of nests and it was just nice to be outside in the fresh air on a beautiful sunny day.

The image below is the nest of Anna and Louis in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana.

What caught my eye was an invitation by the Wildlife Biologists Steve Shively and Cody Austell of the US Forestry Service at the Kistachie National Forest for people to come and get up close to the Bald Eagles, Anna and Louis. OK. Not that close. They have a great eagle viewing area set up with spotting scopes and they will be giving private tours.

If you live near Central Louisiana and are free at 10 am on either February 10, 17, or 19 at 10 am, give them a shout to sign up. The e-mail is visitKNFeagle@gmail.com

I am also super excited. Cody and Steve will be setting up another camera stream with the same super sound they have for Anna and Louis for the other Bald Eagle family in the forest. Last year there were three nests. Sadly, both adults in area 2, were found dead. They had been shot. At any rate, there will be two different streams watching both nests next season. Fantastic. I wonder if the male on the nest is as great a fisher as Louis? There were 10 new fish on the nest today. The duck and the Coot have been eaten and I am not sure where the turtle is.

Just a couple of quick comments about happenings in Bird World. The camera is now back on in Port Lincoln on the Osprey barge. Ervie had been there earlier so he is fine. A huge storm ripped through the area and did tonnes of damage. Just waiting to see how everything is with the hearts that beat and run Port Lincoln Osprey Project. There is not an egg yet on the Achieva Osprey Nest even though Diane has been on the nest for long periods.

The winds and rain seem to have subsided at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest of Samson and Gabby. I have not been home long enough to see how NE26 and 27 are behaving but there are at least five fish in the pantry so food is not an issue!

They look like they are getting along. Fingers crossed!

OGK is busy being a great dad down in New Zealand at Taiaroa Head. This little Royal Cam chick is going to gain lots of grams! Sooooooo very sweet.

Lots of beautiful water birds were out on the Mississippi Flyway this morning.

If you like Roseate Spoonbills as much as I do, you need to check out this streaming cam in St Augustine Florida. Spoonbills forage in shallow water. This is an adult in the nest. The juveniles are a pale pink while the adults have that bring cherry red/pink on the wings. Their head is bare and is a yellow-green colour. Their name comes from the flattened beak that looks like a spoon!

B15 at Berry College seems to be doing just fine, too. The worry over an injury to the wing is gone. It is a really sweet little eaglet.

So if you are anywhere near to Central Louisiana and want a personal tour to see the Bald Eagles nesting in the Kisatchie National Forest, please do get in touch with Steve or Cody. I would love to go on one of their tours. They are so knowledgable and – need help identifying prey on a nest – they are great at answering those questions. I have learned all about turtles this year! Send all your positive and warm wishes to all the nests (and people) who are going to get really low temperatures in areas that do not normally have them!

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

Thank you to the KNF FB Page, Berry College, NE Florida and the AEF, Explore.org, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and KNF Bald Eagle Cam for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures.

OGK sees his chick for the first time!

OGK returns to Taiaroa Head, the home of the Royal Albatross colony, at the end of the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand on the 28th of January 2022.

“Taiaroa Head Lighthouse, NZ” by Don Shearman

OGK (Orange-Green-Black) has been away from the Quarry Track nest for five (5) full days and a lot has happened while he has been foraging out on the seas. His chick, the Royal Cam chick for 2022, hatched at 19:40 on the 26th of January. On the nest when the chick was returned from the incubator was OGK’s mate of fifteen (15) years, YRK (Yellow-Red-Black).

Before anyone could even sense that OGK was near, YRK started looking around and then she broke into a sky call at 12:32:19.

At 12:33:07, OGK appears. He has landed up above and walked down to the Quarry Track where the nest is located.

OGK breaks into a sky call as he gets nearer to the nest and YRK. Sky calls are a way of greeting.

The formality of the greeting was followed by gentle allopreening between the couple.

Preening is when a bird grooms its own feathers. Allopreening is when it grooms the feathers of another bird. In the case of this Royal cam couple, the allopreening is a form of bonding, of renewing their ties, of a rite of courtship.

The Royal Albatross spend so much time away. The opportunities when they switch duties when there is a small chick on the nest are rare moments. When the chick is older, they will both be out foraging. They may or may not arrive back at the nest at the same times. In the past we have been lucky to see them and to watch them spend time together.

YRK stops and spends some time sitting on the grass by OGK and their chick before leaving for foraging. She departs at 12:45.

OGK is perfectly content brooding his new chick!

The NZ Department of Conservation put together a short information page about Albatross behaviours. They might have included some you have been wondering about. Check it out!

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/albatrosses/royal-albatross-toroa/royal-cam/royal-albatross-behaviour-on-and-off-royal-cam/

Here is a short video clip by Liz of YRK feeding the chick. It is absolutely fascinating and a delight to see how this wee bill and Mum’s go together to get nourishment. The chick is checked two times a day and weighted to ensure that it is getting enough ‘squid shake’. If not, the rangers will step in and supplement the feeding. There are no worries here. The chick is steadily gaining weight!

The Royal Albatross are so gentle and so loving. The streaming cam for the Royal Cam couple of the year is certainly a place to turn to if you are feeling stressed out by the happenings on other nests. It is very calming for the soul. You will also gain an acute appreciation of the New Zealand Government and its Department of Conservation. All of the birds are cared for. They get medical attention, spraying when it is too hot, and supplementary feedings whether they are a chick or an adult. It is certainly a place that gives back to these beautiful sea creatures for all the joy they bring us.

Here is a link to the live streaming cam. It won’t be long until there will be a contest for the name of the chick. That is always exciting.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is just wonderful news that OGK is home safe! Take care everyone. See you soon.

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

Just a quick note: My Friday blog might be late. The garden birds will finish off all their seed and suet tomorrow so I will be off to replenish their stock. I am hoping that the weather is conducive to checking out some more of our local birds. Maybe even see that Bald Eagle! Wish me luck.

Royal Cam Family for 2021-22

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

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

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

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

Birds ‘Down Under’

Go and grab the tissue box or a handkerchief, you are going to need it. Lady Hawk has put out the season highlights for the Royal Cam family – LGL, LGK, and Tiaki! And while you are watching it, Tiaki is off being an albatross 95 km off the coast of Canterbury, New Zealand. She is going about her day, flying, landing on the water, and looking for squid!

Holly Parsons posted an article about Tiaki that appeared in a NZ paper. You might enjoy reading it. There are some interesting facts such as 2.3 million people watched the Royal Cam chick from 1 December til fledge which amounted to 400,000 hours of streaming cam time! Wow.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/300416181/royal-cam-star-tiaki-leaves-the-nest-as-bumper-albatross-breeding-season-wraps-up?fbclid=IwAR3mU94gmZpSDSRkFJ5U6MyqECSisvbspK0u9XXu3fAh3GXRGeUHegbLXDw

Clearly none of us knows what it is like to have to incubate four large peregrine falcon eggs for over a month but, early in the morning the Mom in the scrape box in Melbourne has been getting much more restless. Will all four hatch within six hours? Wow. That will just be crazy. I hope little Dad has been stashing pigeons somewhere close. If Mom refuses to give up her incubation duties, we will know that she is listening to the chicks and there could be a pip or a crack.

Thank goodness the earlier rains have stopped!

Here is the link to this streaming cam so you can watch the action when these sweeties hatch:

It will be about a week before there will be a hatch at the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Mom is trying to catch all the sleep she can before the trip join her and Xavier.

It would be wrong to put the link to the camera in Melbourne and not the one to Xavier and Diamond. This couple is such a sweet pair.

It is a little wet at Port Lincoln Osprey barge this morning. Mom is, no doubt, giving Dad some ‘Door Dash’ orders for breakfast.

The little one doesn’t seem to mind the few drops of rain. I just can’t get over how well these chicks blend in with the nest. Nature is the best designer!

If you have hesitated to watch this nest, I encourage all Osprey lovers to embrace it. The chicks are doing so very, very well. Here is that link:

The White Bellied Sea Eaglets are doing well this year, too. This nest has also experienced little aggression and both eaglets are thriving. Lady was in early to feed them.

They are beginning to explore the lower branches. It will be a blink before they are really branching. It has been a pleasure to watch the lives of these beautiful sea eagles this year.

I will update you on the feedings on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest later today and if there is any confirmation of pips or cracks at 367 Collins Street.

For now it is 31 degrees C or 87.8 F on 29 September on the Canadian Prairies. Unbelievable. It is a great evening to go and check on the ducks.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me. Be kind to all living things.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac. Thanks Lady Hawk for the video!

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Wednesday in Bird World

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Colette Leclerq, Brittany France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Migration on the Prairies

There has been a lot of noise in the Winnipeg birding community about a Green Heron at a park south of our City. People love to watch the herons fish and the sheer gracefulness of their movements.

There was no heron. We had missed it by half an hour but, it was a beautiful place to walk. The only thing you could hear was the chattering of a Red Squirrel.

Groups of Canada Geese were in the fields where the farmers had harvested the grain.

As we continued down the gravel road, overhead two skein of geese in the typical ‘V’ formation flew in front of us. Did you know that by flying in the ‘V’ formation, the geese not only conserve some of their energy by it is thought that their hearing and sight are enhanced. We decided to try and locate where the geese were going.

There were geese everywhere. They cannot read the sign!

Besides geese, there were Double-Crested Cormorants, Ring Billed Gulls, and a few Mallards.

Oh, this one was a beauty. He has been in the water and was drying his wings. Those feathers are not waterproof. To help them underwater, they have sealed nostrils, great underwater vision, and look at that tail – it functions as a rudder.

I thought he was a rather attractive bird.

The plumage of the Double Crested Cormorants below is lighter than the one above which is a breeding adult. I believe these two are immature.

There is always one very cute little female Mallard.

The Ring Billed Gull had a few friends in the water. I had a very hard time determining the colour of this one’s bill. If it is yellow with the black tip, it is an adult. If it is pink with a black tip, it is a juvenile. Are its legs and feet also pale pink? If so, it is a juvenile.

The birds continue to travel through our City as fall migration continues. All of the birding organizations in my province are gearing up for fall workshops. If you live in Manitoba, you might want to check these two out. If you live elsewhere – as I know most of you do – check your local birding associations.

Near me have been fields of Sandhill Cranes, many of them dancing. Someone spotted three Moose together on a farmer’s field, too. Because of the fires and the drought, all of the animals and birds are hungry.

There has been no word from Sharyn Broni, the Ranger at Taiaroa Head about Tiaki. Her GPS indicates that she has fledged but she is on land!

Here is the link to check on both Tiaki and her dad, Lime Green Black (LGK):

Chicks have been rescued if they got off to a rocky start on their fledge. I want to wait and hear what the rangers say about Tiaki.

Thank you for joining me. I hope that wherever you live you can get outside and enjoy some beautiful fall weather with the birds. Take care. See you soon!

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.

Bird World 9 September 2021

WBSE 27 and 28, the two little sea eaglets in the old Ironbark Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park, had an early morning breakfast of bird.

Ah, just guess who was the first one up at the breakfast table? If you said, 28 you are absolutely right.

The little bird filled up their empty tummies but it wasn’t big enough -like a grand fish -to fill their crops, too. After breakfast the pair did some wing flapping, standing, and attempts at walking. They still need their wing tips to help with their balance.

Look at the tail that is growing on WBSE27! 27 is the one flapping its wings below.

Well, the Australian Magpie was not giving the White-bellied Sea Eagles a break today. For a couple of hours after feeding the eaglets, Lady defended the nest ducking and honking as the Magpie swooped down trying to hit her.

In the image below, Lady is honking at the Magpie.

Here is a good image of the bird as it goes to land on a branch of the nest tree. This bird is cheeky – they must taste terrible or Lady could have that Magpie for lunch! I would not blame her.

In this image you can see the Magpie caught in flight right above Lady’s head.

Here the Magpie is flying around Lady. It is right over her head.

Dad came to help Lady. All of the big raptors – at the top of the food chain – attract all the small birds and owls. It is surprising how much physical damage these small feathered creatures can do. Last year, BooBook Owl injured Lady’s eye. They can, of course, knock the eaglets out of the nest.

Tiaki looks out to the world that awaits her. Her name means protector of the land and the seas. I hope that they also protect her.

As Albies fly around her in the strong winds, Tiaki raises her wings. She will be off on her big adventure soon.

The chicks are all hovering in the strong winds. In a blink they will be gone. I think I put down 12 September on the guessing game but it could just be any time. Quarry Chick fledged 3 days ago.

Tiaki received her GPS tracker today. Ranger Sharyn Bronte said, “A wider study of the entire Northern Royal Albatross is being conducted this year. And in a first for a Royalcam chick Tiaki as received a tracker. Trackers have deployed on northern royals on the Chathams where 99% of the world population of this species breeds.We are extremely lucky to have 20g devices are available to track LGK, LGL and Tiaki. Although LGL’s device failed it has provided valuable data. Devices are extremely light compared to the weight of the bird and attached to back feathers. These feathers molt within a year and the device will fall off. The device is solar powered and will remotely send data until molting.”

If you read my column regularly, you will know that I am a big supporter of GPS trackers. I also support Darvic bands. Much new information on the migrations, winter and summer breeding grounds – and yes, deaths, are revealed amongst other things. Studying birds or watching them in their nests is never for the faint of heart. Their lives are full of challenges, most placed on them by humans.

Last year, a lovely Polish woman wrote to me to tell me she didn’t know how I could be so calm when ‘bad things’ happened to the birds. Those were not her exact words but that is what she meant. I was not the least bit offended. The truth is I feel for each and every one of them. That caring is inside a bigger box that is now labelled ‘ avian activist’. I want to help stop those things that cause the birds injury or death when it can be avoided. Rodenticides, sticky paper traps, lead shot, lead bullets, lead in fishing equipment, fishing line, fishing nets, windows, garbage dumped on the roads, habitat loss, wild fires caused by arson, electrocution, bread fed to the birds —— and simple neglect or oversight. Like having emergency contact numbers for the streaming cams where there is no 24/7 chat with knowledgable moderators.

I am working on a way to remember Malin, the Osprey nestling at the Collins Marsh Nature Centre, whose life was needlessly cut short. The Malin Code. Osprey streaming cams that follow The Malin Code would have either 24/7 moderators who can access emergency help immediately or emergency numbers at the top of the historical information on the nests. Individuals who are in charge of parks or areas with nests would be trained to recognize the physical signs (11 of them) from food begging to alerting and the 8 vocalizations. It is the least requirement. The other is that they pay attention to what is happening on the nest. They need to know the difference between a juvenile and an adult. Etc. Whew. Yes, I get worked up. If you can think of anything else that these organizations should be doing, let me know. Don’t be shy! At the end of the year, the streaming cam that best implemented The Malin Code would get a donation, big enough to motivate them to do what is right for the birds.

OK. On to what is happening in some of the scrape boxes:

Diamond and Xavier spent some time in the scrape box together today. There was a bit of a conversation between Diamond and Xavier. I need to learn to speak falcon.

There is a real soft spot in my heart for the little male Peregrine Falcon in Melbourne. Maybe it is the ledge where he comes scurrying in to take his turn incubating the eggs or when he brings prey to the eyases.

He is the cutest thing and makes the biggest messes plucking pigeons right in the nest with the eyases. But, last year, I noticed that those three girls really knew what to do with a feathered bird. They were not shy. By the time they fledged, they were professional pigeon pluckers. Can you say that fast 10x?

What a cutie! Our stealth raptor.

Have you ever wondered about the black faces of the Peregrine Falcons? Did you know that the size and intensity of the black varies by region? Have a read.

Cody and the lads down in Kisatchie National Forest have done a great job with the camera for the Bald Eagle Nest of Anna and Louis. Cody says that the sound is going to be fantastic.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sunset over Lake Kincaid? Such a lovely spot for a Bald Eagle nest —- and, of course, there is the lake that is stocked with some really nice fish. Couldn’t get much better. Everyone is just waiting for the Eagles to return.

Speaking of Bald Eagles returning, both Samson and Gabby are at home in Jacksonville and Harriet and M15 are in Fort Myers. All that reminds me I have to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

I want to leave you with an image of Tiny Little. She is one of the fledgling Ospreys in my long time study of third hatch survivors. She has a Darvic ring-Blue 463. Here she is as a wee one.

Blue 35 is feeding Tiny Little by herself. Look at ‘big nasty sister’ in the middle. It really is thanks to excellent parenting that Tiny survived – and became the dominant bird. Gosh, I wish she had a tracker. Is she at Poole Harbour? has she made it to Brittany? will she go to The Gambia? or Senegal? or Southern Spain? My ‘wish list’ includes getting someone to look for her if I can’t be there myself during the winter of 2022.

That’s it for me tonight. Tomorrow I am off in search of a Green Heron. Take care everyone. Stay safe. Be kind. Remember: Life is for living.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: 367 Collins Street Falcons, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, The Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle Cam, The Falcon Cam Project Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ Doc Royal Albatross Cam and FB Page and The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Checking in on Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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